Cox puts youthful focus on Trumbull Rotary
The Trumbull Rotary Club is all about service.
The club is known in the community for the many programs and grants they sponsor throughout the year, whether it’s adding benches to the rail trail, raking yards for senior citizens or building homes for returning veterans.
Over the past year, the club focused a lot of its time and energy on children.
Under the leadership of President Deborah Cox, the Trumbull Rotary Club has taken steps to inspire, enrich and empower kids in town — and around the world.
“The education and health of children are two of the most important priorities for Rotarians around the world,” Cox said. “The wellbeing of today’s children directly impacts the future of our community and our world.
“It’s a privilege and a responsibility to do what we can to positively impact children right in our own backyard, as well as far away, and our club has embraced this focus whole-heartedly, with heart-warming impact.”
In April, Trumbull Rotary collaborated with the Bridgeport Rotary Club to build libraries in seven classrooms at the new Charles B. Tisdale Early Learning Preschool, a program of ABCD Inc. Over 400 books were donated, helping to ensure quality education for 140 low-income children in Bridgeport.
“Creating opportunities for success through education and health leads to a better future for all,” Cox explained. “The fact that Sue Horton, our amazing town librarian, is also a Rotarian was a big plus.”
On May 25, 2016, ABCD recognized Trumbull Rotary Club with their Community Service Award. Monette Ferguson, Director of Early Learning at ABCD, expressed gratitude, adding: “These books mean so much to the enthusiasm, pride and joy the children will take in learning.”
A year-long commitment to Trumbull students
Most of the Rotary Club’s efforts take place in town.
In Trumbull elementary schools, Rotarians distributed dictionaries to every third grader in the fall and visited every classroom for the annual “Read Aloud Day.”
Rotary Club sponsors many enrichment programs, such as Junior Achievement, and are helping to send a Trumbull team to the world finals of Odyssey of the Mind at the end of May.
And this past fall, Rotarian Lisa Moriello spearheaded an effort to provide student athletes with safety vests that would safeguard them while running in town.
The Club sponsored the Trumbull Arts 38th Annual Literary Competition, One Town One Book, and honors students from Hillcrest and Madison Middle Schools through the “Student of the Month” and end-of-year Service Awards coordinated by Rotarian Kerry Stratton.
On June 1, 2016, the Rotary Club awarded $17,000 in scholarships to 14 high school seniors. The Club also recognizes high school leaders all year long through programs such as the Four Way Test Contest, President’s Volunteer Service Award and Student of the Month awards.
Service above self
Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the Club’s commitment to youth is their relationship with the Trumbull High School Interact Club.
Throughout the year, the Interact Club upholds Rotary's mission of "service above self" by engaging in a variety of service projects, which range from local volunteering to the support on international relief efforts.
Notable projects include the Trumbull High School Valentine's Day carnation sale, tutoring elementary school children through the STEP program, and participating in The Clothesline Project with Trumbull Rotary.
While Rotarian John Coleman and faculty advisors Shirley Tyszka and Tracey Cranston play a big role, credit for the success of the Trumbull Interact Club goes to the amazing student leaders, including co-Presidents Kiki Yalamanchili and Kelly Cranston.
Inspiring kids down the road and around the world
Cox has also supported the Club’s desire to inspire children in nearby Bridgeport.
This past year, the Club provided grants and hands-on support for programs such as Head Start, Hall Neighborhood House, the Bridgeport Rescue Mission, Hands Offering Hope, the Boy Scouts, Mercy Learning Center, the Kennedy Center and the Council of Churches in Greater Bridgeport.
Through the Trumbull Rotary’s support, children had the opportunity to see Broadway shows, attend dances, have fun and enhance their learning experience in many ways.
The Trumbull Rotary Club is also impacting kids around the world. This past year, the Club initiated a global grant — bringing together multiple local clubs as well as Rotary International – to design and print 20,000 classroom aids that will enable approximately 500,000 children in impoverished areas of India to study and learn geography. Spearheaded by Trumbull Rotarian Archana Uppal, this program illustrates that something as simple as a map can make a difference in a child’s future.
“I am so proud of the work being done by the entire club,” Cox adds. “So many of these projects took shape simply because someone had an idea, and someone else volunteered to help. We have such an incredible club — members who truly want to make a difference in the community and in the world. It’s a joy to see the smiling eyes of the kids we’ve engaged with over this past year.”
The Trumbull Rotary Club meets 7:30 a.m. Friday mornings at the Trumbull Library. For more information, visit TrumbullRotary.org.