The Kiwanis Club of Greater Pine Island launched its "World Atlas Project" last week at Pine Island Elementary School by presenting all 4th graders with a world atlas.
"This is part of a larger effort that was started in 2008 by the Fort Myers Kiwanis Club," Denny Sharma, past president, said. "As you know, Kiwanis focuses on the children. Some clubs give away dictionaries so we decided to give away atlases. We started with a very small atlas the first year and each year improved until we have this atlas; the Children's World Atlas."
Tonya Player, Pine Island Kiwanis Club president, opened the event.
"I'm really pleased to be here today," she said. "I would like you to know that we here at the Pine Island Kiwanis do a number of things here for Pine Island residents. Every year we host the Fall Festival Party, we also host the Junior Olympics, give scholarships and we are a major sponsor of the Beacon of HOPE SAS Program. This is our very first year that we are giving the 4th graders at Pine Island Elementary School this world atlas."
The book is 130 pages that takes students on a journey from the deserts of the Sahara to the ice caps of Antarctica. It is filled with hundreds of stunning photographs showing the richness of our world and more than 100 maps that bring the countries of the world to life.
"Kids, we started this project five years ago, and Pine Island is the third school to receive these atlases," Denny Sharma, past president, Fort Myers Kiwanis Club said. "And that's because of the Pine Island Kiwanis Club. They tell me their plan is to donate these atlases to the 4th grade class every year."
"Learning about people and other countries has become an important part of the educational process. It is important to study geography so that you understand the world. And when you study geography you learn where other countries are and something about other people," Sharma said.
After the atlases were presented Principal Rob Mazzoli asked the students, "What do we say?" The response - a huge "thank you" from the students.
"I cant even begin to express our appreciation for this wonderful gift to our students," Mazzoli said. I don't know if you noticed, but after each student received their atlas and went back to sit down, each student immediately opened their book and began sharing pictures and maps with the student sitting next to them. That's a tremendous gift and we all appreciate everything you do for our school and our community."
"It's all about the children, Sharma said. "You know when Mr. Mazzoli was talking about the students opening their books and showing pictures and maps to fellow students, that's a very touching moment. We at Kiwanis call that a 'Kiwanis Moment.'"