For those of you who didn't have fun Sunday night, sorry--you must not have been at the 2017 Holiday Party!  Once again the Holiday Elves (aka. Sunshine Committee) outdid themselves and transformed the basement at the Elk's Lodge into a Winter Wonderland and Smorgasbord!  Here are some pictures to show you what I mean!
The Elves
2017 Holiday Party 2017-12-12 09:00:00Z 0

Thanks to our fabulous Sunshine Committee (Lorna, Dee, Susie and Sherry) for putting on such a wonderful Xmas Party on Sunday!


Thanks to Dennis Weidler for volunteering to be on the Board of Directors for the rest of the 2017-18 year.


We are still in need of a President Elect for 2018-19 whose term would begin in July of 2019.


Don't forget there are no meetings December 21 & 28 See you next year on January 4th!


There will be a Rotary Board Meeting on December 26 at 5:15 at the CACS headquarters building.





Shelter Box Needs a Ride
Our club borrowed the Shelter Box for use at our Health Fair.  The Shelter Box director in Anchorage now needs it back.
I am in need of someone to transport it to Anchorage in the next 30 days.  There are is one large box and two smaller
ones, so a pickup or SUV would be required.  Please call me at 299-3973 if you can assist.
Cranium Cup Fundraiser Help Needed

Tom Early and the Fundraising Committee have been working hard to pull together the basics for our first ever Homer Kachemak Bay Cranium Cup Trivia Contest!  We are getting really excited and think it's going to be a great event but we need your help to finalize the plans and make it all happen!


Here are the basics:

Alice’s at 6:00 PM, Saturday February 10, 2018


We need a few committees to pull the details together and to make things run smoothly on the night of the event.  Here are the committees we need to have filled - see if there is a spot you might like to fill - it's going to be a fun night!


a.      Publicity

b.     Team Composition –help to determine entry fees, team size, maximum number of teams, prizes, etc. (we have templates and examples to refer to)

c.     Silent Auction Crew: Help solicit donations, setup and manage a silent auction to happen at the same time

d.      Stage and tables setup and arrangement – coordination with Alice’s

e.      Sound system and computer/video set up

f.       Trivia categories and questions (we have ordered a package of questions and categories - we just have to narrow it down to the best 6 categories!)

g.     Trivia power point setup

h.     Master of Ceremonies (MC) - Gary Thomas

i.       Crew to hand out and collect answer sheets and act as sergeants-at arms

j.       Timers, judges and scorers

k.     Cashier and fund collection

We will have a sign up sheet to be passed around at the meeting on Thursday - and a brief meeting afterwards to discuss any needs and answer questions.  Please let me know if you would like to help out in some way!



Time to Sign Up for the 2018 Rotary International Convention in Toronto

I suggest you get yourself an early present this year and register for the 2018 RI Convention in Toronto.  The Dates are June 23-27, 2018.  I attended my 1st International Convention last year in Atlanta.  I expected a Great Time, Great Speakers, meeting Great new People and validating how Great it is to be a Rotarian.  What I found was all of that and much more - by far.  It was an awesome experience!!  Toronto looks to be even better, in a cool city I have not yet been to.


If you haven’t been to the Toronto Promotional Material in Rotary’s Website do it now.  Here is a link on the City of Toronto with a special invitation from Ian Riseley.  Early Bird Sign Up for the convention runs through December 15th (just one more week) at only $335.00 for the convention.  Register here.  There are links on this registration page to hotels in the area, they do fill up as there were over 40,000 Rotarians registered in Atlanta.


It’s a great idea to have multiple members from each club attend so you have someone to share all the new experiences with.  Attending this will bring you back home - Energized!!  


If you have been to an International Convention before you know what a great time is to be had, if you haven’t been before – ‘Trust Me’, you’ll love it.

See you in Toronto, Eh?


Bruce Erickson

Anchorage International Rotary

907-223-0610  or

Speaker Information Needed

If you are one of the lucky members who signed up to recruit a speaker for one of our meetings then please use the link below to add their name, title or topic of the presentation and list any additional people who may be presenting.  The more info the better!


We like to give certificates to everyone who presents - and Craig makes these up a day or two prior to our meeting - so it is important to have the spreadsheet filled out in advance.  I also use this information to plan the agenda for the week - so it is very helpful to have the info complete!


Also - if you have someone who you think would be a good presenter - look at the spreadsheet, see who is responsible for recruiting the speaker and contact them with your idea.


AND - if you aren't in charge of recruiting - but see a speaker who you think would be interesting to a friend or colleague - please invite them and share Rotary and the club experience with them!  It's a great way to recruit new members.  OR invite a member who hasn't been to a meeting for a while and ask them to join you!  It's a great way to retain our members!!


See you on Thursday!

Announcements: December 14, 2017 2017-12-12 09:00:00Z 0
News from Rotary
December 2017
Dear Fellow Rotarians,

Together, we are setting in motion our global effort to help the world better understand who we are: people of action, driven by a desire to strengthen communities, mobilize problem solvers, and find solutions to the tough challenges that affect people around the world.

Starting now, you can visit the Brand Center to download new People of Action templates for social media posts and print ads. You can also download the video public service announcements that debuted at the Atlanta convention, as well as guidelines and tips on using the campaign. Use all of these to tell your own stories about how your club and district are taking action and bringing leaders together to make an impact in your community. 

We are very proud of this new campaign and the opportunity it gives us to tell a consistent, compelling story about what makes Rotarians people of action. In the coming months, we’ll add more resources to the Brand Center. We hope that you take advantage of these materials, because they’ll help you to get the full benefit of the campaign by promoting both your club and Rotary in your community. Join us and bring the People of Action campaign to life by visiting the Brand Center today. The more we build awareness of Rotary, the easier it will be to make an impact in our communities right across the world.

— Ian Riseley
President, Rotary International
News From Rotary 2017-12-12 09:00:00Z 0

Column: A grieving daughter finds comfort in an unexpected source: customer service 

By Barbara Brotman

Death comes with paperwork. There are credit cards to be canceled, bank accounts to be closed, mutual funds to be transferred. When my mother died recently, I set myself to my tasks. Hers was not a tragic or unexpected death; she was 103. Still, we were soul-close. This, I thought as I began, was not going to be pleasant.

But I was wrong. In a way, it was.

I was continually amazed as every single customer service person I spoke with began by expressing condolences. It happened so many times that I started taking notes:

“First, let me say that I am sorry for your loss.” “Before we go on, I am very sorry for your loss.”   “I can help you with that, but first, my condolences for your loss.” And in a particularly heartfelt moment on the phone with Franklin Templeton Investments: “Oh, Barbara, I’m so sorry.”

I was touched. But I was surprised that I was touched. After all, these condolences were surely company-mandated. Financial firms get calls all the time from people settling their late loved ones’ affairs. They would be foolish not to train employees in how to handle them.

No matter; I was still grateful. This wasn’t a conventional financial transaction; this was the closing-down of my mother’s life.

And there, on the other end of the line, someone understood and was sorry. With a single phrase of condolence, whether they were required to say it or simply responding with reflexive kindness, they had established a human connection.

Suddenly I wasn’t speaking to an anonymous voice, but to someone who might have suffered his or her own loss. There on the phone, we were not customer and customer service rep; we were simply two fellow souls on earth.

My friend Suzy Sachs encountered similar thoughtfulness when she went to her brother’s bank after he died last year.

“The poor guy at the bank showed me unbelievable patience and kindness,” she says. “I talked way too much and gave him details he never needed. When we finally finished, he said again how sorry he was for my loss.

“Every time I’ve been in the branch since, he comes up to me, shakes my hand, calls me by my name, and asks how everything is going,” she continues. “In this painful journey, I am often stunned by the kindness of people – strangers and friends. It gives me faith in humanity.”

Mimi Weyrick found that every financial institution, with one notable exception, dealt tenderly with her after her father, former California Lt. Gov. Ed Reinecke, died. 

“Even little things like canceling his subscription to the Orange County Register – people were just so nice and gentle with me,” she says. “It kind of renewed my faith in people. It’s not like his death was unexpected; he was 92. But it was just nice to have somebody say, ‘Hey, I’m really sorry.’”

Such expressions are profoundly important, says Jane Bissler, a grief counselor in Kent, Ohio, and a past president of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. “We want people to acknowledge where we are in life,” she says. “When we’re grieving, we want people to understand that you need to treat us a little bit differently. We don’t have 100 percent of our brain power; we are living a little bit in our heart, and we’re sad or we’re stressed or we’re anxious.”

When someone is kind in that moment, she notes, “We say, ‘OK, this person is going to get it. They’re trying to understand. They’re trying to meet me where I am.’ ”

Early on – before my mother’s death, but well into her dementia – I called the New York Times and the New Yorker to cancel her subscriptions.

Those were my hardest calls. The Times and the New Yorker defined her; they represented her in her full liberal New York Jewish glory. I had kept her subscriptions going for two years after she had lost the ability to read. 

I didn’t want to simply cancel her subscriptions. I wanted to tell someone who she was. 

“I think she’s probably one of your longest-running subscribers,” I told the woman taking my call at the Times. “She’s been reading the Times since the 1930s. She did the crossword puzzle every day, in pen. Including a half-hour after she came out of anesthesia for open-heart surgery at age 94.”

The customer service rep murmured kindly as I cried.

And the New Yorker: “She not only subscribed for decades, but she once had a short humor piece published,” I told the phone staffer. “Oh, that’s wonderful,” the woman said in tones that made me certain she meant it. I smiled proudly through the tears.

Mine were good experiences. But not everyone’s are. That notable exception Mimi Weyrick encountered?

Her father’s private bank ducked her calls so determinedly when she was trying to find out the value of his account that she had to drive there and waylay a banker in person.

“I could not get them on the phone. Nobody would return my call. We literally had to track them down,” she says. “It wasn’t until my brother threatened legal action that they started to work with us.”

And this report from a friend: “Shortly after my dad died, the pain clinic called my mom to ask when she would be returning his pump. This is the morphine pump that was surgically implanted in his stomach to deliver a steady stream of medicine to try to limit his pain. She was taken aback, and she told them it was buried inside of him. The woman paused for a second or two, then wondered, ‘What about the remote device that went with the pump?’” 

My friend Mike Precker, a writer in Dallas, will never forget the aftermath of his father’s death, though it happened in 1974.

“We had literally just gotten back from my dad’s funeral when a fellow from the local bank called to inquire when we would be paying his credit card bills,” he recalls. “Apparently some poor guy’s job was to read the obits and then call the families.”

Mike cut up the credit card and mailed it to the bank with a letter reading, “Dear Sir, I hope that from the tone of this letter you can infer just what you can do with the enclosed card.”

At Franklin Templeton Investments, the firm that was notably kind to me, Bethany Hendricks is vice president of customer service for the subsidiary whose wealth transfer team handles calls after a death. After her own father died, she called a credit card company to close his account.

“I probably got transferred three different times, and each time I had to say my dad died,” she says. “There was no acknowledgment of what that meant. And at one point there was a language barrier, to the point where I had to keep saying, ‘He’s dead.’ ‘He’s dead.’ It was awful.”

Franklin Templeton tells its people to acknowledge a loss and express condolences. But beyond that, the firm deliberately provides no script.

“We want them to be real people,” Hendricks says. “This is probably the time when you have the biggest opportunity to really be good to a person. Our folks fortunately are in the position to be compassionate in that moment and take a little extra time to be human.

“I don’t want to overstate what we do; we’re just a financial services company,” she says. “But I think people are hungry for finding people who are really people, and connecting with them on a very human level.”

The way companies handle those moments can be crucial, says Rima Toure-Tillery, assistant professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. “Any company, anyone that becomes aware of someone else’s loss has to say, ‘I’m sorry for your loss,’” she says. “To most people it wouldn’t seem like they’re doing something extra.”

From a marketing point of view, there are advantages, Toure-Tillery says. All banks offer similar services; warm personal exchanges can be what keeps a customer loyal. But the real impact comes if a company treats a grieving relative poorly. That’s when you get “the nightmare stories,” she says – the ones that make people so angry that they tell them, over and over, for years.

And a bank could lose more than goodwill. Weyrick suspects that her father’s bank was ducking her to keep her from moving his assets elsewhere. In fact, “we would have been happy to leave everything there,” she says. “But it was because of how they treated us in those first few months that we decided to move everything.”

As time passed after my mother’s death, the financial transactions became less fraught. I wasn’t grieving; I was just taking care of business. 

But I never stopped appreciating it when a customer service rep said she was sorry for my loss. Each time, those words turned a transaction into an acknowledgment of our fundamental bond. We are all human, we are all walking the same mortal path, and we can all use a little kindness, even and maybe especially from an unexpected place, to light the way.

• Barbara Brotman is a freelancer and a former writer for the Chicago Tribune. Read more stories from The Rotarian

Comfort From an Unexpected Source 2017-12-11 09:00:00Z 0
Habitat for Humanity and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness join with Rotary to improve lives 
By Sallyann Price
Rotary has added two service partners that offer clubs new ways to collaborate with other organizations and strengthen their projects: Habitat for Humanity and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).
Habitat for Humanity, one of Rotary’s newest service partners, builds homes for families in need, and provides opportunities for hands-on community service.
Photo by Alyce Henson
Rotary members assemble in an Atlanta suburb to receive their work assignments for a home building project with Habitat for Humanity, one of Rotary’s newest service partners.
Photo by Alyce Henson
Randy Schiltz (right) helps put up siding during a Habitat for Humanity home building project. Schiltz owns a construction firm and is a member of the Rotary Club of Alpharetta, Georgia, USA.
Photo by Alyce Henson
Alpharetta Rotarian Glennette Haynes (middle) works alongside a friend of the new homeowner.
Photo by Alyce Henson
Local secondary school students join Rotary members, including Katie Rocco from the Alpharetta club (center), and other volunteers to lend a hand.
Photo by Alyce Henson
Habitat for Humanity has a long history of working with Rotarians and Rotaractors to build the types of low-cost shelters that now qualify for global grant funding, under a recent Board decision. It’s also a natural fit for Rotary’s approach to vocational service, which encourages members to use their professional skills to help others.
When the Rotary Club of Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, participated in a Habitat home building project in the Atlanta area earlier this year, members showed up ready to work and lend their professional expertise. Randy Schiltz, who owns a construction firm, helped the new homeowners pre-drill holes to prepare for installing siding. Interior decorator Glennette Haynes, who works with people in transitional housing, was there to offer advice on furnishing and decorating their homes.
Habitat for Humanity International Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Reckford is a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta. During the 2017 Rotary International Convention there, volunteers gathered on-site to help construct the wood framing for a home.
Our values are so closely aligned, and the desire to help others runs deep in both organizations.
Jonathan Reckford 
Habitat for Humanity International Chief Executive Officer and Rotary Club of Atlanta member
“Often when I speak to Rotary groups and ask how many people have worked on a Habitat project, it’s not uncommon for more than three-quarters of the audience to raise their hands,” Reckford says. “Our values are so closely aligned, and the desire to help others runs deep in both organizations.”
Rotary’s values are also closely aligned with IAPB, a membership organization that brings together government and nongovernmental agencies, academics, and private providers to plan and implement sustainable eye care programs. 
“We seek to encourage both organizations [Rotary and IAPB] to promote greater awareness of the need for eye clinics and blindness prevention activities, to develop projects together, to consult, and to work together with their constituents,” says Peter Kyle, a member of the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill (Washington, D.C.), and Rotary’s Joint Committee on Partnerships.
Rotary is a global organization with members in nearly every community around the world, and the cause of eye health is just as universal. 
Victoria Sheffield 
President and CEO of the International Eye Foundation and vice president of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness
A global grant project in India, one of three pilot projects with IAPB, aims to improve access to eye care in Karol Bagh, a neighborhood in New Delhi, where private eye doctors and facilities are available but unaffordable for many.
Local Rotary clubs worked with the International Eye Foundation, an IAPB member, to raise funds and supply medical equipment for vision screenings and treatment at an eye hospital’s new facility. They also worked to design a social enterprise to sustain the hospital’s charitable outreach programs.
“There is a wonderful opportunity for our networks,” says Victoria Sheffield, president and CEO of the International Eye Foundation and vice president of IAPB. “Rotary is a global organization with members in nearly every community around the world, and the cause of eye health is just as universal. Everyone is affected by eye conditions at some point, whether it’s needing glasses or cataract surgery, or addressing a congenital issue or complications from diabetes. Everyone has two eyes.”
·        Read our press releases about Habitat for Humanity and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness
New Partners Build on Rotary's Strengths 2017-12-11 09:00:00Z 0
This is some very important information, and very timely. Recently one of the subject fire extinguishers discharged itself, and spread a white powder into the owner's house.  The powder MUST be vacuumed up, as it can be quite corrosive, and definitely shortens the life of moving parts as it is also very abrasive.  The extinguishers can self-discharge or not discharge at all!  Please check. Please note that there are several different brand names included in this recall.
Kidde Recalls Fire Extinguishers with Plastic Handles Due to Failure to Discharge and Nozzle Detachment: One Death Reported
Name of product:
Kidde fire extinguishers with plastic handles
The fire extinguishers can become clogged or require excessive force to discharge and can fail to activate during a fire emergency. In addition, the nozzle can detach with enough force to pose an impact hazard.
Recall date:
November 2, 2017
Recall number:
Consumer Contact:
Kidde toll-free at 855-271-0773 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday, or online at and click on “Product Safety Recall” for more information.
Recall Details
In Conjunction With:
This recall involves two styles of Kidde fire extinguishers: plastic handle fire extinguishers and push-button Pindicator fire extinguishers.
Plastic handle fire extinguishers: The recall involves 134 models of Kidde fire extinguishers manufactured between January 1, 1973 and August 15, 2017, including models that were previously recalled in March 2009 and February 2015. The extinguishers were sold in red, white and silver, and are either ABC- or BC-rated. The model number is printed on the fire extinguisher label. For units produced in 2007 and beyond, the date of manufacture is a 10-digit date code printed on the side of the cylinder, near the bottom.  Digits five through nine represent the day and year of manufacture in DDDYY format. Date codes for recalled models manufactured from January 2, 2012 through August 15, 2017 are 00212 through 22717.  For units produced before 2007, a date code is not printed on the fire extinguisher.
Plastic-handle models produced between January 1, 1973 and October 25, 2015
Gillette TPS-1 1A10BC
Sams SM 340
Home 10BC
Sanford 1A10BC
Home 1A10BC
Sanford 2A40BC
Ademco 720 1A10BC
Home 2A40BC
Sanford TPS-1 1A10BC
Ademco 722 2A40BC
Home H-10 10BC
Sanford TPS-1 2A40BC
Home H-110 1A10BC
Sears 2RPS   5BC
All Purpose 2A40BC
Home H-240 2A-40BC
Sears 58033 10BC
Bicentenial RPS-2  10BC
Honeywell 1A10BC
Sears 58043 1A10BC
Bicentenial TPS-2  1A-10BC
Honeywell TPS-1 1A10BC
Sears 5805  2A40BC
Costco 340
J.L. 2A40BC
Sears 958034
FA 340HD
J.L. TPS-1 2A40BC
Sears 958044
Kadet 2RPS-1   5BC
Sears 958054
FC 340Z
Kidde 10BC
Sears 958075
FC Super
Kidde 1A10BC
Sears RPS-1 10BC
Kidde 2A40BC
Sears TPS-1  1A10BC
Fire Away 10BC Spanish
Kidde 40BC
Sears TPS-1 2A40BC
Fire Away 1A10BC Spanish
Kidde RPS-1 10BC
Traveler 10BC
Fire Away 2A40BC Spanish
Kidde RPS-1 40BC
Traveler 1A10BC
Fireaway 10 (F-10)
Kidde TPS-1 1A10BC
Traveler 2A40BC
Fireaway 10BC
Kidde TPS-1 2A40BC
Traveler T-10 10BC
Fireaway 110 (F-110)
KX 2-1/2 TCZ
Traveler T-110 1A10BC
Fireaway 1A10BC
Mariner 10BC
Traveler T-240 2A40BC
Fireaway 240 (F-240)
Mariner 1A10BC
Volunteer 1A10BC
Fireaway 2A40BC
Mariner 2A40BC
Volunteer TPS-V 1A10BC
Force 9 2A40BC
Mariner M-10  10BC
XL 2.5 TCZ
FS 340Z
Mariner M-110 1A10BC
XL 2.5 TCZ-3
Fuller 420  1A10BC
Mariner M-240 2A40BC
XL 2.5 TCZ-4
Fuller Brush 420 1A10BC
Master Protection 2A40BC
XL 2.75 RZ
Montgomery Ward 10BC
XL 2.75 RZ-3
Montgomery Ward 1A-10BC
XL 2-3/4 RZ
Montgomery Ward 8627 1A10BC
XL 340HD
Montgomery Ward 8637  10BC
Quell 10BC
Quell 1A10BC
Quell RPS-1 10BC
XL 5 TCZ-1
Quell TPS-1 1A10BC
Gillette 1A10BC
Quell ZRPS  5BC
Plastic-handle models with date codes between January 2, 2012 and August 15, 2017
Push-button Pindicator fire extinguishers: The recall involves eight models of Kidde Pindicator fire extinguishers manufactured between August 11, 1995 and September 22, 2017. The no-gauge push-button extinguishers were sold in red and white, and with a red or black nozzle. These models were sold primarily for kitchen and personal watercraft applications.
Push Button Pindicator Models manufactured between  August 11, 1995 and September 22, 2017
FF 210D-1
Consumers should immediately contact Kidde to request a free replacement fire extinguisher and for instructions on returning the recalled unit, as it may not work properly in a fire emergency.
Note: This recall includes fire extinguisher models that were previously recalled in March 2009 and February 2015. Kidde branded fire extinguishers included in these previously announced recalls should also be replaced. All affected model numbers are listed in the charts above.
Recall information for fire extinguishers used in RVs and motor vehicles can be found on NHTSA’s website.
The firm is aware of a 2014 death involving a car fire following a crash. Emergency responders could not get the recalled Kidde fire extinguishers to work. There have been approximately 391 reports of failed or limited activation or nozzle detachment, including the fatality, approximately 16 injuries, including smoke inhalation and minor burns, and approximately 91 reports of property damage.
Sold At:
Menards, Montgomery Ward, Sears, The Home Depot, Walmart and other department, home and hardware stores nationwide, and online at, and other online retailers for between $12 and $50 and for about $200 for model XL 5MR. These fire extinguishers were also sold with commercial trucks, recreational vehicles, personal watercraft and boats.
Walter Kidde Portable Equipment Company Inc., of Mebane, N.C.
Manufactured In:
United States and Mexico
About 37.8 million (in addition, 2.7 million in Canada and 6,730 in Mexico)
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to help ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals -– contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury go online to or call CPSC's Hotline at 800-638-2772 or teletypewriter at 301-595-7054 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain news release and recall information at, on Twitter @USCPSC or by subscribing to CPSC's free e-mail newsletters.
IMPORTANT! Fire Extinguisher Recall 2017-12-05 09:00:00Z 0
Some Sad News
We have just received word through Dave Brann that Tamara, wife of Past District Governor Vladimir Donskoy of Irkutsk, Russia, has passed away due to cancer.  Our condolences to him and their family and friends.  During his tenure, Vladimir came to Homer and other Clubs in Alaska, and attended District Conference in Anchorage.  For anyone wishing to contact Vladimir directly, here is his email address < >

Holiday Family Party

New Members Proposed

The Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club Board has approved the proposed Corporate Membership of Geneva Woods, a medical equipment, supplies, and pharmacy services company.  Representing Geneva Woods as members of the Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club will be Ms. Christie Gibbs and Mr. Mike Tivoli.

Per our by-laws the Board solicits comments from the membership NLT December 7, 2017 concerning these prospective members. All comments should be in written form.

Volunteers Needed
The Club needs YOU to step up and put your name forward to run for the position of President-Elect for the 2019-2020 year.  If you are unsure whether, or not, you are qualified, please contact Beth.  There is plenty of training available, and lots of help, to perform one of the most fun and rewarding jobs you'll ever have.
We also need someone to fill out the rest of the year (until June 30, 2018) on the Board of Directors.  Please contact Beth for this one also.

Speaker Information Needed

If you are one of the lucky members who signed up to recruit a speaker for one of our meetings then please use the link below to add their name, title or topic of the presentation and list any additional people who may be presenting.  The more info the better!


We like to give certificates to everyone who presents - and Craig makes these up a day or two prior to our meeting - so it is important to have the spreadsheet filled out in advance.  I also use this information to plan the agenda for the week - so it is very helpful to have the info complete!


Also - if you have someone who you think would be a good presenter - look at the spreadsheet, see who is responsible for recruiting the speaker and contact them with your idea.


AND - if you aren't in charge of recruiting - but see a speaker who you think would be interesting to a friend or colleague - please invite them and share Rotary and the club experience with them!  It's a great way to recruit new members.  OR invite a member who hasn't been to a meeting for a while and ask them to join you!  It's a great way to retain our members!!


See you on Thursday!

Announcements: December 7, 2017 2017-12-05 09:00:00Z 0
Rotarians from three countries resurrect the forgotten Great Western Trail
By Frank Bures Photos by Scott Slusher
At Doan’s Crossing, in a remote corner of Texas near the southeastern tip of the Panhandle, the local folks hold a picnic every May. It has all the things you would expect from a small-town picnic: A few hundred people from the nearby town of Vernon and the surrounding area gather to eat barbecue and socialize. Riders on horseback cross the river from Oklahoma to attend. A Picnic King and Queen are crowned. 
But the event, which claims to be the “oldest pioneer festival” in Texas, also marks a piece of American history that was nearly lost: Doan’s Crossing was a key point along the Great Western Trail, a major cattle trail that, during its 20 years of existence, was more heavily used than the better-remembered Chisholm Trail. While it was in use, some 6 million to 7 million cattle and a million horses made their way up various parts of the route.
At Doan’s Crossing, near the historic Doan house, five trail-saving Rotarians gather around the first marker erected in Texas: Rick Jouett, left, Paul Hawkins, Jeff Bearden, Sylvia Mahoney, and Phil McCuistion.
But unlike the Oregon Trail, along which pioneer wagons left ruts that are still visible, cattle trails could be a mile wide and left few traces – except in people’s memories.
The Great Western Trail traversed the Red River at Doan’s Crossing. It’s the spot where Jonathan Doan and his family set up a trading post in 1878. It was the last place where the cattle drovers – the cowboys – could stock up on supplies before they headed north across the Texas border into Indian Territory, as Oklahoma was then known. Doan’s Picnic was started by the wives of the drovers who had gone up the trail in 1884. It has been held every year since.
Today, Doan’s store is gone, but the small adobe house where his nephew lived still sits in a field, much as it did when the first picnic took place. On an August day, the site is quiet but for the crickets’ song. A few stone historical markers keep vigil in the tall grass. 
Not far from the house stands a tall white concrete post with “GREAT WESTERN TR” in red letters, and next to it stand Rotarians Sylvia Mahoney and Jeff Bearden, who are largely responsible for that marker being there. They’re chatting with John Yudell Barton from across the Red River in Oklahoma, who made this post and helped launch the Great Western Trail project, one of the biggest and most complex Rotary projects in the state – if not the country – which has involved hundreds of Rotarians across three countries.
“There used to be a town here with the streets all platted out,” Bearden says on an unusually cool summer day. “There were about 300 people living here, with a school and a post office. This is all that’s left. The rest just dried up and blew away.”
A map of the trail as it might have appeared more than 130 years ago, when Oklahoma was still known as Indian Territory.
The memory of the Great Western Trail almost blew away too, the only traces being the stories handed down through families and the yellowed documents and maps in small-town archives along the 2,000-mile route that stretches from Matamoros, Mexico, all the way to Val Marie, Sask. That’s when Rotary rode to the rescue.
In the fall of 2002, Mahoney attended the National Cowboy Symposium in Lubbock, Texas, where she met Barton and Rotarian Dennis Vernon (no relation to the town). A college rodeo coach and a member of the Rotary Club of Vernon, Mahoney was intrigued by this almost forgotten slice of history. She knew about the Chisholm Trail and the Shawnee Trail. And she knew about the Goodnight-Loving Trail from her favorite TV miniseries, Lonesome Dove. But the Great Western was a mystery, which was strange since she lived right on its path. In fact, it was just a stone’s throw from her office at Vernon College, where she was an administrator and taught English.
Back home, she invited Barton and Vernon to speak to her Rotary club. “They came back in a few months and challenged us to participate in marking the Great Western Trail,” says Bearden, who’s also a member of the Rotary Club of Vernon. “They were marking it in Oklahoma and wanted to extend it to other states.”
Dennis Vernon, a member of the Rotary Club of Altus, Okla., was working with the Museum of the Western Prairie in Altus to mark the trail, but he realized that Rotary could take the project further than he and Barton ever could. “I told them, ‘This would be great not just for your community, but for those south of you too, to help mark this historic trail,’” recalls Vernon. “And we said, ‘We’ll make the first marker for you.’”
Posts mark the trail including in Altus, Okla., USA, near the Museum of the Western Prairie, left, and the rodeo grounds in Throckmorton, Texas, USA.
Mahoney grasped the importance immediately. “It would be a history-making project, because the Great Western Trail was the last Texas cattle trail, ” she says. “It was the largest Texas cattle trail. It was the longest Texas cattle trail. And it was almost forgotten.”
After discussing it with their club, Mahoney looked over at Bearden, who owned a chuck wagon and appeared at re-enactments as Davy Crockett. Not quite knowing the magnitude of the undertaking, they accepted the challenge, agreeing to co-chair the project and try to mark the trail every six of its 620 miles across Texas.
“When our friends from Vernon Rotary Club joined in,” Dennis Vernon says, “that’s when it really took off. ”
As time went on, scores of other Rotarians joined the project – including Ray Klinginsmith, who, as president of Rotary International in 2010-11, became one of the trail’s most prominent champions.
Cattle trails occupy a key place in American history and culture. The Civil War devastated the economies of the former Confederate states. In the summer of 1865, Texas had little industry, and many of its young men had been killed in the war.
Cowboys would often eat beans, bacon, and other things that could be preserved on long cattle drives. See some common recipes here.
One thing the state did have was cattle: millions of feral longhorns roaming the high plains. They were a strange and hardy breed that resulted from half-wild Spanish cattle mixing with English stock. They had few birthing problems, were easy to raise, and were immune to tick fever. And they were so tough they often gained weight on the long journey north.
Before the war, some cattle had been sent north (mainly on the Shawnee Trail), but back then, people in the United States consumed more pork than beef, partly because pork was easier to preserve. The cattle drives helped change the American diet. In the 1860s, ranchers and cowboys in Texas and northern Mexico started rounding up loose herds and driving them north en masse to Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri. From the railheads there, the cattle traveled to Chicago and other points east, where people were developing a taste for beef – and where a steer worth $4 in Texas might sell for as much as 10 times that amount.
But first the cattle had to travel across hundreds of miles of open range – in some instances going beyond the railheads as far north as Montana and even into Canada, where they could feed the growing population and still earn a pretty profit. The journey required months of inching along day by day as the trail hands tried to keep thousands of cattle moving together in the same direction.
Overseeing this task was the trail boss, who was aided by about 10 drovers, who herded the cows, rounded up strays, cut out interlopers, and got the longhorns where they were going. Some of the trail hands worked as wranglers, overseeing the remuda – the herd of spare saddle horses.
These were the cowboys, young men (and a few women) at loose ends because of the war or the economy or their own deeds. Most were white, but some were freed slaves, others were Native American, and many came from Mexico. (Cowboy culture first evolved in Spanish California in the late 1700s and early 1800s, as seen in words such as “buckaroo” (vaquero), “lasso,” “chaps,” and others; see “How to Talk Cowboy,” page 36.) Some were criminals, and others were adventurers, but on the trail, they were all equals.
A ranch hand uses his lariat to lasso a cow. Cowboy terms with Spanish roots reveal the origins of many Old West traditions.
In time, the cowboys came to embody America’s most prized character traits – independence, toughness, fairness, self-reliance. They had an informal ethical code, with a number of tenets: “When you make a promise, keep it.” “Live each day with courage.” “Always finish what you start.” (You will find these and other maxims in James P. Owen’s Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn from the Code of the West.) It was a simple, hard-bitten wisdom that was the foundation of the culture of the West.
Mahoney, who was raised in southeastern New Mexico and Texas, sees those values reflected in Rotary’s Four-Way Test: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? “The cowboy code has so much in common with The Four-Way Test,” Mahoney says as we drive across the high plains of Texas. “And I think The Four-Way Test is the best ethical statement. If everyone lived like that, the world would be a much better place.”
We are on our way to Vernon, where those first markers set out by the Great Western Trail project now stand. One is outside the Red River Valley Museum on the outskirts of town.
When Mahoney and I arrive, we meet some of the Vernon Rotarians who spent years bringing the trail back to life: Phil McCuistion, who poured the concrete for 121 of the markers with Rick Jouett, and Paul Hawkins, who hand-painted the markers white with red letters. They’re each wearing Great Western Trail shirts, Rotary pins embellished with longhorns, and large belt buckles.
Marking the Great Western Trail’s route through Texas was a massive project: It stretches 620 miles across that state alone. The Vernon Rotarians were rescuing history, and in the process they were putting some small towns back on the map. Marking historic routes such as the Oregon Trail, the Lewis and Clark Trail, and the Natchez Trace has proven a good way to draw history buffs and infuse small towns along the way with tourist dollars.
As promised, Barton and Vernon donated the first marker. This handoff was scheduled for Doan’s Picnic in 2004. On that day, the Vernon Rotarians gathered at Doan’s Crossing. As the dedication ceremony began, Oklahoma State Sen. Robert M. Kerr rode in on horseback from the north, followed by a wagon carrying the marker. From the south came Texas State Rep. Rick Hardcastle on his own horse. When the groups met, they rode to the marker location, planted the post in the ground, and cemented it in place. Then the Texans and Oklahomans took turns pouring water from the Red River out of a Mason jar onto the marker. “Everyone got a chance to pour some Red River water if they wanted to,” says Mahoney. That ritual became a key part of marking the trail.
“All of the dedications gave people this feeling that their community was part of this big trail and part of history,” says Dave Mason, a past governor of Rotary District 5790 in north-central Texas, who got involved with the project in Abilene and has attended several dedications from one end of the trail to the other. “They really cemented the whole thing. There was some coordination by email and phone calls, but until you meet face to face, you don’t really know each other. Now we’re all tied in with 2,000 miles of communities, all the way from Mexico to Canada.”
Rick Jouett, right, and Paul Hawkins at the courthouse in Vernon, Texas
After it had the marker, the Vernon club got two metal molds from Barton so it could make its own concrete posts. Then the members got to work. They looked at the map and figured out which towns along the trail in Texas had Rotary clubs. 
“We contacted the Rotarians in these towns,” says Mahoney. “And everyone I talked to was excited to be included and eager to do something in their towns with their history. Some of the Rotary clubs had never even heard of the Great Western Trail.”
Ted Paup, a ranch owner and a member of the Rotary Club of Abilene at the time (he’s currently with the Rotary Club of Fort Worth), remembers getting that call. “I said, ‘You’re going to mark it for 2,000 miles north and south? That’s the craziest idea I’ve ever heard. You-all are out of your minds!’” 

In fact, they hadn’t planned to mark the entire trail quite yet. But that would change soon. And before long, there was a trail marker at Frontier Texas, a history museum in Abilene, and another in Moran, Texas, near Paup’s ranch. (Paup funded that marker and another about 45 miles north in Throckmorton.)


In Texas, the markers began to accumulate. But getting from expressing interest in the project to actually installing a post took a lot of work. First the club or town had to produce documentation that the trail did in fact pass through the location. This could usually be found in the family histories compiled in small-town museums and historical societies. (An invaluable resource for marking the trail was “The Great Western Cattle Trail to Dodge City, Kansas,” which Jimmy M. Skaggs wrote as his 1965 master’s thesis at what is today Texas Tech University.)


Once that was established, the club had to choose a location and secure any needed permissions. Then the Vernon club would pour the concrete into the marker mold, let it cure for a month, paint it, and work out the logistics of either a formal dedication – complete with Red River water – or a quieter ceremony. (As work on the trail expanded to other towns, states, and countries, volunteers from other clubs along the trail eventually took on the making of the markers.)


