Upland Rotary Club Signature Projects
Project Just Read
Since 2008 the Rotary Club of Upland has provided books to primary grade students in the Upland Unified School District. A number of empirical studies have shown that the number of books found in the home of young children influences a family culture that fosters reading and learning and in turn significantly increases student academic success and the length of time students stay in school.
Project Just Read’s goal is to promote and increase literacy in young students (Pre-K through 3rd Grade) in four low socioeconomic Title I elementary schools in the Upland Unified School District. Working closely with the reading specialists in the schools, materials are selected which are appropriate for the specific grade level and are on the California State Department of Education’s reading matrix.
Upland Rotarians distribute these books to approximately 1,300 students twice a year for them to keep. Students typically receive 2-3 books at each distribution. Rotarians speak to the class about the importance and joy of learning to read. They then proceed to read one or more of the books to the class, involving the students and asking a number of comprehension questions as they progress.
Holiday Shopping Spree
For more than fifteen years the Rotary Club of Upland has hosted a Holiday Shopping Spree for up to 100 school age children from low income families who live in Upland. This project brings joy into the lives of many families who do not have the resources to purchase many gifts for their children.
Children are identified by staff from the Healthy Start Program in the Upland Unified School District. On a specific morning before the holidays, Rotarians, Rotary partners, and the children’s families meet at a local Target store which opens its doors to the club prior to the general public. Each Rotarian is assigned a child and they help them purchase gifts for themselves and family members. Each child is typically given $100 to spend and does so without their parents present so the experience is personal and child-centered.
This project not only enables Rotarians to experience firsthand the joy of seasonal giving but also provides them with more fully developed understanding of our Upland community. It bring happiness into the lives of 100 children and their families each year.