Activity - Local District Grants

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Local Grants (LG), are a tool for Rotary Districts to help Rotary Clubs finance worthwhile projects that are beneficial to their community. The money comes from up to 40% of this year's District Designated Funds (DDF). The DDF comes from the annual giving to the Rotary Foundation three years prior. Our District 6920 leaders have, for the past few years, determined that LGs should be used for local projects


Project Description

"Reading Rockets in the Time of COVID-19" is a continuation of the Reading Rockets volunteer reading program of the Marshes of Glynn Libraries (MOGL) that has been supported and sponsored by SSI Rotary through its Literacy Committee for 10 years. This year, Reading Rockets will be modified to meet the unusual circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic. Volunteer readers will make YouTube videos instead of reading in person in Pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms. We will explore having volunteers read to the kids by a phone or Zoom call. SSI Rotary will provide books to be awarded to children in Glynn County who participate in the "1000 Books Before Kindergarten" challenge to kids to read more books. A child will receive a book for every 50 books that he or she reads. If circumstances allow by Spring of 2021, we will read in person in the classrooms, we will celebrate with a year-end gathering of volunteers and teachers who have been involved with Reading Rockets, and we will have year-end celebrations with the kids in the classrooms where we read and will give the kids their Reading Rockets buttons and a book to take home for the summer. We will collaborate with the Glynn County Schools, MOGL, Head Start, the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Georgia, and The Children's Reading Foundation of Georgia, Inc. (Linda Muir is the president of CRF-GA as well as the Chair of the SSI Rotary Literacy Committee Chair. No grant funds will be given to CRF-GA, which will provide flyers to enclose with the books to encourage parents to read with their children 20 minutes every day.)

Club $535.33

Grant $3550

After discovering there's a 50% increase in the need of from America's Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia(our local food bank) the Rotary Club of St. Simons Island sprang into action. We wanted to put service above self and provide assistance with providing groceries to the local families experiencing the most dire circumstances stemming from the COVID19 virus outbreak. Our club wants to alleviate the stress of families experiencing food shortages in their home. Our community is experiencing a decrease in employment which presents many new problems. Families need food to survive and basic nutrition to cope in this unpredictable environment. Children are already under many new challenges continuing their studies through distant learning and we want to alleviate the additional stress of hunger. Parents are facing heavy economic difficulties due to this pandemic and our Rotary club wants to assist our community by providing groceries free of charge so they may use their limited finances to keep present on their housing and other household responsibilities.

Club $1000

Grant $3250

The Reading Rockets Head Start Expansion Project (the "Project") will build on the success that the Rotary Club of Saint Simons Island ("SSI Rotary") has had in its collaboration with the Marshes of Glynn Libraries ("MOGL") over the last eight years to boost early childhood literacy by providing volunteer readers to read on a weekly basis to children in Pre-K and Kindergarten in a number of venues in Glynn County ("Reading Rockets"). The Glynn County Head Start ("GCHS") is offered through the Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority, Inc. ("CAGCAA"), which also operates Head Start in eight other counties throughout the Coastal Area. CAGCAA and represeantatives of Reading Rockets from SSI Rotary and MOGL have met on several occasions and are eager to expand the Reading Rockets program to serve the children who attend Pre-K at GCHS. To serve the 271 Pre-K children who will be enrolled in the coming school year, who will be taught in 17 classrooms, it will be necessary to recruit and train new volunteers and to work with the GCHS Center Supervisor and Assistant Supervisor, as well as members of the faculty, to design and launch the program at GCHS. (We have determined that the model that has been so successful at the FACES Pre-K, which was the first Reading Rockets (fka "Baby Steps") venue funded by a Rotary District Grant in 2010-2011, is appropriate to use at GCHS.) The Reading Rockets Pogram also needs to recruit new volunteers to serve in its established venues, so the Project will also enhance the exisitng Program overall. Recruiting new Reading Rockets will require the development of some new materials and deployment of some new PR efforts to get the word out to the public before the official launch of the Project in September after school starts. We anticipate two or three articles about the Project will appear in The Brunswick News. SSI Rotarians will be integrally involved in the Project. The VP of Development at CGACAA is a new member of SSI Rotary (although he was formerly the President of the McIntosh County Rotary Club), and he is a sustaining member of the Paul Harris Society, as is the Chair of the SSI Rotary Literacy Committee, which is the spearheading committee of Reading Rockets. While volunteers will be recruited from other groups and organizations throughout Glynn County, members of SSI Rotary continue to be very involved in supporting Reading Rockets with their time and treasure.

