ST. GEORGE – It’s a little early for Christmas, but St. George Rotary needs the help of local residents to create a free library in a newly renovated community center in the tiny southeastern Utah tribal community of Halchita.
St. George Rotary Club invites members of the Washington County community to join in efforts to increase literacy skills in this small community by donating new or gently-loved, age-appropriate books for readers among the 350 residents of Halchita as part of SGR’s three literacy programs.
In a recent luncheon meeting, speaker Amy Mitchell, Title 1 director at the Washington County School District, told members of SGR, “studies have shown 74% of 3rd graders who read poorly still struggle in ninth grade and, it has been found, third grade reading scores can predict a student’s likelihood of graduating from high school.”
Mitchell also noted, “85% of juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.” She also reported, “on average, every high school dropout costs U.S. taxpayers an estimated $292,000 over a lifetime … and 3 out of 5 inmates in U.S. prisons can’t read.”
Other statistics Mitchell reported show, “today’s 3rd graders not reading on grade level are on track to be our nation’s lowest income, least skilled citizens.”
How can you help turn these numbers around for native residents of Halchita? Simply purchase one or more new children’s books (pre-school to teenagers) or sort through and donate books you have already enjoyed from your own library. Then deliver them to the front desk of the Best Western Abbey Inn located at 1129 S. Bluff Street. Your gift of literacy will then be included in materials and supplies delivered to Halchita on the long Halloween weekend of October 28-31, 2021. (Children’s books donated after October 20 will be distributed to some of Washington County’s low-income families as part of SGR’s holiday giving projects).
You are also encouraged to include in each book, a note about the importance of reading – both for educational / professional reasons as well as for leisure reading.
St. George Rotary Club also supports the St. George Children’s Museum’s new Lending Library with funding and donated books; as well as purchasing and delivering a new paperback dictionary to 3rd graders in 18 of the school district’s 28 elementary schools (some of Washington County’s other Rotary clubs provide dictionaries for the remaining 10 schools).
St. George Rotary Club is a 73-member humanitarian service organization – one of 35,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries worldwide including 7 in Washington County – providing “service above self” to help meet the needs of local and international communities.
Your help with this simple but important service project is very much appreciated.