Spokane Valley Rotary Club provides students with free books | Community Spirit
In a world dominated by iPads, Xboxs and HDTVs, the Spokane Valley Rotary Club is looking to teach children the value of a good book.
This year marked the third year the Rotary Club provided Spokane Valley elementary students with a free book. What started as a project helping just Broadway Elementary students has expanded to serving two schools in each of the three Valley school districts: Trentwood and Trent of East Valley; Orchard Center and Ness Elementary of West Valley; and Broadway and Opportunity Elementary of Central Valley.
“We make sure every child in those schools get a book,” Rotary member Kay Bryant, who spearheads the project, said. “What we want to do is put a book in the hands of every elementary student in the Valley.”
Bryant said she was inspired to do the project when she witnessed a mother walking with her children past a private book sale.
“Both children asked for a book, and the mother had to say no,” she said. “It was very hard for her that she didn't have any money. I thought, 'we've got to do something about that.' ”
Rotary members raised a little more than $5,200 this year to complete the project, including the help of a matching-funds grant from their Rotary district. The club is currently in the process of securing sponsorships for its Men of Rotary fundraiser in the fall in hopes of adding more schools for next year.
“We would love to expand,” Bryant said.
On top of providing the children with books, Rotary members also visit the classrooms and read to the children.
“We like to make connections and be involved with the schools,” Bryant said. “Our members get to know what's going on in the schools, and the kids get to know what we're doing as adults.”
The best part about the project, though, according to Bryant is seeing the impact that the books make on the children’s lives.
Bryant told a story of when she was in the library watching children pick out books and helping uncertain students.
“I had to tell them that 'you can take them home,' I don't know how many times,” she said.
There was a 1st-grader, who picked up a book and put it back down on the table. Bryant asked her if that was the book she wanted, to which the student replied, “I want to read it.”
“I said 'that's yours to keep then,' ” Bryant said. “She picked it up and hugged the book and big tears came down her cheek. And I thought, 'Oh my goodness, it means that much.' ”