Club $890.83

Grant $2800

Reading Rockets (TM) is the Club's signature Early Childhood Literacy Project that has been in existence since July 2010, when it was launched as the "Baby Steps Project." Hundreds of at-risk Pre-K and Kindergarten kids have benefitted from the gifts of books and of the hours spent with volunteer readers from the Club and the Community that have entered into their lives and early education experience. This year's grant will be used to EXPAND AND GROW READING ROCKETS by renewing and refreshing our marketing materials, boosting the ranks of our volunteer base, reaching more kids in the community with more books and more volunteers, and building stronger bonds with our four main partners: the Marshes of Glynn Libraries, which houses the Program and serves as the point of entry for volunteer readers; the Glynn County Schools, which collaborates with our efforts to boost early childhood literacy; the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Georgia, which houses one of the three Reading Rockets venues, and Georgia Southern University Department of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health, which is assisting with the research to prove the efficacy of Reading Rockets.

Club $1039

Grant $1570


The Project included (1) sustaining the Marshes of Glynn Libraries volunteer reader program,  Reading Rockets', that SSI Rotary has sponsored since it helped to establish it in 2010 under  the name �Baby Steps." Adult volunteers read on a weekly basis to Pre-K and Kindergarten children in three venues: FACES Pre-K housed at Burroughs-Molette Elementary School;  Mclntyre Court Boys & Girls Club, and Saint Simons Island Elementary School, all of which are ir  Glynn County. In addition to working with volunteers in the community, SSI Rotary purchases books for each child in the program to receive at the end of the year and it hosts a year-end  recognition reception for the volunteers at the Brunswick Library.  This year, SSI Rotary has collaborated with Dr. Kelly Sullivan in the School of Epidemiology at  Georgia Southern University, who will conduct a scientific research project on the efficacy of the  Reading Rockets program by comparing the performance scores at the end of third grade of  children who have been in the program with similarly situated children who have not. The Glynn County Schools are cooperating with this research project and will provide the data from the test  group and the control group for Dr. Sullivan to analyze, evaluate and document through  publication. The Superintendent and the Director of K-5 Curriculum at Glynn County Schools  have approved the project and will provide the data sets at the end of the school year to Dr.  Sullivan. The research project will proceed as soon as the Georgia Southern Institution Review Board (IRB) approves the project application, which has been submitted, for compliance with its  ethical standards and requirements. Dr. Sullivan expects to be able to proceed with the project by the beginning of the summer.  SSI Rotary has been interested for years to prove that Reading Rockets makes a difference in  the lives of the children who participate in it. While continuing to senve as and with volunteer  readers, to provide books to the children and to celebrate the volunteers, the Club has  spearheaded this project, connected Glynn County Schools with Georgia Southern, and  facilitated their communication and cooperation, as well as provided funds in support of Dr.  Sullivan's program. The Club's role is essentially complete, although we will remain vitally  interested to see the results and will want to participate in publicizing the conclusions to the  Rotary community and to the public at large, especially if the results bear out our belief and  expectations: that regular reading to Pre-K and Kindergarten children over the course of a year  by caring, dedicated adults makes a significant difference in the scholastic performance of the  participating children on test scores taken at the end of third grade, when the ability to read on  grade level is so critical to their future success in school and in life.  The Literacy Committee briefed the Glynn County Board of Education on the project, and that presentation was covered in the local newspapers. Copies of the articles will be separately  attached along with some photos of the kids in the program.

