Montclair Rotary Marks 18 Years Donating Dictionaries
To Third Graders at Local Elementary Schools
Georgia “Dictionary Peach” Brown has coordinated the Montclair Rotary Club’s Dictionary Project since 2004. Annually, the club provides student dictionaries to kids in Montclair’s elementary schools. Brown is shown outside the Watchung Elementary School after dropping off cartons of dictionaries for third and fourth grade students.
Photo by Bob Rinklin for the Montclair Rotary Club
Georgia “Dictionary Peach” Brown Has Led Annual Effort that Brought 15,500 Books to Pupils
The Montclair Rotary Club has helped a generation of elementary school students in Montclair and Verona get a jump start in building their vocabulary. Over the past 18 years the club, which serves both communities, donated more than 15,500 student dictionaries to third-grade students in each school district. The first groups of students to receive their dictionaries have graduated from high school and finished college.
Montclair Rotarian Georgia “Dictionary Peach” Brown brought The Dictionary Project to the two communities in 2004 and has coordinated the effort the entire time. Annually, Ms. Brown and volunteers from the club distribute student dictionaries to pupils at 15 private, parochial, and public elementary schools in Montclair and Verona. This winter and spring, Ms. Brown and the club’s team delivered a total of 1,401 dictionaries to third and fourth graders in both communities.
Students at these schools received dictionaries this year:
Montclair:                                                                  Verona:
Bradford Elementary School                                      Brookdale Avenue School                 
Charles H. Bullock School                                          Forest Avenue School
Edgemont Montessori Elementary School                 Laning Avenue School
Hillside Elementary School                                         Our Lady of the Lake School
Lacordaire Academy                                                  Spectrum360 School
Montclair Cooperative School                                    F.N. Brown School.
Northeast Elementary School
St. Cassian Elementary School
Watchung Elementary School 
Rotarian Georgia “Dictionary Peach” Brown with Principal James Carlo of the Our Lady of the Lake School in Verona. The Montclair Rotary Club, which serves both Verona and Montclair, has provided over 15,500 student dictionaries to elementary school pupils since 2004.
Photo by Bob Rinklin for the Montclair Rotary Club
Ms. Brown’s enthusiasm for the project earned her the nickname “Dictionary Peach,” a reference to her home state of Georgia.
The Montclair Rotary Foundation and Rotary District 7475 Foundation, both nonprofits, plus donations from individuals have funded the purchase of dictionaries. The total expenditure for the books exceeds $60,000.
Pandemic Disrupts Dictionary Distribution
Typically, the Rotary club gives dictionaries to third graders. But when the COVID pandemic disrupted
that schedule during 2020 and 2021, Ms. Brown decided to expand the project this year to include fourth grade classes in the dictionary distribution.
Longest Word in the English Language
The soft-bound books have more than 370 pages of words and definitions plus maps, biographies of U.S. presidents and information about America’s states and nations of the world. In the past, Ms. Brown brought dictionaries to each classroom and encouraged to lookup a word each day. She showed students that the dictionaries included the longest word in the English language, which has more than 1900 letters.
Ms. Brown said, “I was a natural choice to chair The Dictionary Project committee because I have always loved words. And I am a curious person and good dictionaries have thousands of words plus an abundance of useful information.”
The late Robert Pityo, a longtime member of the Cedar Grove Rotary Club, mentored Ms. Brown in the dictionary project. Brown embraced the project because she believes that learning is a lifetime habit. Dictionaries, she added, are tools people can always use.
During a recent dictionary delivery to Verona’s Lanning Avenue School, Principal Howard Freund said, “I am grateful for the opportunity to give our third and fourth graders their own dictionaries. They hold the dictionary in their hands and flip through pages filled with thousands of words. Students get to discover different words and find out what they mean.”
Rotarian Georgia “Dictionary Peach” Brown with Principal Howard Freund of Verona’s Laning Avenue School. The Rotary Club, which serves Montclair and Verona, has provided a generation of elementary school students with dictionaries that help pupils build better vocabularies.
Photo by Bob Rinklin for the Montclair Rotary Club
Marking the End of an Era
Ms. Brown, who is retired from U.S. Postal Service’s office in Montclair, is completing her last year as chairperson of the annual dictionary project. She said, “I have wonderful memories meeting and speaking with students at each of the local schools. When I hand the dictionary to students, I often see a sparkle of gratitude in their eyes and that makes all the effort worthwhile.”
About the Rotary Club of Montclair 
The Rotary Club is marking its 100th Anniversary year in 2022. The club that serves the communities of Montclair and Verona by supporting not-for-profit organizations, schools, and community groups. Rotarians volunteer their time and contribute resources to aid local hunger-relief and food insecurity programs, affordable housing efforts, the local animal shelter, and programs for veterans and the elderly. Members also sponsor community service projects. For more information about the Rotary, which meets each Tuesday at 12:15 p.m., contact Club President Paul Metcalfe by email at The club currently alternates between virtual meetings and in-person sessions held at the Greek Taverna Restaurant in Montclair.

