Education

The Definition of Community Service: Roxbury Rotary Gives Kids Dictionaries

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Roxbury Rotarians Steve Alford and Judi Frank give dictionaries to kids at St. Therese School in Succasunna Credits: Cheryl Wolford
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ROXBURY, NJ – A worldwide project that started 23 years ago in Georgia found its way to Succasunna this week when third-graders at St. Therese School were given dictionaries.

The dictionaries were presented to the students by Roxbury Rotary Club President Steve Alford and Rotarian Judy Frank. They did so as part of The Dictionary Project, an effort that – since 1992 – has involved distributing dictionaries to schoolchildren.

“We deliver dictionaries to every third-grader in town,” said Alford. “We have been doing this project for the past 12 years and this year we distributed 368 dictionaries.”

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The Dictionary Project was started by a woman in Savannah, Ga., who gave fifty dictionaries to kids attending a school near her home, according to the non-profit organization’s website.  

Each year, the woman, Annie Plummer, “continued to give this gift, raising money to help give more and more books so that in her lifetime she raised enough money to buy 17,000 dictionaries for children in Savannah,” says the site.

The organization was formed three years later. It eventually blossomed into a worldwide effort that’s given dictionaries and other reference books to more than 18 million children worldwide.

As is the case in Roxbury, the book distribution is often handled by community service organizations such as Rotary Clubs, Elks Lodges, Kiwanis Clubs and Lions Clubs, according to The Dictionary Project.

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