Sometimes, the hardest part was getting the 225-pound markers to their destinations. But little by little, the trail in Texas began to come back to life.


“It seemed like a pretty insurmountable thing, going from one end of Texas to the other,” says Bearden. “But people got involved, and it worked out well.”


Marking the trail across Texas was a huge job, but the Great Western Trail project was about to get even bigger. Jim Aneff, District 5790 governor at the time, got excited about the project, and in 2005, while the planting of the Texas posts was ongoing, he invited Mahoney to set up a display at the Rotary institute in Corpus Christi. She packed up her maps and photos and installed herself in the hallway of the hotel where the district governors had gathered. Many of those governors were from states that the Great Western Trail passed through.


On the Trail of History 2017-12-04 09:00:00Z 0

Until the 1950s, cervical cancer killed more American women than any other type of cancer. Widespread screening has drastically decreased the number of those deaths in the United States, but in the West African country of Senegal, the disease remains prevalent. Every year, more than 1,400 Senegalese women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and hundreds of them die from it.

To Andrew Dykens, a professor of family medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the situation is especially galling given how easy this form of cancer is to catch.

“Cervical cancer develops very, very slowly,” Dykens says. “There are five to 15 years from the first cellular changes to the actual cancer development. So you’ve got time during that phase to do something about it.”



Training for health care workers in Kedougou.

Courtesy of Andrew Dykens


Training for health care workers in Kedougou.

Courtesy of Andrew Dykens



Training for health care workers in Kedougou.

Courtesy of Andrew Dykens



Andrew Dykens, lower left, worked closely with local health care workers and Peace Care volunteers to bring a simple testing and treatment protocol for cervical cancer to Senegal.

Courtesy of Andrew Dykens


That’s exactly what he’s doing, with the help of the Peace Corps, Rotarians, and UIC. 

Dykens – who is a member of the Rotary Club of Chicago, the director of the Global Community Health Track at UIC’s Center for Global Health, and a former Peace Corps volunteer – is bringing together those organizations and Senegal’s Ministry of Health and Social Action to reduce the number of women who die from this highly treatable disease.


A bit of background: In 2010, Dykens launched Peace Care, a nonprofit that helps communities and organizations work together to bring resources where they are needed. “It dawned on me that the Peace Corps should be working more closely with, for example, academic centers, because these centers have technical expertise but don’t have a footprint in local settings,” he says. “Meanwhile, the Peace Corps has people who are extraordinarily knowledgeable about the local context.” 


And Rotary? “Rotary loves to build capacity,” he says. “If we can build the capacity to implement evidence-based solutions that already exist, we don’t need fancy tools like MRIs or robotic surgery. Not that those tools aren’t good, but there’s a basic level of access to primary health care that doesn’t exist.”


After hearing from Peace Corps staff in Senegal about the need for cervical cancer screenings there, Dykens and Peace Care started training health workers in the Kedougou region of the country to detect abnormal cervical cells via a simple but effective method. A vinegar solution, dabbed onto the cervix, reveals abnormal cells that can be killed immediately with a cryotherapy gun and CO2 tank – no electricity required. This is far easier and less expensive than the standard Pap test, which requires looking at cell samples under a microscope to identify abnormalities. 


“Cool, right?” Dykens says. “This technique has been around for decades, and it costs so little and saves women’s lives. So how is it that in this day and age, in Senegal, there are 10 rural regions that have no access to cervical cancer screening?”


Part of the answer is local influence. “In some cases, the local opinion leaders are very conservative on women’s issues, and they are reluctant to help the women go for consultation,” says Manuel Pina, an obstetrician/gynecologist and member of the Rotary Club of Dakar-Soleil who is working with Peace Care. “But Rotarians are also opinion leaders. We have already done local talks on the importance of this project, to help end all of the rumors and bad information linked to cervical cancer.” Pina notes that they also encourage families to have their daughters vaccinated against human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer.


Rotarians and Peace Corps volunteers have a long history of working together on projects, and in 2014 the two organizations began a more formalized partnership. The cervical cancer screening project demonstrates how a grassroots effort can benefit from the combined strengths of the two organizations.


The Rotary clubs plan to apply for a Rotary Foundation global grant to help expand cervical cancer screening services to the Tambacounda region. “Not just for the purpose of building capacity, but also to build a training center for cervical cancer screening,” Dykens says. Eventually, that center could also train health workers to screen for and treat other diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and other types of cancers, he adds.


Dykens says support of Rotarians in the United States and in Senegal will continue to be key.


“Rotarians do things right,” he says. “They work systematically and always engage local voices and perspectives, and that is what ultimately creates success. Rotary has worked a long time on polio and done an amazing job. And in my mind, access to primary care is the next polio.”


–Anne Ford


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Partnership Takes on Cervical Cancer in Senegal 2017-12-04 09:00:00Z 0

Rotary’s national advocacy advisers are putting polio on the world stage. Here’s how.


By Diana Schoberg 


At the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta in June, world leaders were on hand to celebrate a historic $1.2 billion in commitments to finance polio eradication. It was a huge moment for the polio eradication effort. But how did it come about?

A group of Rotary volunteers has been hard at work behind the scenes: our PolioPlus national advocacy advisers. This team of Rotarians from donor countries has a mission to make sure polio eradication is on the global agenda. In the corridors of power, they relentlessly work their connections – lunches with government officials, phone calls with ministers – to garner money and support for ending the disease.

And they’ve been successful: Since Rotary’s advocacy program started in 1995, it has generated more than $8 billion toward ending polio. The United States is the leading public sector donor to global polio eradication with a cumulative investment that totals $3 billion through fiscal 2017, thanks in large part to the leadership of Past RI President James L. Lacy and members of the Polio Eradication Advocacy Task Force for the U.S. Their advocacy colleagues around the world have done remarkable work as well.

“The national advocacy advisers always come through in knowing the right people to speak with in government and in arranging key meetings,” says Michael K. McGovern, International PolioPlus Committee chair. “No matter the political party in charge, the Rotarians are known and respected.”

This year, the pledging of funds wasn’t the only priority. Working with our Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners, the advocates had the ambitious goal of getting a commitment to polio eradication from the world’s most powerful nations. The advocacy advisers saw two unprecedented political victories when both the health ministers and leaders of the Group of 20, an informal bloc of countries accounting for 85 percent of the global economy, committed to strive to finish our work and end the disease. 

Rotary’s message about ending polio is reaching the key decision-makers. So how did our national advocacy advisers do it? We checked in with three of them to find out what went into their recent successes.


Behind the Scenes of Polio Eradication 2017-11-29 09:00:00Z 0
After overcoming a tough childhood, pediatrician Ramon Resa is helping to raise a new generation of kids
By Mary MacVean         Photos by NashCO
At three years old, an age when most toddlers are being assessed on how high they can count or how well they can recite their ABCs, Ramon Resa faced a different standard of measurement: how much cotton he could pile up in the farm fields of central California.  
And for many years, as he harvested cotton, walnuts, or oranges, Resa felt that he didn’t measure up. That feeling was reinforced by some who might have been his mentors and guides: Even though he graduated at the top of his eighth-grade class, he was told to let a white classmate give the valedictory speech. A school counselor tried to shunt him into wood shop instead of algebra.
Ramon Resa strides the halls of Sierra View Medical Center in In Porterville, Calif., USA, where he’s on staff.
But Resa persevered. Today, to visit him at work, you’ll walk through a door labeled Dr. Ramon Resa. A Rotarian and a pediatrician in Porterville, Calif., he spends his days in an office not far from the tiny box of a house where he grew up among 14 relatives. 
From farmworker to pediatrician
At work, Resa moves among four exam rooms, sometimes seeing more than 50 patients in a day: a three-year-old suffering from allergies, a two-year-old in for a checkup, a 10-year-old who hurt his thumb playing sports. Resa tickles a child lightly as he checks a throat or belly, switching from English to Spanish as needed. “I can out-stare you,” he jokes with a determined boy who has a sinus infection. 
“He teases the babies and the moms, and he builds their confidence up, ” says his office manager, Shirley Rowell, who has worked with Resa since he arrived in Porterville in 1985 with his newly minted medical degree. The children energize him, bringing out his jovial nature, but he’s also gentle and caring. When C-section newborns were moved from surgery to the maternity ward, Rowell recalls, Resa always carried them in his arms and talked to them. He never used the transport carts. “Of course it was against protocol,” Resa says. “But if I have a chance to bond with the baby, I will.”
In his own childhood, doctors were called only for the most severe ailments. Resa was the fifth child born to a mother barely out of her teens herself, and he never knew his father. He and two brothers were sent to live with their grandparents: The kids crowded in with “Ama” and “Apa,” uncles, aunts, and cousins, sleeping on mattresses on the floor and sharing one bathroom. Goats, pigs, and chickens lived in a side yard. Everyone had to pitch in.
By the time he was seven or eight, he felt he was “no longer a child,” Resa wrote in his 2010 memoir, Out of the Fields. He was a worker who was paid 3 cents a pound for cotton. He tried to prove his worth by outworking people much older than he was. But alcohol, fights, and other stressors were all around him, and his feelings of isolation, inadequacy, and resentment grew. By the start of high school, Resa began to feel a debilitating depression that robbed him of the joy of his scholastic and athletic achievements. He found himself dreading the bad things he was sure were to come. But he had brains and determination, and he vowed to succeed.
Research has shown that aspirations and resolve play a role in resilience. Supportive role models do, too. Several key people saw promise in the young student and encouraged him: his fourth-grade teacher. A woman in the school district office. And his neighbors Jim and Susan Drake. Jim Drake was a principal aide to César Chávez, but Resa didn’t learn about his role in the labor movement until years later.
Ernest Moreno, a friend since childhood who also grew up in a farmworker family, has often thought about why he and Resa succeeded when others did not. “You had to think you were special and didn’t belong in that environment,” says Moreno, who runs an executive search firm in Illinois. “You had to have friends who were like you” – Moreno recalls the many Friday nights he and Resa spent playing board games such as Risk – “and you had to want it.”
Ramon Resa dispenses medical care, cute faces, and high-fives.
A turning point: University of California, medical school, and Rotary
Resa’s first exposure to Rotary came when good grades earned him a club-sponsored trip to see the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was his first trip anywhere. 
As a teenager, he became aware of the advantages some of his classmates had: tutoring and private lessons, vacations, college and career expectations. But when a tennis coach offered him free private lessons, Resa turned him down. He had to work; his family needed the money. During his junior year in high school, he had to take a break from the cross-country team because his knees were so sore from kneeling to harvest walnuts. He was relieved when he got a letter jacket anyway, feeling sure that it would compel other students to see him “as a real person and not as a nobody.”
Resa at the former site of Goshen School, near his childhood home.
Although Resa qualified for the University of California system, no one at his high school informed him about it. Instead, he says, he and other farmworkers were pointed toward vocational classes at the local community college – until recruiters from the University of California Santa Cruz Educational Opportunities Program showed up.
Early in his freshman year at UCSC, Resa met an artist named Debbie Binger, and she has been his partner ever since – through medical school at UC Irvine, parenthood, all the ups and downs of life. The couple married and settled in California’s Central Valley, and Resa joined the Rotary Club of Porterville. In 1990, he became its president.
Yet he still couldn’t kick those childhood feelings of inadequacy. “I didn’t belong in front of these people,” he says. “I felt like a simple farmworker boy pretending to be a doctor.”
But he didn’t feel at home among his family anymore, either. “He went through a period where he didn’t fit in either place,” says Debbie. She eventually persuaded him to see a therapist for his depression. That, combined with religion, helped him to shed his bitterness and resentment and to understand that his family had done the best they could for him.
Revealing his childhood
At the end of 1990, a freeze devastated the Central Valley citrus industry and caused nearly $1 billion in damage. Rotarians, Resa says, understood what the disaster meant to growers, who were their fellow community leaders. But Resa also understood what the freeze meant for the farmworkers – at least 100,000 lost their jobs – and for their families. He knew that his Rotary club could help.  
But first, he would need to tell them his story. 
“So at the podium, I told my story of going without food, relying on donations, and going to bed hungry,” he says. “I was ashamed of the way I grew up. I didn’t tell Rotary about it until I wanted to help get the farmworkers food.”
His fellow Rotarians responded immediately. Contributions poured in to help the farmworker families get by. Ken Boyd, then governor of District 5230, who was at that meeting, had had no idea about the childhood his friend had endured. He spread the word to all 44 clubs in his district at that time.
To learn more about the documentary being made about Resa's life, visit
Today, Resa tells his story all over the country – to teenagers and Rotary members, to teachers and migrant worker advocates, at the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and at medical schools. He wrote a memoir, and a documentary film about his life is being produced.
But he still hates speaking in public – at least until it’s over. And then he loves it, because every time, he says, at least one person comes up to him with a story of resilience: a childhood spent in a crack house or with a severe learning disability. A stutter like the one Resa had.
“He affects kids by letting them know they can do what they want,” Boyd says. “And when you believe it, you really can.”
Nina Clancy, another former district governor, is among those who encourage Resa to keep on telling his story. “I’ve never heard anyone so courageous, so inspiring,” she says. “He has a zest for life that couldn’t be stamped out.”  
Accepting the past, and moving on  
At home, the Resas’ two children are now grown: Marina is an actor in Los Angeles, and Joshua is a fellow in pediatric oncology. Resa, meanwhile, is not-so-patiently waiting to become a grandfather. At his Rotary meeting, he jokingly bemoans his fellow members’ success – at acquiring grandchildren. At work, he holds an infant and says, “Can I keep him?”
Resa attends a meeting of the Rotary Club of Porterville.
But for many years, Resa kept his other relatives at a distance. Many of his family members were surprised by parts of his memoir; some remember things differently. Some told him Out of the Fields deepened their understanding of the family and of him. His uncle Esmael, one of the kids in his childhood home, says, “I felt like he slapped me, I was so shocked. I thought I knew everything about him.”
On one recent evening, some 20 members of the family gather at Round Table Pizza in Visalia, taking over two large tables for some boisterous storytelling and catching up. Tales of how hard they worked get the loudest laughs, but when asked if those experiences were funny at the time, there’s a unanimous chorus of “No!”
But even as a child, Resa was struck by the beauty of his surroundings: “One thing I liked about picking oranges is how spectacular the groves looked,” he says. Driving past the fields where he once worked, through the blocks of houses where he spent his childhood, and past produce-packing houses along streets with names such as Olive and Orange, Resa points out the snow-topped mountains in the distance, the stands of walnut trees, and the fruit-heavy citrus groves extending to the horizon. 
“My biggest regret is not going back and inspiring the next generation of my family,” he says. “I didn’t destroy the bridge. I just didn’t cross over it very often.” Fiercely protective of his children, he kept them away from relatives who struggled with drugs or gangs. 
But those bonds are being mended. He stops one morning at his sister Rosa’s house. Inside, he helps himself to homemade tortillas, potatoes, and chorizo. “I still don’t know anything that tastes better than scooping a fresh corn tortilla into the kettle for a mouthful of hot chili with its iron taste from the pot, especially on a cold, crisp winter day,” he says.
These days, Resa can hold on to the best of his memories without any bitter taste.
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Bringing Up Babies 2017-11-29 09:00:00Z 0
2017 Homer Mayoral Proclamation for Homer Rotary Health Fair 2017-11-28 09:00:00Z 0
New Members Proposed

The Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club Board has approved the proposed Corporate Membership of Geneva Woods, a medical equipment, supplies, and pharmacy services company.  Representing Geneva Woods as members of the Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club will be Ms. Christie Gibbs and Mr. Mike Tivoli.

Per our by-laws the Board solicits comments from the membership NLT December 7, 2017 concerning these prospective members. All comments should be in written form.

Announcements: November 30, 2017 2017-11-28 09:00:00Z 0

Dear Rotarians of District 5010:

Rotary International’s Council on Resolution representatives voted online between October 15 and November 15, 2017.  Below are the voting results and the Resolutions that were passed will go to the Rotary International Board of Directors for their consideration.  The Board of Directors are not obligated to implement them but can do so if they deem them in Rotary’s best interest.

The Council on Legislation meets every three years to vote on proposed Enactments.  Enactments are different from Resolutions because once they are voted on and if they are passed by the Council, they become binding legislation.  The next Council on Legislation will meet in April 2019.  If you would like to submit an enactment, send it to District Governor Harry Kieling prior to December 15, 2017.
Resolutions are proposed annually and the deadline for 2018 is on June 30, 2018.  If you would like to submit a Resolution, please submit it for approval at District Governor Harry Kieling’s District Conference in Seward.
If you have any questions or need any additional information, contact me at or (907) 299-1649.
Best Regards,
Jane Little
Past District Governor 2010-11
Council on Legislation Representative for District 5010


Council on Resolutions Results 2017-11-28 09:00:00Z 0
Rotary and ShelterBox 2017-11-26 09:00:00Z 0

Don't miss the Club Assembly this week!  Maynard has put together a great slide show  about the Health Fair and this is YOUR time to get together with your committee members and map out the rest of the year - and then share all the great things we are doing with each other!

Community Service Committee members - this is an important meeting to make some decisions,

Club Services/Membership Committee - set some concrete goals for this year to move our club and district in a positive direction,

Vocational Committee - there's lots to plan for with the Marine Trades program, scholarships and more,

International Committee - what exciting projects are you going to get involved with this year? - Youth Services - 3 outbound students! confirming host families, making presentations in the schools and RYLA in Whitehorse - so much to talk about!

Public Relations Committee - we have so much to share with our members, the community, the District - how are you going to help us share our story?

Sunshine Committee - Xmas party! revitalization of Firesides?!? Fellowship opportunities - lots to plan for the year!

I hope you will all join us this Thursday!

FRIDAY DEADLINE - NOVEMBER 17th For District Governor Nominations


Surely you know someone in your club or region that would make a great District Governor!


They have been in Rotary over 7 years and been a club President. This Friday is the deadline for submitting their application. I leave it to you, as an Awesome Rotarian, to speak with them about applying. (All paperwork and forms are listed on the District Website under the second story, Nominations)


And you, yes you, who fit the above criteria. We know you have the spark, drive and inclination to be a great District Governor. Where's your application?


This position in Rotary will broaden your horizons like you wouldn't believe. It's challenging, confidence building and rewarding all in one. The doors it opens in Rotary are endless.


I encourage all of you in our District to be on the look out for qualified Rotarians, even if you find them in the mirror!


Yours in Rotary Service,


Peggy Pollen, PDG 2012-2013

District 5010 Nomination Chair

(907) 388-2283

News From DG Harry

I wanted to send out a quick note to all of 5010 Rotarians on a couple of issues. I will also include the info in the next news letter.


First, thank you for your tremendous support in our membership efforts. The figures came out yesterday and our District has recruited 34 new members since the first of July. That represents an almost 2% net gain for the Rotary Year. Your efforts have placed our District in the number 1 position out of 16 Districts in our Zone. Now is the time to plug in our afterburners and go even faster. If we can get 34 net new members in the first 4 months, we can get 68 net new members in the next 8 months which will enable us to exceed our goal of 5% net new members. Don't forget my offer of a District match ($$) on membership events. First City took  me up on the offer and had a very successful social (and new members)


Rotary Cares For Kids has become unbelievable . The efforts and support of all of you is humbling. Thank You on behalf of so many wonderful kids who deserve a better than the hand they were dealt.


Third, now is the time to submit proposals for the next RI Council on Legislation. If you have an idea please submit it to your club president. Club Presidents please submit your proposals to Jane Little and I not later than 15 December. Here is the guidelines and format.

To help you and your clubs prepare 

legislation, RI has updated the How to Propose Legislation course in Rotary’s 

Learning Center. The course can be 

found by going to My Rotary>Learning & Reference>Learning Center.

Thank All of You for being such incredible Rotarians


DG Harry (AKA Iceman)


ANNOUNCEMENTS--November 16, 2017 2017-11-15 09:00:00Z 0
Dave Brann has been instrumental at working with Rotary and the Friends of Kachemak Bay State Parks Water Trail group to get the paving of the pavilion done this fall. A Rotary  District Grant collaborative project!  Here are some pictures:
Boathouse Pavilion is Paved 2017-11-15 09:00:00Z 0
A program created by Rotary scholar Marco Faggella is training engineers around the world to make buildings safer in earthquakes
By Diana Schoberg Photos by Gianluca Cecere
We’re in the car, and my traveling companion and local guide Marco Faggella is blasting the stereo. He wants me to hear the music of a friend of his, who has reinterpreted southern Italy’s traditional tarantella rhythms as intoxicating trance tunes. Over dinner the previous evening, Faggella, a member of the Rotary Club of Roma Nord-Est, filled me in on his Top Secret Plan to get his friend to play at the Burning Man art festival. In that conversation, Faggella also educated me on the finer points of Italian mysticism, Magna Graecia, and Pythagoras.
Faggella is full of grand plans: When he launched a film festival in 2009 in the beach town of Maratea in partnership with Rotary District 2100 (in part to show off the Oscar-nominated polio film The Final Inch), he called Francis Ford Coppola, whose grandparents came from the region. Coppola ended up sending a video message.  
Marco Faggella, who was left homeless by an earthquake as a child, inspects a model house that engineers use to study the effects of simulated earthquakes. 
I’m here to find out more about another of his big ideas, this one in his professional life. Faggella, who was trained through a Rotary scholarship, is a research associate in seismic engineering at Sapienza University of Rome. He looks at how to construct buildings – or retrofit existing ones – so that they don’t tumble down if an earthquake strikes. It’s a passion that makes sense given the earthquake risk in Italy, including in his hometown of Potenza, the city we are visiting at the instep of Italy’s boot. 
Most of the 60,000 people who die in natural disasters every year are killed by a building collapse during an earthquake in a developing country. Instead of going into reaction mode each time an earthquake strikes, Faggella thought, why not educate people to construct safer buildings so that fewer people are injured? 
He looked to his experiences with Rotary to come up with a plan. 
At the University of Basilicata at Potenza, where Faggella did some of his research, engineers have built a model house that they shake with hydraulic pistons to simulate the effects of an earthquake. It’s made of clay bricks with strong floor beams but weak columns, the way houses were built for thousands of years until modern building codes began to account for seismic activity in the first half of the 20th century. “We’ve predicted extensively how this house will behave, ” Faggella explains as he stands in front of the model. “The bricks will break. The columns will topple.” 
Around the world, people still live in these unsafe structures. “If you look at Kathmandu, a lot of Kathmandu is like this. If you look at Karachi, a lot of Karachi is like this,” Faggella says. “Houses like these can accommodate a lot of people quickly, but they account for a lot of the earthquake risk in the world.”
For example, on 26 December 2003, a 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck Bam, Iran, killing more than 30,000 people and damaging 45,000 homes, many of which were built with mud bricks and didn’t comply with regulations set more than a decade earlier. Four days earlier, a 6.5 quake hit the central coast of California, where the losses were limited to two deaths and 500 damaged buildings, thanks to the implementation of modern seismic codes. 
After a series of earthquakes hit Italy in 2016, the government created financial incentives for people to retrofit their homes to make them seismically safe.
While we know much about earthquake-safe construction, the application of this knowledge still lags, even in a developed country such as Italy, where 60 percent of the buildings are more than 100 years old. The week before my visit, the Italian government passed guidelines to classify the seismic risk of buildings, along with tax incentives to promote retrofitting them with anti-seismic measures. A senior official from Sapienza University of Rome helped develop the rating system based on the work of the team of researchers to which Faggella belongs.  
Faggella had a personal experience with all this at an early age. In November 1980, when he was five years old, he was watching a soccer game with his dad in their third-floor apartment in Potenza. “All of a sudden, everything started to shake like crazy, ” he recalls. “There was rubble coming down from the ceiling. We felt like the whole house was falling apart.” His dad grabbed him, his mom picked up his two-year-old sister, and they rushed, shoeless, down the stairs onto the tiny piazza below, where a crowd of shocked people had gathered, wondering what was going on. 
More than 3,000 people died, and over 200,000 were left homeless as a result of the earthquake – including Faggella’s family. They spent the first night at the farm of a family friend, Faggella and his sister sleeping on a coffee table. The schools closed for a few months, so they moved with other families to a beach town two hours away. His parents never felt safe with the idea of returning to the old apartment, so they built an earthquake-proof home in the countryside.
Reconstruction after the 1980 quake took years, and the work was plagued by corruption and graft. Government money paid for roads to nowhere and factories that never opened. Despite millions of dollars spent in the region, 28,500 people were still living in canvas tents a decade after the earthquake.
You can still see the effects of the earthquake nearly 40 years later. As we drive around the city, Faggella points out the movie theater that never reopened and the clock on the town hall still stopped at 7:34, the time of the earthquake. Pre-earthquake cookie-cutter high-rises that speculators built without seismic provisions are an outrage to someone in his line of work.
Faggella studied seismic engineering at the University of Basilicata at Potenza, which was established after the quake. His Ph.D. adviser, Enrico Spacone, suggested he look into a Rotary scholarship for an opportunity to do research in the United States. Faggella called Gaetano Laguardia, a family friend who was a member of the Rotary Club of Potenza, who helped him through the application process. He received an Ambassadorial Scholarship, the predecessor to today’s global grant scholarships, to study at the University of California at San Diego, another city on a major fault. 
Through a scholarship program set up by Faggella, students are conducting research in Matera, a 9,000-year-old city in southern Italy that will be a European Capital of Culture in 2019.
In San Diego, Faggella connected with Fary Moini, who was later honored at the U.S. White House in 2012 as one of 10 Champions of Change, and Stephen R. Brown, who went on to become a Rotary Foundation trustee. Moini and Brown, members of the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle, have long been involved in Rotary projects in Afghanistan, including establishing several Rotary clubs. Inspired by their work as well as that of a professional contact, Brian Tucker of GeoHazards International (a nongovernmental organization that works in disaster preparedness), Faggella successfully applied for a Rotary Peace Fellowship to study the intersection of natural disasters and peace. 
He was ready for a career working in developing countries, bringing his engineering background to bear, but fate intervened. As a teenager, he had been a daredevil: He was a competitive skier, he cliff dove, he did flips while wakeboarding. But when he was 17, a motorcycle accident nearly severed his foot at the ankle. Doctors saved his foot, but just barely. While in San Diego, Faggella had a bone graft, but he had to decline the peace fellowship and set aside his dreams for a career in developing countries.
Instead, he went back home, joined Rotary himself, and came up with his biggest idea of all: He created a scholarship program to bring students from high seismic-risk countries in Asia to the European Union to study earthquake engineering. When they return to their countries, they become professors or government officials who work to make construction safer. 
“I managed to get developing countries to come to me,” he says later as we look out over a ghost town that was never rebuilt after the 1980 earthquake, a destiny he is trying to prevent for other communities. “I live in a cool region that everyone wants to come to, but I’m stuck with this, let’s say, disability. Let’s just flip the story.” 
From 2010 to ’14, 104 students and researchers from 14 Asian countries studied at five European universities, funded by a €2.5 million grant from the European Union. Faggella’s Rotary district in Rome helps provide hospitality for visiting students.
“It’s a kind of dilemma that Rotarians face all the time,” notes Stephen Brown. “To what extent can one person make a difference that would impact hundreds, as opposed to providing food and shelter after the fact? Rotarians can’t help themselves – when there is a natural disaster, they’re going to write checks. If we look more at the cause of the problem, it’s a better investment.”
This elementary school in Potenza features braces that dissipate energy, one way to retrofit buildings to make them safer during an earthquake. 
Twenty-two of the scholars who went through the program were from Nepal, including Surya Narayan Shrestha, the deputy director of Nepal’s National Society for Earthquake Technology. Now he is using his knowledge in the rebuilding after its devastating earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people in April 2015. (Faggella appeared with him on Italian television shortly after the quake.)
Aslam Faqeer is another scholar who went through the program. Before studying in Italy, Faqeer had taken courses on seismic engineering at NED University of Engineering and Technology in Karachi, a city where he estimates 20 to 30 percent of structures are earthquake safe. “At that time, people in Pakistan had limited knowledge,” he says. Faqeer received his Ph.D. at Sapienza University of Rome in 2015, advised by Faggella and Spacone. Now an assistant professor in Karachi, he has trained more than 120 master’s students and practicing engineers on modern seismic analysis and design, and researched how structures will perform if they are built to international standards. 
On my final day in Basilicata, Faggella drives me to the ancient city of Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that will be a European Capital of Culture in 2019. The city dates back 9,000 years and is among the world’s oldest continuously inhabited settlements. Early inhabitants drilled into the city’s cliffs to make caves, then used the materials to make bricks and build houses on the caves’ faces. 
Looking to expand its international collaborations, the University of Basilicata at Matera asked Faggella to set up another scholarship program. This time, the initiative aimed at protecting cultural heritage sites in Latin America and Europe from natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. A total of 119 students are participating: 83 traveling from Latin America to study at schools across Europe, and 36 Europeans going to Latin America to study at universities there. The program, which is running from 2014 to 2018, is funded through a €3.7 million grant from the EU. 
We stop outside one of the cave buildings, but this one is surrounded by scaffolding and covered with tarps. While Matera is not in a high-risk earthquake zone, its protection is still of concern because of its cultural significance. Students here do simulation trials in the lab and advanced computer modeling before they do any work on-site. “We prefer to do it in a virtual environment rather than go and smash an artifact, ” Faggella says. 
Rotary’s investment in Faggella and the exponential number of students touched by the programs he has set up are paving the way to keep this and other culturally important structures around for years to come, he says. “I’ve always tried to drag the science community toward cooperating with the international aid field,” he says. “Rotary gave me the idea of how to make this have a large, global impact.” 
• Read more stories from The Rotarian
The Future of Buildings 2017-11-15 09:00:00Z 0
Rotary Day at the United Nations pushes peace from concept to reality
By Geoff Johnson Photos by Monika Lozinska
On the 99th anniversary of the end of World War I, more than 1,200 people gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, for Rotary Day at the United Nations. 
Representing 87 countries, they convened on Saturday, 11 November, at the Palais des Nations, originally the home of the League of Nations, and dedicated themselves to the theme introduced by Rotary President Ian H. S. Riseley: “Peace: Making a Difference.”
Rotary International honors six champions of peace at the United Nations on 11 November.
“The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace have always been among Rotary’s primary goals,” said Riseley. “It is past time for all of us to recognize the potential of all of our Rotary service to build peace, and approach that service with peacebuilding in mind.”
For the first time in its 13-year history, Rotary Day at the UN was held outside of New York.
Rotary Day concluded Geneva Peace Week, during which John Hewko, general secretary of Rotary International, noted the “close and longstanding ties between Rotary and the UN in (their) mutual pursuit of peace and international understanding.”
Rotary members “can transform a concept like peace to a reality through service,” said Ed Futa, dean of the Rotary Representatives to the United Nations. “Peace needs to be lived rather than preached.”
During a Rotary Day highlight, Hewko introduced Rotary’s 2017 People of Action: Champions of Peace. He praised them as “an embodiment of the range and impact of our organization’s work,” and saluted them for providing “a roadmap for what more peaceful, resilient societies look like.”
Rotary honored six individuals, who each made brief remarks. They were:
Alejandro Reyes Lozano, of the Rotary Club of Bogotá Capital, Cundinamarca, Colombia: As "part of the generation that grew up with uncertainty and fear,” as he put it, Reyes Lozano played a key role in negotiating an end to the 50-year conflict between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Now he's using a Rotary Foundation global grant to lead peacebuilding efforts among women from six Latin American countries.
Jean Best, of the Rotary Club of Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and gallowayScotland: “Without peace within ourselves we will never advance global peace,” said Best, explaining The Peace Project, the program she created to help “the future leaders of peace” develop the skills they need to resolve the conflicts in their lives.
Safina Rahman, of the Rotary Club of Dhaka Mahanagar, Bangladesh: “Education is a powerful and transformative vehicle for peace,” said Rahman, a passionate advocate for workers’ rights and workplace safety who also promotes and provides educational and vocational opportunities for girls. 
Ann Frisch, of the Rotary Club of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, USA: Frisch’s Civilian-Based Peace Process introduced the radical concept of “unarmed civilian protection” in war zones around the world. “Sustainable peace,” she said, “requires strong civilian engagement.”
Kiran Singh Sirah, Rotary Peace Fellow: As the president of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee, USA, Sirah uses stories to foster peace, nurture empathy, and build a sense of community. “Stories matter—and I believe they matter a lot,” he said.
Taylor Cass Talbot, Rotary Peace Fellow: Currently based in Portland, Oregon, USA, Cass Talbot partnered with SWaCH, a waste-picker cooperative in India to form Pushing for Peace, which promotes safety, sanitation, and dignity for waste pickers in Pune, India. Her advocacy displays an artistic flair: her Live Debris project creatively addresses issues of waste on a global scale.
Later, the six honorees participated in workshops devoted to sustainability and peace, as well as a workshop on education, science, and peace designed by and for young leaders in which Rotaract members from around the world played a prominent role. 
Dr. Michel Zaffran, the director of polio eradication at the World Health Organization, provided an update on efforts to eradicate polio. They noted the tremendous progress made by Rotary, WHO, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other partners in eliminating 99 percent of all global incidences of polio. 
Returning the focus to peace, Zaffran said: “This same international relationship (that’s eradicating polio),” he said, “can be used to achieve world peace.”
Zaffran was joined Her Excellency Mitsuko Shino, the deputy permanent representative of Japan to the international organizations in Geneva and co-chair of Global Polio Eradication Initiative's Polio Partners Group
In his keynote address, Riseley made a similar observation. “The work of polio eradication, has taught us . . . that when you have enough people working together, when you understand the problems and the processes, when you combine and leverage your resources, when you set a plan and set your targets — you can indeed move mountains,” he said. “And the need for action, and cooperation, is greater now than ever before.”
Peace Needs to be Lived 2017-11-15 09:00:00Z 0

Earthquakes and emigration are draining the life out of rural communities. Rotarians are giving young people a reason to come back.

By Diana Schoberg      Photos by Gianluca Cecere

Arquata del Tronto was never an easy place to live. Picturesque, yes: The snowcapped peak of Monte Vettore forms the backdrop to this collection of medieval villages sandwiched between two national parks in central Italy’s Appenine Mountains. Tiny chapels line the local trails, and one village is known as the land of the fairies, a mythological place where shepherds were lured in by beautiful fairies with goat feet. But the municipality, which includes 15 villages, had a population of 1,200, and the nearest city is 15 miles away along the narrow, winding mountain roads. For a young person, for a young family, there was not much reason to stay. And that was before the earthquakes hit.  

In villages damaged by a series of earthquakes last year, Italian Rotarians are working to help rebuild not only buildings but livelihoods. 

Maurizio Paci explains all of this after he escorts us through an army checkpoint to view this community where he and his family have lived for generations, which  was reduced to rubble after three major  earthquakes hit central Italy in 2016. He experienced the tragedy up close: Here in Arquata, he has been on the municipal council for 11 years, while in nearby Amatrice, which was also pummeled during the disasters, he is a police officer. “I was hit on all sides,” he says.

It’s a cool day in March, and the wind blows a shutter open and shut, revealing the plush headboard of a bed inside one of the still-standing buildings. We see a purple ironing board peeking out of an upended roof, a squashed red car, mattresses, bed frames, and bales of hay strewn about. 

But we also see signs of hope. With the help of Rotarians, some people see a future for these abandoned towns.

It was 3:30 a.m. on 24 August when the first earthquake struck. Paci awoke to the sound of a large mirror crashing to the floor, his parents yelling. He ran outside and saw his neighbors pouring out onto the street. He went to help in Pescara del Tronto, an area village that was so devastated that the mayor told the Italian newspaper il Giornale that it looked like Aleppo, Syria. 

“I saw people dead on the street who had escaped from their homes but were hit by debris. I pulled somebody alive from the rubble,” Paci says as we stand outside the ruins. “It was really dark. Everybody was yelling. You didn’t know where to go or who to help first.” 

Nearly 300 people died in the 6.2 magnitude quake, including 50 in this area. Two more earthquakes hit the region in late October. The three in rapid succession left thousands homeless.  

