Monday, January 18, 2010

Dictionary Project Update: Some Delivered, but Still a Great Need

There we were. Standing in the library of John F. Kennedy elementary school in Ferndale when all of the sudden...massive amounts of 3rd graders come at us.

This only means one thing: we reached our goal of being able to provide dictionaries to every third grader in the Ferndale school district!

Last Wednesday, the gals from the Operation: Kid Equip (OKE) female blogger collaboration and Menachem, the co-founder and brains behind OKE came together to deliver dictionaries to our first school.

The experience was nothing short of amazing. The principal announced us and explained to the children that we were sharing our passion for writing with them by giving them a great tool - a dictionary.

The children crowded around us, each getting up to receive a dictionary of their very own. We received many thanks, but the cutest of all were all the HUGS we received. Once seated again, the students thumbed through the book, which was easy to navigate for a 3rd grader and they all quickly found other nuggets of wisdom in the book such as sign language and the longest word known to man. I showed a little girl how I sign my name and encouraged her to learn how to sign her own name and then look up words in the dictionary and figure out how to sign those. Here she is signing away:

Following the distribution, the principal asked the students how receiving a dictionary made them feel inside and the students were quick to raise their hands to share: excited, happy and LOVED. To think a simple act of giving away a dictionary could make a child feel loved was the best feeling ever. We all departed feeling pretty darn good about ourselves.

The need train doesn't stop here though. We still need to distribute many more dictionaries to area children. And our next stop is Hazel Park, an Oakland County city that has been hit very hard by the economy.

To those asking "Why Oakland County and not Detroit proper?" listen up:
Oakland County is often noted as one of the "richest" counties in the state. However, that really isn't true these days -- not in Michigan's economy especially. However, because of this notion, many times children in Oakland County are overlooked. As OKE's research has shown, many school districts have gone up dramatically in the past few years with the school's free and reduced lunch program, which generally is an indicator of the need. One district in dire need is Hazel Park, which has recently surpassed Pontiac's need.

Helping out is simple. For a $20 donation, you can supply eight third graders with dictionaries.

1. Click here to make a PayPal donation.

2. Mail a check to:
Operation: Kid Equip
P.O. Box 364
Royal Oak, MI 48068-0364
*Write Dictionary Project in the memo line*

3. Contact menachem[at] to make a credit card or other form of payment.

So on this Martin Luther King Day as we reflect on how our country has progressed through the years, let us also reflect on something very important he said many years ago:

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'

Special props to the other Detroit-area bloggers making this possible: Erin Rose of Positive Detroit, Becks Davis of Detroit Moxie, Nikki Stephan of Creativity, Love, Happiness & All That Falls Between and Jennifer Wright of Looking Glass Lane. If you'd like to join the collaboration, contact Erin at positivedetroit[at]

Thanks to Becks Davis of Detroit Moxie for the adorable photo in the middle of the girl with the dictionary.


Becks Davis said...

Yes, the hugs were the best!

Great job pointing out that there is still a great need. There are many more school districts that need dictionaries.

EstrellaBella10 said...

I've always loved your handwriting, so I find it very endearing that you signed your name and encouraged one of the students to write out more words from the dictionary!

metrogal84 said...

Thanks Becks!

Haha, Nikki - I meant sign language - I guess I should've made that a bit more clear!

Miss Ive said...


I'm with you and Becks, the hugs were the best. I don't think I expected to get so much personally from the project. It's such a wonderful surprise to go into something with the intention of doing something for someone else, and realize later how much it did for you, too.

It's easy, especially when you earn your living from writing, to forget the excitement of your first experiences with language. Seeing all the kids having so much fun finding the longest words in the English language was so fun!

So nice to meet you, another thing that's come from such a great project!


metrogal84 said...

Jen - so glad you've gotten so much out of the project - it's so wonderful and such a rockin' thing to do for our area.

You girls all rock! Thanks for keeping me inspired.

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