Activity - Local District Grants

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Local Grants (LG), are a tool for Rotary Districts to help Rotary Clubs finance worthwhile projects that are beneficial to their community. The money comes from up to 40% of this year's District Designated Funds (DDF). The DDF comes from the annual giving to the Rotary Foundation three years prior. Our District 6920 leaders have, for the past few years, determined that LGs should be used for local projects


Project Description



Reading Rockets Engagement, Evaluation & Expansion

Grant Description: To further the success of the Reading Rockets Early Literacy Project that SSI Rotary has sponsored since 2010, this year we will A. ENGAGE: (1) Rotary through outreach to Brunswick Rotary and the Rotaract Club at the College of Coastal Georgia; (2) Parents of the Pre-K and Kindergarten students involved in Reading Rockets at the various venues where our volunteer readers are reading each week, and (3) Volunteers from the community by soliciting and recruiting more support in the community at large building on and leveraging the existing volunteer base; B. EVALUATE current programs to find ways to make them better; and C. EXPAND the program by collaborating with others in the community, especially the new Glynn County Schools initiative called "Lit 3, Ask Me!", who are also addressing the need in our area to enhance early childhood literacy through a variety of programs.



Reading Rockets Head Start Expansion Project
Grant Description: The Reading Rockets Head Start Expansion Project (the "Project") will build on the success that the Rotary Club of Saint Simons Island ("SSI Rotary") has had in its collaboration with the Marshes of Glynn Libraries ("MOGL") over the last eight years to boost early childhood literacy by providing volunteer readers to read on a weekly basis to children in Pre-K and Kindergarten in a number of venues in Glynn County ("Reading Rockets"). The Glynn County Head Start ("GCHS") is offered through the Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority, Inc. ("CAGCAA"), which also operates Head Start in eight other counties throughout the Coastal Area. CAGCAA and represeantatives of Reading Rockets from SSI Rotary and MOGL have met on several occasions and are eager to expand the Reading Rockets program to serve the children who attend Pre-K at GCHS. To serve the 271 Pre-K children who will be enrolled in the coming school year, who will be taught in 17 classrooms, it will be necessary to recruit and train new volunteers and to work with the GCHS Center Supervisor and Assistant Supervisor, as well as members of the faculty, to design and launch the program at GCHS. (We have determined that the model that has been so successful at the FACES Pre-K, which was the first Reading Rockets (fka "Baby Steps") venue funded by a Rotary District Grant in 2010-2011, is appropriate to use at GCHS.) The Reading Rockets Pogram also needs to recruit new volunteers to serve in its established venues, so the Project will also enhance the exisitng Program overall. Recruiting new Reading Rockets will require the development of some new materials and deployment of some new PR efforts to get the word out to the public before the official launch of the Project in September after school starts. We anticipate two or three articles about the Project will appear in The Brunswick News. SSI Rotarians will be integrally involved in the Project. The VP of Development at CGACAA is a new member of SSI Rotary (although he was formerly the President of the McIntosh County Rotary Club), and he is a sustaining member of the Paul Harris Society, as is the Chair of the SSI Rotary Literacy Committee, which is the spearheading committee of Reading Rockets. While volunteers will be recruited from other groups and organizations throughout Glynn County, members of SSI Rotary continue to be very involved in supporting Reading Rockets with their time and treasure.



Grant Description: Reading Rockets(TM) is the Club's signature Early Childhood Literacy Project that has been in existence since July 2010, when it was launched as the "Baby Steps Project." Hundreds of at-risk Pre-K and Kindergarten kids have benefitted from the gifts of books and of the hours spent with volunteer readers from the Club and the Community that have entered into their lives and early education experience. This year's grant will be used to EXPAND AND GROW READING ROCKETS by renewing and refreshing our marketing materials, boosting the ranks of our volunteer base, reaching more kids in the community with more books and more volunteers, and building stronger bonds with our four main partners: the Marshes of Glynn Libraries, which houses the Program and serves as the point of entry for volunteer readers; the Glynn County Schools, which collaborates with our efforts to boost early childhood literacy; the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Georgia, which houses one of the three Reading Rockets venues, and Georgia Southern University Department of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health, which is assisting with the research to prove the efficacy of Reading Rockets.