Earthquakes are not unfamiliar to Italians. Two plates of the earth’s crust, the African and Eurasian plates, are slowly colliding in northeastern Italy, a geologic shift that created the Alps. Meanwhile, the entire area where that collision is happening is drifting southeast. The result is that the ground underneath the Tyrrhenian Basin – the portion of the Mediterranean Sea surrounded by mainland Italy and Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica – is being stretched apart. It’s that stretching that is causing the tectonic activity in the Apennines. 

The municipality of Arquata del Tronto was still uninhabitable six months after the earthquakes because of continuing aftershocks.

The last of the three earthquakes had a 6.6 magnitude, the strongest to hit Italy in 36 years. It created a huge crack in Monte Vettore and caused the land in a nearby village to drop 2 feet. Homes that had survived the initial earthquake were damaged. Arquata’s villages were declared uninhabitable because of the continuing aftershocks (including one early in the morning of our visit), and its residents, including Paci, now live in hotels or with family somewhere safer. A tunnel that had connected Arquata to other towns collapsed, and what had been a 15-minute trip became two hours. “The biggest problem is that people have left,” he says. “People are afraid to come back.” 

In the weeks after the first earthquake, Rotarians began meeting with members of the affected communities to find out what they needed most. “The days following the earthquake were full of phone calls from everyone who wanted to go help, who wanted to collect materials and so on,” recalls Paolo Raschiatore, 2016-17 governor of Rotary District 2090, home to about 90 percent of the communities damaged by the earthquakes. But too many well-intended helpers jammed the mountain roads, making the work for emergency crews harder, he explains. “It’s not only not necessary; it’s a problem. I asked them to stay home.”

Less than two months before the first temblor, Italian Rotarians had already embarked on a landmark earthquake initiative that was years in the making. The 2014-15 district governor-nominees had decided to focus on earthquake safety as a group, prescient given what was to come. They signed a memorandum of understanding with the national Department of Civil Protection in July 2016 in which Rotarians agreed to create a task force for disaster aid in each district. The groups would organize activities to use Rotarians’ professional skills – technical, legal, medical, and industrial – to support civil protection activities in both ordinary and emergency situations. The project had to be put on hold as the government responded to the recent disasters.

After an earthquake in L’Aquila in 2009, Rotarians had stepped in and raised €2 million to rebuild a wing of the school of engineering at the University of L’Aquila. But following the 2016 earthquakes, the Italian government promised to reconstruct the buildings. So, instead of a construction project, members of District 2090 decided to draw on their expertise as businesspeople to help the communities rebound economically and give young people a reason to return. 

The district already had an active mentoring framework called the Virgilio Association, named for Virgil, the guide in Dante’s Divine Comedy. Rotarians had founded the organization several years prior to foster new economic activity in the district. They decided to use the Virgilio Association to develop programs for young entrepreneurs, including business mentoring, marketing, and facilitating access to bank credit. 

Rotarians Vincent Mazzone and Paolo Raschiatore talk with Aleandro Petrucci (right), Arquata’s mayor, about Rotary’s role in bringing young people back to the village.

In June, the district signed agreements to build two business incubators, one in Arquata and one in Camerino, a city about 50 miles away with a university that will manage the programs to ensure sustainability. Rotarian professionals will handle the design and contracting for the construction of the facilities, which will cost an estimated €300,000 to €400,000 each. “If we want to maintain these places, it’s important to build new occupations for people, especially for young people,” Raschiatore says. They call the initiative Progetto Fenice – the Phoenix Project.  

As of the end of June, the district had raised €600,000 from Rotary members, clubs, and districts in Italy and abroad for the initiative, as well as a substantial portion from non-Rotarian donors. They launched about 20 mentoring relationships, with another 20 in the works. Rotarians are also working to create an e-commerce website to help businesspeople sell their products. “The youth are waiting on us. We absolutely can’t fail,” says Vincent Mazzone, president of the Rotary Club of Ascoli Piceno, the nearest club to Arquata. 

At the trailer serving as Arquata’s town hall, Paci introduces me to Aleandro Petrucci, the mayor of the munici-pality. Boxes are stacked along the floor in the office, and a space heater helps warm the cool mountain air. Petrucci says he has three main goals: jobs, housing – “and churches, of course,” he says with a laugh – and bringing back youth, something he’s glad to have Rotary’s help with. Just a few days earlier, Rotarians met to talk about the project. “Rotary will bring structure that would not be there without it,” he says. “That will bring jobs and young people.”

Giovanni Palaferri is precisely the kind of enterprising young person the Rotarians are trying to keep in the area. Palaferri’s home was built with anti-seismic measures, so it is still standing. But since the area is deemed uninhabitable, he makes a 40-mile daily round trip to care for the animals on his farm in Spelonga. A calf born the previous night mews as we talk, the larger cows crunching on hay in a temporary barn.

Giovanni Palaferri, who has begun raising cows on his family’s ancestral land, has joined with other young people to form a business group that is receiving assistance through the Italian Rotarians’ project.

After spending time in his early 20s traveling Europe as a tour bus driver, Palaferri returned to the area and started raising cows a year ago on property his grandfather had farmed. He wants to expand his effort to making specialty cheeses and products with the chestnuts he harvests from his and his neighbors’ properties. With other young people in the area, he founded a business association to help increase production and sales, which is receiving assistance from the Rotarians’ project. “Rotary will let this business go further,” he says. “I could go national.”

And that, he hopes, will make Arquata a destination. “The ultimate goal would be that Arquata and all of the small villages in the area will compete with the famous centers around here,” he says. “If we can put Arquata on the map, it will attract more young people to come here.”

But life is so tough here, why would anyone want to come back? 

Palaferri left this rural area to seek a better life elsewhere, but what he discovered is that this is his home. “I love it, and for me it’s the best place in the world. It’s almost like paradise when this is what you see,” he says, gesturing to the mountain view outside the barn door. 

For Paci, whose girlfriend hopes to launch a beekeeping business to sell honey and related products through the Rotary project, it’s even simpler. This is where his family has always lived. “I have the option to leave; I have a job in Amatrice. I could forget about it here. But I’m tied here because of my ancestry. 

“Before the earthquake you had to have resolve to live here,” he says. “Now my resolve is even stronger. I feel motivated not just about building a home, but building a community.” 

And that’s something Rotarians know how to do. 

-- Translations by Francesco Bruno, RI communications specialist/Europe-Africa

• Read more stories from The Rotarian

Italy's Disappearing Villages 2017-11-08 09:00:00Z 0

We are recruiting for a new Board of Directors member to fill Christi's spot.

Reminder that the Swing Choir will be at the December 14th meeting and we need to know if Rotarians will be inviting guests.

All are invited to the Downtown Rotary Club's Rotary Foundation Auction on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. Early bird discount has passed but you can still get tickets for $15 at the Homer Bookstore or on our FaceBook page. Or, as a last resort, you can buy them at the door. The ticket price includes appetizers and sweets, coffee, and a no-host wine bar, as well as a chance to bid on some really great auction items.

Dear Fellow Rotarian:


We are announcing our trips to the Toronto Convention AND a trip to India to participate in the March, 2018 Polio National Immunization Days (NID).  All the material can be accessed at our website:


Please feel free to share this information with the Rotarians in your club as soon as possible as we have a limited amount of space.


  • Travel to a Rotary Convention is a wonderful international exposure to our organization and Canada offers many unique opportunities for 2018.


  • Rotarians in India are preparing to fully transition to the injectable Polio vaccine soon.  Therefore, this might be one of the last opportunities we will have to organize a trip to India for non-medical volunteers to participate in polio NID activities. 


Both of these trips offer you and the Rotarians in your club an extraordinary opportunity to have an experience of a life time. 


If you have questions, please let us know.


Jolene R. Bortz

Howard Tours

516 Grand Ave., Oakland, CA 94610

(510) 834-2260 voice

(510) 834-1019 fax

"We look forward to traveling with you"

ANNOUNCEMENTS 2017-11-08 09:00:00Z 0
Homer Downtown Rotary Club's Rotary Foundation Auction 2017-11-08 09:00:00Z 0
Rotary members in Harvard, Illinois, USA, have teamed up with community groups to help alleviate hunger and bring the community together.
By Arnold R. Grahl Photos by Monika Lozinska Videos by Andrew Chudzinski 
On a sunny morning in July, two dozen preschool children from Brown Bear Daycare inspect a bed of milkweed plants for monarch butterfly eggs, holding magnifying glasses to the underside of leaves in search of the tiny, off-white objects.
Preschool children from Brown Bear Daycare plant a young tomato plant. The class visits the garden every Monday morning spring to fall.
Curiosity stoked, the five-year-olds and their teachers move to the shade of a large tree to listen to a master gardener explain the role these butterflies play in gardens. The preschool class visits the community garden in Harvard, Illinois, USA, every Monday from spring to fall to learn about garden-related topics and even help out. 
“They get to taste the vegetables, some that they have never even seen. They get to experience what it is like to plant a garden from the planting to the picking to the eating,” says Sheila Henson, executive director of the day care center and a member of the Rotary Club of Harvard. “At the end of the summer, we have a parent night where the parents come and get to see the different things their children have been involved with.”
With the goals of alleviating hunger and educating the community, master gardeners from University of Illinois Extension planted the garden in 2001 on a half-acre parcel donated by the city and adjacent to the public library. Over the years, the master gardeners have enlisted the support of many businesses, organizations, and clubs, including the Rotary Club of Harvard, making the project a community-wide effort. 
As many as 250 needy families benefit from the 10,000 pounds of vegetables that are grown and donated every year to the local food pantry. The fresh produce serves as a safety net for many families. 
Roughly a quarter of the community’s 9,200 residents live below the federal poverty line, a result of the limited employment opportunities in small farm towns across Illinois. The already fragile economy was further affected by the closing of a Motorola  plant here in 2003 after only seven years of operation.
“In this community, the only way we can get by is by helping each other,” says Dave Decker, site director for the Harvard Community Food Pantry. “Everybody needs a little help now and then.”
The Rotary Club of Harvard took on the project seven years ago, looking for a way to address hunger and help the community. With only seven members, the club has had an impact far beyond its size, amplifying its efforts by working with the master gardeners and other groups.
“Harvard is definitely a better place because of the members of this club, and that is what keeps us going,” says Mike Morris, the club’s president. “It’s the expertise of the master gardeners, individuals in the community, farmers who help, and the education provided through the day care that makes this an amazing team effort.” 
The Rotary club has provided $400 to buy seeds and starter plants from a local nursery every year since 2011. It also purchased plastic drip irrigation tubing and fertilizer valves after a drought threatened the garden in 2012. This year, it provided a letter of support needed by the master gardeners to secure a $5,000 grant from the McHenry County Community Foundation for an organic compost mix that will add nutrients back to the soil and help keep weeds at bay.
Morris has made the garden his special focus and enlisted every member of the club to help with planting, weeding, and harvesting. Henson also recruited day care employees to volunteer. 
The garden needs everyone for planting, says Dale Nelmes, one of the master gardeners who volunteer every week.
“Many of us master gardeners are up there in years and can’t get down on our hands and knees like we used to,” he says. “I was so impressed with Rotary and Sheila, who brought all these young volunteers in. It was incredible how much we accomplished.”
The Harvard Rotarians also used a Rotary grant to buy a new freezer, which allows the food pantry to store vegetables longer. 
Last winter, Morris secured another Rotary grant  for $2,000, which, when combined with $5,000 from club funds, funded seven weeks of food deliveries from the Northern Illinois Food Bank. A mobile unit from the food bank set up at Brown Bear Daycare once a month from October to April, each time distributing 9,000 pounds of meat, vegetables, boxed goods, breads, and fruits.
Morris says growing up on a farm in northwestern Illinois played a big part in his interest in fighting hunger. 
“I know we can produce more than enough food to feed everybody in the country,” he says. “It’s just a matter of the logistics of getting it from the farm to their table.”
On a July morning, about 20 people – Rotarians, master gardeners, and community volunteers – are scattered among the 14 rows, each 125 feet long, pulling weeds and picking vegetables. The garden is behind schedule this year because of heavy rains, and today’s harvest is smaller than normal. At the food pantry, Nelmes weighs each crate: 9 pounds of broccoli, 6 pounds of kohlrabi, 8 pounds of peppers, and 22 pounds of zucchini. Later in the season, many more hands will be needed to harvest.
Reina Montes began volunteering at the garden after a back injury forced her to stop working temporarily and she had to go to the pantry to supplement her groceries. When she learned about the garden, she persuaded her daughter, Elizabeth Sanchez, to join her on Mondays to help plant, pick, and weed.
Montes moved to Harvard from Mexico City more than 20 years ago and fell in love with the smaller town. Her daughter now has two college-age daughters of her own, whom she hopes to teach the value of community service. 
“Thanks to the garden, we can feed people who can’t afford to buy fresh food at the supermarket,” says Sanchez. “I believe it is everybody’s responsibility to help the community. If our children see that there is unity, love, and support, they are going to do the same thing. We are leaving them a legacy.” 
The Power of a Garden 2017-11-07 09:00:00Z 0

filled with peace champions and workshops

By Geoff Johnson


Rotary will honor six champions of peace at the United Nations on 11 November.


The Palais des Nations in Geneva, built as the headquarters for the League of Nations, remains an enduring emblem of humanity’s hope for global peace, making it an ideal setting for this year’s Rotary Day at the United Nations on 11 November.

Underscoring this year’s theme — Peace: Making a Difference — the event will include workshops devoted to sustainability and peace, as well as a workshop on education, science, and peace, designed by and for young leaders.

A variety of speakers will contribute to the discussion, including Rotary International President Ian H.S. Riseley; Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Paul A. Netzel; Walter B Gyger and Claudine Wyssa, the representatives of Rotary International to UN/Geneva; and Dr. Mohanned Arabiat, president of Generations for Peace.


Rotary General Secretary John Hewko will introduce each of the People of Action: Champions of Peace. They are:

·        Jean Best, Rotary Club of Kirkcudbright, Scotland

·        Taylor (Stevenson) Cass Talbott, Rotary Peace Fellow, Portland, Oregon, USA

·        Ann Frisch, Rotary Club of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, USA

·        Safina Rahman, Rotary Club of Dhaka Mahanagar, Bangladesh

·        Alejandro Reyes Lozano, Rotary Club of Bogotá Capital, Colombia

·        Kiran Singh Sirah, Rotary Peace Fellow, Tennessee, USA

Other highlights will include a polio-tulip-planting ceremony, updates on polio eradication, and closing remarks from Edwin Futa, dean of the Rotary Representative Network.


Peace partnership

Rotary Day at the UN culminates Geneva Peace Week. That event’s organizers include the Institute for Economics and Peace, a global think tank that uses data-driven research to analyze peace and quantify its economic value.

·        Watch the Rotary Day at the United Nations on UN TV

·        See program details

This summer, the institute and Rotary announced a strategic partnership that will pair the two organizations’ individual strengths — empirical research and community connections — and focus them on resolving conflict and achieving peace.

On 8 November, as part of Geneva Peace Week, the institute will join the Geneva Centre for Security Policy in hosting a panel discussion, “Building the Evidence for Better Prevention.” Staged at the Maison de la Paix, it will systematically evaluate conflict prevention and peacebuilding methods in the context of a research framework.


Rotary Day at the UN 2017-10-31 08:00:00Z 0

Another great success!!!!   The final count was 1087 people coming to see our health fair!!!!!


Looks  like we did about 900 total blood draws this year. We have done about 900+- for three years in a row. We are holding steady and exceeding our budget.


Expanding into the middle of the gym freed up some space in the commons and made room for everyone this year. The event took on a whole new life in the gym this year and the energy was great!


Set up had a few bumps but we dealt with them and  were ready on time for the exhibitors to get in at 5:30 to set up. Take down was perfect and we walked out the door  2 pm.


There are too many of you to thank by name. Every year  you  folks step up and make this the big successful event  our community deserves and has come to expect from our Rotary Club. Please give each other a pat on the back for our success.


We hear from many of the folks who travel the state doing other health  fairs that there is not one health fair that even comes close to ours in size, scope and professionalism. The folks who came up with the original  model and standards gave us a plan that has stood the test of time and continues to grow.


This partnership with South Peninsula Hospital is a gift to our club and to this community. The staff at SPH continue to be the best partners we could ask for. We will be treating the lab to lunch as our thank you for all  their time and effort.


The Rotarians and SPH staff who serve as your Rotary Health Fair committee once again have provided Homer with an incredible opportunity to "Take a Day to Be Well?


It has been an honor to serve as the Rotary Health Fair Coordinator. As many of you have heard me say, " In 2006 I did not even know what a health fair  was and now I am one." Just look how far we have come together. 


Thank you all for the cards, flowers and kind words. The people in this club are some of the very best on the planet. It takes a Rotary Club to put on such a huge successful event year after year.


I know you all will continue to give this event all your support and assistance.  Today is  bittersweet as I step back from my role and make room for new leaders.  I am grateful for having had the opportunity to serve our community thru our club.   Gary and Van can build on what we have created and foster new innovations.


Here's to continued growth  and success of the Rotary Health Fair as the club moves forward to  the 35th Annual Rotary Health Fair on November 3, 2018.


35 years is something to be proud of!



Yours in rotary Service,


Sharon Minsch

Former Coordinator

Rotary Health Fair

 Pre-Health Fair Blood Draws at South Peninsula Hospital


At the Health Fair



2017 Rotary Health Fair Was a Huge Success! 2017-10-31 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary and the Gates Foundation host fifth annual World Polio Day to highlight progress in the fight to eradicate the disease

By Photos by

After another year of dwindling polio cases, Rotary leaders, top health experts, and celebrities said on 24 October — World Polio Day — that the paralyzing disease has never been closer to being eradicated globally.

A special livestreamed presentation — End Polio Now: Countdown to History — featured the people who work tirelessly to end the disease and reviewed the progress that the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has made.

Co-hosted by Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the 45-minute program took place before a live audience at the Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle, Washington, USA, and was streamed online to viewers worldwide. Mark Wright, news host for the local NBC television station and president of the Rotary Club of Seattle, and CNN news host Fredricka Whitfield led the event. 

Wright updated the audience on the latest figures of polio cases saying that the total number of cases caused by the wild poliovirus so far this year is 12, with seven cases in Afghanistan, five in Pakistan, and none in Nigeria. This is a 70 percent reduction from 2016 and is the lowest count of polio cases in history.

“The scale of the effort is staggering,” he said. “Every year 2.2 billion doses are delivered to 430 million children, through a sophisticated vaccine supply and logistics network.”

Sue Desmond-Hellmann, the Gates Foundation’s chief executive officer, began the event by praising Rotary members and front-line health workers for their dedication to ending the disease. 

Rotary Praises Unsung Heroes on World Polio Day 2017-10-26 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary and the Gates Foundation host fifth annual World Polio Day to highlight progress in the fight to eradicate the disease

By Photos by

After another year of dwindling polio cases, Rotary leaders, top health experts, and celebrities said on 24 October — World Polio Day — that the paralyzing disease has never been closer to being eradicated globally.

A special livestreamed presentation — End Polio Now: Countdown to History — featured the people who work tirelessly to end the disease and reviewed the progress that the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has made.

Co-hosted by Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the 45-minute program took place before a live audience at the Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle, Washington, USA, and was streamed online to viewers worldwide. Mark Wright, news host for the local NBC television station and president of the Rotary Club of Seattle, and CNN news host Fredricka Whitfield led the event. 

Wright updated the audience on the latest figures of polio cases saying that the total number of cases caused by the wild poliovirus so far this year is 12, with seven cases in Afghanistan, five in Pakistan, and none in Nigeria. This is a 70 percent reduction from 2016 and is the lowest count of polio cases in history.

“The scale of the effort is staggering,” he said. “Every year 2.2 billion doses are delivered to 430 million children, through a sophisticated vaccine supply and logistics network.”

Sue Desmond-Hellmann, the Gates Foundation’s chief executive officer, began the event by praising Rotary members and front-line health workers for their dedication to ending the disease. 


Rotary Praises Unsung Heroes on World Polio Day 2017-10-25 08:00:00Z 0
The Health Fair is this Saturday!  Setup is Friday afternoon, after 3:00--maybe 3:30  Check with Sharon if you are not at the meeting to hear it.  Sharon also has the assignment list, if you are not certain what you signed up for, or when.
Homer Rotary Health Fair Update--THIS SATURDAY!!! 2017-10-25 08:00:00Z 0

Rotarians in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, USA, tout their town as baseball's true birthplace


If you’re a baseball fan, you probably think of Cooperstown, N.Y., as the game’s birthplace. That’s why the Hall of Fame is there, right?

But the Cooperstown story is a myth. The Hall of Fame itself refers to the “mythical first game” there. That first ballgame, supposedly played in 1839, is the sort of alternative fact the New York American sportswriter Damon Runyon called “the old phonus balonus.

So where did baseball really start?

Illustration by Dave Cutler


“Right here,” says Phil Massery, pointing at the turf beneath his feet. We’re at Rotary Park in Pittsfield, a cozy town in western Massachusetts, USA. He and 30 other Rotarians are enjoying a summer barbecue in lieu of their usual meeting at a hotel. The park, with its playground built by Massery and other members of the Pittsfield club, adjoins a Little League diamond. 

Wherever you go in Pittsfield, baseball is nearby.

“I’ve got nothing against Cooperstown,” Massery says, “but people should know the Hall of Fame is there by mistake.” He laughs. “I doubt they’ll move it here, though.”

Sitting in the shade with library director Alex Reczkowski, insurance agent John Murphy, and other local leaders, Massery, a real estate broker, tells the true story of baseball’s history. “It starts with Cooperstown, all right, but not the way people think.” Back in 1904, sporting goods tycoon Albert Spalding named a panel of experts to determine how the national pastime had begun. But Spalding didn’t want to hear that the sport had evolved from English games such as cricket and rounders. He said – and this is a direct quote – “Our good old American game of baseball must have an American Dad.” So it got one. The panel declared that Civil War Gen. Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown in 1839. Never mind that Doubleday was a plebe at West Point at the time. Never mind that Doubleday never claimed to have anything to do with inventing baseball. (One historian wrote that the man “didn’t know a baseball from a kumquat.”) Fans and sportswriters bought the story, and the Hall of Fame opened in Cooperstown in 1939 to mark the 100th anniversary of the First Game that never was. 

“Now flash-forward 65 years,” Massery says. In 2004 John Thorn, Major League Baseball’s official historian, discovered a document written in Pittsfield in 1791. “George Washington was president. There were still only 13 states. But there was already baseball here in Pittsfield. How do we know? Because kids were knocking windows out of the town church!” 

City fathers didn’t want rocks, horsehide-covered balls, or anything else pocking the First Congregational meetinghouse. They had paid Charles Bulfinch, the architect who was about to design the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., to build it. So they passed a local law. “For the Preservation of the Windows in the New Meeting House,” it read, “no Person, an Inhabitant of said Town, shall be permitted to play at any Game called Wicket, Cricket, Baseball … or any other Game or Games with Balls within the Distance of Eighty Yards.” This was the first known mention of the national game in American history. As Thorn announced at a press conference, “It’s clear that not only was baseball played here in 1791, but it was rampant.”

A Hall of Fame spokesman called the discovery “incredibly monumental.”

“Pittsfield,” crowed then-Mayor James Ruberto, “is baseball’s Garden of Eden.”

George Washington was president. There were still only 13 states. But there was already baseball here in Pittsfield. How do we know? Because kids were knocking windows out of the town church!

Today the Rotary club holds its regular meetings at a hotel a block from Park Square. It’s a long fly ball from there to the spot where schoolkids played 226 years ago. In those days, Park Square was a grassy block at the crossing of the town’s main roads. It would have taken quite a clout to launch a ball from there to the meetinghouse. You would think such a shot might earn a kid a hip-hip-hooray. But the descendants of the Puritans frowned on such displays, so we can imagine the young Pittsfielders pioneering something like today’s walk-off home run. Somebody smacks a long one, they all wait for the sound of breaking glass and run off as fast as they can. 

What was the game like in those days? “The basepaths would have been shorter than they are today,” says historian Thorn. “The ball would be smaller than the one we’re used to, and softer. Fielders would throw base runners out by ‘soaking’ them – hitting them with the ball.” 

More than two centuries later, Park Square is a leafy ellipse in the middle of a busy traffic circle. It’s a couple hundred feet from there to the towering First Church of Christ on the site of the old meetinghouse and the small plaque beside the church. ON THIS SITE IN 1791, it reads, A NEW MEETING HOUSE OF THE FIRST CONGREGATIONAL PARISH IN PITTSFIELD WAS BEING COMPLETED WHEN SEVERAL OF ITS WINDOWS WERE BROKEN AS A RESULT OF BALL GAMES. But few visitors notice the plaque. Even among people born and raised here, as Massery was, few know that Park Square is a special place. 

“That’s our own fault,” he says. “We haven’t done enough to get the word out.”

At the barbecue, talk turns to baseball. Club President Jeff Hassett recalls his dad’s days running the local Babe Ruth League. Another Rotarian remembers his Little League years, when his coach said that “we had a tradition to uphold – years and years of Pittsfield baseball. Thousands of years, I thought. Maybe millions. I was 12!” Reczkowski mentions that the library he runs is where the 1791 document was found. “We’ve got it in a vault,” says the library director, who knows his local lore. “Our minor league diamond, Wahconah Park, is one of only two in America that face west. Did you know that? It means that the batter looks right into the late-afternoon sun. We’ve got a park that has rain delays and sun delays. And our team, of course, is called the Suns.” 

Of course they all know why other ballparks face east. It’s so the batter has the afternoon sun behind him. That means the pitcher faces west, which is why left-handers are called southpaws. 

Eric Schaffer used to watch his beloved Chicago Cubs on jumbo screens in Las Vegas casinos. Schaffer, who moved east with his Pittsfield-born wife 20 years ago, likes the “baseball feel” of New England and the regular-folks vibe of the local Rotary club. “It’s nice and casual here,” he says. “Plus the fines aren’t so bad. My cell goes off at a meeting in Pittsfield, OK, I’ll pay a dollar. The Vegas Rotary met at Harrah’s – there were some high rollers in that club. My phone went off in Vegas and it was, ‘Schaffer, that’s a $100 fine.’”

He and Massery and the others agree that Pittsfield could use an extra dose of pilgrims’ pride. “We should be one of the capitals of baseball,” Massery says. “I’m not saying the capital, but we really should be better known.”

The Hall of Fame at Cooperstown now recognizes Pittsfield, displaying a copy of the 1791 document near the front door. Serious fans know about the game’s roots in Pittsfield. “So why aren’t we capitalizing on it?” Massery asks. He did his part by paying for hundreds of baseball caps emblazoned “1791.” Local Rotarians wear them. But now he’s thinking bigger. He has his eyes on an abandoned building downtown. “We could turn it into a tourist attraction, our own little hall of fame.”

And what if someone finds evidence of a still-earlier baseball game? Wouldn’t that spoil everything?

“I feel good about our claim to fame. We got a lot of attention when the document turned up. Since then, every town in New England has had 13 years to rummage through its records. If they were going to beat us, they’d have done it by now.”

• Kevin Cook is a member of the Rotary club of Northampton, Massachusetts, USA, and a frequent contributor to The Rotarian. His latest book, "Electric October," is about the epic 1947 World Series.

Column: Game Changer 2017-10-17 08:00:00Z 0

Profile: Summit meeting brings surprise proposal


Jennifer Boyd, Scarborough Rotary Passport Club, Ontario, Canada

For three Toronto-area Rotarians, a successful six-day trek up Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzaniain June 2016 was momentous for several reasons.

Jennifer Boyd


After a year of planning and publicizing, Jennifer Boyd, Ryan Fogarty, and Raffy Chouljian raised CA$500,000 for End Polio Now. The climb went without a hitch, and at the summit, Fogarty surprised Boyd when he got on one knee and proposed.

The seed for the journey was planted in 2011. “At the District 7070 Conference, one of the keynote speakers was a polio survivor, Ramesh Ferris, who crawled in,” explains Boyd, who is her club’s president. “It was the first time I’d seen what polio was firsthand. It made me want to make a difference.”

After Boyd participated in a National Immunization Day in India in 2015, a friend suggested she climb Kilimanjaro to raise funds for End Polio Now; within days she persuaded Fogarty and Chouljian to come along.

They exceeded their initial fundraising goal of CA$100,000 in donations. The Canadian government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation matched it 2-to-1, bringing it to CA$500,000.

Boyd’s next big project was her September wedding, where every guest was to receive a wooden rose with a note that a $10 donation had been made in their name – to End Polio Now, of course.

• Read more stories from The Rotarian

Profile: Summit Meeting Brings Surprise Proposal 2017-10-17 08:00:00Z 0

Manitoba honors Rotary Peace Fellow for public achievement

Refugees who come to Winnipeg often end up living in areas that are predominantly inhabited by indigenous people. 

“Newcomers do not know much about the indigenous life and heritage and, without that knowledge, the first thing they encounter is people who are poor and stereotyped by the mainstream community,” says Abdikheir “Abdi” Ahmed, a 2011-12 Rotary Peace Fellow and immigration partnership coordinator for the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg. “Indigenous people may see immigrants as encroaching into their neighborhoods. There is tension between both groups.” 

Abdikheir “Abdi” Ahmed, a 2011-12 Rotary Peace Fellow and immigration partnership coordinator for the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg.


Ahmed works to smooth relations, helping them see they have more in common than what divides them. “Integration is a two-way process,” he says. 

In recognition of his work, Ahmed received the Order of the Buffalo Hunt, one of the highest honours for public achievement issued by the Manitoba legislature, in January 2016. 

“I never thought what I was doing had this significance,” he says. “But I don’t look at what I have done. I look at what needs to be done to bring about better living standards for people.” 

Ahmed, 37, may understand the needs of immigrants better than most. 

Originally from Somalia, he and his family fled the conflict there and settled in Kenya when he was a child. 

My hope is that in the next 20 to 50 years, if we have more Rotary Peace Fellows around the world who are speaking the same language and taking on a leadership role to create an interconnected world, things will change.

As a young adult, he moved to Canada as part of the national resettlement program. He began working with refugee children who were struggling in school while attending the University of Winnipeg, where he earned a degree in international development in 2007.

After graduation, Ahmed began working at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba. 

He learned about the Rotary Peace Centers program from Noëlle DePape, a colleague who had earned her master’s degree at the University of Queensland, Australia, through the fellowship.

 After Ahmed completed his own peace fellowship at Queensland, he and DePape worked together to develop a curriculum for a summer course that they teach to high school students at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, part of a Rotary District 5550 (Manitoba and parts of Ontario and Saskatchewan) program called Adventures in Human Rights.

“We help them view the world from the perspective that everyone’s rights are equal and understand the idea of building a community where everyone’s rights are respected and each person is given a fair opportunity,” he says. 

In addition to his work in Winnipeg, Ahmed serves on the board of Humankind International, an early childhood learning center that he co-founded at the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya with two Somali friends who also immigrated to Winnipeg. He says it serves 150 children with four teachers, and he hopes to expand it to accommodate the many children who have to be turned away. 

Despite the suffering he has witnessed and the daily conflicts he works to resolve, Ahmed is optimistic about the prospects for peace and the potential of the peace centers program. 

“My hope is that in the next 20 to 50 years, if we have more Rotary Peace Fellows around the world who are speaking the same language and taking on a leadership role to create an interconnected world, things will change,” he says. “I also hope we can find an opportunity for Rotarians and past peace fellows to collaborate on projects in a more defined way.” 

Ahmed and his wife, Saadi, have three sons. He says their oldest, Mohamed, 9, dreams of playing in the NBA and says that with the money he earns, he will build houses for the homeless people he sees on his way to school. 

Ibrahim, 7, wants to be a firefighter so he can save people. One-year-old Yussuf has not announced any career plans yet. 

Somali Refugee Spreads Peace as Rotary Fellow 2017-10-17 08:00:00Z 0

Eviction isn't just a momentary lapse in housing; it's often the start of a downward spiral


It was kids playing a game, a snowball thrown at the wrong car on a cold January day, that led to Arleen’s eviction. But that moment created an avalanche of instability in her life and that of her two young sons: a few months at a homeless shelter euphemistically nicknamed “the Lodge”; renting a house without running water, which they had to leave when the city deemed it unfit for human habitation; another in an apartment complex known as a den for drug dealers, which she left after a few months out of concern for her sons’ safety. 

Matthew Desmond, Princeton sociologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Evicted"

Illustration: Viktor Miller Gausa

It was yet another move for a kid who attended five schools between seventh and eighth grades, who once missed 17 straight days of school while the family stayed at a domestic violence shelter. The rent on Arleen’s next apartment consumed 88 percent of her welfare check, leaving her with less than $100 to last the month. Then there were the costs of a funeral.

Eviction seems so straightforward: You don’t pay the rent, you get evicted. But sociologist Matthew Desmond found out that it’s not so simple while researching his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, "Evicted."

Renters can get evicted for calling the police to report domestic violence, or for the things their children do – have an asthma attack, hit a car with a snowball – that draw the attention of local officials or provoke an angry motorist to kick down the front door. The blemish of an eviction on their records sends people into ever worse neighborhoods, the landlords relying on renters’ desperation to justify increasingly squalid conditions. Poor families and criminals end up in the same places because both are deemed undesirable, but for vastly different reasons.

“Eviction is not just a condition of poverty; it’s a cause of it,” Desmond told The Rotarian. “We are paying for its fallout. We’re paying for higher rates of depression and we are paying for higher crime in neighborhoods with more evictions. We’re paying for kids’ health issues and the educational fallout. Investing in safe, affordable housing is not only something that has a moral benefit; it has economic benefits too.”

Desmond spent more than a year living in poor neighborhoods in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, to research the book and subsequently conducted additional surveys drawing on his fieldwork with the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (he later received the foundation’s “genius grant” in 2015). The resulting book paints such detailed portraits of families going through eviction that it reads like a novel. It was named one of the 10 best books of 2016 by the Washington Post and one of the best books of 2016 by New York Times book reviewers, among its many accolades.

Desmond, now a professor at Princeton University, is familiar with Rotary and its mission: His father, Nicholas Desmond, was a member of the Rotary Club of Winslow, Arizona, USA, before moving to Massachusetts. The Winslow Rotary Club gave the younger Desmond a scholarship to support his undergraduate work at Arizona State University.

I wanted to write a different kind of poverty book, one that wasn’t just about poor folks or poor places, but these relationships.

Desmond spoke with senior staff writer Diana Schoberg, who lives in Milwaukee and was a renter herself in the city while he was doing his research. They talked about the high cost of living in run-down housing, the financial burden of the eviction cycle on society, and what we can do about it.

TR: Your book reads like a novel. How did you gain access to and the trust of the people you profiled?

Desmond: Living in the neighborhood helped a lot. In the trailer park, Larraine and Scott, Ned and Pam – those were my neighbors. I would spend days hanging out with Lennie in the office, which was right in the middle of the trailer park, and just became a presence. Some folks were very open from the beginning. Some folks were much more reserved and cautious. I took time with them and shared my previous publications so they knew what my work was about. Folks thought I was a cop, or a Child Protective Services worker undercover, or a drug addict. There were a lot of suspicions, all of which were completely understandable and much more normal in these neighborhoods than a social scientist.

TR: Did you get involved in the families’ lives or did you have rules for yourself about the boundaries you were going to keep?

Desmond: I didn’t have many rules about that. I was trying to understand their lives as deeply as I could and with as much complexity as I could. That meant that some nights I slept on their couches and their floors, and I watched their kids, and they bought me dinner and I bought them dinner. I wanted to try to bear witness to this problem, and that meant trying to involve myself as little as possible in certain scenarios, but as I talked about the book, there were some times when I helped out and there were a lot of times when they helped me out, like you do with friends.

TR: Did you go into the book wanting to write about evictions, or had you wanted to write about poverty and then evictions became the issue that stood out?

Desmond: I wanted to write a different kind of poverty book, one that wasn’t just about poor folks or poor places, but these relationships. Eviction was the narrative device. I had no idea how common evictions were. I had no idea that one in eight Milwaukee renters were evicted every two years, that eviction has such a big impact on people’s lives. Eviction became much more than just a way to write a certain book – it became the thing to really understand in a deeper way.

