Welcome to the Winnetka Rotary Literacy Projects Blog

Our literacy committee blog shares information about our Rotary literacy projects and events associated with sharing access to the many different ways in which people read. Some access reading the "traditional" way, some have computers read books, Internet pages, newspapers, and other print material. Our goal is to make the "written word" accessible to every person of every age and ability.

Please come back to find out about our past, present, and future projects.

What is the impact of illiteracy?

Illiteracy causes more harm than merely having a reduced ability to read and write. Illiteracy causes entire families to remain isolated from the everyday fabric of their local and global communities, to remain isolated from inspiration acquired by "enough education," and to remain isolated from a means to share history beyond the reaches of their spoken word.
----Dr. Jeanne Beckman

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Literacy, the Winnetka Way

Read All About It!

Literacy, the Winnetka Way

Please read about the local and international projects below and consider ways join us. Just as there are many ways to read, there are many ways to volunteer.

Contact Jeanne Beckman for more information at 847-446-1251
or email her at techpsych@techpsychologist.com

Not a Rotarian? Find out about how Rotarians around the world volunteer to make it a better place. Contact Jeanne Beckman to find out how to visit the Winnetka-Northfield Rotary or a Rotary club near your home or workplace.

December 2007


Winnetka Library project: Jeanne Beckman met with new director of Winnetka Library, David Seleb, who indicated that they are finally ready to set the club purchased accessibility software as well as the scanning hardware (donated by Beckman) in place for patrons to use in reading the Internet, books, newspapers, and other reference material within the library.

Jeanne Beckman contacted Glenview Sunrise Rotary Club, a 2007 District 6440 Literacy Award winner, in December regarding possible accessible literacy component in collaboration with their club.

Update: Jeanne Beckman met with an individual of the Glenview Sunrise Rotary Club to discuss collaboration with their current literacy projects and the ways in which accessible literacy could enhance their project.

Jeanne Beckman contacted New Trier’s Interact Club in September regarding possible volunteer participation in this project. The club sponsor indicated she would contact us when their club was ready to participate.

Update: Beckman will be meeting with the students in New Trier’s Interact Club in December to discuss participation in January of 2008

Jeanne Beckman presented our club’s accessible literacy to the Libertyville Rotary on March 19th.

Update: The Libertyville Rotary Club has recently approved discussions regarding collaboration on accessible literacy with their current international projects. Meeting to define scope and collaboration details scheduled.

Jeanne Beckman presented our club’s accessible literacy projects to the Wilmette Harbor Rotary Club on February 21, 2007. The club has expressed interest in possible collaboration on this project.

Update: Possible collaboration still pending

November 2007

Now that we have the accessibility software and hardware for the Winnetka library project (see below), we need to schedule the presentation to the library as well as free community training sessions.

We are also ready to begin phase two: paying it forward to at least three other Rotary clubs. Here are the possible projects this committee is considering:

  1. Stomp project (stompproject.org): Providing accommodated access to computers and email for those with learning disabilities who are in the military as well as for their special needs family members. Project description, collaboration with specific Rotary clubs, and proposal pending. About Stomp:STOMP is based out of Tacoma, Washington and is the only National Parent Training and Information Center for military families (both in the US as well as internationally) providing support and advice to military parents without regard of the type of medical condition their child has.
  2. Microlending project whereby young teens through young adults with disabilities can borrow accessibility software and convert books for businesses and individuals for a fee. Rationale: Unemployment for those with disabilities hovers around 85%. For those who cannot read adequately, they cannot provide good parenting, cannot participate in adequate employment, and cannot participate in the political and civic processes. This project is in the development phase, but will be done both locally and internationally.
  3. Accessibility to text in libraries in other libraries, both locally (North Chicago or Waukegan) as well as other international sites. Specific sites and respective Rotary clubs still being determined.

2007: Pay It Forward, the Winnetka Rotary Way!

Our Winnetka-Northfield Rotary club is implementing the pilot phase of an accessible literacy project in our own backyard, in our local library. This project lends text-to-speech software and scanners to our local public library, so library patrons can access all of the books within our library as well as have fully accommodated access to the Internet and digital media. We intend to have this project "paid forward" to at least three other Rotary service clubs throughout the United States and internationally, and will be applying for matching grants to help it grow. Already, we are funded to provide the scanning software and a club member has donated a new specialized scanner for the Winnetka library. We will be providing community training classes in using text-to-speech software for students as well as those with vision challenges.

An open house to present the software and hardware to the library as well as a fund-raising event in currently in the planning stages and hands-on volunteer sessions will be scheduled within the next few weeks.

Phase two of this project is to assist one Rotary club from a low-income community in Illinois, one from a community in another state, and one from a club outside of the U.S. Each of those clubs will be asked to pay the project forward to three other Rotary clubs, and so on. Help our club "pay it forward," to build community volunteerism, to build relationships with Rotary clubs who will "pay it forward" to make libraries accessible to those with vision and other print disabilities. There are many ways to read, and many ways to help our project grow.

2005-2006: Northwestern University Settlement Association

Our club collected and distributed over 70 new books (purchased at the Book Stall in support of a Winnetka Alliance for Early Childhood fundraiser) for the Settlement House's Head Start program.

Our club also collected, sorted, delivered, and donated 16 boxes of gently used books to the youth programs of Northwestern University Settlement House and Noble High School.

About Northwestern University Settlement Association

Since 1891 the Settlement has enabled low-income and immigrant families to reach the dream of self sufficiency. Over 9,000 neighbors benefited in one year alone through their emergency services, youth senior and community programs. There theater expanded its program, reaching over 37,000 people as audience members, artists, technicians and scholars.

District Literacy Committee website: Click here


Welcome to the Winnetka Rotary Literacy Projects Blog

Our new literacy committee blog will share information about our Rotary literacy projects and events associated with sharing access to the word. Please come back to find out about our past, present, and future projects.