Childhood Literacy -- Reading Made Fun
Akeba Academy is a privately owned child care center in Brunswick, GA serving the child care needs of a low income area.  The have children from 3 months through pre-K.  Our program this year was to help them meet the Georgia Early Learning Standards and the Emergent Childcare Development Program.  The Rotary Club purchased 33 books to upgrade the libraries in the classroom as well as received book donations from club members.  The program was kicked-off with a pizza party and a copy of the Very Hungry Caterpillar for each of the 60 children.  The books the children received were read in the classrooms many times each week and read by the parents at home.  Five additional books (sets of 60) were purchased to reward the children for reading with the parents and teachers.  These books will be given to the children on a calendar quarterly basis.  Two listening centers were purchased for the classrooms to use ten different classroom learning kits (book, CD and activity cards).  Volunteer readers will start in the fall to read to each classroom twice per week.

Grant $2127 
 + $352 Private Funds

           SSI Elementary -- Environmental Growing Beds

Club $1000
Grant $1693


Imagination Room

The Imagination Room project converted an ugly storage room that was being put to no useful purpose into a special room for reading for 5 and 6 year-olds at the Boys & Girls Club at McIntyre Court in Brunswick, Georgia.  The project has been ongoing for the last year.  Initial meetings and design ideas were discussed in May 2011.  The beneficiaries are all of the volunteers who gave of their time and talent to transform a forlorn room into a magical space that looks like a park.  Of course, the ultimate beneficiaries will be the children who will enter the room for years to come, starting this summer of 2012 with special reading and imagination exercises, when volunteers come to read to them as part of their Boys & Girls Club experience.   Please, see the attached Program of the Grand Opening of the Imagination Room, which took place on May 16, 2012, for a complete explanation of the project.  The PowerPoint slide presentation that was played at the Grand Opening to demonstrate the �before & after� is also attached to demonstrate the success of this project.  A news article in the May 17, 2012, edition of The Brunswick News covered the opening. 

Club $1000
Grant $941

+ $3100





Baby Steps

The specific project is the Media Center Project at the Family and Childrens' Educational Services (FACES) Pre-k housed at the Burroughs-Molette Elementary School in Brunswick, Georgia (the "Media Center Project"). This will be the first project to be funded by the Baby Steps Operating Fund recently established by the SSI Rotary Club in collaboration with the Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation ("CCGF") to focus on and support early childhood literacy in Glynn County. This initiative, called "Baby Steps: Building Literacy One Toddler at a Time," is summarized in the attached PowerPoint presentation, which was given to the SSI Rotary Board when it approved and adopted Baby Steps as its Literacy Program. The Fund under the administration of CCGF will be the primary beneficiary of the District Simplified Grant. In turn, CCGF will distribute the funds necessary for the Media Center Project from the Baby Steps Operating Fund.

The Media Center Project will provide 440 age-appropriate books and 24 forward-facing bookshelves to the FACES Pre-k at Burroughs-Molette Elementary School to serve the 220 Pre-k students who are enrolled there.

The Media Center Project will be completed as soon as funds are available and purchases of the books and shelves can be made, which will be as soon as possible and well before May 6, 2011.

Club $1000
Grant $2265


The Marine Science Lab at Saint Simons Elementary.
  Beginning in August 2009, Saint Simons Elementary initiated a new program that focuses on inquiry-based, hands-on learning in a science lab setting. All students in Kindergarten through 5th grade come to the science lab once every six days.  For each grade level, students are being taught Georgia Performance Life Sciences Standards ( and Characteristics of Science Standards with an emphasis on marine biology. 

Four aquariums will be installed in the lab this fall, including a custom-built marine touch tank, a marsh tank, a turtle tank, and a catch-and-release marine fish tank.  A marine coral reef display tank has already been installed just outside the lab in the hallway.  These aquariums will be used to teach biological concepts by direct observation of living marine organisms.  The aquariums in the lab will be used to temporarily show animals and plants found in local, coastal habitats, rather than kept as a display collection.  All animals and plants will be returned to their original locations after careful observation by students, usually after a maximum of six days.  Marine microorganisms and invertebrates will also be sampled periodically from the ocean, located directly across the street from the school. 

Equipment Needs for the Science Lab.  With the new Marine Science Lab, several needs for the students' best learning opportunity are unmet.  With the funds from the Rotary Grant, the school will be closer to meeting these needs, and the students will be able to better learn from the Lab environment.   The equipment, furniture and supply needs are explained below.

