Even More of What Rotary Exchange Students Do! 2018-10-17 08:00:00Z 0
An estimated 40.3 million people around the world live in slavery involving either sexual exploitation or forced labor. A new partnership with Freedom United is giving Rotarians a chance to do something to stop it.
By Arnold R. Grahl
Dave McCleary was volunteering at a youth conference in 2012 when a young woman named Melissa explained how she had ended up in the sex trade.
She was living in a nice suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, USA, when a young man knocked on her door and offered her a job as a model. The man turned out to be a pimp, who lured her into prostitution through a combination of drugs, threats, and coercion.
“She was from my town, and was living in an apartment where my wife used to live before we got married,” remembers McCleary, a member of the Rotary Club of Roswell. “After the presentation, a member of my club gave her a big hug. I asked how he knew her, and he said she used to babysit his kids when she was 12. That’s when I realized this wasn’t someone else’s problem. This is happening all around us.”
McCleary is now co-chair of the Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery, which has been coordinating Rotary clubs’ efforts to fight slavery since 2013. A big challenge for the group has been motivating clubs to act. The immense scale of the problem can be daunting. 
The Global Slavery Index estimates that, worldwide, 40.3 million people are subject to some form of slavery: bonded labor, forced labor, child slavery, sex trafficking, or forced marriage. 
“I think many people ask, ‘What can I do? What impact can my small club possibly have?’” McCleary says.
One answer could come from the group’s recent partnership with Freedom United, a nonprofit organization that has mobilized millions of partners, activists, and advocates through online campaigns to convince governments and companies to end slavery. 
Through Freedom United’s website, Rotary clubs of any size can sign up to form “freedom rings,” which raise community awareness of slavery while sharing information with one another through an online platform. Freedom United helps the club plan a two-hour community event by arranging speakers that can include experts, survivors, and representatives of local nonprofits that are already fighting modern slavery. At the end of the event, people are invited to join the ring. The core team this creates then selects yearly projects to commit to.
“These rings are inspired out of a Rotary club but also pull from the larger community,” says Joe Schmidt, CEO of Freedom United. “We have a series of things they can choose to do. We ask them to keep it pretty simple and laser-focused on one particular project.” 
Schmidt, who advises Delta Airlines on its anti-trafficking strategy, met McCleary through Delta’s involvement with Georgia Rotarians, including during the 2017 Rotary Convention in Atlanta.
  1. https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_800/public/freedom5.jpeg?itok=0Mr45lDK
Rotary and community members gather for an education and engagement event called a Freedom Forum in Raleigh, North Carolina, to learn more about fighting modern slavery.
  1. https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_800/public/freedom3.jpg?itok=wS1ZP_L3
Freedom United Executive Director Joanna Ewart-James and Advocacy Assistant Miriam Karmali hand out fliers at a flower show being held in London discussing the link between modern slavery and the sponsor of the flower show.
Rotary and community members gather for an education and engagement event called a Freedom Forum in Raleigh, North Carolina, to learn more about fighting modern slavery.
 “Dave and I started to talk, and we recognized that there are maybe 200 to 400 groups just in the U.S. working on modern slavery topics. However, they are all disjointed with no common platform,” Schmidt says. “It sparked in us a connection between Freedom United’s interest in taking our massive online community down to the grassroots level and Rotary’s ability to provide hundreds of groups all over the world who would be foot soldiers in this fight.”
According to Schmidt, a ring in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA, is planning an annual gala fundraiser, and one in Raleigh, North Carolina, is working on a walk/run to raise awareness. Another ring is organizing a “red sand project,” where volunteers sprinkle red sand in the cracks of city streets to represent all the people in the world who are enslaved. 
Ian Rumbles, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Clayton, North Carolina, heard Schmidt speak at his district conference in April. His club is in the beginning stages of forming a ring.
“What resonated with me was hearing about the amount of domestic slavery and the number of people forced to work in farm fields in my own state,” says Rumbles. “The fact that people in our country were modern slaves made me think that I can only imagine the amount of slavery around the world.”
Schmidt says Rotary’s experience with polio eradication makes it a perfect partner for this fight.
Rotary’s patience in committing to a cause and its track record with polio have shown that Rotarians are willing to take mature, committed action toward long-term global change, even if it doesn’t give immediate gratifying results.
Joe Schmidt
CEO of Freedom United
“Rotary’s patience in committing to a cause and its track record with polio have shown that Rotarians are willing to take mature, committed action toward long-term global change, even if it doesn’t give immediate gratifying results,” he says. “That’s the thing missing in the fight against modern slavery: large organizations who are willing to step into this thing for the long haul and eradicate slavery once and for all.”
Rotary clubs have been supporting anti-slavery organizations for over a decade. In one of the larger efforts, 14 Rotary clubs led by the Rotary Club of Dunbar, Lothian, Scotland, opened a vocational training center for trafficking survivors in Kalimpong, India, in 2015. The project was funded in part by a Rotary Foundation grant. The group plans to add  a home for women and girls freed from slavery. 
McCleary is hoping that the partnership with Freedom United will better lead to more. 
“The great thing about Rotary is that even though we are international, we are community-based,” he adds. “So if there’s a need in a community, we have Rotary clubs there to make it happen.”
Fighting Modern Slavery 2018-10-09 08:00:00Z 0
See Jane Run! 2018-10-02 08:00:00Z 0
Two Rotarian pediatricians – one in Ethiopia and the other in California – connected to save babies’ lives with the help of a vocational training team
By Arnold R. Grahl
Karin Davies had just finished teaching a group of Ethiopian health care providers a life-saving technique for newborn babies when a third-year obstetric resident came rushing up.
“It really works,” he said. The night before, he had delivered an infant who was born limp and not breathing. After several unsuccessful attempts to stimulate the baby’s breathing, he used a technique, known as positive pressure ventilation, that he had learned only the day before. Within minutes, the baby was screaming. 
We saw the power of vocational training right before our eyes.
Karin Davies 
retired pediatrician, Rotary member
“We saw the power of vocational training right before our eyes,” recalls Davies, a retired pediatrician who led four vocational training team trips to Gondar, Ethiopia, between February 2015 and June 2017. The team, funded by a $107,000 Rotary Foundation global grant, trained 73 health care providers who now teach classes for midwives, nurses, and medical students on resuscitation techniques and post-recitation care for newborns. 
The training team project was designed with the help of members of the Rotary Club of Gondar Fasiledes, in particular 2013-14 Club President Abiyot Tegegne, to address a critical shortage of hospital personnel trained in lifesaving skills. In Ethiopia in 2012, only 10 percent of births were attended by someone trained in newborn resuscitation.
Davies, a member of the Rotary Club of Del Mar, California, marshaled resources and connected key players to establish a curriculum for neonatal care at the University of Gondar’s College of Medicine and Health Sciences which is helping reduce Ethiopia’s infant mortality rate.
Davies was five years old in 1952 when her father helped establish a college in Jimma, Ethiopia, as part of the Point Four Program, a forerunner to USAID. The family spent two years in Ethiopia. Sitting at the kitchen table of her home in San Diego, Davies sifts through old photos and recalls what it was like to grow up there. She recounts how her mother, a nurse, was pressed into service as the primary health care provider for the college’s seven faculty members and their families, its 80 students, and eventually the entire community.
“No one else was there to do it,” Davies says. “My mother would go out and take care of the surrounding villagers when they asked for help, and I would go with her. That is how I developed my interest in medicine.”
Karin Davies, second from left, watches as Ethiopian instructors-in-training practice at a skill station. 
Pat Bromberger, second from right, leads a demonstration in neonatal resuscitation at a skill station. 
Instructors-in-training learn how to administer oxygen to a newborn.
A class of new instructors with their certificates showing they have completed the neonatal resuscitation training and can now teach the skills to other midwives and nursing students at the University.
Three chairs of the pediatric department at Gondar University Hospital, from left Kassahun Belachew, Mahlet, and Zemene Tigabu.
Elisa Imonti shows the Ethiopian nurses how to program the incubators.
Teaching to Save Babies 2018-09-30 08:00:00Z 0

Open hearts

Elaine Case and Bill Wiktor
International Travel and Hosting Fellowship

Elaine Case was president-elect of the Rotary Club of Rochester Risers, Minnesota, and her husband, Bill Wiktor, held the same position in the Rotary Club of Rochester when the couple went to São Paulo for the Rotary International Convention in 2015. At the House of Friendship, they learned about the International Travel and Hosting Fellowship, which connects Rotarians who host other Rotarians visiting their area.

“We travel quite a bit,” says Wiktor, “and we thought, ‘Oh, this is going to be nice. We will open up our home to people coming to Rochester, and we can visit others around the world.’” 

Because Rochester is the home of the Mayo Clinic, Case and Wiktor thought they could be particularly helpful to any Rotarians who came to their city for treatment at the renowned medical center.

For a few years, the couple participated in the fellowship, connecting with fellow Rotarians on their own travels, but they didn’t hear from anyone looking for a place to stay in Rochester. Then in January 2018, they got an email from Cindy Goodman, a member of the Rotary Club of La Jolla, California, who was coming to Mayo for open heart surgery.

Case and Wiktor immediately offered their help and their home. “I asked, ‘Are you sure you want to do this? This could be more than you bargained for,’” Goodman says. “And they said, ‘No, we would like to make this our Rotary mission, to help families who come to Mayo for diagnosis or treatment or surgery.’” 

Goodman’s daughter, Whitney, stayed with the couple for a week while her mother was in the hospital. “They could not have been more hospitable and welcoming,” says Goodman. 

The couple visited Goodman in the hospital and did their best to make both mother and daughter feel at home. They stand ready to host Rotarians in similar situations.

“I just cannot say enough good things,” Goodman says. “They were like a second family.” 

– Frank Bures

Read more stories from The Rotarian

Our World: October 2018 2018-09-26 08:00:00Z 0
2018 Homer Health Fair 2018-09-26 08:00:00Z 0
The potatoes have been harvested (for the most part), weighed, and delivered to the Homer Community Food Pantry.
A few photos and a data spreadsheet are attached.
Pounds of Whites
1st  Place           Marv            36.5 lbs
2nd Place           Mr. X           22.2 lbs
3rd Place            Tom            18.0 lbs
Pounds of Reds
1st Place            Marv            46.5 lbs
2nd Place          Charlie         44.3 lbs
3rd Place           Tom              21.5 lbs
Total of Reds and Whites
1st Place            Marv             83.0 lbs
2nd Place          Charlie          53.6 lbs
3rd Place           Tom              39.5 lbs
Largest White
1st Place             Mr. X             1.51 lbs
2nd Place           Marv              1.30 lbs
3rd Place            Bernie           1.20 lbs
Largest Red
1st Place             Charlie          1.84 lbs
2nd Place           Tom               1.69 lbs
3rd Place            Mr. X              1.34 lbs
(At this time, Mr. X has not been  identified)
Great Potato Contest 2018 2018-09-26 08:00:00Z 0

From the Desk of President Bernie


On Thursday October 18 we will conduct our first Club Assembly of the 2018-2019 Club year. I encourage maximum participation if your calendar allows. The greater the participation, the more inclusive will be the goals and programs developed by our Club committees.
The Health Fair is just over two weeks away. If you have not yet signed up for the November 2 set-up and the November 3 Fair, the lists will be available at Thursday’s meeting.
I am happy to announce that Club Secretary Charlie Franz has volunteered to assume the lunch desk duties at the Bidarka from Rotarian Gary Thomas.
We apologize for the lunch problem at the October 11 meeting. Our Chef suffered an injury earlier in the day that required medical treatment that upset the meal preparation schedule.



 In accordance with RI Bylaws section 13.020., the Nominating Committee for RI Director in Zone 28 ( of which our Club and District 5010 are members) recently certified that it selected Rotarian Valarie K. Wafer, a member of the Rotary Club of Collingwood and South Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada,  a RI director in 2020–22. Rotarian Wafer has stated that she is willing and able to serve as director, if elected.
RI President Rassin will declare Rotarian Wafer as director-nominee from your zone on 1 December 2018 unless another qualified Rotarian has been duly proposed as a challenging candidate before 1 December. Any club in your zone at its regular meeting may adopt a resolution proposing a challenging candidate for RI director, provided that the challenger was among the candidates previously considered by the Nominating Committee.
On October 18, we have the first Club Assembly of the 2018-2019 Club year. In addition to your committee agendas, I ask the Chairpersons to discuss their Committee’s achievable goals for this Club year. Once these are identified and validated by the committees. We will be able to track our progress towards achieving the goals for the Presidential Citation.






More Announcements


See Jane Run!  Help Jane END POLIO so future kids can run!

Jane Lanford, president of College Rotary in Fairbanks, is schedule to run her 100th marathon on October 21st.  In celebration of this lifetime achievement, she hopes to raise 100 x $100 to help Rotary END POLIO.  Will you please help?


Please see the attached flyer, which will link you directly to Jane’s project page, also accessible here:



Or, you can give online at the general funding page:

https://www.endpolio.org/donate.  To help us track donations to this site, please input “In honor of Jane” and notify her at 100toendpolio@gmail.com


Cash or checks are also welcome!  Checks should be made out to: The Rotary Foundation and given to Jane or mailed to: College Rotary, PO Box 73010, Fairbanks, AK 99707. 


As you know, Rotary, along with our partners, has reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent worldwide since our first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979.  Rotarians have helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children against polio in 122 countries.  In 2018 so far, only 13 cases have been reported – 10 in Afghanistan and three in Pakistan.  But as long as a single child has polio, all children are at risk.  For as little as $0.60, a child can be protected against this crippling disease for life.  As there is no cure, the best protection is prevention. 


We are this close to eradicating polio, but we need your help. 

A donation of any amount is greatly appreciated!!!

For more information, contact Jane at 100toendpolio@gmail.com




Winston wants to pay off the loan he received from his host family for the West Coast tour which he enjoyed immensely.  He is willing to work doing little or big jobs.  He is a good worker.  Winston has helped Rotarians and their friends with gardening and weeding projects, painting, digging, hauling, etc. etc.  His cell number is:  907-756-3747  or email < winstonajakaye@gmail.com >.   

So, please think of Winston when you need any help, and please spread the word!




Being a greeter is a great way to learn names and have a chance to say hi to everyone who comes to a meeting!  And we all appreciate an interesting poem, saying, words to a song, etc. to inspire us for the day.


Thank you for helping us have a great meeting!


Please continue to bring toiletries to our Thursday meetings so we can package them up and give them to Haven House for distribution to residents.  These items that go into the welcome baskets they provide are so important as many may arrive with nothing.


Ask Winston what's on his Alaskan "bucket list" and see if you can help him check something off! 


Bulletin Information:
If you have anything to put in the Bulletin, please get it to me no later than Monday evening.  I am trying to have the Bulletin out Tuesday evening, when possible, as most of my Wednesdays are full, and I cannot work on it until late at night.  I am trying to have the Bulletin be more for Club members and friends of the Club, and the Web Page be more for the general public.




Announcements: October 11 and 18, 2018 Craig Forrest 2018-09-20 08:00:00Z 0
Winston has been able to travel in and around Alaska.  Here are some of his pictures.
Juneau, Capital City of Alaska
With Alaska's Lieutenant-Governor, Byron Mallott
Mendanhall Glacier
Bear Viewing with Boyd
Alaska's North Slope
Some More of the Things an Exchange Student Does 2018-09-19 08:00:00Z 0
Drop anchor in Germany’s gateway to the world, where it’s easy to feel like a local
By Jenny Llakmani                                    Photos by Samuel Zuder
Walking through Hamburg’s main train station on our first day in the city, my husband, Anton, spots a man sitting in a tiny bar enjoying a beer and a smoke. His peculiar garb – black corduroy jacket, vest, and bell-bottom pants, along with a battered top hat – gives him away. He’s one of Germany’s Wandergesellen, a journeyman carpenter who, in a tradition that dates to the Middle Ages, travels the world for two or three years carrying only a change of clothes, a few euros, and his skills.
Like us, he’s just another visitor to Hamburg. A real person in a real city – a city, as we come to realize, that’s the coolest place we never knew we wanted to visit.
The wavy roofline of Hamburg’s newest landmark, the Elbphilharmonie, breaks above the historic brick warehouses of the Speicherstadt district.
In an age when every destination seems to be making itself over to please tourists, Hamburg steadfastly chooses to please itself. Undeniably authentic, the city greets visitors with a friendly ahoy! and then goes about its business – and business is the business of Hamburg – leaving you to enjoy its many charms.
Situated on the Elbe River, the city’s pathway to the North Sea, Hamburg – which will host the 2019 Rotary International Convention – is the third-largest port in Europe, a thriving hub of global trade. Across the river from the colossal harbor is the inviting downtown, with bridges and canals that locals claim outnumber those of Amsterdam and Venice and a picturesque lake that serves as the city’s playground. As befits a Marktplatz for the world’s goods, shopping abounds, as do options for entertainment. On Saturday nights, people of all ages converge on the Reeperbahn, the once notorious red-light district where, in the early 1960s, the Beatles became the Beatles. And jutting out into the river like a ship at full sail is the new Elbphilharmonie (the Elbphi for short), a brick and glass concert hall whose dramatic exterior and finely tuned interior proclaim Hamburg’s intent to establish a serious performance heritage rivaling anything the continent might offer.
All of this in a city that’s compact and easy to navigate on foot, by bike, on public transit, and – maybe even especially – by boat.
Getting to know Hamburg’s waterways is key to understanding what makes the city tick. Holger Knaack, co-chair of the convention’s Host Organization Committee and a past governor of District 1940, puts it succinctly: “Hamburg is water, everywhere.” Even the Ham in Hamburg comes from an Old Saxon word meaning “marshland.”
The aqueous heart of this maritime city is the Alster, a lake created 800 years ago by damming a small river. It’s divided into two parts: the Binnenalster, or Inner Alster, and the larger Außenalster, or Outer Alster. The Elbe, meanwhile, is the city’s pulsing lifeline: Though Hamburg lies 65 miles from the North Sea, here at the city’s center the river and its canals still rise and fall with the tides.
Along the Jungfernstieg, a stepped terrace that runs along the Inner Alster, Hamburg’s wealthy merchants once promenaded with their unmarried daughters. It’s still a chic showcase of the city’s inhabitants. Anton and I grab a table at one of the open-air cafés and watch the red-and-white tour boats that dock here before heading out to explore the Outer Alster, the city’s canals, and the Elbe. 
We opt to take the footpath around the Outer Alster. People are fishing, sunbathing, reading, walking dogs, biking, and boating. With no private motorboats allowed, says Andreas von Möller, a Hamburg native whose roots here go back for generations, “sailing on the lake is a dream.” Von Möller, a past governor of District 1890, serves as Knaack’s fellow HOC chair.
A little more than 4 miles around, the lakeshore is dotted with cafés and restaurants. At the Alsterperle, a self-service café housed in a former public toilet – far more appealing than it sounds – we pull out our map to plot our next move. The lady sharing our table asks where we’re from. We’ve hardly begun to reply when another café-goer appears at our side and asks, “Did you say you’re from Chicago? I love Chicago!” Our new friends have tips for us in the nearby neighborhood of St. Georg: The bar on top of Le Méridien hotel, we learn, has the best view of the Alster, while the terrace at the Hotel George is a fantastic place to enjoy the sunset. With friends like that, who needs a map?
Though defined by its waterways, Hamburg was forged by fire. Two major conflagrations – the first in 1842, the second ignited by Allied air raids during World War II – devastated the city, leaving few traces of its medieval origins. The first fire broke out on the Deichstrasse, a short street built on a 13th-century dike; despite that, the street today contains the only cluster of buildings in the old Hamburg style of architecture. One of them, Deichstrasse 25, houses a restaurant called Zum Brandanfang, which means “the place where the fire started”; on the other side of the Old Town, there’s a street called Brandsende, or Fire’s End.  
Be our guest
Moin, moin is the traditional Hamburg way of saying hello, and the city’s Rotarians are eager to greet you. The Hamburg Host Organization Committee (HOC), chaired by Andreas von Möller and Holger Knaack, has planned cultural events for every night of the convention to show you the many sides of Hamburg and introduce you to local Rotarians. To learn more and buy tickets, visit ric2019.rotary.de/en.
Hamburg Rotarians will host a welcome party for 2,000 convention goers in the historic Hamburg Chamber of Commerce building in the heart of the city.   
The renowned National Youth Ballet, whose general director, John Neumeier, is celebrating both his 80th birthday and his 46th season with the State Opera of Hamburg ballet company next year, will perform for convention goers. (Balletomanes, take note: The 45th Hamburg Ballet Days begins shortly after the convention ends, on 16 June.)
The HOC has reserved Hamburg’s show-stopping new landmark, the Elbphilharmonie, for two performances of classical music. Celebrated for its architecture as well as its acoustics, the building also offers breathtaking views of the city and its harbor.
Local clubs will organize host hospitality events. Experience German Gastfreundschaft!
Public events  
The HOC is also planning several free public events, including a 14-day bicycle tour that will take some 200 riders from Austria through Germany to Hamburg. Each day, the group will stop for an event to raise awareness of polio. Rotarians from around Hamburg can join the ride for the final 20 kilometers, arriving at the Rathaus (city hall) on the morning of Saturday, 1 June. Riders need to register in advance, but everyone is welcome to come to the Rathaus square to celebrate the end of the ride. One of the city’s major thoroughfares, meanwhile, will feature booths presenting Rotary’s six areas of focus to the public.
The destruction wrought by war was on a different scale. During 10 days of bombing in July 1943, at least 40,000 people died as entire neighborhoods were obliterated. To better understand what occurred, we visit the St. Nikolai memorial. The tallest of Hamburg’s five major churches, St. Nikolai remains in its bombed-out state as a memorial to all victims of war. Its crypt houses a small but powerful museum whose account of the air raids provides perspective on the experiences not only of the people of Hamburg, but of the bomber crews themselves.
As we walk through the city, another reminder of World War II is at our feet: Stolpersteine, or “stumbling stones.” These brass plates are fitted in among the cobblestones in front of buildings where Jewish people, Roma, gays, dissidents, and other victims of the Nazis last lived. Each plate is engraved with the name of an individual and, in most cases, the years when he or she was born, was deported to a concentration camp, and died. Conceived in 1996 by Berlin artist Gunter Demnig, the stones are now found in cities throughout Europe.
From the Deichstrasse, we walk down a narrow alleyway to the canal behind the historic row of merchant houses. Here, goods originating in ports around the world were delivered by boat and stored on the lower floor of a house; the second floor traditionally featured offices and a large reception space for clients, while the family occupied the upper floors. Canals also define the nearby district called the Speicherstadt, where the narrow waterways between tall brick warehouses, or Speicher, conjure a Northern Germany-meets-Venice vibe.
The 19th-century uniformity of the Speicherstadt yields to the modern sensibility of the adjacent HafenCity. When finished in 2030, this riverside development project – which features shops, restaurants, apartments, and offices housed in a mix of older buildings and new ones designed by Renzo Piano, Rem Koolhaas, Philippe Starck, among others – will almost double the size of the city center.
The architectural highlight of HafenCity is already in place: the two-year-old, 26-story Elbphilharmonie concert hall. (None of Hamburg’s buildings rise taller than the city’s principal church steeples.) The building’s base, a repurposed brick warehouse, gives way in dramatic fashion to a glass superstructure that evokes soaring waves. Its midlevel terrace commands contrasting perspectives that capture the city’s ethos: in one direction, a view of the Elbe and the giant cranes lining the immense port, which occupies 17,500 acres of land and water on the opposite side of the river; and in the other direction, the city proper, with its Rathaus (city hall) and the spires of Saints Nikolai, Michaelis, Petri, Jacobi, and Katharinen.  
 ‘Hamburg is a very special city, a very open city, and one of the most modern cities in Germany, both architecturally and in mindset,” says Knaack. This cosmopolitan outlook is a consequence of 800 years of history as a free port – and as not merely a city, but an independent city-state. The city’s official name, Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg – the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg – recalls Hamburg’s membership in the Hanseatic League, a confederation of northern European cities that dominated trade on the North and Baltic seas from about 1200 to 1500. 
 “We live from the port,” von Möller adds. “That’s where Hamburg breathes. It’s a gateway to the world.”
 To truly appreciate Hamburg, see it from the water. Tour boats cruise Lake Alster, the Elbe River, and the city’s many canals. Or set your own course by renting a paddle boat, sailboat, canoe, or kayak.
For a close encounter with the towering cargo ships, Knaack and von Möller recommend one of the harbor cruises that depart from the Landungsbrücke, a floating dock in the St. Pauli neighborhood. The boat takes us downriver as far as the suburb of Övelgönne, where hillside villas overlook a popular beach. We pass the U-434, a Russian submarine that has been converted into a museum, and the Altona Fischmarkt. Heading back upriver, we encounter vessels in drydock and watch as massive ships are loaded with as many as 20,000 containers. Finally, we glide past the Rickmer Rickmers, another museum ship, before turning around under the Elbphi and steaming back to the dock.
In St. Pauli, the Reeperbahn – a long thoroughfare where rope-makers once stretched out their hemp – has been home to sailors’ watering holes for well over a century; in 1848 the district had 19 legal brothels. Since the Beatles lived here in the early ’60s, playing nightly gigs in the Kaiserkeller and the Star Club, it has become much more respectable.
 “My wife and I are regulars on Saturday night on the Reeperbahn. We go to the theaters,” says Andreas Wende, the marketing chair for the HOC and a member of the Rotary Club of Ahrensburg. “It’s typical for young people ages about 20 to 40 to go to the Reeperbahn on Friday and Saturday evenings. They go out at 10 or 11 on Saturday night, party until 5 or 6 a.m., then go to the Fischmarkt on Sunday morning” – a sort of hard day’s night in reverse.
Hamburg’s efficient public transit system is another great way to see the city’s sights; passes will be included in the registration for the Hamburg convention. “You’ll have access to trams, ferries, everything,” says John Blount, convention chair. 
A city that prides itself as a global gateway – and that is home to the first Rotary club in Germany – Hamburg is an ideal place to bring together Rotarians from around the world. The convention’s theme, Capture the Moment, “is about the power and potential and force Rotary has in your life and in the world,” says Blount. “We want to capture where we are and what we can do – the possibilities of Rotary as an organization and in our clubs. We want you to be there to experience that.”
The Messe, the city’s convention center, is centrally located – about a 10-minute walk from the major convention hotels, and easily accessible by public transit. Several distinct neighborhoods filled with restaurants, cafés, shops, and parks are nearby: the bohemian Karolinenviertel; the sumptuous Rotherbaum; the historically Jewish Grindel, now the leafy university quarter; and the hip Schanzenviertel, which should be an irresistible draw to young Rotarians and Rotaractors.
Back in the Altstadt (Old Town), the Mönckebergstrasse, which runs roughly from the main train station to the Rathaus, is the city’s major shopping thoroughfare. Haute boutiques line the arcades of the Neustadt, and more than 100 shops and restaurants fill the five floors of the Europa Passage. And that’s just a taste of Hamburg’s offerings, which we’ve only begun to explore when our five-day stay concludes.
As Anton and I head out of town, already plotting to return, we finally figure out Hamburg’s allure. Hamburgers, as its citizens are known, have created a city designed for their own enjoyment – though they happily share the pleasures of their museums and parks, their theaters, restaurants, and cafés, with visitors.
Come 1 June 2019, I recommend you do just that.
Ich bin ein Hamburger 2018-09-13 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary District Governor -Nominee Joe Kashi (kashi@alaska.net) has asked for assistance in identifying local artists who might be interested in working with the Rotary Club of Soldotna. As an artist or maybe you know someone who would like the opportunity to display their work. Please see below.


Community Development Through Public Art 2018-09-13 08:00:00Z 0
Our Exchange Student, Claudia from Spain and her host family, joined Craig on ARCTICA for the 2018 Homer Yacht Club Fireweed Cup September 1st.  Results of the race are not in yet, but ARCTICA did cross the finish line second in a hard fought race.  Here are some pictures of the day.
Some of the Things an Exchange Student Does 2018-09-05 08:00:00Z 0
Rotary Club of Maidenhead Bridge, Berkshire, England
Chartered: 2012
Original membership: 25
Current membership: 48 
Club innovation:
Biweekly meetings at a local coffee shop have an air of informality and flexibility along with an emphasis on being family-friendly, with members often bringing their children. They even give the kids roles to play in club meetings, helping nurture the next generation of Rotarians. In keeping with the family-friendly focus, club members serve as marshals at local festivities that are a hallmark of this fun-loving town.
A bridge to the future:
When it was built in the 1830s, the Maidenhead Railway Bridge, which connects communities across the Thames River, was declared a marvel of engineering. The Rotary Club of Maidenhead Bridge, formed to accommodate the schedules of young professionals and parents with young children, also engineers connections across the community, cultures, and generations. Members emphasize hands-on service and routinely log about 2,000 cumulative volunteer hours each year. They set aside at least as much time for play.
Diabetes testing with nonprofit Silver Star.
Several charter members of the Rotary Club of Maidenhead Bridge had been members of the Rotaract Club of Maidenhead. “We hit 30 and we asked ourselves, ‘What are we going to do now?’ ” says Lisa Hunter, charter president of the Rotary club. “We started talking about what we wanted Rotary to be for us. The main club in town met at lunchtime, and for those of us with careers and young children, it didn’t really work. And we needed to be family-friendly so that members could bring little ‘members’ along.” 
Hunter’s daughter, Chloe, 7, has been attending meetings since she was born. Like the 10 or so children who usually show up, “she is very much in tune with helping other people,” Hunter says. “As they get older we’ve given them jobs to do,” including handing out birthday cards and helping with announcements. “They also help us drum up sales at community events. It’s quite something. They are future salespeople.” 
A signature community initiative has heightened the club’s exposure and forged bonds with other local groups. “There are a lot of charities that are starting up and need support,” Hunter says, such as the Thames Valley Adventure Playground, which caters to children with physical and learning disabilities, and Family Friends, an organization that aids people who are facing hardship.
Club members used their business know-how to help Foodshare, a nonprofit providing food and assistance to those in need, expand operations and reduce waste by better organizing its shelves. “Several of their members are regular – and popular – volunteers at our food bank and have organized regular collections of shopper donations from a local supermarket,” says Lester Tanner, a trustee of Foodshare Maidenhead. “It’s good to know that there is another organization with so much goodwill and capability that we can call on.”
While doing serious work in the community, the club has a flair for the irreverent, says Hunter. Every year, as a fundraiser for The Rotary Foundation, the club organizes a 24-hour event featuring 24 challenges that members have to tackle. “We’ll start at 8 a.m. on a Saturday and go to 8 a.m. Sunday. There’s quite a lot of physical activities and some mental ones. Origami at 3 a.m. is probably one of the most difficult I’ve ever done,” she says. 
“One lovely byproduct of the event was the team building, getting to know fellow members better and having fun at the same time.”
The amusements are part of the club design. “I think it’s the flexibility of our meetings that has fostered growth,” Hunter says. “Don’t be scared or put off by change. Rotary can be what we want it to be.”   — Brad Webber
• What is your club doing to reinvent itself?   Email club.innovations@rotary.org.
Read more stories from The Rotarian.
Friends and Family 2018-09-05 08:00:00Z 0

To Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club,


I just received this email from the Doctor who organized previous medical/health fair missions in Burma/Myanmar.  Perhaps someone else in the Club may be interested in participating in the upcoming one in January.  The deadline to apply is September 15!





Hi  Steve, Noko, Jane & Vivian
Here are the pictures of our Mrauk Oo Charity Clinic. With contributions from myself and donors, we are able to provide salaries of 3-4 rotating weekend doctors, 1 physician assistant (on weekdays), 1 nurse, 1 clerk / cleaner to serve the poor & sick people.
Our 5th annual medical mission will be on January 14-18, 2019. You are most welcome to join us. The last registration date is September 15, 2018.
Thanks for your continuous support.

Invitation to Join a Medical Mission in Burma/Myanmar 2018-09-05 08:00:00Z 0
 Picnic at the Gordon's!!
Great Food!  Wonderful Company! 
Incredible Weather!  Berries Galore!  
Check out the Pictures!
And a FANTASTIC Time Was Had By All!
Labor Day at the Gordon's 2018-09-05 08:00:00Z 0
Rotary Club Works to Upgrade Ben Walters Park
Ben Walters Park is located in a prime spot adjacent to McDonald’s Restaurant and bordering Beluga Lake floatplane base.  The Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club adopted the park several years ago and is working to make the park safer and more user-friendly.  Rotary hosted a “Cranium Cup” trivia night at Alice’s Champaign Palace during Winter Carnival weekend in February with proceeds dedicated to upgrade the city’s parks.  These proceeds were doubled with an award of a Rotary District Grant plus a generous donation by McDonald’s. 
The club has repainted the restrooms, built benches, cleared brush to create more open space, and constructed new picnic tables.  Additional work is planned to brush out more areas and add new playground equipment from available funds.       Submitted to Homer News

Kathy Hill, Bernie, Dave Brann and I cleared some brush several Saturday's ago - can't remember the exact date.  Clyde and Vivian, Charlie Wells, Maynard Gross, Dave Brann and I painted the restrooms earlier this summer.  We still have more brush that needs to be cut to open up more of the area towards the lake and around the large trees at the top of the park.  Rotary purchased the materials and built two picnic tables using the plans provided by the city.


