South Campus Ambassadors Interact Club
April 21, 2017
The South Campus Ambassadors, a Rotary Interact Club based in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, sought and obtained a $500 Community Services Grant from Rotary eClub One to support elementary literacy efforts in their community. This generous grant allowed the Ambassadors to build, decorate and install two Little Free Libraries on the grounds of Willow Lane Elementary School in White Bear Lake.
Members of the Ambassadors are encouraged at the beginning of each school year to identify their “passions” in community service and seek opportunities to do good in those areas. In the fall of 2016, several Ambassadors with a passion for elementary literacy explored ways to help young children begin to read, and become lifelong readers. These Ambassadors decided to apply for a grant from Rotary eClub One to purchase supplies to build a Little Free Library and install it on the grounds of a local elementary school.
Little Free Libraries (https://littlefreelibrary.org) are designed to inspire a love of reading, build community, and spark creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. These libraries provide people the opportunity to take books, read them, and then either return them or add new books to the LFL.
The Ambassadors recognized the importance of insuring that all elementary school children learn to read at an early age and, more important, learn to love to read! Ambassadors learned that some of the elementary schools in White Bear Lake, Minnesota have a higher percentage of children who qualify for free and reduced lunches. Children in these households may live in families without the financial resources to purchase many books for their children. The Ambassadors decided to construct a Little Free Library for Willow Lane Elementary School, a local school with one of the highest percentages of children in the school district qualifying for free and reduced lunches.
After applying for and receiving the $500 grant from Rotary eClub One, the Ambassadors learned that $500 would cover materials to build not one but TWO Little Free Libraries! The Ambassadors purchased the supplies and got to work.
The components of the Little Free Libraries that the Ambassadors purchased arrived, but all of the wood pieces were – blue! The Ambassadors’ first order of business was to paint the wooden components white, and add lettering and stencils in orange and black, the White Bear Lake Area Schools school colors.
All of the painting and art work was finished in December, 2016. However, Minnesota is a cold climate, and the ground in our area was frozen. Digging post holes to install the Little Free Libraries on Willow Lane Elementary property would have to wait.
During the week of April 17, 2017, the ground warmed enough to allow post holes to be dug and for the two Little Free Libraries to be installed at Willow Lane Elementary. The grounds crew from the school district helped us out and prepared the holes and installed the libraries.
As a surprise added bonus when Ambassadors purchased the components for the Little Free Libraries, the vendor shipped us $200 worth of children’s books – absolutely FREE! The Ambassadors will use this initial stock of books to fill the Little Free Libraries. The Ambassadors are committed to monitoring these libraries in the future, and restocking books in each if it becomes necessary.
The South Campus Ambassadors Interact Club thanks Rotary eClub One for its generosity in making this gift supporting early childhood literacy in our community!