Over the last two years The Rotary Club of Oceanside has embarked on a multi-year project to help bring about meaningful, positive change to an area of our city that has been notorious over the years for gang violence - Crown Heights and surrounding neighborhoods. We entered into partnerships with two non-profit organizations which provide services to the target area as well as with the Oceanside Police Department and the Oceanside Unified School District, whose Oceanside High School sits at the edge of Crown Heights. This collaboration enables Oceanside Rotary to help these entities by linking their efforts to reduce the attraction of gangs to the young people in the area and to provide them with a new vision of the opportunities for their future. Our primary focus for this grant is on the need to encourage younger children (K-10th grade) to increase literacy and cultural development, avoid gang involvement and gain the education they need to break the cycle of poverty and violence in this local area.
There are four elements to this project:
(1) Literacy - Laurel Elementary Reading and Attendance Incentives
(2) Literacy - Mission Elementary Scholastic Reader Subscriptions
(3) Literacy - Little Free Libraries
(4) Mentorship Program for grades 4-10
Laurel Elementary Reading and Attendance Incentives
Laurel Elementary School, a Title 1 (low income) school, serves children in the Crown Heights area. Attendance at Laurel is below the 95% goal of the school district, and 73 % of students scored below proficient on the 2012-2013 English Language Arts STAR testing while recent reading/skill benchmarks show that for most grade levels more than half of their students are below grade level. As part of a well balanced literacy program, Laurel administrators and teachers plan to incentivize reading and improved reading by celebrating and rewarding students throughout the year. Laurel will use Reading counts, RAZ kids, MAP assessments, and Kinder sight word to monitor and track progress throughout the year. Students will receive monthly reading certificates in their classes and top readers and students with improved reading will receive a Laurel Lion T-shirt at the end of each trimester. Parents will be invited to Laurel's Fabulous Friday school-wide ceremony where students will receive their T-shirt for all to see. With this grant Oceanside Rotary Club will fund the purchase of those school T-shirts to be awarded as reading and attendance incentives; as appropriate club members will participate in those award ceremonies, and selected students will visit the club to show off their T-shirts.
Budget: $1000 for Laurel School Lion T-shirts (200 shirts @~$5 each)
Timeline: Funding will be provided to the schools in time for the first trimester presentations
Mission Elementary Scholastic Reader Subscriptions
Mission Elementary School also serves Crown Heights students. Last year, with a District matching Grant of $1000, Oceanside Rotary Club donated books and Scholastic Weekly Reader subscriptions for K-3 graders at Laurel Elementary. Scholastic's Weekly Reader Classroom Magazines cover all the curriculum subjects teachers need to teach with current and engaging nonfiction as a way to introduce younger students to the joy of reading. Laurel Elementary already has subscriptions for all students for the coming school year, so this year we will donate Scholastic Weekly Reader subscriptions for all students in grades K-3 who attend Mission Elementary School, or an equivalent amount for other reading incentive programs at Mission.
Budget: $1500 for Scholastic Reader subscriptions
Timeline: Funding will be provided to the schools near the beginning of the school year
Little Free Libraries:
A Little Free Library is a "take a book, return a book" gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library, the concept of which was the inspiration of a Rotarian, is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share. The mission of Little Free Libraries nationwide is to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations. Club members will construct the libraries, work with community members to identify "librarians", complete the library registration process, donate and purchase books, and work with local non-profit organizations to ensure that the libraries are maintained.
Budget: $500 for construction materials and books
Timeline: Locations will be identified by November, construction will be completed by February, and libraries will be installed and operational by April 2015
This is the Oceanside Rotary Club's newest concept for community enrichment and one that is engaging Club members, many of whom benefited from mentors when growing up in this and other communities. The vision of the program is for Oceanside Rotary Club members and family members, along with the Oceanside Police Department (OPD) officers and staff, to take young people from the Crown Heights neighborhood who are between grades 4 thru 10 to various chosen venues, thus providing them with exposure to sporting and cultural events that they would not otherwise be able to experience. Venues being considered include:
Padres Baseball Game
Chargers Football Game
San Diego Wild Animal Park
San Diego Zoo/Balboa Park, Museums and Concerts
MiraCosta Theatre Production
Broadway San Diego Theater Production
San Diego Science Center
Scripps Institution of Oceanography & Birch Aquarium
At each venue, two members of Oceanside Rotary and an OPD Officer will accompany the youngsters, numbering probably 4 to 5 for each event; all participating adults will be trained and vetted with the District 5340 Youth Volunteer Affidavit. Oceanside Rotary will obtain entrance tickets to each venue and expend funds for food etc. as appropriate. In these casual settings, each Rotarian will make an effort to befriend and engage the youngsters, giving them a positive role model and someone to talk to and share ideas and feelings. At some point after each event the Rotarian and some of the young guests will be responsible for presenting a program at Oceanside Rotary explaining what took place and how the event affected them. Transportation will be provided by the Rotarians and OPD Officers who will use private vehicles to the site of the event and who will be reimbursed for gas and other expenses if desired. Liability insurance for the events will be provided by Rotary International's blanket coverage. The youngsters, who will all come from the Crown Heights neighborhood, will be chosen by staff and teachers from the Oceanside Unified School District. The Oceanside Rotary Club members, OPD officers and staff and teachers will work together to develop criteria for choosing the participating students. Oceanside Rotary may also involve North County Life Line, a local non-profit organization which operates programs and services in the Crown Heights neighborhood. There will be some costs involved that this grant would help reimburse which include transportation, food, programs and incidentals that will make the experience vivid for the students. We envision all the tickets being donated by the above Organizations, but the individual OPD Officers and Rotarians may request reimbursement of some of their costs.
Budget: $500 for miscellaneous expenses
Timeline: Start time is dependent upon Oceanside School District, however once begun events are envisioned to be approximately monthly thru the end of the school year.