We are getting information from several vendors suggested by the City for playground equipment.  This equipment which is public playground acceptable is very expensive and practically all of it is made in the Midwest.  So shipping is a major expense.  In addition to the $2,000 from the Cranium Cup, the matching $2,000 from a District Grant, McDonald's promised us an additional $1,500.  

Kathy hard at work!

New tables at Ben Walters Park
Ben Walters Park Updates 2018-08-29 08:00:00Z 0
Rotary Club of Whistler Millennium, British Columbia  
We’re dangling 1,400 feet above a forested valley. It’s a sea of green: no cars, no buildings, just uninterrupted forest bordered by snowcapped mountains. It’s a breathtaking view, and to get it, we’ve boarded a gondola that glides between the peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. The Peak 2 Peak gondola, the first lift to join two side-by-side mountains, holds two Guinness World Records, for height and for length between spans.
 Rotary Club of Whistler Millennium members Jack Carlson, from left, Shannon Kirkwood, and Lyn Stroshin.
Whistler Blackcomb offers more skiable acres than any other resort in North America. The terrain is vast and varied – though much of it is steep – and the snow is reliable. Since its construction in the 1960s, the resort has attracted skiers and snowboarders from around the world; in 2010, it hosted the Winter Olympics. In the summer, more visitors arrive to hike, bike, kayak, fish, and rock climb. 
“This is our backyard,” says Shannon Kirkwood. 
Kirkwood is president of the Rotary Club of Whistler Millennium. The club was founded in 2000 when a few members of the Rotary Club of Whistler, which meets at 7:15 a.m., decided to start a lunch club. Kirkwood, one of 13 women in the 23-member club, says she joined for a sense of community in a town where not only the tourists but many of the residents are transient. Many live and work in Whistler for a season, then move on. Only about 12,000 people actually call Whistler home. 
Seasonal work brought club member Liz Peacock to Whistler from Newcastle, England, in 2010. Like many others, she and her husband planned to stay and work for a year. But Whistler felt like home. Peacock has put her degree in art history to work managing the art gallery at the Fairmont Hotel; her husband found work first as a chef and later as a carpenter. Their one-year-old son, Larry, is a bona fide Whistler native. He’s also a born Rotarian, regularly attending meetings with his mom. 
The club meets at the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside hotel at 12:15 p.m. Thursdays. Larry, who has just learned to walk, toddles down the hall toward the members as they arrive. Peacock patiently chases after him again and again. “He’s the greeter,” she says with a smile. 
Today, 10 people are on hand for a talk by Tom Smith, the District 5040 membership chair. He’s there to help them assess their club and offer ideas on increasing membership. He notes that the club has an impressive age range: There are as many members in their 30s as in their 70s. Given the club’s small size and baby Larry running around, the meeting feels almost like a family gathering. 
The setting is so idyllic, even the view from the conference room window is impressive. A visitor might wonder, what kind of service project could a luxury resort town like Whistler possibly need from Rotary?
Member Patrick McCurdy says one of the club’s most important projects is to help the town’s seasonal workers acclimate to a new and unfamiliar country. The club hosts a pancake breakfast every November, when new seasonal workers arrive, as part of the Whistler Community Services Society’s “Welcome Week.” Everyone gathers at the local fire station to learn about the area, their rights as tenants, local laws, and how to get help if needed. “Many seasonal workers are young people from other countries,” McCurdy says. “This might be their first time abroad.” The workshops help prepare them for life in Canada and give them tools to stay safe. 
Club members also work to keep the area beautiful, doing things like clearing underbrush to prevent forest fires. “We don’t have a lot of money, but we like to get our hands dirty,” says club member Mary Ann Collishaw. 
With the wonders of the natural world at their doorstep, club members make outdoor sports a part of daily life. A quick survey reveals that they enjoy everything from sailing to snowboarding. So it makes sense that their annual fundraiser is a 10-kilometer run/walk called the Brandywine Boogie. Kirkwood says that last year they raised about $6,000, which they used to sponsor a Youth Exchange student and to support a local cycling association that builds and maintains the trails used for the run. The club also supports the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, and it recently sent three students to a weekend RYLA event. 
As members finish their lunch (either a Cobb salad or a ham and cheese sandwich), a piggy bank makes the rounds. This being Canada, the bank is actually in the shape of a bear. Each person adds a dollar or more and shares a bit of news. A visiting Rotarian, Roz, from Guernsey thanks the club for welcoming her. And member Jens Ronneberger highlights one of the simple joys of living here: “I went skiing on Monday,” he says. –Vanessa Glavinskas
• Read more stories from The Rotarian
Warm Welcomes 2018-08-27 08:00:00Z 0

4 questions about holding a World Polio Day event


with Mary Van Hout  Past governor of District 6250 (parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin)

1. How did your district celebrate World Polio Day last year?

Our state Capitol in Madison [Wisconsin] has a square around it, and it is a popular place for people to rally for a cause. About 75 Rotarians from our district met on the steps of the Capitol at 4 p.m. on 24 October. At that time of day, there are a lot of people coming and going on the square. We had short presentations from our district governor and other club leaders and members to provide some information and some inspiration, and then we marched around the square holding banners that said End Polio Now. We ended up at a local establishment for a beer and a bite to eat.

The unfortunate part was that the weather that day was really awful. Not only was it really cold, it was extremely windy. It was a nasty day. And that diminished the size of our crowd significantly. The weather can play such an important part in turnout.

2. What was your goal?

Tell us about your World Polio Day event

How will your club celebrate World Polio Day? Will you hold a rally, sponsor a run, have a booth at a farmers market, or host a music festival? Rotary has an event planning guide with ideas to get you started. It includes details about how to use virtual reality during your World Polio Day celebration to show people in your community the impact that Rotary has had in the fight to end the disease. Find the guide, sample press releases, social media graphics, and more at endpolio.org/worldpolioday, then tell us what you’re planning at endpolio.org/promote-your-event. Your event may end up featured on the World Polio Day livestream or in other End Polio Now promotions.

Part of the focus was to be seen. We have a brief window to firmly attach Rotary’s name to the eradication effort. This was all about awareness that there is polio in the world and that Rotary has been working so hard to do something about it. We wanted to provide information to non-Rotarians about it. We did outreach with the governor of Wisconsin and the mayor of Madison, and we received proclamations from them citing the day as World Polio Day. We also advertised on television and on the radio, so even if people could not be at the rally, they heard about Rotary’s work with polio through the media.

 Another goal was helping district Rotarians understand our polio eradication efforts. In the months between the initiation of this project in late August through World Polio Day, there was lots of communication to district Rotarians, such as through our assistant governor groups, direct emails to area club presidents, our district newsletter, and presentations at local Rotary clubs to encourage their awareness and attendance. 

3. What tips do you have for Rotarians planning their events?

Start early! In retrospect, I wish we had planned for a big-name speaker, but we ran out of time. Communicate frequently with clubs and club members.

4. What is your district doing this year?

There is a committee planning a “Pints for Polio” event. They’re working to have local bars and restaurants around the district share proceeds from the sale of a pint of beer or other beverage toward polio eradication. Their goal is to be in lots of small communities so that the awareness about ending polio is broader based, which I think is a fabulous idea.

• Illustration by Viktor Miller Gausa. Read more stories from The Rotarian

Our Clubs 2018-08-27 08:00:00Z 0
Take a trip outside your comfort zone and come back with a broader perspective
By Rick Steves                                              Illustrations by Jean-Manuel Duvivier
It was 1969, I was 14 years old, and one night my dad came home and said, “Son, we’re going to Norway to see the relatives.” I thought, “Stupid idea.” 
A few days after arriving, I was sitting on the carpet with my cousins in Bergen watching Neil Armstrong on TV as he took “et lite skritt for et menneske ... one giant leap for mankind.” It occurred to me that this was more than an American celebration. It was a human one.
Without my realizing it, travel was broadening my perspective. While reinforcing how thankful I was to be an American, it was also making me a better citizen of the planet. It was shaping the 14-year-old me to be a force for peace and an advocate for the importance of travel. 
Since 1975, I’ve spent four months a year in Europe. I’m a travel teacher. And for the first decade of my career, my focus was budget tips. I wrote Europe Through the Back Door, which taught travelers how to get a good meal affordably, how to find a charming local guesthouse, how to pack light, and how to enjoy the sights. Then I became interested in teaching people about the art and history of Europe. I wrote Europe 101 to encourage travelers to connect with culture in a deeper register. 
But since 9/11, I’ve realized that my mission is about more than saving money or visiting museums. Travel can also be a force for peace – but that depends upon how you travel and where. If you travel thoughtfully, travel can become a political act. Ever since that epiphany, my goal has been to inspire and equip Americans to come home from their travels with the most valuable souvenir: empathy for the other 96 percent of humanity. And that teaching led me to write Travel as a Political Act.
These days, rather than wish one another “bon voyage,” we say, “Have a safe trip.” As a nation, it seems we’re gripped with fear. But in my travels, I’ve learned that fear is for people who don’t get out much, and that the flip side of fear is understanding. We gain that understanding when we travel. We appreciate the importance of building bridges rather than walls. 
For that reason, I have a crazy fantasy: What if all countries contributed to a fund that provided high school graduates with an all-expenses-paid, three-week international trip? 
Yes, I know this sounds silly. But it could be the single most practical investment the world could make for peace. Because if that happened, each of those young people would forever be more mindful of the love and joy and humanity that fill our world beyond their own borders. Imagine if you had to have a passport and travel abroad before you could vote. The political landscape of the United States – or of any other country – would be much different, and the whole world would be better off for it. Rotary’s Youth Exchange program and Peace Fellowships are a great model for this.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that travel makes a person wiser, but less happy. Muhammad said, “Don’t tell me how educated you are. Tell me how much you have traveled.” I say travel is a great way to get to know the extended human family.
For an illustration of that idea, take a walk with me through an obscure-to-the-world but central-to-itself village in central Turkey called Güzelyurt. I was a special guest at a wedding there. The entire community had gathered. Calling the party to order, the oldest couple looked happily at the young bride and groom and shared a local blessing: “May you grow old together on one pillow.” 
Leaving the party, I walked down the street. The town struck me as cluttered, with ugly unfinished concrete buildings bristling with rusty reinforcement bars. While I love the Turks, I couldn’t help but think, “Why can’t these people get their act together and just finish these buildings?” That was before I learned that in Turkey, there’s an ethic among parents – even poor ones – that you leave your children with a house. Historically, Turks have been reluctant to store money in banks, because it tends to disappear through inflation. So instead, they invest it, bit by bit, into constructing a building. Every time they get a hundred bucks together, they put it into that ever-growing house. They leave the rebar exposed until they have another hundred bucks, when they make another wall, put in a window, frame in another door … and add more rebar. Now, when I look at that rusty rebar, I remember that Turks say, “Rebar holds the family together,” and it seems much prettier to me.
At the edge of Güzelyurt, I came upon a little boy playing a flute. Just as in biblical times, it was carved from an eagle bone. I listened. And I heard another eagle-bone flute, coming from over the hill, where his dad was tending sheep. As they have for centuries, the boy stays home with the mom and plays the eagle-bone flute. The dad tends the flock and plays his flute, too, so the entire family knows that all is well.
I hiked up the shepherd’s hill and sat looking out over the town. On a higher hill, just beyond the simple tin roof of a mosque, I saw the letters G Ü Z E L Y U R T spelled out in white rocks. Listening to the timeless sounds of the community, I thought how there are countless Güzelyurts, scattered across every country on earth. Each is humble, yet filled with rich traditions, proud people, and its own village-centric view of our world. Güzelyurt means “beautiful land.” While few visitors would consider it particularly beautiful, that’s how the people who call it home see it. They would live nowhere else. For them, it truly is a güzel yurt. 
Our world is full of joy, love, equally valuable lives, and Güzelyurts. And when we travel and meet the people who live in those places, we are forever changed. 
I love Turkey. And Italy. And India. There are so many places that beckon, it’s hard to choose. My travel tip is to visit a place – whatever place – that’s just beyond your comfort zone. A place that wouldn’t normally make the top of your list. Travel to challenge yourself: Find similarities and differences with your own country, and make connections with the people you meet. 
Worried about refugees? Visit Germany, which has taken in over a million of them since 2015. Concerned about Muslims? Visit Turkey or Morocco or Bosnia. Wonder why Israelis and Palestinians can’t get along? Visit the Holy Land. Think undocumented immigrants are causing problems? Visit Mexico beyond the resorts. Think our taxes are too high? Visit Scandinavia. Threatened by communism? Visit Cuba. One of the great joys of travel is the rich insights you gain by talking with people you would otherwise not have met. 
I prefer to travel in a way that forces me to really learn about other corners of our world. In fact, I like to visit lands – such as Iran, Cuba, and Palestine – where I can get to know people who are supposed to be our enemies. When we travel to these places, we humanize each other: They get to know us, and we get to know them. And that makes it tougher for their propaganda to demonize us, and tougher for our propaganda to demonize them.
I believe that if you’re going to bomb a place, you should know its people first. Even if military force is justified, it should hurt when you kill someone. So, a few years ago, I went to Iran.
I traveled there on a mission: to produce a public television special that would help build better understanding between our countries. Rather than focus on the Iranian government’s offenses – its alleged funding of terrorists, threats to Israel, and nuclear ambitions – my goal was to connect with Iran’s people and culture. 
What I experienced in Iran was a revelation. Of course, I saw (and filmed) hateful anti-U.S. and anti-Israel propaganda. But what struck me most was how kind and welcoming the Iranian people were to me as an individual. Iranians consider visitors to be a gift from God, and treat them that way. Routinely I would look up from my note-taking and see Iranians gathered and wanting to talk. They were fascinated that I was an American and curious to better understand me. I found it ironic that, in a country I was told hated me, my nationality was a real plus everywhere I went.
One of my most revealing interactions came in, of all places, a Tehran traffic jam. As we struggled to drive along a congested street, our driver suddenly declared, “Death to traffic.” Startled (and expecting to hear “death to Israel” or “death to America”), I asked him to explain. He said, “Here in Iran, when something frustrates us and we have no control over it, this is what we say: ‘Death to traffic. Death to … whatever.’”
This caused me to think differently about one of the biggest concerns many Americans have about Iranians: their penchant for declaring “death to” this and “death to” that. Did our driver literally want to kill all those drivers that were in our way? Of course not. He speaks English poorly and was merely attempting to translate the word “damn”: “Damn this traffic jam!” If we say, “Damn those teenagers,” do we really want them to die and burn in hell for eternity? Of course not. Just turn down the music.
When we travel – whether to some part of the “axis of evil” or just to a place where people yodel when they’re happy, or fight bulls to impress girls, or can’t possibly serve breakfast until today’s croissants arrive – we enrich our lives and better understand our place on this planet. We undercut groups whose agenda is to manipulate us by sowing fear, hatred, and mistrust. People-to-people connections help us learn that we can disagree and still coexist peacefully.
Another place I’ve traveled to find inspiration for peace in this complicated world is the Holy Land. Where bodies of water converge, you get riptides that mean more fish – and more danger. Where tectonic plates rub together, you get glorious mountains – and devastating earthquakes. And where great cultures meet and mingle, you get more interesting cuisine – and interethnic strife. In places like this, I make a point to practice “dual narrative” travel: hearing perspectives from both sides of thorny issues. If you travel thoughtfully, with an open mind and without an agenda, listening to both narratives helps you gain empathy for a wide range of people and perspectives. In short, you learn.
I had a powerful week in Israel, working with top-notch Israeli tour guides and getting to know people from all walks of life – from falafel vendors in Jerusalem, to young urbanites in Tel Aviv, to settlers living in newly built, supermodern, planned Israeli communities on Palestinian land. 
And then I had a powerful week in Palestine, working with top-notch Palestinian tour guides and getting to know female university students in Ramallah, Palestinian Christians who run a school in Bethlehem, and Arab refugees who have spent a generation living in a 20,000-person refugee camp just outside Nablus.
While I had wonderful opportunities to get to know both Israelis and Palestinians, sadly, I never had a chance to be with both at the same time. Walking a soot-blemished stretch of the barrier separating Israeli and Palestinian lands, I saw graffiti murals honoring bomb-throwing Palestinians – considered freedom fighters on one side of that wall and terrorists on the other. I sensed that the younger generation on both sides wanted to connect. But because of this barrier, there is literally no common ground where people from opposite sides can come together. Walls may be necessary at times, but they represent a diplomatic failure.
There’s a little turnout on the Palestine side of the wall where travelers can conveniently change from a Palestinian car to an Israeli one. When I left Palestine, my Israeli driver was there, waiting for my Palestinian driver to drop me off. While I barely knew either of these men, I’ll never forget their handshake in the shadow of an Israeli watchtower. 
These men were both beautiful, caring people, trapped in a problem much bigger than either of them. In the exchange, I was little more than a suitcase shuttling from one back seat to the other. I watched as they quietly shook hands, looked into each other’s eyes, and said a solemn and heartfelt “shalom.” And I thought, “With all these good people on both sides, there has got to be a solution – and a big part of it will be regular people building not walls, but bridges.”
The examples in this article are a few of the many ways that you can consider political realities in your travels and embrace travel as a force for peace. But travel makes a difference only if you act – that is, if you do something positive with your broadened perspective once you return home. While each of us may have different wattage in our bulbs, we can all bring light to our communities: by voting as if our world depended on it, by donating time or money to worthwhile causes, by seeking out balanced journalism, by promoting sustainability, by confronting problems cooperatively, and by getting out and interacting with the world. That’s how I make travel a political act. And that’s why I close each of my TV shows with my cry for peace – a simple wish that we Americans “keep on travelin’.” 
Rick Steves writes travel guidebooks, hosts the public television series Rick Steves’ Europe, and, with his 100 colleagues at Rick Steves’ Europe, organizes and leads bus tours throughout Europe. He has partnered with the Rotary Club of Edmonds, Washington, to provide a 24-unit apartment building used by the YWCA in a collaborative effort to support homeless mothers and their children. Rick’s newest book is the revised third edition of Travel as a Political Act.
Read more stories from The Rotarian.
Travel As a Force For Peace 2018-08-22 08:00:00Z 0
The 2019 District Conference will be held at the Captain Cook Hotel, Anchorage, May 3-5, 2019. District has published a list of Conference Sponsorship opportunities.  Please see them below.  Jess Gutzwiler from Anchorage South is in charge of sponsors for this years district conference. 
Sponsorship Opportunities at 2019 District Conference 2018-08-22 08:00:00Z 0
McKenzy with Exchange Students and Friends at Homer Airport prior to departure.
And Off to Belgium!
McKenzy is Off to Belgium 2018-08-22 08:00:00Z 0
Claudia (pronounced cloud-e-uh) Fernandez Toca  from Spain is our inbound exchange student
for the coming year.  She arrived at 3AM on August 4 after the plane she was aboard was diverted to Vancouver and delayed due to a mechanical.  To avoid customs issues, the passengers were sequestered in a room for 7 hours--with pizza.  In spite of all that, she greeted me with a hug and a smile.  The following week I had the pleasure of joining Claudia, Winston and Summer at the Fall Orientation with all of the other inbound students from around the state.  She will be joining us this evening at the garden party, and I have been told she is cooking something special to share with us.  Her first host family is the Kulhanek family.  Please welcome her as a part of our Rotary family as well.  You can reach her at 907 435-7257 if you would like to include her in a family activity.   Her host family is the Kulhaneks, so please contact Paula at 907 399-3329 to make sure they have no family plans.
Claudia Fernandez Toca Boyd Walker 2018-08-17 08:00:00Z 0
`DG Diane Fejes took time from her busy schedule to kayak with our newly arrived inbound exchange students. 21 students from 20 countries around the world arrived in Anchorage on August 3 to participate in a weeklong orientation. One of the activities was kayaking (planned) in the rain (unplanned). Even a  downpour could not dampen the spirits of these enthusiastic young ambassadors and our DG. 
DG Kayaks With Exchange Students Boyd Walker 2018-08-14 08:00:00Z 0

What it takes to be a leader in Rotary

By Vanessa Glavinskas          Illustrations by Zulema Williams


RI President Barry Rassin says he learned more about leadership from Rotary than he did pursuing his MBA – or even as president of the hospital he ran for years. “It takes more skill to lead volunteers,” he insists. “It’s harder than leading employees.” Rotary also gave Rassin the opportunity to practice public speaking. “When I started in Rotary, I couldn’t make a speech to save my life,” he says – a remarkable admission from a man who is clearly comfortable addressing large crowds today.

There are other benefits to assuming a leadership position at Rotary. The organization’s leaders gain access to world-class training that prepares them for their roles. As they ascend the ranks, they also expand their networks to include accomplished professionals from around the world. 

A new generation of good leaders is essential to Rotary’s future. They help guide the organization, contribute their professional expertise, and build goodwill with other leaders while working toward a common goal: helping Rotarians create sustainable, positive change. 


Thinking of taking on a leadership role? Read on to learn more about different positions available within Rotary and the myths – here debunked – often associated with them.


Club president


Club presidents plan and lead club meetings, set goals, encourage communication between club and district committees, review expenditures, participate in decisions, and motivate club members. They also collaborate with the district governor and assistant governor. Any member in good standing is eligible to become club president, though most presidents have already served their clubs as a committee chair or in some other leadership role.


MYTH: It’s all on you.


“People think they have to be good at everything to be club president,” says Conor Gee, who was president of the Rotary Club of Chicago in 2017-18. “But you’re building a team around you. You learn what you’re good at and what you’re not good at, and you can rely on others to fill the gaps.”


Gee says he has seen candidates shy away from the office, fearful that they lack adequate administrative ability or some other talent. Instead, he says, look at this as an opportunity to improve those skills. He adds that other candidates worry that they don’t know enough about Rotary, such as the ins and outs of securing a global grant. “You don’t have to be a Rotary expert,” Gee says. “You can rely on your district leaders to train you. You just have to lead the club and tie everything together.”


 “The strongest presidents that I have seen in our club are the ones who bring leadership to the club and board, but don’t do all the work themselves,” says Mary Ann Collishaw, who has served two terms as president of the Rotary Club of Whistler Millennium, British Columbia. “Instead, they inspire club members to work hard.”

Collishaw, who works at Whistler’s tourism bureau, notes that her experiences as club president improved her professional skills. “I have learned and practiced leadership, organization, time management, delegation, and more through Rotary,” she says. In addition, “my employer sees the value in having the community connection through Rotary.”

Gee notes that the most important thing a club president should have is a clear vision of how he or she wants to move the club forward. “You don’t have to be a perfect president to be a good one,” he says.


District governor


District governors are an important part of Rotary’s leadership structure. Governors, together with a team of assistant governors and district committees, support, strengthen, and motivate clubs. They also organize training and plan the district conference and other events. Nominees for district governor must have been Rotarians for at least seven years and have served as a club president.


MYTH: It’s impossible to work full time and serve as district governor.


“There are lots and lots of people who were not retired when serving as DG, including me,” says 2017-18 RI President Ian H.S. Riseley. “It’s vital we stop this misconception.”


Riseley, who ran an accounting firm while he was governor of District 9810, worries that misunderstandings about the role discourage too many people from even considering it. “Anything you do that you really enjoy does tend to take over your life a little bit,” he concedes. He suggests leaders ask for support to make juggling the responsibilities easier. “You are part of a family in Rotary,” he says. “We need to encourage people and offer assistance when they put their hand up and want to do the job.”


Because visiting clubs is arguably the most time-consuming part of being district governor, Rotary allows multiclub visits. “There are several districts around the world that believe the district governor is mandated to visit all the clubs,” says 2016-17 RI President John F. Germ. “That potentially weeds out younger people who wouldn’t have the time to get that done.” He points out that gathering members of several clubs for everyone to meet the governor at once can save time and offer opportunities for fellowship.

Sherri Muniz, a Rotarian from San Antonio, Texas, who was a district governor in 2011-12, says that even though she decided to scale back her business selling model cars and trains during her term as governor, her business actually grew that year. The added responsibilities forced her to work more efficiently, focus only on her best customers, and handle more requests remotely, which ultimately benefited her business. “I put Rotary first for a year, and it paid me back twofold,” she says.


RI director


Rotary’s Board of Directors establishes policy for Rotary International and provides guidance to clubs. Past district governors are eligible to serve on the Board, but at least three years must have elapsed since the end of their term as governor. Candidates must have attended two Rotary institutes and a Rotary convention in the previous three years. Each director serves for two years.


MYTH: Directors are appointed by the RI president.


Every director on the RI Board is nominated by one of Rotary’s 34 zones. Regional nominating committees interview candidates and select the one they want to represent them. Clubs then formally elect the directors at Rotary’s international convention.


In 2017, Ian Riseley did appoint a task force of eight past district governors – evenly split between men and women, and all of them in their 40s or younger – to advise the Board during his year as president.


People think they have to be good at everything to be club president. But you’re building a team around you. You learn what you’re good at and what you’re not good at, and you can rely on others to fill the gaps.

Conor Gee

President of the Rotary Club of Chicago in 2017-18

“Most Board members are in their 60s, if not older,” Riseley says. “We have to be conscious of the fact that there are many Rotarians much younger than that.” By offering younger leaders, and more women, the opportunity to weigh in on issues facing the Board, Riseley aimed to diversify the perspectives the Board considered when making decisions. The task force advised on topics such as how to encourage young professionals to join clubs and assume leadership positions in Rotary.

RI President Rassin has opted to keep an advisory panel this year; he says it will play an especially important role because no women are serving on the 2018-19 Board of Directors, which disappoints him. Rassin suggests that Rotarians with similar concerns talk to their zone nominating committees. He also encourages clubs to nurture female leaders at the club and district levels. “That’s where our leaders come from,” he says.

Regional leaders

Rotary’s regional leaders use their skills to support and strengthen clubs, focus and increase Rotary’s humanitarian service, and enhance and heighten Rotary’s public image. They also serve as trainers and facilitators at Rotary institutes, governors-elect training seminars, regional and zone seminars, district training, and other events. Regional leaders are appointed by the RI president or The Rotary Foundation trustee chair and serve a three-year term.

Could YOU Be the Next RI President? 2018-08-08 08:00:00Z 0

An epidemiologist who helped stem the spread of cholera and AIDS in Africa, Gary Slutkin has a new – and successful – strategy to stop the contagion of violence: Treat it like a disease

Twenty-three years ago, Gary Slutkin moved to Chicago to take a break. A doctor trained in infectious diseases, he had spent his career battling tuberculosis in San Francisco and cholera in refugee camps across Africa. Working with the World Health Organization, he played a key role in reversing the AIDS epidemic in Uganda. But he had also spent more than a decade surrounded by suffering and death. “I was exhausted,” he says. 

Gary Slutkin

Illustration by Viktor Miller Gausa

In 1995, when he was 44, Slutkin left Africa and his job with WHO and moved back to the United States to recharge. Yet the headlines kept him from winding down: Violence dominated the news. “All across the country, I saw that violence was an issue in the same way that cholera or diarrheal disease had been an issue in Bangladesh or AIDS was in Uganda,” he says. So he began to research violence the same way he had investigated the causes and patterns of disease as an epidemiologist.

Last September, Slutkin discussed his findings while speaking about “Peace in the Age of Uncertainty,” the first installment in a three-part Pathways to Peace Series sponsored by Rotary International and the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy.

 “Looking at violence,” he explained, “we can see through maps and charts and graphs that it behaves exactly like all other epidemic issues.” And like other contagions, violence tended to cluster, with one event leading to another. “How does that happen?” he asked. “It’s because of exposure. That was the insight I came to years ago. What was the greatest predictor of violence? The answer: a preceding act of violence.” What’s more, he insisted, if violence is predictable, it can be “interrupted.”

With that in mind, Slutkin began investigating new ways to treat violence. He started an initiative originally called the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention; in 2000, it implemented its first program – CeaseFire – in a violence-plagued Chicago neighborhood. Known since 2012 as Cure Violence, it’s based at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where Slutkin is a professor at the School of Public Health. 

The Cure Violence model employs three components used to reverse any epidemic: interrupt transmission; reduce risk; change community norms. Cure Violence outreach workers prevent violence by counseling people exposed to violence in their home or community. These “violence interrupters” work with high-risk individuals to discourage them from acting out violently.

Where implemented, the Cure Violence model typically reduces violence by 41 to 73 percent in the first year. In 2011, a film called The Interrupters documented the success of the program, and today its impact is felt worldwide. “We have a global effort to reduce violence through partnerships in multiple regions, in particular Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East,” as well as in 25 U.S. cities, Slutkin says.

 “Public health has been responsible for some of the greatest accomplishments in human history,” he says. “It’s gotten rid of multiple diseases like plague and leprosy and smallpox. Polio is on its way out. Violence is next.”

Slutkin spoke with contributing editor Vanessa Glavinskas about his pioneering methodology, behavior change, ineffective punitive remedies, and ways Rotarians can lend a hand in the fight to cure violence.

Q: How does the Cure Violence model work?

A: All epidemics are managed from the inside out. They’re not managed by outside forces; they’re managed from the inside. The health sector guides and trains in the specific methods for how to detect, how to interrupt, how to persuade, how to change behavior, how to document work, and how to change local strategies when things aren’t working. Epidemics are managed through a partnership between community groups, health departments, and other services. It works over and over again.

Managing disease is something Rotarians are familiar with because of polio eradication. To vaccinate children, health workers go door to door in the communities and talk to parents about the importance of the vaccine. The most important thing that these health workers have is trust. 

Cholera was managed this way when I was working in Somalia. We used Vietnamese and Cambodian outreach workers to reach Vietnamese and Cambodian tuberculosis patients and their families. This is the way it really works. But the U.S. is in a punitive mode about a lot of things that are health problems. 

Rotarians are committed to promoting peace around the world. To implement the Cure Violence health model, someone from the community needs to take the lead. You can start by registering for a Cure Violence webinar for new communities at cureviolence.org/webinar.

Q: Why doesn’t punishment work? 

A: Behavior is not formed, maintained, or changed by punishment. It’s formed by modeling and copying. It’s maintained by social norms. People care more about what their friends think than what some authority is telling them. Belonging is not just a nice thing; it’s a way to survive. This whole carrot and stick idea doesn’t even work for donkeys. It’s very primitive thinking.

Q: What are you doing to change the way the public thinks about violence?

A: The public still has an ideological and punitive lens on what is really a scientific, epidemic health problem. We’re training health workers to speak up. Right now violence is being explained by a punitive sector. We need to stop using scary words like “criminal” and “gang” – all these demonizing terms – and begin to use words from the health sector like “behavior,” “transmissible,” “interruption,” and “outreach.” I think public perception will change if the language changes.

Q: How do you get people to look at violence as a public health issue? 

A: Arguing against an existing narrative doesn’t work. Science tells us this too. The brain is wired for people to stick to their ideas. But the good news is that everyone has an understanding of health, and even if they don’t know exactly what public health does, they understand contagion. They understand that epidemics can be reversed. If we continue to talk in that way, everyone has a space in their brain for a new set of ideas. Then you have to develop the ability to look at the person – not just the person in the hospital, but the person who did the violent act as a person who’s been exposed to violence many times. The brain picks up [violent tendencies] just the way the lungs pick up flu or the intestines pick up cholera. We need to be exposed to the scientific idea that the person who’s being violent is reacting to exposure. 


A Quarantine on Killing 2018-08-08 08:00:00Z 0
If you missed Winston's Super Fantastic Delectable Delights Nigerian Dinner, you blew it!  Cassava, Chicken with Rice, Potatoes and Nigerian Salmon, Bread, Plantains, and I don't know the names of anything else were fantastic, and to tell the truth, not like anything else I've ever had before.  I wasn't able to eat the Potato and Salmon dish, but Winston gave me some for my wife Gayle, and that earned me extra hugs from her!! 
Over 30 people attended, plus a kitchen crew and a vivacious serving staff (outbound exchange students and friends) along with a movie about ShelterBoxes, and the great food made it a night to remember.  Plus $1000 was raised--sufficient for a ShelterBox!  Wow, what a fantastic group effort!!
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Chef Winston and one of his assistants.
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MacKenzy and Winston getting ready to be ready!
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Fantastic crew plating the dinners.
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Quite a meal!
Winston's Superfantastic Nigerian Dinner Updated! 2018-08-01 08:00:00Z 0


Since 1993, Rotarians in Chile and the United States have teamed up to provide life-altering reconstructive surgeries


By Diana Schoberg                                   Photos by Daniela Prado Sarasúa


Ricardo Román was shopping with his wife at a department store in Chile in 2012 when a woman in her early 20s approached him. He didn’t recognize her, he confesses through an interpreter, but there were two good reasons: He had last seen her more than a decade earlier – and her smile had changed drastically.

