The Lodi-Tokay Rotary Club is one of several organizations that has adopted Lawrence Elementary School.
Last month, a handful of members read to students before donating the 20 books to the school library. Rotary Club members also sponsor the Gang Resistance Education and Training Program and fund incentives for students to improve their annual test scores.
When Rotary member Ron Williamson approached Lawrence principal Carlos Villafana and asked what the campus needed, those are the programs Villafana said the school would most benefit from.
For the GREAT program, the club has paid for participant T-shirts and prizes. It teaches students how to manage their anger, respect their community and avoid joining a gang.
"This is what needs to be done," Williamson said of the group's efforts, before turning his attention to the recent Read-In.
"It went over fantastically," he said. "It was so neat to have someone other than teachers and aides on campus reading to students."
The service organization has also adopted Lincoln Technical Academy and its members are on call for as-needed voluntary services. Among those have been paying for buses to take students to visit vocational sites or arranging for a speaker from a specific trade to visit the school.
"We're trying to say, 'Just don't quit. If you don't want to go to college, there are other options,'" Williamson said.
For the first time, the club is sponsoring a $1,500 vocational scholarship for a student who might not be headed to a trade school or two-year degree at a community college rather than a four-year university.
Williamson, who retired in 2000 after 35 years with the city, got involved with Partners in Education early on. He chairs the Lodi-Tokay Rotary Club's vocational services committee. The group was among the first to begin to discussing PIE with Chamber of Commerce president Pat Patrick last year.
But Williamson has always had a place for Lodi's young people in his heart. He helped develop Peterson and Katzakian parks, coached baseball, organized basketball programs and helped form the first six-team youth football program.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.