TR: The difference in rent between some of the squalid apartments you write about and well-kept places in safe neighborhoods was only $100 or $200 a month. Why is that?

Desmond: Researchers from [University of California] Berkeley have geocoded rentals on Craigslist, and you see this compression of rents in a lot of soft-market cities all around the country. This isn’t a uniquely Milwaukee thing – this is something you can see in a city like Cleveland or Baltimore or Pittsburgh or Philadelphia. Why is that? What’s going on?

The median asking rent in Milwaukee in 2010 for a two-bedroom apartment was $600. In the middle of the [poorer] north side, rents are about $550. So you have a slight reduction in housing costs, but the neighborhood and housing quality are vastly different.

Most landlords in Milwaukee set rents by looking at Craigslist or the newspaper to see what apartments are going for. If you geocode the addresses of properties advertising in Craigslist and the newspaper, they’re not on the north side of Milwaukee. They’re usually [in wealthier neighborhoods]. So the rents are skewed upward. That might be something that’s happening.

What’s interesting is that historically it doesn’t seem that weird. Even Jacob Riis talked about it when he wrote How the Other Half Lives [in 1890]. The rents in the tenements were actually a bit more expensive than rents uptown. That suggests that it has policy implications. It suggests that maybe the nonprofit sector can get more involved in very poor neighborhoods than they are. And it suggests that the housing crisis isn’t just driven by these kinds of bloodless forces, like supply and demand, but is also driven in part at least by a profit motive.

TR: How do you balance the right to profit that a landlord has, versus a need for someone to have safe and affordable housing?

Desmond: This is a moral discussion that the nation needs to begin to have. When I think about how to address this problem at scale, I always come back to public-private partnerships. I think that’s the way out of this crisis that can help the most people. Profits are involved in that, people making a living are involved in that, but the state is also involved in that, and much more housing assistance to families in need is involved with that. That’s why the book calls for a mass expansion of housing vouchers, which are these public-private partnerships. In America, we have chosen to house the vast majority of our families of modest means in the private rental market, which means landlords and property owners in that market have to be at the table.

TR: You portrayed the landlords so richly in the book. Tobin lends money to someone to attend a funeral, and Sherrena bought food for Arleen when she moved in. But as Sherrena said, “Love don’t pay the bills.” What makes the landlords you met tick?

Desmond: My job was to try to write about everyone with as much complexity as I could. Depending on how we lean politically, we might be more inclined toward the landlords or toward the tenants. And maybe we’re inclined to paint one of those groups in a really poor light, but if you look at the problem from the sidewalk level, it’s just much more complex than that. You see landlords in the book being generous and being forgiving and sometimes being very hard and sometimes cavalier. They’re human. One thing that makes them tick is making a good living. This is where the rubber meets the road on hard questions on affordable housing. The landlords in "Evicted" made a good living, and they rented exclusively to low-income families. How much inequality are we OK with? How big a profit should we tolerate, and are some ways of making a profit more upstanding than others?

One thing we’re doing now is trying to understand how landlord profit margins vary across neighborhood types. We’re finding some statistical evidence that profit margins are higher in poorer neighborhoods because the mortgage and the property tax bills are lower, but rents, like we just talked about, aren’t that much lower. That raises normative questions for us and public policy questions, too.

TR: How do we change the problem when it is so systemic? What role could an organization like Rotary play?

Desmond: Only about one in four families who qualify for housing assistance get any. The vast majority of poor folks get nothing. Their kids don’t get enough to eat, because the rent eats first. One in four poor families who are renting is spending over 70 percent of its income on housing costs. Even with imperfect policies, we need a vast expansion of housing assistance to those families. One way to get there is building a broad coalition – and involving not the usual suspects. If you care about educational quality and allowing kids to reach their full potential, then you’ve got to give them a stable home. If you care about reducing health care costs, the top 5 percent of the users consume 50 percent of health care costs in hospitals. And guess who those users are? They’re the unstably housed. They’re homeless folks.

This lack of affordable housing is going to hit our business leaders hard. They’re going to experience more turnover in their workforce. They’re going to experience the resistance of folks to move to high-cost cities even if the jobs are better. Folks that are part of Rotary have a vital role to play, not only as business leaders, but as community leaders as well. When low-income neighborhoods are communities – when folks know their neighbors – there are massive returns. They can drive down crime in their neighborhood, become more politically engaged, form that stickiness of neighborhoods that’s so important for kids’ well-being. Eviction threatens that.

TR: Are there other countries that we can look to for solutions?

Desmond: We’re unique among other advanced industrial societies for the level of poverty that we have and the kind of poverty that we have. If you give a talk on this book in Amsterdam or London or Paris, people are flabbergasted, outraged. They’re just not used to the material hardship that we have come to tolerate as a nation.

We can look to countries that have universal housing programs like the Netherlands or Britain. We can look at countries that have installed mandatory mediators between landlords and tenants like France has. Or countries like Germany that make a much more serious investment in public housing than we have. Or countries that don’t have these massive homeowner subsidies like we do, but have equal or similar rates of homeownership. Canada is one, the UK is another. But the good news is that we don’t have to – the policies we have here work pretty darn well. Our housing voucher program [often referred to as Section 8] is a great program. It lifts over 2 million people above the poverty line every year, and it makes kids healthier. Families move less. They live in better neighborhoods. It works. The problem is that it’s just not enough to go around.

TR: What sort of financial burden does the eviction cycle have on society as a whole?

Desmond: To answer that question, we need to ask, What does eviction do to a family? Families not only leave their homes. Kids lose their schools, you lose your community, you often lose your stuff because it’s piled on the sidewalk or taken by movers. Eviction comes with a mark: It pushes families into worse housing, worse neighborhoods. Those are things that can have a lasting and deep impact on kids’ well-being. We have a study that shows that moms who get evicted have high rates of depression two years later. We know that suicides attributed to evictions and foreclosures doubled between 2005 and 2010 [years when housing costs soared]. We have a study that shows eviction can cause job loss because it can be such a consuming, stressful event. It can make you make mistakes at work, lose your footing in the job market.

TR: Your book has gotten a lot of attention. Has that translated into any changes?

Desmond: We’re seeing a lot more people talk about this issue than before. This work has helped push forward arguments like the right to counsel in housing court, which New York City passed earlier this year. It is the first city in the country to take a stand to say folks who are facing eviction around the city should have legal representation. I testified at that hearing citing the research on what eviction does to families. Philadelphia is now considering something similar.

We’ve had movement on the federal level too. One example of that has to do with research that connected evictions to nuisance ordinances and domestic violence. Domestic violence survivors had to choose between calling 911 and risking eviction, or not calling 911 when they were in an abusive relationship. At a meeting on Capitol Hill, Sen. [Elizabeth] Warren really latched on to those ordinances. She organized 28 senators to write a letter to HUD [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development], and HUD very shortly thereafter issued guidance putting federal law back on the side of domestic violence survivors. The ACLU has been involved in that effort as well. It started a campaign called “I Am Not a Nuisance” where it’s litigating against these ordinances across the country.

If the book has made a difference, it’s because people are responding to the folks in its pages, folks like Arleen and Larraine and Scott. People are recognizing that this level of social suffering and blunting of human capacity is not right, and it’s not us.

Nowhere To Go 2017-10-11 08:00:00Z 0

Pakistan and Nigeria replace paper-based reporting with fast, accurate cellphone messaging

By Photos by

Mobile phones and simple text messaging may be the keys to victory in the world’s largest public health initiative: the eradication of polio. 

As the disease retreats from the global stage, thriving in only a few remote areas in three countries, it’s up to health workers to deliver vaccines and share information with speed and accuracy. 

Health workers in Pakistan are receiving cellphone and e-monitoring training at the Rotary Resource Center in Nowshera, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. 


Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative are strengthening the lines of communication by giving cellphones to health workers in Pakistan and Nigeria, where a single text message could save a life. 

In Pakistan, Rotary has been working to replace traditional paper-based reporting of maternal and child health information, including polio immunization data, with mobile phone and e-monitoring technology. 

Community health workers across the nation have received more than 800 phones through a partnership with Rotary, the Pakistani government; Telenor, the country’s second-largest telecommunications provider; and Eycon, a data monitoring and evaluation specialist. Organizers plan to distribute a total of 5,000 cellphones by the end of 2018. 

Health workers can use the phones to send data via text message to a central server. If they see a potential polio case, they can immediately alert officials at Pakistan’s National Emergency Operations Center. They also can note any children who didn’t receive the vaccine or parental refusals – and record successful immunizations. In Pakistan, the polio eradication effort aims to reach the nation’s 35 million children under age five.

The result is a collection of real-time information that officials can easily monitor and assess, says Michel Thieren, regional emergency director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergency Program. 

Pakistan health workers are replacing traditional paper-reporting with accurate and timely cellphone-based reporting. 


“Cellphone technology signals tremendous progress in the polio eradication program,” says Thieren, who has directed polio-related initiatives for WHO in Pakistan. “The data we collect needs to have such a granular level of detail. With real-time information that can be recorded and transcribed immediately, you can increase accuracy and validity.

“This gives governments and polio eradication leaders an advantage in the decisions we need to make operationally and tactically to eliminate polio,” Thieren says.

Beyond polio

Health workers also are using mobile phones to monitor a multitude of maternal and child health factors. 

Pakistan’s child mortality rate ranks among the highest in the world, according to UNICEF, with 81 deaths under age five per 1,000 live births. 

But mobile technology can help reduce those deaths, says Asher Ali, project manager for Rotary’s Pakistan PolioPlus Committee. 

“Our health workers, including community midwives, are tracking pregnant mothers,” Ali says. “When a child is born, they can input and maintain complete health records, not just for polio, but for other vaccines and basic health care and hygiene needs.”

They also can monitor infectious diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis, and influenza-like illnesses, as well as child malnutrition and maternal health concerns. 

“If there is a problem with the baby or the mother, we can send information to the government health departments immediately, so they can solve the issue quickly and adjust their strategies,” Ali says. 

Cellphones also facilitate follow-up visits with families, because health workers can send appointment reminders over text message. 

Proliferation of phones

Mobile phone use worldwide has spiked recently, with about 7 billion subscribers globally, 89 percent of them in developing countries, says WHO. Even people living on less than $1 a day often have access to phones and text messaging, according to WHO. Cellphones are used more than any other technology in the developing world. 

Rotary and other nonprofit organizations are leveraging this fact to boost a variety of health initiatives. 

The Grameen Foundation conducts a “mobile midwife” program that sends daily texts and weekly voice mails to expectant mothers, offering advice during pregnancy and the first year of the child’s life. UNICEF provides similar support to mothers, with a focus on nutrition throughout pregnancy and the first two years of a child’s life. 

Mobile phones also are helping in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. The British nonprofit Absolute Return for Kids uses text messages to remind patients about medications and upcoming appointments. 

The Ugandan health ministry’s mTrac program, a mobile text messaging data collection network run in conjunction with UNICEF and other organizations, has a broader focus. Nearly 30,000 workers at 3,700 health centers submit weekly reports through their phones and receive surveys, alerts, and other communications. Questions go out to health workers about medical supply levels, conditions in clinics, and other critical issues.

Members of the Rotaract Club of The Caduceus, India, collaborated with the Jana Swasthya Project in 2015 to screen more than 8,000 people for oral health conditions, hypertension, and diabetes during Kumbh Mela, one of the world’s largest Hindu festivals. The project established a digital disease-surveillance system to study epidemiological trends, replacing a paper-based data-tracking process and allowing officials to access live data with a few clicks. 

In 2016, after Nigeria saw its first polio cases in almost two years, Rotary and WHO officials rushed to replace traditional reporting with a cell-based system in the northern state of Borno, where the new cases were identified. The mobile phone initiative has since expanded to more than 11 states. 

“Traditional paper reporting was misleading our program. The information we were getting was not entirely accurate. This gave us the sense that we were doing better than we actually were,” says Boniface Igomu, program coordinator of Rotary’s Nigeria PolioPlus Committee. “With cellphones, we’re identifying problem areas quickly and acting accordingly.”

The country has yet to see a polio case this year. 

Nigeria is also using cell-based mapping technology to identify areas that polio immunization teams have missed. Health workers test stool samples from children arriving from remote areas and log reports of acute flaccid paralysis. This effort started in Borno but has expanded to three additional states, Igomu says. 

After more than 1,000 people died earlier this year in Nigeria from meningitis, the country used the same digital tools in emergency vaccination campaigns, he adds.

“Mobile technologies are the type of innovations that can fill in the gaps of our program and finally help us end polio for good,” Igomu says. “Their uses have never been more important than now.”

Cellphones Power Disease Fight 2017-10-11 08:00:00Z 0
Call for District Governor Nominations 2017-10-11 08:00:00Z 0

We attended a major fundraiser in Wasilla on Saturday, October 7, "Rotary Uncorked", which is an annual event sponsored by our old club Wasilla, and by the Palmer club.  This year's theme was "Under the Big Top" and we were invited to participate as a clown (Clyde) and a fortune teller (Vivian aka Madame Voyeur)...this fundraiser generally nets about $40,000 and the funds are used for youth programs including "My House" the homeless shelter for teens in the valley. 

I know this isn't about our club, but it does promote Rotary and fundraisers!!
Vivian and Clyde
Rotary Uncorked 2017-10-10 08:00:00Z 0
Dr. Sean Dusek, KPBSD Superintendent, spoke at Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary on October 5th.  Among other things, he spoke of the current happenings within the Borough schools, and what is both expected and hoped for the School District.  It sounds as though the students are doing very well, overall, but that funding is getting to be a problem. It looks as though hard choices will need to be made pretty soon.  You will want to listen up for future news and opportunities to give your input.
KPBSD Superintendent Dr. Sean Dusek Visits Homer Rotary 2017-10-10 08:00:00Z 0

What made Gates Foundation polio eradication director drop his country doctor dream to become an international polio expert


At the Rotary International Convention in June, Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation renewed their long-standing support for ending polio in dramatic fashion: Rotary committed to raising $50 million per year over the next three years, with every dollar to be matched with two additional dollars from the Gates Foundation.

This expanded agreement will translate to up to $450 million for polio eradication activities.

Jay Wenger, director of the Gates Foundation’s polio eradication program, talks about his work as an epidemiologist and about why ending polio for good is so important.


Jay Wenger, director of the Gates Foundation’s polio eradication program


I wanted to become a doctor ever since I was a little kid, but I originally thought I would become a country doctor – a general practitioner.

That notion changed when I had the opportunity to work at a mission hospital for a couple of months during medical school. One thing I saw during that experience was that you could deliver a lot of health care and prevent a huge amount of disease for a relatively small amount of money.  

Eventually, I became interested in infectious diseases. I liked the idea of focusing on something specific – that seemed more doable to me than knowing everything about everything, as it seemed a general practitioner needed to do. I went on to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where I received additional training in infectious disease epidemiology.

Epidemiology involves studying disease in an entire population – figuring out who gets sick, how it spreads, and how it can be prevented. It included working on outbreaks, which is like solving a disease mystery but needing to do it in a hurry.


    Counties, individuals, business and organizations pledge $1.3 billion to end polio. Read more





    See a timeline of Rotary partners in eradicating polio



When I was at the CDC, we studied one outbreak where a dozen or so individuals in the same area wound up with the same skin infection. So I went to the affected area and started trying to figure out what these people had in common. It turned out they had all been patients at one particular clinic – that was one clue. When we looked further into the record, we found they had all had the same specific operation. In the end, we figured out that all the cases traced to a single bottle of fluid under one sink in that clinic, which had contaminated the equipment they were using. 

That’s a lot of what epidemiologists do: We track infectious diseases, try to figure out how they spread, and then, hopefully, figure out what to do to stop it.

I worked in a group at the CDC that focused on bacterial meningitis, which is an infection of the brain and spinal cord. A bacteria called Haemophilus influenzae Type B (Hib) was the most common cause, infecting up to 15,000 kids in the U.S. every year. This was when the Hib vaccine had just been developed. I got involved in monitoring how much disease was out there and how the vaccine was working, and it was really striking. We went from thousands upon thousands of cases per year to a couple of dozen as vaccine use spread to all kids across the country. 

Seeing the power of a vaccine program was a big part of what led me to get involved with polio eradication. 

I was born in 1955, which is the same year, incredibly, that the Salk vaccine for polio was licensed and introduced in the U.S. At that time, polio was the most feared infection in the country.

“You have to get rid of the virus everywhere or it can come back, reinfecting places where it was eliminated.”

To understand the significance of the development of the polio vaccine, you have to understand how big the polio scare had been in the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s. When summer came around, parents were terrified that their children would get the disease and wind up paralyzed or even dead. When that first vaccine came out in 1955, it was hailed as a medical miracle. 

Even after I was born, the specter of polio haunted people. There were campaigns with the newer oral vaccine where drops of the vaccine would be put onto a sugar cube, which you would then eat. I can still remember getting those sugar cubes for polio as a kid.

Polio became a major example of a successful vaccine – driving down case counts from hundreds of thousands per year globally to zero in the U.S. and other wealthy countries. But polio remained a big threat in the developing world. 

The poliovirus affects a type of cell in the spinal column, and once these cells are killed, there’s no way for the brain to send messages to the muscles. The result is what’s called acute flaccid paralysis, or AFP, and that muscle doesn’t work anymore – it can’t flex or contract. The virus often affects an arm or leg, which tends to shrivel from disuse. If the disease affects the muscles of the chest or diaphragm, polio can be fatal, because the patient can’t breathe.

What makes it possible to get rid of the virus is that it can only reproduce in humans and that it can live in humans for only a few weeks to a month or so until the body gets rid of it. During that time, virus is excreted in the stool, but once outside the human body, it can survive for only a week or two. It has to find another person to infect in that time, or it dies off. So if you can break the chain of transmission – stop the virus from spreading from person to person by making enough people immune through the vaccine – you can actually drive the virus into extinction. But you have to get rid of the virus everywhere or it can come back, reinfecting places where it had been eliminated. 

This is why the World Health Assembly voted, in 1988, to eradicate polio. Rotary was incredibly important at that time. They took ownership of the mission from the beginning, and they assisted numerous countries in the early stages of this effort. 

I could see the impact they were making, and as an epidemiologist I was struck by the possibility that we could eliminate a disease from the face of the earth, if we were determined enough. 

In 2002, I had the opportunity to work with WHO in India. I directed the National Polio Surveillance Project. That’s where I got firsthand experience with how Rotary works within a country. 

A great deal of Rotary’s support resides in their fundraising, of course. With an effort like this, you need a consistent source of funding, and Rotary has made it clear that they want to see this through to the end. Their support has been unwavering.

But I think the most striking thing about working with Rotarians has been how they’ve energized the sense of commitment in each country. In the United States, they worked in every congressional district and in Washington, D.C., to promote the vaccination effort. In a place like India, I learned quickly that the support of the Rotarians is invaluable. For example, we initially faced challenges with political leaders – but regardless of who we were working with, we could always rely on a local Rotarian to connect with politicians and persuade them to support the polio program.

More broadly, Rotarians provided an instant sense of legitimacy and urgency. They were influential members of their communities, and people took notice when they advocated for polio eradication. 


Stopping polio in India was a tremendous feat. From dense cities like Mumbai to the most remote villages up in the mountains, we had to make sure every child was vaccinated. 

Most of my fieldwork was in the north, because that’s where we saw cases. As head of the surveillance program, I would go see children with polio. One time, traveling to a northern state called Uttar Pradesh, I went into a tiny single-room house, where a little girl was sitting on a mat bed with a limp leg.

Her leg had been paralyzed for a couple of months. There were things we could do, like make sure she got physical therapy and splints. But there was no way to cure her paralyzed limb. Her mom was looking at me expectantly, and I could tell what she was thinking: “Here’s this big doctor from the West and he’ll know what to do. He’ll know how to fix my child.” 

That feeling of helplessness, those moments when you’re actually seeing the victims – that’s my strongest motivator. They’re the driving force for the eradication program, because we can’t fix polio once it happens. But we can fix it before it happens.

In 2011, I took my position at the Gates Foundation. By that time, Rotary and the Gates Foundation were already huge partners, and Rotary had played a major role in getting the foundation involved in the polio eradication program several years previously.

About the same time, the last case of polio in India occurred, which energized the community to believe global eradication was really within reach. Rotary and the Gates Foundation responded by committing to a multiyear strategic plan for ending polio for good, alongside the other partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (WHO, CDC, UNICEF). 

In June 2013, Rotary announced that it would contribute $35 million per year to the effort for a five-year period, which the Gates Foundation would match 2-to-1. In June 2017, Rotary announced that it would increase that contribution to $50 million per year for the next three years, which the Gates Foundation again committed to match 2-to-1. 

“The most striking thing about working with Rotarians has been how they’ve energized the sense of commitment in each country.”

What people need to realize is that with polio eradication, in contrast to many other public health programs, we can’t choose where to go. We have to go where the disease is. 

As of now, there are only three countries in the world where wild poliovirus may still circulate: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Those are incredibly challenging countries to work in, because they have much bigger issues to contend with than polio. 

We can’t forget about those places or deal with them later, because this would mean that we lose against polio – if the virus remains anywhere, it can spread back to those places we have already cleared out. We have to extend our efforts to the hardest places in the world, and to the least-reached kids in the world. 

The question I get most often is when we’ll be able to declare that polio is actually gone from the earth. I tell them that we’re pushing hard and nearly there. 

Last year at the end of July, there were 19 reported cases of polio worldwide. This year, there were only eight. However, the only way we can know that polio is really eradicated is if we record at least three years with no new cases, and I’m optimistic that we will meet this goal soon.

In my work as an epidemiologist, I’ve seen that it is possible to stop a disease as we did with smallpox. We didn’t just drive smallpox down to a small number of cases; we drove it down to nothing. 

If I were a more romantic type, I might allow myself to dream about the future of a polio-free world more often. But I’m a worker bee, and I like to keep my head down and focused on what work needs to be done to achieve that goal. 

What I try to think about – what Rotary and the Gates Foundation keep me focused on – is the human side of all this. I can still remember from my childhood how scared people were of polio. And I’ve seen firsthand in my fieldwork what polio does to its victims and their families.

That’s what keeps me working. 

• Read more stories from The Rotarian

From Country Doctor to International Epidemiologist 2017-10-05 08:00:00Z 0

EVANSTON, IL (October 2, 2017) — More than 1 billion people around the world live in inadequate housing according to the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements. Through a partnership between Rotary and Habitat for Humanity, more will have access to safe and affordable housing across the globe.

The partnership will facilitate collaboration between local Rotary clubs and local Habitat for Humanity organizations, enabling Habitat to extend their volunteer pool by tapping into Rotary’s 1.2 million members in 200 countries and regions.

“Habitat’s aim to bring people together to build homes, communities and hope aligns perfectly with Rotary’s commitment to make positive, lasting change in communities around the world,” said Rotary General Secretary John Hewko. “With Habitat’s expertise and the power of Rotary’s volunteer network, we will help build the foundation for stronger communities.”

“The values of our organizations are so closely aligned, and the desire to help others runs deep for both groups. That makes us such a perfect match,” said Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan T.M. Reckford. “So many Rotarians have worked alongside Habitat and the knowledge, experiences and connections that are so strong in local Rotary clubs will make them valuable Habitat partners in many communities worldwide.”

Rotary members develop and implement sustainable projects that fight disease, promote peace, provide clean water, support education, save mothers and children and grow local economies. These projects are supported by more than $200 million awarded through Rotary’s grants programs.

Habitat for Humanity joins a list of Rotary service partners including, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, Peace Corps, Dollywood Foundation, the Global FoodBanking Network and Youth Service America (YSA).

About Rotary

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world.

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 1,300 communities throughout the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit

Rotary contact: Chanele Williams 847-866-3466

 Habitat for Humanity contact: Laura Layton 404 420 3615

Rotary Partners With Habitat for Humanity 2017-10-05 08:00:00Z 0
Here are some pictures of DG Harry Keiling's visit to Homer and the Rotary Clubs of Homer.
Potluck at Barbara Hill's
DG Harry Informing Rebound Rotary Exchange Student, Summer McGuire, That She has been Made an Honorary Rotarian!
And Presents Her With His Own Rotary Pin!
Summer Presents President Beth With Over $600 that She Has Raised to Contribute Toward the Purchase of a Shelter Box
DG Harry Begins His Presentation
Rotary Cares for Kids Program
This Year's Rotary International Theme - Rotary: Making a Difference
The 2018 Rotary District 5010 Conference in Seward, AK Looks Pretty Neat!
DG Harry Makes Presentations to Milli
And Receives One in Renturn!
Some Pictures of DG Harry's Visit to Homer! 2017-10-04 08:00:00Z 0
Saturday September 30 we had a our annual Great Potato Barbeque at Mari-Anne Gross' house where we found the results of the Great Potato Race.  Maynard barbequed hamburgers and hot dogs and side dishes were provided by the participants and onlookers.  Great Grub and Lots of Fun!!
Great Potato Race Results
  Magic Molly (purple)  French Fingerlings (red) 
1st PlaceMarv Peters9.1lbs.Marv Peters16lbs.
2nd PlaceCharlie Franz8lbs.Mike Cline15.5lbs.
3rd PlaceMike Cline7lbs.Charlie Franz13.5lbs.
Potatoes donated to Food Pantry   
 Total Potato Weight    
 Mike 22.5    
Great Potato Race and Barbeque 2017-10-04 08:00:00Z 0

Please bring a yellow highlighter with you on Thursday to the meeting. We have to mark up and tear the forms for the Rotary Health Fair blood tests. 


Lots of busy hands make quick work!


We like everyone to be in their black "Rotarians at Work" vests for the big event. That way the public knows we are not the professional exhibitors but the rotary volunteers. Would like to get some group shots in our vests this year.


If you do not have a vest you can take any black fleece vest to NOMAR. They will put our logo and Rotarians at Work on your vest.


Milli has cashiers lined up and we are moving forward.  Hard to believe the predraws start on October 9th already!


I will start signing everyone up for tasks next week.


If you are NOT here to help on the 27th or 28th please send me an email letting me know you  are NOT available.  It is easier if you tell me rather than me chasing 62 of you ........ Send it to :







Good morning,


The Health Fair is coming quickly.   The Pre Draws where we offer the low cost blood tests before the Fair will start on October 9th and runs through the 27th.  The Fair is the 28th.    The Cashiers need to be at the hospital from 7:45 a.m until noon the latest, Monday through Friday.  It is my understanding an effort will be  made to conclude the work by 11 a.m. daily.   At this time I still need one volunteer for the 9th, 10th, 20th and 25th.       If you can help one of those dates, please email me at <>.    All Cashiers need to come to Sharon's at 1:15 on the 5th for training. this year that is mandatory.   I will be sending a list of instructions before then.   

Thank you.




NEW--Health Fair Updates 2017-09-27 08:00:00Z 0

From: Natalia Kunzer <>

Subject: Open World Program 2018 - call for host RC

Date: September 25, 2017 at 8:09:40 AM AKDT

To: "Clyde Boyer (" <>, WillFiles <>, Gayle Knepper <>


Dear Gayle, Clyde and Will,


Greetings from Evanston!


This is the time of the year, again, when we are looking for clubs to host Open World delegations. OW has asked me to see if Rotary in Alaska could host a Russian delegation under the “Sustainable Fishery Development and Management” hosting theme during the 2-10 June 2018 hosting week.


Please see the description of the hosting theme below.


Sustainable Fishery Development and Management (from sea to shining sea)

Rationale: The history of the United States is inextricably linked to Russia. From early Russian settlements around Fort Ross to the Seward purchase of Alaska in 1867, our countries have shared much in common. With the U.S. – Russia maritime border in the Bering Strait, there have been many linkages between Alaska and the Russian Far East. Sadly, many of these linkages have dwindled over time. This program for experts in the seafood industry is designed to reestablish linkages primarily in sustainable fishery development and management. The program will have to be Alaska-based as the Alaskan seafood industry has long term interests in working with/in Russia, but there are currently very limited options due to the current state of the relationship between Russia and the United States.


Would you please let me know if this might be of interest to you, your clubs or other clubs in your great state by Monday, 16 October or sooner. Only this morning we received OW Grant Guidelines and were given less than four weeks to submit our grant proposal. I hope the short deadline wouldn’t be much of inconvenience.


Please see the Host Registration Form and programming brochure attached.


Thank you for your continuous support!


Should you have any questions please feel free to contact me at your convenience.


Warm Rotary Regards,



Natalia Kunzer

Open World Program Officer | Programs

Ph.:1 (847) 946-5664

Open World 2017-09-26 08:00:00Z 0

In the suburbs of Atlanta, Rotarians are filling a gap in social services to help struggling families get back on their feet.

By Photos and video by

It’s a sunny Friday afternoon in the quiet suburbs of Atlanta. Beatrice is at home with her 10-year-old daughter, who is practicing the trumpet. Her older daughter, age 12, is at her first school dance. It’s a rare moment of relaxation for the family amid their usual activities – church, homework, chores.

It’s hard to imagine now, but just seven years ago, Beatrice was homeless.

Social service programs, with the support of Rotary, helped her get back on her feet, and today she’s a homeowner with a master’s degree. 

Beatrice’s story

In early 2006, Beatrice arrived home to find her husband in a rage. With bills and the mortgage adding up, the family was in danger of losing their house, and he had reached some kind of breaking point. “I’m not going to do this anymore,” he told her. “It’s all going to end.” 

Editor's note: The names of Beatrice's children have been changed.

Beatrice, who was pregnant with their second daughter, scooped up Maya, who was then 18 months old, to shield her from his anger. She had felt her husband’s fury before. Mostly he would yell, but sometimes he would punch a wall. Other times, he had pushed her or thrown something at her. 

With her family an ocean away in her native Kenya and a small child to care for, Beatrice felt she had few options. She was in the United States on a student visa, studying accounting. “But that day, I knew something had to give,” she says. “When you see that kind of rage in someone’s eyes, it’s very scary.” She had applied for a green card, and although the couple were just a week away from their interview, she couldn’t risk staying. “I thought, I may die waiting for that interview.” 

When he went to bed, she called a friend from church who knew about her situation. She whispered into the phone, “Pat, I’m scared for my life.” The women made plans to meet the next day. Beatrice held her daughter and waited for morning to come. 

Single and struggling

This was supposed to be a story about the working poor. But to write about the estimated 10 million Americans who work yet live below the poverty line, you encounter the same people again and again: single mothers like Beatrice. 

Nearly 40 percent of single mothers in the United States live in poverty.

The cost of child care eats up much of their take-home pay, so some move in with relatives or a boyfriend. Others are forced to rent substandard apartments in dangerous neighborhoods. Many minimum-wage workers don’t have health insurance through their employers and are one serious illness away from losing everything. In fact, that’s how Beatrice became homeless: She got sick.

After three months in a shelter, Beatrice rented an apartment. She found an internship and was making $15 an hour. Life was difficult for the expectant mother with a toddler, a job, and night classes, but she made it work. Pat watched Maya while Beatrice was at school in the evenings. She continued to work on her degree so she wouldn’t lose her student visa. 

After losing her apartment, Beatrice lived at HomeStretch, an organization that provides transitional housing along with financial mentoring and life skills classes. Several Rotarians have volunteered there as mentors. 


In December, she gave birth to a second daughter. 

Ella suffered from severe sleep apnea and was in intensive care for a week. When she came home, she needed constant monitoring to make sure she didn’t stop breathing. No day care facility would accept the risk of caring for her, and Beatrice’s internship didn’t offer paid leave. 

“Now I’m in an apartment and I can’t work. I couldn’t pay for it,” she says. “In the meantime, I lost my friend Pat. She died of complications from the flu.” 

Luckily, other friends helped her find another job, and, with her church’s support, she was able to stay in her apartment. When Ella turned six months old, Beatrice started working again. But a month later, she felt a terrible pain in her side and passed out at the office. After emergency surgery for an ovarian cyst, Beatrice developed a blood clot that nearly killed her. Her new employer couldn’t wait for her to recover and replaced her. Once again Beatrice had no income, no insurance – and this time she had $115,000 in hospital bills. She lost the apartment. “That’s how I ended up at HomeStretch,” she says.


A Place to Call Home 2017-09-26 08:00:00Z 0

Honorees will be recognized at Rotary Day at the United Nations in November

Six Rotary members and Rotary Peace Center alumni will be honored this November as People of Action: Champions of Peace. Their commitment to creating peace and resolving conflict will be recognized during Rotary Day at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. 

The honorees, which were announced on International Peace Day, are all involved in projects that address underlying causes of conflict, including poverty, inequality, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, or unequal distribution of resources. 

The six Champions of Peace are:



    Jean Best, a member of the Rotary Club of Kirkcudbright, Scotland —Best leads a peace project that is designed to teach teenagers conflict resolution skills they can use to create peace-related service projects in their schools and communities. Best worked with peace fellows at the University of Bradford to create the curriculum. She has also worked with local Rotary members and peace fellows to set up peace hubs in Australia, England, Mexico, Scotland, and the U.S.

    Best became a Paul Harris Fellow for contribution to developing peace strategies.






    Ann Frisch, a member of the Rotary Club of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, USA — Frisch believes unarmed civilians can protect people in violent conflicts. She collaborated with Rotary members in Thailand to establish the Southern Thailand Peace Process training program in 2015 in Bankok, Hat Yai, and Pattani in southern Thailand. The group brought together electrical and irrigation authorities, Red Cross staff, a Buddhist monk, and a Catholic nun to this border region to train civilians to build so-called safe zones. These are areas in which families, teachers, and local officials do not have to confront military forces every day. 

    Frisch, a UN delegate to Geneva, co-wrote the first manual on unarmed civilian protection, which was endorsed by the UN. Her training in a civilian-based peace process is administered by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, the department that trains all UN personnel. 





    Safina Rahman, a member of the Rotary Club of Dhaka Mahanagar, Bangladesh — Rahman is an important advocate for women’s rights in the workplace in Bangladesh. As a garment factory owner, she was the first to offer health insurance and maternity leave for her female employees. She worked with the Rotarian Action Group for Peace to organize the first international peace conference in Bangladesh. A policymaker for the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, she champions workplace safety and workers’ rights and promotes girls’ education and women’s rights. 

    Rahman is chair of two schools that provide basic education, vocational training, conflict prevention, and health and hygiene classes. 





    Alejandro Reyes Lozano, a member of the Rotary Club of Bogotá Capital, Colombia — Using a Rotary global grant, Reyes Lozano is training 27 women from six Latin American countries to develop skills in peace building, conflict resolution, and mediation to deal with conflicts in their communities. The project also will build an international network of women peacebuilders.

    Reyes Lozano, an attorney, was appointed by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to assist with negotiations and set terms and conditions to end the 50-year conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). 





    Kiran Singh Sirah, a graduate of the Rotary Peace Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — Sirah is president of the International Storytelling Center in Tennessee, USA, which uses storytelling as a path to building peace. The organization seeks to inspire and empower people everywhere to tell their stories, listen to the stories of others, and use storytelling to create positive change. 

    Kiran, the son of Ugandan refugees, created “Telling Stories That Matter,” a free guide for educators, peace builders, students, volunteers, and business leaders. The resource is now used in 18 countries.





    Taylor (Stevenson) Cass Talbott, a graduate of the Rotary Peace Center at the International Christian University in Japan — Stevenson developed a global grant to improve sanitary conditions for waste collectors in Pune, India. Waste collectors together handle 20 tons of unwrapped sanitary waste every day. Stevenson collaborated with SWaCH, a waste-collector cooperative, to create the “Red Dot” campaign, which calls for people to wrap their sanitary waste in newspaper or bags and mark it with a red dot.

    This helps waste collectors identify sanitary waste and handle it accordingly. Stevenson developed all the educational imaging for the campaign. She also secured in-kind offerings of support, including free training space and campaign printing. She is also a Global Peace Index ambassador. 

Meet the 2017 Rotary Peace Champions 2017-09-26 08:00:00Z 0

Abbas Rajabi, Rotary Club of Denver Southeast, Colorado, USA

In mid-1960s Iran, Peace Corps volunteers made a big impression on student Abbas Rajabi. Rajabi became friendly with volunteer Don Laffoon, who taught in his high school. 

