SOAR! Carries out The Dictionary Project

As part of the national project, Washington County SOAR! recently carried out The Dictionary Project, distributing free dictionaries to every third grader in the county. Pictured here are third graders from Mrs. Ellis’ class at East Washington Elementary and SOAR! board member, Alice Nevels.  The program was financed by sponsors from the community.

To most adults a dictionary is nothing to get excited about.  That is not the case when Washington County SOAR! visited all the third grade classrooms in the county to distribute free dictionaries to each student.

As part of the National Dictionary Project, SOAR! requested sponsors from the community to help purchase the dictionaries….all 350!  Representatives of SOAR! then visited each classroom and presented a short dictionary lesson.  Aside from teaching the basics of the dictionary, the representatives also helped the students explore the other features that make these dictionaries special.

The front of the book is dedicated to definitions, traditional words, and pronunciations; the back of the book is more of an almanac.  The representatives show the students how to use the multiplication table and look up a map of the world as well as a map out of this world.  The students discover the longest word in the English language, which is the students’ favorite part of the lesson.

This year, SOAR! representatives were made up of tutors, volunteers and a board member.  Representatives were tutors Anita Sturgeon, Ken Powell, and Stephanie Martin, volunteer, Stephanie Rockey and board member, Alice Nevels.  All five assisted SOAR! staff with The Dictionary Project, which took three days to complete.  SOAR! would also like to thank our sponsors for purchasing the dictionaries. Sponsors were Anne & Norman Terrell, Barbara Collins, Bob & Evelyn Holler, Eva Warren-Hill, Fox & Kristy Purlee, Fredericksburg Lions Club, Lincoln Hills, Roland & Anita Sturgeon, Salem Barber Shop, Salem Crossings, Salem Exchange Club, Salem Lions Club, Salem True Value, Sherry & Jerry Hammond, Washington County Prevent Child Abuse, and the Washington County Substance Abuse Council.

For some students this is the only book they may own and this is a fun way to promote literacy.  The Dictionary Project along with Put Your Nose In A Book are components of the family literacy program of SOAR!
For more information on The Dictionary Project or Washington County SOAR!, call 896-1515 or email SOAR! at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . You can also visit SOAR! on Facebook or on the web at Washington County SOAR! is a not-for-profit organization serving the literacy needs of Washington County.

Approximately $2,000 raised at SOAR! Scenic Scavenger Tour

Approximately $2,000 was raised for the Eddie Gilstrap Motors’ Scenic Scavenger Tour fundraiser to benefit Washington County SOAR! Adult & Family Literacy program on Saturday, October 12, 2013.  Eighteen teams participated in the event.

The Tour covered 57 miles of country roads in the southwest corridor of the county, highlighting some of the lesser seen areas of Washington County and calling attention to such things as Beck’s Mill, churches, old bridges, small town stores, and numerous historical points of interest.

Richard Deaton, promoter, also stepped up to offer the Salem Speedway as the start/finish location for the Tour for the second year.  All participants of the Tour were given the unique opportunity to take three laps around the nationally-respected race track prior to the start of the Tour.

“This truly was the highlight of the day,” participant Stephanie Martin said.  “It was so fun and exciting to go around the track, even though my driver, Erica Schmidt would not go very fast.”

“Richard told all the drivers that it would feel as though the vehicles might flip over if we got too close to the outer walls, and, believe me, folks, it really feels like you might just do that,” Nancy Grossman, SOAR! Board member and participant, said.

“We had a lot more participants with kids this year and they loved going around the track,” SOAR! Director Erica Schmidt said.  “It was fun to watch the kids’ reactions.  They had their hands up in the air like they were going on a roller coaster. I think everyone, kid, or not, had a great time taking laps on the track,” Schmidt continued.

Numerous teams enjoyed the Tour and scenic drive through the southwestern parts of the county.  Fall foliage and a gorgeous sunny day made for a beautiful drive.


Washington County SOAR! represents Indiana as one of 51 Finalists in the Running to Earn $10,000 in Funding!

Washington County SOAR! has been selected as the only finalist from Indiana in the fifth annual Tom’s of Maine “50 States for Good” community giving program and now has a chance to win $10,000 to grow important community projects and services that will help give the gift of reading to adults in Washington County. Through a public vote once a day at now through October 15, supporters can help bring the funding to Washington County with the simple click of a mouse.

The “50 States for Good” program seeks to uncover local nonprofit groups that address community needs and engage volunteers to get the work done. Washington County SOAR’s adult and family literacy program creates life-long readers by enhancing reading levels, reading related self-confidence, employment and/or successful completion of the GED. The SOAR! staff has seen in the past that, with increases in reading skills, self-confidence and self-esteem grow.