The Reading Rockets Volunteer Reading Program served hundreds of Pre-K and Kindergarten children at the FACES Pre-K at Burroughs-Molette Elementary School in Brunswick, the Pre-K and Kindergarten children at the Saint Simons Elementary School, and the Pre-K and Kindergarten children at the Boys & Girls Club at McIntyre Court in Brunswick.  Approximately 25 volunteers read to the children on a weekly basis and devoted hours of their time to this effort over the course of the year.    The children at FACES and at the Boys & Girls Club were given books to take home as rewards for their hard work in their Reading Rockets reading sessions, in which the volunteers read specially selected books to the children to boost their literacy skills and readiness for Kindergarten and First Grade.  The beneficiaries of the Program are the children, primarily, and the volunteers.

The Project is a continuation and improvement of the Reading Rockets Volunteer Reader Program (the "Prograrn"),which is a collaboration oi the Club with the Marshes of Glynn Libraries. which serves Brunswick and Saint Simons island. The coming year will mark the 6th year that the Club has used grant funds to be able to provide this program. Specifically, the Project will expand the program to at least one additional venue, which may be Oglethorpe Elementary School or an additional Boys & Girls Club. or both. Through the Program, the Project will recruit. train and deploy more adult volunteers to read in the various venues that we serve and will carve. Our goal is to use the new website developed ln Z014-2015 to focus on recruiting and training at least 25 new volunteers and reaching out to two or mow now venues to serve more children. Further, the Project will continue to enhance and maintain the website as a tool of the program to manage the volunteer scheduling. Project funds will be used to purchase books to be given to the children for accomplishing their literacy goals, to host a special recruiting and appreciation event at the MOGL Library in Brunswick, to recruit volunteers through advertising, the website, and speaking engagements, and to maintain the website,

The Project will benefit the community by continuing the Reading Rockets Early Literacy Program on ai broader basis, building further the awareness of the significance of early literacy, and engaging more people in the process. Currently, there are approximately 30 volunteer readers, many of whom are Rotarlans with the Club, and we hope to double that number. Four Pro-K venues and the MOGL libraries are signed up for volunteers, and we plan to better serve them by being able to manage and coordinate the volunteers through the Reading Rockets website. The community became aware of the importance of building early childhood literacy skills through the early childhood literacy program that the Club implemented in years past; it is fully supportive of these ongoing efforts. List activities that demonstrate significant Rotarian involvement, such as fundraising beyond the grant amount; sharing expertise in project completion; attending events and ceremonies related to the project: Rotarians in the Club continue to be enthusiastically involved as volunteer readers Recruiting efforts will continue to reach out to other local Rotary clubs as well as to other civic organizations. The Club has been asked to apply for a grant for the program from the Literary Guild of Saint Simons island, and we will apply for a grant to augment our funds.

The Club budgets $500 per year for this program. This year, we will place one or more articles in local publications to further spread the word. The MOGL libraries will continue to feature Reading Rockets in their list of programs for the community.


No data



Childhood Literacy -- Reading Made Fun
Akeba Academy is a privately owned child care center in Brunswick, GA serving the child care needs of a low income area.  The have children from 3 months through pre-K.  Our program this year was to help them meet the Georgia Early Learning Standards and the Emergent Childcare Development Program.  The Rotary Club purchased 33 books to upgrade the libraries in the classroom as well as received book donations from club members.  The program was kicked-off with a pizza party and a copy of the Very Hungry Caterpillar for each of the 60 children.  The books the children received were read in the classrooms many times each week and read by the parents at home.  Five additional books (sets of 60) were purchased to reward the children for reading with the parents and teachers.  These books will be given to the children on a calendar quarterly basis.  Two listening centers were purchased for the classrooms to use ten different classroom learning kits (book, CD and activity cards).  Volunteer readers will start in the fall to read to each classroom twice per week.