1.  Microscopes will be used extensively in the lab to examine microorganisms and details of organisms that cannot normally be seen.  This Grant will allow the School to obtain stereo microscopes (also called dissecting or stereoscopic microscopes).  These are low-power (usually 10X to 40X magnification) microscopes for students to view larger specimens such as insects, invertebrates, zooplankton, plants, fungi, sand grains, and even small vertebrates such as frogs.  One considerable advantage of a stereo microscope is that specimens are not harmed by the stereo microscope, so living specimens can be used.  In addition, because stereo microscopes are relatively simple and low power, they are easier for elementary students to use than compound microscopes.   

2.  Microscopic equipment is needed for the lab which are portable, low-power plastic microscopes [Discovery Scopes Microscope Viewers (25X).  These will be used by students both indoors and outside.  Discovery scopes are small, easy to transport, and very

"kid-friendly".  The scope comes with a viewing chamber that students can observe sea water with zooplankton or microscopic details of insects, marine invertebrates, shells, and plants to give just a few examples. 

3.  The science lab is currently lacking furniture to properly store and lock the microscopes.  A locking cabinet is needed to store the microscopes to both prevent theft and to properly protect the microscopes.  In addition, regular classroom chairs are being used in the lab instead of laboratory stools.  Laboratory stools are needed to facilitate ease of movement, use of equipment, and to help prevent accidents. 

4.  A variety of miscellaneous supplies and equipment are needed to enrich the science lab experience for students, including a variety of prepared slides; specimens such as moth cocoons, praying mantis egg cases, carnivorous plants, rocks and fossils, and owl pellets; plankton nets; and portable animal containers.   In addition, the lab program will benefit tremendously from further acquisition of teaching resources and reference books for the students.  Maintenance supplies to ensure the continued operation of the equipment in the Science Lab will include aquarium replacement of filters and pumps, food for animals, and replacement of bulbs and fuses in the microscopes.

Club $500
Grant $5000


St. Simons Elementary School is committed to providing a supportive environment that nurtures, stimulates, and challenges all children. The Partnership Project between the St. Simons Rotary & the St. Simons Elementary School embraces the belief that academic achievement is enhanced when efforts are focused on developing personal, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills. Social-emotional learning represents a part of education that connects academic knowledge with the skills necessary for success in schools, families, communities, workplaces and life in general.

The focus of the Project is directly related to the St. Simons Elementary School Science Initiative for the 2008-2009 school year.

Each grade level has developed a year-long science initiative around the grade level standards. This project encompasses coastal and marine surroundings involving children learning about their local environment. Environmental awareness topics are included.  Using hands-on explorations and field experiences, children will incorporate learning into their daily reading and writing. A new addition in the St. Simons Elementary School is a 360-gallon saltwater aquarium which serves as a focal point for many of the planned and proposed learning experiences. This magnificent aquarium is located in the primary entrance of the school. The aquarium is an immediate and instantaneous attention-grabber to all who come into the school. This addition has set the stage for "more to come" as the School moves toward the objectives in their Science Initiative!

Experiential learning brings real world cultures, environments and hands-on awareness into a student's frame of reference. Many of the St. Simons Elementary students will not venture far from their neighborhoods due to socio-economic and world-view boundaries.

With the Rotary Grant funds requested in this application, the St. Simons Elementary School students will be able to "experience" a world outside of their own. It is a fact that many children in Glynn County have never been across the bridge to Jekyll Island, traveled to Cumberland Island, been on a shrimp boat excursion or visited our very own SSI Coast Guard Station!   Even though our Kindergarten and First Grade students will be able to walk across the street from the school to the Beach, this may be the first time they have seined for shrimp, seen and handled shrimp (except those cleaned and cooked) and observed, first hand, the oceanic/coastal plant and animal life of our area.

Club $500
Grant $2850


This is a partnership project with St. Simons Elementary school to provide needed education materials not available to the school through the Board of Education budget. St. Simons Elementary has a number of students with special educational needs. This project would enhance the reading skills and vocabulary skills for ELL (English Language Learners). It would also include low readers who still need extra support. Last year 15 students were in the ELL program and this year there are 60 students.

This project purchases books, books on tape and tape players to be used by ELL students, parents of ELL students and low level readers.

The school provides an ELL teacher one day a week. This is totally insufficient in a school in which 20% of the students are not native English speakers. The books, tapes and tape players would greatly enhance the literacy program. The students would be able to check out the books and tape players daily and they would be used in the school and taken home. Research has shown that the material sent home are also used by non-English speaking parents, thus enhancing the literacy skills of the community.

Club $1000
Grant $0

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