Lewisburg Rotary donates to community

Friday, April 25, 2014

By Jessica Moore

Staff Writer

The Lewisburg Rotary Club gave out the last of their yearly donations at their weekly meeting Wednesday. This year the club has donated a total of $17,000 back into the community.

The first of the two recipients this week was the Marshall Education Foundation. The Marshall Education Foundation is chartered to provide for the promotion of, and funding for, secondary and post-secondary school educational needs.

The board of directors have developed programs that focus on four major areas. The first program provides financial assistance for high school students. The Marshall Scholars Program can help with the entire financial-aid process for students. The second area focuses on dual enrollment opportunities for students, which allows them to earn college credit and high school credit at the same time. The foundation is also very supportive of the teachers in Marshall County. Grants are available for middle and high school teachers to receive funding for special projects and initiatives. The fourth area of focus for the foundation is to encourage investment in the futures of Marshall County citizens. Rotarian Elizabeth McDow was proud to introduce the foundation to her fellow Rotarians before introducing Kennedy and presenting her with the check. Accepting the $1,500 donation on behalf of the foundation, was Vice Chairman Barbara Kennedy.

"I am very proud and honored to be a part of this board, thank you," said Kennedy.

The final donation given by the Lewisburg Rotary Club was to the local chapter of the Imagination Library. The Imagination Library is a program that was started several years ago by Dolly Parton which allows any child, regardless of family income, to receive free books by mail from birth to age five. The program was partnered in Tennessee by the Governor's Books From Birth Foundation to help keep the cost to a minimum for the local chapters. The Governor's Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) is committed to enrolling every child from birth to age five in Tennessee's statewide Imagination Library. The books sent are suited for the age and in some cases even gender of the child. Those given during the first year focus on vision, touch, rhyme and rhythm. While age two begins adding to those concepts by introducing self-help activities, nursery rhymes, motor skills and more. The monthly books become something the children look forward to seeing in their mailbox. The program really pinpoints what a child may be going through during a stage in their young life. For example, around 24 months of age, a child may receive a book about sharing, which is something that many two-year-olds struggle with at times. At a later time, they may receive a book about siblings. Each book has a leaf within the cover that explains to a parent how they should read the book to the child to receive the most benefit. It offers suggestions of questions to ask your little one in order to keep them engaged and learning.

The children's books in Dolly Parton's Imagination Library are selected by a blue ribbon committee of childhood education experts and include such beloved titles as "The Little Engine That Could," "The Snowy Day," "Llama Llama Red Pajama," "Madeline," "The Story of Ferdinand," and "Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!"

Peggy Hubbard, chairman of the Marshall County Imagination Library, passionately explained the importance of books in early childhood development as well as the bond strengthened as children are read to by their parents to those present at the meeting. After introducing many of her fellow board members, she proudly accepted the $4,000 donation presented to her by Lewisburg Rotary President Angie Binkley Burditt.

For anyone interested in the Marshall Education Foundation or the Imagination Library visit them online at www.meftn.org or www.imaginationlibrary.com.