Grant $2127 
 + $352 Private Funds 


SSI Elementary -- Environmental Growing Beds

Club $1000
Grant $1693


Imagination Room
The Imagination Room project converted an ugly storage room that was being put to no useful purpose into a special room for reading for 5 and 6 year-olds at the Boys & Girls Club at McIntyre Court in Brunswick, Georgia.  The project has been ongoing for the last year.  Initial meetings and design ideas were discussed in May 2011.  The beneficiaries are all of the volunteers who gave of their time and talent to transform a forlorn room into a magical space that looks like a park.  Of course, the ultimate beneficiaries will be the children who will enter the room for years to come, starting this summer of 2012 with special reading and imagination exercises, when volunteers come to read to them as part of their Boys & Girls Club experience.   Please, see the attached Program of the Grand Opening of the Imagination Room, which took place on May 16, 2012, for a complete explanation of the project.  The PowerPoint slide presentation that was played at the Grand Opening to demonstrate the "before & after" is also attached to demonstrate the success of this project.  A news article in the May 17, 2012, edition of The Brunswick News covered the opening. 

Club $1000
Grant $941

+ $3100


Baby Steps

The specific project is the Media Center Project at the Family and Childrens' Educational Services (FACES) Pre-k housed at the Burroughs-Molette Elementary School in Brunswick, Georgia (the "Media Center Project"). This will be the first project to be funded by the Baby Steps Operating Fund recently established by the SSI Rotary Club in collaboration with the Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation ("CCGF") to focus on and support early childhood literacy in Glynn County. This initiative, called "Baby Steps: Building Literacy One Toddler at a Time," is summarized in the attached PowerPoint presentation, which was given to the SSI Rotary Board when it approved and adopted Baby Steps as its Literacy Program. The Fund under the administration of CCGF will be the primary beneficiary of the District Simplified Grant. In turn, CCGF will distribute the funds necessary for the Media Center Project from the Baby Steps Operating Fund.

The Media Center Project will provide 440 age-appropriate books and 24 forward-facing bookshelves to the FACES Pre-k at Burroughs-Molette Elementary School to serve the 220 Pre-k students who are enrolled there.

The Media Center Project will be completed as soon as funds are available and purchases of the books and shelves can be made, which will be as soon as possible and well before May 6, 2011.


Club $1000
Grant $2265



St. Simons Elementary

Enhancements for The Marine Science Lab at Saint Simons Elementary. 

At St. Simons Elementary, students take the initiative when it comes to science.  All students in Kindergarten through 5th grade visit our Marine Science Lab once each week where they participate in hands-on investigations and field experiences that focus on learning about coastal and marine ecosystems.  In particular, all students take walking field trips to the beach several times a year which is located right across the street from our school.  Some of the activities that students participate in include marine plankton and invertebrate sampling, ecological sampling, dissecting owl pellets, raising butterflies and frogs from eggs, soil and rock investigations, classification of animals, and studying microorganisms.

Housed in the lab are aquariums representing salt marsh and marine habitats, terrariums with coastal plant and animal communities, and a 360 gallon marine coral reef tank located just outside the lab.  These aquariums are used to teach biological concepts by direct observation of living marine organisms.  In addition, the lab has a complete set of cordless stereo and compound microscopes which allow students to explore microscopic marine life. Technology is integrated into classes, including the use of a digital microscope, micro-video camera, computers, and an interactive Smart Board.

Last school year (2009 -10) was the lab's first year at Saint Simons Elementary.  It was an extremely successful year mostly because of the Rotary District 6920 Simplified Grant awarded to our science program.  The high-quality, modern equipment that we were able to buy for the lab enabled our students to become scientists themselves. 

Most impressive were the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) science scores for the end of the school year 2009-2010 (after one year with the Science Lab) versus the prior year, 2008-2009 (without a Science Lab).  The 2009-2010 test scores showed gains (improvements or increases) for all three grades that are tested (3rd, 4th, and 5th grades).

