A neighborhood group that initiates, facilitates, and supports a variety of opportunities for citizens to become involved in positive community action – now focusing on Dictionary Day.

Coming Together, Working Together, Making A Difference

Volunteering For Oakland (VFO) is now focused on our Dictionary Day project. Third grade is the target year for growing literacy. Literacy encompasses more than just words, language and usage. The Student’s Dictionary/Gazetteer we give to Oakland third graders is a general Reference Book that enhances literacy in the broader sense, with over 150 pages of supplemental information. Key features include the Constitution of the United States, the Declaration of Independence, brief biographies of all U.S. Presidents, World Maps, the Multiplication Table, information about the Continents, all 50 States, Countries of the World, and the Planets in our Solar System.

VFO is committed to continuing our mission of serving students in under-resourced schools where many children have fallen further behind because of the pandemic. VFO volunteers are looking forward to resuming in-person Dictionary Day presentations to OUSD third grade students in the 2022-2023 academic year and VFO looks forward to bringing dictionary distribution levels to pre-pandemic levels in the coming years!

Even though there were restrictions during the 2020-2021 school year due to the pandemic, VFO was able to distribute 1,470 dictionaries and scavenger hunts to third graders, many of whom are students in under-resourced schools. We could not have accomplished this without the dedicated efforts and enthusiastic support of Curtiss Sarikey, OUSD Chief of Staff to the Superintendent, and his staff, to whom we are very grateful. Nearly 700 dictionaries and scavenger hunts were distributed to 11 schools in the 2021-2022 academic year, as schools transitioned to in-person teaching.

During the 2019-2020 academic year, we reached 28 schools through March 11, 2020, after which schools were closed as part of the state-wide shut-down. During that time, VFO volunteers made presentations to 1,720 students in 65 third grade classes. In previous academic years (2018-2019 and 2019-2020), VFO made Dictionary Day presentations to 2,328 third graders at 36 schools, and 2,106 third graders at 31 schools, respectively.

We welcome regular or occasional volunteers to assist with classroom visits during the school year. If interested, please contact Adele@volforoak.org.

See What We Do for more information on Dictionary Day, including testimonials.

Please consider a modest donation to allow us to expand our existing programs and implement new ones. Click here to donate.