Rotaract Club Read to Succeed Book Drive

Brett Kolles and Natasha Grad

More than 400 books donated to NorthStar Regional Men’s Inpatient Treatment Center

Brett Kolles

The Rotaract Club at Dakota County Technical College recently participated in the Rotary District 5950 Year of Service Read to Succeed program, which included a two-week, book-collection challenge focused on education and literacy.

“Our DCTC Rotaract Club embraced this book challenge with alacrity,” said Brett Kolles, who serves as a DCTC English instructor and the student club’s faculty advisor. “This endeavor was a natural fit for a college like ours. Our members were fully engaged and collected four hundred and five books and forty DVDs. We donated the books and DVDs to the NorthStar Regional Men’s Inpatient Treatment Center in Shakopee, Minnesota.”

Brett reported that the DCTC Library was a major contributor of textbooks and other educational resources thanks to the assistance of Michael Kirby, head librarian.

“These books had already been withdrawn from our collection, so it was really Natasha Grad, our Rotaract Club’s president, whose leadership and coordination with the library made our donation possible,” Michael said. “I’m always happy to see books going to people who can use them.”

Brett added that Natasha also contacted college faculty members, inviting them to get involved and donate books they were no longer using in their classrooms. Book vendors routinely encourage students to purchase newer edition textbooks when possible.

“NorthStar proved to be an ideal recipient for our book donation,” Brett said. “When approached by Cody Hall, our Rotaract Club’s public image director and Auto Body Collision Technology major, NorthStar was extremely appreciative of the donation. Technical education textbooks are particularly helpful for individuals seeking a better path in life.”

Brett noted that the Read to Succeed Book Drive featured many positive aspects.

“The challenge rallied our Rotaract Club student members along with faculty, staff, and fellow students, the latter donating used books that oftentimes end up as recycled material,” he said. “The challenge also provided creative problem-solving opportunities linked to book collection and distribution, communication, and connecting with contacts. Very importantly, our donation helped recipients obtain hope, encouragement, and support for renewing their lives. The challenge truly supports the Rotarian project credo: ‘Create Hope in the World.'”

The items collected during the Read to Succeed Book Drive were delivered to NorthStar January 19, 2024.

“DCTC Rotaract Club President Natasha Grad, Vice-President Bailey Humphries-Gustafson, and I loaded our vehicles together and enjoyed the camaraderie of knowing we were helping others improve their lives,” Brett said. “Rotaract is a very active club that has promised to hold one community event per month. Recently, the club has been volunteering at Loaves & Fishes, Habitat for Humanity, Beer & Blankets, and  Feed My Starving Children while conducting a host of smaller activities.”

Rotaract Club president perspective: Natasha Grad

Natasha Grad

Age: 29
Hometown: Eagan, Minnesota
Major and degree earning at DCTC: Completed Professional Photography A.A.S. and Small Business Entrepreneur certificate; completing Digital Marketing Specialist A.A.S. with plans to graduate spring 2024
Extracurricular activities at DCTC: Student Senate campus liaison, Rotaract Club president, Phi Theta Kappa social media manager, BPA Minnesota State Chapter president, Student ambassador, DCTC Alumni Board member
Transfer plans: Plans on taking a short break on her education with the goal to earn a bachelor’s degree at a Minnesota State college in the future
Career plans: Become an entrepreneur and start her own photography business

“The Rotaract Club at DCTC is a great way to volunteer and make an impactful change within your school and community. My year of service as Rotaract president has been nothing short of amazing! I have been able to help plan countless volunteer opportunities for my fellow classmates.

“Each month, we host a variety of different service projects, from helping our community combat food insecurities to providing donations to those in need to assisting in building better living situations through organizations like Habitat for Humanity.

“This year’s book drive was held in unison with our sponsor, Rotary Club of Apple Valley, along with all of Rotary as a whole. Our club wanted to help make an impact through education—and with the help of Dakota County Technical College, we donated more than four hundred books to a local rehabilitation center.

“It’s been an absolute joy for our club to be able to help create a foundation for those bettering their lives and looking to pursue a technical education.”

Natasha Grad
Photography and Business Entrepreneurship Major
Rotaract Club President
Dakota County Technical College

Rotaract Club public image director perspective: Cody Hall

Cody Hall

Age: 31
Hometown: Farmington, Minnesota
Major and degree earning at DCTC: Auto Body Collision Technology A.A.S.
Extracurricular activities at DCTC: Rotaract Club
Career plans: Plans on starting working in the auto body industry over the summer

“Prior to my enrollment of my first semester at school, I was going through some tough times. When I started at DCTC, I really wanted to find a way to give back to the community, so I asked someone at the Student Life Center about the various clubs at DCTC.

“That’s when I learned about Rotaract Club. They do a wide variety of things for the community on and off campus, so I signed up—and I’m glad I did. It feels good to help people and give back.”

Cody Hall
Auto Body Collision Technology Major
Rotaract Club Public Image Director
Dakota County Technical College

More about Rotaract Club at DCTC…

Rotaract is a club for students who volunteer as a team, plan activities and projects, motivate, inspire, and socialize. Rotaract is a division of Rotary International.

Rotaract Club core goals:
  • Serve the community
  • Create professional development opportunities for students
  • Network with our Rotary Clubs by inviting speakers and mentors
  • Be part of an international network of young leaders
  • Most importantly, have fun!

The DCTC Rotaract Club elects a student board of directors each year. The board decides how to organize and run the club along with selecting what projects and activities to carry out. Elections are held at the start of fall semester, and director terms end with the end of each school year.

Read the DCTC Rotaract Club blog.

Learn more about Rotaract Club at DCTC by contacting:

Brett Kolles
English Faculty
Rotaract Club Faculty Co-Advisor
Dakota County Technical College

Jill Frahm
History Faculty
Rotaract Club Faculty Co-Advisor
Dakota County Technical College