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Montclair Rotary Club Installs A New Member
Rotarian Jessica Egenasi recently received the Montclair Rotary Club banner during the new member induction ceremonies. Shown in the photo from left to right are Rotarian Jessica Egenasi, CPA, Rotarian Linda Cranston, who is the new member’s sponsor, and Rotary Club President Paul Metcalfe. Montclair Rotary Club meets weekly for in-person sessions on the first and third Tuesdays at 12:15 pm at Greek Taverna Restaurant, 292 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair, N.J. The club holds virtual meetings via Zoom on the second and fourth Tuesdays.
Photo by the Montclair Rotary Club  
The Montclair Rotary Club serves the communities of Montclair and Verona, New Jersey. 
Our members make significant contributions to the community through their unique skills, talents, expertise and interests. Annual fundraisers, including the Taste of Montclair, enable the Montclair Rotary Club to offer charitable assistance to organizations in need and to perform numerous service projects that enhance the quality of life in the Montclair area. In its leadership role as a service organization, the Montclair Rotary Club extends membership to people who voluntarily and willingly dedicate themselves to the ideals of Rotary International, and a commitment to "Service Above Self". The Montclair Rotary Club is focused on helping those within our communities as well as supporting projects that are global in scope. If you are a person who recognizes that giving is more rewarding than receiving, then you already have the Rotary spirit! Contact us at or at P.O. Box 1746, Montclair NJ 07042 to learn how you can apply for membership. 
To download our MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION in WORD format, go to the "CONTACT THE MONTCLAIR ROTARY CLUB" section on the left of our home page and click MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION.
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                          PO Box 1746
                          Montclair, NJ 07042


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Voice of Our Child Founder Speaks To Montclair Rotary
Caroline Verkaik PhD, Co-Founder and CEO of Voice of Our Child
Rotarian Caroline Verkaik
Takes Teens on Humanitarian Trips To Kenya
that Builds Self Confidence and Serves Local Villages
Nonprofit ‘Voice of ‘Our Child’ Raising Funds for Young People Suffering With Chronic Depression
By Bob Rinklin, Montclair Rotary Club
Caroline Verkaik, Ph.D., is the founder and CEO of the not-for-profit Voice of Our Child, which serves teens and young adults battling chronic depression. Verkaik, who also launched WaterGap – Africa Safaris, discussed the nonprofit’s mission and the tour company’s journeys to Kenya at a recent virtual presentation to the Montclair Rotary Club.
By linking the nonprofit’s mission and her expertise in running safaris to Africa, Verkaik developed an innovative program. American teenagers, some who suffer with depression, go on a humanitarian journey to Kenya, Verkaik’s homeland, where they assist people in local villages. The visitors arrive with school supplies for children and items essential for families.
Harsh Life for Kenya’s Young People
In Kenya, the American teens have a rare opportunity to meet other teens who struggle with day-to-day living in a developing country. The Kenyans face daily food insecurity, lack of clean water and few, if any, books, notebooks or pens and pencils. The visitors are exposed to the huge lifestyle gaps between themselves and the Kenyans who typically make do with just one set of clothes and often no footwear.
Verkaik, who has a doctorate in social work, said, “The trip produces positive changes in our teens, who often give the Kenyans their sneakers, clothes and more. The America kids develop more self-confidence, self-reliance and a positive view of their lives. Parents are amazed at the changes and hardly recognize their kids when they arrive home.”
The Voice of Our Child plans to expand the number of humanitarian trips and is actively fundraising to offer travel scholarships to teens.
Verkaik said, “I’m honored to talk with Rotarians because they are a group of people who truly are about others.” The Kinnelon resident was just inducted into the Pequannock Valley Rotary Club.
Voice of the Child is a mentorship program that is committed to reducing the rate of depression and the occurrence of suicide among children, teens and young adults. Verkaik was energized to form the nonprofit after having failed to detect the signs that her eldest daughter had suffered with bouts of severe depression. Her husband, David, has also struggled with anxiety for years
Voice of Our Child (VOOC) is an international foundation that helps young people maintain humanity’s greatest resource, their minds.
Hosts Virtual Summit Every Saturday
The nonprofit also hosts a weekly video meeting for teens, young adults and their families in the United States and around the world. Each Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. (EDT), the organization hosts and moderates a global Zoom session. Callers share insights, feelings and strategies for living with, and ultimately working through, their depression and other obstacles.
Verkaik emigrated from Kenya to America in 1995. Her first job was a lab analyst at Kodak. She also competed in Mrs.World pageants and was selected third and fourth runner-up, and earned three Mrs.Kenya World titles. In 2016 was named among top 50 women business leaders during a meeting attended by 3,000 women executives from across the globe.
She also earned a 2019 citation from the legislature in Pennsylvania for most influential person of the year,
Rotarians may learn more about Voice of our Child by visiting the website and donations may be made to the non-profit through the website.
For more details about trips available from WaterGap-Africa Safaris go to
New Club Officers Installed July 2021

Montclair Rotary Club Sets Goal of Donating $10K To Local Nonprofits during its Centennial Anniversary Year

Rotarians Look Ahead to Making New Friends, Raising Funds and Serving the Community

The Rotary Club of Montclair is marking its 100th year of service to the community by setting a big challenge.

