Dictionaries & Drug Awareness

Elks Dictionary and Drug Awareness Programs

by SW District Veterans Chairman Gary Bockman

Christian County Elks is strongly committed to the youth in its community and now that school has started, it’s that time again to think about our students and arming them with the right tools for success.  A dictionary is perhaps the first and most powerful reference tool a child should have in developing his or her reading, writing, and creative thinking abilities.

For the sixth year contributing to the Elks Dictionary Project, Christian County Elks Lodge 2777 of Ozark with the support of Elks Larry Tuck PER and Elks Southwest District Chairman Gary Bockman obtained dictionaries entitled THE BEST DICTIONARIES FOR STUDENTS.  Dictionaries were distributed to third graders and their teachers at five area schools: Billings RIV, Chadwick Elementary, Clever Elementary, Highlandville Elementary, and Sparta RIII. In addition to the dictionaries, Elks obtained Drug Awareness Program materials, a national Elks program, including coloring books, bookmarks, and a Drug Awareness Program informational pamphlet that provides information to encourage students to avoid the use of drugs.

The number of students receiving these educational tools was a total of 244 dictionaries and Elks Drug Awareness materials. The students and teachers were happy to receive the materials at each school. Some schools had their third graders help unload the materials. Chadwick Elementary even lined up students at the end of a hallway holding their dictionaries so that the title was visible in the picture which included the principal and third-grade teacher.

Elks Gary Bockman went on to state, “You never know when helping young people will come back to you with gratitude.  In 1983, in my ninth year of Elkdom, a second-grade student at Weaver School in Springfield worked to make money to help his parents buy him a bicycle.  Seeing a newspaper article about the theft of that bicycle, I sent funds to replace the bicycle.  In December of 2022, that young man called me to thank me and a few days later, made a Facetime call, providing me with photos of himself at school age and as an adult.  One of the photos was the letter that I sent to his school requesting help in getting the funds to him.  That is thirty-nine years of appreciation of something I did because I am an Elk.”

The Dictionary Project was founded in 1995 by Mary French of Charleston, SC. Its primary focus is to promote literacy to children in third grade as they transition from learning how to read to identify and use information. Over the course of the program, nearly 15 million third-grade students have received dictionaries.

Elks Drug Awareness Program: The Elks are committed to eliminating the use and abuse of illegal drugs by all members of society and believe that to ensure a bright future for our country, it is essential that our children be raised in a drug-free environment.

Participation in these Elks programs is a satisfying experience and a good example of ELKS CARE, ELKS SHARE. 

Photo ID: Third Grade students at Chadwick Elementary were excited to receive their dictionaries from Elks Gary Bockman, along with their Principle, Tracy Cottengim, and teacher, Tonya Rains.

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