Rotaract members assist alumna to bring literacy to middle-schoolers

Release Date: 10/24/2012

Recently, Rotaract members Kim Clabough and Eugene Downs assisted Ozarks alumna and school librarian Kari (Pridgin) Tedford '05 with a book fair at Ozark (Ark.) Middle School.

Clabough, a senior biology major from Little Rock, and  Downs, a marketing major from Nicaragua, volunteered to work with Tedford in an effort to broaden Rotaract's impact. Rotaract is a Rotary-sponsored, university-based service club for young men and women ages 18 to 30.

"This year we're really trying to become even more active in Rotaract," Clabough said. "Our focus has been to work more closely with the Clarksville Rotary club, and that has really helped us to get some big things going."

The trip to Ozark, a small community about 25 miles west of Clarksville, actually came about as an expansion of a Rotary project already in place in Clarksville.

"Rotary Club in Clarksville sponsors a literacy program with the local schools here in town," Clabough said. "Rotary members take time out of their schedules and read to fourth-and fifth-graders. Since we've been working more closely with the Rotary Club this year, we wanted to expand on that literacy idea."

The group was put into contact with Tedford, the librarian at Ozark Middle School. Tedford needed help organizing and running the book fair, so Clabough and Downs volunteered.

"It was great. We got to interact with a different community. Usually, we work in Clarksville, so it was nice to branch out and help another community," Clabough said. "Basically, we just helped the students and parents find books that were appropriate for their ages and encouraged them to make book purchases."

The literacy project isn't the only item on the Rotaract to-do list. Clabough explained that, while the literacy project is a significant focus, it is just one of many big projects Rotaract has planned this year.

"In addition to the literacy project, we have several service programs planned for the holiday season, including helping elementary school kids and nursing home residents make holiday cards for soldiers. We'll also be selling Christmas wreaths as a fundraiser, so we can do even more projects in the spring," Clabough said.