The Sunnyslope Kiwanis Club invites the community to help the club support “unplugged learning.”
Each year the club hands out more than 3,000 dictionaries to third-grand students in the Washington Elementary School District. But these aren’t your ordinary student dictionaries. They also contain an abbreviated encyclopedia, a basic sign-language alphabet, a history of the U.S. presidents and more.
Most of the WESD schools are Title 1, meaning they receive funding for educational assistance based in part on the number of low-income students attending that school. What that often translates to is students from families who can’t afford a home computer and Internet access. This makes “unplugged learning” even more important.
Each year third graders throughout the district are given a personalized learning resource with their names on a sticker nameplate inside that will help them look up words, find assistance with homework, and more. It’s a resource that lasts well beyond the third grade.
This dictionary program is funded in part by the Sunnyslope Kiwanis Club’s annual Dinner in the Desert, set for 6-9 p.m. Friday, April 25 at North Mountain Park, 7th Street and Peoria Avenue.
For $30 ($5 for children 11 and younger), attendees can enjoy chicken or ribs, side dishes and dessert provided by Burnt Biscuit and served by Kiwanis volunteers, along with live entertainment and a 50/50 raffle.
Tickets are available from Sunnyslope Kiwanis Club members. Call Brian Vance at 602-550-3991 for tickets.
Part of the funds raised also benefit another community partner who pitches in on the dictionary project each year. Clients at Valleylife (www.valleylifeaz.org), a not-for-profit organization providing services to individuals with disabilities, spend hours placing the nameplate stickers inside each paperback dictionary. The Valleylife clients can do close to 300 dictionaries in one day. They are part of the organization’s Vocational Program.
It’s a mutually beneficial partnership, as the Kiwanis receive many hours of assistance from the Valleylife clients and in return, the Kiwanis make financial donations to the nonprofit organization.
But in the end, the ones who benefit the most are the children who receive this special gift each year.