�        Black Students   (+25% for 3rd grade;  +22% for 4th grade)

�        Hispanic   (+31% for 3rd grade;  +12% for 5th grade)

�        Students with Disabilities   (+37% for 3rd grade;  +14% for 4th grade)

�        English Language Learners (+35% for 3rd grade;   +17% for 4th grade)

�        Economically Disadvantaged Students (+18% for 3rd grade;  +6% for 4th grade)

2010-11 School Year Needs for the Marine Science Lab

Despite tremendous improvements to the Marine Science Lab at Saint Simons Elementary, a few changes are needed to transform the lab from a classroom setting to a fully-functioning marine lab.  First, "laboratory" furniture is needed to replace the regular school tables and chairs.  Currently, classroom chairs are being used in the lab instead of laboratory stools.  The attached pictures show how the chairs take up a lot of room when they are not pushed in all the way, making it difficult for the children to move around to different centers in the room.  Laboratory stools are needed to facilitate ease of movement, use of expensive equipment, and to help prevent accidents.  In addition, proper laboratory tables are needed; the current, regular school tables shake when the students move around making it very difficult to focus microscopic equipment properly.  Also, studying coastal and marine life is often messy with students spilling salt-water and substrate on the tables.  Proper laboratory tables are extremely sturdy and have a special, chemical-resistant UV finish.   Laboratory tables are made with nonskid glides for perfect leveling and stability.  (Please see attached pictures of Laboratory Stools & Tables to be purchased with DSG Grant funds).

Second, due to an expansion in the curriculum to include Earth Science standards, we need stream tables to demonstrate deposition and erosion of coastal rivers.  These exploratory tables allow students to investigate Earth's constructive and destructive processes by direct manipulation of sand and water. 

Finally, ongoing miscellaneous supplies and equipment are needed to continue the interactive experience for students.  These include plants for terrariums, owl pellets, and butterfly larva and food.  Also, collection boxes are needed for the ever growing collection of insects, shells, rocks, etc. that our students find and want to be part of the lab's collection.  Plant presses are needed for preserving plants encountered on nature walks.  In addition, the science program would benefit tremendously from further acquisition of teaching resources and reference books for the students.  Finally, there is no money allocated to the school for disposable costs associated with running the science lab such as maintenance of aquariums (i.e. replacement of filters and pumps), the cost of food for animals, and replacement of bulbs and fuses in the microscopes.  This money is needed by the school to ensure the continued operation of equipment in the science lab.

Club $500
Grant $2775




The Marine Science Lab at Saint Simons Elementary.  Beginning in August 2009, Saint Simons Elementary initiated a new program that focuses on inquiry-based, hands-on learning in a science lab setting. All students in Kindergarten through 5th grade come to the science lab once every six days.  For each grade level, students are being taught Georgia Performance Life Sciences Standards ( and Characteristics of Science Standards with an emphasis on marine biology. 

Four aquariums will be installed in the lab this fall, including a custom-built marine touch tank, a marsh tank, a turtle tank, and a catch-and-release marine fish tank.  A marine coral reef display tank has already been installed just outside the lab in the hallway.  These aquariums will be used to teach biological concepts by direct observation of living marine organisms.  The aquariums in the lab will be used to temporarily show animals and plants found in local, coastal habitats, rather than kept as a display collection.  All animals and plants will be returned to their original locations after careful observation by students, usually after a maximum of six days.  Marine microorganisms and invertebrates will also be sampled periodically from the ocean, located directly across the street from the school. 

Equipment Needs for the Science Lab.  With the new Marine Science Lab, several needs for the students' best learning opportunity are unmet.  With the funds from the Rotary Grant, the school will be closer to meeting these needs, and the students will be able to better learn from the Lab environment.   The equipment, furniture and supply needs are explained below.

1.  Microscopes will be used extensively in the lab to examine microorganisms and details of organisms that cannot normally be seen.  This Grant will allow the School to obtain stereo microscopes (also called dissecting or stereoscopic microscopes).  These are low-power (usually 10X to 40X magnification) microscopes for students to view larger specimens such as insects, invertebrates, zooplankton, plants, fungi, sand grains, and even small vertebrates such as frogs.  One considerable advantage of a stereo microscope is that specimens are not harmed by the stereo microscope, so living specimens can be used.  In addition, because stereo microscopes are relatively simple and low power, they are easier for elementary students to use than compound microscopes.   

