Committee

Diane Kahn

Lisa Rodrigues
 
Mary F. Foster
 
Tony Washington
 
Ed Tafur
 
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How Rotary Improves the Lives of Children in our Community Through Literacy

The Golden Bookshelf

Research and statistics tell the story:

“According to Boston Basics, 80% of Brain Growth happens in the first three years after birth.”
 

Language Deficiency by Age 5

Language is the foundation of human communication. Infants and children require frequent face-to-face opportunities for language exchange and reading. Low language proficiency before the age of five (5) can mean a lifetime of missed opportunities for children growing up in poverty.
 

Failure to Read by Age 9

Failure to read by age nine creates permanent life deficits. Slow readers become truants and leave high school before graduation in very high numbers. Failure to read at grade level diminishes career development / earning potential and often leads to the juvenile criminal justice system.
 

Peekskill Rotary Puts Books into the Hands of Underserved Children—reducing Achievement Gaps

Peekskill Rotary's Reading is Fundamental Committee, co-chaired by Diane Kahn and Lisa Montalto, formed ‘Literacy Lovers’ to encourage children to develop a life-long love of reading by getting books into their homes. Young children need easy access to books to be successful readers but households with limited incomes tend not to be filled with books. 
 
To address this community need, the Committee crafted “Golden Bookshelves” which are stocked with age appropriate, new and gently used children’s books in both English and Spanish. The “Golden Bookshelves” are strategically placed in three Peekskill community facilities—Hudson River Health Care, Fred’s Pantry and WJCS—and provide free books to families.
 
Peekskill Rotary’s “Golden Bookshelves” also supports the community initiative, "The Peekskill Basics," modeled after the Boston Basics project.  Peekskill Basics focuses on i) promoting early childhood literacy and ii) enhancing parenting skills that help children achieve their educational potential.
 
Mary Keenan Foster, Acting Superintendent of Peekskill City School District, spearheaded "The Peekskill Basics" as a way to address the educational achievement gap between the city’s school district and the neighboring suburban school districts.  Mary commented, “It’s so important to just get books into the hands of children” to help improve our school district’s performance on English Language Arts standardized tests. When 83% of our student population is “economically disadvantaged” and more than half are from Spanish-speaking homes, the whole community needs to be involved to help our children succeed. Literacy Lovers “Golden Bookshelves” supports this significant effort of getting free books into the hands of our children.
 

2018 Events

January 18: Golden Bookshelf Launch at HRHcare.
 
April 28: Cherry Blossom Festival - Tent/Table/Bookcase for Children's Book donations.
 
Month of June: Stay at home and read Gala - Virtual Fundraiser.
 
Sept. 29 - 30: Horse Show - Tent/Table/Bookcase accepting new and gently used Children's Book donations.
 
October Book Fair: Date TBA.