 1.      Surgeons Lena Pinillos, left, and James Lehman, talk with a father about his child.


The team evaluated 250 potential patients; the team selected patients based on need and the complexity of each surgery.

3.     A mother finishes paperwork for her son's surgery.

4.      Lehman wears fanciful scrubs to get the kids to smile.

5.      Preparing for surgery.

6.      An anxious father waits on the floor in a hospital corridor; with so many surgeries, there are often more people than chairs. 

7.      Cleft lip and palate have a hereditary component, but their precise cause is unclear.



A Reason to Smile 2018-07-24 08:00:00Z 0
Some Highlights of the July 19, 2018 Meeting 2018-07-24 08:00:00Z 0
Come on out and Devour Deliciously Delectable  Delicacies Delivered by our own Rotary Exchange Student, Winston Ajakaye from Nigeria, who will tempt us with Nigerian Foods on Saturday, July 28th at the Homer United Methodist Church at 6:00 PM.  Those who have been able to sample his cuisine at previous dinners say that we are in for a real treat!
It would be a HUGE help if those who plan to attend contact Winston at (907) 756-3747 or < winstonajakaye@gmail.com > to let him know that they plan to attend.  As many of the ingredients are not exactly standard fare in Homer, Alaska it is necessary that he purchase them in advance, it would be a huge help if those who plan to attend RSVP.  You can register through the Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club Website at < www.homerrotary.org > and "clicking" on the July 28th on the Calendar.  Follow the links for Nigerian Dinner to the Registration Page.   This Dinner is open to all Rotarians, their guests, and the general public.
Proceeds will be used to purchase ShelterBoxes and to aid in disaster relief.  See You There!
Winston Ajakaye's Nigerian Dinner 2018-07-24 08:00:00Z 0

Notice from the RI Director

View this email in your browser

From: Director Jeffry Cadorette
Hello Everyone,
We all get many, many, emails from Rotary and on Rotary related topics. I’m respectfully requesting you give your attention to this one. Our topic is the upcoming event planned from September 20-22 in Montreal.
Formerly known as the Zone Institute, we have renamed it the Zone Conference. So, what’s the same, and what’s different. The Institute was originally designed to motivate, inspire, and educate past, current and incoming district governors. That has not changed. We want and need as many past governors in attendance because we know there is a critical mass of that talent and leadership that can make an event magical. The pledge of the entire planning team is that the event will be worthy of your time and resources.
What has changed. Historically attendance at a Zone Institute was restricted to those in the Governor line. If that wasn’t you, you weren’t allowed to register for the entire event. What we know though, and there are examples repeated over and over again, is that club and district Rotarians who have been able to interact with District Governors (past, present, and future) they get inspired by them and become more engaged in our organization. They get more involved. They aspire to higher levels of leadership, some of them even getting on the Governor track. (Our organization and our Zones need more of that engagement NOW)
We decided to facilitate that process and open up Montreal to ALL Rotarians. We want to facilitate and be a catalyst for that engagement between our Governors (and their knowledge, leadership skills, and commitment) and club and district Rotarians. The goal is that it will be meaningful for all. The goal is that the event will speak to all who attend.
Go to https://portal.clubrunner.ca/50077/sitepage/2018-montreal-conference
Take a look at the program.
Share the link with Rotarians in your club and in your area. (please)
Register! (please)
Come and enjoy the wonderful city of Montreal.
Come and renew old friendships, and create new ones.
Mingle with RI President Barry Rassin and his wife Esther and other Rotary leaders from around North America.
Participate in the facilitated discussion group breakouts. Share your knowledge. Glean new morsels to take back home with you.
Be inspired by world class speakers.
On behalf of the entire Montreal planning team, we look forward to being with you in September. We appreciate you.
Thanks for your consideration. Reach out to me personally with any questions.


RI Director, 2018-20  

Notice From RI Director 2018-07-24 08:00:00Z 0
Mother of Invention
Ann Moore is a nurse who was an early volunteer with the Peace Corps. She’s also an inventor – recognized by the Wall Street Journal as one of the nation’s most influential – whose best-known product is the Snugli, a contraption that lets parents carry their infants against their chests or backs. Moore is quick to acknowledge that the Snugli was inspired by an age-old practice of mothers in Togo.
“Anything that we can do to get babies and parents closer together to contribute to trust and bonding is so important for emotional health,” says Moore, who along with her husband, Mike, is a member of the Rotary Club of Evergreen, Colorado. 

Ann Moore poses with the Snugli in the 1960s and in the 2000s with a Weego, which improved on the Snugli’s design.
In 1962, Moore was teaching pediatric nursing at Columbia University’s Babies Hospital in New York. The chief residents at the hospital were organizing the first Peace Corps team to go to Togo and recruited her to join. “I was so excited. I thought, ‘The more we can get Americans out into other cultures, the healthier we’ll be as a country,’” she says.
On the first day of training, which took place at Howard University in Washington, D.C., she met another volunteer, Mike Moore. “He was my French teacher,” she says. “I was from a farm in Ohio – we didn’t speak much French there.”
Six weeks later, they were engaged, and they married two weeks after that. They went to Togo, where Ann was part of a medical team working in preventive medicine and hygiene. She recalls visiting crowded marketplaces in Togo and never hearing a baby cry. The reason the infants were so content, she realized, was that they were being held close to their mothers – either being breast-fed or carried securely on the mother’s back – by means of a fabric sling. 
“When we came back from our Peace Corps assignment in 1964, I was very pregnant,” Moore says. “About a month later, our baby was born and I wanted to carry her the way we had observed with the Togolese mothers.”
The alignment of Moore’s professional work in pediatrics and her personal experience resulted in her most famous invention. She enlisted her mother to help fashion what later became the Snugli, a sort of pouch with leg holes, padding, and adjustable straps. Friends who saw Moore carrying her infant daughter in it immediately wanted one, and then their friends wanted one, and the idea took off.
The Snugli was revolutionary in the mid-1960s, when breast-feeding was just gaining recognition among child-rearing experts as important for nutrition as well as for mother-child bonding. Columbia University conducted a study that found that babies carried in Snuglis exhibited longer eye contact, better language skills, and more emotional security. Low-birth-weight babies also gained weight faster.
The Moores sold the Snugli in 1985. Around the same time, a respiratory therapist asked Moore if she could make something that would allow patients to carry oxygen tanks, and that led to Air Lift, a company that makes soft-sided carriers for oxygen canisters and high-tech instruments. Their oxygen-cylinder backpack helps people who are dependent on supplemental oxygen to be more active. Moore continued to develop related products, including carrying cases for other medical gear.
In the 1990s, Moore developed a baby carrier called the Weego that featured more adjustable straps and other refinements on her original idea. 
Moore says her dedication to making a positive impact in the world can be traced to her childhood on that farm in Ohio, where she was raised in the Dunkard Brethren Church, a group similar to Mennonites in that they dress plainly, live simply, and don’t use certain modern devices. (Her parents were eventually excommunicated for using a radio.)
In high school and college, Moore had her first international experiences, working through the related Church of the Brethren. “I worked in two international camps, one in Morocco and one in Germany, where kids come from all over the world and work together,” she says. “So those influences instilled this wonderful feeling of how we’re all interconnected on this earth.”
The Moores joined the Evergreen Rotary Club after Mike approached the club for a grant related to a singing group they belong to. “Within a week they asked him to join Rotary,” Ann says. “Both of us thought Rotary was a kind of old-white-guys thing, and then when we learned about it, it was like an exciting extension of our Peace Corps work – there was so much international emphasis.” 
The couple have been active in seeking to connect Rotarians with returning Peace Corps volunteers. “It is such a natural continuation of a Peace Corps volunteer’s experience once they return to get involved, especially in the international part of Rotary,” Moore says. 
And Rotary has brought them full circle. “About six or seven years ago we went with Rotary to Ghana to do polio vaccination,” Moore recalls. “We drove to Togo, to the village where we were in the Peace Corps. It was a beautiful experience to go back.”
And she continues to hear from people grateful for the Snugli. “At an International Women’s Day lunch recently, a woman thanked me for the Snugli. Years ago, she had gone to China to pick up her adopted baby from an orphanage, and she carried this new baby in her Snugli for two weeks continuously. That baby is now a teenager and is returning to China to visit and work in that orphanage this summer. Isn’t that terrific?”
— Nikki Kallio
• Read more stories from The Rotarian
Our World Nikki Kallio 2018-07-16 08:00:00Z 0

 E-club of nomads builds connections

Club Innovation: Spread out across thousands of square miles in the eastern states of Australia, Rotarians fire up laptops, tablets, and smartphones and log on to weekly club meetings from their RVs using a teleconferencing app. Members map routes for the jamborees, service projects, and fundraising they plan to do with their club and with the clubs they’ll visit on their journeys.

Campers roll with Rotary: Every day, about 135,000 recreational vehicles roll down Australia’s highways. For Rotarians who have answered the call of the open road, the vagabond nature of an RV lifestyle can conflict with the duties of traditional clubs. For them, the Rotary E-Club of Australia Nomads, a concept hatched in mid-2014 by members of the Rotary Club of Jindalee in Queensland, builds connections for service and fellowship.

After the death of his wife in 2011, “I decided to buy a large touring RV,” a 22-footer, says Wayne Kemmis, a past president of two Rotary clubs in New South Wales. As he pondered whether Rotary could fit into his new lifestyle, a notice in Rotary Down Under magazine about a new club caught his eye, and Kemmis signed on as a charter member of the E-Club of Australia Nomads. (The group stresses that members need not be Australian, just driven to service; one member of the Nomads is an American.) “Most members spend a fair amount of time traveling,” notes Kemmis, a retired newspaper manager.

Rotary E-Club of Australia NomadsChartered: 2015 Original membership: 26 Membership: 40  


Geoff St Clair, past president of a club in Lockyer Valley, Queensland, had left Rotary to take up the traveling life when the new club came along. “I was a Rotarian for seven years but left for four years until returning with the Nomads in June 2014, when it was a satellite club,” he says. He rejoined Rotary with his wife, Lorelle, a new recruit, because “the club would allow you to continue traveling but still uphold the ideals of Rotary.” For several months each year, the retired educators roam Australia in their 19-foot trailer with their dog, Josie, a Maltese mix.

Wherever the club members may be, a constant is the Wednesday evening session to chart progress on trips and projects. “The theme of our meetings is having fun,” says Kemmis. “Members come online with their glass of wine or other beverage. They wear casual clothing. Two members usually come in their pajamas. There are no dress regulations.” 

St Clair notes the challenges of developing service opportunities for people who may reside hundreds or thousands of miles from one another. Other obstacles are maintaining a sense of togetherness across distance and teaching computer skills to older members, he says.

Twice-annual musters, some lasting a week, kindle conviviality and rev up good deeds: During their most recent social gathering over four days at Bribie Island, Queensland, club members planted more than 400 trees to stabilize dunes. 

The Nomads adapt their fundraising to their lifestyle. Many club members do crafts such as knitting and crocheting on the road, and when the club holds gatherings, they set up a booth and sell items to the public. And every March they hold a crafts exposition with workshops, speakers, and shopping. The proceeds from these efforts benefit various charities, such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Lending manpower to Rotary-sponsored fun runs, concerts, regattas, and festivals across eastern Australia is the peripatetic club’s hallmark. Last September, it assisted the Rotary Club of Carindale with the Brisbane billycart championships. (The event, with engineless carts racing downhill, is similar to American soapbox derbies.) 

“Clubs appreciate us as we often assist them in their projects,” says St Clair, harking to the club motto, Helping Hands Across the Land. —Brad Webber

What is your club doing to reinvent itself? Email club.innovations@rotary.org.

• Read more stories from The Rotarian

Club Innovation 2018-07-16 08:00:00Z 0

TORONTO (June 27, 2018) — In acknowledgment of his government’s efforts to achieve a polio-free world, Rotary today presented Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with its Polio Eradication Champion Award at its 109th annual international convention.

Justin Trudeau accepts Rotary's Polio Eradication Champion Award from RI President Ian H.S. Riseley. See more coverage of the convention


Canada has been a champion in the fight to eradicate polio since 1986, when it became the first government to formally fund global polio immunization efforts. Canada has provided over CAD $750 million in support of a polio-free world, including a $100 million pledge to global eradication in 2017. Earlier this month, Canada, as host of the G7 summit, was joined by G7 leaders in affirming a commitment to polio eradication.

“Prime Minister Trudeau has committed Canada to remain a strong partner until polio is completely eradicated,” said Rotary International President Ian H.S. Riseley. “With the unwavering support of the Prime Minister and the Canadian government and their strong assistance with continued vaccination efforts, I’m confident we will rid the world of polio.”

Later this week, Rotary will announce nearly $50.12 million in support for global polio eradication efforts in countries where polio is a threat. Since 1988, Rotary has contributed more than $2.3 billion and countless volunteer hours in the fight to end polio, with Rotary clubs in Canada donating more than $66.6 million towards polio eradication. Rotary members throughout Canada travel regularly to polio-threatened countries to vaccinate children in mass immunization campaigns.

To help create awareness and support for the global effort to protect all children from polio, Rotary’s international convention will feature two virtual reality videos that will immerse viewers into the lives of those still impacted by the disease, and what it will take to eradicate it worldwide. Download the Rotary VR app in Google Play or the Apple App Store to view “I Dream of an Empty Ward." 

Polio eradication has been Rotary’s top priority since 1985. In 1988, Rotary became a leading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, along with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and later, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since the initiative launched, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases in 1988 to just 22 confirmed cases in two countries in 2017. 

About Rotary: Rotary brings together a global network of community leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. We connect 1.2 million members from more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in almost every country in the world. Their service improves lives both locally and internationally, from helping those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Toronto’s first Rotary convention took place 94 years ago, with subsequent conventions in 1942, 1964 and 1983. 

About the Polio Eradication Champion Award: Rotary established the award in 1995 to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the global eradication effort. Prime Minister Trudeau is the third Canadian Prime Minister to receive the award, joining Prime Ministers Jean Chrétien and Stephen Harper. Past recipients also include Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan; Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany; Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria; Nevin Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development; and Ban Ki-moon, former UN secretary-general. 

For more information, contact: 

Amanda Federchuk:  +1 (416) 355-7410, Amanda.Federchuk@ketchum.com 

Chanele Williams: +1 (847) 866-3466, Chanele.Williams@rotary.org

Rotary Recognizes Prime Minister Trudeau for Canada’s Commitment to Ending Polio 2018-07-10 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 habitat.org.

Rotary contact: Chanele Williams 847-866-3466 chanele.williams@rotary.org

Habitat for Humanity contact: Laura Layton 404-420-3615 newsroom@habitat.org

Rotary Partners with Habitat for Humanity 2018-07-09 08:00:00Z 0

I would like to personally invite all Homer - Kachemak Bay Rotary Club members,  and other business and community leaders, to the Rotary Club of Soldotna's second community and economic development forum at the Soldotna Library on July 23, 2018, starting at 9 am.  


This is a no-charge invitation-only event and a catered lunch will be provided to attendees.


Please forward this Email promptly to all of your club members.  We very much hope that your club and its members will participate.


This year's forum will focus very specifically upon identifying underutilized economic resources of all types, matching them with community priorities, then identifying new business opportunities to exploit those underutilized resources and build a stronger local community and economy.  


The intent is to use a well-proven, community-based process to  find new economic opportunities that work for that particular  community by bringing together the wisdom and knowledge of business and community leaders, initially in a brainstorming sort of session and then with more rigorous economic analysis.  The success of this approach depends upon strong participation by business and community leaders.


This process has been used successfully through the US West to help diversity local economies.  I have attached a recent article in The Western Planner journal that discusses the ASAP process and Western counties  where it has been used successfully.


The workshop leader will be Professor Don Albrecht of Utah State University, a leading US authority on economic re-development in the rural US west and the author of the leading book on the topic, "Rethinking Rural".


At the 2017 forum, attendees strongly urged that Soldotna Rotary Club continue the process due to Rotary's non-partisan, non-advocacy community service orientation.


I hope that you can attend and bring along your key staff members and encourage other business and community leaders to attend.  If you have any questions, please give me a  call on my cell, 398-0480 or Email me at kashi@alaska.net   


Yours very truly


Joe Kashi

Rotary Club of Soldotna Community and Economic Development Forum 2018-07-09 08:00:00Z 0

Solid structure

Erin O’Loughlin

Rotary Club of Holly Springs, North Carolina

In a growing number of schools in the United States, children with autism are placed in classrooms with the general student population. The practice, known as mainstreaming, is intended to better integrate children with autism into society. However, they often don’t get the support they need to succeed, says Rotarian Erin O’Loughlin.

“If we’re not providing them with accommodations, how are they supposed to integrate?” asks O’Loughlin, whose 13-year-old son, Marcus, has autism. “We need to provide an atmosphere in which people with autism are within the community, but getting the support they require.”

Erin O’Loughlin, Rotary Club of Holly Springs, North Carolina  

Photo by Justin Cook

One place that provides such support is 3 Irish Jewels Farm, which O’Loughlin created six years ago with her husband, Colm (the organization’s name refers to the couple’s three children). The nonprofit provides services for people with autism as well as their families and operates out of a space in a commercial district of Holly Springs, running programs for children and teens. Eventually, O’Loughlin hopes to set up a residential program in a farm setting where adults with autism can live and work. 

Many schools in the Holly Springs area run year-round, with nine weeks of instruction alternating with three weeks of vacation. This schedule is particularly tough for children with autism, who often thrive on routine. So 3 Irish Jewels created Camp Bluebird, where children from kindergarten through eighth grade can participate in a structured vacation program that teaches skills such as tying shoes, using utensils, sitting still, playing board games, and socializing with other children. 

O’Loughlin had been a Rotarian before moving to North Carolina. When Tim Beck, a member of the Rotary Club of Holly Springs, heard her speak at a fundraising event for 3 Irish Jewels Farm, he recalls, “I immediately thought, ‘We have to have her come talk to the club.’” He asked her if she would be interested in giving a presentation. “She said right on the spot, ‘Actually, I’d like to join.’” 

She became a member of the Holly Springs club in December. “Her passion made me think she was right for Rotary,” Beck says. “We know Erin is going to dedicate the same energy to our projects.

– Anne Ford

• Read more stories from The Rotarian

Our World 2018-07-04 08:00:00Z 0

Former senior U.S. diplomat who worked in Peru, Venezuela, and Cuba receives 2017-18 Rotary Alumni Global Service Award


By Arnold R. Grahl                          Photos by Alyce Henson


A career diplomat who served as the U.S. government’s highest ranking representative in Cuba has received the 2017-18 Rotary Alumni Global Service Award.


John Caulfield served as a diplomat for more than 40 years, in nine countries on four continents, fostering international understanding and the protection of human rights. He has displayed a life-long commitment to community development, education, disease prevention, and other causes that Rotary also pursues.

RI President Ian H.S. Riseley, left, and RI Trustee Chair Paul Netzel, right, present John Caulfield, a career diplomat, with the  2017-18 Rotary Alumni Global Service Award Tuesday at Rotary’s Convention in Toronto.


As a 1973-74 Ambassadorial Scholar sponsored by the Rotary Club of Moorestown, New Jersey, USA, Caulfield studied at the Universidade Católica do Salvador in Brazil. During his studies, he attended Rotary club meetings and began to consider a career in diplomacy, as learning Portuguese exposed him to a new culture. 


“When we participate in an experience such as a Rotary fellowship, we end up learning as much about ourselves, and our own countries, as we do about our hosts,” Caulfield said in his acceptance remarks Tuesday at Rotary’s Convention in Toronto. 

“After being an unofficial representative of my country abroad," he said, "it occurred to me that I would enjoy being an official representative."


The Rotary Alumni Global Service Award celebrates alumni whose service activities and professional achievements exemplify the Rotary ideal of Service Above Self. The award was first presented in 1995 and has honored policymakers, ambassadors, educators, and humanitarians.

Caulfield’s assignments repeatedly placed him where diplomatic relations were tense. As chief of the United States Interests Section in Havana, he negotiated agreements on immigration, environmental protection, and cultural affairs that prepared the two countries for the re-establishment of diplomatic relations in 2014.


Before that, in 2008, as deputy chief of mission in Caracas, Venezuela, he took charge after then-President Hugo Chavez expelled the U.S. ambassador. Caulfield guided the embassy through a tense period, maintaining communications with governments, factions opposed to the government, and businesses.


As consul general in London, England, in 2005, he supervised services for the world’s largest American expatriate community, as well as overseeing U.S. visa services. As deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Peru in 2002, he supported Peru’s return to democracy and economic growth after years of terrorism. He led the embassy for a year after the unexpected death of the ambassador.


Caulfield has received many other awards during his career, including a Presidential Meritorious Service Award, the U.S. Department of State’s Distinguished Service Award, and the Secretary of State’s Award for Innovation in the Use of Technology. Caulfield also supports Carmen & Rey’s Kids, a private organization in Cuba that assists children with cancer.


Recently retired, Caulfield is now a frequent speaker at conferences, universities, and civic clubs. He also consults with companies that seek to expand into the Cuban market. 


Caulfield said that interviewing thousands of people traveling to the United States early in his career helped him learn about the economies of the countries where he was assigned. He learned that it’s important for small businesses to broaden their perspectives and understand how they can participate in the world market.

“Throughout the world, I have seen firsthand how Rotarians support each other in business, and support their communities,” he said.


Caulfield said Rotary has a strong presence in all the countries he was assigned to except the most recent, Cuba. But the country is changing quickly, and he sees possibilities expanding there.

 “My hope, and expectation, is that within a few years, there will be an opportunity to re-establish Rotary in Cuba,” he said.


 • Rotarians, alumni, and Rotary program participants can nominate an alumnus for the 2018-19 award from 1 July to 15 September


Rotary Alumni Global Service Award  2018-07-04 08:00:00Z 0
Re:  Rotary Meal Prices
Fellow Rotarians,
            Past Presidents Tom Early and Gary Thomas met with Doug Johnson (Bidarka Inn Owner) and the Bidarka Inn Management Team, to discuss Rotary lunch meal prices. 
            The Bidarka Inn has generously allowed us to use the upstairs dining room for our luncheon meetings, at no charge.  They have provided a self-serve lunch for whoever wanted it, for $13 per lunch.
            Then some Rotarians wanted to buy just coffee and a dessert.  The Bidarka agreed to offer dessert and coffee for $6.50.
            Then some Rotarians wanted to buy just a salad for $6.50. We tried that for a while.
            Then some Rotarians wanted to fill a large plate with salad and only pay $6.50.  We allowed that for a few months, but finally, the Bidarka Inn said that was not OK.
            So we switched to a large plate for $13.00, or a small plate for $6.50 regardless of what you put on it.  We tried that for about a month.  That arrangement has failed the Four Way Test, since some Rotarians were loading up a small plate with tons of food and making a second trip for refills.
            Doug (Owner) and Francis (Bidarka Inn Front Desk Manager), Tom and Gary discussed the Bidarka Inn situation.  Doug stated that the Bidarka Inn loses money on every Rotary Luncheon.  There are not enough meals sold to cover the cost of the cook and the helper, not to mention the cost of the food, and fixed overhead.  It was pointed out that every other group (Chamber of Commerce, Realtors, etc.) that uses that dining room for luncheon meetings pays $15.00 per lunch. (We only pay $13).  No other group is allowed to buy partial portions at reduced prices.  The arrangement to offer a cup of coffee and a desert for ½ price - has grown beyond its original intent.
            The Rotary Board and the Bidarka Inn have agreed that the best way to move forward is to keep the lunch price the same ($13), but eliminate the ½ price option.  Salad has become as expensive as full meal options for the Bidarka to purchase and offer.  The overhead is the same and the purchased raw food items are almost the same.  Lunch, whether it is the full course meal with a salad, or just a salad, will be $13.00.  If you just want soup and a salad, it is $13.00.  If you just want desert, it is $13.00.  Basically, if you use a plate or bowl of any size, it is called a lunch and it is $13.00.  Coffee will be free and available to anyone. 
            This new program becomes effective as of July 1st.  This new program will allow the price to remain the same at $13.00, and eliminates the management of ½ punches and odd change at the lunch front desk.
            Thank you for your cooperation.
Rotary Meeting Meal Prices 2018-06-26 08:00:00Z 0

Rotarians appointed to committees by the Rotary International president help ensure clubs and districts perform efficiently. All RI committees promote the priorities and goals of Rotary’s strategic plan.

Apply for committee openings in 2018-19 (deadline 11 August)

Learn more about the committees and the application process

2018 International Assembly Committee

This committee assists the president-elect in planning the International Assembly and ensures effective and consistent training of incoming governors. 


Barry Rassin

2018 Toronto Convention

This committee assists the 2017-18 president in planning the Rotary International Convention.


Gordon R. McInally

2018 Toronto Convention Promotion

This committee assists the 2017-18 president in promoting attendance at the Rotary International Convention in accordance with RI policies governing conventions.


Bryn Styles

2019 Hamburg Convention

This committee assists the 2018-19 president in planning the Rotary International Convention.


John T. Blount


This committee reviews and reports to the Board on RI and Rotary Foundation financial reports, the external audit, system of internal control, internal audit, and other related matters.


Michael Colasurdo


This committee guides and advises the Board on effective ways to communicate what Rotary is and what we do, to Rotarians, clubs and districts, and the public. Rotary’s communication tools include printed publications, websites and social media, and multimedia materials.


Bradford R. Howard

Constitution and Bylaws

This committee serves as counsel to the Board on all matters related to Rotary’s constitutional documents and legislative procedures.


Adrienne J. Bzura


This committee recommends any needed adjustments of district boundaries to the Board.


Karen K. Wentz

Election Review

This committee reviews cases involving complaints or disputes over an election to any RI office, such as charges of canvassing, campaigning, or electioneering, and any related matters.


Peter L. Offer


This committee advises the Board on all RI finances. It recommends the annual budget and five-year financial forecast, reviews financial statement activity, monitors revenues and expenses, recommends investment policies, and monitors the performance of investment managers.


Steven A. Snyder

Global Networking Groups

This committee guides and advises the Board on Rotarian Action Groups, and Rotary Fellowships, and on strategies for promoting vocational service. It also assists Global Networking Groups with applications for official status.


Robert L. Hall

Joint Committee on Partnerships

This committee advises the Board and The Rotary Foundation Trustees on partnership and sponsorship matters.


John C. Matthews

Joint Young Leaders and Alumni Engagement

This committee advises the Board and The Rotary Foundation Trustees on building loyalty and encouraging ongoing connections to Rotary with our current Rotary program participants, Rotary alumni, and other youths and young professionals.


Ann-Britt Åsebol

Leadership Development and Training

This committee guides and advises the Board on Rotary’s leadership training program for Rotary members, clubs, and districts, with special emphasis on district governor training.


Jennifer A. Scott

Member Benefits

This committee assists in the implementation and promotion of the member benefits initiative, Rotary Global Rewards.


David J. Harilela


This committee guides and advises the Board on membership development, retention, and education. It considers developing programs to recruit members, educate and retain members, and encourage the formation of new Rotary clubs in countries that already have clubs.


Larry A. Lunsford

Operations Review

This committee advises the Board by reviewing the effectiveness and efficiency of operations, administrative procedures, standards of conduct, and other operational and financial matters.


Frank N. Goldberg

Rotaract and Interact

This committee advises the Board on the Rotaract and Interact programs, and reviews issues and suggestions related to these programs. Under the direction of the president, the committee plans and develops program content for the Rotaract Preconvention.


Tommie Buscemi
Laura Sophie Verdegaal

Strategic Planning

This committee develops, recommends, and updates a strategic plan for consideration by the Board and The Rotary Foundation Trustees.


Stephanie A. Urchick

Youth Exchange

This committee advises the Board on the Rotary Youth Exchange program. Under the president’s direction, the committee plans and develops program content for the Youth Exchange Officers Preconvention.


Bruce I. Goldsen

Rotary International Committees 2018-06-26 08:00:00Z 0

In the internet age, literacy means distinguishing between fact and fiction

By  Illustrations by

When the BBC offered a quiz titled “Can You Spot the Fake Stories?” I was confident that I would do well. With a master’s degree in journalism, I thought falling for “fake news” only happened to other people. But I was fooled four times on the seven-question quiz.  

I’m not the only one who has trouble with this. Even the digitally savvy generation now growing up has a difficult time distinguishing credible content from fake stories. In 2015, Stanford University launched an 18-month study of students in middle school, high school, and college across several states to find out how well they were able to evaluate the information they consume online. 

New literacy funding initiative: Have you heard about the new Basic Education and Literacy Major Gifts Initiative? Chaired by Past RI Vice President Anne Matthews, the initiative has a fundraising goal of $25 million over three to five years. Gifts may be donated through directed contributions or by establishing endowments that may benefit a particular geographic area or district. The funds will support educational projects such as teacher training programs, vocational training teams, integration of technology into instructional programs, and adult literacy programs. For more information, email AOF.campaigns@rotary.org.  


Nearly 8,000 students took part in the study, and the results showed that they were easily duped. Many middle schoolers couldn’t tell the difference between a news story and an ad. College students weren’t able to distinguish a mainstream source from a group promoting a certain point of view. Students often decided if something was credible just by how polished the website looked. The study highlighted a fundamental problem: Today’s students are struggling to differentiate fact from fiction online.

“We’re living in the most overwhelming information landscape in human history,” says Peter Adams, a senior vice president for the News Literacy Project, a nonprofit that aims to add information literacy to middle and high school classrooms across the United States. “It’s confusing because people are consuming information in an aggregated stream, and social media gives things uniformity. A post from a conspiracy theory blog looks the same as a post from the Washington Post.”

To help students learn how to evaluate and verify information, the News Literacy Project launched a virtual classroom called Checkology. One part of the web-based tool allows teachers to present students with news reports, tweets, and other social media posts. The students must determine whether they are credible by looking for a variety of “red flags.”

Jodi Mahoney found Checkology last summer while researching ways to educate her students about fake news. Now she uses it in her classroom, where she teaches students about technology, from email etiquette to basic coding.


Are students in your community news literate? The Center for News Literacy and the News Literacy Project offer lessons that teachers can integrate into existing curricula. Free resources from the Center for News Literacy can be found at drc.centerfornewsliteracy.org. The News Literacy Project’s virtual classroom is at checkology.org. In New York, Washington, D.C., Houston, and Chicago, the News Literacy Project also offers the opportunity to bring in journalists to teach part of its curriculum.  “If a Rotary club in one of those markets wants to sponsor a more substantive engagement at a school, reach out to us,” says Peter Adams of the News Literacy Project. Contact them at info@thenewsliteracyproject.org. Michael Spikes encourages Rotary members to visit newsliteracy.org, where they can also request a speaker from the Center for News Literacy.  

