PORTLAND ROTARY's CHILDHOOD HUNGER & EDUCATION INITIATIVE
In 2014 Portland Rotary made the decision to focus locally on Childhood Hunger and Education (“CHE”) service projects for the next 3-5 years. This is in addition to our established 3H ("Hearing, Hands and H20") project in the Dominican Republic, and other long-standing service projects.
The Childhood Hunger portion of CHE is largely led out of our Community Services committee. We are partnering with area groups to end childhood hunger in Portland, Maine where over 14,000 kids are food insecure. We are focused in particular on having kids register, participate and consume in the existing USDA programs. This three pronged approach through breakfast, lunch, after-school and summer meals allows us to measure our successes as well.
Portland Rotary is partnering with the following entities in Childhood Hunger and Education:
Full Plates Full Potential (where we sit on the Board)
The Childhood Education focus is improving 3rd grade reading proficiency. Portland’s reading proficiency results have tracked about 5% under the state scores over the past four years. When we break down the data, we find that financially disadvantaged students, English language learners, and minority students are facing barriers to achieving reading proficiency.
Directly with the schools, and through our partners we are engaging in promising strategies in childhood literacy; including reversing the summer slide, enhancing PK-3 literacy instruction and providing community-based support to students at risk of faltering in school. Portland Rotary has adopted summer food and reading sites (through our Feeding Bodies and Minds relationship), funded books and entertainment at sites, and volunteered to read to students at Lyseth Elementary School. We also have a strong mentoring program with area High Schools.