Our First Little Library

LittleLibraryWebIf you’re driving east on East Main St. towards Y.E. Smith where most of the club’s tutoring activity takes place you may notice on the left what looks like an oversized bird house in the middle of one of the blocks. Turns out it’s something called a Little Library.  Little Libraries are part of a larger strategy of encouraging youngsters and the adults that keep them to read more by making books available.

At Monday’s meeting we got the first look at a brand new Little Library being turned over to Rotarian David Reese of the East Durham Children’s Initiative by John Malitoris, the Executive Director of Duke Corporate Education.

It turns out that Duke CE seeks out opportunities to “Engage Durham” and as part of the effort, designed, obtained the materials, and built the little library in one afternoon. According to Todd Taylor, “given that the Little Libraries encourage literacy, it is in the sweet spot for Duke CE.” Todd should know. If you hadn’t ever encountered Todd in his busy office in the Duke CE headquarters in the American Tobacco Campus you would think he was what the United Way used to call a “loaned executive” to Durham Rotary for Education Projects and especially the Reading Rangers.  According to Todd, John was happy to be there Monday to lend credence and demonstrate that Duke CE genuinely cares about the community and puts effort into making it a better place.

He hardly needed to since their support has been deep and genuine. John mentioned that he has two daughters in school and fully supports the idea of Little Libraries. Duke CE will be collecting books to help the project. Also in attendance from Duke CE were Charlie Monroe, who led the build team and Khuwailah Beyah, who helped with design. In total Duke CE had 15 people involved in the project. May this be the first of many.

Durham Rotary thanks and salutes Duke Corporate Education for all that they do for Durham.

Rotary Rangers Event in District Newsletter

Todd in District NLCommunications guru Mark Lazenby got more exposure for the Reading Rangers/YE Smith video hook-up with elementary students in India. If you haven’t seen the new “flipbook” newsletter, check it out. It is a real treat.


100 Acts: Recruiting


Mimi O’Brian shares a big smile and the opportunity for 64 volunteers to help out on the Books on Break project. Be sure to check the tables at every meeting during the Centennial year for volunteer opportunities. David Reese was also there last week recruiting 20 volunteers to help clean up a Cherry Grove Park playground at the church near EDCI’s office on Driver Street recognizable by its multi-colored picket fence.

Rotarians inspire Emily K students

19 March 2015

BC Dash and Deirdre Haj spent the evening with students from the Emily K center.  They related the experience of their careers and answered questions of students.  This night is invaluable to students as they prepare to go to college and enter the workforce.  Insights and advice are very helpful to these students.  This is the second time Rotarians have supported this bi-annual event at Emily K.  Our club is blessed with some generous and successful people, the Emily K kids were impressed.

BC Dash shares with Emily K students

Deirdre Haj shares her career

Deirdre Haj shares her career

Video Conference between YE Smith Students and Red Bricks School Students in Ahmedabad, India

Student share across the miles to Ahmedabad, India

Student share across the miles to Ahmedabad, India

New Friends

New Friends

Friday, March 20, 2015

For the second year, eight students (ages 10-13) and their teachers from Red Bricks School in Ahmedabad, India had a chance to meet with their counterparts from Victoria Robinson’s AG students at YE Smith on Friday 20 March in Duke Corporate Education’s Lucky Strike Building.  Leveraging corporate communication technology the students were connected via video conference to the India office, headed by Nikhil Raval.  After an introduction, student’s paired up and chatted about mutual interests: recess, pets and family.  The YE Smith students made a presentation “This is NC” sharing an overview of their state including iconic landmarks such as Kitty Hawk and Hatteras lighthouse.  The Red Bricks school students presented, “A day in the Life of Red Bricks School kids,” an enlightening look at their school day.   One student shared his favorite recipe for celery and peanuts.  The YE Smith students were struck with the similarities, most of the Red Brick students studied Spanish in addition to their native language and English, and marveled at the differences, such as elephants used as transportation and held sacred in Ahmedabad.

The Rotary Club of Durham shared a story focused on Rotary’s 4 Way Test of values.  Jen Noble was fabulous with the kids from YE Smith and India as she prepared and shared the apple dumpling recipe from the Rotary kids book Andy and Elmer’s Apple Dumpling Adventure.  Don was very helpful in getting the room set up and working the technology during the reading.

Vandana came to help kick things off with a nice traditional Indian greeting with our new friends in Ahmedabad’s Red Bricks School.

It was interesting to learn that the Red Bricks kids learn Spanish as well as English and their native language in school.  Equally insightful, every student said that reading is something they liked to do in their free time.  They also loved going to school.  Jen was taken with one kid who aspired to be a chef.  The NC kids shared some insights about the state and they did very well.

Letisha Judd, principal of YE Smith was in attendance and commented “this is a great experience for our kids and YE Smith, now an international school!”    The effort is a partnership between Duke Corporate Education’s ongoing efforts to Engage Durham and three-year old Rotary’s Reading Rangers, an ongoing commitment to help Durham meet literacy objectives in this Centennial year of the Durham Rotary club.    The overarching idea is promote peace through understanding and interaction between various cultures.


Jen instructs on Apple Dumpling techniques

Jen instructs on Apple Dumpling techniques

Yum Yum - Thank you Jen

Yum Yum – Thank you Jen

Education Committee Update for Jan 2015

Education Committee met on 29 Jan 2015 and the following is a summary of the most significant discussion topics from the meeting:

1. RAD: February 14 speech contest for Area 7.
2. Youth Exchange: 2 host families needed for the 2015-16 school year—but it’s never too early to be thinking about this. A great experience!
3. Books on Break at YE Smith: Save the date: May 1-6. Please encourage your friends, co-workers, and Rotarian lunch mates to help with a great one-and-done event.

If you wish to see the minutes from the meeting please see 2015 Jan 29 Durham Rotary Club Education Committee Meeting Minutes.

Minutes from the Area 7 Youth and Education Committee Meeting is 2015_January_Minutes_Area 7 Youth Committee.

If you wish to see what we are doing, our next meeting is Thursday, 26 Feb 2015 at 5PM @ Duke CE (310 Blackwell St – the Lucky Strike Building on American Tobacco Campus).