School for Skeptics 2018-06-26 08:00:00Z 0
Rotary’s new president, Barry Rassin, strikes a perfect balance between Bahamian bonhomie and decisive leadership
By Diana Schoberg                                      Photos by Alyce Henson  
Several miles off the shoreline of Nassau, Barry Rassin, the 2018-19 president of Rotary International, balances in the bow of the bobbing Rat Bat. There are no colossal cruise ships out here, no noisy Jet Skis, only the occasional passing pleasure boat and the sound of water lapping against the hull. In the turquoise sea below, giant turtles glide across the ocean floor.
“To me,” Rassin says, “the sea is freedom, it’s peacefulness. When I’m out on the water, everything fades away. You feel like you’re at one with the world and nothing could go wrong.”
Barry Rassin enjoys some time on the water with his good friends Felix Stubbs, left, and Wade Christie.
A few minutes ago it was drizzling, but now the weak December sun struggles to peek through. The Rat Bat sways suddenly in the wake of a passing vessel. Unfazed, Rassin stands perfectly poised, staring toward a patch of blue sky floating on the horizon.
Late in the afternoon of 12 January 2010, Rassin and his wife, Esther, were at home in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, when a magnitude 7.0 earthquake rocked Haiti, 550 miles away. Shortly thereafter, Rassin got a call from Errol Alberga in Jamaica. At the time, Alberga was the governor of District 7020, which encompasses the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Haiti, as well as several other island nations in the West Indies.
Alberga told Rassin – a former governor of the district and president of the renowned Doctors Hospital in Nassau – about the earthquake and asked him to lead Rotary’s relief efforts. Rassin spent the rest of the evening pacing around his living room as he called other Rotary leaders in the region. In a corner of the room, a television broadcast images of Haiti in ruins – and then, scrolling across the bottom of the screen, came the emergency warning that caught Rassin’s eye: A tsunami might be headed for the Bahamas, a seismic sea wave so formidable it had the potential to wash over the entire country.
Rassin and his wife walked out onto their second-floor balcony and waited. “At night, if you look out toward the ocean, all you see is lights, stretching down to the edge of the water, and then everything turns black,” Rassin recalled in a powerful speech he delivered in January at the International Assembly in San Diego. “I looked at where the lights ended and the black began, and I waited for the blackness to come toward us and swallow the light.”
Barry Rassin at his home office in Nassau, Bahamas.
Fortunately, the tsunami failed to materialize, and Rassin got back to work. Over the next few days and weeks, as Richard McCombe, another past district governor, headed Rotary’s day-to-day response, Rassin coordinated long-term recovery efforts funded by donations from Rotarians around the world to The Rotary Foundation. He created a 132-page spreadsheet to track each detail: how much money was available, how much had been spent, which Rotary club was in charge of which initiative. “At the district conference the year after the earthquake, Barry went through the dollars for every single project,” says Lindsey Cancino, past president of the Rotary Club of East Nassau, Rassin’s club. “It matched to the penny what was in the [disaster recovery] account. I was mesmerized.”
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, Rassin worked with Claude Surena, a Haitian doctor and Rotarian who had turned his home outside Port-au-Prince into a makeshift shelter and hospital. There, Surena provided care for more than 100 displaced people. Elsewhere on the island, tens of thousands were dead and tens of thousands more injured. In nightly calls to Rassin and his team, Surena – who, at the behest of René Préval, then president of Haiti, would later oversee the recovery of the nation’s private and public health sectors – detailed the medicine and other supplies he urgently needed. And then, each morning, a private plane flew from Nassau packed with the necessary goods.
Rassin decided to tag along on one flight. On the four-hour journey, flying low over the ocean, he gazed out at the limitless blue of the sky and an azure sea dotted with green tropical islands. “It just looked like paradise,” Rassin said in his speech. “And then we came in over Haiti.”
On the ground below, he saw buckled roads, collapsed houses, and entire neighborhoods turned to rubble. Unable to land in Port-au-Prince, the plane touched down on a grassy strip outside the capital. After unloading its cargo, the plane headed for home. “In a couple of minutes, we were out over the water,” Rassin recalled in his speech, “looking down on that same gorgeous view. Haiti disappeared behind us, the Bahamas lay in front of us, and there we were, in between.
With his wife, Esther, Rassin mingles with fellow members of the Rotary Club of East Nassau.
"And looking down at that water, out at that horizon, I realized that there was no line, no boundary between there and here, between them and us, between the suffering we had escaped and someone else hadn’t. It could just as easily have been the Bahamas. It could just as easily have been us.”
Barry Rassin always felt he was supposed to go into medicine. It was his heritage. His father, Meyer, a notoriously brusque orthopedic surgeon, had arrived in the Bahamas from England during World War II to oversee the medical care of the Royal Air Force troops there. Except for some submarine activity, the Bahamas was outside the theater of war. Nassau’s Oakes and Windsor fields provided flight training for would-be RAF pilots destined to return to the fighting over Europe.
With little in the way of military medicine to occupy him, Dr. Rassin spent time ministering to local residents, including treating people with leprosy who had been exiled from society. This work endeared him to the populace. After the war, he returned to England, but in 1947, a few weeks after the birth of his son Barry, Rassin père returned with his family to Nassau to work in the government hospital. In 1955, he and his wife, Rosetta, a surgical nurse, opened Rassin Hospital to better serve their patients.
Barry was 10 when his father had him watch his first cesarean section. (“That kind of freaked me out,” he says today.) This was his introduction to the family profession. His older brother, David, would earn a PhD, specializing in pharmacology, and devote himself to researching the properties of breast milk.
As for Barry, he enrolled as a pre-med student at Long Island University outside New York City – and flunked out after two years. “I don’t know whether it was too hard for me or I just had no interest,” he explains. “I was never a good academic. Teachers always said I never applied myself.”
Rassin returned to Nassau and worked menial jobs at the British Colonial Hotel. He started at the front desk – “That was not me” – but was soon relegated to microfilming and delivering office supplies. After a year, Rassin realized he had to make a decision: He could either spend the rest of his life working at the hotel and living at home with his parents, or he could go back to school. 
Barry Rassin converses with Charles Diggiss, who took over as hospital president when Rassin retired. 
In 1967, he moved to Miami, enrolled in community college, and took whatever classes struck his fancy. He wanted to figure out what suited him best. “Two days in accounting and I said, ‘This is me,’” he recalls. “It was just so easy. It came to me.”
He transitioned into a business program, improved his grades, and transferred to the University of Miami, where he earned a degree in accounting – with honors. Later, he received his MBA in health and hospital administration from the University of Florida.
Back in the Bahamas, following several prosperous decades, Rassin Hospital had undergone a decline. After the Bahamas won its independence in 1973, a lot of British expats, including many of the hospital’s patients, left the country. That’s when Rassin, with several years of health administration under his belt (primarily at Miami’s Mount Sinai Medical Center), returned to Nassau once again, with his first wife and their kids, Pascale, Michele, and Anthony. His goal was to bring the best in modern medicine to the country – and he planned to do it at a transformed Rassin Hospital.
Charles Diggiss, today the president of Doctors Hospital (as the reinvented facility came to be known), covered emergency room shifts there in the late 1980s, when he was a surgical resident at the public hospital. “Barry was running a hospital that was one block away from the public hospital,” Diggiss says. “He had the courage to take that on. There was no promise of success, but every guarantee that this was going to be frustrating, every guarantee that the physicians were going to be skeptical.”
Looking back, Rassin recounts the challenges he confronted: “It was a battle with my parents. It was a battle with the doctors. It was a battle with my wife.” All that pressure caused the demise of his first marriage, he says. But the friends he made through Rotary steeled his resolve to persevere. “It gave me the support from a group of citizens of the Bahamas who said there was really a need to do this.”
Several years earlier, Rassin was working for American Medicorp in Hollywood, Florida, when a doctor asked him to join Rotary. Rassin declined. “In my mind, he was at least 70,” he explains. “I was 30. People say new members aren’t joining because we don’t ask. It’s not just the ask. I was asked. I didn’t want to join.”
The East Nassau club recently helped clean up a community center for teenagers with HIV/AIDS.
He changed his mind about Rotary when he moved to Nassau and met John Robertson at a fundraiser for the East Nassau club. Robertson was helping out, and Rassin’s daughters, Pascale and Michele, were participating. The two men chatted, and at the end of the conversation, Rassin accepted Robertson’s invitation to lunch at Rotary. Seven years later, in 1987, he was the club’s president. Michele, the club’s first female member, would take the helm in 2009.
Rassin’s rise through the ranks of Rotary coincided with the culmination of his plan to transform Rassin Hospital. In 1986, he worked with a consortium of doctors to buy the hospital from Meyer Rassin and create the newly christened Doctors Hospital. In 1993, under Rassin’s direction, it completed an $8.5 million expansion, and today it’s considered one of the Caribbean’s leading hospitals.
As all this transpired, Rassin’s personal life changed as well when he met and, in 1990, married Esther Knowles. A successful banker, Esther dived into her husband’s life at Rotary. When he was district governor in 1991-92, she accompanied him on a six-month odyssey to every club in every country in the district. Their mutual respect and partnership are evident when you see them together. “Esther has always kept me grounded,” Rassin says. “As soon as she thinks that my ego is kicking in, she makes sure she kicks it back out. After any speech, if Esther was there, I always ask her how it was. She’s the only one who I know will tell me the truth.” 
Rassin retired as the hospital’s president in 2016, though he continues to serve on its board of directors. In retrospect, the long struggle to make his dream a reality was worth it. “You’ve got to take risks in this life,” he insists. “That’s what we’re here to do: not to follow the same old path, but to take out your machete, cut away the bush, and create a new way. People here weren’t getting good health care. They needed it badly.” 
“One of the most appreciable things about his journey is watching how he committed himself wholly and fully to Doctors Hospital while maintaining his involvement in Rotary,” says Charles Sealy, who met Rassin through Rotary and succeeded him as the hospital’s CEO. “To see how someone can balance the two – except I don’t think the word is ‘balance,’ because he was wholly committed to each of them.”
At the hospital, as in Rotary, people recognize Rassin as both a visionary and a detail-oriented administrator. They also salute him as a valuable mentor. “He’s good at identifying leadership talent,” says Felix Stubbs, a board member at Doctors who credits Rassin with creating the opportunities that led to Stubbs’ own stint as District 7020 governor. “When he sees someone with skills that he thinks could be advantageous to Rotary, he makes sure to pull that person along. That’s exactly what he did at Doctors Hospital. He identified good young leaders and pulled them up – and then he was able to retire and dedicate his time to Rotary.”
Barry Rassin helps Rotarians and Rotaractors plant mangrove trees at Bonefish Pond National Park on the southern coast of New Providence Island in the Bahamas.
As befits an island organization, the Rotary Club of East Nassau meets inside a wood-paneled room at a yacht club. Pictures of sailboats bedeck the walls. Sir Durward Knowles, who, until his death in February, reigned as the world’s oldest living Olympian (bronze and gold medals in sailing in 1956 and 1964, respectively), was an active member.
In many ways, it’s the ideal 21st-century Rotary club: Sixty percent of its members are younger than 50, and one member is a dual Rotarian/Rotaractor. At a meeting in October, there were so many women in leadership positions that a man didn’t come to the lectern for the first half-hour. One order of business: handing out attendance awards. Rassin receives one for 30 years of perfect attendance. Since joining in 1980, he has missed only one meeting. 
Though Rotary has been central to Rassin’s life for nearly 40 years, it was never his goal to become president of Rotary International. He was loath to even put his name up for consideration. But, he explains, “the Bahamas and the Caribbean have never had a president, and Rotarians there felt I should put my name in and represent them. I realized that they want to feel part of Rotary, and I was in a position where it was possible. So for them, I thought I should do it.”
Sam F. Owori, a member of the Rotary Club of Kampala, Uganda, was nominated in 2016 to serve as Rotary’s 2018-19 president. After he died unexpectedly of complications from surgery in July 2017, Rassin was selected to take his place.
Among the first people Rassin called was John Smarge, a past Rotary International director from Florida who had served as Owori’s aide. Rassin asked Smarge to serve as his aide too. “One of his first sentences was, ‘I want Sam’s memory to continue, and I want you to help me do that,’” Smarge recalls. “Barry was uniquely qualified to come in at this time. He will allow Sam’s memory to shine brightly.”
Call Me Barry 2018-06-21 08:00:00Z 0
Tom painting the trim at the restroom at Ben Walters Park.
Maynard painting the restrooms at Ben Walters Park.
Charles racking and Maynard painting
Vivian rolls on the paint!
Ben Walters Park Cleanup-with New Pictures 2018-06-13 08:00:00Z 0

From more than 1,100 entries, our 2018 photo contest winners rise to the top

Reviewing this year’s submissions, we saw photos that capture big scenes of celebration and small moments of connection. We saw images of Rotarians as people of action, working together to make our world better. And we saw breathtaking views of nature. Our judge, Stephanie Sinclair, reviewed the images without any identifying information, with the unexpected result that two people each have two photographs on the following pages. In addition to the winners and honorable mentions in this issue, you’ll see more photos from the contest in The Rotarian throughout the coming year.

First place

Photographer: Anthony Riggio
Rotary Club of Westport, Connecticut
Location: Rabat, Morocco

Sinclair: I am drawn to this photo’s beautiful repetitive geometric shapes and vibrant colors. The eye moves from the door frame throughout the many textures to the subject, the markings on his hat, and the background of the image. The muted tones echo the subtlety of the many layers in the image.

Second place

Photographer: Santosh Kale
Rotary Club of Shirol, India
Location: Pandharpur, India

Sinclair: This image offers a compassionate and relatable view of women in India. Their varied expressions of joy and amusement emphasize their shared humanity. The black and white works to focus the viewer on their expressions rather than the environment in which the women live.

Third place

Photographer: Maureen McGettigan
Rotary Club of Valley of the Moon (Santa Rosa), California
Location: Bagan, Myanmar

Sinclair: This elegant, classically shot photograph is reminiscent of National Geographic images that focus on magical light and landscapes. The painterly quality of the light makes the image seem timeless, and the combination of the temple in the background, the trees in the foreground, and the person working a plow gives the image a spiritual quality.

Honorable mentions

Photographer: Salvatore Alibrio
Rotary Club of Palazzolo Acreide Valle dell’Anapo, Italy
Location: Palazzolo Acreide, Italy

Sinclair: The distance from the color explosion works perfectly within the frame. Most photographers would have tried to be as close as possible, but the distance provides a needed perspective while communicatingto the viewer more information about the event with the surrounding architecture and crowd.

Photographer: Jose Antonio Valdes
Rotary Club of Guatemala Sur, Guatemala
Location: Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala

Sinclair: This is a very classically framed portrait, given a slight twist on the expected by the elder’s very relaxed body position. The boy’s expression also makes the image distinctive and fascinating.

Photographer: Carlo Antonio Romero
Rotary Club of Cagayan de Oro, Philippines
Location: Calgary, Alberta

Sinclair: Beautiful landscape with technicolor light. The wide-angle perspective, not normally my favorite in landscapes, makes the viewer feel transported into the experience of being there.

Photographer: Jose Antonio Valdes
Rotary Club of Guatemala Sur, Guatemala
Location: Santa Catarina Pinula, Guatemala

Sinclair: The use of black and white transforms the harsh light into highlights and shadows that emphasize the composition. The cowboy hats in the foreground make a perfect frame for the race.

Photographer: Hipolito Busgano
Rotary Club of West Cagayan de Oro, Philippines
Location: Bali, Indonesia

Sinclair: This joyful image could have placed in the top three had the person on the far left not been looking at the camera. That said, it evokes a lot of emotion and deserves an honorable mention.

Photographer: Thomas Bundschuh
Rotary Club of Wien, Austria
Location: Sermathang, Nepal

Sinclair: The soft light on this image makes it seem more like a painting than a photograph. While I wish there were more separation between the two female subjects, the painterly quality echoed by the girl’s serene expression still works.

Photographer: Santosh Kale
Rotary Club of Shirol, India
Location: Pattan Kodoli, India

Sinclair: This is a powerful image in that it makes the viewer ask more questions about the event being photographed. The goal of a great photograph isn’t always to answer every question, but to entice the viewer to learn more.

Winners of the 2018 Rotarian Photo Contest 2018-06-13 08:00:00Z 0

Stephanie Sinclair’s photography is just one of the ways she advocates for the rights of girls


Photos by Stephanie Sinclair                                       Story by Julie Bain


Stephanie Sinclair was way ahead of the #MeToo movement. After 9/11, she wanted to tell the stories of people who had survived their world being torn apart. While covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the photojournalist found her passion when she learned about young girls being forced into marriage. After nearly a decade of photographing these girls, she published “Too Young to Wed” in National Geographic in 2011. In 2012, Sinclair formed a nonprofit, also known as Too Young to Wed, dedicated to protecting girls’ rights and ending child marriage. 

While she maintains a busy schedule on other photo projects, documenting subjects such as life on a circus train and the care of elephants in India, she always returns to the stories of girls and young women who are vulnerable to exploitation. She has done more than accrue numerous awards for her photos; she has also raised money to help girls who have escaped their captors restart their education, learn new skills, and regain their self-esteem.

In addition, Sinclair created a foundation to provide scholarships and teach photography, giving girls a way to tell their stories and begin to change the world. Her foundation helped support and educate the young women she photographed for her acclaimed 2017 New York Times story, “Child, Bride, Mother: Nigeria.” In February, two of those girls shared their harrowing stories with U.S. lawmakers and United Nations officials. 

On a snowy late-winter afternoon in Peekskill, New York, while one of her two children was fighting a fever, Sinclair spoke with frequent contributor Julie Bain and did something she rarely does: talk about her own life, her photographic vision, and how she found her true calling.


Two Yemeni child brides stand alongside their husbands. Tehani, left, married when she was 6 and her husband, Majed, was 25.


At age 10, Nujood Ali divorced her husband, a man three times her age. The case led Yemen's parliament to consider setting a minimum marriage age.


Maya, 8, and Kishore, 13, pose for a wedding photo in India, where, despite legislation forbidding child marriage, the custom continues.


In Afghanistan, Ghulam, 11, had dreamed of becoming a teacher, but when she was engaged to marry Faiz, 40, she was forced to drop out of school. 


Baby, 17, and Claude Seibureh, 48, of Freetown, Sierra Leone, were married during the Ebola crisis.


Q: There has been a lot of discussion about women and sexual harassment and abuse in the United States. As someone who has covered these issues in other parts of the world, what’s your take on this moment?


A: I tend to be an optimist, and there’s no question that change is happening in our country with the #MeToo movement. It is very clear that women have had it. Some very difficult conversations are happening in every industry about how women are valued, but there are still limitations. We have many women in politics now, but we need many, many more. Ability is not the issue here – there’s no reason that women can’t compete on the highest levels with men in any category if they so choose. Their biggest challenge is the way they’re perceived.

I hope the progress we’re making in this country makes its way to places in the world where girls are the most vulnerable. As someone put it to me today, “It’s like #MeToo to the power of 14.” I’m proud to be helping to fight this battle.


Q: Are more women entering the photojournalism field, which was heavily skewed toward men when you started?


A: Yes, but it continues to be male-dominated. That is inevitably going to change, though. There are now more female photojournalism students than male photojournalism students, so we’re seeing that tide start to shift. Still, doing certain kinds of photojournalism requires significant sacrifices. It is very demanding of your time, there’s a lot of travel, and it’s not very conducive to raising a family.


Full Exposure 2018-06-13 08:00:00Z 0
Do a make-up at the Homer Downtown Club or just enjoy their meeting!
Homer Downtown  
We meet Tuesdays at 6:00 PM

Mailing Address: PO Box 57
Homer, AK  99603
United States

Rotary Club of Homer Downtown

Summer Rotations for places we are meeting


                                6:00 pm on Tuesday




Oct 02, 2018 6:00 PM
Avoiding Scams on the Internet and Telephone
October 2, meeting at Wild Berry Emporium, 6 p.m.
Oct 16, 2018 6:00 PM


Downtown Rotary is in "summer rotation" 

If you need information or have questions please call 907-399-1226



Homer Downtown Club Update 2018-06-07 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary Club of Chicago

Editor's note: We’ll be visiting clubs around the world to highlight the diversity of the Rotary experience. This is the first in a monthly series.

It’s noon on Tuesday, and a waiter at Chicago’s Union League Club is wondering if Cheryl McIntyre plans to eat lunch. “When I was president, I’d get so nervous about speaking in front of everyone that I’d barely touch my food,” she says. 

McIntyre was president of the Rotary Club of Chicago, also known as Rotary One, in 2015-16. That year, she changed the format of the meetings to allow more time for members to talk with visitors. She wanted people to feel welcome, she says, as though they were guests in someone’s home. The club gets its fair share of visitors – as the first Rotary club, established in 1905 and home to founder Paul Harris, it’s a must-stop for Rotarians from out of town.

Rotary Club of Chicago President Conor Gee, left, with 2015-16 President Cheryl McIntyre, club Secretary Marga Hewko, and President-Elect Khaled Akkawi outside the Union League Club.


As a hearty lunch of turkey, mashed potatoes, and roasted vegetables is served – it’s Thanksgiving week – Khaled Akkawi steps up to the podium. “This is my first time leading a meeting, so things will go as planned, right?” he jokes, a slight accent giving away his Jordanian roots. The club’s president-elect, he’s filling in for Conor Gee, who is in Geneva this week to attend Rotary Day at the United Nations. (At 32, Gee is one of the youngest people ever to serve as this club’s president.) 

Akkawi introduces the guests: two prospective members and five visiting Rotarians. One visitor, Alice Atemo, says she hopes to partner with the club on a water project in her home country of Kenya, where she runs a school for 900 orphaned children. 

Rajendran Sabanayagam and his daughter Priya are in town for a steel conference. He’s a member of the Rotary Club of Madras, India, and his daughter is part of a spinoff club created for younger professionals called Madras Next Generation. A couple from La Jolla, California, round out the visiting Rotarians. 

Akkawi then shares a quote he heard on the radio: “It’s so much easier to build a child than to rebuild an adult.” It made him think, he says, about the club’s signature project, Job1, a partnership with Chicago Public Schools that provides training and summer internships to high school students. As part of the program, the club sponsors job readiness training programs, puts together a job fair, and awards scholarships to graduating seniors. Rotarians also mentor the students in the program.

The club established its own foundation in 1938; it manages more than $3 million in assets and disburses between $200,000 and $250,000 every year, Gee says. Through the foundation, the club has funded rehabilitation services for disabled children, a clean-water project in Haiti, scholarships, and polio eradication. 

Situated in Chicago’s Loop, the historic Union League Club is a social, civic, and community hub for the city. It is sometimes referred to as the city’s “other Art Institute” for its large collection of paintings and other works. Although the focus is primarily on American artists – the nearly 800 pieces include works by Grant Wood and John James Audubon – one of the highlights is an 1872 painting by Claude Monet called Apple Trees in Blossom. 

Established in 1905 and home to founder Paul Harris, the Rotary Club of Chicago is a must-stop for Rotarians from out of town.

Club members gather for lunch every Tuesday in a ballroom lit by gilded chandeliers. Today, attendance is a bit lighter than usual because many of the 136 members went to an event over the weekend – a send-off for a fire truck and an ambulance for emergency responders in Jalisco, Mexico. Rotary One sponsored the donation together with the Rotary Club of Chicago Little Village; new member George Rabiela, a retired fire captain, helped organize the donation.

At the president’s table, nearly everyone is a guest. Akkawi splits his time chatting with a lawyer considering joining the club and today’s speaker, Jonny Imerman, a cancer survivor who established a support network that connects cancer patients with survivors. 


First Among Equals 2018-06-07 08:00:00Z 0
Security Challenges and Options for Peace on the Korean Peninsula 2018-06-07 08:00:00Z 0

The Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay is in need of a motivated individual who will assume the position of 2018-2019 President-Elect (PE) in preparation for serving as the President for the 2019-2020 Club Year. As PE, this dynamic Rotarian will also serve as the 2018-2019 Club year membership chair. 


To insure our continued membership growth and increased support for the community,  it is essential that the PE position be filled as soon as possible.

Thank you for stepping up and accepting the Rotary challenge.

President-Elect Needed 2018-06-06 08:00:00Z 0

Winston's Shelter Box & West Coast Trip Fundraisers. 





ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that provides temporary shelter and life saving supplies to families displaced by natural disasters.


The fundraiser will be a series of Nigerian meals and a showcase of Nigerian cultures.  It is going to be like Nigeria in Homer!

Winston's Fundraisers POSTPONED 2018-05-30 08:00:00Z 0

For more than two decades, Judy Colaneri has guided hikers along ancient pilgrimage routes that crisscross the European countryside. During those journeys, the American-born Colaneri, who splits her time between Spain and the United States, has heard hundreds of stories from those who’ve walked the trails beside her. 

Rotarians from five clubs in California went on an 8-day hiking trip.

Courtesy of Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle

Krishna and Bonnie Arora, members of the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle, California, US, have trekked with Colaneri almost a dozen times, and what they told her about Rotary on those journeys made a big impression.

“They’re always talking about their club’s work in Peru or India or Pakistan or Mexico, and I thought, ‘They are such good people,’” says Colaneri, who runs a tour company called Spanish Steps. “I’m at a point in my life where I’m still working so much and don’t have time to do what they do as Rotarians, so I called Krishna and Bonnie one day and asked how I could participate. I wanted to do something to help them.”

Colaneri came up with the idea of leading a trip of Rotarians and donating all profits, and the services of two of her guides and herself, to the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle. Club members embraced the opportunity. “We put an item about the trip in the district newsletter, and other Rotarians signed up. We decided we’d pick some projects and ask for donations,” says La Jolla Golden Triangle member Linda Stouffer-Wallis.

On 31 March 2017, 12 California Rotarians from five clubs set off on an eight-day hiking trip, following the last 100 kilometers of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail leading to the Spanish holy city of Santiago de Compostela. The fundraiser brought in more than $23,000 from Colaneri’s company and nearly $5,500 in donations collected by the Rotary hikers. 

“For Judy to give all of her profits from the trip to us, as well as volunteering herself and two guides, was extraordinary,” says Stouffer-Wallis, who walked with husband Steve Wallis. A few years earlier she had hiked a portion of the trail through France. 

“The beauty of this trail seeps into your soul,” says Stouffer-Wallis, a banker, who coordinated the fundraising and distribution to club projects. “It’s a deep experience. If you’re open and ready for it, the walk does some transformative healing.” (A number of books and movies have documented the power of the trail, including The Way, a 2010 film starring Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez.)

Walking guides Francesco Corsi, left, Virginio Corsi, and Judy Colaneri.

Courtesy of Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle

La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotarian Wayne Davis and his son Steve, a member of the Rotary Club of Escondido After Five, also went on the journey. “I’d heard about the walk for a long time and signed up mainly because of a book I’d read about it, To the Field of the Stars,” says the elder Davis, a San Diego architect. 

“I love historical elements of geography, and I was taking in everything around me, from the weather to the old path, the historical buildings and stone farmhouses, the people – it was all very inspiring to me in terms of history and knowing it was a path that had been walked on for hundreds of years.”

It was also a great shared experience for father and son. “We talked about things we wouldn’t normally talk about because we got to spend a week together, day and night. It was a real bonding experience for us,” Wayne says.


A Non-Rotarian Walks the (Long) Walk 2018-05-30 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary wins Best Nonprofit Act for its polio eradication work 


Rotary’s commitment to eradicating polio worldwide won Best Nonprofit Act in the Hero Awards of the One Billion Acts of Peace campaign, an international global citizens’ movement to tackle the world’s most important issues. 

A Rotary vaccination team immunizes children against polio at a railway station in Karachi, Pakistan. 

Khaula Jamil

The campaign is an initiative of PeaceJam Foundation and is led by 14 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, including the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Rigoberta Menchú Tum, with the ambitious goal of inspiring a billion acts of peace by 2020. 

Each year, the campaign picks two finalists in each of six categories for their work to make a measurable impact in one of the 10 areas considered most important by the Nobel laureates. Winners are chosen by people from around the world. 

Rotary and Mercy Corps were the two finalists in the Best Nonprofit Act category. Rotary and the five other winners will be recognized at a ceremony on  June in Monaco. Betty Williams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for her advocacy for peace in Northern Ireland, will present the award. 

Rotary Wins Award 2018-05-30 08:00:00Z 0
Last week (May 17th) Alaska's Governor Walker visited Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary, gave us some insights on how Alaska is doing at this time and answered a number of questions posed to him by members. One of the highlights of the visit was when our exchange student got to meet and talk with the governor.
Alaska's Governor Bill Walker Addresses Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary
Acting President Tom Presents Governor Walker with His Speaker's Certificate
Winston and Governor Walker
Alaska's Governor Walker Visits Homer Rotary 2018-05-23 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary Youth Exchange inspired CEO to create low-cost speech device

As a Rotary Youth Exchange student in Ecuador seven years ago, Mary Elizabeth McCulloch volunteered at an orphanage that was home to both adults and children with disabilities. She noticed that those who had trouble speaking – mainly because of cerebral palsy – were seated alone by the windows, and for the most part no one communicated with them. 

Today, at age 26, McCulloch is founder and CEO of ProjectVive, a social enterprise company that has developed a low-cost device called the Voz Box, which allows people who have difficulty speaking to express themselves. The product launches this year in the United States and Ecuador.


“We are empowering people with disabilities by giving them a voice,” says Mary Elizabeth McCulloch.  


Q: What did your experience in the orphanage inspire you to do?

A: After I returned to the United States and started at Penn State (graduating in 2016 with a degree in biomedical engineering), I began working on a low-cost speech generation device that would work in low-income and resource-constrained settings. I worked on it all through college, on evenings and weekends. Along the way, people joined my team, ProjectVive, to develop the Voz Box.

Q: How does the technology work? 

A: Our technology is for people with low motor control, who can’t tap a finger on an iPad or keyboard. We have different interfaces: a glove that works when someone flexes a finger; a watch that senses motion so the wearer can raise their arm to click; or glasses that detect blinking. These work with an application called CoughDrop AAC, which has grids of letters, words, and icons the user “points to” with the interface devices. Our devices can also control other applications, so the user can go to YouTube or Facebook, chat with friends, or look for jobs. 

Q: Who will this technology help?

A: Worldwide, there are 4.6 million people who can’t speak because of ALS or cerebral palsy. Too many people think that if they can’t contribute, it’s because they have nothing to contribute. But these disabilities aren’t reflections of cognitive ability or potential. We are empowering people with disabilities by giving them a voice and the ability to live out their life goals. 

Q: What would the world look like if people with disabilities had a bigger role? 

A: There are a lot of big societal problems facing the world today, and this is an untapped population of global problem solvers. Research shows that someone who has experienced adversity is more apt to make decisions to help others, to have empathy and sympathy. They are natural problem solvers. 

Q: When will the product be available?

A: The launches are in May in the United States and in June in Ecuador. We won’t be exporting from the United States; we are helping local people make and maintain the devices, and training users’ family members and caretakers to take care of them. And we’ll make sure the devices are in the users’ indigenous language, as well as Spanish and English. We are looking for our next pilot countries to launch ProjectVive and give more people with disabilities a voice. 

— Anne Stein

• Read more stories from The Rotarian

Freedom of Speech 2018-05-23 08:00:00Z 0

The joy of steering your interests toward something completely different


“When was the last time you did something for the first time? When was the first time you did something for the last time?” Those questions are tacked to the wall of my office. I have, at certain times in my life, received odd bits of wisdom; they all end up on the wall. A cartoon acquired at my first job depicts a sign on a muddy road warning: “Choose your rut carefully. You’ll be in it for the next 18 miles.” My editor had given it to me. When I would complain about a certain task, he would say: “How you deal with boredom may be the most defining of character traits.”

That became one of my core principles: One should always be on a learning curve. It helped that my job demanded discovery. As a writer, I explored new topics every month. The rut I chose lasted 40 years. 

To be on the learning curve you must be willing to be a beginner again, to wrestle with skills not entirely under your control.

Illustration by Dave Cutler

And then it disappeared.

I thought I was prepared. I had the notion that before you retire, you should have three passions on call, three irons in the fire, to fill the sudden abundance of time. I decided to devote more effort to photography; to reread One Hundred Years of Solitude and every mystery by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler; and to learn the guitar riff or the first 10 bars of every Beatles song. (OK, maybe just the ones in the key of E.) 

I soon discovered the flaw behind to-do lists. When the list is accomplished, you hit a “now what?” moment. I had simply spent more time indulging existing talents and interests. And none of those goals took me out of the house, involved other people, or kept me connected. I was no longer taking risks.

The learning curve, I realized, should lead somewhere.

A friend who took up online dating apparently mixed up his likes and dislikes in his profile. It took him months to notice that the women he was meeting were drawing him into activities he had previously avoided – and that he was enjoying himself. 

Something similar happened to me. My likes had brought me this far in life, but what did I know? I met a woman who loved jazz. Before then, I owned maybe three albums of music without words. A year later, my listening now includes Anat Cohen on clarinet, Wes Montgomery and Bobby Broom on jazz guitar, Wynton Marsalis. I sat in the balcony of Chicago’s Orchestra Hall and watched 77-year-old McCoy Tyner grab handfuls of heaven on the piano, delivering an entire lifetime in a single evening. I discovered the American songbook, came to appreciate the phrasing, the power of a single word. Nina Simone. Billie Holiday. The continuing education changed my map of Chicago, my hometown. I discovered the Green Mill, a jazz club that had been a speakeasy in Al Capone’s era. 

The learning curve should lead you out of the house.

I am not a foodie, but in the past year I have eaten at 35 restaurants that were not Cross-Rhodes, the Greek place that was the go-to choice for my kids for 20 years. All in the company of friends, old or new. Ted Fishman, author of Shock of Gray, a book on aging, pointed out that people who adopted the Mediterranean diet, hoping to live longer, were missing the point. In those cultures, breakfast, coffee, lunch, wine, and dinner all happen in the company of other people. Conversation is as important as the nature of calories consumed. Visit a café in Rome: What you notice first is that no one is talking on a phone. They are lost in face-to-face conversations.

