By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — Empowerment. That’s the main objective behind Councilwoman Lisa Hicks-Clayton’s dictionary donation to third-graders in the Crestwood, District 7 and Westwood school districts.
In partnership with Warm Hearts Founder Carol Sharp, Hicks-Clayton provided the 600 dictionaries to third-graders at Highview, Kinloch, Bedford, Pardee, Polk and Daly elementary schools in mid-December. Hillcrest Elementary School did not respond to participate.
“Dictionaries are part of the third-grade curriculum, so students begin using them for class work at the schools in our districts,” Hicks-Clayton said.
Assemblies were held on Dec. 17 and 18 to not only give students the dictionaries, but they were taught how to look up words, how many words are inside the dictionary and given a sheet of encouraging words to search.
“We wanted to stress the power of word empowerment to show students they can be whatever they want to be if they invest and work hard,” Hicks-Clayton said.
The dictionary project was put together in one week after an anonymous Westland resident who knew of Hicks-Clayton’s work with the Kiwanis Club of Dearborn Heights and Student Leadership Programs reached out to Sharp.
Sharp called Hicks-Clayton, who was told about the items Sharp had and a plan was devised. Sharp had extra dictionaries after obtaining them with a voucher while volunteering at a Scholastic Book Fair warehouse sale.
“We’re planning to make the dictionary project an annual project along with our pantry food drive and brown paper bag projects as part of the Dearborn Heights Youth Leadership Programs,” Hicks-Clayton said.
The non-profit Warm Hearts is led by Sharp; her group of volunteers collect donations to host their baby showers where mothers are provided with resources and knowledge during workshops.
During the showers guest speakers provide advice and education on various topics while the organization donates gently used baby equipment.
For more information on the Dearborn Heights Youth Leadership Programs call Hicks-Clayton at 313-348-9848. To donate to Warm Hearts call 734-674-8680.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)