The Rotary Club of Kalamazoo's largest community service project this year focuses on literacy. We are also active in several other projects including our STRIVE Mentoring Program at Kalamazoo Central High School.
We make grants to local organizations twice per year totaling approximately $15,000. These donations are targeted to capital expenses and/or new projects, rather than operating expenses.
Spring 2018– March 15
Spring 2017 Grants
Bread and Roses Child Care Center: $2495 for LED Lighting
Black Arts & Cultural Center: $2,500.00 for AV equipment
Comstock Community Center: $2,000.00 for 4 laptops
Kal Central Marching Band: $1000 for Instrument repair and Equipment
Fall 2017 Grants
Kalamazoo Literacy Council: $1,000.00 for their Adult Literacy Initiative
Family Health Center: $3,000.00 for two fundraising events
Kalamazoo Book Arts Center: $2,400.00 for the Make a Book from Scratch Project
WMU Med School: $1,000.00 for their Healthy Kids Read Program
If you're interested in obtaining support from Rotary for your charity, please download and fill out the application (pdf) and follow the instructions at the bottom to return it to us.
Literacy - Rotary is for Reading
The Rotary Club of Kalamazoo has launched a new literacy program called Rotary is for Reading. The program goals are to improve literacy among early elementary children in the Kalamazoo Public Schools, and to “plant the seed” of college in the mind of each KPS second grade student.
Two Rotarians from the Kalamazoo Rotary Club visit each second grade classroom in the Kalamazoo Public Schools during College Awareness Week (in April). During that visit, the Rotarians present each second grader with his or her own copy of the book entitled, I Know I Can, by Wendy W. Rouillard. The book talks about going to college and gets the kids thinking about what they want to do when they grow up.
Reading and discussing this book with these children creates the perfect atmosphere for this impressionable group to begin thinking about what they can be, and understanding the unique opportunity they have to attend college through the Kalamazoo Promise. Rotarians add to the excitement and enthusiasm by wearing apparel from their favorite colleges and universities when they visit the classrooms.
This will be the first book many of these children have of their very own, and just might be the first and only book in their homes. What a wonderful way to instill the hope and excitement of college and a better future in these wonderful children!
View a short PowerPoint presentation about Rotary is for Reading here. (ppt)
Read Kalamazoo Gazette story, written by Barb Walters, on Rotary is for Reading! (pdf)
STRIVE Mentoring Program
STRIVE is a motivational program targeted toward at-risk high school juniors and seniors who want to improve their present grades and class attendance. The program began in 2001 and is a partnership between the Kalamazoo Rotay New Generations Committee and Kalamazoo High Schools. As school begins each fall the STRIVE program is promoted to students who:
- Desire to improve their grade point.
- Face one or more obstacles which might impede graduation.
- Have been recommended by their counselors as students who have the potential and desire to graduate and to continue their education beyond a high school diploma; and have parents that agreed to work cooperatively with a mentor.
The mentors are then paired up with the students and together they set goals to achieve the following requirements:
- Improve their grade point average.
- Improve attendance.
- Possess a positive behavior in the school environment.
What we have found are these students often have the same natural abilities to succeed, however the difference may be motivation, success in the classroom, and other factors that keeps them from fulfilling their potential. The Rotary members work with the students to build confidence, change study habits, and provide general support to ensure their student’s success.
“I’ve worked with a variety of student mentoring programs and the STRIVE program provides wonderful results targeted at students with the ambition to continue their studies beyond high school,” states Jill Eldred, former Rotary Kalamazoo New Generations Committee Chair. “Our mentors volunteer a tremendous amount of time to ensure the success of their students and when the student succeeds, the mentor succeeds. The group just completed our spring meeting and the smiles around the table as the grade points were read is a feeling that words really can’t express,” Eldred stated.
STRIVE is a proven way to make a difference in a student’s life. School leaders and teachers point to notable improvements in increase self-esteem, confidence, and motivation. Many students discover that when they attend class and work a little harder they experience classroom success. This success often times helps them make the choice to go on to college.
The program is chaired by Rotarian Denise Hartsough.
Red Rose Award
Each year in June the club gives the Red Rose Award to a member of the community to recognize their outstanding contributions to Kalamazoo outside of their primary profession. This prestigious award has recognized some of the most well-known communtiy leaders and also lesser-known volunteers who have made an outstanding contribution over the years to the quality of life in Kalamazoo.
Nominate a Rotarian using the Red Rose Award Nomination Form (pdf).
Tree Of Lights
Every December we ring bells for the local Salvation Army campaign and our club is proud to have been the largest service club contributer in Kalamazoo to the local campaign for the last several years.
Red Cross Blood Drive
Twice per year the club conducts a blood drive on a Meeting day to help this important project. Club members, family and friends donate blood to the Red Cross and/or Kalamazoo Blood.
Operation R.A.Y. (Rotarians Appreciate You)
Every Spring (formerly in December) our club conducts "Operation R.A.Y.," sending care packages to our deployed service members throughout the world. These gift boxes are a small gesture to express our gratitiude to these extrordianary Americans who are serving us far from their loved ones. Kalamazoo Rotary deeply appreciates the selfless service of our military men and women.