The experts recommend learning a musical instrument but say that practicing something you already know doesn’t count. I was a child of the folk scare of the ’60s, so I play acoustic guitar. But I seldom ventured above the fifth fret, and I never bent a note. I belonged to the “learn three chords, play 10,000 songs” school. Suddenly my hands were attempting jazz chords (learn 10,000 chords, play three songs). My hands sometimes cramp up in a Dr. Strangelove spasm. A concerned friend asked, “What’s that?” I responded, “Oh, a D augmented 9th or maybe a G13.”

I have a friend who decided, out of the blue, to learn stand-up bass. He mastered the instrument, formed a jazz quartet with a killer vocalist, and now plays at clubs and galleries around Chicago. 

I met a woman who, after working as an emergency room physician for decades, developed a passion for tango. She takes lessons three nights a week. She travels to tango festivals and has gone to Argentina to work with legendary dancers. She owns multiple pairs of shoes with heels cut to different heights to perfectly match her partners. And you thought golf was equipment-intensive.

A friend asked one day if I would be interested in an afternoon listening to Israeli voices, people telling stories about their experiences on a kibbutz, about attending school, about finding love on the streets of Jerusalem. Why not? One story haunted me for weeks. What was going on? I usually forget the plot of a movie by the time I validate parking. 

I discovered that Chicago is home to a major storytelling community, one you can find in a bar or on a stage every night of the week. This, too, changed my map of the city. I have attended Moth “story slams” from the South Side to the North Shore, sat in intimate Irish pubs being moved to laughter or tears or heartache by the sound of human voices. 

Find a microphone. Tell your story. This campfire has been burning for millennia. It is human connection in its purest form, the exact opposite of what often happens in social media.

Curve Your Enthusiasm 2018-05-16 08:00:00Z 0
2018 Homer High Rotary Scholarship Recipients 2018-05-16 08:00:00Z 0

Beth spent an amazing 4+ days with 4 outstanding students at RYLA in Whitehorse.  They were easy to travel with, insightful and respectful, engaged and inspired.  Thank you for allowing me to have this experience!  Thanks to the Downtown Club for their partnership allowing us to bring more students to RYLA.  They plan to share their experience with us on May 24th at the Club Assembly.  For MANY more pictures of RYLA 2018 go to Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary at < www.facebook.com/ >

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards -- 2018 2018-05-09 08:00:00Z 0
For 95 years, the Rotary Club of Las Vegas has helped build a city that transcends showgirls, celebrities, and slot machines
By Kevin Cook
Two weeks before Christmas, Santa Claus hangs a left on Tropicana Avenue and drives toward a mall, shielding his eyes from the desert sun. He passes a cactus festooned with holiday lights and, as he walks into J.C. Penney, shouts, “Ho, ho, ho!” to children rubbing their hands together for warmth. The temperature? A frigid 55 degrees.
Dressed in shirtsleeves and a battery-powered Santa hat that flops back and forth on his head, Old St. Nick bears an uncanny resemblance to Jim Hunt, an insurance executive who runs the annual Santa Clothes program for the Rotary Club of Las Vegas. Each year the program sponsors shopping sprees for underprivileged children. Hunt built the program from 35 grade school students in 1996 to 365 today.
 Fremont Street, aka Glitter Gulch, 1952
Photo by Edward N. Edstrom
Inside Penney’s, scores of excited children fan out through the aisles. “Happy shopping!” exclaims Santa Jim as the kids run out of sight.
Each child has a guide to help find the right coat or shoes. Jennifer, 17, helps a first-grader try on an Avengers T-shirt. “It’s so fun being on the grown-up side of things,” Jennifer says, beaming. Ten years ago she was a Santa Clothes kid herself, picking out shoes, jeans, and a blanket decorated with teddy bears. “I’ve still got the blanket. Now I want to help kids who need it like I did.”
Club President Michael Gordon stands by a cash register. Each kid has a $200 spending limit. “We want them all to get as close to the limit as possible,” he says. “It’s a bit of a crapshoot to see who comes close without going over.” And if anyone goes over $200? “Well, we pay it.” 
A sturdy fellow with black hair and a stubbly goatee, Gordon speaks with a slight South African accent. He came to Las Vegas as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in 2006. “I couldn’t believe my good fortune, but didn’t know what to expect in Nevada,” he says. “No one in my family had ever been to the States. But people said it got cold in America, so I came prepared.” He walked out of McCarran International Airport wearing a winter parka. 
The parka hung in a closet while Gordon earned a Ph.D. in public affairs at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). He’s now director of strategic initiatives and research at the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, working to speed the city’s growth. “It’s an exciting time for Las Vegas,” he says. “We’ve got the Raiders moving here from Oakland in 2020. There’s the Hyperloop, a high-speed train that might get people here from Los Angeles in half an hour. We’ve got a new WNBA team, the Aces; the beginnings of a driverless bus system; a new bar where robots serve drinks; and plans for Interstate 11, which could one day go all the way to Seattle.”
Gordon laughs. Civic pride is in his blood – as is Rotary. His father, George, is president of the Rotary Club of Bellville, South Africa. “Father-and-son presidents 10,000 miles apart,” Gordon says. “That’s probably a first. We compare notes, but there’s no rivalry.” 
George Gordon is proud of his son’s achievements. “Michael’s club has 137 members to our 26,” he explains via email. “We don’t have the finances to pursue as many major projects, but we do what we can. And of course I look forward to visiting his club in Las Vegas.” 
Who wouldn’t? The club is pretty much like any other – except for the prime rib at meetings, casino chips in the End Polio Now piggy bank, celebrity visitors, and pirate ships outside the holiday party. And topping all that: the club’s ambitions. 
The First State Bank and Kuhn’s Mercantile in 1905, the year Las Vegas was founded.
Photo from Elbert Edwards Collection/University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Eighteen businessmen founded the Rotary Club of Las Vegas in 1923. They included founding President Les Saunders, manager of the local Chamber of Commerce, as well as two bankers, two haberdashers, a butcher, a doctor, a pharmacist, an auto dealer, the town’s only dentist, and several Union Pacific railroad executives. “They were the men who built this city as a community, not just a gambling mecca,” says Michael Green, an associate professor of history at UNLV.  “A real city needs bankers and businessmen, not just casinos.”
In those days, Las Vegas was a busy if sparsely populated (2,304 residents) railroad crossing. But after 1931, when Nevada legalized gambling and construction began on the Hoover Dam, the town gradually morphed into Sin City, the country’s capital of legal vice and quickie divorces. During the 1950s, with the construction of nearly a dozen hotel-casinos on the Strip, it boomed like the atomic bombs the military tested in the desert 65 miles northwest of town. By 1960, the population had grown to 64,405. Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack yukked it up at the Sands, soon followed by Elvis Presley, who put the viva in Las Vegas.
Cy Wengert, in hat, a charter member and president of the Rotary Club of Las Vegas.
Photo from Wengert Family Collection/University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Through it all, casino operators and business leaders, some of them Rotary members, worked together. One Rotarian’s off-hours tasks included carrying bags of silver dollars from casinos to a mob boss. When there were too many bags to fit in his car, he switched to a limo, then to a truck. Another Rotarian dreaded meetings because the club fined members who got their names in the paper – and he had been indicted for skimming casino cash. (A bum rap, his lawyer said.)
“Gaming was legal,” says Green. “A businessman didn’t need to know where a client got his money. One thing that meant was that mob money not only paid for much of the city, it served many good ends. You might go to someone like Bugsy Siegel and say, ‘We’re raising money for a great cause. We need free use of your ballroom and $3,000.’ That’s in everyone’s interest.”
The Las Vegas Rotary Club met in showrooms at the Stardust, Harrah’s, and the Desert Inn. Fines for being late or forgetting your Rotary pin started at $100. “Everything’s bigger in Vegas,” says Bob Werner, a longtime florist whom the stars called whenever they needed a floral horseshoe or a car full of roses. “It’s a good florist town,” he reminisces. “Diana Ross naturally needs more flowers in her dressing room than Céline Dion, and Céline needs more than Diana. I did OK. Now I enjoy going to meetings at the best club in the world.”
“I think it helps that we’ve got a chip on our shoulder,” says Randy Campanale, one of a dozen past presidents who play active roles in the club. “When people call us Sin City, it makes us want to prove we’ve got good people here.”
Last fall, a gunman perched in the Mandalay Bay hotel killed 58 people and wounded 422. Within hours, Gordon was phoning the past presidents, men and women he relies on as trusted advisers. He had one question: “What can we do?” The club arranged to pay for needy victims’ funerals.
It was only the latest of its many causes, which include food and blood drives, tuition grants, and awards for exemplary soldiers at Nellis and Creech air force bases, key employers in Clark County. Gordon also wants to bring in a Junior Achievement BizTown, a kid-size city where grade school students play everything from chief financial officer to mayor to intrepid reporter.  
1.      https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_600/public/pho008056_0.jpg?itok=uLirmDoc
Rotarians in cowboy hats celebrate Helldorado Week, 1938.
Photo from Wengert Family Collection/University of Nevada, Las Vegas
2.      https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_600/public/Screen%20Shot%202018-01-27%20at%203.14.19%20PM.jpg?itok=FhJyrXfn
The 1940 Christmas party.
Photo from K.O. Knudson Collection/University of Nevada, Las Vegas
3.      https://www.rotary.org/sites/default/files/styles/w_600/public/Screen%20Shot%202018-01-27%20at%203.10.40%20PM.jpg?itok=Ji4aE_fS
 Auctioning town lots in 1905, the year the city was founded.
Photo from Ferron-Bracken Collection/University of Nevada, Las Vegas
These days the club meets on Thursdays at Lawry’s the Prime Rib on Howard Hughes Parkway. Members pay $30 for lunch. Over the years they’ve heard speeches from show business celebrities – such as Debbie Reynolds and Louie Anderson – as well as Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, and her husband, former mayor (and mob lawyer) Oscar Goodman; boxing promoter Bob Arum; and Jerry “Tark the Shark” Tarkanian, the towel-chewing basketball coach of UNLV’s NCAA champion Runnin’ Rebels. With an annual budget of almost $500,000 and a local foundation fund that spins off more than $50,000 a year in interest, the club has resources few can match. And the money’s legit: Las Vegas, perennially one of America’s fastest-growing cities, got respectable long ago. 
“I love what they’re doing here,” says District 5300 Governor Raghada Khoury. “They’ve got a club for new members, the 25 Club, that gets them off to a flying start.” (In Vegas, new arrivals spend two years in the 25 Club, proving they’re Rotary ready, before graduating to full membership.) “They’ve got Rotaract, Interact, even Kideract for grade-schoolers. They’ve got a car show, foundation giving, PolioPlus, on and on. Smaller clubs don’t have the resources to do all that, but any club could pick one of these projects and do it well.”
As it did with Jennifer, the 17-year-old Santa Clothes guide, Rotary made an early and indelible impression on Khoury. She remembers a Rotary program that brought books to children in Yonkers, New York. “I was one of those kids,” she says. “I became an avid reader thanks to those books.” As an adult, she got off to a rough start at a Rotary club in Southern California: “We were the first district ever to admit women – and the men wouldn’t talk to me!”
She decided to quit Rotary, but the club president urged her to give it another try. “I threw myself into it,” says Khoury, who rose to president and finally district governor. Since last year she has put 28,000 miles on her car, driving from club to club in California and Nevada, promoting causes such as satellite clubs that meet twice a month. “I’m for ideas that can increase retention of the members we’ve got and bring new ones in,” she says. “My message is: Don’t just show up at meetings. Roll up your sleeves and be a real Rotarian.”  
The 2017 Santa Clothes shopping spree.
Photo from Las Vegas Rotary Club
From the Santa Clothes event, Club President Gordon drives to a football field on the UNLV campus. The 300-plus kids have finished their shopping sprees and are running races with the university’s track team, hitting Wiffle balls with its baseball players, knocking down foam tackling dummies with football players, and doing jumping jacks with Runnin’ Rebels cheerleaders. 
“This is life-changing for them,” says Katie Decker, who runs three elementary schools with busy Kideract programs. (Gordon calls her “Rotary’s favorite principal.”) Decker’s students learn The Four-Way Test, which is painted on her schools’ walls. Once a year, the Kideract kids attend a club luncheon in their honor. “We let them run the meeting,” says Gordon, who last year stepped aside for a Kideractor half his size. 
Gordon’s next stop is the local PBS station, KLVX, where Past President Tom Axtell helped build the state’s only interactive library for deaf and blind children. Another of Axtell’s projects was higher-tech, and it has assumed an even greater significance since the October shootings. “We digitized the blueprints of all the school buildings in Las Vegas, as well as contact info for thousands of school employees, students, and parents,” Axtell explains. “If there’s a lockdown due to a terrorist event or any sort of disaster, we embed all that data in our TV signal. Viewers can’t see it on the screen, but emergency responders get it instantly.”
From the TV station, Gordon heads to the city’s sprawling Salvation Army complex. Maj. Randy Kinnamon shows off recent shipments of wheelchairs and food the club has donated. Gordon shakes hands with a once-homeless chef named Jeremy – his specialty is braised short ribs – who now prepares more than 1,000 Rotary-subsidized meals a day.
And then it’s back to the Strip, where pirate ships circle the social event of the year.
President David Welles and 1976 Rotary high school scholarship winners.
Photo from the North Las Vegas Library Collection/University of Nevada, Las Vegas
The ballroom at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino features a deejay, balloons, giant snowflakes projected on the walls, and a theater-size movie screen showing photos from past Santa Clothes sprees. The club’s holiday party owes its youthful vibe to more than the kids on the screen. Jimmelle Siarot, a mother of three who works the front desk at the Flamingo, greets attorney Anna Karabachev, 28. They came up from the 25 Club with entrepreneur Erik Astramecki, 27, who moonlights as a mixed martial arts fighter.
Not long ago, Astramecki provided one of the only-in-Vegas scenes the club is known for. “The whole Rotary club,” he recalls, “came to my first big fight,” which was staged within the eight-sided fighting cage at the Cannery Hotel & Casino. Prefight, as Astramecki psyched himself up inside the Octagon (as the fighting cage is called), the national anthem began – and then the PA system conked out. “Total silence,” says the pugilist, “till the Rotarians picked up the song. Pretty soon we’re all singing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ a cappella.” 
Gordon enters the Treasure Island ballroom to scattered applause. Dressed in a kilt to honor his Scottish ancestry, he smiles and bows as some club members sing “Happy Birthday to You.” The aging president, as he calls himself, turned 40 today. “There’s a lot to celebrate,” Gordon says, posing for pictures with his wife, Amanda. 
“We’re expecting,” Amanda adds. District Governor Khoury pins a button on the expectant mother’s waistband. It reads “Future Rotarian.”   
From the stage, Gordon introduces Jackie Thornhill, who is slated to be president in 2019-20. Then he assesses the biggest fine of the year: $9,500 to a member who had gotten engaged and gotten his name in the paper. Of course, the club’s famously high fines are all for show: Offenders usually bargain their way down to $5 or $10. 
After a dinner of shrimp, steak, and cake, the deejay cranks up the music. Michael Gagnon, wine buyer at the MGM Grand, dances with private investigator Arleen Sirois. Several other members pull Gordon to the dance floor. He resists at first. Fifteen hours into his workday, he looks tired. But the room is thumping as Bruno Mars belts out “Uptown Funk.” After a moment the burly, kilted Gordon throws his hands in the air. He spins and boogies for all he’s worth – no hip-shaking Elvis, but not bad for a zealous urban planner and indefatigable Rotary dad-to-be. 
-- Kevin Cook is a frequent contributor to The Rotarian. His latest book is Electric October
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Bright Lights, Big Heart 2018-05-09 08:00:00Z 0
Homer Middle School Needs Help!! 2018-05-01 08:00:00Z 0

How your brain is keeping you from changing your mind

By By Joe Queenan                                                       Illustrations by Guy Billout

A few years ago, when I was suffering from severe back pain, I consulted a local chiropractor, a practitioner of a medical technique I do not actually believe in. After several predictably fruitless visits, she asked me to lie on a long, vibrating bed that would help me relax by putting my body in harmony with the vibrations of the planet.

“That won’t work with me,” I told her, gathering up my things. “I’m from Philadelphia.”


As an alumnus of the Quaker City working class, I held on to my disdain for all things esoteric and mystical and Eastern – yoga, tai chi, transcendental meditation, chutney – for many years until my back pain got so severe that I finally broke down and saw an acupuncturist. I would never have dreamed of doing this were it not for the intervention of a friend, a man as conservative and straitlaced as they come, who handed me Dr. Lee’s card, recommending him most highly.

“Wait a minute,” I objected. “Guys like you don’t believe in stuff like acupuncture.”

“If your back hurts enough, you’ll believe in anything,” he replied.

The treatment worked; for me, it was a miraculous cure. I am not exaggerating by saying that acupuncture saved my life. This got me to thinking about how hard it is to get a person to change his mind about something unless some sort of personal crisis erupts. 

My list of entrenched beliefs is short but inflexible. I would never change my religion or political affiliation, even when I disagree with the church or the party, and it is impossible to get me to change my views about music. I have disliked Vivaldi – Renaissance Muzak – the Grateful Dead, and smooth jazz for more than four decades, and when a friend took me to see Kenny Chesney and Lady Antebellum, begging me to give contemporary country a fair hearing, I came out hating the genre more than when I went in – something I would not have thought possible.

I loathe beets, kale, cauliflower, clog dancing, Middlemarch, Civil War re-enactors, Billy Joel, Jimmy Buffett, the Dallas Cowboys, folk music, marzipan, and the New York Yankees, and nothing short of divine intervention is going to change my mind about any of them. 

Most people I know have similar, though perhaps less vehement, attitudes toward one thing or another. My liberal friends could never be persuaded to vote Republican, and my conservative friends feel the same way about Democrats. I have breakfast every morning with a group of friends, including one who is quite conservative and another who is extremely liberal. They have locked horns on every major issue – guns, taxes, immigration, global warming, the designated hitter rule – every day for 15 years. Neither has ever persuaded the other to change his opinion about anything. 

People who despise hip-hop, pro basketball, Cats, sushi, coconut water, NPR, or the opera are not going to change the way they feel about those things. The only way I could get most of my friends to listen to Wagner, eat scrapple, or rent a Steven Seagal movie would be if I could prove to them that doing so would cure lower back pain. With the scrapple, even that might not work.

T.J. Elliott, longtime chief learning officer at the Educational Testing Service, scoffs at the notion that you can change people’s opinions by marshaling powerful, insuperable arguments. 


Neuro-Logic 2018-05-01 08:00:00Z 0
More - Winston at the Prom 2018-04-25 08:00:00Z 0

How Jim Marggraff is inventing the way to a better future


I’m in a conference room at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, to interview Jim Marggraff, but before I can even start, he launches into questions of his own: What’s the goal of this article? Who will read it? What do we want them to do with what they learn?


This is the way the serial entrepreneur approaches everything from a talk with a reporter to the lack of map-reading skills in the United States to world peace. “I’m emphatically focused on what is the PTS – what is the problem to solve?” he says. “I ask that multiple times every day, because people typically aren’t clear on it.” 


Marggraff’s focus on problem-solving has made him an enormously successful inventor. His creations have included the Livescribe smart pen, which links handwritten notes with audio, and LeapFrog’s LeapPad, an electronic book that helps children learn to read and has had sales of more than $1 billion since it debuted in 1999. In October 2016, Google acquired Eyefluence, a virtual reality company he co-founded.

After a year at Google, Marggraff “found the allure of a startup too great” and left the tech giant to become CEO of Rival Theory, a company that is developing artificial intelligence personas of world leaders and influencers that will give people access to their support and coaching.


A member of the Rotary Club of Lamorinda Sunrise, Marggraff was the driving force behind Rotary’s virtual reality film One Small Act. The film follows a child whose world has been torn apart by conflict and traces the acts of kindness that make a difference in her life. Developed with Google, it debuted at the 2017 Rotary International Convention in Atlanta and can be viewed on Rotary’s VR app, which is available on iTunes and Google Play. 


A desire to change the world underlies much of Marggraff’s work. “There is a thread that connects all of these technologies,” he says. “It deals with communication, understanding, learning, empathy.” His new book, How to Raise a Founder with Heart, is about raising kids with an entrepreneurial mindset. 


Over breakfast, we talk about the future of virtual reality as a fundraising tool; where he gets his ideas; and how Rotary clubs can learn to think like an inventor.


Q: You have spent two decades bringing together technology and humans. What has been the biggest challenge?

A: With each of my inventions, I thought that after I presented an idea, it would be rapidly grasped and then easily accepted and adopted. I was surprised – although I no longer am – by the amount of time it takes for people to grasp the implication of a new technology, to understand its potential, and then to embrace it.


Q: You’ve said that what motivates your work is making a difference in the world. Where does Rotary fit in?

A: Each time I’d start another company, my neighbor would ask me to speak at his club. I spoke first about an interactive globe I’d invented, and then I spoke about the LeapPad, and then I came in and showed the Livescribe pen, and then, in 2011, I became a Rotary member. 

I’d been an entrepreneur buried in my work so long, and I was looking for a means to give back. I wouldn’t have joined just a social club for businesses. It was Rotary’s commitment to doing local projects. As I began to hear about the global programs as well, I was more impressed and more interested.


Q: Rotary is exploring virtual reality as a way for clubs and districts to share Rotary’s story. How do you explain VR to people unfamiliar with the technology? 

A: Remember the old View-Master? You put this disc in, and it’s got a pair of images taken from slightly different angles, and it gives you a stereo view. VR is like a View-Master, but now the simplest way is to take your phone, put it in the little Google Cardboard box, and put some lenses in front of it. Instead of it just being a static image, it’s a movie. And instead of it just being a movie, you can look around and see 360 degrees. You see above you, below you, to the left and right. You’re inside the movie. 


Q: How can a VR experience help people connect with each other?

A: Here’s an example. Right now, you can connect virtually with 2 billion people on the planet with Google Hangouts or Skype. You can also pick up your phone and utter a phrase and within three seconds have it translated to virtually any language in the world. As we merge those technologies, you’ll be able to virtually sit in someone’s living room and talk to them as the language is translated. You will be able to connect with someone in Libya or Afghanistan or South Africa, and you’ll be able to share your feelings and thoughts. Suddenly, it’s not a remote person in a remote country. It’s an individual you can understand. 

As the technology allows, I’m looking to see what framework we can create. First let’s connect Rotarians to Rotarians. Rotary is a global group, and we feel bonds with each other just because we’re Rotarians. Now let’s connect more personally.

Then let’s reach beyond that and connect people outside of Rotary with Rotarians and then with others. And once this happens, it becomes more difficult for people to allow the leaders in their country to say, “Bomb them.”


Q: Might we invent our way to peace? 


View One Small Act and other virtual reality films on Rotary’s VR app, which is available for Android and Apple devices. Or stop by the Virtual Reality Zone in the House of Friendship at the 2018 Rotary International Convention in Toronto. 

Use VR to share Rotary’s story at your club and district events. Watch for a new VR film in time for World Polio Day in October. Find out more at rotary.org/en/vr.

Problems Solved 2018-04-25 08:00:00Z 0
We need the club’s input in efforts to upgrade Ben Walters Park to make it safer and more enjoyable for the users.  A little park background and ideas our little committee have for upgrades follows.  Please look these over and offer any suggestions, improvements, and new ideas for this work.  We also need more members on our committee, so please let Dave Brann, Tom Early or Kathy Hill know if you are interested.  Being on this committee does not mean you are bound to a work party.  We will be soliciting members for help early summer, so please be willing to chip in some time for a better community (and the possibility for free coffee/drinks and snacks).
The Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club and the City of Homer has an "Adopt a Park" agreement at Ben Walters Park since 2011 which states that our club is responsible for some of the maintenance and upgrades.  Our Rotary logo (brand) is visible in the park and the aging facilities and lack of playground equipment is sheds a poor light on Rotary in Homer. 
The park is also beginning to be used for nefarious activities by the younger generation.  The upgrades we envision would enhance the quality and safer use of the park. The McDonald's franchise owner expressed enthusiasm to help support our work to upgrade this park because of the close proximity to their facility and potential customer use of the park.
Our “Cranium Cup” trivia night this winter netted us approximately $2,000 with the stated proceeds going to Homer parks upgrades.  We plan to use these funds and a lot of Club "sweat equity" to complete many of the following projects.  Construct two to three picnic tables, sand and varnish existing benches and construct several new benches, brush and open some of the wooded area for better visibility and safety, refurbish/replace boundary posts, repaint the inside and outside of the public bathroom, and install lighting on the park grounds.  With the club money, a District 5010 matching grant, and some probable help from McDonald’s, we hope to purchase several new and fairly simple pieces of playground equipment to encourage more use by families.
This will be a very visible Rotary project which will greatly benefit the community.
A Request for Help 2018-04-25 08:00:00Z 0
Join us for an upcoming webinar, How to Start a Community-Based Rotaract Club
Rotary President-elect Barry Rassin set a goal for Rotary to double Rotaract clubs around the world in 2018-19. So let’s get started! Join us for the webinar How to Start a Community-Based Rotaract Club on Wednesday, 9 May, at 12:00 Chicago time (UTC-5). Hear Rotary staff, members of community-based Rotaract clubs, and Rotarian sponsors explain why community-based clubs are a great option and how easy it is to start one. View the webinar time in your region and register.
How to Start a Community Based Rotaract Club 2018-04-25 08:00:00Z 0

Dear District 5010 Rotarians:


The annual business meeting for Rotary District 5010 will be held in Seward on Saturday, May 19, 2018.  For the 2018 conference, seven resolutions will be presented and voted upon at the annual business meeting along with nominations received for the (Zone) RI Director Nominating Committee. 


With this communication, we notify clubs that submitted resolutions and the current financials reports are available for review on the district website, http://rotarydistrict5010.org under "Documents" on the right hand side.  Following is a direct link to the packet:




The 2016-17 financial report and the year-to-date 2017-18 financial report are also posted, and will be presented in detail at the business meeting.


Substantive proposals to come before the electors at this year’s business meeting include:

  • Resolution 5, which establishes procedures in the District MOP for the expenditure of excess reserve funds (those that exceed 12 months of operating expenses), and
  • Resolutions 6 and 7, which are identical and propose revisions to the process for selecting the District Governor.

Please review and discuss the proposed amendments in advance with your board and designated electors and be sure the electors come to the meeting prepared to efficiently conduct District business and represent your club’s position.  There will only be an hour allocated for the meeting on Saturday afternoon. If you have questions about these proposals, please contact the sponsors, as follows:


Resolution 5 – District Excess Reserves Fund procedures: 

Andre Layral, Fairbanks Sunrisers, alayral1920@gmail.com


Resolutions 6 & 7 – Changes to DG Selection procedures: 

            Alana Bergh, North Pole Rotary, alanabergh@gmail.com

            Cheryl Metiva, President Susitna Club, clmetiva@gmail.com


Please refer to Article XIII of the District Manual of Procedure for information about how resolutions are submitted and voted upon at the annual district conference (available on the district home page under “Documents”).  The resolutions will be effective July 1, 2018 unless otherwise noted. 


We look forward to seeing you in Seward!  Please don't hesitate to contact me, DG Harry Kieling, or DGE Diane Fejes with questions by phone or email.


Best regards,




Ann Metcalfe

Administration Committee



ROTARY - Notice of Business Meeting &amp; Proposed Resolutions 2018-04-17 08:00:00Z 0

From the Desk of President Beth

Thanks to Ed and Jan for a great month of music, art and unique and interesting presenters!  It was a lot of fun to mix things up and learn about and be exposed to new and different things!

We are in need of a Treasurer for the 2018-19 year!  Please let me or Bernie know if you are interested in helping out the club in this way.  It would be ideal to have the opportunity to work with Susie for a couple of months to learn the system before taking over in July!

Don't forget to sign up for the Guess Who's Coming to Dinner event on April 14th!  It's a fun way to enjoy getting to know the fellow Rotarians in our club!

Please continue to bring toiletries to our Thursday meetings so we can package them up and give them to Haven House for distribution to residents.  These items that go into the welcome baskets they provide are so important as many may arrive with nothing.


We need an Ad Hoc committee to work on coming up with a recommendation for how to use the money earned at the Cranium Cup event to enhance our community parks.  We would like to apply for a District grant - so our $2000 will be matched by $2000 and we will have $4000 to work with.  Members of the committee need to investigate needs and come up with a recommendation to present to the Club and Board by the end of March.  Contact Beth if you would like to help with this!

Don't forget to register for the District Conference - held in Seward this year May 17-19!

Ask Winston what's on his Alaskan "bucket list" and see if you can help him check something off! 





Open World

We are looking for eight host families for the 2-10 June 2018 Open World Russian Delegation Visit. At present we have two volunteers, so we still need six more hosts. Please contact President-Elect Bernie Griffard if you can assist. His phone is 717-319-2653; email griffbfgak@gmail.com.

Announcements: April 12, 2018 2018-04-11 08:00:00Z 0
Proposed guidelines for “Meet, Greet and Dine with Rotary Community leaders” fundraising events (March 2018)
1.       Host invites “Community leader/celebrity Rotarian(s)” to a fundraising dinner and notes how many additional guests can be invited
2.      Celebrity Rotarian and/or host invites additional guests – preferably people who are not Rotarians, who may learn about Rotary and may be interested in membership.
3.      Each person who attends the dinner (except the host/s) contributes $30 for his/her meal and drinks
4.      Money raised will fund education/training activities of Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay
5.      Host and Celebrity Rotarian guest(s) select date and time of dinner
6.      Host prepares the meal.  Other non-participating Rotarians may contribute food or drinks for the event.
7.      Host and Celebrity together decide topics of conversation that may be discouraged. 
8.      Rotarian hosts and Rotarian “celebrity guests” form the committee to distribute the funds raised.
Rotarian Celebrities (not an inclusive list- just for examples):  Representative Paul Seaton, City Mayor Bryan and Karen Zak; City Manager, Katie Koester; KBC Director Carol Swartz; CACS Director, Beth Trowbridge; Hospital Public Relations Director, Derotha Ferraro; Save U More Manager, Mark Hemstreet; KHLT Director, Marie McCarthy; City Planner, Rick Abboud; Chamber Director, Debbie Speakman; etc.
First Fundraiser dinner, hosted by Vivian Finlay and Clyde Boyer, with Mayor Bryan Zak, and City Manager, Katie Koester, as the honored Rotarian guests, held on March 3, 2018; four community guests attended.  $180 was donated by the guests; $30 by CTB; = $210.00.  Charlie Franz, Club Secretary, received this as scholarship to attend the District conference in Seward, in May 2018.
Proposed Guidelines for “Meet, Greet and Dine With Rotary Community Leaders” Fundraising Events 2018-04-11 08:00:00Z 0

Our Club obtained a global grant to purchase and install a coffee roaster machine, and to train Mayan descendants in a remote mountain village in Guatemala to roast their own coffee.  The farmers' coffee is organically grown in the mountains under the rain forest canopy and is single source and delicious.

The farmers are now able to roast their own coffee to international standards.  Earth Friendly Coffee Company purchases as much of their coffee as they can sell, and at better than fair trade prices.  The company is always looking for new customers.

Many people in our Club used to purchase and drink the coffee before the farmers were roasting their own.  Our members will be pleased with the results of the coffee being sold now.


We hope people will continue to support the farmers who we supported with this project.

Coffee Anyone? 2018-04-11 08:00:00Z 0

When membership dropped below 20, the Rotary Club of Central Ocean Toms River, New Jersey took a leap of faith by offering a radically different membership structure to retain and attract members. The risk has paid off with a membership increase of 61 percent in two years.

When Mike Bucca took over as membership chair of the Rotary Club of Central Ocean in July 2015, he knew the club had a problem. Membership was down to 18 and dwindling. Bucca persuaded club leaders to look seriously at membership. 

The Rotary Club of Central Ocean Toms River, New Jersey, is a diverse club with a nearly equal number of men and women ages 30 to 89. The club has a robust list of projects because members believe it is important to be directly involved in service. Members have tackled nine projects (and counting) during the 2017-18 Rotary year by breaking into smaller groups to work on multiple projects at the same time. Members in 2015: 18; Members in 2017: 29  

Rotary Club of Central Ocean Toms River, New Jersey

The club board held three membership summits where they discussed why people join Rotary and why they stay. The result was a proposal to dramatically alter the club's membership structure to attract new members by lowering the financial commitment. 

