Teams of Rotarians and volunteers are fanning out to the three elementary schools in North Plainfield, and the ten elementary schools and three charter schools in Plainfield during the months of October and November to give a dictionary to every third grade student.  A total of twelve hundred dictionaries will be presented, including Spanish-English dictionaries for ESL students.

"Our Dictionary Project for Plainfield and North Plainfield school children is in its twelfth year,” said Roberta Smith, president of the Rotary Club of the Plainfields.  “It is one of our most important and most successful community service projects because of its direct contact with so many young girls and boys in their classroom settings. All of our members feel the same way – our hearts are warmed by the smiles and even cheers when we announce the gift and present the dictionaries to each student. This project is so important to the education of our children, and we are proud to play our part.”

People from both communities are welcome to join this project. The Rotary Club works with the schools and teachers to help make their students active readers, good writers, and creative thinkers. “We love to have people join us on the project,” said club president Smith.  “It’s a great way to see directly what Rotary is all about - service to others. What better way to do that than helping children with their education?”

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The Rotarians take the opportunity to teach the children about service to the community, both local and worldwide.  "I like to involve the students by first asking for help defining "rotate" and "club"," said Michael Townley, club secretary.  Mr. Townley is on the ATM Team, along with Aturo Cousar from Investors Bank and Timothy Priano of ABTP Services. Their team has already presented the dictionaries at the Cook, Cedarbrook, and Evergreen schools in Plainfield. "After hearing some excellent responses, I have a student read each definition from their dictionaries, and show them that “rotary” and “rotate” have almost the same definition. This helps explain how the Rotary Club got its name. Then we talk about service, about what it means to be a Rotarian helping others, such as Rotary's efforts to eliminate polio. The discussion is a great opportunity for us to teach 'Service Above Self' to these young students," said Mr. Townley.

The dictionaries are purchased through The Dictionary Project, Inc., a non-profit created in 1995 in South Carolina.  The Dictionary Project’s mission is to put a dictionary in the hands of every third grade student in the United States.  Since its founding, over 27.2 million dictionaries have been presented to children across the U.S. More information is available at the Dictionary Project’s website at www.dictionaryproject.org.

The Rotary Club of the Plainfields was founded in 1921 and has served the community for ninety-seven years. Members are community and business leaders in the area who meet weekly on Wednesdays at 12:15 p.m. at Giovanna’s Restaurant in Plainfield, except for the first Wednesday of the month when they meet at The Coffee Box in Plainfield. The Social Hour at The Coffee Box is from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Come to either the Social Hour or a lunch meeting at Giovanna’s to learn more about how you can join or support this great service club.

Contact Club Secretary Michael Townley at secretary@rotarypnp.org for additional information about the Rotary Club or to help with the Dictionary Project, or visit the Club’s website at www.rotarypnp.org.