This was my first official function as the President of Rotary Newmarket.  While I knew a little bit about the Rotary Reading Enrichment Programme, I don't think I've ever truly understood the benefit of it.
There are numerous Rotary projects that Newmarket, along with many other clubs, give time and money too.  It becomes difficult sometimes to see the wood through the trees so it was a great opportunity to see first hand what effect this programme inparticular actually has on our community.
So, representing Rotary Newmarket and the Newmarket Rotary Charitable Foundation, I joined fellow Rotarian John Meadowcroft, representing the Lois Dalley Charitable Trust, on a trip to the graduation ceremony at One Tree Hill College.
But, before I tell you about my thoughts on the event, its perhaps worthwhile explaining what this particular programme is all about.
The Rotary Reading Enrichment Programme was founded by a Rotarian from the Parnell club quite a few years ago.  His name is Harvey Allison and I had the pleasure of meeting him at the ceremony.
Harvey saw a need to improve the reading comprehension of kids in our community.  The ability to read empowers learning and without the ability to comprehend the text being read, kids will never truly reach their potential.  The concept is relatively simple;  identify kids with potential and provide them with one on one tuition in school.  The kids must sign a contract and fully commit to the programme and the school must back the concept as the kids will be removed from their usual classes.
While the concept is simple, putting one on one tuition into practice is hard.  My hat goes off to the tutors (volunteers) and their coordinators for clearly doing an excellent job.  Each child gave a brief presentation.  Their eloquence astounded me.  If only I had that level of confidence at their age.  To stand in front of teachers, tutors, special guests and their parents and have the confidence to present in such a clear many was impressive.  There were some stand out kids, as their usually are, that won some specific prizes but all demonstrated that the six months spent with their tutors was time well spent.
What I personally loved though, was seeing the pride on the parents faces.  To see your child achieve is a fantastic experience.
So, thanks must go to Brian Langdon from the College for inviting us along.  It was time very well spent and showed me clearly that this programme works.