2.  Microscopic equipment is needed for the lab which are portable, low-power plastic microscopes [Discovery Scopes Microscope Viewers (25X).  These will be used by students both indoors and outside.  Discovery scopes are small, easy to transport, and very

"kid-friendly".  The scope comes with a viewing chamber that students can observe sea water with zooplankton or microscopic details of insects, marine invertebrates, shells, and plants to give just a few examples. 

3.  The science lab is currently lacking furniture to properly store and lock the microscopes.  A locking cabinet is needed to store the microscopes to both prevent theft and to properly protect the microscopes.  In addition, regular classroom chairs are being used in the lab instead of laboratory stools.  Laboratory stools are needed to facilitate ease of movement, use of equipment, and to help prevent accidents. 

4.  A variety of miscellaneous supplies and equipment are needed to enrich the science lab experience for students, including a variety of prepared slides; specimens such as moth cocoons, praying mantis egg cases, carnivorous plants, rocks and fossils, and owl pellets; plankton nets; and portable animal containers.   In addition, the lab program will benefit tremendously from further acquisition of teaching resources and reference books for the students.  Maintenance supplies to ensure the continued operation of the equipment in the Science Lab will include aquarium replacement of filters and pumps, food for animals, and replacement of bulbs and fuses in the microscopes.

Club $500
Grant $5000 


St. Simons Elementary School is committed to providing a supportive environment that nurtures, stimulates, and challenges all children. The Partnership Project between the St. Simons Rotary & the St. Simons Elementary School embraces the belief that academic achievement is enhanced when efforts are focused on developing personal, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills. Social-emotional learning represents a part of education that connects academic knowledge with the skills necessary for success in schools, families, communities, workplaces and life in general.

The focus of the Project is directly related to the St. Simons Elementary School Science Initiative for the 2008-2009 school year.

Each grade level has developed a year-long science initiative around the grade level standards. This project encompasses coastal and marine surroundings involving children learning about their local environment. Environmental awareness topics are included.  Using hands-on explorations and field experiences, children will incorporate learning into their daily reading and writing. A new addition in the St. Simons Elementary School is a 360-gallon saltwater aquarium which serves as a focal point for many of the planned and proposed learning experiences. This magnificent aquarium is located in the primary entrance of the school. The aquarium is an immediate and instantaneous attention-grabber to all who come into the school. This addition has set the stage for "more to come" as the School moves toward the objectives in their Science Initiative!

Experiential learning brings real world cultures, environments and hands-on awareness into a student's frame of reference. Many of the St. Simons Elementary students will not venture far from their neighborhoods due to socio-economic and world-view boundaries.

With the Rotary Grant funds requested in this application, the St. Simons Elementary School students will be able to "experience" a world outside of their own. It is a fact that many children in Glynn County have never been across the bridge to Jekyll Island, traveled to Cumberland Island, been on a shrimp boat excursion or visited our very own SSI Coast Guard Station!   Even though our Kindergarten and First Grade students will be able to walk across the street from the school to the Beach, this may be the first time they have seined for shrimp, seen and handled shrimp (except those cleaned and cooked) and observed, first hand, the oceanic/coastal plant and animal life of our area.

Club $500
Grant $2850 


This is a partnership project with St. Simons Elementary school to provide needed education materials not available to the school through the Board of Education budget. St. Simons Elementary has a number of students with special educational needs. This project would enhance the reading skills and vocabulary skills for ELL (English Language Learners). It would also include low readers who still need extra support. Last year 15 students were in the ELL program and this year there are 60 students.

This project purchases books, books on tape and tape players to be used by ELL students, parents of ELL students and low level readers.

The school provides an ELL teacher one day a week. This is totally insufficient in a school in which 20% of the students are not native English speakers. The books, tapes and tape players would greatly enhance the literacy program. The students would be able to check out the books and tape players daily and they would be used in the school and taken home. Research has shown that the material sent home are also used by non-English speaking parents, thus enhancing the literacy skills of the community.

Club $1000
Grant $0