Rotary is Service Above Self.
“What is Rotary” is a question I get too often. I tell people “We raise money to give back to the community in grants and scholarship” which gets a smile and a nod but doesn’t really explain Rotary.
Rotary is a club that becomes family. And Family supports their community.
The Tarrytown Rotary Club has always worked closely with the literacy program in the Tarrytown school district. A few years ago, the teachers expressed the need to have books in the classrooms so kids could access a book at any time. My immediate reaction was “of course, how simple.” So the club had a book drive. It was so richly supported we were able to fill classrooms at the John Paulding and W.L. Moorse schools. Rotarians were invited into the classrooms and read with the children.
The joy the imagination brings us is forgotten as an adult. We simply don’t have the time to allow ourselves to get lost in it. But by stepping into the classroom to see the kids elated faces ready to read and share a story with us was heartwarming. It made me remember every magical story my mother read to me and I later got lost in myself. The escape a story can give at any age.
It made me think every kid needs that joy. And not just in the classroom. How can Rotary bring the bookshelf from the classroom to the neighborhood?
I knew there was no shortage of books, I constantly hear people say they have basements and attics filled with their kid’s books. Where in our neighborhood could these books filled with so much imagination and story go so all the children could be reached?
Laundromats! That was my first thought. A long day at the laundry mat waiting for the cycles to go through. Both parent and kids need a distraction to pass the time. What better way to pass the time than with a story a parent and child can share together.
What if Rotary supplied books for kids to read and take home to snuggle with at bedtime? So, Rotary started collecting book which was easy but now where would we put them? Ron, the owner of Sleepy Hollow Laundromat on Valley Street in Sleepy Hollow was happy to welcome us. We set up a small bookshelf and loaded it with books. At the same time McDonald’s wanted to support the local community more and approached Rotary. So, we set up a bookshelf in the lobby at McDonald’s. To our surprise and delight the books were flying off the shelves. One of our Rotarians, Rabbi David Holtz, had built a beautiful bookshelf in excitement for this project and it needed a home. Dr Kothari of 914 Smile Inc opened his waiting room to our bookshelf and has done a wonderful job of filling it in his children’s corner.
The Tarrytown Rotary club is lucky to be part of such a special community. One filled with eager and helpful individuals, teachers, business owners and more. We want to thank everyone not only for help on this project but for always helping us support the community.
For more information or to donate books, please contact Laura Murray-Faggella at firstname.lastname@example.org.