Abbas Rajabi


“We were not all that different, even though our cultures were thousands of miles apart,” remembers Rajabi, now governor for District 5450 (northern Colorado) and a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Denver Southeast.

Rajabi emigrated to the United States for college in 1967, eventually going into the real estate business and joining Rotary. All the while, the memories of his Peace Corps friends lingered. So when a fellow Rotarian asked him if he would like to help foster cooperation between Rotary and the Peace Corps, Rajabi knew where to start.

“I wanted to call Don,” he says. “I tracked him down in California, and I said, ‘Thank you. You made a great impact in my life, and I needed to tell you that.’”

Since that conversation, Rajabi has been encouraging Rotary clubs all over the world to support the Peace Corps’ work. At the International Assembly, he passed out hundreds of flyers encouraging clubs to find ways to work with Peace Corps volunteers; at a Peace Corps conference, he spread the word about Rotary.

“My hope is that people realize that in spite of our looks, our background, our cultures, we are more or less the same,” he says.

• Read more stories from The Rotarian

Profile: A Teacher’s Lesson Spans the Years 2017-09-20 08:00:00Z 0

The road to eradicating polio has been a long and difficult one, with Rotary leading the fight since 1985. Going from nearly 350,000 cases in 1988 to just 10 so far this year has required time, money, dedication, and innovation from thousands of people who are working to end the disease. 

Here are five things you may not know about the fight to end polio:

1. Ice cream factories in Syria are helping by freezing the ice packs that health workers use to keep the polio vaccine cold during immunization campaigns.

John Cena


2. Celebrities have become ambassadors in our fight to end the disease. 

They include WWE wrestling superstar John Cena, actress Kristen Bell, action-movie star Jackie Chan, golf legend Jack Nicklaus, Grammy Award-winning singers Angelique Kidjo and Ziggy Marley, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu, anthropologist Dr. Jane Goodall, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates, and world-renowned violinist and polio survivor Itzhak Perlman.

3. Health workers and Rotary volunteers have climbed mountains, crossed deserts, and sailed to remote islands, risking their lives to vaccinate children against this disease. Rotary has funded more than 1,500 motorbikes and 6,700 other vehicles, as well as 17 boats, to make those journeys. Vaccinators have even traveled on the backs of elephants, donkeys, and camels to immunize children in remote areas.

4. In Pakistan, the polio program emphasizes hiring local female vaccinators and monitors. More than 21,000 vaccinators, 83 percent of whom are women, are achieving the highest immunization coverage rates in the country’s history.

5. Thanks to the efforts of Rotary and its partners, more than 16 million people who otherwise might have been paralyzed are walking today. In all, more than 2.5 billion children have been vaccinated since 1988.


5 Things You Might Not Know About Ending Polio 2017-09-20 08:00:00Z 0

Let's get ready to knock the socks off of our DG Harry Kieling next week!


1. Showcasing our projects - any and all welcome to join us! 10:00 - 12:00

2. Potluck picnic at the fire pit at the Karen Hornaday park - 12:00-1:00

3. Weather permitting we will head out on the Bay for a bit!  1:00 -3:00

4. Fellowship gathering at Barb Hill's house (directions and details coming) - potluck and a chance to meet and mingle with DG Harry - talk to him about all of the great things our club is involved in and just share a fun and relaxing time.  (joint gathering between the two Homer clubs)






1. 10:30 - 11:30 Monthly board meeting downstairs at the Bidarki with DG Harry attending

2. Lunch meeting and some inspiring words from DG Harry!

District Governor Harry Kieling to Visit Homer! 2017-09-20 08:00:00Z 0


Coastwalk 2017 Community Cleanups!  There will be two days for "across the Bay" cleanup!

Free water taxi transportation provided:


September 24th -- McKeon Spit 10:00 - 4:00

October 1 -- Grewingk Spit 10:00 - 4:00


Contact Beth Trowbridge or Henry Reiske to sign up - space is limited.

Coastwalk 2017 Community Cleanup 2017-09-20 08:00:00Z 0


D5010 has been asked by Nancy Dodge to share the below information. Her contact information is given at the end of this e-mail.


Category 4 Hurricane Irma has made landfall on the US coastline in Florida.

At this time we do not have any information from RI about Rotary Clubs and Districts in the affected areas coordinating relief efforts, as they did in Houston.  We expect that information to come early in the week after an assessment is completed of the affected areas.

ShelterBox is sending out a highly-trained Response Team today to understand how they can help families who have lost everything. 2,000 Shelter Kits are currently stored nearby in Panama. With Shelter Box teams kicking into action, they are keeping one step ahead by tracking its trajectory.

The IRMA/Hurricane Relief Fund has been launched which provides support for all costs associated with ShelterBox’s response to Hurricane Irma and other 2017 hurricanes.

The Caribbean was badly battered as Irma has claimed at least 80 lives. The prime minister of Barbuda sadly proclaimed the island was now “rubble.” The mayor of the Haitian city of Fort Liberty described the storm as a “nuclear hurricane.”

 As well as being home to communities who are particularly vulnerable to these storms, many of these countries are also holiday destinations with high numbers of tourists from across the world.

Shelter Box has supported communities in several of these places before, including Haiti after the massive earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Matthew, which hit last year.

We also have a strong network of contacts, partners and Rotary connections in the region, who will help us to identify communities in need of support.

Read about ShelterBox’s response in Texas following Hurricane Harvey(



The last two weeks have brought devastating flooding around the world. Shelter Box is working hard to stem the damage and bring back peace to people’s lives.

More than 1.7 million people have been affected in Nepal, while a third of Bangladesh is under water. Huge areas of India and Myanmar are also in need of support.

A ShelterBox Response Team is on the ground, assessing the situation in Nepal. Another team is enroute to Bangladesh right now.

Shelter Box is working with local authorities and Rotarians in both countries to understand how best we can help.

ShelterBox has the connections and the expertise to reach people in need of shelter following disasters such as flooding and hurricanes, but they can’t do it without your help.

Will you support us today to help our ShelterBox Response Teams to go further, to place the right tools in their hands?

Donate today and you can help ShelterBox build a world where no family goes without shelter.

IRMA/Hurricane Relief Fund – Provides support for all costs associated with ShelterBox’s response to Hurricane Irma and other 2017 hurricanes.

In the event that funds donated exceed the cost of ShelterBox’s response to these disasters, the excess will be used to prepare for and respond to humanitarian disasters worldwide. This fund is separate from the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.




Andre' Layral

D5010 DGN 2019-2020

cell 907-460-7786


Nancy Dodge 
Eagle River, Alaska 99577

ShelterBox Ambassador

ShelterBox USA | Pacific Northwest | e-Club Rotary District 5010
e: ShelterBox:
 | w: Cell: 941 993-4335


Information From Shelterbox 2017-09-14 08:00:00Z 0

Our club is in need for someone to step up and help out the Youth Services Committee by attending the Fall Youth Exchange Retreat in Willow next weekend.


Christi is unable to attend and neither am I.  I can commit to attending the January meeting. 


Youth Services - especially the Youth Exchange program - has always been a priority for our club.  Now we need help making sure we can work through this transition year and share responsibilities so that we can continue with the program.


Please let me know if you are available to help with this weekend!  We need a few more members of our club to step up and help fill the gap with Christi leaving if we want to continue offering youth exchange as something our club is involved in. 


Please contact me to let me know if you can help.





Heather Beggs responded to my request for someone to attend the Youth Exchange Fall Orientation with the following inspiration:


The fall orientation weekend in Hatcher Pass is one of the best possible ways to experience what our youth exchange program is all about.  You will meet our recently-returned Alaskan students and hear their moving stories about how this exchange has changed their lives, their struggles and their accomplishments.  You'll spend the weekend in comfortable cabins at a beautiful lakeside camp, surrounded by Hatcher Pass fall colors.  You'll meet our fellow Rotarians from around the district helping our kids have successful exchanges, some brand new to the program and many seasoned veterans.  You'll learn A LOT and not be expected to be an expert - just come to learn.  Even if you are not considering stepping up to more responsibility with our youth programs, this is an incredible way to understand them better and be an advocate for youth exchange.  You won't regret spending your weekend with amazing kids from around the world and a fabulous group of Rotarians.


I added the bold - you don't need to commit to being the Youth Exchange Representative to attend - it could just be a great learning experience for you about the program!





Youth Services Committee Really Needs YOUR Help! 2017-09-14 08:00:00Z 0


Severe storms, an earthquake, and hurricanes are wreaking havoc across the globe from the United States and Mexico to South Asia and Africa. The Rotary Foundation and Rotary clubs in affected areas are helping bring emergency aid to battered communities. 

The Rotary Foundation is collecting emergency relief funds to help victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. 

Severe rainfall caused historic flooding along the Texas coast, including in Houston, the fourth largest city by population in the United States. About 6.8 million people have been affected by the hurricane.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Irma is in the Caribbean and headed for Florida and the Atlantic coast of the United States. Already, the storm has directly affected 1.2 million people and millions more are in its path.

“The power of Rotary is in the Foundation's ability to pull help from around the world while local clubs provide immediate relief in their own communities,” says Don Mebus of the Rotary Club of Arlington, Texas.

Rotary districts along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana are collecting emergency relief funds and providing immediate aid to flood victims. 

The most powerful earthquake in a century hit the southern coast of Mexico on 7 September. At least 61 people were killed in the 8.1-magnitude quake. Rescue and relief efforts are expected to be hampered by floods and a dangerous storm surge off the Gulf of Mexico as Hurricane Katia moves into the area.

How to contribute

Two Rotary Foundation donor advised funds have been set up to accept donations for disaster relief and recovery in response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma:

Hurricane Harvey
Account name: Gulf Coast Disaster Relief Fund
Account number: 608

Hurricane Irma
Account name: Hurricane Emergency Relief Fund
Account number: 296

You can contribute by check or wire transfer or online with a credit card. You'll need to provide the DAF account name and number listed above. If you would like a credit card receipt, please check the address box to share your address with Rotary. 

Learn how you can contribute.

In Sierra Leone, torrential rains and a mudslide in August has killed more than 500 people and destroyed nearly 2,000 homes. On the outskirts of Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, an orphanage, where more than 60 children slept, was swept away in the slide. More than 600 people are still missing.

An estimated 40 million people across Bangladesh, India, and Nepal have been affected after massive floods hit the area last month. UNICEF estimates 31 million people in India have lost their homes, and 8 million people in Bangladesh and 1.7 million in Nepal have been affected.

Rotary's partner, ShelterBox, is providing support to families displaced by the storms.

ShelterBox teams are working with Rotarians to assess the damage and provide emergency supplies and temporary housing in Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

In Texas, hundreds of light privacy tents were deployed to evacuation centers for families to use temporarily.

If you have questions about how you can help, contact

Rotary Helps Disaster Victims 2017-09-14 08:00:00Z 0
September 7th our speaker was Chris Figureida, who spoke of biking across the US and LOTS of other places.  It was a really informative and exciting program, but rather than try to explain his program, I'll include some pictures of his presentation, and an excerpt from his website: < >.

What We Do


Since 2005, Chris Figureida has cycled thousands of miles across the globe promoting healthy heart awareness. He has worked with schools to increase health, education and community development programs to help improve the future of our children. Cycle for Heart inspires both children and adults alike to take control of their lives and know they can do anything they put there minds to.

My Mission

To engage people - and especially kids, our leaders of tomorrow - to know that they can make a difference too - starting with themselves and healthy habits. Every day.

What I've Achieved

  • Ridden over 40,000 miles across North America
  • Spoken to over 67,000 students from kindergarten to college about the benefits of a health and active lifestyle.
  • Been recognized by State Capitals across the U.S.
  • Helped enact healthy legislation at local, state, and federal governments
  • Named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International
  • Visited 165 Rotary Clubs around the world for Polio eradication
Chris' Opening Slide
Wet Gloves = Blistered Hands
California, Pennsylvania, That Is!
And This is What it Looks Like When You Get Off the Interstate in the Eastern US
The Most Fun of All--Teaching the Kids
The Other Side of the World (Country)!
And Kids Showing Their Muscles!
Statistics of Chris' First Trip
Chris' Travels Outside Alaska
From the Lowest Point in North America (Death Valley) to the Highest (Mt. Denali) and Back!
Prudhoe Bay South, This Time!
The Next Project?  The Lowest Point We Can Get to--to the Highest!
Chris' Non-Profit Foundation
President Beth and Chris
Biking for the Heart 2017-09-13 08:00:00Z 0
Things were going so well, then the weather caught up with us...!  A very minor detail, like winds of about 12 kts, increasing to 40 kts, but fortunately easterly.  Some quick phone calls lead to a change in transportation.  The small boats we had were going to stay home (pretty good idea), and a much larger one would take those who elected to go to Halibut Cove over to the Gordon's.  Great call!  
The ride over was a bit bouncy, as we were going into the seas, but otherwise uneventful.  Then we got to the Gordon's--WOW!  Fantastic people, fantastic place, fantastic food!  Those of us who made it there had a wonderful time, but we had to leave (several days too soon).  The ride back was considerably smoother, although the seas were much higher, but luckily we were going with them, and the boat handled the weather very well.  What a blast!
The Place
Our Host
and Hostess
How About This View!
Our Transportation--the One on the Left, not the One on the Right!
Annual Labor Day Picnic at the Gordon's 2017-09-06 08:00:00Z 0

Barry Rassin selected to be 2018-19 Rotary president

Barry Rassin


Barry Rassin, of the Rotary Club of East Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas, is the selection of the Nominating Committee for President of Rotary International for 2018-19. He will be declared the president-elect on 1 September if no challenging candidates have been suggested.

As president, Rassin aims to strengthen our public image and our use of digital tools to maximize Rotary’s reach.

“Those who know what good Rotary clubs do will want to be a part of it, and we must find new models for membership that allow all interested in our mission to participate,” he says. “With Rotary more in the public eye, we will attract more individuals who want to be part of and support a membership organization that accomplishes so much good around the world.”

Rassin earned an MBA in health and hospital administration from the University of Florida and is the first fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives in the Bahamas. He recently retired after 37 years as president of Doctors Hospital Health System, where he continues to serve as an adviser. He is a lifetime member of the American Hospital Association and has served on several boards, including the Quality Council of the Bahamas, Health Education Council, and Employer’s Confederation.

A Rotarian since 1980, Rassin has served Rotary as director and is vice chair of The Rotary Foundation Board of Trustees. He was an RI training leader and the aide to 2015-16 RI President K.R. Ravindran.

Rassin received Rotary's highest honor, the Service Above Self Award, as well as other humanitarian awards for his work leading Rotary’s relief efforts in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake there. He and his wife, Esther, are Major Donors and Benefactors of The Rotary Foundation.

Rassin’s nomination follows Sam F. Owori’s death in July, just two weeks into his term as Rotary International president-elect.

The members of the 2017-18 Nominating Committee for President of Rotary International are Anne L. Matthews (chair), Rotary Club of Columbia East, South Carolina, USA; Ann-Britt Åsebol, Rotary Club of Falun-Kopparvågen, Sweden; Örsçelik Balkan, Rotary Club of Istanbul-Karaköy, Turkey; James Anthony Black, Rotary Club of Dunoon, Argyll, Scotland; John T. Blount, Rotary Club of Sebastopol, California, USA; Frank N. Goldberg, Rotary Club of Omaha-Suburban, Nebraska, USA; Antonio Hallage, Rotary Club of Curitiba-Leste, Paraná, Brazil; Jackson S.L. Hsieh, Rotary Club of Taipei Sunrise, Taiwan; Holger Knaack, Rotary Club of Herzogtum Lauenburg-Mölln, Germany; Masahiro Kuroda, Rotary Club of Hachinohe South, Aomori, Japan; Larry A. Lunsford, Rotary Club of Kansas City-Plaza, Missouri, USA; P.T. Prabhakar, Rotary Club of Madras Central, Tamil Nadu, India; M.K. Panduranga Setty, Rotary Club of Bangalore, Karnataka, India; Andy Smallwood, Rotary Club of Gulfway-Hobby Airport (Houston), Texas, USA; Norbert Turco, Rotary Club of Ajaccio, Corse, France; Yoshimasa Watanabe, Rotary Club of Kojima, Okayama, Japan; and Sangkoo Yun, Rotary Club of Sae Hanyang, Seoul, Korea.

To learn more about Barry Rassin, read this interview and vision statement outlining his goals for Rotary.

2018-2019 Rotary President Selected 2017-09-06 08:00:00Z 0

Check dams increase farm incomes and reverse migration in India’s semidesert areas

Not long ago, young men in the semidesert areas of Rajasthan’s Sikar and Alwar districts were leaving their family farms to find work in the city. Faced with scarce water for crops and unreliable rainfall, they could no longer count on farming to feed their families.
Our villages no longer have only old men and women. Our young men have returned.

An elder from the Neem Ka Thana village in the Sikar district of Rajasthan
“The land here was so dry that you could barely get drinking water at 800 feet [244 meters] deep,” recalls Goverdhan, an elder from the Neem Ka Thana village in the Sikar district of Rajasthanelder. Because using only monsoon water limited cultivation, “young men migrated to cities like Delhi and Mumbai to work.”
Now, a Rotary water project is making farming profitable again and reversing the departure of young people. Farmers harvest rainwater that percolates into the ground by using check dams, which restrain, or check, the flow of rainwater from catchment basins.
Farmers use that water to replenish water supplies, including wells. Unlike dams built across rivers, check dams aren’t designed to create a new water source for irrigation or drinking, but rather to prevent the runoff and loss of precious rainwater.
“Our villages no longer have only old men and women,” says Goverdhan, one of the first beneficiaries of the project. “Our young men have returned.”

Water banks

The Rotary India Water Conservation Trust in partnership with the PHD Rural Development Foundation, built 82 check dams between 2005 and 2017, benefiting more than 250,000 residents of farming communities throughout the Sikar and Alwar districts. Rotary Foundation Trustee Sushil Gupta, chair emeritus of the water conservation trust, spearheaded the program.
  • 82
    check dams built since 2005
  • 250,000
  • village residents' lives changed
The dams include walls 14 feet (4.3 meters) high and foundations 7 feet (2.1 meters) deep to prevent erosion. Their catchment basins range in length from 3 to 7 kilometers (1.9 to 4.3 miles).
Water from the Aravalli hills flows into the check dam catchments and stays for roughly six to eight months. When the water recedes, it leaves behind silt and rich minerals, which offer another opportunity for a quick cash crop before the onset of the next monsoon. Twenty of these dams are now perennial (filled with water year-round) and contain enough fish to help feed the community.
Despite 2014’s disappointing rainfall, Goverdhan, who helps Rotary with its work, proudly points to the area’s greenery.
“Due to water scarcity, these farmers could earlier grow only millets and a little wheat. Now, they have three crops: millets, wheat, and vegetables such as bhindi [okra], tomatoes, and green chilies.” Goverdhan also says the check dams have raised water levels in wells eight feet (2.4 meters).” 
PHD Foundation CEO Atul Rishi says the check dams and increased water availability have dramatically expanded the area that can be farmed, as well as improved incomes. 
Some farmers’ incomes have increased 100-200 times, says field officer Mukti Narain Lal. “From thatched homes, they now have [better-quality] pucca houses; from camels and cattle, they now have tractors to plow their fields,” Lal says.
An aerial view of a check dam. Such dams feature walls 14 feet (4.3 meters) high and foundations 7 feet (2.1 meters) deep to prevent erosion. Their catchment basins range in length from 3 to 7 kilometers (1.9 to 4.3 miles).
Philippe Dangelser (standing second from right) attends the inauguration of the Banari Wala Dam, one of 24 check dams built with support from Rotary clubs. Village residents, above right, wait with marigold garlands to welcome Dangelser.
Photos by Rasheed Bhagat
At a gathering at Goverdhan’s home, a farmer tells his story. Some years ago, his five sons departed for cities to find work doing menial tasks. They’ve all come back, he says, adding that now, there is plenty of water, plenty of grain, plenty of money. In recent years, the farmer bought a tractor worth roughly $8,000. 
Village residents have taken ownership of the check dams and their maintenance to ensure sustainability. Each dam has a committee overseeing it, with money for maintenance kept in a bank.
One committee “wants to increase the width of the dam wall, which is now being used as a bridge,” says Atul Dev of the Rotary Club of Indraprastha-Okhla, Delhi, India. Dev is the project director of the Rotary India Water Conservation Trust.
“Thanks to the check dams, we have copious water for animals, birds, plants, and trees, too, as you can see from the greenery around,” he says.

A global connection

In November 2014, Dev accompanied Philippe Dangelser, past president of the Rotary Club of Brumath-Truchtersheim-Kochersberg, France, who was in India to inaugurate three completed check dams and help break ground for three more in the Sikar and Alwar districts.
Dangelser comes to India twice a year, bringing money he raises from Rotary clubs in France and Germany. So far, he has financed the construction of 24 dams. On this trip, he brings 30,000 euros (about $32,000) to build four to five more dams. Each dam costs around $12,000, minus the money saved by local volunteers who help with construction.
Dangelser’s India connection began in 2005, when he attended the Rotary International Convention in Chicago. Past District 3010 (now District 3011) Governor Ranjan Dhingra, the district’s water chair, invited Dangelser to visit India. Soon, he was dedicated. As one farmer describes Dangelser, “Another god gave us birth — you gave us life.”
The Latter-day Saints Charities have contributed $188,000 for 21 dams. And Rotary clubs in Russia and the United States have also donated money and labor.
• Read more stories from Rotary News India
Thanks to the check dams, we have copious water for animals, birds, plants, and trees, too, as you can see from the greenery around.

Member, Rotary Club of Indraprastha-Okhla, Delhi, India, and project director, Rotary India Water Conservation Trust
Greening the Desert 2017-09-06 08:00:00Z 0

Why one new member decided to join Rotary – and what he found when he hit the road to see how different clubs can be

By Illustrations by

Why I Joined

All it took was a new town, a sense of purpose – and an invitation

I never expected to be a Rotarian. For years, my idea of networking with the business community was paying my Visa bill. My idea of service was helping an elderly lady with her groceries.  

You’re welcome, Mom.

Then I wrote a story for The Rotarian on John F. Germ. It was an easy assignment: The 2016-17 president of Rotary International is good company and a generous host with a trove of stories about his life and work. He also has strong opinions about what Rotary does well and what it could do better. Germ took me on a whirlwind tour of Chattanooga, Tenn., his hometown. I was scribbling notes when he asked if I was a Rotarian. 

I admitted I wasn’t. 

“Why not?”

“Nobody ever asked me.”

He nodded. “That’s one of our problems. We don’t ask enough of the right people,” he said, “for fear of rejection. We’re afraid they’ll say no.”

I wasn’t sure about being one of the right people, but a couple of weeks later an email arrived, inviting me to join Rotary. This was Germ theory in action, turning words into deeds. To paraphrase another business leader known for getting results, he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. 

It was a good time to join. My wife and I were moving from New York City to western Massachusetts, where we knew nobody. What better way to get acquainted than through the local Rotary club?

The Rotary Club of Northampton gathers at noon on Mondays in the grand old Hotel Northampton, where the guest list has included the town’s former mayor, Calvin Coolidge, who went on to be the 30th president of the United States, as well as Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, the Dalai Lama, Bob Dylan, Richard Nixon, Tom Cruise, and John Mayer. The dining room where the club meets isn’t quite so star-studded, but it’s congenial. It’s where you’ll find a dozen or so Rotarians doling mashed potatoes and chicken onto dinner plates, catching up on the weekend’s events, listening to a short presentation from this week’s speaker, and hoping to make the world a little better before next week’s meeting. 

For this longtime New Yorker, the good-natured vibe in the room was a refreshing change. The locals hung around to give me directions to libraries and bookstores, tips on restaurants, invitations to lunch or dinner. When I spent a few hours welcoming guests to New Year’s Eve performances by local musicians – my first gig as a Rotary volunteer – Club President Dan Shaver took over for me a half-hour early. “Thanks for helping out,” he said. “Now go enjoy the music.” And he gave me a brownie. 

It’s enough to make you wonder why everybody doesn’t join the club. 

Yet membership is still a challenge in many parts of the world. As Rotarians get older, fewer new members fill the ranks. Over time, attrition can shrink or eliminate Rotary clubs. “We lost a club up the road in Williamsburg and another in Hatfield. They basically aged out,” says my new friend Phil Sullivan, a longtime Rotarian who recalls when those all-male clubs’ members followed rules that sound antique today. “You had to wear a shirt and tie to meetings or you were out. You had to make 90 percent of the meetings or you were out. That stuff wouldn’t fly these days. People are so busy you’re lucky to get them when you can.”

A 2011 survey showed that while Rotary is one of the best-known service organizations in the world, four in 10 people had never heard of it, another four in 10 knew only the name – to them, “Rotary” had perhaps a hazy association with good-deed-doing – and just 20 percent knew something about Rotary’s work. Rotary’s public image campaigns have since improved awareness, but most people still lack a clear understanding of what Rotary is and what Rotarians do: In 2015, only 41 percent of people surveyed were familiar with Rotary clubs, 12 percent knew about Rotary’s work to end polio, and 8 percent were aware of Rotary Peace Centers. 

The same survey asked people why they didn’t join Rotary. The top three reasons: 

“Not enough time.”

“I’m worried about the cost.”

“Nobody asked me.” 

In 2011, Rotary International launched a program to strengthen our image, expand public understanding of what Rotary does, and motivate, engage, and inspire current and prospective members. Four years later, global awareness of the organization had jumped from 60 to 75 percent. 

So why are members joining today? “Having a sense of purpose” is the most popular reason, followed by making a difference, friendship, and networking. Northampton Club President Shaver’s trajectory was typical: “When I moved here four years ago, I didn’t know anyone,” he says. “I needed to join something, but I was looking for networking with a purpose.” Shaver is a chiropractor; he took over a retiring colleague’s office space, and the man was a Rotarian who offered to sponsor him. That sounded good to Shaver, who got so involved that he was soon running the 32-member club. “It’s more work than I ever expected, and the workload just keeps growing. But so does the fun. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

When Maria Maher moved from Chicago to Annapolis, Md., she looked forward to years of boating on the Chesapeake Bay with her husband, an avid sailor. Then he lost a leg in a motorcycle crash. Looking back, Maher says, “If you want to make God laugh, just tell her your plans.”

After months spent largely in hospitals and rehab centers, Maher wanted to reconnect with the business community. “The Rotary Club of Annapolis was a place to put my skills to use,” says the former vice president and chief of staff to the CEO of the American Medical Association. Sponsored by local legend Charles Heller (whom we profiled in our July 2014 issue), she joined and quickly volunteered to help recruit new members. 

“We want the club to get younger,” Maher says, and to that end they recently voted to create a new class of membership called Active Under 40, which allows younger members to join at a reduced dues rate. “But young people today are also very time-poor. Jobs and family take up almost every minute. The question is, how can we adapt to the lives they live?”

Maher is now part of the Annapolis club’s membership committee, floating new ideas such as flexible meeting times and ways to attract young parents as members. “For one thing, we’re looking at weekend service projects where younger members might bring their families,” she says. “It might be a chance for children to see their parents giving back to the community. Wouldn’t that help instill Rotary values in the next generation?”

On a recent road trip to Texas, I visited the Rotary Club of Cross Timbers, near Dallas (read the story in our July issue). The hard-charging officers of that club evaluate prospective members by asking, “Do they have the three T’s: talent, time, and treasure?” I like their spirit. For them, Rotary isn’t a 112-year-old bunch of businessmen trying to keep up with the times. It’s the hottest service organization of the future. 

What I Saw

On Day One, I get lost in a rotary on my way to Rotary. In most of the world, such a traffic circle is called a “roundabout,” but in New England it’s a “rotary.” I take a wrong way out and wind up east of Westfield.

This is no way to start my undertaking to visit seven Rotary clubs in a week – all of them within an easy drive of Northampton, Mass. Having recently moved from New York City, I’m a newcomer both to the area and to Rotary, and I figure this would be the perfect way to make contacts, learn about the area – and to get a sense of what different Rotary clubs have in common, as well as what makes each one unique. 

As long as I don’t get lost. 

“Westfield?” a pedestrian says. “Well, first you head back to the rotary …”

MONDAY, 12:05 p.m.; Westfield, Mass. 

I hustle into the Westfield Technical Academy, a vocational high school with a sign out front: “Tiger’s Pride Restaurant.” 

Westfield, also known as Whip City, was once the world’s buggy-whip capital. Today the spirited kids at Westfield Tech study information technology, collision technology (don’t call it auto shop), aviation maintenance, and culinary arts. I’m here for the last specialty – the culinary arts students run a full-service restaurant in the auditorium.

“Welcome to Tiger’s Pride,” chirps the freshman who leads me to my table. The menu features baked chicken stuffed with cornbread and sausage, pecan-crusted catfish, pork roast, and a carrot cake I want two pieces of. 

A friend had told me not to eat in a high school restaurant. “Would you get your hair cut at a barber college?” 

I would if it were Tiger’s Pride Barber College. That’s how good my catfish is.

Almost all 38 members of the Rotary Club of Westfield turn out for the lunch that the high school is hosting for them this week. About half are Rotarians of long standing; the other half are younger, more recent members. “We’re the new blood,” one says. 

This club is a foodie’s garden of eatin’. As Tim Flynn, the club’s 2016-17 president, announces a $1,300 donation to the city’s food pantry that made the local news, John Slattery digs into his lunch. Slattery, a professional chef, pronounces his taste buds “impressed. The asparagus was perfectly cooked, and the flavors in the pork roast were spot-on. These kids are getting great instruction.” 

Incoming President Lynn Boscher tells me about the club’s main event: “Our Food Fest in August. We take over the town with food and drink!” 

Later, circumnavigating the rotary that threw me off before, I have a thought: This story has a chance to be delicious. 

MONDAY, 6 p.m.; Chicopee, Mass.

A town known for foundries that turned out Civil War cannons, Chicopee seems to be made of red brick. The vast Cabotville Mill on the Chicopee Canal, City Hall with its 147-foot clock tower, and Munich Haus, a locally famous rathskeller where the Chicopee Rotary Club convenes once a month – all these buildings are 100-plus years old, as sturdy as the club that has been meeting in the town since 1969.

The club usually meets at a Chinese restaurant. “But once a month we get together here after work to give people who can’t make a noon meeting a chance to join us,” says President Tania Spear, leading me into a red-brick dining room festooned with mounted boars’ heads and a stuffed pheasant. 

That kind of flexibility is crucial, says longtime member Lucille Kolish. “We can’t simply wait for people to come through the door.” 

Spear runs down a list of club causes: the Sandwich Ministry, a charity that provides meals to people who need them in Chicopee; an upcoming Veterans Appreciation Dinner; and a new freezer for the Chicopee Senior Center. Biggest of all is the annual Celebrity Bartender night, when the mayor and other local luminaries mix drinks for charity. John Arthur rises to his feet. “Madam President,” he says, “we’re gonna raise a whole lot of money that night!” 

When dinner comes, Spear offers a typically to-the-point toast: “Enjoy.” Then she hands me a bottle of hand sanitizer. “What do you expect?” she says. “I’m a nurse!” 


My Journey Into Rotary 2017-08-30 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary clubs along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, USA, are collecting emergency relief funds to help flood victims of Hurricane Harvey, which slammed into southeast Texas over the weekend.

Severe rainfall has caused historic flooding along the Texas coast, including in Houston, the fourth largest city by population in the United States. Deluged towns in the region are in desperate need of aid as thousands of residents were forced to flee their homes. About 6.8 million people have been affected by the hurricane, which made landfall on 25 August.

Several districts located along the Gulf coast in Texas and Louisiana have established disaster relief funds, including districts 58905910, and 5930 in Texas, and district 6200 in Louisiana. You can find information about how to contribute to other district funds in Texas on district 5840's website.

“We know that a disaster of this magnitude will require our financial assistance for months into the future,” says District 5930 Governor Betty Ramirez-Lara. “Our disaster relief committee will provide support where we believe it can best be used.”

ShelterBox, an independent charity and Rotary’s project partner, is also providing support to families displaced by the storm. Hundreds of light privacy tents will be deployed to evacuation centers throughout Texas for families to use temporarily.

“Our normal tents and ShelterKits are not appropriate for the conditions families are experiencing in Texas,” says James Luxton, ShelterBox operations team leader. “The flooding is covering large swathes of land, and is set to rise even further in the coming days, making indoor shelter the best option.”

If you have questions about how you can help, contact

Rotary Districts Collect Emergency Funds for Hurricane Harvey Victims 2017-08-30 08:00:00Z 0

District 5010 Rotarians and Clubs:


Severe rainfall has caused historic flooding along the Texas coast, including in Houston, the fourth largest city by population in the United States. Deluged towns in the region are in desperate need of aid as thousands of residents were forced to flee their homes. About 6.8 million people have been affected by the hurricane, which made landfall on 25 August.


Several D5010 Rotary members and club presidents have asked how they can individually, or as a club, support relief efforts in Texas and Louisiana with donations and support. 


Several districts located along the Gulf coast in Texas and Louisiana have established disaster relief funds, including districts 58905910, and 5930 in Texas, and district 6200 in Louisiana. You can find information about how to contribute to other district funds in Texas on district 5840's website.


“We know that a disaster of this magnitude will require our financial assistance for months into the future,” says District 5930 Governor Betty Ramirez-Lara. “Our disaster relief committee will provide support where we believe it can best be used.”


ShelterBox, an independent charity and Rotary’s project partner, is also providing support to families displaced by the storm. ShelterBox is providing much needed equipment.  With the blessing of DG Harry, we are encouraging donations to be made directly to ShelterBox that will support the victims of Hurricane Harvey with needed aid and equipment.  For more information, go to


If you have questions about how you can help, contact




Andre' Layral

DGN 2019-2020

ShelterBox is responding

A ShelterBox Response Team is on the ground in Texas assessing the needs and working with partners for emergency shelter in Houston and other impacted areas.
ShelterBox is positioning tents, school kits, blankets, groundsheets and solar lights near the hurricane-devastated region as it communicates with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state agencies to determine urgent shelter and aid needs.
ShelterBox USA has created a designated fund for the Texas disaster.
100% of all donations received will support all associated deployment costs with the ShelterBox response to Harvey.
To give go to:< >
Stay up to date by going to < facebook/shelterbox.usa >
Nancy Dodge
Eagle River, Alaska 99577
ShelterBox Ambassador
ShelterBox USA | Pacific Northwest | e-Club Rotary District 5010
e: ShelterBox: | w:  | Cell: 941 993-4335
Providing shelter, warmth and dignity to disaster survivors worldwide.
Rotary and Hurricane Harvey 2017-08-30 08:00:00Z 0

Here is information about the Ecuador Projects Fair and Galapagos trip that Noko spoke to us about.  Looks pretty neat!


Purpose:  To enjoy a 5 day excursion (12-16 November 2017) to the Galapagos Islands followed by the D4400 Project Fair in Guayaquil, Ecuador (17-19 November 2017).


Features:  Meet Homer youth exchange student Felix Minuche, who lives in Guayaquil.  Promote the Health Fair Project at the Projects Fair.  No visa required.  US dollars are the official Ecuadorian currency.  Fly Alaska Airlines / American Airlines to Guayaquil.  Get back home in time for Thanksgiving.


Costs:  $200 Project Fair registration, Guayaquil hotel $133/night for 3 nights, about $1,700 for Galapagos Island tour, including R/T airfare from Guayaquil and $100 park entrance fee.


Contact:   Steve Yoshida for more information.  





XIII Ecuador Rotary Project Fair 2017-08-30 08:00:00Z 0

EVANSTON, IL (August 7, 2017) — About 80 percent of the world's 285 million visually impaired people have treatable eye diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Rotary and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) aim to promote eye health to underserved communities.   

Under the one-year partnership signed today by Rotary International General Secretary John Hewko and Vice President of IAPB Victoria Sheffield, Rotary clubs can partner with IAPB member agencies to provide access to continuous eye care and blindness prevention services such as eye exams, cataract screenings and treatment, and diabetic eye examinations and follow-up services. 

