“Who can find the word ‘benevolent’ in their dictionary?” asked Patty Gabilondo from the GCWC Lilburn Woman’s Club (LWC) on April 24, 2019.
The entire third-grade class had gathered in Arcado Elementary’s bright cafeteria as LWC volunteers handed them dictionaries to keep as their very own.
The students flipped through the pages to find the assigned word. They sounded out the phonics, before finding the most recent addition to their vocabularies.
Arcado was one of eight schools LWC would visit over the next few weeks. The Club had taken on the challenge of providing every third grader in the City of Lilburn with a dictionary. After verifying there are 1415 third graders in the city’s public school system with a Lilburn address, the Club began searching for partners who help purchase the books.
With each potential partner, they shared their reasoning — “third grade is when children begin transitioning from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn.’”
In just four weeks, they had developed enough partnerships to give every third-grade student a dictionary. A few of those include the Lilburn Business Association, the Lilburn Lions Club, the Evergreen Senior Center, the Sweetwater Masonic Lodge #421 as well as the Lilburn Downtown Development Authority plus many individual volunteers from the Woman’s Club who donated to the fund.
The Club knew they had met their goal when the CEO of the Dictionary Project, Mary French, got involved and donated dozens of cases of dictionaries.
The Dictionary Project is a charitable organization headquartered in Charleston South Carolina. Since it was founded in 1995, the organization has gone national with their goal to provide every third grader with his or her own dictionary.
The LWC donated 179 dictionaries to Arcado, according to Brenda Dana, the Publicity Chair volunteer for LWC.
“They’re children’s dictionaries, so they are age appropriate and don’t have any bad words or things like that,” Dana said.
The books included 35,000 entries with punctuation guides, and references for parts of speech and additional glossary with information about the solar system, sign language and Braille keys and facts about international presidents and U.S. history.
“It is so important to know about the country we live in, so I’d like you all to turn your dictionaries to page 432-433. You’ll find information about each state, and if you look further, you’ll find more information about the U.S. and other international countries,” said Principal Penny Palmer Young who coordinated the event with LWC.
“After seeing how well this worked out, we plan to do this every year,” said Dana informing the Gwinnett Citizen of the LWC’s decision to include the Dictionary Project each year as part of their Community Improvement Project.
“Now I want you to look up the word ‘volunteer’” the children were prompted before they returned to class. After they had found the entry, Gabilondo expressed her hope that each of them would learn to give of themselves for their community. “It takes all of us to make this world a good place to live,” she concluded.
Dedicated to improving lives across the city, The Lilburn Woman’s Club is a local chapter of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. For information about any of the LWC’s work as a 501©3, their programs or club projects, visit their website: https://www.lilburnwomansclub.org.