To our supporters and schools:
Fifteen years ago, I saw that volunteers were delivering dictionaries to kids in their communities, and I thought, “Why not here?” So, for fifteen years you have joined me in this wonderful endeavor. Every year, we visited more than 500 schools and organizations in the eight counties surrounding Kansas City, as well as schools in western Kansas and eastern Missouri. And we delivered 400,000 dictionaries along the way. But with the end of the 2016-17 school year, the program as it has existed to date will end.
Although I am grateful to all of you who have participated as sponsors, donors, presenters, and educators, I must give a special “Thank You” to a few. To Linda Fewell, Becky Wood, and Renee Van Earp – These three women, my friends when I started this project and my friends today, answered my call and said, “Yes. What a great project. What can we do to get this off the ground?” To Bill Kalahurka, who never failed to put on that Noah Webster suit and who also joined these three women on the Board of Directors at the beginning. And to our major donors. Brenda Snezik, formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs, who said, “The Chiefs are in. Let me introduce you to running back Tony Richardson.” To Tony Richardson, who supported us in a major way financially, even when he took his football talents to other cities, and who never failed to give us a shout-out in his interviews. And of course a huge bouquet of roses goes to Kathryn Mader and her grand-daughter Melissa Mader Schafer. The Mader Foundation carried much of the load for Jackson County.
So where is the program going from here? I feel that I have sowed a lot of seeds and I am now seeing sprouts. Dictionary Project Kansas City will step back and allow all of you to bloom. If you, or your organization underwrote the cost and presented books to schools in your communities, I encourage to you to continue. (The books are still available from www.DictionaryProject.org ) If you were one of our many volunteer presenters who picked up dictionaries and visited a favorite school, please consider also underwriting the cost if you can and continuing to visit your school. If you were a donor to Dictionary Project Kansas City, please consider continuing your generosity and making yourself known to schools and organizations who would like to continue to present. (I will be happy to help make that connection.) And if you are a school principal or teacher, please continue to reach out to your PTA and to the local organizations who have always supported you for their dictionary support.
We began this transition this school year, and I appreciate your help and understanding. Thanks for your many phone calls and emails of support. To those who have asked about my plans, I will continue to speak out for the project nationally. (My friends in Rotary, Optimists and Kiwanis will continue to see me at their regional conferences.) I will continue to help our community with my volunteer flying, transporting people with a medical need through Angel Flight Central and showing kids the magic of aviation through EAA Young Eagles. And I will continue my support of kids’ education by reading bedtime stories to the kids at Hope House, by mentoring the Lee’s Summit West High School Robotics Team, and by joining my wife in the Hands-to-Hearts bookmobile.
You can contact me at 816-763-5205 or firstname.lastname@example.org Best wishes to you all.