• Rotary Year: 2017-2018
  • Application Date: 5/31/2017
  • Club Name (Primary): Martinsville UpTown
  • Club Name 2: Martinsville-Henry County
  • Project Name: Project READ (Rotarians Engaged to Advance literacy Development)
  • Project Total Cost: $5,994.00
  • Grant Amount Requested: $2,997.00
  • Describe the Project, its location and its objectives: Martinsville Uptown and Martinsville Rotary Clubs propose to partner with the United Way of Henry County & Martinsville’s early childhood development coalition, called Smart Beginnings, to help ensure all children, birth to age five, in Martinsville and Henry County enter school ready to succeed.

    We want to see the number of area kindergartners needing literacy intervention to decrease over the next year. We want children beginning in kindergarten to be equipped with critical early literacy skills that include recognizing the letters of the alphabet, understanding that reading progression moves from left to right-top to bottom, and being able to understand and tell stories. Reading difficulty contributes to school failure, which increases the risk of absenteeism, dropping out, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, and teen-age pregnancy—all of which perpetuates the cycles of poverty and dependency. Recent information released from Unite for Literacy lists our community as Book Deserts. In Martinsville, only 14 percent of homes has more than 100 books. The percentage of homes in Henry County with more than 100 books is only 23 percent.

    An approach to improving early childhood literacy is to increase the number of books in the homes of children which in turn increases the number of times parents read and interact with their children. Unfortunately, there is a heavy cost when parents do not read to their children and engage them in conversation. By age three, children in homes without books and with little conversation have heard roughly 30 million fewer words than children in a language-rich home. This gap has a profound impact on school success because many children show up for kindergarten with over 2,000 words less in their vocabulary, impacting their reading abilities. Smart Beginnings has the resources to (1) give away books regularly to early childcare centers and/or program and targeted publicly subsidized apartment complexes and (2) mail free age appropriate books each month into homes for parents to read and explore with their children (regardless of income). The latter resource to mail free books to children is due to Smart Beginnings’ bringing to the area the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.
  • Expected Start Date: 9/1/2017
  • Expected End Date: 4/30/2018
  • Expected Number of Beneficiaries: 222
  • Describe how the project will benefit the community and/or improve the lives of the less fortunate: Smart Beginnings needs our assistance to recruit volunteers to read to children each week during the school year and to promote the need for the community to support their efforts to improve early childhood literacy for 222 new children, ages 0 – 5 years old, and their parents. Participating parents will be encouraged to read regularly to their children, giving them a significant boost toward a successful education. The children arriving at school ready to succeed will have a strong impact on future outcomes, increasing higher education graduation rates, reducing crime and improving workforce readiness.
  • Expected Total Project Volunteer Hours: 128
  • Describe the Rotarian hands-on activities in the project (i.e. non-financial participation): Starting in early September, 2 to 4 Rotarians will volunteer each week to read and giveaway books at a designated early childcare centers and/or programs and targeted publicly subsidized apartment complexes where there are a lot of children (i.e., Maplewood Apartments in Martinsville). Both clubs also will use their events and connections to enroll 222 new children into Dolly Parton Imagination Library program.
  • Describe the publicity plan to inform the general public that this is a Rotary sponsored project: Activities and news of successes will be publicized in numerous outlets: United Way’s websites and Facebook page. News releases will be published both online and in the local newspaper, radio and television announcing a grant award, highlighting literacy events, and successes of the program. All promotional materials distributed will reference the grant award, along with the placement of Rotary’s logo. During all interviews on radio and television, a representative from Martinsville Uptown or Martinsville Rotary Clubs will participate.
  • Cooperating Organizations – Please list each cooperating organization, if any: None
  • Letter(s) of Participation: Smart Beginnings Participating Letter.pdf
  • Project Expenditure Budget – list detail uses of funds for the project, or use the Budget Upload.See budget upload
  • Project Funding Budget – list detail sources of funds for the project, or use the Budget UploadSee budget upload
  • Budget Upload: Project READ-Budget.pdf
  • Primary Contact Name: Kim Adkins
  • Primary Contact Rotary Position: Chair of the Project READ Steering Committee
  • Primary Contact Email: kadkins@unitedwayofhcm.org
  • Primary Contact Phone: 276-252-2679
  • Financial Contact Name: Brandon Martinsville
  • Financial Contact Rotary Position: Treasurer
  • Financial Contact Address: 
    411 E. Church Street
    Martinsville, VA 24112
    United States View on Map
  • Financial Contact Email: b_martin@comcast.net
  • Financial Contact Phone: 276-632-5754
  • Project Authorization Form: ag signature 5.31.17.pdf, Project READ Collaborative Grant-Project Authorization Letter.pdf
  • Grant Number1718c-07
  • Grant Award$2,997.00