Victoria Sheffield, vice president of International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, and John Hewko, Rotary International general secretary, sign the partnership agreement.

Monika Lozinska/Rotary International

“IAPB champions the belief that in the 21st century no one should have to live with avoidable blindness or sight loss,” said Rotary General Secretary John Hewko. “Rotary also sees global health as a core priority. With IAPB’s expertise, and the power of Rotary’s volunteer network, we will strengthen our ability to transform the lives of millions of people who live with a visual impairment.” 

"The impact of blindness prevention efforts is lasting and has a palpable effect at the local level. This service partnership agreement will help eye care agencies and hospitals tie-up with local Rotary clubs to deliver positive, lasting eye care to local communities" noted Victoria Sheffield, CEO, International Eye Foundation and Vice-President, IAPB. “Eye care work will greatly benefit from the passion, energy, and support of Rotary members worldwide”.

IAPB’s mission is to eliminate the main causes of avoidable blindness and visual impairment by bringing together governments, non-governmental agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector to facilitate the planning, development, and implementation of sustainable eye care programs. 

Rotary members develop sustainable projects that fight disease, promote peace, provide clean water, support education, save mothers and children, and grow local economies. The recent partnership will help clubs further their efforts to provide disease prevention and treatment and maternal and child health programs worldwide. Over the past three years, nearly a quarter of a million people benefited from Rotary’s interventions for disease prevention and maternal and child health, supported by almost $100 million awarded through its grants programs.

IAPB joins a list of Rotary service partners including, the Peace CorpsDollywood Foundation, the Global FoodBanking Network, and Youth Service America

About Rotary

Rotary  brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. 

About International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness 

The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) is the coordinating membership organization leading international efforts in blindness prevention activities. IAPB’s mission is to eliminate the main causes of avoidable blindness and visual impairment by bringing together governments and non-governmental agencies to facilitate the planning, development and implementation of sustainable national eye care programs. 


Rotary contact: Chanele Williams 847-866-3466  

IAPB contact: Tejah Balantrapu

Rotary Partners with International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness 2017-08-23 08:00:00Z 0

EVANSTON, IL (August 10, 2017) — As part of Rotary’s year-long centennial celebration of The Rotary Foundation – the global membership organization’s charitable arm, Rotary clubs raised $304 million to support positive, lasting change in communities around the world.

Since its inception in 1917 with its first donation of $26.50, The Rotary Foundation is today a leading humanitarian foundation that has spent nearly $4 billion to help countless people live better. Each year, The Rotary Foundation provides more than $200 million to end polio and support sustainable projects and scholarships that promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water, support education, save mothers and children, and grow local economies

Rotary’s top humanitarian goal is to eradicate the paralyzing disease, polio. Rotary launched its polio immunization program PolioPlus in 1985, and in 1988 became a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Since the initiative launched, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year to 37 confirmed in 2016. Rotary has contributed more than US $1.7 billion and countless volunteer hours to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries.

“When we say that our Rotary Foundation is saving and transforming lives, we are not exaggerating,” said Kalyan Banerjee, Trustee Chair, The Rotary Foundation – 2016-17. “With the continued strong support of our members, we will keep our promise of a polio-free world for all children, and enable the Foundation to carry out its mission of advancing world understanding, goodwill and peace.  We look forward to another 100 years of Rotary members taking action to make communities better around the world.”

About Rotary

Rotary  brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. 


Contacts: Chanele Williams 847-866-3466

Rotary Clubs Raise $304 Million in One Year to Strengthen Communities and Improves Lives Around the World 2017-08-23 08:00:00Z 0

Sam F. Owori was elected to serve as president of Rotary International in 2018-19 and would have been the second African Rotarian, and the first Ugandan, to hold that office. He died on 13 July, at age 76, from complications after surgery.  

Owori is largely credited with the tremendous increase in clubs in Uganda, from nine in 1988, when he was district governor, to 89 today. 

Owori was a district governor during the term of Rotary President Chuck Keller in 1987-88, when the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and the first fundraising campaign was launched. A member of the Africa Regional PolioPlus Committee and the International PolioPlus Committee, he brought an unyielding sense of right and wrong to his work with Rotary, as well as to his position as CEO of the Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda and his previous work with the African Development Bank and other institutions. 

He held a graduate degree in labor law from the University of Leicester, England; a business management degree from California Coast University; and a management graduate degree from Harvard Business School.

Owori is survived by his wife, Norah; three sons, Adrin Stephen, Bonny Patrick, and Daniel Timothy; and grandchildren Kaitlyn, Sam, and Adam. Condolences can be addressed to Mrs. Norah Agnes Owori, c/o Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda, Crusader House, Plot 3 Portal Avenue, Kampala, Uganda, or via 

The Sam F. Owori Memorial to Polio has been established to honor Owori’s commitment to Rotary’s polio eradication efforts. Go here and select "Sam F. Owori Memorial to Polio" to contribute to this memorial fund.

Help Honor Sam Owaori's Legacy 2017-08-23 08:00:00Z 0
Our Vision Re-visited 2017-08-23 08:00:00Z 0
Cassidy Arrives in Vienna Boyd 2017-08-21 08:00:00Z 0

Help launch our new global ad campaign, "People of Action"

While many people have heard of Rotary, few people actually understand what Rotary clubs do. In fact, 35 percent of the public is unfamiliar with any Rotary program, including their local club. That’s why Rotary has created a new global ad campaign called “People of Action.” The ads are available for download at / brandcenter, where you’ll also find guidelines on how to use and localize each element, making it easier for clubs in any part of the world to tell their story in a consistent, compelling way. 

Work with local print media ad representatives to place these full-color ads in community magazines and newspapers.


Here’s what you need to know

Who are we trying to reach?

This campaign is for people who do not know about Rotary or why it’s relevant to them. We hope the campaign will appeal to potential members who want to make a difference in their communities, those interested in Rotary’s causes, and people looking to establish relationships with others in their communities.

Why is the campaign’s theme “People of Action”?

Rotarians share a unique passion for taking action to improve their communities and the world. Where others see problems, we see solutions. This is our chance to show others how Rotarians see what’s possible in their communities and to highlight what we can achieve when more community leaders join Rotary.

Here's how you can help:

  1. Go to

    Download the People of Action campaign assets

  2. Share materials with club members

    Particularly advertising professionals who can help place ads locally

  3. Collaborate with your district leaders

    Work with your district public image coordinator for additional guidance

  4. Use social media 

    Share campaign videos and graphics on your Facebook and Twitter accounts

  5. Tell us your success stories

    Email Rotary's marketing team with success stories and questions. 

What materials are available?

At, you’ll find videos, social media graphics, and advertisements for print and digital. Campaign guidelines are also provided to help districts and clubs localize the assets.

Who are the people/projects featured in the campaign?

The first ads in the campaign feature real Rotarians in Colorado and Brazil, and the stories shown were inspired by actual projects. More stories from Rotarians will be featured in upcoming ads.

Can clubs or districts modify campaign materials with pictures of their own projects?

Yes. Guidelines are provided at to help districts and clubs localize the campaign with photos of their own communities.

Is there guidance for taking photos for the ads?

Yes. has a checklist and information on how to capture photos that focus on connections and community.

Inspire your community in any language by posting one of these social media graphics along with an update about the work your club is doing locally. On Facebook, you can boost posts by ZIP code for less than $100 and substantially increase the number of people you reach.


What are some ways we can place the campaign locally?

Campaign placement tips are on There are also other ways to use the materials – consider adding campaign graphics to club and district websites, posting them on social media, and displaying the ads at events. 

What kind of support will be provided to members who don’t know how to buy ads or secure donated space?

RI provides guidelines on how to develop media plans, buy ads, and secure donated ad space at In addition, the RI marketing communications team will host a series of webinars to help club and district leaders with media planning. 

How does the campaign work with the existing Rotary brand positioning of “Join Leaders,” “Share Ideas,” and “Take Action”?

The People of Action campaign brings the Rotary brand to life by highlighting what happens when community leaders within Rotary join together, share their vision, exchange ideas about solutions, and then take action to make it a reality. 

Who do I contact with questions about this campaign?

Please send all questions regarding the People of Action campaign to

Rotary's billboard ads will be available later this year. For guidance on how to buy billboard space, visit the Brand Center.

Bringing Rotary's Brand to Life 2017-08-16 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary clubs go wild for wildlife conservation

Every day, species across the planet become extinct. 

And for each species that becomes extinct, many more become endangered due to habitat loss, poaching, human activities, and climate change. 

From the tiny western pygmy possum to the mighty African elephant, Rotarians across Australia, New Zealand, and the South West Pacific are taking their place in the fight to preserve and protect our natural world.

Here is a look at some of those Rotary wildlife projects.


New pad for white 'roos

The Rotary Club of Bordertown, South Australia, recently built shelters for Bordertown Wildlife Park’s famous mob of white kangaroos. 

The roos needed shelter, but the park couldn’t afford workers -- something the Rotary Club of Bordertown was happy to provide. 

Members of the Rotary Club of Bordertown, South Australia, constructed a handthatched shelter for Bordertown Wildlife Park’s mob of white kangaroos to protect them from the elements.

Photos by John Harvey

The roos were already snubbing tin shelters. “It was too loud when it rained,” said club member Trevor Butler. The solution: Using native broombush for new shelters. 

“A bunch of Rotarians went down to a property in Willalooka with lots of broombush, cutting off a trailer load of big bundles,” Butler said. “We then built a frame and had to learn how to thatch properly. It was a learning curve as we hadn’t done that sort of thing before.” 

After all this effort, it wasn’t certain the white kangaroos would take to their new “furniture.”

However, one freezing, wet day, not long after the shelters went up, Trevor took a look on his way to work. “Sure enough, they were all huddled in the two thatched shelters – and none were in the tin shed.”

The Rotary club is planning to build additional shelters.


Rotary Clubs Go Wild for Wildlife Conservation 2017-08-16 08:00:00Z 0

Delta Kappa Gamma will be filling the back packs for the Back to School project on Friday, August 18th, at 3 p.m. in the West Homer Elementary School Art Room, located down the first hall way to left after entering the school.

So far, only Beth Trowbridge has signed up to help.  It would be great if one or two more could help.   I usually do, but I will be out of town.

If you can help, please let Beth know.


Thanks so, so much.


Community Service Committee Could Use Some Help! 2017-08-16 08:00:00Z 0
Crutches4Africa--Part 2 2017-08-16 08:00:00Z 0
Well, if you saw the title of last week's presentation and decided that you could miss that one, you blew it!  Dr. Erin Cline, daughter of member Mike Cline, gave a rousing and dynamic presentation on "How Chinese Religions/Philosophies Have Influenced Chinese and East Asian Cultures".  I wish that more of my college profs had been as enlightening and well presented as what we heard!  WOW!  I believe that she could have gone on for another hour and had us all enthralled.
How Chinese Religions/Philosophies Have Influenced Chinese and East Asian Cultures 2017-08-08 08:00:00Z 0

I wanted to bring to your attention a great Rotary opportunity to participate in the Presidential Conference on Environmental Sustainability and Peace in Vancouver, BC, Canada on Friday-Sunday, February 9-11, 2018.


This is the first of six Peacebuilding Conferences to be offered during 2017-18 RI President Ian Risely's year.  Environmental Sustainability is a major focus of his year.


You can learn more by going to:


Here you can find information on speakers, program, conference registration, banquet and extra social tickets, sponsorship and display tables.


There is also a Facebook page at Presidential Peacebuilding Conference BC 2018.


There is a YouTube entry at:


You may register by going to:


I've been asked by Rotary VP Dean Rohrs to promote this opportunity and to track and coordinate participants who have interest in attending.


Vancouver, BC is a beautiful city, and I hope you will plan to join me in attending this opportunity in our backyard (Alaska and Yukon).


Please feel free to reach me with any questions at 907-460-7786 or




Andre' Layral

D5010 DGN 2019-2020

Presidential Conference on Environmental Sustainability and Peace 2017-08-08 08:00:00Z 0
Our Outbound Rotary Exchange Student, Cassidy, spoke to us about the country she expects to visit, Slovakia, for the next school year. She also spoke of her family, and what she hopes to do and to learn while overseas.  For those of you who were unable to attend, you missed a really good presentation.  It looks like Cassidy will be an excellent ambassador for us.
Cassidy is Getting Ready to Go! 2017-08-08 08:00:00Z 0

Mark Daniel Maloney selected to be 2019-20 Rotary president

Mark Daniel Maloney


Mark Daniel Maloney, of the Rotary Club of Decatur, Alabama, USA, is the selection of the Nominating Committee for President of Rotary International for 2019-20. He will be declared the president-nominee on 1 October if no challenging candidates have been suggested.

“The clubs are where Rotary happens,” says Maloney, an attorney. He aims to support and strengthen clubs at the community level, preserve Rotary’s culture as a service-oriented membership organization, and test new regional approaches for growth.

“With the eradication of polio, recognition for Rotary will be great and the opportunities will be many,” he says. “We have the potential to become the global powerhouse for doing good.”

Maloney is a principal in the law firm of Blackburn, Maloney, and Schuppert LLC, with a focus on taxation, estate planning, and agricultural law. He represents large farming operations in the Southeastern and Midwestern United States, and has chaired the American Bar Association’s Committee on Agriculture in the section of taxation. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Alabama State Bar Association, and the Alabama Law Institute.

He has been active in Decatur’s religious community, chairing his church’s finance council and a local Catholic school board. He has also served as president of the Community Foundation of Greater Decatur, chair of Morgan County Meals on Wheels, and director of the United Way of Morgan County and the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce.

A Rotarian since 1980, Maloney has served as an RI director; trustee and vice chair of The Rotary Foundation; president’s aide; zone coordinator; and a leader on the Future Vision and 2014 Sydney Convention Committees. He serves on the Operations Review Committee and has served on the Rotary Peace Centers Committee. He has received the Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service and Distinguished Service Award. Maloney and his wife, Gay, are Paul Harris Fellows, Major Donors, and Bequest Society members.

The members of the 2017-18 Nominating Committee for President of Rotary International are Ann-Britt Åsebol, Rotary Club of Falun-Kopparvågen, Sweden; Örsçelik Balkan, Rotary Club of Istanbul-Karaköy, Turkey; James Anthony Black, Rotary Club of Dunoon, Argyll, Scotland; John T. Blount, Rotary Club of Sebastopol, California, USA; Frank N. Goldberg, Rotary Club of Omaha-Suburban, Nebraska, USA; Antonio Hallage, Rotary Club of Curitiba-Leste, Paraná, Brazil; Jackson S.L. Hsieh, Rotary Club of Taipei Sunrise, Taiwan; Holger Knaack, Rotary Club of Herzogtum Lauenburg-Mölln, Germany; Masahiro Kuroda, Rotary Club of Hachinohe South, Aomori, Japan; Larry A. Lunsford, Rotary Club of Kansas City-Plaza, Missouri, USA; Anne L. Matthews (chair), Rotary Club of Columbia East, South Carolina, USA; P.T. Prabhakar, Rotary Club of Madras Central, Tamil Nadu, India; M.K. Panduranga Setty, Rotary Club of Bangalore, Karnataka, India; Andy Smallwood, Rotary Club of Gulfway-Hobby Airport (Houston), Texas, USA; Norbert Turco, Rotary Club of Ajaccio, Corse, France; Yoshimasa Watanabe, Rotary Club of Kojima, Okayama, Japan; and Sangkoo Yun, Rotary Club of Sae Hanyang, Seoul, Korea.

Rotary International President for 2019-2020 Selected 2017-08-07 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary Community Corps lets local volunteers tap into our organization’s network

By Illustrations by

Mobilizing more than 200,000 volunteers across 92 countries, the Rotary Community Corps expands Rotary’s reach by bringing the knowledge and talents of local people to projects in their communities. 

Sponsored by a local club, corps members are not Rotarians but can tap into the Rotary network. 

Conceived as the Rotary Village Corps during the term of RI President M.A.T. Caparas in the late 1980s, the Rotary Community Corps (RCC) was initially viewed as a program for the developing world. 

Even today, most of the 9,400 RCCs are concentrated in India, followed by the Philippines and Africa. About 60 are sponsored by clubs in the United States; Canada hosts four. Every community corps differs in size and scope. Meet four of them.

It Takes a Community 2017-08-07 08:00:00Z 0

At the Rotary International Convention, global leaders and key donors affirm their commitment to ending polio


With polio on the brink of eradication, nations from around the world and key donors pledged more than $1 billion on Monday to energize the global fight to end the paralyzing disease.

View Slideshow

Bill Gates, co-chair of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and RI President John Germ share the recent news about their partnership in the fight to eradicate polio.



$1.3 Billion Pledge to End Polio 2017-08-07 08:00:00Z 0

Column: Your unconscious can yield unexpected powers


I’ve spent the past two decades teaching aspiring writers. One oddity I’ve noticed is that students write best when they are the least “conscious” of actually writing.

That is: When I ask students to write informally for a short time, they often produce work that is far more candid and compelling than a story they might have slaved over for months.

Illustration by Dave Cutler


The reason for this, in my view, is that our conscious minds tend to overthink decisions. We get caught up in self-doubt, or trying to impress, and we stop focusing on the story we want to tell. But it is our unconscious – the part of our minds we can’t control and that we therefore don’t judge – that makes the best decisions.

I know this to be true in the realm of creativity. But recently, I’ve been pondering the broader and more ambivalent role that the unconscious plays in our lives. 

I realize that term – the unconscious – can sound a bit daunting. Sigmund Freud is widely credited with introducing the concept of the unconscious, which people sometimes call the subconscious. All he meant is that there is a part of the mind that exists beneath our conscious recognition. This region serves as a repository for our forbidden desires, our taboo ideas, our painful memories and unbearable feelings.

Freud’s colleague Carl Jung expanded on this by observing that the conscious mind can accommodate only so much data and that the unconscious was designed, in part, as backup storage for our knowledge and experience.

Our minds might be viewed, therefore, as neurological icebergs, with our conscious thoughts representing only a small percentage of all that we think and feel.

And because most of us move through our lives like hopeful little Titanics, we don’t realize that much of what controls our habits of thought and behavior lurks below the surface. No matter how hard we try to steer clear of the icebergs we can see, we wind up crashing into them over and over.

In other words, what you don’t know can hurt you.

Our minds might be viewed as neurological icebergs, with our conscious thoughts representing only a small percentage of all that we think and feel.

Let me offer a rather painful personal example. I want to write a great novel. Actually, “great” is an overstatement. At this point, I’d settle for a “good” novel. Or even “a novel that does not put my wife to sleep.” 

So far, I’ve started six separate projects. In each case, I reach a point where I feel overwhelmed by the task. There are too many plotlines, too many characters, no unifying theme. I lose faith and give up – or I soldier on, slogging through a draft that feels lifeless and doomed. 

Consciously, I know I’m equipped to write a decent novel. But something is holding me back.

The same pattern obtains during my weekly squash games against my friend Zach. 

Zach and I used to be pretty evenly matched. But for the past year, whenever I’ve gotten within a few points of winning a game, I start to rush and mis-hit the ball. 

It’s at the point where the pattern feels so ingrained that I automatically lose concentration and fall apart. Zach says I  “fall out of the moment. ” But as sports psychologists have emphasized, “choking” often begins when a conscious anxiety about blowing it becomes an unconscious conviction.

The best response, the sports psychologists insist, is to turn down the pressure. 

I know they’re right. The only times I’ve beaten Zach this past year have been on those mornings when I’m exhausted, getting sick, or hobbling around with a sore back.

Why do I win these matches? Because I come into them convinced that there’s no chance I’ll win, which eliminates the pressure. 

This is why my wife – wise woman that she is – often tells me that I’ll write that great novel just as soon as I stop pushing myself to do so.

There are, of course, plenty of ways in which this principle applies. Consider the case of the lost keys. If you’re me, this is something you consider on an almost daily basis: I am an inveterate loser of my keys, as well as my phone and my wallet.

The harder I look for my keys, the more elusive they become. So I’ve taken to playing a little trick on myself: I stop looking.

And yes, it works. If you can redirect your conscious mind from the task of hunting, your unconscious tends to offer up the answer. (Pssst. Hey, dummy. Why don’t you check on the dryer downstairs where, for some reason, you left them last night?)

If my experience is any indication, we are losing our keys more and more. This is happening because we’re trying to store too much information in our conscious minds. It doesn’t help that most of us are carrying around powerful little distraction devices – smartphones, I mean – which further divide our attention. 

But this pattern of information overload doesn’t affect only our conscious minds. Our unconscious minds are also overrun by meaningless data: I have no problem recalling exactly how many points my favorite basketball player scored in his last six games. 

There is one population that loves to celebrate the “power of the unconscious” – self-help authors. They are continually arguing that people can train themselves to become successful through techniques such as affirmations and auto-suggestion, which implant positive messages in our unconscious minds and magically guide us toward success.

The late college basketball coach Jim Valvano used to ask his players to devote one entire practice each year to rehearsing precisely how they would celebrate when they won the NCAA championship. He believed that consciously sending the message that they were destined to win would seep into the subconscious and guide them.

And in 1983, his North Carolina State University team did go on an unprecedented run. But people tend to forget that the Wolfpack won that championship because players on opposing teams missed crucial free throws in the final seconds of several games.

I don’t mean to be a buzzkill. But researchers haven’t found much basis for these claims. Folks tend to point to examples such as Valvano’s championship run while overlooking all those teams that used similar techniques and still lost.

I am a believer in the power of the unconscious as a creative tool. But my experience suggests that we often perceive the power of the unconscious in the wrong way. 

A lot of the anguish we suffer in life arises from repressing feelings that we need to bring into the light. 

For many years, my wife has wanted to remove an especially ugly rug from our oldest daughter’s room. Josie has stubbornly resisted these efforts.

The other day, my wife took matters into her own hands and removed the rug. Josie, who is 11 years old and starting to feel the emotional upheaval of adolescence, had a total meltdown.

I was out of the house when all this went down, but I returned to find Josie red-eyed and despondent. She told me what happened, working herself into a crying jag all over again. She pointed out that if she was old enough to baby-sit her little sister, she was old enough to make her own decisions about the décor in her room.

So it seemed like a control issue. But then Josie admitted that my wife hadn’t banished her old rug for good. She had merely asked that Josie give another rug a trial run.

I asked Josie why her old rug was so important to her. She thought for a moment, then said it was because it was a reminder of her childhood. 

Something clicked for me in that moment. Her loyalty to that ugly rug wasn’t just sentimental. In her unconscious mind, holding on to that rug was a way of holding on to a childhood that she knew was fading away. I gently suggested this to Josie. 

“Yeah,” she said. “That’s how it feels, like I don’t get to be a kid anymore. Maybe I’m kind of putting some of that on the rug.”

Something about identifying an unconscious fear allowed her to stop crying and calm down. And she eventually wrote her mother an incredibly eloquent letter explaining why the rug was so important to her, which nearly brought my wife to tears.

Perhaps that’s the ultimate power of the unconscious: our willingness to recognize that it’s not simply a tool we can sharpen and wield, like a knife. It’s a reminder that we’re most effective when we have the courage, and trust, to look beneath the surface of our lives. 

• Steve Almond is a regular contributor to The Rotarian and the author of books including "Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifesto

Your Unconcious Can Yield Unexpected Powers 2017-08-03 08:00:00Z 0

Profile: Software, hard work

Al Kalter, Rotary Club of Mandarin, Florida, USA

Al Kalter is a passionate believer in the Rotary Youth Exchange program. He was the Youth Exchange chairman for Rotary District 7150 in New York, and when he later relocated to Jacksonville, Florida, USA, for a new job, he started a program there. 


Al Kalter 

Photo by Edward Linsmier

But as the paperwork started to stack up, “I decided I needed to combine my vocation with my avocation,” says Kalter, vice president and programmer analyst for APPX Software Inc. The result was the creation of a database management system that now performs virtually all of the functions needed to manage the Youth Exchange program. 

“Our software significantly reduces the time that Youth Exchange volunteers need to spend on clerical, technical, and organizational efforts,” Kalter says. 

The software makes it easier for Youth Exchange teams to access information, file required reports with the U.S. State Department, check flight schedules, make host family changes, and perform many other functions. 

The tool, known as Rotary YEAH! (Youth Exchange Administration Hub), caught the attention of other districts and is supporting Youth Exchange programs in 132 districts. Kalter and APPX donated the time for development of the system – by some estimates, a value of $250,000 to $500,000. 

“It’s been amazing to me to see how it’s taken off,” he says. “It’s a really big application, and people are really happy about it.”

– Nikki Kallio

Profile: Software, Hard Work 2017-08-03 08:00:00Z 0
From: Clyde Boyer and Vivian Finlay
Date: Tue, Aug 1, 2017 at 11:00 AM
Subject: ITHF connection for newsletter
Dear Kimberly,
We are members of ITHF living in Homer, Alaska, USA.  We have not had the privilege of hosting ITHFers in Homer.  
We moved here 7 1/2 years ago having lived in Wasilla - almost 300 miles north of Homer.  We had many ITHFers in Wasilla who we hosted, and have traveled extensively internationally staying with ITHF hosts.
However, during the last few days we had our first ITHF guests in Homer!  
Pam Pine, and her husband Rick, visited us from Colorado.  They were in Homer to pick up crutches and walkers for a "Crutches for Africa" project for which Pam is helping.  Pam's Rotary club is in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.  In Homer, the Hospice organization had dozens of stored crutches that were not needed.  The Director of the Hospice of Homer researched places that would accept donations of the crutches and connected with the Crutches for Africa project.  (see:  
Because Pam and Rick were traveling in Alaska, they were willing give their time, and space in their camper/truck, to transport the crutches to Tacoma, Washington, where they will be included in the container shipment that will go to Africa when it is full.  
Yesterday, July 31, 2017, Rotarians from the Homer-Kachemak Bay Club helped sort, wrap and load the crutches into Pam and Rick's truck.  I attach a photo showing Rotarians at work!
On Saturday, July 29, many local Rotarians and Pam and Rick, took a boat trip to Halibut Cove, across Kachemak Bay from Homer, and attended a welcoming dinner for Rotary International Vice President, Dean Rohrs, who visited Homer with two of her cousins from South Africa.  I attach a photo of Rick, Pam, Vivian and Clyde on the boat that took us to the dinner event.
ITHF contributes to very interesting and wonderful experiences and projects!
I do hope both Pam and I will qualify for a year's extension on our memberships with ITHF!
Thank you.
Vivian Finlay, and Clyde Boyer (husband)
Rick, Pam, Vivian, and Clyde Enroute to Halibut Cove, Alaska
Loading Crutches, etc. into Rick and Pam's Truck at Hospice of Homer in Homer, Alaska
Rotary International Travel and Hosting Foundation is Alive and Well in Homer 2017-08-03 08:00:00Z 0
One of the things that is so great about Rotary is the way that things seemingly just accidently come together to help people all over the world!  It seems as though our local Hospice of Homer had a surplus of crutches, and a lack of storage space.  Rather than throw them away, the Director of Hospice searched for an organization that could make use of them, and found Crutches4Africa, based in Colorado, who would love to have them!  Glenwood Springs, CO Rotarian Pam Pine and her husband, Rick, were planning a trip to Alaska in their pickup truck, and volunteered to pick them up in Homer, AK and transport them to Tacoma, WA for consolidation prior to being shipped to Africa.  Pam and Rick are members of the Rotary International Travel and Hosting Foundation, so they contacted local Rotarians Vivian Finlay and Clyde Boyer (also members of the ITHF) about possible hosting and, perhaps, some assistance.  The WORD went out.
Monday July 31 at 0800 16 Rotarians met with the Hospice staff to sort, pack, and load 85 pairs of crutches, 10 walkers, and 6 mobility boots into Pam and Rick's pickup truck.  Before 0930 we were done, proof positive that many hands make for light work!
Meeting the Crutches
Sorting and Pairing
Wire Ties and Plastic Wrap to Hold the Crutches Together
Most of the "Crew" and many of the Crutches
Pam Stuffing the Back Seat
Loading the Back of the Truck
Rebecca Stuffing the Last of the Crutches In
Pam Securing the Load
Pam, Rick, and Jessica (Director of Hospice of Homer)
Crutches4Africa 2017-08-02 08:00:00Z 0
Saturday July 29th and Sunday July 30th, 2017 Homer Rotarians had the wonderful opportunity to meet, greet, and dine with Rotary International Vice-President, Dean Rohrs, and it was a WONDERFUL opportunity!  I wasn't able to take part in Sunday's breakfast festivities, but was able to attend the Saturday gathering.  WOW!!  About 35 Rotarians and guests traveled by boat to the Cove Country Cabins in Halibut Cove, Alaska to meet up with Dean and her cousins,  who were on a trip to see Alaska.  They had been "seeing the sights" in Homer and the Center for Alaska Coastal Studies in Petersen Bay, then headed over to Halibut Cove to meet up with us.
Tammy and Carl Jones of Cove Country Cabins and their crew put on a fantastic spread for us, with Root Beer Pulled Pork (Incredibly Good!), spare ribs, chicken, vegetarian lasagna (fantastic!), salads, side dishes, and Dessert!  To make is short...the scenery was spectacular...the food...incredible!
Dean was kind enough to introduce her cousins (from South Africa) to us, and to speak about Rotary and what is happening in the Rotary World.  
Thank you so much, Dean!
Looking North in Halibut Cove Toward Cove Country Cabins
Dock, Ramp, and Walkway at Cove Country Cabins
Lodge and Dining Room at Cove Country Cabins in Halibut Cove, Alaska
Headed Back to Homer
Homer Rotarians Meet With RI Vice President, Dean Rohrs 2017-08-02 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary peace fellow applies lessons to life in Bogotá

As a child in Bogotá, Colombia, Lucas Peña was shocked to learn that violence between government forces and insurgent groups prevented his family from visiting relatives elsewhere in the country. 

Years later in college, he studied the conflict from what he calls an “academic, analytical point of view.” 

Only after graduating and joining the effort to demobilize ex-combatants did he really begin to understand the issues behind the violence that has plagued the nation for decades. (In February, members of the country’s largest insurgent group began surrendering their weapons as part of a peace deal with the government.)

Lucas Peña

Illustration by Monica Garwood

Thanks to the Rotary Peace Fellowship, Peña earned his master’s degree in conflict, security, and development at the University of Bradford in Bradford, England, in 2015.

He now works for the World Wildlife Fund as a specialist in land governance. A member of the Bogotá Capital Rotary Club, Peña encourages other Colombians to become peace fellows. And it’s working: Five peace fellows were selected from Colombia for 2017.

Q: After college, you began working with the Organization of American States Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia, helping monitor the demobilization process of right-wing groups. What did that process entail, and what was your role in it?

A: At that time, the paramilitaries were laying down their guns, demobilizing their combatants, and participating in judicial processes. This was in exchange for spending only five to eight years in jail. As part of the demobilization process, the government had to issue identification to the ex-combatants, because without identification, they couldn’t re-integrate into society. The government provided them with health insurance and education, too. 

What I did was report on their security conditions and the re-integration process of the ex-combatants. I did that by talking to people – local government officials, military, police officers, victims.

Q: How does your current work at the World Wildlife Fund pertain to peace?

A: We are working toward a policy for the provision of land to peasants who live in natural parks in Colombia. The peasants’ lack of land is what made them go to the national parks and live there illegally. There’s plenty of land in Colombia, but the good stuff is already owned; less than 1 percent of the population owns more than half of Colombia’s best land.

We expect the public-policy response will include the provision of land, but it also has to ensure that the peasants will be given productive land, as well as the means of making that land productive. Solving this problem is part of the peace accord that the Colombian government has reached with FARC [the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia], the biggest guerrilla group. 

Q: What did you learn from your time as a Rotary Peace Fellow?

A: Peacebuilding is not only a matter of local communities, not only a matter of national government, and not only a matter of the international community; it’s a mix of all those levels. Another thing I learned is that the world itself is getting safer, in that the number of people killed in conflicts has decreased proportionate to the population. It’s a very long and slow process, but the world is becoming more secure.  

–Anne Ford

Building Peace at Every Level 2017-07-25 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary remembers Sam Owori for his ‘quiet confidence,’ integrity, and friendship 

The Rotary flags in front of Rotary International World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, and Rotary offices around the world fly at half-staff this week as friends and colleagues mourn President-elect Sam F. Owori, who died on 13 July from complications after surgery. 

With an engaging smile and a calming voice, Sam put everyone he talked to at ease, says Hilda Tadria , a member of the Rotary Club of Gaba, Uganda, and a close friend of Sam and his wife, Norah. 

Sam F. Owori, Rotary's president-elect, was always optimistic and brought an unyielding sense of right and wrong to his work. Owori died 13 July.

Monika Lozinska/Rotary International

“I call it the ‘Sam Smile,’” says Tadria. “It made him very approachable and easy to talk to. I think his smile is one of the things Rotary and his friends will miss most.”

Sam, who had been elected to serve as president of Rotary International in 2018-19, would have been the second African Rotary member, and the first Ugandan, to hold that office. He joined Rotary in 1978 and was a member of the Rotary Club of Kampala, Uganda.

“No matter the situation, Sam was always upbeat, always joking around and putting everyone else in a good mood,” says Tadria.

One of the admirable things about Sam, Tadria says, was his love and devotion to his wife. They met in primary school in Tororo, Uganda. Sam described Norah Owori as beautiful, well-educated, and full of character. 

“He adored Norah and always put her first.” Tadria says. “They were best friends and partners for life. It was very sweet to see them together. They never left each other’s side.”

Sam was highly respected in Uganda, Tadria says, for his high integrity and consistent ethical standards. Those qualities, she says, are important in a Rotary president. “He was a man everyone could trust.” 

She adds, “He preferred listening to speaking. It’s one reason he was so well-liked.” 

The road to president-elect

Like many members, Sam was invited to Rotary by a persistent friend. “I did not want to go,” he cheerfully acknowledged years later. “I had no interest. But I had respect for my friend, so I went. And when I got there, I was in shock. The room was full of people I knew.” 

The more Sam saw of Rotary’s good work, the more enthusiastic he became. He is largely credited with the tremendous increase in clubs in Uganda: from nine in 1988, when he was district governor, to 89 today. His friends called his enthusiasm “the Owori madness” — to which he mildly replied, “If it is madness, I would be glad if more people would catch it.”

Sam described himself as “an incorrigible optimist” who chose to see the best side of everyone and the bright side of any situation. Gentle in manner, unfailingly modest, and quick to smile, Sam is remembered as “Smiling Sam,” says RI President Ian Riseley. 

John Smarge, who was selected by Sam to be his presidential aide, called Sam a “rock star” among Rotary members. “In just the two weeks he was president-elect, you could see how much he was loved,” Smarge says. “The Rotarians in Uganda view him as a national treasure.”

Smarge adds, “He spoke with quiet confidence and simple complexity.” 

Sam brought an unyielding sense of right and wrong to his work as chief executive officer of the Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda, to his previous work with the African Development Bank and other institutions, and to his work with Rotary. 

Sam, who was one of 15 children, attributed his deep ethical sense to his upbringing, and particularly his father, who had been a school principal and then a county chief in Uganda. “He was a very strict disciplinarian,” Sam remembered, “and when he became chief, he ran that county like a big school — with a ruler. He insisted that everything was done the right way.” 

Sam and his wife, Norah, traveled the world together.

Monika Lozinska/Rotary International

Sam’s Rotary career spanned some of Uganda’s most difficult years, including the dictatorship of Idi Amin, who was deeply suspicious of Rotary and often sent agents to spy on Rotary meetings. “Sometimes people came as guests, and you wouldn’t know exactly where they were coming from or who invited them,” Sam said later. “We always welcomed them. We had nothing to hide.”

Prominent Ugandan Rotary members, including Sam’s own manager at the bank where he worked, were picked off the streets by Amin’s forces and killed. Many Rotary clubs closed and most members withdrew: from a high of 220 members, Rotary membership dropped to around 20. 

One day, Sam recalled, a member was taken right in front of Sam’s club. “We had just finished our meeting and were standing in front of the entrance of the hotel. He got picked up right there in front of us. Two guys threw him in the truck of a car and we never saw him again.”

Undeterred, Sam was back at his meeting the next week.  

