March is Literacy Month!
I am proud to say that many of our Clubs have been and are involved in very significant Literacy activities both locally and internationally. 
For many, literacy refers to the ability to read and write, known as basic literacy. But it is a broader concept; true literacy includes the ability to analyze things, understand general ideas and terms, use symbols in complex ways, apply theories and perform other life skills including the ability to engage in the social and economic life of the community, developing knowledge and potential. The United Nations has declared literacy “A Human Right “.
Literacy, like riding a bike, can involve basic or complex skills; the novice who rides his bike to work every day requires less developed skills than a cyclist who is competing in the Tour de France. Therefore we should be asking not if we can read and write but how well we do it. Why? The world is rapidly changing. The effects of globalization, free trade, better communication and information technologies have resulted in a growing demand for highly skilled workers.
Literacy is about more than just words and meaning; it affects peoples’ lives directly, impacting their chances of employment, level of income, and types of occupation. Higher literacy skills can lead to better jobs and greater productivity, also affecting social status, health, access to social services and opportunities to learn. Having good literacy skills enhances a country’s quality of life by reducing poverty, lowering unemployment, lessening the need for social assistance and encouraging better parenting. In the health field learning about illness and disease prevention, navigating the health care system, developing healthy habits and accident prevention all improve with better literacy skills.
Literacy is:
   Achieving Citizenship
   Getting a Drivers Licence
   Bonding with your Children
   Learning a new Skill
   Being an informed Citizen
   Connecting and Empowering
   Developing Self Esteem and Growth
   Finding the Key to Success
   Having the World at your Fingertips
   Filling out an Employment Application
   Reading the Label on a Prescription Bottle
Illiteracy still exists because the adult nonreader may have left school early, may have had a physical or emotional disability, may have had ineffective teachers or teaching methods or just may not have been ready to learn at the time reading instruction began ……. Parents who can’t read often perpetuate the cycle of illiteracy; without books, magazines or newspapers in the home and a parent who can’t read and serve as a role model in the home, many children grow up with literacy deficiencies. This picture still exists in many of our Communities right here! Our Club had recently done a project in partnership with the Elementary School, part of which provided books to be given to families for children in the Pre Kindergarten age and I was saddened to hear from the teachers how many children didn’t own a book.
A Mother’s literacy level is one of the most significant predictors of a child’s future literacy, more significant than income level and employment status. The quote which we have all heard ………….. “Educate a man and you have taught an individual; educate a woman and you have taught an entire Village” stands true. A mother who can read will teach her children to read, helping to break the cycle of poverty for her family. Stats vary according to what I have read; approximately 800 million people in the world are illiterate, 2/3 are women. Funding is lacking in so many countries for proper, or even any, education.
One of my favorite authors, Robert Fulghum, once said “It will be a great day when our schools have all of the money they need, and our Air Force has to have a bake-sale to buy a bomber”!
IN CANADA: 42% of adults ages 16-65 have low literacy skills; 55% of working adults have less than adequate literacy skills; 88% over age 65 are in this situation. Less than 20% of people with the lowest literacy skills are employed. It is said that a 1% increase in the literacy rate would generate $18 billion in economic growth yearly and investment in Literacy Programing has a 241% return on investment.
Thank You to all Clubs who have taken on Literacy Programs! The return will be Far Reaching!

A Miscellany of Rotary News

A  SURPRIZE …… We will have an exciting “Hands On” Literacy Project in which we will encourage you to participate at the District Conference! More info will come.
PRESIDENTIAL  CITATIONS  …… I have given ALL Presidents a reminder to submit these by March 31st but will give you till April 10th, NO  LATER, as I have not received many. Please, if you will qualify, email me your forms. If you have questions please be in touch!
Congratulations and a BIG Thank You to the Training Team for an excellent PETS once again in Russell March 19-21st. Peter and Joanne, you did it so well again along with our new Trainers Roger Kingsley and Tom Weegar!
Congratulations to Saskatoon North for your commitment to OUR foundation! It was a pleasure to join you on March 26th to celebrate and share in your Paul Harris Evening, also at which time 2 Major Donors were recognized, one Level 1 and one Level 2!
Regina Oskaya / Rotaract Club of Regina Auxilium ……… You hosted a great evening and Polio Fundraiser  with Dr Paul Dhillon speaking about his work in an Ebola Treatment Centre on March 30th, great to be a part of that!
RLI Module 1 Training will be held this spring in Winnipeg, Regina and Saskatoon.
YOUTH …. We now have 6 Interact  and 5 Rotaract Clubs!
POLIO PLUS …. There are 200 Just in Case Binders left; good news is that, with the Bill Gates contribution, we have raised $110,000.00 at this point! Please continue to support this initiative, as well as “Mr. Apple Discovers the Four Way Test”!
THE  ROTARY  FOUNDATION : Contributions to the Annual Fund YTD are $132,851.00. Keep the contributions flowing to support our work here and abroad.
DISTRICT ALUMNI CHAIR/COMMITTEE ….. The definition of Alumni has been expanded by Rotary International to identify Alumni and their potential contributions and connect them to Clubs and District. Further detailed information will follow in the next Newsletter.
A very big Thank you to Rotarian and “Peace Builder “…….. our David Newman for again, a most excellent article in Rotary Canada! You make us proud!
MEMBERSHIP…….. A net gain of 7 this month! Way to go everyone!
MAJOR GIFTS OFFICER  ZONE 24 WEST ….. Carolyn Ferguson will be visiting our District travelling to all 3 major centres in late May. Details will follow in the April Newsletter.
DISTRICT CONFERENCE …. We are planning a great Conference for everyone in June! Please visit our Website for details and for constantly updated information about speakers and events during the Conference!
Let us keep enjoying the fulfilment we share in our Service through Rotary!
Thank You all!