Community Service

Rotary District 5100 Dictionary Project

The Rotary Club of Vancouver is an active participant in the Rotary District 5100 Dictionary Project that promotes literacy by putting a dictionary in the hands of every third grade student. Each Fall, our club members distribute dictionaries to third graders in the Vancouver School District. Each book has a book plate with the Four-Way Test.

More information about the project is on the Rotary District 5100 website.

Hands On Projects

Throughout the year, Rotary Club of Vancouver members roll up their sleeves and pitch in to accomplish community service projects such as planting trees, clearing ivy, or filling food back-packs for children from low-income families.

I Have a Dream

NW Harvest South

Each May, club members contribute all fine and pride dollars – plus extra donations – to Northwest Harvest South, a Vancouver food bank. Contributions are matched by the Vancouver Rotary Foundation. In 2010, $[amount] was raised by the club to help put food on the tables of our neighbors.

Salvation Army Bell Ringers

Small Children Need Big Friends

The Rotary Club of Vancouver sponsors three elementary schools: Martin Luther King (between Idaho St. and Mill Plain Blvd.), Eleanor Roosevelt (on Falk Rd. between Fourth Plain and SR500) and Washington (at 29th and S).

Our donations supply a cash fund for the principals to spend as they see fit. The principals most often use the funds to support reading programs, respond to student short-term needs and to make school improvements such as adding a reader board.

We provide stationery and supplies for students whose families are unable or unwilling to provide them.

A small and very silly group of Rotarians help Santa deliver gifts to the lower two grades in the three schools.

Lunch / Reading Buddy Program [on same page as Small Children…]

The Small Children Need Big Friends committee also sponsors the Lunch/Reading Buddy program, which matches at-risk [age?] children with adults who meet once a week at the child’s school to share lunch. The buddy also helps the child with their reading skills. More on this program is at Lunch / Reading Buddy Program [can condense the information on this link and put all on one page]

The Lunch/Reading Buddy program is at three sponsored schools in the Vancouver School District, King, Roosevelt, and Washington Elementary. The program also provides volunteers for Walnut Grove, Harney, Hough, Eisenhower, and Image Elementary Schools.

Lunch Buddy volunteers are teamed up with a student of the same sex and are meet to have lunch with him or her at school once a week. Reading volunteers have an arranged schedule.

Purpose of Lunch/Reading Buddies

Why are these simple programs valued by the school staff and why should you be the one to help?

– As a Reading Buddy directly and as a Lunch Buddy indirectly you will be helping students to acquire good reading skills and habits essential for participation in school after fourth grade

– Bring joy into the life of a child

– Help build their self-esteem

– Stable adult influence

– If you are a corporate group the shared experience is very rewarding

What is expected of volunteers?

Lunch Buddies are expected to have lunch with their assigned buddy 3 to 4 times a month at the school. Call the school the morning you expect to go and confirm your child is in attendance. It is a good idea at that time to ask what is on the menu. You may buy it for $ 2.50 or you may want to take your own. Exactly where you eat lunch and spend time after lunch varies with each school but the main idea is not to teach the student academics-it is to have fun with him/her, display adult behavior and be a good role model. You will usually find that there is a shy period, especially with boys, and it does require some persistence. Your initial enthusiasm should carry you past the start during which there may be little feedback and satisfaction for you.

Reading Buddies will probably not be assigned to just one student and may end up with several at the same session. Attending at the same time and place every week fits in with the school system best but they will work with any blocks of time you can arrange. We would hope that you could spend one hour a week at the school.

If you travel or are otherwise on an irregular schedule you may still participate and we welcome your involvement. If you are a Lunch Buddy then tell your Lunch Buddy where you are going and send a postcard. If you are a Tutor keep your school coordinator informed.

School Observations about the Program

Marianne Thompson, Principal, Eleanor Roosevelt School

The day before Valentine’s Day one year, a little third grade girl was speaking with me. When I told her the following day was special, she looked up with a huge grin and asked excitedly, “Is my Lunch Buddy coming?”
Today’s children, faced with life’s numerous challenges, cannot have too many supportive adults in their lives. The Vancouver Rotary Lunch Buddy program provides our students a priceless asset-a caring adult who shows up for lunch, shows genuine concern for their happiness, and shows an interest in their success at school.

Bertha Stuurmans, Principal, Washington School

The Lunch Buddy/Reading Program has been very successful. “Buddy” student attendance has increased, and I have noticed that the “Buddy” students will dress better on the days that their Rotary Buddy comes.

Student Views

She likes the same things I do!

Can you believe she played tether ball with me?!

They tell me things about me that make me feel good about myself!

We can talk to them!

You can always trust them!

They must care about us because they don’t get paid to be with

Signing up

Are you interested in becoming a volunteer? Please email Jennifer Larson or call 694-8415. Talk to her about school and program preferences. You will be assigned a school and Rotary coordinator. If you are to be a Lunch Buddy the school will obtain parental permission then contact you with his/her name. Whether you are a Lunch Buddy or Reading Buddy you will be subject to a background check. If your circumstances change and you cannot give your time in the same way, contact your Rotary coordinator and he will put you on Inactive status.


Below you will newsletters for the Lunch/Reading Buddy Program. The newsletters are a great way to keep in touch, read inspiring stories about other buddies, and get general information on the program.

The newsletters are in Acrobat Reader format (.pdf) and can be downloaded by clicking on the newsletter of your choice below.

If you do not have Acrobat Reader you can download a free version by clicking the icon below.


At the end of the school year Rotary hosts a picnic with all the volunteers, the school staff, the adult and student buddies and the Rotary Club. Last year it was held at Marine Park and featured a Magician, who is mostly there for the kids, and a race, with the kids carrying their principals in a tarp.


Questions about the program?
Please email Jennifer Larson or contact 281-8222.

Are you a current volunteer?

If you have questions please contact your Rotary coodinator, the volunteer coordinator at your school, or email Jennifer Larson or call 694-8415.

Attached Files
– June 2003 Lunch-Reading Buddy News
– Rotary Coor Only – LRB Volunteer List

Veterans Day