Kylar Greene, a student at Kingswood Elementary School, was excited to find his favorite books in the media center and share his love of reading with Mariah Peaster and Joe Campoamor.

Representatives from the Rotary Club of Brandon recently helped kick off the 2023-24 school year at Kingswood Elementary School with lunch and a surprise announcement for the teachers and staff. Rotarians Mariah Peaster, Joe Campoamor III and Debbie Meegan shared with the teachers that together with the Rotary Club of Brandon ’86, they had purchased 110 new books for their Sunshine State Young Readers Awards (SSYRA) program.

The SSYRA program is a statewide reading motivational program for third through eighth grade students aimed at improving literacy and the love of reading with fun books. 

Principal Carmen Sheffield and media specialist Mia Small both expressed how grateful they are for the new library additions and are looking forward to receiving the new shipment in the upcoming weeks.

Basic education and literacy are one of the seven areas of focus for Rotary, so partnering with Kingswood Elementary to enhance its SSYRA program was a natural fit. 

While the teachers and staff enjoyed a lunch of pizza, salad and desserts, the Rotarians were able to share information about Rotary’s worldwide organization of over 1.4 million Rotarians and their commitment to “doing good in the world.” Rotary’s other six areas of focus include peace and conflict resolution; disease prevention and treatment; maternal and child health; clean water, hygiene and sanitation; community economic development; and the environment. 

This literacy project was especially important to Peaster.

“I have always loved to read. Growing up, one of my favorite places to spend time was our local library. This is why I’m so grateful to be a part of a club that truly cares about our local community and wants to ensure our children have the best books to grow their knowledge and imagination,” explained Peaster.

While at the school, the staff and teachers shared with the Rotarians suggestions for other projects, like garden boxes to help students learn about plants and our environment. Rotarians from both clubs are looking forward to embracing the neighborhood schools, planting seeds of friendship and knowledge for our future generations and watching as they blossom and grow.

For more information on the Rotary Club of Brandon and the Rotary Club of Brandon ’86, visit and

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