An avid learner, Sam held a graduate degree in labor law from the University of Leicester, England; a business management degree from California Coast University; and a management graduate degree from Harvard Business School. 

He served Rotary in many capacities, including RI director, trustee of The Rotary Foundation, regional Rotary Foundation coordinator, regional RI membership coordinator, and RI representative to the United Nations Environment Program and UN-Habitat. He was a member or chair of several committees, including the International PolioPlus Committee, the Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force, and the Audit Committee. 

Sam and Norah became Paul Harris Fellows, Major Donors, and Benefactors of The Rotary Foundation.  

Sam is survived by his wife, Norah; three sons, Adrin Stephen, Bonny Patrick, and Daniel Timothy; and grandchildren Kaitlyn, Sam, and Adam. Condolences can be addressed to Mrs. Norah Agnes Owori, c/o Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda, Crusader House, Plot 3 Portal Avenue, Kampala, Uganda or via

Memorial contributions in honor of Sam can be directed to the Sam F. Owori Memorial to Polio

Rotary’s 2017-18 nominating committee will select a new president-elect, in addition to the president-nominee, during its scheduled meeting in early August. 

“Optimism is what brings us to Rotary. But Rotary is not a place for those who are only dreamers. It is a place for those with the ability, the capacity, and the compassion for fruitful service.”

Sam F. Owori, 1941-2017


Rotary Remembers Sam Owari 2017-07-25 08:00:00Z 0
Rotarians met to see Louise one more time, thank her for being such a wonderful exchange student and wish her will on her travels and transition back home.  The picnic was originally scheduled to be held at the Karen Hornaday Park, but cold weather and strong winds made our "Party Fairies" reconsider and the picnic was shifted to Susie Quinn's house.  About 25 Rotarians came to say goodbye to Louise and celebrate her time with us.
Bon Voyage, Louise!
Going Away Picnic for Louise 2017-07-25 08:00:00Z 0

Hospice of Homer is donating 70 pairs of crutches, 10 walkers & 5 medical boots to the Crutches4Africa project and Pam Pine, a fellow Rotarian who is helping with this project, will be in Homer to pick them up this week/early next week.  She is hoping to get a few Rotarians to help her with sorting, pairing, packaging and loading these into her truck so she can transport them to the lower 48 and get them ready to ship.  She is hoping to load on Monday or Tuesday of next week (July 31 or Aug 1).


Please let me know if you can spare an hour or two to help with this project - many hands make light work!


Pam will be at our meeting on Thursday and will tell us a little more about the project and will have a more details.


Here's a little more info on the project:


Hope you can help!



An Opportunity to Help! 2017-07-25 08:00:00Z 0
Video Clip from the 2017 Rotary International Convention in Atlanta 2017-07-18 08:00:00Z 0

The monthly board meeting will continue to be held the last Tuesday of the month throughout the year.  The next board meeting is Tuesday July 25th at 5:15 at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies Building.  All are welcome.

Mark your calendar for Saturday July 29th for an opportunity to have dinner with Dean Rohrs, Vice President of Rotary International, in Halibut Cove.  Boats are being arranged and time to be determined - but expect a $35 dinner expense which includes a delicious menu and great company.  Please let Beth Trowbridge know if you would like to attend.  There will also be a breakfast at Land's End on Sunday July 30th for those of you not able to make it on Saturday night!

2017-18 District Theme: Be Humble, Be Kind, Take Action

Be inspired by Tim McGraw ( think about the ways our club already does this and ways we can have an even greater impact in our community while staying humble & kind!



Some Announcements From Our President 2017-07-18 08:00:00Z 0

Interactor from Brazil combats a deadly online game 

White Whale designed to promote peace and self-esteem

Horrified by stories about an online suicide game called Blue Whale, Gabriel Kenji of Brazil decided to create a game to counter the dangerous online trend, and hopefully, save lives. 

The Blue Whale Challenge is a chilling suicide game allegedly run by a social media group. The game preys on vulnerable adolescents and teenagers, who are instructed to complete a set of challenges over a 50-day period. The tasks begin harmlessly but become increasingly more dangerous, including self-punishing, and end with the teenager being urged to take their own life. 

Interactor Gabriel Kenji from Brazil is combating the deadly "Blue Whale" game with "White Whale," a social media project that promotes peace and self-esteem. 


“When I first heard about the horrific game, I thought it was a problem far away from Brazil,” says Kenji, a member of the Interact Club of Pinhais, Parana, Brazil. “Once it reached my country I realized this type of evil can be anywhere. I had to do something to alert others about the seriousness of the problem.”

The game may have originated in Russia where more than 130 suicides have been allegedly linked to the game. The online trend has caused significant concern in Western Europe and South America, particularly in Brazil, where alleged suicide attempts from the game have cropped up in at least eight states. At least two suicide cases in the U.S. have been linked to the online fad. The title is said to refer to blue whales that beach themselves purposefully to die. 

While no one can prove the existence of the game or identify who is behind these suicidal challenges, what is clear is that young people are ending their lives and documenting it on social media. 

So Kenji decided to do something about it. He devised a social media game that he named White Whale to help boost self-esteem, self-worth, and peaceful interactions among young people. 

Challenges include forgiving yourself for mistakes, exercising daily, discovering new facts about people in your life, participating in volunteer activities, and posting positive messages on social media. 

We want to show young people that they can make small changes to change the direction of their lives.

Interact Club of Pinhais, Parana, Brazil

White Whale is a way for teenagers, who may be vulnerable to the suicide game, to engage in positive activities and feel valued, says Kenji. He chose the name White Whale because he says the color white signifies peace, purity, and clarity. 

“We want to show young people that they can make small changes to change the direction of their lives,” says Kenji, who will enter college this year to study dentistry. “There is another path for teenagers to take that is far removed from an action like taking their own lives.”

Fellow Interactors and local Rotaract club members are helping to spread the word about White Whale by passing out brochures and information at bus and train stops, busy intersections, and to friends and family. They also helped Kenji create some of the game’s challenges. “I’m so grateful that my club and others people in the Rotary family are taking a small idea and making it big,” he says. 

According to Kenji, about 4,000 people have shared the White Whale’s Facebook page with a reach of nearly 30,000. 

Kenji says he’s already seen tangible results from the game among his own friends. “I’ve had friends tell me that the game is giving them the courage to reconcile broken friendships. It’s great to see. I hope this is just a start.” 


Interactor From Brazil Combats a Deadly Online Game 2017-07-18 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary President-elect Sam F. Owori dies

Rotary International President-elect Sam F. Owori died unexpectedly on 13 July due to complications from surgery. Sam was a member of the Rotary Club Kampala, Uganda, for 38 years.

Rotary President-elect Sam F. Owori died Thursday, 13 July.


“Rotary has become a way of life for me – with the intrinsic value and core belief in mutual responsibility and concern for one another as a cornerstone,” Sam said when he was nominated last year. “I feel immense satisfaction knowing that through Rotary, I’ve helped someone live better.”

Sam's term as Rotary’s 108th president would have begun on 1 July 2018.

“Please remember Sam as the outstanding, hardworking Rotarian he was,” said Rotary International President Ian Riseley. “In this difficult time, I ask you to keep his wife, Norah, the Owori family, and Sam’s millions of friends around the world in your thoughts.”

Under Sam's leadership, the number of clubs in Uganda swelled from nine to 89 over the course of 29 years. 

Sam saw in Rotary members "an incredible passion to make a difference," and wanted to "harness that enthusiasm and pride so that every project becomes the engine of peace and prosperity."

Sam was the chief executive officer of the Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda, whose mission is to promote excellence in corporate governance principles and practice in the region by 2020. Previously, he was executive director of the African Development Bank, managing director of Uganda Commercial Bank Ltd., and director of Uganda Development Bank.  He has also served as corporate secretary of the Central Bank of Uganda.

He served as member and chair of several boards including FAULU (U) Ltd., (now Opportunity Bank), the Uganda Heart Institute, the Centre for African Family Studies, Mulago Hospital Complex, Mukono Theological College, and the Kampala City Council.

Sam also was the vice chair of Hospice Africa Uganda, and board member and chair of the Audit Committee of PACE (Programme for Accessible Health, Communication, and Education) in Uganda.

“Sam was a special person in so many ways, and his unexpected death is a huge loss to Rotary, his community, and the world,” Riseley said. “We are establishing details on plans to celebrate his life as they become available.” 

Rotary is establishing a memorial fund in Sam's honor and will provide details soon.    

Rotary President-Elect Sam F. Owari Dies 2017-07-18 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary member and author Marilyn Fitzgerald stresses the importance of community involvement for sustainable service projects.

Rotary members, volunteers, and donors are usually excited to talk about successful projects. Marilyn Fitzgerald, a member of the Rotary Club of Traverse City, Michigan, USA, draws inspiration from a far less popular topic: failure.

A clinical psychologist and author, Fitzgerald has spent years studying economic development projects in poor countries, where well-intentioned efforts to improve lives sometimes backfire. Now she travels the world to consult on projects and speak to Rotary clubs about sustainability and lessons from her fieldwork. We caught up with her at One Rotary Center, where she had addressed Rotary staff.

It’s about getting away from the charity model, where we give things away, and getting into the opportunity model, where we empower people to carve their own paths out of poverty.

Q: How did you come to focus on sustainability in projects?

A: Looking back on international projects I’ve been involved with, I realized that they often created a dependency on the Rotarians, outsiders coming into a community with money and good intentions. I asked myself why projects no longer existed, why the people we wanted to help weren’t carrying on like we planned. I started to realize that those people were not included in project planning, and that’s not sustainable.

What does it take for people to sustain a project themselves, and go on without our help? It’s about getting away from the charity model, where we give things away, and getting into the opportunity model, where we empower people to carve their own paths out of poverty.

Q: How does that work?

A: I work with microloan programs that provide entrepreneurs with capital to start or invest in a business, and the programs I work with always incorporate an educational component. People sometimes don’t know how to count or even the cost of the goods they’re selling. They can get themselves into terrible financial trouble.

It’s amazing to watch in the field: You teach financial literacy, and the people that will listen and learn are the youth and the mothers and grandmothers, the core of the community. In the past we’ve given loans mostly to men and learned when we give a loan to a man, he gets some money, develops a business, and often leaves his family. Women tend to take better care of the money and share their skills with the community.

Q: How do we define sustainability with respect to humanitarian work? 

A: There are two main areas of humanitarian aid. One is relief aid, and we don’t expect for that to be sustainable; we expect to take people out of dire straits and help them get back on their feet. Development aid has to do with people being able to do something for themselves, so they’re not dependent on us. It’s a simple litmus test: What will happen to these people if you walk away today?

I was involved in a scholarship program in Indonesia where I was raising $72,000 a year for 1,200 kids to go to school. I didn’t think too much about what would happen if I didn’t show up [with the money] one year, because I planned to keep showing up. You know who thought about it? 

The mothers and the children — every year they worried if I was going to be there or not. That wasn’t a sustainable source of income for tuition and we had to change our approach. Income from livestock eventually helped that community become more self-sufficient.

Does what you’re offering matter to them? If not, you have to go back to the drawing board and come up with something that will matter.

Q: What steps can Rotary clubs take to make their projects more sustainable?

A: The first step is to involve the community you want to help; talk to the people who live there about their priorities.

In Guatemala, I worked with women who lived and worked on a city dump. A group of Rotarians came in with the goal of providing shelter for these women and their children. But the houses they built were four miles from the dump, and it wasn’t practical for the women to stay there during the workweek.

One woman later told me she had never asked for a house, that she was used to living outside, and what she really wanted was an education for her children. Do you know how much cheaper that would have been than building houses?

As Westerners, we often think we know the answers, we know people need clean water. What we forget to ask is whether they think they need clean water. Does what you’re offering matter to them? If not, you have to go back to the drawing board and come up with something that will matter.


Why Good Intentions Aren't Enough 2017-07-13 08:00:00Z 0
July 7th Senator Lisa Murkowski spoke to us and members of the public, to give us a legislative update about what is happening with legislation in Washington, D.C. After the update, she took questions from the audience and answered them.
Representative Seaton and Senator Murkowski
Senator Murkowski speaking to Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary
Senator Lisa Murkowski Visits Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary 2017-07-13 08:00:00Z 0
June 29, 2017 saw the Passing of the Gavel from old President, Tom Early 2016-2017, to new President Beth Trowbridge, 2017-2018.  We got to thank Tom for a Job Well Done, and assure Beth that we would be there to help.
President Tom thanks his Officers, Board of Directors, and Committee Chairs
Lorna introduces almost Past President Tom to his new Hat
Presents it to him....
And it FITS!
Sharon retires as Treasurer, Vocational Committee Chair, and Health Fair Chair!!
and is presented with...
a Plaque...
Expressing Our Appreciation for Her Years of Service!
Past President Tom passes the pin to President Beth!
Beth presents Tom with a "copy" of his "soon to arrive" Thank You plaque!
Our new Officers and Board of Directors!
The Passing of the Gavel 2017-07-12 08:00:00Z 0

Understanding the recent polio outbreaks


Outbreaks of vaccine-derived polio have been reported this month in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Syria, according to the World Health Organization.

At least 24 cases were identified in Syria and at least four in Congo. In both countries, health officials are working with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to respond immediately to the outbreaks with supplementary immunization activities and field investigations.

To prevent the virus from spreading further, investigations and immunizations are also being strengthened in neighboring countries, the World Health Organization said.

Despite the new cases, the push to eradicate polio is stronger than ever, with fewer cases reported so far this year than ever before. It also got a boost at the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, where donors pledged $1.2 billion for the effort. 

Vaccine-derived cases are rare, and they differ from wild cases. Here’s what you need to know to understand these outbreaks.

Q: What are the two kinds of polio cases?

A: Wild cases of polio are caused by poliovirus that is circulating naturally in the environment. 

Vaccine-derived polioviruses are extremely rare and exist under specific circumstances. Oral polio vaccine contains live virus that is weakened so that it will prompt the body’s immune response without causing paralysis. The vaccine is ingested, and the weakened virus replicates in the child’s gut and is then excreted. In areas with poor sanitation, this excreted vaccine virus can spread to other children. This can actually be good because it then immunizes them. When the strain no longer finds susceptible children, it dies out.

The problem occurs in areas of low vaccination coverage. There, such vaccine-derived strains of the virus can continue to circulate as long as they continue to find unvaccinated or otherwise susceptible children. While they continue to circulate, they mutate. Eventually, if they are allowed to circulate long enough — at least 12 months — they can mutate into strains that are strong enough to cause paralysis.

Q: Is the vaccine safe?

A: Yes. The oral polio vaccine has reduced the number of polio cases by 99.9 percent since 1988. The risk posed by wild poliovirus is far greater than the risk of an outbreak caused by circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus. Once wild polioviruses have been eradicated, use of oral vaccine will be stopped. 

Q: Are vaccine-derived cases common?

Health workers work diligently to monitor children and test sewage samples for the polio virus.

Photo by Miriam Doan

A: Polio cases caused by circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus are extremely rare. Wild poliovirus remains the far greater risk. Nevertheless, because of the small risk of vaccine-derived outbreaks, use of oral vaccine will be stopped when wild polioviruses have been eradicated. 

Q: Are wild cases common?

A: Wild poliovirus occurs only in the countries where polio remains endemic: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Only six cases of polio caused by the wild virus have been reported so far in 2017. That’s the lowest number of polio cases in history, with fewer cases reported in fewer areas of fewer countries than ever before.

Q: How are polio cases detected? 

A: Polio surveillance has two parts: Doctors and health workers monitor children for the virus, and authorities test sewage samples from sewer systems or elsewhere, in areas that don’t have adequate sanitation facilities.

The detection of these most recent cases demonstrates that polio surveillance systems are functioning in both countries.

Q: What is the science behind the vaccines?

A: There are two types of vaccine: oral and inactivated-virus. The original oral vaccine protected against types 1, 2, and 3 of the virus.

Type 2 wild poliovirus was eradicated in 1999 so the current vaccine contains only type 1 and type 3. This allows it to provide quicker and better protection against the two remaining types. The inactivated-virus vaccine, administered by injection, contains virus that is dead. Because the virus is dead, the vaccine cannot cause polio outbreaks. 

Understanding the Recent Polio Outbreaks 2017-07-05 08:00:00Z 0

Ian Riseley has spent his career making connections among friends, colleagues, and Rotarians. He brings that gift for putting people together to his work as Rotary’s president.

By Photographs by

 “Traditionally, I pay for the coffee.” Ian H.S. Riseley makes this pronouncement in such a serious tone that you believe it. Until, that is, his friend Kevin Harrison guffaws. Just who does pay for the coffee is never resolved, but the good-natured joking sets the mood for a walk along the banks of the Patterson River in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. 

For the past five years, these walks have been a twice-weekly routine for a small group of Rotarian friends. It’s a way to get “some much-needed exercise, coupled with the opportunity for us to resolve the problems of the world,” says Harrison.

Whoever can make it on a given day – Richard Garner, John Williams, Nick and Maree Vinocuroff – comes along for the chance to bounce ideas off the others. And everyone always wants to know what Ian thinks. “He’ll listen to an idea,” says Harrison, “and over a period of five or six walks, we’ve got ourselves a project.”

Riseley, right, and Bob Richards, second from right, accept donations from visitors to the Bayside Farmers Market, sponsored by the Rotary clubs of Hampton and Sandringham. The market features produce, meat, flowers, and gourmet foods from local farmers and artisanal producers.


On a pleasant December morning, the conversation ranges widely. The friends discuss news including a recent earthquake in New Zealand, as well as business in their Rotary clubs: Sandringham, Hampton, Noble Park-Keysborough, and Chelsea. 

As the group talks, Riseley listens. His entire life has been about putting people together, nurturing ideas, and guiding people with practical suggestions about what to improve and how. The new president of Rotary does it with such easy charm and self-deprecating wit that at first you might not realize how intensely focused he is.

Riseley’s earliest exposure to Rotary was typical of what many newcomers to the organization experience: He wasn’t sure what to make of it. In 1977, he was the owner of an accounting firm when one of his clients invited him to speak at the Rotary Club of Cheltenham. “My first question was,  ‘About what?’” Riseley recalls. His second: “What’s a Rotary club?”  

He gave a talk on income tax. “Nice people, laughed at the right places, stayed awake the whole time,” he jokes. A few weeks later his client called again to invite him to a planning meeting for a new club in Sandringham. 

“I said, ‘I’m not really sure what Rotary does, but I’m happy to come along,’” Riseley says. “I actually missed the first meeting, but I got another call, and I went to the next one. The movers and shakers were all there, so I thought, wow, what a group to be involved with.”

Before joining, he consulted his wife, Juliet. Many of Ian’s friends were also accountants, so she thought Rotary could help him meet people outside his professional circle. He became a charter member of the Rotary Club of Sandringham in 1978.


The Social Networker 2017-07-05 08:00:00Z 0

If you are interested in meeting and visiting with the 4 Thai Hill Tribe girls who the club has supported over the years, there will be a brown bag picnic lunch at the Rotary/Kachemak Bay Water Park Pavilion on the Spit at Noon on Thursday July 6th!  Bring your lunch (we will have a sandwiches for the girls) and anything you would like to share if you want!


(Our club donated laptops to their welfare school in MaeChan some 12 years ago.  They learned computer skills, went on to college, and now hold decent jobs.  They have been saving their hard earned money to come to Alaska to visit us.  Steve and Noko Yoshida have rented a motorhome and will be parked at Heritage Park on the spit 4-6 July (2 nights)). 

 Hope to see you there!

A Chance to Meet Some of the Young People That We Have Helped! 2017-07-05 08:00:00Z 0
A Reminder!! This Week's Meeting is FRIDAY July 7, 2017!! 2017-07-05 08:00:00Z 0


Hello Fellow Rotarians,


First, a heartfelt thank you to ALL who responded to Vera today with such generous help. 

Vera is a recent graduate of Nikolaevsk High School, with a 4.2 GPA.  She has been accepted at Georgetown University.

But, she was also selected to represent the state of Alaska on the Pacific Conference Girls Basketball Team at the 21st annual Down Under Hoops Classic hosted on the Gold Coast of Australia in July of this year.

She is looking for donations to help her make the trip.  At this time her goal is getting closer. 



We have invited her to come back late July/early August to report to us.


Again, heartfelt thanks for all your generosity.


Re: Donations to Help Vera Fefelov Get to Australia 2017-06-28 08:00:00Z 0
Change of Gavel at June 29 Meeting 2017-06-28 08:00:00Z 0
Donations to Help Vera Fefelov Get to Australia 2017-06-28 08:00:00Z 0

Candlelight vigil, survivor stories shine a light on the issue of modern slavery

If Rotary members had any doubt that human trafficking and modern slavery occur in the United States, Brad Myles, executive director and chief executive officer of Polaris, put that doubt to rest. 

“We’ve recorded more than 35,000 cases of human trafficking since our hotline began (in 2007),” Myles told attendees during a breakout session at the Presidential Peace Conference, an event held prior to this year's Rotary International Convention.

Myles said that one way Rotary members can help is by promoting the organization’s hotline number: +1-888-373-7888. Polaris is a nonprofit organization that trains volunteers to answer phones and direct victims to organizations across the country that can help them.

View Slideshow

At a candlelight vigil, Dorsey Jones tells her story as a survivor of sexual exploitation. The vigil, held Saturday during the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, sought to raise awareness of the fight to end human trafficking.

Monika Lozinska

“We would love for thousands of Rotary clubs to become foot soldiers and help us put the hotline number out there,” Myles said. “We need people who can put it on the radio, on billboards, on websites, and in their social media messages.”

The issue of human trafficking was prominent throughout the Rotary Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, where members learned about the Power of One, the difference one person can make in combating modern slavery. Trafficking in humans takes many forms but includes forced labor and sex slavery.

In a display of solidarity with survivors, Rotary members and Atlanta residents held a candlelight vigil Saturday night in Centennial Olympic Park. A mother and daughter musical duo, Southerndipity, performed. The mother, Tenesha Cargil, is a trafficking survivor.

Atlanta native Dorsey Jones, a former probation officer, recalled how she was sexually exploited.

“When I was 11 years old, my neighbor crumpled up a $20 bill and placed it in my hand, and he began to fondle me, and pounce on me,” said Jones. “He passed me on to his brother and they passed me on to their father. Before long, half the community was sleeping with this scared, desperate, kid.”

A counselor at her school noticed Jones, a frequent runaway, sleeping on the playground and stepped in to help. The counselor found Jones a place to live, helped her finish high school, and gave her the support she needed to earn a college degree in criminology, Jones said. Now married for 22 years, Jones works for a nonprofit that helps exploited, abused, and neglected young people. 


  • 20.9

    million victims of human trafficking globally

  • 68

    are trapped in forced labor

  • 26

    are children

  • 55

    are women and girls

“I turned my story around because I found hope. But not every child has that hope,” Jones said. “So I am going to be a voice for the voiceless. I am going to be a hope for the hopeless. And I ask you today to stand with me, and fight for that little girl and that little boy and all the children across the globe who do not have a voice.” 

Before the convention, attendees of Rotary's Presidential Peace Conference had the chance to discuss the problem and ideas for solving it. Camille Kesler, executive director of Rebuilding Together Atlanta, told how her organization helps low-income families repair and maintain their homes, preserving families' independence and preventing homelessness. This, in turn, prevents crumbling neighborhoods and rising area crime that could make family members more vulnerable to sexual exploitation. 

“Our vision is a safe and healthy home for every person,” Kesler said.

During the peace conference, Tjada McKenna, chief operating officer of Habitat for Humanity, spoke about the organization’s 40-year-history of mobilizing volunteers to help get families off the streets. The organization has built homes for millions of families. Rotary members have volunteered on Habitat for Humanity home building projects, and convention attendees had a chance to work on such a project as part of a Host Organization Committee event.

During Monday’s general session of the convention, actor and philanthropist Ashton Kutcher, co-founder of Thorn, an organization that combats human trafficking, explained how online technology is helping to fight child sexual exploitation. He was joined onstage by Gary Haugen of the International Justice Mission and U.S. Senator Bob Corker. Corker has sponsored legislation that would unite current efforts in a partnership that would provide for a new global fund to "do whatever is necessary to end this scourge,” he said.

And in the convention's House of Friendship, Rotary members learned what the Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery is doing. Dave McCleary, vice chair of the action group, said he recalls being approached by a small Rotary club in southern Georgia that was overwhelmed by the scope of the issue and unsure what to do.

“I asked them what is really busy around here,” McCleary says. “Well, they had the busiest truck stop on the Eastern Seaboard, and it happened that the owner of that truck stop was in their Rotary club." That was the beginning of Truckers Against Trafficking, which has placed posters showing the Polaris national hotline number at truck stops in 22 states, McCleary said. As a result, more than 400 victims of trafficking have received helped.

The Power of One 2017-06-28 08:00:00Z 0

Opening up the World


Skip to main content

650 students broaden horizons through Rotary exchange program


Growing up in a village near the shores of Lake Victoria in Tanzania, Wanzita Ally never seriously thought about getting on a plane and flying to America. 

Her father had died when she was young, and she lived with her mother and grandmother, who were poor farmers. 

The family depended on what they grew in their fields to eat. 

But Wanzita loved school, and she did well. She was chosen as a class leader by her fellow students, and her teachers noted that she showed “good effort, behavior, and attendance,” despite going long periods without eating. She was determined not to let her family’s situation interfere with her education.

In her senior class photo, Wanzita Ally’s jacket features a wide array of buttons and pins and a Rotary patch on the pocket; 


Two decades earlier, in the early 1990s, a Peace Corps volunteer named Brian Singer was teaching mathematics at a high school near Wanzita’s village when he got to know four siblings whose parents had died. 

After Singer returned home to Minnesota, he talked to family and friends about helping those students with their school fees. The response was so great that he sponsored additional kids, and Project Zawadi  was born. To date, the nonprofit has sponsored some 650 students. 

A few years ago, Project Zawadi began expanding its mission to help schools increase their educational reach, building classrooms and housing for teachers; installing toilets and computer labs; and setting up a vocational training center. One of the projects provided beds for a dormitory at Makongoro Secondary School, where Wanzita was a student. Wanzita herself received a school fee scholarship.

Project Zawadi’s local partner organization, Zinduka, contacted the nearby Rotary Club of Musoma (Zinduka’s director, Max Madoro, later joined that club) to help with the Makongoro project. But the collaboration with Rotary didn’t begin in earnest until Vicki Dilley, a Rotarian in Northfield, Minn., who is also a returned Peace Corps volunteer, came on board as director. 

Dilley is also deeply involved in the North Star Youth Exchange, which is run by districts 5950 and 5960 (Minnesota and Wisconsin). One of the most active in the United States, it sends 60 to 68 students abroad each year and hosts students from other countries as well.

Last year, because of Dilley’s connection, North Star decided to see about finding a student in Tanzania for a one-way exchange. Singer and Madoro looked through their files and decided that Wanzita had the qualities that would help her adapt in America, even though she had never been far from home. 

Project Zawadi set up a vocational training center and furnished a dormitory at Makongoro Secondary School.


This kind of collaboration between Rotarians and former Peace Corps  volunteers is one reason the two organizations formalized their relationship in 2014. Both groups share goals of promoting better international understanding, enhancing global awareness, and empowering communities to create lasting improvements in education, economic development, health, and more. “It’s a really natural collaboration,” says Singer. “It connects concerned and caring people – Rotarians – with people who have a specific connection to a village or a group of people.” 

Dilley sees it the same way. “For my husband and me,” she says, “it always felt like Rotary was an extension of what we wanted to do in the Peace Corps.”

But Wanzita couldn’t embark on her journey without a passport. To get one, she needed a birth certificate. In order to get a birth certificate, her mother needed a birth certificate. So, accompanied by Madoro, Wanzita and her mother flew to Dar es Salaam, where they spent several weeks obtaining the necessary papers and stamps for her journey across the world. 

  • 868580

    students sponsored through Project Zawadi

Wanzita has embraced her experience – although when she got to Minnesota in the fall of 2016, she couldn’t see how anyone found their home, because to her, they all looked the same. “I couldn’t believe how many cars there were, and the way the roads were built over each other, and the buildings – how nicely they were built.”  

But over time, the strange new things seemed less strange. 

At her high school, where she spent her senior year, she joined the cross-country team and signed up for an ambitious load of classes, including child psychology, accounting, and biology. 

“Now,” she says, “I am used to everything – except cheese.”

She has come to like American foods such as burgers, spaghetti, and, despite the cheese, pizza, but she still cooks ugali, a stiff maize porridge, from time to time. She sends photos and messages to her friends and family in Tanzania on her new smartphone. To see them, her mother goes to Wanzita’s old school, where a teacher pulls up the photos of her daughter’s life in America.

Where that life will lead next, Wanzita isn’t sure. She wants to continue her schooling in Tanzania. She had thought about becoming a nurse, but now that she has been out in the world, she is imagining other paths. 

“When I told Brian [Singer] I wanted to be a nurse,” she says, “he asked me, ‘Why not a doctor?’ So maybe I will become a doctor!”

• Read more stories from The Rotarian

Opening Up the World 2017-06-28 08:00:00Z 0

Apply to serve on a 2018-19 Rotary committee


Would you like to contribute further to Rotary by serving on a committee? Each of Rotary's committees, comprising Rotarians and Rotaractors from around the world, works with the organization's leadership to ensure efficiency and promote the goals and priorities of the strategic plan.

The following committees are searching for qualified candidates for openings in 2018-19. All committees correspond via email, teleconference, and webinars as needed, and some involve at least one mandatory in-person meeting per year. Most committee business is conducted in English.

To be considered for committee membership or recommend someone for an appointment, visit .

Applicants must be registered on My Rotary at and ensure that their My Rotary profile includes current contact details.

The application deadline is 11 August.

Audit committee
Function: Advises the Board on financial reports, auditing, and the system of internal control
Prerequisites: Independence, appropriate business experience, and demonstrated literacy in auditing, accounting, banking, risk management, or compliance
Commitment: One six-year term; multiple meetings in Evanston

Communications committee
Function: Advises the Board on communication with key audiences
Prerequisites: Professional background and experience in a communication-related field
Commitment: One three-year term; annual meeting in Evanston

Constitution and bylaws committee
Function: Counsels the Board on constitutional documents and legislative procedures, including the Council on Legislation and the Council on Resolutions
Prerequisites: Must be comfortable reviewing legal and governance documents; legal, legislative, or Council experience preferred
Commitment: One three-year term; at least one meeting a year in Evanston; annual teleconference; and one Council on Legislation meeting in Chicago

Election review committee
Function: Reviews complaints and disputes related to RI officer elections
Prerequisites: Must be a past district governor with strong knowledge of RI bylaws
Commitment: One three-year term; meets via correspondence as needed

Finance committee
Function: Advises the Board on Rotary's finances, including budgets, investment policy, and sustainability measures
Prerequisites: Professional background in a finance-related field; nonprofit experience preferred
Commitment: One three-year term; two meetings a year in Evanston

Global networking groups committee
Function: Oversees action groups, fellowships, and vocational service, including operations, program enhancements, proposals
Prerequisites: Strong candidates have led action groups, fellowships, or club- or district-level vocational service initiatives, and are familiar with their policies
Commitment: One three-year term

Joint committee on partnerships
Function: Advises the Board and Trustees on partnership and sponsorship matters
Prerequisites: Extensive knowledge of international development issues; experience in developing and working with partner organizations; ability to network and to identify and cultivate significant partners for Rotary; and willingness to commit time and effort to Rotary, including participation in committee meetings
Commitment: One three-year term; two meetings a year in Evanston

Joint young leaders and alumni engagement committee
Function: Advises the Board and Trustees on engaging program participants, alumni, and other youth and young professionals
Prerequisites: Rotarians: Experience working with youth and alumni; district committee leadership; prior Rotary program participation
Prerequisites: Rotaractors/alumni: Leadership at the club, district, and international level
Commitment: Rotarians: One three-year term; annual meeting in Evanston
Commitment: Rotaractors/alumni: One one-year term; one meeting in Evanston

Leadership development and training committee
Function: Advises the Board on Rotary's leadership training program for Rotarians, clubs, and districts, with a special emphasis on training for district governors
Prerequisites: Must have significant training or education experience with a preference for leadership development
Commitment: One three-year term; annual meeting in Evanston

Membership committee
Function: Advises the Board on matters related to membership development, retention, and engagement
Prerequisites: Must have significant knowledge of and commitment to membership attraction and engagement activities; members of clubs that have diversified preferred
Commitment: One three-year term; two meetings a year in Evanston

Operations review committee
Function: Monitors the effectiveness, efficiency, and implementation of all internal systems; serves as an advisory group to the Executive Committee on compensation matters; and performs other oversight functions as requested by the Board
Prerequisites: Experience in management, leadership development, or financial management, with a thorough knowledge of Rotary's operations
Commitment: One six-year term; typically meets in Evanston twice a year

Rotaract and Interact committee
Function: Advises the Board on Interact and Rotaract; develops the Rotaract Preconvention Meeting program
Prerequisites: Rotarians: Experience working with youth; direct experience as a mentor or Rotaract/Interact adviser or district chair. Youth program alumni are strong candidates.
Prerequisites: Rotaractors: Leadership at the club, district, and international levels. Strong candidates have served as a district Rotaract representative, organized projects, or attended a Rotaract Preconvention. Age restrictions may apply.
Commitment: Rotarians: One three-year term; annual meeting in Evanston
Commitment: Rotaractors: One one-year term; one meeting in Evanston

Strategic planning committee
Function: Reviews Rotary's strategic plan and associated measures; advises leadership on other matters of long-term significance
Prerequisites: 10+ years of experience in strategy development, monitoring, and implementation, and strong understanding of RI and Foundation programs and services
Commitment: One four-year term; up to four meetings in Evanston

Rotary International staff

Apply to Serve on a 2018-19 Rotary Committee 2017-06-28 08:00:00Z 0
Change of Gavel at June 29 Meeting! 2017-06-28 08:00:00Z 0

Skydivers raise thousands for polio eradication


The first time Noel Jackson jumped out of a plane, it had nothing to do with raising money for polio eradication.

The Michigan dentist had received a gift certificate from members of his staff to go skydiving because they knew he was into adventure.

“It is definitely a defining moment,” says Jackson, a member of the Rotary Club of Trenton, Mich., of that first jump at 14,000 feet, done in tandem strapped to a professional skydiver. “The rush of the free fall is beyond anything I have ever experienced before. Just the speed and acceleration is unbelievable. You don’t even have time to figure out if you are enjoying it or not; it’s just a sensation that happens.”

Jackson did enjoy the sensation, so much so that he agreed to do another jump, with Shiva Koushik, a Rotarian friend in nearby Windsor, Ont. 

The two men were waiting for this second jump when their wives came up with the idea of enlisting other jumpers and raising pledges for polio eradication.

In August 2014, a jump in the skies of northeastern Michigan raised $15,000 for Rotary’s polio eradication campaign. Matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the effort contributed $45,000 to the cause.

Since 1985, when Rotary committed to polio eradication, the organization has contributed more than $1.5 billion and countless volunteer hours to immunize children against the disease. In that time, the number of polio cases has dropped 99.9 percent, and only three countries remain where the virus has never been stopped: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. While World Polio Day, 24 October, serves as an important opportunity to remind the world of the need to finish the job, raising money and awareness is a year-round effort for many.

Late-night recruiting

Julie Caron, a member of the Rotary Club of Toronto Skyline, heard about plans for the Michigan fundraising skydive after being invited to speak at a leadership training event in Koushik’s district.

View Slideshow

Julie Caron and 10 members from Toronto Skyline and surrounding Rotary clubs plunged earthward in their own tandem skydive, raising several thousand dollars for polio eradication.   


“We were in one of those friendship rooms after the conference … when Koushik began talking about the skydive,” Caron says. “We all got really excited and signed up.

“I don’t like to back out on things I say I’m going to do, even if it’s the middle of the night,” Caron says. So she began raising money and drove down to Michigan to do the jump.

She also took the idea back to her own club, whose members are mostly young professionals looking for fun things to do. This past July, 10 members from Toronto Skyline and surrounding Rotary clubs plunged earthward in their own tandem skydive, raising several thousand dollars for polio eradication. 

