Every year, the Burbank Elks Lodge #1497 donates nearly 2000 dictionaries to Burbank Unified School District third-graders. Recently, members of the Elks presented every third-grader at McKinley Elementary School with a dictionary, with the additional dictionaries sent to the ten additional BUSD elementary schools for distribution.
“We had 76 third-graders receive dictionaries,” commented McKinley Principal Liz Costella, “They were presented in an assembly, and students were very excited to receive them.”
“Students started going through them right away and were excited to find information on the planets, which they study in third grade,” she added. “They were also excited to find information on William McKinley which they shared with everyone right away.”
“The students’ first question was ‘can we keep them?’ They were thrilled to know they were theirs to keep and take home,” Costella also said. “We are very grateful to the Elks club for this great gift that will not only benefit our students this year but for years to come.”
The Burbank Elks have been providing dictionaries for every BUSD third-grader for the past eleven years, according to Charlene Peale, an Elks club member who works on the dictionary give-away project.
A group of volunteers put labels in each dictionaries for each teacher and school, on which the children can also sign their name.
“This is one of our favorite things to do here in the city, to education children as a community service,” said Peale. “It’s a wonderful program.”
The Elks service club participates in a national program called The Dictionary Project. In 1992, a Georgia woman named Annie Plummer gave 50 dictionaries to local school children. Over the years, The Dictionary Project has grown into a national organization. Local service organizations in cities and towns through the United State, such as the Elks, Kiwanis, Lions and more, donate dictionaries to area school children for those children to use in school and keep at home.