“We want members to have a place in this club where they are contributing what they can – in time or finances,” Bucca explains. “It’s really worked.”

The Rotary Club of Central Ocean still has standard and corporate memberships, in which a local corporation or business joins with a specified number of qualified employees serving as its designees. Members in both categories pay $399 in dues every six months. The club also offers three alternative types of membership. The first is an introductory membership. New members can join at the rate of $99 for the first six months and $199 for the second. After the first year of membership, they pay the standard rate.

“When I joined, that was my biggest hesitation – the money,” says Bucca. “For $99 I would have joined the first time I was asked and not three years later.” 

The second membership offering is a discount to family members of existing members paying the standard rate. Family members can join for $199 every six months, and that discount applies as long as another family member is paying the standard rate. 

Again, Bucca drew from experience. “My wife and two other members’ wives wanted to join the club, but the family could not afford it. But half price made sense, so we gained three members.” 

The third type is called a friendship membership. This is designed for members who are interested in helping the club and taking part in projects, but cannot commit to meetings. Friendship members pay $249 every six months.

“People felt guilty about not coming to meetings. This eliminates that,” Bucca says. 

The results are clearly in favor of the new system. Membership climbed from a low of 18 in 2015 to 29 in 2017. Many of the new members are in their 30s and many are women, says Bucca. “In 2013, I was the only member under 40; now we have seven. Our club was No. 1 in the district for the number of women who joined.” 

Most importantly, the new members have invigorated the club. “Our club was dying; we were in trouble,” says Bucca. “We turned it around and are thriving.” –Susie Ma

What is your club doing to reinvent itself? Email club.innovations@rotary.org.

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Club Innovation: New Membership Categories Attract New Members 2018-04-10 08:00:00Z 0

By Ryan Hyland

Rotary.org has been nominated for a Webby Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, which called Rotary.org “one of the five best sites in the world in its category.”

Nominated in the association category, Rotary.org is competing with four others for the 22nd annual awards.

Rotary International's revamped website has been chosen by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences as one of the best association websites in the world.

“Nominees like Rotary are setting the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet,” said Claire Graves, executive director of The Webby Awards. “It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best.”

The Webby Awards are the leading international honor for excellence on the internet. Rotary.org is competing for both a Webby Award, whose winners are selected by the academy, and the Webby People’s Voice Award, whose winners are chosen by public vote. 

The academy judged websites on several criteria: content, structure and navigation, visual design, functionality, interactivity, innovation, and overall experience. 

Help us win the People’s Voice Award. You can vote until 19 April. The winners of each category will be announced on 24 April in New York City. 

The four other nominees for best association site are:

·       Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance

·       11th Macau Design Biennial

·       Trade Works for Us

·       Center for Court Innovation

Visit the webbyawards.com for a full list of categories and nominations.

Vote today!

Rotary.org Nominated for Prestigious Webby Awards — Help Us Win 2018-04-10 08:00:00Z 0
Bernice King on what it takes to reach across political and racial divides
At the Rotary Presidential Peace Conference in Atlanta last June, Bernice King gave a rousing speech about the hard work of fostering peace. She challenged her audience – both those in the auditorium and Rotarians worldwide – to think anew about how they define peace and how they interact with the people they disagree with. “Every member of our world society, even our adversaries and opponents, is worthy of being looked upon with dignity,” she said.
Addressing the current political moment in the United States, King noted how troubling it is that people are increasingly divided, with Republicans refusing to engage with Democrats and Democrats refusing to engage with Republicans. She called on people everywhere to reach across political divides.
Illustration by Viktor Miller Gausa
King spoke from deep experience. The youngest daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. – assassinated 50 years ago this month – she has embraced the family’s legacy of social activism. Today she is the CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta. Founded in 1968 by her mother, Coretta Scott King, the King Center carries on the work of Bernice’s father by searching for solutions to poverty, racism, and violence.
King’s career as a public speaker began in 1980 when she was 17 and, standing in for her mother, gave a speech on apartheid at the United Nations. After college, she earned graduate degrees in divinity and law, a combination that has shaped her vocation and her oratory, which evokes her father in both its style and its ambitions.
As a law clerk in the juvenile court system of Georgia’s Fulton County, King saw the way many teens, already disadvantaged by society, faced a legal system based on retribution rather than rehabilitation. Since then, she has dedicated herself to inspiring young people and teaching them about Nonviolence 365, the King Center initiative that encourages people to emulate her father’s principles every day of the year. 
Bernice King continues to speak out: at the White House and in South Africa; at universities, corporations, and the U.S. Department of Defense. How, she asks, can right-minded people hope to change hearts and minds when they insist on casting their opponents as the enemy? In her conversation with senior editor Hank Sartin, King suggested ways we might realize an answer to that vexing question.
In 1968, five-year-old Bernice King walks with her mother and other family members in her father’s funeral procession.
AP Photo
King speaks against apartheid at the UN as a teenager.
Associated Press photo
Q: How do you win someone over to your point of view when you are reaching out to someone whose actions and ideas you find hateful and wrong?
A: Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice and not people. We must do something about injustice, but in the process of addressing injustice we always want to preserve a person’s humanity. The decisions and choices that people have made and the actions that they’ve taken may be hateful, wrong, and unjust, but at the end of the day they’re still a part of our human family. 
The possibility of redemption is always available for individuals. When your mind-frame is geared toward that, then you go to work trying to find solutions that don’t denigrate and minimize a person. You go in seeking to understand first and then to be understood. Differences of ideology and opinion may not change. However, it’s our job to spend time trying to connect with and understand the other person. 
Studies show that people don’t change cognitively; they change because of experience. When we say people are taught to hate, that teaching is also embedded in experience. People only change through a new and different experience. How are they going to get that experience? Those experiences only come from engagement; they come from encounters. So we must have courageous conversations between people of divergent perspectives. It’s not easy work, but it’s necessary work. It doesn’t mean when you leave those encounters that you will necessarily agree with people, but in the end you will develop a better respect for them and ensure that you always leave them with dignity.
Q: In your work, that means talking with people who are avowed racists, for instance. How do you get someone to sit down with you to begin that conversation when we’re in such a divided world and our positions are so firmly fixed?
President Barack Obama greets King in 2013 on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
A: We have to disarm. We don’t wait for the other to disarm. If you’re still armed and on the defensive going into the conversation, then it’s kind of like the law of attraction: You attract what energy you emit. There’s a lot of internal work that has to take place within an individual. What has helped me is really getting to know Bernice. When I get to know myself, I’ve had to learn how to love Bernice in spite of the things that I cannot stand about Bernice and the things that I know need to change in me. If I can get to a place where I can embrace and love myself in spite of all of that, then I have the capacity to do it with other people. 
Q: What have you learned from working with young people?
A: I believe many young people have a very narrow focus. For them, nonviolence is the opposite of violence. But nonviolence really is a prescription to elevate you to a place where you start with understanding the human condition, the interconnectedness. Once young people open themselves up and are exposed to these ideas, they gain an entirely different perspective and can see how these ideas are very relevant and usable and livable. 
Q: Why has racism proven so intractable?
A: First of all, racism at its core creates the notion of privileged versus unprivileged, and people who are privileged have a very difficult time giving up that privilege. Also, we’ve had a lot of people confusing the real issue of racism. Racism is prejudice plus power. The power levels are critical when you talk about racism; otherwise all you have is prejudice. So we just have to keep biting at racism generation after generation. Certainly we have made some inroads, but the systemic part of it is so difficult to address. 
Q: How can we change people who are prejudiced?
A: It’s incumbent upon those of us who understand to be sensitive to that and think about how to help people navigate through their fears. Violence is the language of the unheard. We’ve got to think about where people feel unheard, feel that they are insignificant. We have to ask if that’s what they’re acting out of. I’m sure we would discover that in most cases that is true.
It is irresponsible to leave people in their hate. Most people who are very hateful can’t see that they’re hateful, because that’s all they ever knew. As a part of the human race, we have a responsibility to not let people be stuck in that kind of hate. We can’t just cut them off. Most of them are redeemable. Some of them are not, but you won’t know until you engage them. There’s a black man named Daryl Davis in Baltimore, Maryland, who asked, “How can you hate me if you don’t know me?” He decided to start encountering and connecting with some of the Klan in his area. Twenty-five of them ended up denouncing the Klan, turning over their robes to him. One of them, a former grand wizard, is now doing a lot of work in the area of race relations. So people are redeemable. If you automatically assume they’re irredeemable, all you’re doing is leaving the potential for them to sow further seeds of prejudice and hatred. 
Q: At the Rotary Presidential Peace Conference, you said, “We need to re-explore the definition of peace.” Then you quoted your father: “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” How do we act on that insight?
A: Removing the immediate tension and the conflict is one thing, but getting to the root of what created that tension and conflict – and can continue to perpetuate it – is necessary. We need to redistribute power so that it is more equitable. In the work of peace, you don’t want people to just stop fighting. You want them to agree to a new covenant of how to live together with equitable circumstances. That means looking at how power is distributed and agreeing to come up with a strategy and a plan that creates equity among groups of people. It is what Daddy talked about: the revolution of values. We’ve got to reconsider how to embrace a different model of society.
Q: What advice can you give Rotarians?
A: First, I remind people that it is about focus. You have to identify where your passion lies and stay focused in that area. Daddy didn’t set out to change the world; he identified his passions. He was concerned, obviously, about segregation and the way people were treated in his race, and he wanted to see that change. But his calling was ministry, and so he opted to pastor. One thing led to another, and it catapulted him into a leadership role. But he was not seeking to be great; he was seeking to be faithful to the call in his life and the passion that he had. The key word is to focus – to focus in the area of your passion. 
• Read more stories from The Rotarian
A Passion for Justice 2018-04-04 08:00:00Z 0
March 2018
The People of Action campaign makes it easy to show your community what we can accomplish together. Get started today by using the campaign materials on all your digital channels. Here’s how:
·        Post #PeopleofAction stories and promote club projects and events on your social media channels. Encourage club members to repost them on their social media channels, too.
·        Share Rotary’s new video “What We See” on your club and district websites. Share or link to it on your social media channels.
People of Action campaign rocks the San Diego airport
People of Action ads ran at the San Diego International Airport in California, USA, from 10 to 24 January, when many Rotarians traveled through it to attend Rotary’s International Assembly. The district there negotiated with the on-site advertising distributor to show 10-second video clips at 20 locations throughout the terminals. Find out how these California Rotarians reached nearly 800,000 people with the People of Action campaign.
5 steps to telling a People of Action story
The new People of Action campaign helps you bring Rotary’s story to life by showing Rotary members as the people of action we are. Telling our People of Action stories in a meaningful, coordinated way builds the public’s understanding of who we are and what we do. It highlights the impact we make in our communities and around the world. Learn how to tell your People of Action story and help answer the question, “What is Rotary?”
New People of Action materials on Brand Center
Use these outdoor billboards and transit shelter ads for outdoor advertising opportunities in your community.
A 25-second version of the “What We See” video is now available. Work with your local TV station or video-editing facility to add five seconds that give your club’s information.
Use the produced radio ads or work with your local radio station to record the ad and include your club’s contract information.
Rotary International
One Rotary Center, 1560 Sherman Ave., Evanston, IL 60201-3698, USA
Rotary Brand News 2018-03-28 08:00:00Z 0


District 5010 Rotarians!  We have a Mission that we need your support to accomplish! 

What is the mission?  To provide comfort and promote self-worth at the very emotional and difficult time to Alaskan children who are transitioning thru foster care through our new district project, Rotary 5010 Cares for Kids. The goal is to ensure that no child is met with a garbage bag when moving into or around the childcare system by providing age appropriate backpacks with Rotary branded blankets, personal care and comfort items.

Last year in the Mat-Su, South East Alaska and Nome areas alone, 945 children were Out of Home (OOH), 297 were removed from their home and 244 were discharged from Foster Care.  The average child faces two placement changes while in foster care.  While OCS Officers work hard to avoid this, some children are handed a garbage bag in which to place their belongings when they are removed from their home or relocated.  With Rotary 5010 Cares for Kids, backpacks with age appropriate items will be given to children being removed from their primary residence and duffle bags will be distributed to youth being moved between foster homes or when aging out of foster care. All bags will be distributed at the discretion of OCS.

Our pilot project will include Mat-Su, South East Alaska, and Nome.  The Rotary 5010 Cares for Kids committee will work with State of Alaska Office of Children’s Services (OCS) field offices in our partner areas to determine need and establish a protocol for request and distribution. Even though we are starting with a pilot program with three areas, OCS will be able to make requests for the entire state and have access to the backpacks and duffle bags.  We want to make sure this is a sustainable program and want to get all the logistics figured out before we launch a statewide program. 

We recognize that there may be many other needs and we encourage Rotary Clubs to get involved where they can.  Together, we can make a difference in the lives of these children.

 Watch our Rotary Cares for Kids Facebook page as well as the District 5010 Website for updates on the project and how you can get involved.

If you would like to personally donate to the project, ARCS is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible. 

Send checks to: 

Rotary 5010 Cares for Kids

c/o Anchorage Rotary Community Services (ARCS)

205 E Dimond Blvd, 515

Anchorage AK,   99515

Together we are Making A Difference!

Rotary Cares For Kids 2018-03-28 08:00:00Z 0
RI president says planting trees shows long-term commitment to the community 
By Hank Sartin                 Photos by Alyce Henson
Ian H.S. Riseley issued a challenge last year. He wanted Rotarians to plant 1.2 million trees – one for every Rotarian in the world – between 1 July 2017, when he took office as president of Rotary International, and Earth Day, 22 April 2018. Clubs around the world have embraced that challenge, and in his travels this year, Riseley himself has often been asked to pick up a shovel. 
Q: Why tree-planting?
A: Environmental issues have not featured highly on the radar of Rotary International in a corporate sense since 1990-91, when President Paulo Costa’s Preserve Planet Earth program inspired thousands of clubs to carry out environmental projects. I was keen to give Rotarians an incentive – and the opportunity – to show their concern for the environment. It’s important to me and it’s important to many other people. 
As part of 2017-18 RI President Ian Riseley’s tree-planting initiative, members of the Rotary International Staff Society planted eight trees in a bird sanctuary in Evanston, Illinois, USA. 
Why trees? Because anyone can do it, just about. If you can’t plant one yourself, you can still support tree-planting somewhere that needs it. From everything I’ve heard, people inside and outside Rotary have embraced this idea.
Q: Why do you think this idea has inspired such enthusiasm?
A: There’s something about planting a tree that speaks to people in a very primal way. It shows a long-term commitment to the community. Rotary does many wonderful community projects: We build playgrounds and clean up rubbish and many other things. But somehow, planting a tree captures the imagination. 
I’ve seen many examples of communities getting involved. The government of Romania heard about the initiative and said, ‘We want to plant trees too, but we don’t have the personnel to plant them.’ The government offered to donate trees that Rotarians would plant all over the country. So Rotarians are planting a million trees there.
Q: How do trees fit into Rotary’s areas of focus?
A: In some way, planting trees speaks to all of the areas of focus. Research has shown that trees are good for economic and community development – they increase property values. Planting a tree promotes peace simply by giving people a place to sit in the shade and contemplate the world. Trees are good for disease prevention and treatment, because the world is a healthier place with more trees to produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. You can make a case for trees relating to all our areas of focus. 
There are parts of the world where deforestation has caused significant damage. It’s not within the bailiwick of Rotary to redress that; we just don’t have the capacity. But we’d like to demonstrate the importance of having trees in our communities and the difference that they make to us. 
Q: The imagery of your presidential tie is the golden wattle, Australia’s national flower. Have you always been interested in plants?
A: I’ve been interested in growing native Australian plants since before I was a teenager. My father was keen on propagating plants. When my wife, Juliet, and I bought our first house, I wanted to create a garden that mirrored what used to occur naturally in the area, with plants that are indigenous to that particular part of Australia. When I was thinking about my presidential tie, it was a no-brainer to incorporate the golden wattle. It’s very colorful. I know some Rotary presidential theme ties have been relatively sedate, and I wanted mine to be slightly out there. 
Q: You’ve participated in many tree plantings this year. What have been some more memorable ones?
A: In Iceland, we planted a tree in the Friendship Forest, Vinaskógur, where visiting dignitaries and heads of state have planted trees. Queen Elizabeth II planted a tree there. I’d just note that Rotary’s tree is planted just a little bit higher up the slope than hers. 
An organization Rotary works with in South America wanted to plant a tree in Antofagasta, Chile, on the edge of the Atacama desert. I asked if it was practical to plant a tree in the desert. They showed me how they had set up a system to take water from the roof of their building when it rains. The tree can survive and thrive if they do it right. 
In Northern California, a massive 100-year-old oak tree had come down, and Rotarians wanted to plant something in its place. The tree we planted is a small thing now, of course, just a meter high. People there were talking about the role that trees will have in the restoration of the area where they had the wildfires last year. A forester I spoke to told me that planting trees helps to stabilize the soil so it doesn’t wash away when it rains. It was a strong reminder of the many benefits of trees – not just converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, but also halting erosion, providing habitat for animals, and so many other things. 
I’ve helped plant trees in Sardinia, in Latvia, in Australia. Everywhere I go, I get my hands dirty.
Q: Your tree challenge officially ends on Earth Day, on the 22nd of this month. Do you hope that clubs will keep on planting trees?
A: We want everyone to keep going. And it’s not just planting the tree. It’s nurturing the tree to ensure that it thrives. Planting a tree is a commitment to the future.
Challenge: 1.2 Million Trees 2018-03-27 08:00:00Z 0
For those who missed Club Assembly in March, you missed a bunch of fun!!  Live music, wild partying, lots of people having fun talking with each other---the whole enchilada!!
The party--meeting---started with LIVE MUSIC!!  Harp, guitar, and flute performed by Starlight  , including the invocation!  Then announcements, then Winston's report on his doings for the last few weeks. Then came BIRTHDAY CAKE, and Winston found out that the older you get, the harder it is to blow out all of the candles!  Cake for everyone!
What Happened at Club Assembly in March 2018-03-27 08:00:00Z 0
 ‘There are many polio warriors in Rotary, ” RI President Ian H.S. Riseley remarked at a fundraising dinner for End Polio Now in January, addressing the 400 attendees who filled the banquet hall of a hotel just south of Denver. “But none are more loyal or dedicated than Grant Wilkins. … Together, with 1.2 million of his closest friends from around the world, and their partners, we are on the threshold of greatness.”
C. Grant Wilkins participates in a National Immunization Day in Côte d’Ivoire in 1998.
Photo courtesy of C. Grant Wilkins
C. Grant Wilkins, who sat at the table in the front row with his wife of over 50 years, Marlene, took the comments and the following ovation in stride. At 91, he walks with a slight stoop but still drives, travels, speaks, and maintains a busy schedule. He may not have universal recognition as a man who has helped save millions of lives, but he is. A member of the Rotary Club of Denver since 1969, he’s the first to say that it’s only through Rotary that anything like that could be done. “Rotary is the only way I’ve known of helping lots of people around the entire world,” he says. “We’ve saved millions of kids from polio. There’s no way I could even begin to do anything like that without being a member of this organization.” But Wilkins has been an important part of Rotary’s eradication efforts as well as many other Rotary initiatives. And his dedication begins with his own life story.
In 1951, Wilkins was living in Denver with his wife, Diane, working his first job out of college. One day he started to feel ill and couldn’t keep food down. He went to the hospital. “They thought I had the flu,” he recalls. “Then they did a spinal tap, found the polio virus in my spinal fluid, and put me in the polio ward.” The virus had attacked his throat, paralyzing his vocal cords and making it impossible to swallow. The doctors performed an emergency tracheotomy. As Wilkins writes in his memoir, Two Drops that Changed the World, “polio would be the center of my young family’s life and totally change my wife’s life for the next 13 years.”
Within two weeks, his fever broke, and Wilkins was moved from the isolation ward. Then, while Diane was visiting him at the hospital, she mentioned that she wasn’t feeling well. Doctors performed a spinal tap, and her diagnosis came back: polio. Within 24 hours she was almost totally paralyzed and placed in an iron lung, where she would stay for 2½ years until a portable respirator, a new invention at the time, allowed her to leave the hospital. Grant spent months learning to speak again.
Grant and Diane at home
Shari and Mark with their mother.
In 1952, the year Jonas Salk began work on the first effective vaccine, some 58,000 people in the U.S. contracted polio, resulting in over 3,000 deaths and over 21,000 patients with some level of paralysis. In 1953, vaccination field trials began, and from 1955-57, incidence of the disease in the U.S. fell by 85 to 90 percent.
This was too late for the Wilkinses, but they carried on after Diane’s illness. For the next 13 years, they raised their three children, building their life around keeping Diane’s respirator going. She learned to paint holding the brush in her mouth, taught their kids to love music, and impressed everyone with her will to survive. In 1964, she passed away at age 36.
The family managed as well as they could. Soon, Wilkins grew close to an acquaintance, Marlene Siems, and in 1965 they married. A few years later, the kids were grown and gone, and Wilkins’ billboard business had been bought out under the federal Highway Beautification Act. So with an eye toward meeting people and helping others, in 1969 he joined the Rotary Club of Denver.
“I was born into Rotary,” Wilkins says. “My dad was a member of Fort Worth’s Rotary Club when I was born in 1926.” Everywhere they moved – in Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, and finally Colorado – his father joined Rotary. 
At first, Wilkins focused on local projects, such as one that partnered Rotarians with underprivileged children in the Denver public schools. In 1978, he was elected president of the club, and in 1981 he helped start the Artists of America exhibition, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Denver Rotary Foundation. Over the next two decades, the show and sale would raise $1.9 million for the Denver Rotary Foundation and would also benefit the Colorado History Museum.
Then in 1985, RI President Carlos Canseco proposed that Rotary take on polio eradication. Given his history with the disease, Wilkins’ name was put forward to advise the program, which was called PolioPlus. “None of the senior leaders in Rotary had had polio themselves and/or had a wife that was totally paralyzed from it, so I was unique, ” he recalls. He became a key player in PolioPlus from its inception.
As a result of the efforts of Rotary and its four partner organizations, polio is on the verge of being eradicated, with just 22 cases reported last year as of 31 January 2018, down from 350,000 in 1988. 
Wilkins celebrates his 90th birthday with his extended family.
But Wilkins has not limited himself to polio eradication. He helped establish the Russian Health Initiative, which hosts health fairs where people can be screened for a variety of medical conditions. 
Wilkins was also a force behind Rotary’s focus on clean water. In 2003 he gave a talk at the American Water Works Association convention, where he learned that 6,000 children were dying each day from lack of clean water. 
“I was chairman of the Health, Hunger, and Humanity task force for The Rotary Foundation worldwide that year,” he says. “So I went back and made water a task force of its own. We said that if every Rotary club would do one water project somewhere in the world, we could really change that. And already, we’ve got those deaths down to less than half. Instead of 6,000, it’s down below 3,000.”
After Riseley spoke at the January event, Grant and Marlene were called up onstage to be presented with a surprise check representing donations to a special C. Grant Wilkins PolioPlus Fund, which had been set up by members of the Rotary Club of Denver. In just a few months, the fund had easily collected over $100,000, which was matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The check was signed “Friends of Grant.”
“Every Rotarian is a soldier in the polio war,” Wilkins says, looking back on all this. “We have over 35,000 places in the world where we have troops on the ground. That’s why we’ve been able to get this far. And that’s very, very satisfying.”
– Frank Bures
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A Soldier in the War on Polio 2018-03-27 08:00:00Z 0



RI president says planting trees shows long-term commitment to the community 

By Photos by

Ian H.S. Riseley issued a challenge last year. He wanted Rotarians to plant 1.2 million trees – one for every Rotarian in the world – between 1 July 2017, when he took office as president of Rotary International, and Earth Day, 22 April 2018. Clubs around the world have embraced that challenge, and in his travels this year, Riseley himself has often been asked to pick up a shovel. 

Q: Why tree-planting?

A: Environmental issues have not featured highly on the radar of Rotary International in a corporate sense since 1990-91, when President Paulo Costa’s Preserve Planet Earth program inspired thousands of clubs to carry out environmental projects. I was keen to give Rotarians an incentive – and the opportunity – to show their concern for the environment. It’s important to me and it’s important to many other people. 

As part of 2017-18 RI President Ian Riseley’s tree-planting initiative, members of the Rotary International Staff Society planted eight trees in a bird sanctuary in Evanston, Illinois, USA. 


Why trees? Because anyone can do it, just about. If you can’t plant one yourself, you can still support tree-planting somewhere that needs it. From everything I’ve heard, people inside and outside Rotary have embraced this idea.

Q: Why do you think this idea has inspired such enthusiasm?

A: There’s something about planting a tree that speaks to people in a very primal way. It shows a long-term commitment to the community. Rotary does many wonderful community projects: We build playgrounds and clean up rubbish and many other things. But somehow, planting a tree captures the imagination. 

I’ve seen many examples of communities getting involved. The government of Romania heard about the initiative and said, ‘We want to plant trees too, but we don’t have the personnel to plant them.’ The government offered to donate trees that Rotarians would plant all over the country. So Rotarians are planting a million trees there.

Q: How do trees fit into Rotary’s areas of focus?

A: In some way, planting trees speaks to all of the areas of focus. Research has shown that trees are good for economic and community development – they increase property values. Planting a tree promotes peace simply by giving people a place to sit in the shade and contemplate the world. Trees are good for disease prevention and treatment, because the world is a healthier place with more trees to produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. You can make a case for trees relating to all our areas of focus. 

There are parts of the world where deforestation has caused significant damage. It’s not within the bailiwick of Rotary to redress that; we just don’t have the capacity. But we’d like to demonstrate the importance of having trees in our communities and the difference that they make to us. 

Q: The imagery of your presidential tie is the golden wattle, Australia’s national flower. Have you always been interested in plants?

A: I’ve been interested in growing native Australian plants since before I was a teenager. My father was keen on propagating plants. When my wife, Juliet, and I bought our first house, I wanted to create a garden that mirrored what used to occur naturally in the area, with plants that are indigenous to that particular part of Australia. When I was thinking about my presidential tie, it was a no-brainer to incorporate the golden wattle. It’s very colorful. I know some Rotary presidential theme ties have been relatively sedate, and I wanted mine to be slightly out there. 

Q: You’ve participated in many tree plantings this year. What have been some more memorable ones?

A: In Iceland, we planted a tree in the Friendship Forest, Vinaskógur, where visiting dignitaries and heads of state have planted trees. Queen Elizabeth II planted a tree there. I’d just note that Rotary’s tree is planted just a little bit higher up the slope than hers. 

An organization Rotary works with in South America wanted to plant a tree in Antofagasta, Chile, on the edge of the Atacama desert. I asked if it was practical to plant a tree in the desert. They showed me how they had set up a system to take water from the roof of their building when it rains. The tree can survive and thrive if they do it right. 

In Northern California, a massive 100-year-old oak tree had come down, and Rotarians wanted to plant something in its place. The tree we planted is a small thing now, of course, just a meter high. People there were talking about the role that trees will have in the restoration of the area where they had the wildfires last year. A forester I spoke to told me that planting trees helps to stabilize the soil so it doesn’t wash away when it rains. It was a strong reminder of the many benefits of trees – not just converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, but also halting erosion, providing habitat for animals, and so many other things. 

I’ve helped plant trees in Sardinia, in Latvia, in Australia. Everywhere I go, I get my hands dirty.

Q: Your tree challenge officially ends on Earth Day, on the 22nd of this month. Do you hope that clubs will keep on planting trees?

A: We want everyone to keep going. And it’s not just planting the tree. It’s nurturing the tree to ensure that it thrives. Planting a tree is a commitment to the future.

Challenge: 1.2 Million Trees 2018-03-27 08:00:00Z 0

Lending a helping paw to veterans

When Gil Igleheart and Dick Mellinger heard that veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including many from their own generation, were being helped by service dogs, they knew they had to get involved. 

Neither Igleheart nor Mellinger, both in their late 60s and at the time members of the Rotary Club of Cayucos-Seaside in California’s Central Coast, served in the military, but they had friends who had served and had come home troubled and scarred. 

So in January 2016, they laid the foundation for the nonprofit organization known today as Pawsabilities for Veterans. 

Although service dogs can help ease symptoms, they are not currently covered by health insurance in the United States. The Veterans Affairs Department provides service dogs for veterans with certain physical disabilities, but not for veterans with PTSD. The VA acknowledges that dog ownership can improve mood and reduce stress, but is waiting for reliable clinical research to confirm and detail the benefits of service dogs for veterans with mental health problems. In the meantime, the costs are paid by a patchwork of nonprofits such as Pawsabilities for Veterans.

Pawsabilities for Veterans leaves the training and placement of the animals to another Central Coast organization, New Life K9s. This nonprofit trains dogs and then places them free of charge. In order to cover the expenses for each placement, it turns to groups such as Paws-abilities for Veterans.

Nicole Hern and her team at New Life K9s train the dogs to wake their PTSD sufferers from nightmares and calm them when they are anxious. Hern says she can always tell when she is out with a veteran who becomes anxious: “They’re usually touching their dog a lot more, because that helps ease that anxiety.”

–Katya Cengel

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Dispatches: 2018-03-22 08:00:00Z 0
Homer Alaska costume, fashion, & interior designer, Marie Walker,.....presentation at Homer Kachemak Bay Rotary on March 15, 2018.  Preceded by our own Jim and Maynard with a tune to prepare us for Saint Patrick's Day!
Jim and Maynard lead us in song!
Marie started us with a history of costuming, then went into how to (inexpensively) produce period and other costumes.  Really interesting!
Pictures by Jan and Craig
Behind the Scenes--and More! 2018-03-21 08:00:00Z 0

Schools get help with clean water and hygiene

An estimated 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation facilities that hygienically separate human excreta from human contact. Rotarian Alfredo Pérez knows the schools in Guatemala and neighboring countries can use all the help available in this area.

The Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in Schools Target Challenge focuses on providing clean water and sanitation systems, and equipping teachers to educate students on better hygiene practices.

So, when Carlos Flores, then governor of District 4250 (Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras), asked Pérez in 2016 to get involved with the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in Schools Target Challenge, he quickly accepted. As the name suggests, the pilot program focuses on providing clean water and sanitation systems, and equipping teachers to educate students on better hygiene practices.

“The objective of the project is to develop good hygiene habits in children,” Pérez says. “By reducing absenteeism due to diseases that are acquired due to lack of water, sanitation, and hygiene in schools, we can increase their academic development. Training teachers to help children develop good hygiene habits is key.”

Indeed, more than a year after the effort began, the Rotary Club of Valle de Guatemala, where Pérez is a member, has improved conditions for as many as 1,793 children from 10 schools in the town of Escuintla, about 40 miles south of Guatemala City, the capital. 

Corporación Energías de Guatemala, an energy company, backed the project with a $62,000 grant. Pérez’s club and the Rotary Club of Escuintla worked with local public health officials and urban and rural planners. The project provided toilets, washing stations, and water tanks, and also supported training for teachers so that the facilities would be put to good use.

This year, members of Pérez’s club have a budget of $30,000 for work at five more schools. 

Pérez is giving talks around his country in hopes of recruiting more clubs to take up the challenge in their communities, and he’s seeking international partners to help expand the program.

Educators tell Rotarians that fewer students now miss school because of gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses, which sometimes spread by poor hand washing or lack of safe water.

–Jenny Espino

• Read more stories from The Rotarian

Water for Classes 2018-03-14 08:00:00Z 0

Our fundraiser/"meet and greet celebrity Rotarians" dinner last night was a success!


We had 6 guests for a sit down Indian curry meal that we prepared.  The honored celebrity Rotarians were:  Mayor Bryan Zak and City Manager, Katie Koester.  Other guests were City Council member Donna, and Wayne Aderhold, and Parks, Rec...commission member, Ingrid Harrald, and George Overpeck.  Each guest contributed $30 to our Rotary club, and Clyde contributed an additional $30 for a total of $210.00.

The funds raised are designated for a scholarship for a Rotarian who has not attended the District Conference/Assembly to attend the upcoming one in Seward in May, 2018.

There are quite a few "celebrity" Rotarians in our club.  Our original idea was to encourage several people to consider hosting these "meet and greet" dinners and to raise funds for our club.  Rep. Paul Seaton and Tina have already said they are willing to attend one of these as guests of honor.   We now have a "template" we can share with other Rotarians who may be interested. 

The dinner was both fun and interesting. We believe the guests had good opportunities to informally meet with our City leaders, and everyone contributed to great conversations.

Here are some comments from Mayor Zak:  

As a Rotarian it allowed me to appreciate and learn more about other Rotarians and the other guests that had a high probability of becoming Rotarians. We did not focus solely or much on Rotary but instead we shared our personal experiences and professional experiences that allowed us to get to know and appreciate each other as members of our community. 


