Alex Nagy and Valerie Mills have been busy this month delivering $200 cheques to seven Sooke and Port Renfrew area schools, for much-needed books for their libraries.
Klaus Benker, principal of John Muir and Port Renfrew Elementary Schools, thanked Sooke Rotary for this donation. He was particularly grateful for the assistance for Port Renfrew, noting “bigger schools have PACs that do fundraising, but Port Renfrew does not have those kinds of resources.” He notes all schools appreciate a helping hand, but, “that particular school can certainly use it.”
Nagy stated that Sooke Rotary’s service goals focus on both literacy and youth, so this project meets two needs at once. He explains that the club’s luncheon speaker at each Wednesday meeting traditionally receives a small thank-you gift. For three years now, rather than a pin or a coffee mug, the club donates a book in the speaker’s name to a local school library.
“The nice thing is that the books can be read by many children, not just limited to one child or one class,” Nagy said.
The club leaves it up to the school librarians to choose the books, as they know best what the children want and need.
Ben Constandinou (7) and Rainen Spur (5), are both active library users. Ben says his favourite books are Diary of Wimpy Kid or the Berenstein Bears. Rainen likes funny books, but his favourite at pre-school reading time is Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Nagy also told quite another different literacy story. A Sooke family with a visually impaired child is eligible for a $500 kit that teaches the parents to read Braille, in order to help prepare the child for school. He explains that visually impaired children who are identified by age four can be just as well prepared as any other child when entering kindergarten — and with the club’s help, the child can get a headstart in their learning career. Nagy said that offering a helping hand, and making a real difference in people’s lives, is what being a Rotarian is all about, “that’s what excites us.”