When Wilf Wilkinson was Rotary International President in 2007/2008, he introduced an area of focus under Basic Education and Literacy and in 2010, the Rotary Club of Belleville started the first Literacy Committee under chair Michael Maloney.  One of the first partnerships was with the Amarok Society, a small NGO registered charity founded by a Canadian family in Bangladesh.  The Mission is to teach illiterate mothers basic literacy skills in slum neighbourhoods to start micro schools where the mothers would teach five children each.  Thirty Amarok Schools were established to teach 750 mothers who in turn would teach 3,750 students.  The goal was to transfer the students to government schools where they could graduate from post secondary with government scholarships.  The success rate was high.  Through a Global Grant $100,000 Canadian was raised, $7,500 of which came from the Rotary Club of Belleville.  Digital skills were introduced and grant goals met and exceeded.  The world of Internet opened and the program expanded to India.  This program has huge benefits on the lives of people, lifting them out of poverty, providing mothers with better jobs and brighter futures for the children.  Annual support will be continued through a District Grant in 2024/2025.
The Rotary Club of Belleville has partnered with the Hastings Prince Edward Humane Society to support a new program called Rescue Readers, where classes of elementary school children visit the new Humane Society Shelter.  Students learn about what is involved in having and caring for a pet, the role of Shelters and developing empathy for other living creatures.  The students are given a tour of the building and have an opportunity to read to the animals.  Literacy activity involves reading aloud to a non-judgemental audience and what could be better than calming an animal and helping them socialize.  Benefits of both ends of the leash!  Sharon was quick to point out that everyone can participate in a fellowship opportunity on September 28th, joining colleagues, friends, family to walk your dogs around Zwicks Park, all in support of this really fun initiative.  The event is organized by the Humane Society called Wiggle Waggle Walkathon.  Funds raised can be in support of the Rescue Readers Program.

The 9th Annual Inter-Rotary Club Spelling Bee is coming up with 7 Rotary Clubs involved. Each Rotary Club donates $500 to cover prizes and promotional material.   The Spelling Bee is for Grades 4 - 6 (Junior) and Grades 7 - 8 (Intermediate).  The regional finals will be held at Bayside and aired on YOUR TV on May 11, 2024.  A joint Competition in the form of an Adult Spelling Bee will be hosted by the Trenton Rotary Club at These 4 Walls on Monday, April 15th as a taste of what's to come.  Sharon is looking for team(s) of six. 
Having read all of this work that the Literacy Committee does, it's no surprise that Sharon McConnell is looking for new members to join.  Guaranteed to be worth your while and lots of fun too!  Call Sharon at (613) 661-7781 or send her an email at sharonmcconnell50 @gmail.com.