    A small amount of fundraising value for the club with a high relationship value.

I attach three photos!

Vivian and Clyde


Meet and Greet Rotarians Dinner Craig Forrest 2018-03-08 09:00:00Z 0
At our meeting of March 1, our inbound exchange student, Winston, presented the Club with two "Talking Drums", a gift from his father to our Club.
Here is some information on the "Talking Drum".
The Yoruba Talking Drum (Gangan)
The talking drum is an hourglass-shaped drum from West Africa, whose pitch can be regulated to mimic the tone and prosody of human speech. It has two drumheads connected by leather tension cords, which allow the player to modulate the pitch of the drum by squeezing the cords between their arm and body.  A skilled player is able to play whole phrases.  Most talking drums sound like a human humming, depending on the way you play.
Hourglass-shaped talking drums are some of the oldest instruments used by West African griots and their history can be traced back to the Yoruba people.  The Yoruba people of south western Nigeria and Benin have developed a highly sophisticated genre of griot music centering on the talking drum.
How They “Talk”
The pitch o the drum is varied to mimic the tone patterns of speech. This is done by varying the tension placed on the drumhead:  the opposing drum heads are connected by a common tension cord.  The waist of the drum is held between the player’s arm and ribs, so that when squeezed, the drumhead is tightened, producing a higher not than when it’s in its relaxed state; the pitch can be changed during a single beat, producing a warbling note.  The drum can thus capture the pitch, volume, and the rhythm of human speech, though not the qualities of vowels or consonants.  The use of talking drums as a form of communication was noticed by Europeans in the first half of the eighteenth century.  Detailed messages could be sent from one village to the next faster than could be carried by a person riding a horse.
The message “Come back home” might be translated by the drummers as: “Make your feet comeback the way they went, make your legs come back the way they went, plant your feet and your legs below, in the village which belongs to us”.
Single words would be translated into phrases. For example, “moon” would be played as “the Moon looks towards Earth”, and “war” as “war which causes attention to ambushes”.
                                                                                                                        Winston A. Ajakaye
                                                                                District 9110, Nigeria
The Talking Drum 2018-03-08 09:00:00Z 0

 How pet owners face end-of-life decisions 


One late night a few months ago, our little dog, Queenie, appeared to be nearing her last breath. She was shivering, moaning plaintively, and – most telling – refusing dog treats. My wife, Barb, wrapped her in a towel and we took turns petting her until we all nodded off.

We were ready for this moment. Truth be told, we were almost looking forward to it. At the ripe old age of 16, Queenie had been on a downward spiral for quite some time, having lost her hearing – not that she ever did much listening – and much of her vision. There was a time when she could “go long” for a dog biscuit, catch it nonchalantly, and scamper back to the line of scrimmage, ready for the next play. These days, a treat gently tossed from a few feet away bounces off her nose and lands on the floor, where she has difficulty locating it. 

Illustration by Dave Cutler


Queenie is a puggle – a cross between a pug and a beagle, a so-called designer dog bred to combine the best traits of two breeds. In Queenie’s case, we’ve sometimes joked, the result may have been a blend of the worst. True to her contrarian character, she decided not to go gentle into that good night. The next day, she was back to her old self, as spry as any 16-year-old dog could hope to be. For her, this means snuffling and shuffling between her bed and the pantry door behind which treats are kept, with occasional stops at her food bowl in the hope that someone has filled it with something other than dry dog food, which she eschews.

While Queenie considers her culinary options, Barb and I ponder that difficult question: How will we know when it’s time to say goodbye?

“That is the question that everyone wants the answer to,” says Katie Hilst. It certainly is the question on the minds of most people who contact her. A veterinarian in Madison, Wisconsin, Hilst started out in 2007 offering home veterinary care and soon found that many of the pet owners she visited were facing the decision of whether to euthanize. That led her to establish Journeys Home, a service that specializes in providing at-home euthanasia for pets.

To help her clients, Hilst developed a quality-of-life evaluation tool, an eight-point acrostic built on the word JOURNEYS that allows pet owners to calculate a numerical score based on their own observations. These include jumping or mobility (J), ouch or pain (O), and eating and drinking (E). The pet owner assigns a number from 1 to 10 for each topic; the scale includes examples to consider, such as “Your pet is refusing food and water ” (1 point) and “Your pet is eating and drinking normally ” (10 points).


Column: Pets 2018-03-05 09:00:00Z 0
In his short time here, Winston has participated in activities like skiing, ice skating and sledding---all impossible to do in his home country! 
An essential part of his role as an ambassador is for him to share his culture with us and to learn about ours.  For that to happen we need to interact with him.  If you are doing something fun and would like to share it with Winston (or just want to get to know him), invite him along.  His phone number is 907 756-3747 and his email is kayeabiodun@gmail.com.  Winston will be moving to his second host family, Brian and Loreta Miller, next week.  I am very grateful for the support of our program by his first host family, Jon and Paula Kulhanek.  Without these amazing host families, our program would not exist.  Be sure and thank them when you see them.
Winston Ajakaye, Youth Exchange Ambassador from Nigeria Boyd Walker 2018-03-01 09:00:00Z 0

As thousands of refugees streamed into Berlin, they strained the health care system. Rotarian and physician Pia Skarabis-Querfeld spent the last three years building a network of volunteer doctors to help those in need.


By Rhea Wessel                                Produced by Andrew Chudzinski


On the nightly news and around her city, Pia Skarabis-Querfeld saw the refugees arriving in Berlin after fleeing war, persecution, and poverty in their home countries.


Wanting to help, she gathered a bag of clothes to donate and headed to a nearby gym filled with refugees.


What began as a single act of charity eventually evolved into an all-encompassing volunteer project: Over the next three years, Skarabis-Querfeld would build and run a network that, at peak times, would include more than 100 volunteers helping thousands of refugees at community centers, tent camps, and other shelters across the city.


Today, her nonprofit, Medizin Hilft  (Medicine Helps), continues to treat patients with nowhere else to turn.


That day she went to the gym was a few days before Christmas 2014. Skarabis-Querfeld had been busy with work and preparing for the holidays. She was looking forward to a much-needed break, and she thought clothes for the refugees would be a kind gesture befitting the spirit of the season.


When she arrived at the gymnasium to drop off her donation, Skarabis-Querfeld found sick children, most of them untreated because hospitals in the area were overrun. Helpers were not allowed to give out pain relievers or cough syrup due to legal constraints. All they could do was send people to the emergency room if they looked extremely ill.


Seeing this, and knowing about the treacherous journeys the refugees had just made across land and sea, Skarabis-Querfeld, who is a medical doctor and Rotarian, returned that same afternoon with medical supplies and her husband, Uwe Querfeld, who is a professor of pediatrics and a Rotarian. 


The couple spent most of that holiday treating patients in the gymnasium. 

“The suffering of the people, their bitter fate, it wouldn’t let go of me,” says Skarabis-Querfeld.

Nowhere to Turn 2018-02-28 09:00:00Z 0
Good Morning Fellow Rotarians,
I just returned from the most amazing PETS training in Seattle. Please share this information with your clubs. I have had the privilege of meeting your incoming presidents so I will ask them about who they might like for their ShelterBox liaison. Please let them know if you are interested.
Keep warm and continue being the inspiration for  Rotary

latest news about ShelterBox's global work


Thousands of families have been left homeless after heavy rain caused severe flooding and landslides, which destroyed homes and livelihoods in Bolivia, at the start of February 2018.
A month’s worth of rain fell in the space of 24 hours, forcing families to flee their homes and seek shelter in community centers or with host communities, and at least six people have died.
We are on the ground meeting with trusted partners, to see how we can provide families with the tools they need to start rebuilding their homes.


In late December, Tropical Storm Tembin brought devastation to the Philippines, arriving just days after Tropical Storm Kai-tak.
The storm triggered mudslides and flooding, resulting in the deaths of more than 200 people, with dozens more still missing. More than 140,000 have been forced from their homes, staying in evacuation centers and with host families.
A ShelterBox Response Team is on the ground carrying out needs assessments and initial distributions. We will be distributing a variety of aid items such as ShelterBox, ShelterKits, water carriers and solar lights to support those families that need our help the most.


In early September, Category 5 Hurricane Irma caused devastation in the Caribbean. Less than two weeks later, Hurricane Maria made landfall, bringing with it a new wave of destruction.
We have delivered aid across six countries, including St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, the British Virgin Islands and Barbuda. In each country we tailored our aid to best support the needs of different communities.
Our work continues with our partners in Dominica and Barbuda, where we are helping families to return home and begin the rebuilding process.


Rohingya Crisis
More than 615,000 have now been forced across the Myanmar border into Bangladesh and thousands more continue to arrive each week. This is the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world.
A majority of the displaced people are currently living in makeshift shelters of bamboo and thin plastic sheets, leaving them exposed to the elements.
We will be supporting 4,000 families with blankets, tarpaulins, solar lights and water carriers. This vital aid allows them to collect clean drinking water, and safely move about in the camps at night.
Since the Monsoon season started in June, Bangladesh has been severely hit by constant rain. At its worst, more than a third of the land was submerged.
More than 70,000 homes have been completely destroyed and 500,000 are partially damaged. This destruction has forced 8 million people from their homes. The same extreme weather phenomenon has also affected large swathes of India, Nepal and Myanmar too.
ShelterBox have been on the ground, working with the Bangladesh Red Cross and Rotary to help those who have lost everything in the catastrophic flooding.
Aid has been distributed to 2,960 families which includes shelter kits, tarpaulins, blankets, mosquito nets and solar lights.


The conflict in Syria has now entered its seventh year. What started out as a peaceful protest in 2011 has since become the longest-lasting civil war on the planet.
We’re working with our partners, Hand in Hand for Syria, ReliefAid and Bahar Organisation, to help those affected. The current focus is to distribute winter kits to provide shelter and warmth during the severe winter in this region.
This winter aid includes blankets, school kits and tents, plus other essential aid items including kitchen sets and solar lights, giving families some sense of normality.
In November, with the help from our partner ReliefAid we have distributed 1,400 winter ShelterKits to families inside Syria.


On July 10th, 2017 the Iraqi government declared that Mosul had finally been liberated after three years of Islamic State control.  However, the humanitarian situation is still dire in Iraq and the need for ShelterBox aid is as prevalent as ever.
People are slowly returning to Mosul, but there is still a huge need for aid in and around the city, and a massive displacement of civilians throughout the whole country. Displaced families have struggled in the severe heat over the summer months, now they have to prepare for a long winter.
With the help of our partners working in Iraq, in 2017 we have provided essential aid and shelter to more than 8,000 families.


Severe drought in Somaliland has affected an estimated 766,000 people since November 2016, leading to the degrading of grazing land and displacement of families, forcing them to move large distances to seek fresh food for their animals.
As the drought continues, we are working closely with our partner ActionAid to ensure that families have safe shelter throughout Somaliland. So far, we have supported 441 families with ShelterKits, including tarpaulins and kitchen sets.
A team has deployed to begin the second distribution of aid that will support 1,000 families.


Since 2009, Boko Haram has been waging an insurgency in Northern Nigeria. The violence has since spread to the neighboring regions of Niger, Chad and Cameroon, affecting around 30 million people. Recent drought has created food insecurity and added another layer of need onto the existing crisis.
Our partner IEDA Relief has been distributing tents, tarpaulins, hygiene kits and other life-saving aid to the most vulnerable in Cameroon.
In November, we successfully completed our first distribution of 1,032 hygiene kits for young women and teenagers affected by the crisis. These kits include personal and laundry soap, a bucket and sanitary towels.
We are also working with IEDA Relief in the extreme north of Cameroon, where families who have escaped Boko Haram need our support. We are planning to build 100 emergency shelters to house 487 Cameroonians, which include students and pregnant women, whose home communities will not allow them to return.
In Chad we are partnering with the local aid agency ICAHD to support vulnerable families in Chad. So far, 456 semi-permanent shelters have been constructed and 500 kits of vital aid including blankets, buckets, solar lights, mosquito nets and ground sheets have been distributed to affected families. ShelterBox is now working on phase two of this project with the aim to support over 4,000 families.
Boko Haram attacks in the Kablewa camp led to massive population displacement in Niger. The camp was disbanded, affecting nearly 250,000 people – half of the families in Diffa.
We worked with Plan International to provide emergency aid to those displaced. In total, we helped 896 families and we are now carrying out post distribution monitoring to ensure the aid we gave out had the impact needed and what we need to improve in our future work.
The conflict in Nigeria is now entering it’s ninth year and the devastating consequences continue to impact structures and the lives of 8.5 million vulnerable people. We are partnering with ACTED to support 765 new arrivals in two camps in the North of the country, by providing emergency shelters and non food items.
Nancy Dodge
Eagle River, Alaska 99577
ShelterBox Ambassador
ShelterBox USA | Pacific Northwest | e-Club Rotary District 5010
e: ShelterBox: nhdodge@comcast.net | w: shelterboxusa.org Cell: 941 993-4335
Providing shelter, warmth and dignity to disaster survivors worldwide.
Shelterbox News 2018-02-28 09:00:00Z 0

50 years ago, the first Rotaract club was formed to give young adults a place to connect and take action for good. Rotaract members from each decade share what the program was like and how it shaped their lives.

By Arnold R. Grahl


The year is 1968. 

A wall divides East and West Berlin, as the Cold War rages on. The U.S. and the Soviet Union are locked in a space race, and Apollo 8 becomes the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon, sending back pictures of Earth from deep space.  



And Rotary members in North Carolina, USA, charter the first Rotaract club, to provide young people opportunities for service.


A half-century has passed since those first Rotaract clubs began inspiring young leaders to take action to improve their communities. The world has changed, as has the way Rotaract members connect with one another. But the underlying values of the program, and what attracts people to it, remain remarkably the same. 


To celebrate Rotaract’s 50th anniversary, we asked former Rotaractors from six decades to share their experiences of the program and explain how it shaped their lives. 


Here are their stories.



Geetha Jayaram, a pre-med student in Bangalore, India, became charter secretary of an early Rotaract club in 1968. Her father was an influential businessman in the city, and he and his friends believed the program was the perfect place for their college-age children.


“They encouraged us to join as a group,” recalls Jayaram, who met her husband, Jay Kumar, the charter president, through the club. “We were all very happy to do it, because we were medical students, engineering students, and students of other vocations who got together and planned what projects we wanted to do. What enabled us to stick together was that on weekends we went around collecting funds for our projects and worked together.”


Within a year, Rotaract was already so established in India that a district conference in 1969 drew thousands. Jayaram believes the program took off so fast there because the need for helping others was so evident.


Geetha Jayaram, left, pictured at one of the health clinics she founded in India, was a charter secretary of a Rotaract club in 1968.


“It was visible, tangible,” she says. “It was not something you thought about doing for somebody in some faraway country. It was right there in front of you.” 


Rotary’s Four-Way Test, with its reference to “the truth,” also appealed to young people. 


“We were post-independence children and Gandhi followers, and speaking the truth was a big thing in those days,” she says. 


Jayaram says Rotaract benefited from Rotary’s reputation as a well-respected organization in India. People felt proud to belong to it. Participating in Rotary was a family activity, so many young people grew up experiencing Rotary events.


“Every time we’d go to some picnic or concert or competition, there were always adults with children involved with all of the games and activities and food preparing,” Jayaram says. 


After finishing her bachelor’s degree, Jayaram came to the United States to pursue advanced degrees in medicine. She joined a Rotary club in Maryland in 1997 and founded the Maanasi Clinic in Mugalur, Karnataka, India, to provide mental health services to indigent women there. A former recipient of a Rotary Grant for University Teachers, she was awarded the Rotary Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award in 2014-15.  She is an associate professor in the departments of psychiatry, public health, nursing, and the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.


“I’m really proud I’m a Rotarian,” she says. “At Johns Hopkins, I always talk about my humanitarian work and how Rotary has enabled me to do so much with very little overhead. It’s hard to find that anywhere else.”




Lunar rovers explore the surface of the moon. Skylab begins orbiting the Earth. The Vietnam War comes to an end. In Sudan and Zaire, the first outbreak of the Ebola virus occurs. On the entertainment front, the movie Star Wars premieres. The first videocassette recorders enter the market, and Sony introduces the Walkman. Disco becomes popular.


John Skerritt helped charter the Rotaract Club of Carlingford, New South Wales, Australia, in 1978, after reading a newspaper advertisement placed by local Rotarians wanting to start a Rotaract club.


“That was the way you did it before the internet or cable TV,” Skerritt says. 


The new club drew young people from many backgrounds. In Australia in the 1970s, Skerritt says, a significant number of teenagers left high school early to pursue a job in the trades, and fewer than today went on to college. And for economic reasons, many tended to live with their parents until they married or had established themselves in a career.


The Rotaract Club of Ipswich, Queensland, Australia holds a car wash as a club fundraiser in the early 1970s. Rotaract drew young people from many backgrounds.


“The area where we chartered was on the border of an affluent area, where most of the kids went on to college, but also an area that was more working class,” he recalls. “One of the exciting things about it was you actually got to meet people outside the social circles of your own suburb or high school.”

Another interesting aspect, he says, is that the club functioned as matchmaker. “We had probably seven or eight couples get married,” says Skerritt. “We had a pretty even number of boys and girls. I wasn’t one of the seven, but I went to many of their weddings and served as best man in some.”

In some ways, he contends, young people had more freedom then. He recalls two club fundraisers, one where Interact members sat on a platform on top of a pole for 100 hours, and another where the Rotaract members drove cars in a demolition derby. 


“Can you imagine a club doing that now?” he asks.


But it wasn’t all social. Members were also keenly interested in helping their community. “Bringing in speakers was a great way of exposing people to things, especially our members who’d had a more sheltered upbringing,” he says. “We had a speaker from a charity that looked after homeless people, and that was actually a great eye-opener. Many times we’d follow up with a fundraiser, like tossing burgers at the mall to raise money for the homeless.”

One charity his club supported ended up having a big influence on his career. The organization helped people with hard-to-treat epilepsy who lived in a specialized care community. Skerritt went on to research seizure medications as part of his doctoral studies, and today he is therapeutic goods administrator in Australia’s Department of Health. 

Rotaract: 50 Years of Changing Lives 2018-02-21 09:00:00Z 0
It looks like Cranium Cup 2018 was a success!  Should have more information next week.
Cranium Cup Participants at Alice's
Congratulations 2018 Cranium Cup winners! The Mudville-9 Team from the Homer Medical Clinic!
Cranium Cup 2018 2018-02-15 09:00:00Z 0

Aral Sea neighbors come together to resolve conflicts over a scarce resource

Rotary is tackling one of the biggest environmental and political crises of the 21st century – water resources – and to do so, Rotarians are leveraging their ability to build connections.

“The water crisis is one of the top three crises facing the globe, along with HIV/AIDS and malaria,” says Aaron Wolf, a professor of geosciences at Oregon State University and a water resources conflict resolution expert. “It’s not just waterborne illness and ecosystem degradation; water shortages exacerbate tensions in a lot of already very hostile parts of the world.”



Satellite images from 2001, top, and 2017 show the extent of recent shoreline changes on the Aral Sea. 


The Aral Sea basin in Central Asia is one such place. Changes in the basin have a far-reaching impact on Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. River diversion that began in the 1960s, when much of the region was part of the Soviet Union, has nearly desiccated the inland saltwater lake, once the fourth-largest lake in the world. Today, rusting ships lie beached on a desert contaminated by high salinity, and neighboring countries clash over the limited water resources they once shared.

“Central Asia is a tough part of the world for hydropolitics,” Wolf says, “probably one of the most tense of anywhere in the world. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, a lot of the arrangements that had been internal suddenly became international, with all of the complexity and suspicions and tensions that go along with that.”

In 2014 and again in 2016, Rotary Foundation global grants brought representatives from those nations together to help them navigate the delicate territory of diplomacy and transboundary conflict resolution. At the two symposiums, held in the Netherlands at the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, participants began to build connections and to communicate in a way that may help head off conflict and lead to more sustainable water use.

Steve Brown, a past Rotary Foundation trustee and past president of the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club Foundation, learned about the Central Asian water crisis from leaders of the IHE Delft Institute, which has had a partnership with Rotary since 2012.

Brown worked with U.S. embassies to bring in participants, mainly public-sector officials dealing with water, energy, or planning, for the first Central Asia Water Symposium. Sessions featured lecturers who study water conflict management, including Wolf.

The goal of the first symposium was to help the representatives see the crisis through the perspective of their neighbors. Sessions included role-playing using a similar multinational water basin in another part of the world. For example, Wolf says, participants from upstream nations took on the roles of downstream representatives. Workshops also included discussions on conflict management and presentations on water issues.

“So ideally, as they’re doing the training, they’re also having conversations around the issues that are contentious,” Wolf says. “But they’re doing it in the context of training rather that formal negotiation, so the conversation can be a little freer.”

The initial symposium wasn’t intended to solve all of the political and environmental problems of the region; it was an effort to brainstorm and consider ways to approach the problems together.

“For that kind of conversation, we had absolutely the right elements,” Wolf says. “And ideally, this is the kind of conversation that continues and moves forward.”

Brown agrees. “I could see that meaningful relationships were being established and there was a lot of serious thought,” he says.

For the second symposium, held in December 2016, Brown hoped to see two things accomplished: to continue the dialogue, and to bring in representatives from governments and organizations that allocate funds to international water-related issues, including the World Bank.

“The problems are so large, they will take decades and probably billions of dollars to eventually resolve,” Brown says. “Rotary is here as more of a catalyst to move things forward.”

The relationships and connections forged at the first symposium were deepened at the second one, Brown says. “On a personal level, friendships were created between people who work in their respective ministries in these different countries,” he says. “They can actually share ideas.”

– Nikki Kallio

 • Read more stories from The Rotarian

Water Problems Around the World 2018-02-14 09:00:00Z 0

Hi, attached are photos taken on Wednesday, when Dennis, Bernie, Joan, Sherry and Bob and I delivered 87 dictionaries to the 3rd grade students of West Homer Elementary and Fireweed Academy.   The students are thrilled to receive this gift from Rotary and they are a huge help to them in their studies.   As one teacher told us last year. She only has one dictionary in her classroom, which means only one at most two students at a time can use it.  This way they have their own.   One of the students commented on seeing words above and below the one they looked up, not like what they get on a computer which only shows one word.   This is probably the most fun thing we do at Rotary all year.



Rotarians with 3rd Graders

Sign Language from the Dictionaries!
Britta with Dictionary
Milli with Beau
Homer Rotarians Bernie, Milli, Sherri, Joan, Dennis, and Bob
Homer Rotarians Deliver Dictionaries to 3rd Graders 2018-02-06 09:00:00Z 0

In the mountains of Poland, 26 children traumatized by violence get a chance to be kids again at Rotary camp

By Iuliia Mendel                                                Produced by Monika Lozinska

Beneath the emotional scars of living in a Ukrainian war zone, Mykyta Berlet flashes the same mischievousness of any other 12-year-old boy headed to camp.

He wants to laugh, play pranks and on the last night of camp “we will cover everyone with toothpaste,” he says excitedly.

Mykyta and 25 other Ukrainian youths headed to the resort town of Zakopane in the foothills of southern Poland are naturally focused on fun. But their two-week respite organized by Rotary members has a higher purpose: To help the children heal and cope with the trauma they may encounter when they go home.  

Each camper has a parent or sibling killed or injured in the fighting in Ukraine. Psychologists at camp will guide them along the way during an itinerary that mixes escape and therapy.

Olga Zmiyivska, a member of the Rotary Club of Kharkiv Multinational in Ukraine, has brought children to the camp for two years and has witnessed its impact.

“After the trip, they are more willing to make contact and open their hearts,” she said.


Valeriia Salohub, 13, father killed



Mykhailo, 6, and Oleksandr, 8, Kruhlikov, father killed



Valeriia Tkachuk, 12, father injured



Andrii Tymkov, 12, father injured



Dariia Lebkovska, 11, father injured



Mykhailo, 8, and Zakharii Mazunov, 12, father killed



Dmytro Tkachuk, 11, father killed 


Viktoriia Babich, 11, and Khrystyna Treban, 13, fathers killed



Vladyslava Diachuk, 8, father injured



Yurii Paskhalin, 12, and Vladyslav Tsepun, 12, fathers killed


Ivan Bezruchak, 8, father killed, and Tymofii Zolotarov, 9, father injured



Anastasiia Filonenko, 11, father killed


War came into their homes

Thousands have died and millions have been displaced by the fighting between pro-Russia rebels and the Ukrainian military in eastern Ukraine. 

Growing up in the shadow of that nearly four-year conflict, most of the campers don’t remember a life without war. They tell unrealistic stories about battles and keep silent about real horrors. Some are guarded and hypervigilant. Others endure sleepless nights or nightmares. A few withdraw and emotionally shut down.

In Zakopane, nestled in the scenic Tatra Mountains, Rotary members give the children a chance to heal in a peaceful setting. The children sleep in comfortable cabins along a pristine lake flanked by green, rolling hills.

The program, called Vacation 2017 Zakopane: Well-Being for Ukrainian Kids, includes traditional camp activities and field trips along with support from mental health professionals. More than 100 children have attended over the past four years.


Psychologist and art therapist Olha Hrytsenko helps children work through their grief at Vacation 2017 Zakopane: Well-Being for Ukrainian Kids.


This year’s campers visited a mountain village to learn about local traditions, toured historic Krakow, and saw the castles, salt mines and hot springs of southern Poland. The routine activities are simple but powerful.

Yuriy Paschalin and Vlad Tsepun, both 12, became close friends after their fathers were killed by snipers. The field trips helped both boys start to relax and act like typical, curious children.

“This program allows these kids to stay kids and to live children’s emotions,” said psychologist and art therapist Olha Hrytsenko.

“They will observe and absorb another culture, attitude, and language, (and) will be able to compare and make conclusions about what is good and what is bad. It will help them to find themselves.”


Healing Scars of War 2018-02-06 09:00:00Z 0

The Board of Directors has approved the proposed Corporate memberships for Cook Inlet Keeper with the proposed  primary member to be Bob Shavelson. Proposed alternate members are Carly Wier and Marissa Wilson.


For Kachemak Bay Title Agency Inc., the proposed primary member is  Lisa Roberts, and the proposed alternate member is Kathy Hemstreet.

Please provide any comments, in writing,  NLT February 14, 2018. 


If there are no objections by the membership, we plan to formally welcome them at the February 22, 2018 meeting.

Proposed New Corporate Memberships 2018-02-06 09:00:00Z 0

Column: Three days of peace and music as Rotarians convene at the United Nations


Walter Gyger is the very model of a modern UN diplomat. When I first meet him – in the lobby of the Intercontinental hotel in Geneva, Switzerland – he’s clad in gray trousers, a white shirt with a dark tie, a gray sweater vest, and a blue blazer. Silver haired and with a trim mustache, he speaks perfect English, albeit with a Continental accent. 

If you called central casting and asked for someone ambassadorial, this is who they would send.

See our coverage of Rotary Day at the U.N. 

Illustration by Dave Cutler

A distinguished veteran of the Swiss Foreign Service and Rotary’s primary representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Gyger has come to the Intercontinental to escort me and some of my colleagues to a fondue dinner at the Café du Commerce. After a mere two months as a senior editor at The Rotarian, I’ve traveled from Chicago to Geneva ostensibly to cover Rotary Day at the United Nations. In fact, the three days that I spend in Genève (as the Swiss call it) will introduce me to the vigorous and transformational spirit that imbues all things Rotary. Walter will serve as one of my guides on this revelatory journey. I mean no disrespect: Sooner or later, everyone calls him Walter.

At the Café du Commerce – where our host is Genève International, a two-year-old Rotary club – about 50 people crowd four long communal tables. John Hewko, the general secretary of Rotary International and an honorary member of the Geneva club, is there, as is Ed Futa, the dean of the network of 30 Rotary representatives who work with the UN and other key international organizations.

Of course they know Walter. Everybody knows Walter. He introduces me to a young Swiss woman named Karen Kienberger. Assisted by a Rotary scholarship, Karen (we’re all on a first-name basis here) is working toward her doctorate in marine biology. Specifically, she is studying jellyfish, and though enrolled at the University of Granada in Spain, she conducts her various experiments in Vienna at Tiergarten Schön-brunn, the world’s oldest zoo.

Karen is representative of the smart, vibrant people who gravitate toward Walter. For instance, at the dinner I also meet Barbora Bruant Gulejova, one of the youngest members of the Geneva club who, with her PhD in thermonuclear fusion, works at CERN, the Geneva-based nuclear research facility that’s home to the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider. And then there’s Rebecca Tolstoy, the Swedish-born Australian Rotarian who leads Path of Hope, which crusades for global solutions to domestic violence and human trafficking.

A Concerted Effort 2018-01-31 09:00:00Z 0

Convention: Toronto's music scene

Toronto has a vibrant music scene that includes all types of venue, from stadiums to small bars, and features every musical genre. When you’re in town for the 2018 Rotary International Convention, from 23 to 27 June, take time to hear some live music. 

The majestic Massey Hall hosts a mix of classical and contemporary music concerts. Massey Hall was home to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir until 1982, when they moved to the newly built Roy Thomson Hall. 

On 28 June, just after the convention, Aretha Franklin is scheduled to appear at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. It’s worth checking the Sony Centre schedule.

The Horseshoe Tavern is the best-known small venue in the city. Since it opened in 1947, many famous faces have appeared on its stage early in their careers, including the Rolling Stones, the Police, and Willie Nelson. 

Jazz enthusiasts will want to check out Jazz Bistro, where the music is accompanied by fine dining, and The Rex, a decades-old hotel, bar, and restaurant where you can hear jazz and blues. 

Lovers of Latin music gather at the Lula Lounge to enjoy salsa bands while eating Latin fusion cuisine. Salsa instructors offer lessons on Friday and Saturday nights. – Randi Druzin

Preregistration discount ends 31 March. Go to riconvention.org.