Caron hopes to make it a yearly event.

“Polio eradication is definitely something I am passionate about,” she says. “It’s not a hard fundraiser to put together at all. You just call around and pick a place, and then you begin asking people if they would rather jump or pay up in pledges.”

Jackson, who’d jumped out of the plane in his “Captain Rotary” outfit, says he personally raised $4,700 for the Michigan skydive using Caron’s approach.

A recent jump in Michigan raised $45,000 to help end polio.


I would go up to people and tell them we were skydiving for polio and give them two options,” says Jackson. “I would tell them I was paying $180 out of my own pocket to jump, so if you are not going to jump, you have to pay $180. Most people would say, ‘OK, you got it.’ ”

Floating like a bird

Koushik and his wife are active in other ways to rid the world of polio. They have been on several trips with their Rotary district to immunize children in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, and particularly enjoy showing off their native country, India, from which they emigrated to Canada about 30 years ago. They are planning to take part in another National Immunization Day in Pakistan next year.

Still, the skydive will hold a special place in Koushik’s heart.

“This is one of the highlights of my polio eradication efforts,” he says. “It’s such a feeling of freedom. The first time out of the plane, you have very little idea what is happening; you are free-falling so fast. But once that parachute opens, you look around and say, ‘Wow!’ It’s such a great feeling to be able to float like a bird.”


Flying to Fight Polio 2017-06-21 08:00:00Z 0

Muslim and Christian women work together to prevent dengue fever in Indonesia

In a world where intolerance and violence fueled by religious differences are seemingly increasing, one Rotary club in Indonesia is showing how diversity can help prevent a pandemic threat.

When the Rotary Club of Solo Kartini in Surakarta, Indonesia, formed 25 years ago, its members drew criticism from the predominantly Muslim community.

The club’s members were mostly Christians, atypical for a country where more than 80 percent of the population is Muslim. Religious leaders were skeptical of Rotary’s secular mission and wary of intrusion.

Undeterred, the club started recruiting more members. Today, the 72-member, all-female club includes both Muslims and Christians. 

And the effort they have put into breaking down barriers and fostering respect and understanding among club members has reinforced the club’s capacity to address dengue fever, one of the biggest public health threats in tropical cities like Surakarta.

Dengue fever is a virus transmitted by mosquitos that flourish in tropical urban environments like Surakarta. There is no effective treatment; once infected, victims experience sudden high fevers, severe headaches, joint and muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting.

Launching an effective public health initiative to prevent the disease requires volunteers with deep knowledge and connections to the community who can craft specific and sustainable solutions. And that means being able to build relationships across religious, cultural and socio-economic lines.  

The Rotary Club of Solo Kartini in Surakarta, Indonesia, installed white tiles on more than 3,500 tubs. The tiles make it easier to see and clean mosquito larvae, which helps prevent dengue fever.

Photos by Tim Deagle

Rotary member Mariam Kartonagoro says her club’s diverse makeup – particularly its abundance of mothers and professionals of varied ages and backgrounds – enhances their effort to fight dengue fever. “The fact that we are different does not create trouble, but it strengthens our relationship,” she says.

In collaboration with the Rotary Club of Westport, Connecticut, USA, and the local ministry of health in Surakarta, the Muslim and Christian club members have been able to help reduce the risk for dengue fever by interrupting the breeding cycles of carrier mosquitos. 

The first step was to implement a startlingly simple, low-cost strategy: line the dark cement bathtubs, common in Indonesian households, with white tiles so mosquito larvae is easier to see – and remove. In five years, the club project modified more than 3,500 tubs in two neighborhoods.

But tiles weren’t enough. The club needed to change habits and behaviors that contribute to infections, which required building trust to educate the community.

“Our main focus is to educate and invite people to be aware of health issues, hygiene, and the importance of a clean environment,” says Rotarian Indrijani Sutapa, one of the dengue project leads. “This takes a very long time to teach.” 

Community social workers teach homeowners how to empty and scrub infested tubs twice a week, close the lid on water containers, and bury waste that can collect water.

The fact that we are different does not create trouble, but it strengthens our relationship.

Rotary Club of Solo Kartini in Surakarta, Indonesia

Siti Wahyuningsih, Surakarta’s director of public health, hopes to extend Rotary’s white-tile project to other parts of the city. 

“Health is a shared responsibility between government, society, and the private sector,” she says. “The government can’t do it alone. We as a community must embrace all of our strengths, and Rotary is a big one.”

The club hopes to see more people crossing cultural lines to help each other.

“Rotary has a very diverse membership, and we can be examples to others in the way we work. After all, when we give help, we do not ask about the religion of the person whose tub we replace. We think in a much more global way,” says Rotarian Febri Dipokusumo. “And we try to foster relationships with people who may have different beliefs or thoughts. We can become friends here in Rotary. Maybe this way, we can inspire Indonesia and the world.”

View Slideshow

Rotary Club of Solo Kartini in Surakarta, Indonesia, formed 25 years ago. Today, the all-female club has 72 members and includes both Christians and Muslims.

Strength in Diversity 2017-06-21 08:00:00Z 0
NOTE! Meeting for July 6 Changed to July 7,2017 2017-06-21 08:00:00Z 0

Here is the latest on the Rotary Guns and Weapons Policy.


Begin forwarded message:


From: Laurie McCarthy <>

Subject: June Board policy clarification

Date: June 12, 2017 at 9:11:58 AM MDT



Dear Past Governors of District 5010,


On behalf of Rotary’s Board of Directors, thank you again for taking the time to express your concerns regarding our organization’s policy on Rotary club and district activities that involve guns and weapons.


The RI Board reviewed your and other members’ feedback at its June meeting this week and has decided to clarify this policy:


  • The policy allows clubs and districts to hold gun raffles and sponsor gun shows, as long as no club or district ever takes ownership of the weapons and all transfers of firearms are conducted by licensed third parties.


  • The policy does not prohibit sponsorship by companies that manufacture or sell guns.


The policy also provides guidance on the depiction of weapons with the Rotary Marks. Specifically, the Rotary Marks may not be shown along with images of guns or other weapons. The policy would not prohibit the incidental appearance of a gun or other weapon, for example, in a photo of a police officer being honored at a club function.


Thank you for being so engaged in this issue and telling Rotary how the policy has affected you and your club. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.





.............................. .....

Laurie S. McCarthy

Director | Member Support

Tel 1.847.424.5289 




ROTARY INTERNATIONAL | One Rotary Center | 1560 Sherman Ave. | Evanston, IL 60201 USA

Latest on the Rotary Guns and Weapons Policy 2017-06-20 08:00:00Z 0

Here is the word from Dave on the Pavillion Open House.


Over the course of the 2-3 hours I would say we had 100 plus folks stop by.  The amount of food we went through would indicate perhaps more, 10 dozen oysters, 80 hotdogs, lots of shrimp and scallops, two watermelons,  and other picnic style goodies.  The good weather, the great music from the marimba band all added to the occasion.  The Kachemak Bay Rotary Club can be very proud of the role it played in making this community facility a reality.  I think we need to have a Rotary Social there someday soon, I’ll let you and Beth be in charge of the weather.







Pavilion Open House was a Hit! 2017-06-20 08:00:00Z 0

At the bottom, you will find a link to the Speakers List for 2017-2018. Please find your name and be prepared to find a speaker for that date. Twelve Rotarians have volunteered to be in charge of each month. Those folks are your main contacts if you need to make changes/corrections, etc.


A number of you were not assigned and can fill in as needed. If you find a great speaker, contact whoever has that week and see if your choice could fill in.


Thanks for your help and support. This is one of the most important assignments in our club. Great speakers are informative, interesting, and keep us up to date on local and broader issues.


Let me know if you have any trouble accessing our


Yours in Rotary service,


New Speakers Websheet for 2017-2018 Rotary Year 2017-06-20 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary uses virtual reality to inspire others 

Rotary is leveraging Google’s virtual reality technology to offer an experience that showcases the impact of compassion to a global audience. 

We’re producing a three-minute virtual reality film that emphasizes the two themes of polio and peace, and how Rotary’s work to eradicate the disease is increasing stability across the world. 

Through the power of virtual reality, viewers will follow the extraordinary journey of a child whose world has been torn apart by conflict. The film will immerse viewers in this child’s world, and they’ll experience for themselves the impact that small acts of compassion, protection, and kindness can have on others. 

We’ll premiere the film on 13 June at the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. It will be widely released in time for World Polio Day on 24 October.

This isn’t Rotary’s first experience with virtual reality. With support from the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Rotary premiered its first virtual reality film, “I Dream of an Empty Ward,” in October 2016. In that film, viewers visit India, which has been polio-free since 2011, to follow Alokita, a young woman paralyzed by the disease as a child.

Traveling through the streets of Delhi, viewers get a close look at life in India and what’s being done to keep the country polio-free. And, through a visit to India’s only polio ward, at St. Stephen’s Hospital, they witness Alokita’s triumphant first steps after 11 years. 

Rotary Uses Virtual Reality to Inspire Others 2017-06-13 08:00:00Z 0

Global grants available for low-cost shelters and simple schools


Clubs and districts can now use global grants to build low-cost shelters and simple schools, under a recent policy change effective through 2019. The construction must be part of a comprehensive project related to an . (Projects that involve construction alone are still not eligible for global grants.)

Please note that these structures are limited. Low-cost shelters are intended to provide housing for the poor or homeless. Simple schools provide modest buildings in areas without nearby schools or where current ones are overcrowded. Simple schools can also replace schools that are structurally unsafe. As part of this program, clubs and districts can use global grants to build additional classrooms on school property as long as they are not attached to current structures.

To get started, see the and guidelines and application appendixes.

Global Grants Available for Low-Cost Shelters and Simple Schools 2017-06-13 08:00:00Z 0

We announced last week that Will Files had won the Rotary Service Above Self Award and that only 150 people world wide receive the award annually, so it is a great honor for him to receive it.   

This is what the RI nomination form says about the award:

Rotary’s highest honor recognizes Rotarians who demonstrate Rotary’s motto, Service Above Self, by volunteering
their time and talents to help others. The award is internationally competitive and is granted to no more than 150
Rotarians worldwide, and no more than one from each district, each year.

 June 3rd, an Open House honoring Will was held at Clyde and Vivian's house. Following are some pictures taken at the Open House.


PDG Clyde, PDG Maynard, PDG Jane, and Will
Will Files Receives Rotary Service Above Self Award 2017-06-13 08:00:00Z 0
The end of the Rotary Year is rapidly approaching!  As of July 1, 2017, we will have new leaders and several new officers. One of the very important items is DUES!  We will have a New Treasurer and a New Bookkeeper.  In order to start things out smoothly, it would really help if everyone could check and make certain that their 2016-2017 dues are ALL paid. It would also help even more if your first quarter dues for the 2017-2018 year are paid.  In Rotary, the dues are expected to be paid in advance, so please do!  If you cannot, or if there are ANY questions, please contact Sharon at 907-399-4266 as soon as possible---this is not something that you should put off.  Thanks!
The New Club Officers (2017-2018), are:

    President: Beth Trowbridge

    President Elect:  Bernie Griffard

    Vice President:  Christine Griffard

    Past President:  Tom Early

    Secretary:  Charlie Franz

    Treasurer:  Susie Quinn

    Directors:  Van Hawkins, Vivian Finlay, Gary Thomas

We still badly need a Membership Chair!
Dues and Other Important Things 2017-06-12 08:00:00Z 0
Following a fun, windy, and wet picnic at Karen Hornaday Park, 22 Rotary Exchange Students were parceled out to various very enthused hosts to spend the night.  I can't say what happened at other houses, but we (Gayle and I) were absolutely delighted to host Ricco (Italy), Thomas (Belgium), and Gio (Brazil) for the night.  We were able to take a quick tour of Skyline Drive and East End Road and got out of the rain at our house.  After the obligatory "this is where you are staying" tour of our house, we got to sit down with popcorn and talk of the young men's experiences in Alaska, their homes, our experiences in Alaska, and all of the other fun things until we all started to fade. The next morning we feasted on waffles (Belgian waffles are not like Alaskan waffles!), and headed for town.  The normally 15 minute drive took 45 minutes due to road construction, but modern cell communication worked and Gio, Ricco, and Tom didn't get to stay in Homer--darn!  A stop at the Homer Chamber of Commerce for a few thousand pictures and a chance to meet Homer's Mayor Bryan Zak, and away they to Two Sister's for coffee and then north for more exploring. What a delightful bunch of young people!
Invasion of the Rotary Exchange Students-Part 2!! 2017-06-12 08:00:00Z 0

Saturday, June 17th, there will be a Picnic Shelter grand opening and celebration--mainly a BIG thank you to our donors and volunteers.  Starting at 1:00 pm there will be music and goodies from the grill. At 1:30 pm we will have 4-5 (3 min. or less) talks, me, then Robert, someone from Rotary (Tom?), Rasmuson (if they make it) Katie for the City, Christine, Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park.  Then there will be an open mic for brief comments by anyone else.  After the thank-you to the donors and volunteers, photo ops, much music, goodies and finish up by 3:00 pm.

A lot going on about town on Saturday, but great if you could come to celebrate Rotary’s participation.  Everyone is welcome so if an announcement could be made to the club that would be great.

Due to the Fishing Hole being hot, parking will be tight so plan ahead for that, maybe park roadside of Pier One.

Open House at Pavillion!! 2017-06-12 08:00:00Z 0

Ashton Kutcher to speak at Atlanta convention

Ashton Kutcher

Nigel Parry

Ashton Kutcher, co-founder of Thorn, actor, tech investor, and philanthropist will join the End of Modern Slavery panel discussion at this year’s Rotary International Convention. The discussion will take place during the second general session on Monday, 12 June.

Thorn partners with nonprofits and academic institutions to gather new insights into the role technology plays in child sex trafficking, the creation and proliferation of child pornography, and the normalization of child sexual exploitation. Thorn then goes beyond insight to action to develop the tools, systems, and approaches to help address these issues.

Other panelists include moderator Bob Hope, Atlanta Convention Promotion Committee adviser; U.S. Senator Bob Corker; and Gary Haugen, CEO of International Justice Mission.

Learn more about Kutcher and our other speakers

Ashton Kutcher to Speak at Atlanta Convention 2017-05-31 08:00:00Z 0

On May 27, 2017, at 06:48, Tsogtbaatar Damdin <> wrote:


Dear Mr. Griffard:


Please accept my sincere gratitude for the warm hospitality extended to us during our visit to the great State of Alaska. Our contacts are part of our wider bilateral endeavors to expand the cooperation between our two nations. We, on our part, will be pursuing our committed quest to further increase the collaboration between Mongolia and Alaska.


Our confidence in the even brighter future of the mutually beneficial cooperation between Mongolia and Alaska has grown much stronger as a result of our stay in your beautiful state. Sectors like agriculture, tourism, mining, environment are but few of the sectors we could have exemplary and fruitful cooperation. With your and our support and encouragement we believe that the relationship between our countries could grow wider and more visible.


Yours sincerely,


Tsogtbaatar Damdin, MP

State Great Hural (Parliament) of Mongolia

Letter From 2017 Mongolian Open World Delegation 2017-05-31 08:00:00Z 0

Linked through sister cities, Rotarians save newborns in Brazil

By Photographs by

A mother is in labor, and she’s frightened. Her baby isn’t due for three months. The closest hospital is 30 miles away, and although she makes it there in time, the baby is born weighing barely 2 pounds. 

And there’s another problem. 

The hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit has only seven incubators, and all are in use, so the baby must be transferred to another hospital to receive the critical care he needs. If he survives the transfer, his parents will need to find a way to make trips to that hospital for months.

Many new mothers were facing similar situations at Dr. Leopoldo Bevilacqua Regional Hospital, a state-run facility in Brazil’s Ribeira Valley. Lack of equipment meant some of the hospital’s most vulnerable newborns had to be transferred, which was a factor in São Paulo state’s high infant mortality rate. 

Rotarians funded incubators, ventilators, heated cribs, vital-sign monitors, and other equipment for a state-run hospital outside São Paulo. 















































Rotarians funded incubators, ventilators, heated cribs, vital-sign monitors, and other equipment for a state-run hospital outside São Paulo.














“There are two realities here: people who can

pay for a private hospital and those who can’t,”

says Lina Shimizu, who spearheaded the project

for the Rotary Club of Registro-Ouro, Brazil.










“There are two realities here: people who can pay for a private hospital and those who can’t,” says Lina Shimizu, who spearheaded the project for the Rotary Club of Registro-Ouro, Brazil. Those who can’t, she says, often have to travel long distances to get to a state-run hospital such as Leopoldo Bevilacqua, which serves 24 towns. 

By partnering on a Rotary Foundation global grant with two clubs in Nakatsugawa, Japan, Brazilian Rotarians raised $172,500. They funded equipment including five incubators for the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), which nearly doubled the hospital’s capacity to care for fragile newborns. In 2013, 129 babies were admitted to the NICU; since the completion of the project, the hospital has been able to care for about 220 babies per year. 

Other equipment provided through the grant included five ventilators, a bilirubin meter, three heated cribs, five vital-sign monitors, and a super LED microprocessed phototherapy unit to treat babies with jaundice. The grant also funded the cost of publicity to inform residents about prenatal care workshops conducted by area health workers. The publicity campaign aimed to reach mothers in remote areas who may not know what services are available to them or about the importance of prenatal care and breast-feeding. 

The Rotary clubs also used the grant to launch a publicity campaign on importance of prenatal care and breast-feeding. 


This global grant marked a turning point for Rotarians in Nakatsugawa, who had stopped contributing to international projects after experiencing difficulties on a past grant. The difference this time was in the relationship between the cities of Registro and Nakatsugawa, which established a “sister city” affiliation in 1980. 

“This was initially a project of another Brazilian club, but they spent five years trying to find a partner and funding,” Shimizu says. “We were able to implement it in three years because of our sister city relationship.”

Rotarians from both cities meet regularly to foster their friendships, alternating between Brazil and Japan, and because of their close relationship, the Japanese Rotarians felt confident that their financial contributions to the project would be managed well. In addition, Shimizu, who is of Japanese descent and speaks fluent Japanese, helped build trust and effective communication. 

A group of Japanese Rotarians visited the NICU after the project was completed. “After 37 years,” says Mitsuo Hara, a member of the Rotary Club of Nakatsugawa, “there’s a friendship and bond between Rotary members of both countries.” 

• Read more stories from The Rotarian



Critical Care 2017-05-23 08:00:00Z 0
District 5010 Grants for 2017-2018 Announced 2017-05-23 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary program boosts scientific literacy in Taiwan’s schools

The sky above the playground at Lao Mei Elementary School in New Taipei City, Taiwan, is dotted with kites of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Below, groups of students are busy making more kites and testing their construction skills in flying competitions.

To a passerby, the scene looks like just a fun day at school, but teachers know this is much more than play. It’s science, or to be exact, physics.

The basic ability to fly a kite teaches lessons of aerodynamics and physics.

Lao Mei science teacher 

“As a matter of fact, it’s pure physics. The basic ability to fly a kite teaches lessons of aerodynamics and physics,” says Lao Mei science teacher Tsai Shin Yi, who believes that making and flying kites helps students see how science affects their daily lives — including playtime — and motivates them to learn more.

And in this class, even failures are seen as positive teaching moments. When some of Yi’s students were ready to quit after several failed attempts to get their kites airborne, he asked them, “Can any of you tell me why some kites fail to fly successfully?”

The kite classes at Lao Mei School, affectionately referred to as Love Kites, Love Lao Mei, are part of the Rotary Science Education Program, the flagship project of the Rotary Club of Taipei Pei-An. The global grant project aims to improve science education for students attending public schools in rural areas of Taiwan.

“We realized that science teachers and classrooms, particularly elementary and secondary schools in rural areas, receive fewer materials and resources, and even less institutional support” than other subjects, says Pauline Leung, past governor of District 3520 in Taiwan and the club’s former president.

Applying their knowledge of physics and math, students at Lao Mei School build and fly kites during classes supported by the Rotary Science Education Program.


Local teachers and Rotary club members agree that without a proper foundation in science, students become scientifically illiterate. And science teachers need strong classroom management skills and an in-depth understanding of their subject to help their students develop an interest and aptitude for science.

“So, we designed a science education program that provides a systematic approach to learning with a number of components, including audiovisual and instructional materials, professional development, material resources, community support, and evaluation,” says Leung.

Building on the success of the Rotary Science Education Program, Lao Mei School added a new component that teaches students basic science topics using simple machines and the application of energy.


Lao Mei School has used kites to help students learn about a variety of subjects, including math, engineering, and basic science. Because of the program’s success, the school added a new component that helps students understand basic science theories, says Leung.

The program involves working with simple machines — levers, wheels, axles, gears, and pulleys — along with energy. To ensure the program’s sustainability, teachers also received training. Leung says the program is partly funded by a global grant from The Rotary Foundation with help from the Taiwan district’s international partner, Rotary District 3700 in Daegu, Korea.

“We wanted to participate in projects that support literacy and education. The Rotary Science Education Program in Taiwan exemplifies Rotary’s enduring commitment to this effort,” says Seung Ho Lee, a member of the Rotary Club of Daegu-Seongseo in District 3700.

Teachers at Lao Mei School believe that making and flying kites helps students see how science affects their daily lives — including playtime — and motivates them to learn more.


Since the Rotary Science Education Program launched three years ago, teachers in the 20 rural schools where it’s been implemented have reported a new enthusiasm for learning among their students and increased participation by students with learning difficulties.

Yi says the program has also affected teachers, adding that the professional development elements have helped teachers increase their science knowledge and improve their teaching techniques.

Last year, members of the Taipei Pei-An Rotary Club visited Lao Mei School to see the program firsthand.

“We realized that what students learn is greatly influenced by how they are taught,” says Irene Lu, club president. “The actions of science teachers are deeply influenced by their understanding of the subject matter.”

Education Soars With Kites 2017-05-23 08:00:00Z 0
Be prepared for a lot of fun!!

    This from Cheryl Combs, the District's Youth Exchange Chair:  We are planning a small road trip with the inbound students as they wrap up their exchange year.   Beginning Sunday, June 5 2017  all 22 inbound students will be visiting the cities of Alyeska, Seward, Soldotna/Kenai, Homer, and Anchorage.  Our tour will bring the students to Homer on June 7.  Throughout the day we plan to do some sightseeing on the Homer Spit and doing some beach coming.  The students represent 19 different countries.  This could also be used as a great opportunity to showcase the program to potential students and parents in your community for future student  recruitment!   In total we will have 12 male students, and 10 female students in our group.  

At last week's meeting it was brought up that we could have a picnic/BBQ at the Karen Hornaday Park firepit​.  Keep track of the Website or, even better, come to the MEETINGS for more information!!

Invasion of the Rotary Exchange Students!! 2017-05-17 08:00:00Z 0

Taking your club online

Charlotte Ahlberg of Färjestaden, Sweden, traveled around the world in her career as a business coach, had small children at home, and just couldn’t fit Rotary meetings into her schedule – until e-clubs came along. She joined an e-club in London in 2010; started the E-Club of 2410se, Sweden’s first e-club, in 2012; and was 2015-16 chair of the Rotary International E-Club Committee. In 2016, the Council on Legislation voted to remove the distinction of e-clubs versus traditional clubs to emphasize that both are Rotary clubs that meet in different formats. The Council also approved electronic means such as webinars, teleconferences, and live-streaming as flexible meeting options for all clubs. We spoke with Ahlberg about the Rotary club of the future.

Q: What motivates Rotarians to join clubs that meet online instead of in person? 

A: There are three reasons. One is they find it too hard to get to a meeting but they still want to support Rotary. Second, they want to visit other clubs to have networking opportunities all over the world. The third reason is the reason I joined – because the concept fits me. I need the communication online and the flexibility in the format.

Charlotte Ahlberg


Q: How have clubs rethought Rotary meetings to work online? 

A: The biggest mistake is when clubs take the traditional meeting format and just try to do it online. We need to split up what clubs do into information and communication. The first step is to focus on information. Board meetings are an easy place to start, because most people today are used to online business meetings. You send the agenda out digitally, with background information. Then you use an online meeting or a webinar to actually meet. If you are developing a document for the club, you might have an online meeting with a draft and you keep sending it around and people add things and then you’ve got the final version. 

Q: So why meet in person at all? 

A: There are things we can’t do virtually. The other day we were doing a project to feed children. It’s very difficult to pour the rice and the ingredients virtually, right? When we come together in the future, it will be for physical activities. The essence of Rotary is that we join leaders, exchange ideas, and take action. If we focus on the action part, that could be done hands-on, but the information about it beforehand could be done online. 

Q: What are some first steps for clubs that want to adapt to the changing digital climate? 

A: First, gather correct email addresses for all the members. Second, update the club’s website. The website is your club’s business card, so it should have a way to contact you. You might also have a Facebook group. Use it to chat and to drive traffic to the web page. You could also have a little film clip on the website saying, “Hi, I’m the president of this club. We would love to welcome you to one of our meetings.” Keep it simple and do it step by step.  

– Diana Schoberg

Taking Your Club Online 2017-05-17 08:00:00Z 0

The Rotary Foundation of the United Kingdom receives gift of £1.25 million from accomplished pianist and teacher

Helen Ruddock
Helen Ruddock of Suffolk, England, promoted the goals and values of Rotary through her leadership, service, and integrity.

Helen Ruddock of Suffolk, England bequeathed a generous donation of £1.25 million to The Rotary Foundation. Having passed away in 2015 at the age of 96, and although not a Rotarian herself, Mrs Ruddock had a passion for improving the lives of others.

Her introduction to Rotary and The Rotary Foundation was made by a close friend, who was a member of the Rotary Club of Halstead for a number of years.

Complying with Mrs Ruddock's wishes, the spendable earnings from her gift, known as the Helen Ruddock Foundation Endowed Fund, will exclusively fund charitable service projects in the area of water and sanitation to improve the provision of clean water and hygiene practices in communities across Africa through the Rotary Global Grants programme.

Despite not being a member of Rotary, Mrs. Ruddock exhibited many of the values of Rotary throughout her life with her involvement in her local community and by devoting her time and talents to help others.

Music was central to her life and for many years she split her time between tending the farm her parent's had owned and teaching piano, after being educated at institutions including the Royal College of Music.

She married her beloved husband Ted in 1956 and after his death in 1970 she went on to become a highly respected piano teacher, sharing her knowledge at South Lee School in Bury St. Edmunds, Fairstead House School in Newmarket and Riverwalk School, where she worked with children with severe learning difficulties.

Renowned for her ability to inspire her pupil's to get the best out of themselves, a number of those she taught went on to study at the most prestigious universities and music colleges, with many more holding fond memories of her as a teacher.

The Rotary Foundation this year celebrates its centennial anniversary. Over the last 100 years, the Foundation has funded over $3 billion worth of projects in Rotary's Six Areas of Focus in communities around the world.

Alison Budge from Ashtons Legal, who provided legal advice to Mrs Ruddock said: "We are seeing more and more clients leaving money to good causes in their Wills, and know how much these charities rely on legacy gifts. I knew Helen for many years both as a friend and a client and I greatly appreciated her lively character and indefatigable spirit. Helen was very explicit in her wishes and it was a pleasure assisting her in setting up the Helen Ruddock Foundation Endowed Fund."

The Rotary Foundation of the United Kingdom Receives Gift from Accomplished Pianist and Teacher 2017-05-17 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary uses virtual reality to inspire others 

Rotary is working with Google’s virtual reality team to offer an experience that showcases the impact of compassion to a global audience. 

We’re producing a three-minute virtual reality film that emphasizes the two themes of polio and peace, and how Rotary’s work to eradicate the disease is increasing stability across the world. 

Through the power of virtual reality, viewers will follow the extraordinary journey of a child whose world has been torn apart by conflict. The film will immerse viewers in this child’s world, and they’ll experience for themselves the impact that small acts of compassion, protection, and kindness can have on others. 

We’ll premiere the film on 13 June at the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. It will be widely released in time for World Polio Day on 24 October.

This isn’t Rotary’s first experience with virtual reality. With support from the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Rotary premiered its first virtual reality film, “I Dream of an Empty Ward,” in October 2016. In that film, viewers visit India, which has been polio-free since 2011, to follow Alokita, a young woman paralyzed by the disease as a child.

Traveling through the streets of Delhi, viewers get a close look at life in India and what’s being done to keep the country polio-free. And, through a visit to India’s only polio ward, at St. Stephen’s Hospital, they witness Alokita’s triumphant first steps after 11 years

Rotary Uses Virtual Reality to Inspire Others 2017-05-10 08:00:00Z 0

Tiwa Savage signs on as Rotary celebrity ambassador for polio eradication 

EVANSTON, Ill. (3 May 2017) – Nigerian singer/songwriter Tiwa Savage is the newest face to join Rotary’s ‘This Close’ public awareness campaign for polio eradication. A paralyzing and life altering disease, polio is on the verge of becoming the second human disease ever to be eliminated worldwide after smallpox.

Savage, who has been described by CNN as Nigeria’s biggest pop star, will help Rotary achieve its goal of a polio-free world by raising awareness about the vaccine-preventable disease. Savage administered a vaccine to children in Lagos in late April. Nigeria regularly conducts mass immunization campaigns to vaccinate every child under the age of five in the country.

Tiwa Savage is a Rotary celebrity ambassador for polio eradication.

Andrew Esiebo

The singer's participation in this program comes at a critical juncture. Last year, Nigeria experienced a polio outbreak that paralyzed four children after passing nearly two years without a case of the disease. Her involvement in the campaign will raise important awareness that will help ensure the outbreak is stopped. 

“This is a cause that hits close to home for me, not only as a mother of a small child, but as a proud Nigerian, whose country has been battling this disease for many years,” said Savage.

Savage’s musical career began when she was 16 years of age as a backup singer for George Michael. Before going out on her own, she worked with many other well-known musicians, such as Whitney Houston, Kelly Clarkson, Andrea Bocelli, Mary J Blige and many more. Tiwa Savage is also a successful songwriter. She was signed to Sony/ATV Music before establishing her own label 323 Entertainment which teamed up with Marvin Records in 2012. 

Last year, Savage signed with Roc Nation as a management client  Already a superstar in her home country, her social media has amassed to a staggering 2.9 million followers on Instagram, 1. 8 million on Facebook, and 1.7 million on Twitter. 

Savage announced her new partnership with Rotary last week in New York City at a World Immunization Week event. As part of the ‘This Close’ campaign, Savage will be featured in ads raising her thumb and forefinger in the ‘this close’ gesture with the tagline ‘we're this close to ending polio.’ Since the initiative launched in 1988, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year to less than 37 cases in 2016.

The Nigerian music star joins other public figures and celebrities participating in Rotary’s public awareness campaign, including Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation;  actress Kristen Bell; Supermodel Isabeli Fontana; Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu; action movie star Jackie Chan; boxing great Manny Pacquiao; pop star Psy; golf legend Jack Nicklaus; conservationist Jane Goodall; premier violinist Itzhak Perlman; Grammy Award winners A.R. Rahman; Angelique Kidjo and Ziggy Marley; and peace advocate Queen Noor of Jordan.

Rotary launched its polio immunization program PolioPlus in 1985 and in 1988 became a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and more recently the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Rotary’s roles within the initiative are fundraising, advocacy, raising awareness and mobilizing volunteers. To date, Rotary has contributed more than $1.6 billion and countless volunteer hours to fight polio. Through 2018, every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication will be matched two-to-one by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation up to $35 million a year. To date, more than 2.5 billion children have been immunized against polio, a paralyzing and sometimes deadly disease.  

About Rotary

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. To access broadcast quality video footage and still photos of Rotary members immunizing children against polio available go to: The Newsmarket


Monica Fahmy +41 (44) 387-7116

Tiwa Savage Signs on as Rotary Celebrity Ambassador for Polio Eradication 2017-05-10 08:00:00Z 0

My report is that the conference was fun with live music 2 nights, and a DJ one night, and a couple of inspirational speakers including Past RI President Rick King.  Dave Brann did a good presentation about our Russian Club projects.  We had plenty of time to enjoy Sitka and to explore...the final event ended at 10am on Sunday, and most of us were on the 7pm flight back to that gave us most of a day!  We had an umbrella parade that was also fun.

Next year's DC will be in Seward on 18-20.  If people register before end December, they receive a discount...go to the District website to


Mari Anne and Maynard Gross donated a bunch of items for the Youth Exchange Auction (on behalf of our club) which is held at the DC and where every club is expected to donate item(s) worth at least $75.  We were able to keep track of one of the Gross' items because the bidding on it was "fierce"...that item raised $115, and all their items raised good money, - each was bid separately and we couldn't keep track of the earnings on them all.  So that was wonderful.

Kathy Hill donated some Rotary shirts.  However, the youth exchange person in charge of the auction mistakenly took those home with her (in Sitka) so they weren't available for the auction, much to my annoyance since I had packed them all and given them to the organizers of the auction, along with the Gross' gifts!  I was later told that they would auction of the shirts at another venue...


Rotary Exchange Students in Opening Ceremony

Homer Rotarians and an Old Friend

Dave Brann Delivers Report on Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club's Activities in Russia and Neighboring Countries

Clyde and Beth

Tom and Sandy Line Dancing

Tom, Sandy, Beth, and Others Dancing

Louise at Rotary District 5010 Conference



Things Happened at the District Conference in Sitka! 2017-05-10 08:00:00Z 0
Rotary’s highest honor recognizes Rotarians who demonstrate Rotary’s motto, Service Above Self, by volunteering
their time and talents to help others. The award is internationally competitive and is granted to no more than 150
Rotarians worldwide, and no more than one from each district, each year.
Wil Files Receives Rotary Service Above Self Award 2017-05-10 08:00:00Z 0
The 2017Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Scholarship Awardees

Our Rotary club awarded six $1,000 scholarships to students from Homer High School. The scholarship recipients are from left to right:  Katie Shank, Annali Metz, Seth Classen, Timothy Woo, and Johanna Allen.  Jamie Rios, who also received a scholarship, was not present. 


2017 Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Scholarships Awarded 2017-05-10 08:00:00Z 0

Manitoba honors Rotary Peace Fellow for public achievement

Refugees who come to Winnipeg often end up living in areas that are predominantly inhabited by indigenous people. 

“Newcomers do not know much about the indigenous life and heritage and, without that knowledge, the first thing they encounter is people who are poor and stereotyped by the mainstream community,” says Abdikheir “Abdi” Ahmed, a 2011-12 Rotary Peace Fellow and immigration partnership coordinator for the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg. “Indigenous people may see immigrants as encroaching into their neighborhoods. There is tension between both groups.” 

Abdikheir “Abdi” Ahmed, a 2011-12 Rotary Peace Fellow and immigration partnership coordinator for the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg.


Ahmed works to smooth relations, helping them see they have more in common than what divides them. “Integration is a two-way process,” he says. 

In recognition of his work, Ahmed received the Order of the Buffalo Hunt, one of the highest honours for public achievement issued by the Manitoba legislature, in January 2016. 

“I never thought what I was doing had this significance,” he says. “But I don’t look at what I have done. I look at what needs to be done to bring about better living standards for people.” 

Ahmed, 37, may understand the needs of immigrants better than most. 

Originally from Somalia, he and his family fled the conflict there and settled in Kenya when he was a child. 

My hope is that in the next 20 to 50 years, if we have more Rotary Peace Fellows around the world who are speaking the same language and taking on a leadership role to create an interconnected world, things will change.

As a young adult, he moved to Canada as part of the national resettlement program. He began working with refugee children who were struggling in school while attending the University of Winnipeg, where he earned a degree in international development in 2007.

After graduation, Ahmed began working at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba. 

He learned about the Rotary Peace Centers program from Noëlle DePape, a colleague who had earned her master’s degree at the University of Queensland, Australia, through the fellowship.

 After Ahmed completed his own peace fellowship at Queensland, he and DePape worked together to develop a curriculum for a summer course that they teach to high school students at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, part of a Rotary District 5550 (Manitoba and parts of Ontario and Saskatchewan) program called Adventures in Human Rights.

“We help them view the world from the perspective that everyone’s rights are equal and understand the idea of building