The clubs plans to donate $10,000 to local not-for-profit organizations based in its service area of Montclair and Verona. Newly-installed club president Paul Metcalfe said the club will be scheduling a series of fundraisers during the year ahead to help reach its goal.

The club and its nonprofit foundation, over the last century, has donated a total of more than $1 million (in today’s dollars) to help local groups.

“We are re-energizing our club,” Metcalfe explained, “by adding new members, raising more funds to make donations and building alliances with community-based groups. We’re looking to make a positive difference by working with nonprofits that are serving individuals and families who need a helping hand.”

The club recently introduced its leadership team that will serve from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022. Along with Metcalfe, the Rotarians leading the group during its centennial year include:

· Lawrence Bogar, vice president

· James Stefanile, secretary

· Pauline Davis, treasurer

· Georgia Brown, immediate past president.

The club also named three new directors: Dalton Chandler, Linda Cranston and Bob Rinklin.

Three local Rotarians received the Paul Harris Fellow Awards for outstanding service during the past year.

· Linda Cranston was cited for recruiting and scheduling weekly speakers including local officials, business owners, directors of not-for-profits, educators, ministers, historians and physicians.

· Pauline Davis was recognized for managing the club’s finances.

· James Stefanile was honored for organizing and coordinating the virtual meetings and informing members and guests about speakers.

Past President Georgia Brown was recognized for her service over the past year and she received a plaque with a ceremonial gavel. The club also welcomed the new Rotary District 7475 Governor Shelby Rhodes who reminded members that the international organization’s theme for the coming year is “Serve to Change Lives.”

“Our clubs were hit hard by the pandemic,” Rhodes said, “and now we’re embracing change, moving ahead and finding opportunities to do great work. We have a mission to be a positive force in our communities here at home and around the world.”

Metcalfe, who first joined the club in 1982, has served as president twice before. He said, the Montclair Club joined the Rotary International organization in May 1, 2022, with 21 founding members. Merton L. Beebe was the club’s first president, and he served as the General Secretary of the Montclair YMCA.

About the Rotary Club of Montclair

The Rotary Club serves the communities of Montclair and Verona. Rotarians volunteer their time and contribute resources to assist local, regional and international not-for-profit organizations. Annually, the club distributes dictionaries to third-graders attending schools in Montclair and Verona. In addition, the club contributes to Montclair hunger-relief programs including Toni’s Kitchen, Human Needs for Pantry and Salvation Army Montclair Citadel. Members also sponsor community service projects. For more information about the Rotary, which meets each Tuesday at 12:15 p.m., contact Club President Paul Metcalfe at The club currently alternates between vonline meetings and in-person sessions at the Greek Taverna Restaurant.


The new and returning Montclair Rotary Club officers are seen with District Governor Shelby Rhodes (far left).  Left to right are Linda Cranston,

The new & returning Montclair Club officers and committee chairs are shown with District Governor Shelby Rhodes (far left).  Left to right are Linda Cranston, Club Activity Chair, James Stefanile, Club Secretary, Pauline Davis, Club Treasurer, Laurence Bogar, Club Vice President, Dalton Chandler, Membership Chair and Paul Metcalf, Club President.


Club President Paul Metcalf (far left) is with District Governor Shelby Rhodes (far right) and the 3 Paul Harris Fellow honorees: Linda Cranston, left, Pauline Davis, center and Jim Stefanile, right.


Past Club President Georgia Brown, seated, is awarded a plaque in appreciation for her contribution to the Montclair Rotary and the District. Seen here with Montclair Rotary Club President Paul Metcalf, left and District Governor Shelby Rhodes, right.

The Montclair Rotary Club Reaches Out With Help To Africa
Solar lights in Maasailand
Shown are some of the solar lights that members of the Montclair Rotary Club provided to the tribal people the club helps in Kenya through the efforts of the activists Avery and Paul Mantell.
The lights have totally ended incursions by hyenas and lions in the dead of night, making everyone in the village feel more secure.
Thanks to the generosity of Rotarians Laurence Bogar and Linda Cranston, the lights truly have improved the villagers lives by solving a long term problem!
If you'd also like to help the people of Maasailand, please visit
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We meet Tuesdays at 12:15 PM
Greek Taverna
292 Bloomfield Ave.
Montclair, NJ  07042
United States


May 2022


Vice President
Director - Foundation
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