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RI Convention 2018--Toronto 2018-01-31 09:00:00Z 0
2018-19 RI President Barry Rassin wants Rotary members to Be the Inspiration
By Hank Sartin                      Photos by Monika Lozinska
Rotary International President-elect Barry Rassin laid out his vision for the future of the organization on Sunday, calling on leaders to work for a sustainable future and to inspire Rotarians and the community at large.
Rassin, a member of the Rotary Club of East Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas, unveiled the 2018-19 presidential theme, Be the Inspiration, to incoming district governors at Rotary’s International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA. “I want you to inspire in your clubs, your Rotarians, that desire for something greater. The drive to do more, to be more, to create something that will live beyond each of us.”
2018-19 RI President Barry Rassin announces his presidential theme, Be the Inspiration, at Rotary's International Assembly.
Rassin stressed the power of Rotary’s new vision statement, “Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.” This describes the Rotary that leaders must help build, he said.
To achieve this vision, the president-elect said, Rotarians must take care of the organization: “We are a membership organization first. And if we want to be able to serve, if we want to succeed in our goals — we have to take care of our members first.”
Rassin asked the incoming district governors to “inspire the club presidents, and the Rotarians in your districts, to want to change. To want to do more. To want to reach their own potential. It’s your job to motivate them — and help them find their own way forward.”
Progress on polio
Rassin noted that one source of inspiration has been Rotary’s work to eradicate polio. He described the incredible progress made over the past three decades. In 1988, an estimated 350,000 people were paralyzed by the wild poliovirus; just 20 cases were reported in 2017 as of 27 December. “We are at an incredibly exciting time for polio eradication,” he said, “a point at which each new case of polio could very well be the last.”
He emphasized that even when that last case of polio is recorded, the work won’t be finished. “Polio won’t be over, until the certifying commission says it’s over—when not one poliovirus has been found, in a river, in a sewer, or in a paralyzed child, for at least three years,” he said. “Until then, we have to keep doing everything we’re doing now.” He urged continued dedication to immunization and disease surveillance programs.
Sustaining the environment
Rotary has focused heavily on sustainability in its humanitarian work in recent years. Now, Rassin said, Rotarians must acknowledge some hard realities about pollution, environmental degradation, and climate change. He noted that 80 percent of his own country is within one meter of sea level. With sea levels projected to rise two meters by 2100, he said, “my country is going to be gone in 50 years, along with most of the islands in the Caribbean and coastal cities and low-lying areas all over the world.”
Rassin urged leaders to look at all of Rotary’s service as part of a larger global system. He said that this means the incoming district governors must be an inspiration not only to clubs, but also to their communities. “We want the good we do to last. We want to make the world a better place. Not just here, not just for us, but everywhere, for everyone, for generations.”
Rassin's 2018 presidential theme 2018-01-25 09:00:00Z 0
Homer Community Food Pantry
Food for Teens
Year End Project Report
January 22, 2018
Last summer the Homer Community Food Pantry was awarded two grants; $1,000 from the Homer Kachemak Bay Rotary Club and $3,000 from Wells Fargo Bank for the purpose of funding a pilot project to provide food for teens that were facing the challenges of homelessness, neglect and poverty in the area.  Our organization partnered with the FLEX school in order to reach the at-risk teens and through the efforts of Ingrid Harrald, a counselor at FLEX, we were able to put together a program that would support 15-18 at-risk students on a weekly basis in addition to providing ingredients for cooking programs developed by Ingrid.
Each week, a supply of canned goods, pasta, oatmeal and peanut butter is delivered to the FLEX School  in bulk and distributed to any student in need.  Several of the students have taken on the task of filling back packs, which were provided by the Homer Emblem Club, with the donated food and placing them in a bin by the door, accessible to any student.  The back packs are returned weekly and re-filled.  In addition to the non-perishables, the Food Pantry and various farmers at the Farmer’s Market, when operational, provide fresh fruit, vegetables, bagels and bread to FLEX to support Ingrid’s cooking programs on a weekly basis. 
The backpacks contain several cans; Chili, stew, soup, fruit, some oatmeal, ramen noodles, crackers and peanut butter as well as a “one pot meal” recipe including the canned goods and spices needed.  Some of Ingrid’s cooking programs included making kale chips with all the fresh grown kale from the Farmer’s Market; Crockpot Tuesday featuring homemade vegetable soup and Chili.  Teaching the kids to cook is a vital part to this project and we are fortunate to have a partner in Ingrid at the school.
The canned goods provided to the school are purchased by the Food Pantry, produce and bread are donated by the local grocers each Monday.  To date, the Food Pantry has spent $951 on this project that began in late September. 
In December, I met with Poppy Benson and her high school age Girl Scout Troop to discuss the project and ways the girls could participate.  It was determined at that meeting that there are approximately 30 at-risk teens at the High School.  The Troop was very interested in expanding the project to the high school and is planning a back pack drive and a food drive.  The Food Pantry will assist with additional food as needed.  It was very exciting to watch the girls collaborate and develop ideas for advertising the availability of the food-filled packs. I look forward to seeing their project take flight.
Over the next few months, the Food Pantry will be coordinating with the ED at the Rec Room to develop a summer program.  We envision a similar process of delivering food in bulk to the Rec Room for distribution and will collaborate on ways to advertise its availability.
The Homer Community Food Pantry serves the greater Homer/Kachemak area from Anchor Point to the villages out East and across the bay.  The Pantry statistics show over 1,680 households were served in 2017.  Children and teens are generally served through their families however there is a growing number of teens that are in need and have difficulty getting assistance.  This collaboration with FLEX through key individual, Ingrid Harrald, has allowed us to reach those teens in need.  We are hopeful that the Girl Scout Troop will be successful in serving the need at the Homer High School and that the program can continue throughout the summer months.  It has been very successful to date and has provided a supplement to those kids on the edge.
We greatly appreciate your support and involvement.  Thank you.
Respectfully submitted,
Cinda Martin
Homer Community Food Pantry Secretary
Chairman, Food for Teens
Food For Teens Project Report 2018-01-25 09:00:00Z 0
On January 18, 2018 our first corporate member was inducted.  Christie Gibbs, Director of Business Development at Geneva Woods Pharmacy, was inducted into Rotary International at our January 18 meeting.  Two of her colleagues will also be joining our ranks.  Following are short bios of two of the three new members. 
Christie Gibbs
Job Title:  Director of Business Development at Geneva Woods Pharmacy
Christie was born in Batangas City, Philippines.  Her family immigrated to the US in 1972 when she was 2 years old.  Her father had proudly enlisted as a Filipino national in the US Navy in 1964.  Her mother had been a high school history teacher in the Philippines. in the US, Christie's mother worked as a caregiver to the elderly and disabled for many years.
Christie and her mother made the long journey from the Philippines to Jacksonville, FL alone.  Christie has two younger siblings who were born in the US in Jacksonville and Pensacola, FL.
The family was transferred to Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia in 1979.  In 1980, Christie and her mother achieved US Citizenship.
Christie's family enrolled her in a local after school/weekend Judo school.  She excelled in the sport and achieved her black belt during high school.
Christie excelled in school too. She was President of the National Honor Society, achieved Varsity letters in Academics, Debate, and Forensics.  She graduated Valedictorian of her high school class and was accepted into the College of William and Mary.  She was very proud to be awarded an INTERNATIONAL ROTARY SCHOLARSHIP.
In 1990 she married Trey Gibbs in Virginia Beach.  He had been stationed at Norfolk Naval Base, but he had been raised in Anchorage, AK.  Upon his Honorable Discharge from the Navy, they returned to Anchorage in 1993 with their first child Samantha. Their other three children, Sabrina, Drew, and Regan, were later born in Anchorage and Soldotna.
Trey and Christie pursued careers in insurance and securities.  Christie specialized in Long Term Care Insurance and Medicare supplemental insurance sales.  In 2005, the family moved to the Kenai Peninsula.
Christie began working for Geneva Woods in Soldotna that year as a documentation specialist.  She was promoted to Education and Resources Representative.  In 2007 she was promoted to General Manager of the branch site.  In 2014 Christie was promoted to Director of Business Development.
Christie enjoys travel, family church, and community activities.  The children's sports and other activities take up most of her time.  The family recently celebrated Samantha's UAA graduation, Sabrina is on the Chancellor's list and Honor Society at UAA.  Drew was named Alaska's #1 High School Running Back in 2014 and is currently on football scholarship at Northern State University in South Dakota. The youngest one, Regan, attends Soldotna Elementary and dances competitively for Diamond Dance Project in Soldotna.  She was recently awarded dance scholarships in a national competition in Los Vegas and a regional scholarship from a regional competition in Anchorage.
Chris Finlay
Born and raised in the Eugene area of Oregon.  Moved to Alaska in November of 2011.  Started work at Peninsula Community Health Services of Alaska in June of 2012 as an individual Services Provider (ISP) in the Behavioral Health Department. Was promoted to the position of Medical Front Office Manager in May of 2013, then promoted again in June of 2014 to the position of Medical Operations Manager and promoted once a gain in May of 2015 to Director of Operations.  In November of 2016, took a job at MediCenter Medical Group as Director of Operations.  in January of this year, took position of 
Operations Manager of Geneva Woods Healthcare Services in Soldotna.
Chris is also Treasurer of the Kenai Chamber of  Commerce Board of Directors, as well as the Board of Directors Liaison for the Kenai Young Professionals Advisory Council. He has two little girls who are three and five years old and enjoys spending time outdoors.
New Members: January 18, 2018 2018-01-24 09:00:00Z 0
Cranium Cup 2018-01-17 09:00:00Z 0
Rotarian Mary Ann Peters will draw from her three decades as a diplomat to lead the Carter Center into the future
By Diana Schoberg
An interview with Mary Ann Peters is a master class in the art of diplomatic responses. Asked about her most difficult assignment, the former U.S. ambassador responds that “difficulty and challenge are two sides of the same coin.” 
Pressed on the impact that U.S. President Donald Trump is having on the country’s ability to make peace, she says – after noting the nonpartisan nature of the Carter Center, where she is now chief executive – that administrations of both parties have relied disproportionately on the military since 11 September 2001, and she hopes the current administration will capitalize on other means to pursue its objectives. 
Speaking about negotiating on behalf of the Carter Center, she notes: “I like to think that we’re very useful to the government, because we can and do engage with people who a government that represents so many perspectives in the fabric of democracy can’t always engage with,” adding, “I’m saying that very diplomatically.”
The cross-cultural skills she gained as a diplomat make Mary Ann Peters right at home leading the Carter Center.
Branden Camp/AP Images
Peters is able to put her astute communication skills, along with the cross-cultural savvy she developed during 30 years with the U.S. State Department, to good use at the Carter Center. Since 2014, Peters, a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta, has led the organization in advancing human rights and fighting disease through projects such as monitoring elections, mediating international conflicts, and working to eliminate diseases such as Guinea worm.
 “She’s a fabulous communicator and absolute pro in the diplomacy field, with decades and decades of experience,” says Martha Brooks, a fellow Atlanta Rotarian who met Peters through their membership in the Belizean Grove, a group of influential women that includes Wall Street executives and Army generals. Brooks is a retired aluminum company executive and past chair of the Carter Center Board of Councilors, a group of civic leaders that advocates for the center’s work in Georgia and beyond. She calls Peters “an interpreter of the world.”
Peters is in many ways different from her boss, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who, with his wife, Rosalynn, founded the Carter Center in 1982. He grew up on a farm, she in the suburbs; he’s a Southerner, she’s a Yankee. But she’s like Carter in her desire to be engaged in her community.
“She’s CEO of the Carter Center but she comes to Rotary every Monday,” says Bob Hope, an Atlanta Rotarian who has monitored elections in Nepal on behalf of the Carter Center. “She must be out of the country sometimes, but I’m not sure when because she’s always there, smiling, shaking hands, and making alliances for President Carter. Carter is open about what he says and that sometimes rubs people wrong. She bridges it, and she does it in such a friendly and warm way.”
Peters got an early start in her international career. She understands the value of programs such as Rotary Youth Exchange: She herself spent a year in Paris during her time as an undergraduate at Santa Clara University. “It’s not only what you learn,” she says. “It’s the fact that you’re the one who got on the plane, and so therefore you actually become the confident person you wanted to be – or at least you think you are and you act that way, so nobody knows the difference.” That works in both directions: She recalls meeting a Muslim leader in Bangladesh who told her that he could never be anti-American because he had been on an exchange program and lived with a family in Pennsylvania.
“She’s CEO of the Carter Center but she comes to Rotary every Monday,” says Bob Hope, an Atlanta Rotarian who has monitored elections in Nepal on behalf of the Carter Center. “She must be out of the country sometimes, but I’m not sure when because she’s always there, smiling, shaking hands, and making alliances for President Carter. Carter is open about what he says and that sometimes rubs people wrong. She bridges it, and she does it in such a friendly and warm way.”
Peters got an early start in her international career. She understands the value of programs such as Rotary Youth Exchange: She herself spent a year in Paris during her time as an undergraduate at Santa Clara University. “It’s not only what you learn,” she says. “It’s the fact that you’re the one who got on the plane, and so therefore you actually become the confident person you wanted to be – or at least you think you are and you act that way, so nobody knows the difference.” That works in both directions: She recalls meeting a Muslim leader in Bangladesh who told her that he could never be anti-American because he had been on an exchange program and lived with a family in Pennsylvania.
After receiving her master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, she launched her career as a U.S. diplomat. Fluent in seven languages, she had assignments in Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, Canada, and other countries. President Bill Clinton named her U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh in 2000, a position she held until 2003.
It was a difficult assignment, she says. Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, suffers from terrible poverty. Her stint in the majority-Muslim country spanned 9/11, and U.S. foreign policy goals drastically changed while she was there. Her team began meeting with local religious leaders to get their support for aid programs the U.S. government was conducting. In meeting with the imams, she says, “We were trying to follow the rules, but we were doing things that no one had given us permission to do.”
Mary Ann Peters leads the Carter Center in its work to eliminate diseases such as river blindness in Nigeria.
Peters is able to put her astute communication skills, along with the cross-cultural savvy she developed during 30 years with the U.S. State Department, to good use at the Carter Center. Since 2014, Peters, a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta, has led the organization in advancing human rights and fighting disease through projects such as monitoring elections, mediating international conflicts, and working to eliminate diseases such as Guinea worm.
 “She’s a fabulous communicator and absolute pro in the diplomacy field, with decades and decades of experience,” says Martha Brooks, a fellow Atlanta Rotarian who met Peters through their membership in the Belizean Grove, a group of influential women that includes Wall Street executives and Army generals. Brooks is a retired aluminum company executive and past chair of the Carter Center Board of Councilors, a group of civic leaders that advocates for the center’s work in Georgia and beyond. She calls Peters “an interpreter of the world.”
Peters is in many ways different from her boss, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who, with his wife, Rosalynn, founded the Carter Center in 1982. He grew up on a farm, she in the suburbs; he’s a Southerner, she’s a Yankee. But she’s like Carter in her desire to be engaged in her community.
“She’s CEO of the Carter Center but she comes to Rotary every Monday,” says Bob Hope, an Atlanta Rotarian who has monitored elections in Nepal on behalf of the Carter Center. “She must be out of the country sometimes, but I’m not sure when because she’s always there, smiling, shaking hands, and making alliances for President Carter. Carter is open about what he says and that sometimes rubs people wrong. She bridges it, and she does it in such a friendly and warm way.”
Peters got an early start in her international career. She understands the value of programs such as Rotary Youth Exchange: She herself spent a year in Paris during her time as an undergraduate at Santa Clara University. “It’s not only what you learn,” she says. “It’s the fact that you’re the one who got on the plane, and so therefore you actually become the confident person you wanted to be – or at least you think you are and you act that way, so nobody knows the difference.” That works in both directions: She recalls meeting a Muslim leader in Bangladesh who told her that he could never be anti-American because he had been on an exchange program and lived with a family in Pennsylvania.
After receiving her master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, she launched her career as a U.S. diplomat. Fluent in seven languages, she had assignments in Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, Canada, and other countries. President Bill Clinton named her U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh in 2000, a position she held until 2003.
It was a difficult assignment, she says. Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, suffers from terrible poverty. Her stint in the majority-Muslim country spanned 9/11, and U.S. foreign policy goals drastically changed while she was there. Her team began meeting with local religious leaders to get their support for aid programs the U.S. government was conducting. In meeting with the imams, she says, “We were trying to follow the rules, but we were doing things that no one had given us permission to do.”
Mementos from her years in the Foreign Service decorate her office at the Carter Center. Her “brag wall” includes photos of Peters with President Clinton and Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell. On one wall hangs a woodcut of Narragansett Bay in Newport, R.I., where she served as provost of the U.S. Naval War College from 2008 to 2014.
Mary Ann Peters became CEO of the Carter Center in 2014.
Peters’ background as an educator is evident when she talks about diplomacy. On the notes she had prepared for her interview, she scrawls out “DIME” – an acronym for “Diplomacy, Information/Intelligence, Military, Economic” to explain the options a government has to exercise its power. “As a diplomat, of course, I believe that talking is better than shooting.” To make her point, she paraphrases Winston Churchill: “‘Jaw, jaw, is better than war, war’ – I suppose it rhymes if you’re an upper-class Brit like Churchill was. I believe it with every fiber of my being.”
She’s full of maxims like that one: “A diplomat answers twice and says nothing.” “A diplomat can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you look forward to the trip.” “A diplomat is an honest man sent to lie abroad for his country.” Or one she made up herself: “A diplomat never insults anyone by accident.”
The transition from provost of the Naval War College to CEO of the Carter Center, an institution whose motto includes the words “waging peace,” wasn’t as big a leap as it sounds. The college has a master’s program in national security and strategic studies – “and the greatest security of all, of course, is peace,” she says. When Oz Nelson, then the chairman of the Carter Center board, introduced Peters to the staff, he joked that the organization would have a new motto: Peace or Else! “I thought that was great,” she says.
The cross-cultural skills she gained as a diplomat make her right at home leading the Carter Center; she likens managing people to negotiating mini-treaties. “It’s about advocacy,” she says of the role of a diplomat. “It’s about words, it’s about navigating cultural differences. It’s about firmly remaining American while understanding better than you could in Washington what’s going on where you are, and how that’s likely to affect what the United States wants to accomplish.”
Hope, who also sits on the Carter Center’s Board of Councilors, says Peters’ discipline shows in whatever she does. “Particularly in a political environment where the funding for the Carter Center comes from countries all over the world, being diplomatic and being friendly and knowing how to deal with people is critical,” he says. “And she just knows how to do it.”
Peters joined Rotary shortly after moving to Atlanta. Some of the first people she met in town were Rotarians, and she was impressed when she heard what they were doing. The Atlanta club is very active in human trafficking issues, and when she arrived in September 2014, the Carter Center was already working with the Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery on a world summit to end sexual exploitation that was held the following spring.
She says she continues to discover synergies between the work of Rotary and the Carter Center; she recently met with Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention to consider adopting their family health day methodology for the Carter Center’s work to eradicate malaria and lymphatic filariasis, the disease that causes elephantiasis, from the island of Hispaniola.
Nonprofits such as Rotary and the Carter Center are the right groups to eradicate disease, she says, because the U.S. government must deal with annual budgets subject to approval by Congress, which doesn’t always consider the long-term societal costs and benefits of such work. “They can’t do it financially, and frankly, they can’t do it politically, because an administration lasts at most eight years,” she says. “It really seems to me that it’s our job to make these commitments and then to rope in governments and other funders as we can.”
As she talks, she picks up a Four-Way Test paperweight. At the Carter Center, she says, “we’re action oriented and data driven, and that reminds me of the first question of The Four-Way Test: Is it the truth?” And like Rotary, she says, the center is nonpartisan and based on universal values such as compassion, equity, and respect for human dignity.
Another of the Carter Center’s principles is that it doesn’t duplicate the work of others; that’s why it isn’t involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS or polio, for instance. Instead, it has tackled a list of often largely unknown diseases. “When I first got here, I was going around chanting ‘schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, dracunculiasis,’” Peters says, to help her remember the unfamiliar names. Which brings her to another of the center’s principles: These are difficult problems in difficult places, and if you’re going to be bold and take them on, you must see failure as an acceptable risk. “That’s what really sold me on going full speed ahead to try to get this job, because I thought it was so honest and so brave to put that out there.”
President Carter is 93 years old and Rosalynn Carter is 90, and while the Carter Center must prepare for the day when its founders are no longer around, the center’s reputation, built on that of the former president, is firmly in place. To help ensure the center remains true to its principles, Jason Carter, the couple’s eldest grandson and a former Georgia state senator, was recently elected chair of the board of trustees. “They have positioned us as well as we can be,” Peters says.
As the Carter Center moves into the post-Carter phase, Peters “does have an enormous task,” Hope says. “When President Carter comes into a room, everyone is abuzz. She’s tried to figure out how to institutionalize his reputation and what he’s done. She and Jason have done a really nice job of transitioning the operation into something that will be less dependent on him as a personality. I think she’s the right person at the right time for them.”
As she discusses the future of the center, the ding of a meeting reminder sounds from Peters’ computer. She’s graciously let the interview go well beyond its allotted time, and now she needs a few minutes to prepare for her next appointment. She’ll be having a conversation about a risky new role the Carter Center may play in a country whose peace process is complicated by politics, history, terrorism, and nationalist groups. But taking a risk where others can’t or won’t is in the DNA of the Carter Center. That will continue with Peters at the helm. 
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Waging Peace 2018-01-17 09:00:00Z 0
Pakistan and Nigeria replace paper-based reporting with fast, accurate cellphone messaging
By Ryan Hyland                         Photos by Khaula Jamil
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.”
Cell Phones Help Power Disease Fight 2018-01-10 09:00:00Z 0
Dec 19 2017, 10:56 pm ET
With end to polio in sight, vaccination gets creative
by Maggie Fox
Could the world be about to eradicate polio? Only 17 cases were diagnosed last year and they were all in two countries with the last hard-to-reach corners: Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The public health groups trying to put the squeeze on polio have started to get more creative in their last push. The latest: turning vaccination into a circus.
The circus enables the children who join, often from internally displaced communities around Kabul, to learn new skills while continuing their education. Nadia, seen here, is 14 years old, and one of the best girl-performers in the country. Ashley Hamer / UNICEF
“We are trying to build trust and momentum around why we need to vaccinate our kids,” said Melissa Corkum, UNICEF team leader on polio eradication.
UNICEF has teamed up with a local group called the Afghan Mini Mobile Circus for Children to help lure every last mother and child to get their monthly dose of polio vaccine.
And there’s nothing like a circus to attract kids.
“In many of these communities there is not a lot of entertainment,” said Corkum, who’s helping head up a vaccination drive this week in Jalalabad, in eastern Afghanistan.
The Afghan Mini Mobile Circus finds children in a community and trains them in simple circus skills like juggling. “It’s pretty basic. There’s no tightrope walking or anything like that.”
After training, they put on a show. Embedded in the show is a lesson about polio and vaccination. The polio virus is played by a child dressed like a monster, often a snake. Vaccination volunteers conquer the monster.
“It draws a crowd of people around the performance,” Corkum said. “While that performance is taking place, polio vaccinators are moving around in the crowd, vaccinating children.”
Inventive approaches like this have helped the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, led by Rotary International, reach hundreds of thousands of children.
Image: Polio vaccination in Pakistan
Police stand guard as a polio vaccination team works in Karachi, Pakistan,in 2016, the day after seven policemen who were guarding a polio vaccination team were killed in the city by unknown gunmen. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the last two countries where polio is still endemic. SHAHZAIB AKBER / EPA
If it works, polio would become only the second disease ever to have been eradicated by human intervention. The first was smallpox, driven out of existence by a vaccination campaign in the 1970s, and declared eradicated in 1980.
“We are really close,” Corkum said.
“Polio now survives only among the world's poorest and most marginalized communities, where it stalks the most vulnerable children,” the World Health Organization says. “Polio cases have decreased by over 99 percent since 1988, from an estimated 350,000 cases then, to 37 reported cases in 2016. As a result of the global effort to eradicate the disease, more than 16 million people have been saved from paralysis.”
For 2017, the count is down to 17 cases.
Why it's hard to eradicate
In June, public health groups and nonprofits pledged $1.2 billion to help finance a final push by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
Polio is hard to eradicate because it lives and multiplies in the human gut, and so it can be spread in sewage.
“There’s no going back if a child is affected by polio,” Corkum said. About one in 200 infections cause permanent paralysis and 5 to 10 percent of those paralyzed die when the muscles that aid breathing stop working.
Children in developed countries like the U.S. are protected after four doses of vaccine. But in developing countries where polio is still a risk, kids need many more doses than that, Corkum said. They have weaker immune systems, thanks in part to malnutrition, and they’re more likely to be exposed to the virus.
The easiest polio immunization to deliver is an oral vaccine, given as a few drops into the mouth. It’s made using a live but weakened version of polio and it can sometimes persist in a child’s digestive system, getting into sewage. Sometimes, it mutates back into an infectious form.
Children flock to the circus the moment they see youngsters their own age pull out their juggling pins. Fardeen Barekzai / UNICEF
Children flock to the circus the moment they see youngsters their own age pull out their juggling pins. Fardeen Barekzai / UNICEF
“On rare occasions, if a population is seriously under-immunized, an excreted vaccine-virus can continue to circulate for an extended period of time,” WHO says.
“The longer it is allowed to survive, the more genetic changes it undergoes. In very rare instances, the vaccine-virus can genetically change into a form that can paralyze. This is what is known as a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus.”
It’s rare, but turns polio vaccination into a far more challenging project than it otherwise would be. There have been 24 outbreaks of this vaccine-derived polio strain, causing more than 700 cases.
But over that same time, most than 10 billion doses of oral vaccine have been given to 3 billion kids.
“As long as a single child remains infected, children in all countries are at risk of contracting polio. Failure to eradicate polio from these last remaining strongholds could result in as many as 200,000 new cases every year, within 10 years, all over the world,” WHO said.
So Corkum will be watching the street circus in Jalalabad this week.
Hamid, clutching his precious box of vaccinations, attacks a snake that represents polio during the performance. The crowd cheers. "Vaccinating your children will destroy this disease!" cries Hamid. "Make sure your whole village takes these droplets and you will see how strong your children can be." Ashley Hamer / UNICEF
And volunteers will be going house to house in other areas, talking with mothers to encourage vaccination.
Last case possible this year
It’s notoriously risky and difficult work. Afghanistan and Pakistan both have some of the most extreme terrain in the world, with villages tucked into high mountains with no road access, or cut off by constant fighting.
“We can’t risk getting in the line of fire,” Corkum said.
“There are many different types of fighting activities that take place of Afghanistan every day between various groups. There are a lot of different tribal back and forths.”
Pakistan's Polio Epidemic Aided by Anti-Vaccine Sentiment 
While vaccination teams have been directly targeted in recent years, they can be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The militant Islamic Taliban once blocked access to some areas for more than a year, and attacked some volunteers giving vaccines, although global Islamic leaders now encourage vaccination.
But with efforts like circuses, door-to-door visits and grabbing refugees at checkpoints, UNICEF, WHO, Rotary International and other groups leading the effort hope the end is in sight.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, whose Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation helps pay for polio vaccination efforts, predicts the end is near. "If things stay stable in the conflicted areas, humanity could see its last case of polio this year,” he said in October.
With End to Polio in Sight, Vaccination Gets Creative 2018-01-10 09:00:00Z 0
If you missed the December 14th meeting, you missed one of the really great experiences that we get to have at our weekly meetings--the Homer High School Swing Choir!  Sorry you missed it!  It was fantastic!
Homer High School Swing Choir Performs For Us!! 2018-01-03 09:00:00Z 0
Yachts bring aid to remote South Pacific islands
Richard and Stephanie Hackett began chartering sailboats and yachts to travel the South Pacific more than 20 years ago. Seeing the problems of getting health care to remote islands, Richard Hackett, past president of the Rotary Club of Fern Ridge (Veneta), Ore., came up with the idea of charter sailboats helping to provide health care and disaster relief. Sea Mercy, the nonprofit he and his wife founded, started with one volunteer vessel in 2013 and now has more than 100 yachts on call, with initiatives to address health care, disaster response, education and training, and economic development.
Sea Mercy has more than 100 yachts on call, ready to deliver health care and aid. 
Monica Garwood
Q: How do you get the vessels and the volunteers for Sea Mercy’s programs?
A: The people with the vessels are either private owners or the captains who represent private owners. Most are people who have chased the dream of sailing the South Pacific or sailing around the world. For the medical personnel, it’s a working vacation: Doctors, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, dentists, and optometrists come out and join us. Even some medical students want to participate. It’s a two-week period. We travel to anywhere from five to nine remote islands. We set up a clinic onshore, and they treat patients throughout the day or over a two-day period. When we’re all done, we start sailing to the next remote island.
Q: How did disaster relief fit into the original model?
A: We thought once every five years we would be responding to, perhaps, a cyclone. Cyclone Ian hit Tonga in 2014, and we sent two vessels. We were the only vessels that could reach these remote islands; big merchant ships can’t get in, because of the narrow entrances and shallow lagoons. Then Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu in 2015, so we sent eight vessels to Vanuatu. We realized we had to get in front of this and created our first response league. We contacted owners of small yachts and the superyachts, and built a network just in case something else happens. When Cyclone Winston hit Fiji in 2016, we had 60 vessels that responded. We were the first on the scene and the last ones to leave.
Q: How did this expand into economic development?
A: It started with diabetes. The rate of diabetes in the South Pacific is one of the highest in the world. A lot of the health issues are either directly or indirectly a result of diabetes. The [Western] diet that we have introduced to them has changed their whole culture. On the remote islands they don’t have access to the drugs to treat it. And the farmers are moving away, and they’re sending money home. Instead of working and farming and fishing, people are buying sugar and processed flour and rice and noodles. In our health clinics, we realized, we’re treating the symptoms but not the underlying causes. So we are shifting to more of an economic development, agriculturally based program. We’re budgeting it, gearing up, meeting with the leadership, and getting the approval. It’s been a really amazing journey, but we’re very excited about seeing the impact it’s going to have on these remote islands. 
–Nikki Kallio
• Read more stories from The Rotarian
Talent Around the Table 2018-01-03 09:00:00Z 0
Rotary members from Durango, Colorado, USA, team with the Navajo Nation to bring solar lights to remote, off-the-grid homes on the country’s largest Native American reservation.
By Kate Sieber Produced by Stuart Cleland
After decades of crafting squash-blossom necklaces, pendants, and bracelets, Jerry Domingo knew he would have to quit making jewelry, because he couldn’t see very well anymore. 
Navajo like Jerry Domingo are caught in isolated pockets of land, which are called The Checkerboard.
A sturdy Navajo grandfather, silversmith, and revivalist preacher, Domingo lives in a one-room house smaller than a single-car garage in the windswept sagebrush desert near Nageezi, New Mexico. 
His home is mere miles from the picturesque badlands Georgia O’Keefe painted and Dzilth Na-o Dithle, the sacred portal where the Navajo believe the first people came out of the earth. But it’s a long distance from all that the modern world seems to promise — grocery stores, jobs, medical care. Domingo’s home is new. It has unpainted walls, plywood floors, and a wood stove but no insulation or electricity. 
In a twist to his story, electric lines traverse the land just a few hundred yards from Domingo’s front door, but with all of the permissions and work required by the utility, it would cost more than $30,000 to connect to the power. 
Domingo, who has pewter hair and a broad, calm face, first started making jewelry in the 1970s, when he went to work in his uncle’s shop. Over the years, he honed his craft, and customers started to come to him to commission works. 
Now he sells his wares when he travels to preach all over the reservation. But with his failing eyesight, it has been getting harder to do the detailed work. After all, it takes a good four days to make a full squash-blossom necklace. 
Jerry Domingo creates jewelry by the light of a window in his home in The Checkerboard.
Ben Fredman
Before Rotary members installed a solar light, Jerry Domingo relied on light from his window.
Ben Fredman
Jerry Domingo says detailed jewelry work was difficult without proper light.
Ben Fredman
Jerry Domingo works on jewelry at his home on Navaho land.
Ben Fredman
Without a solar light, Jerry Domingo says he would have to quit making jewelry.
Ben Fredman
At night, the glow of kerosene lamps is too dim. Even during the day, the home’s interior is full of shadows, making it difficult to tease, hammer, and solder metal into art. 
“When I do silverworking, I have to wait until the sun comes through the window,” said Domingo, wearing a thick Dallas Cowboys sweatshirt to insulate himself against the chill and large turquoise rings on his fingers, as he worked on a necklace more than a year ago. “I can’t really know what I’m doing when it’s dark in here. It would make a whole lot of difference just to not be in the dark.” 
Through a pastor at a local church, Domingo found out about a program through a Rotary club in Durango , Colorado, USA, that brings solar-powered lighting to remote homes on the Navajo reservation. 
A solar light is a simple thing: just a small panel the size of a baking sheet, which mounts onto a roof with a pole. A wire runs from the panel into the house, where up to three rechargeable lights hang from hooks on the ceiling. To turn on the lights, Domingo simply has to touch a button.
To use the light as a flashlight for going outside at night, he simply unhooks it. A fully charged lamp offers dim light for 75 hours or bright light for 7½ before needing to be recharged. 
But in this house, a light is more than a simple thing. It brings a world of possibility.
In the dark of The Checkerboard 
It’s not unusual for Navajo homes to lack electricity. 
The reservation, bigger than the state of West Virginia, sprawls across Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. It’s a harsh, beautiful land marked by extremes of temperature, sun, wind, and dryness.
Jeanette Sandoval explains why electricity is scarce in The Checkerboard.
Many Navajo — Diné in their own language — have lived in these rural areas for generations, as the land is passed from grandmother to granddaughter.
Although they are blessed with big skies and desert vistas, these remote locations are often far from services and paved roads. 
According to a 2016 assessment, about 16,000 Navajo homes don’t have access to electricity. Nearly a third have no running water, and more than half lack kitchen and toilet facilities. 
In an area known as The Checkerboard, in northwestern New Mexico, it can be particularly challenging to gain access to utilities.
As a result of legislation dating to the 1880s, the land was divided into 160-acre chunks and distributed among individual Native Americans in an attempt to encourage them to adopt Euro-American farming lifestyles. 
The remaining chunks became a patchwork of lands administered by federal, state, and other entities. Now, when a house is separated from utilities by these checkerboard-like lands, it can be difficult and expensive to secure the rights of way. 
Joe Williams hugs Irene Guerito after installing solar lights in her home on the Navajo reservation.
Derek Knowles
Rotarian Joe Williams grew up in The Checkerboard in the 1960s, not far from where Jerry Domingo’s house now stands. The son of a natural-gas worker, he went to work in the oil-and-gas fields at age 14. But he still remembers riding the bus 48 miles to school and 48 miles back, one of the only white kids in a crowd of Navajo children. 
Williams now owns an industrial water-purification company in Aztec, New Mexico, and employs many Navajo people. He has been a member of the Durango Daybreak Rotary Club, about 35 miles north, since 1996. 
He always loved international service projects. In 2013, he traveled with a group to Nepal to trek along the Great Himalaya Trail and install solar lights in teahouses, which offer food, lodging, and other services to hikers. 
In such remote areas, under the shadows of the Annapurna and Everest mountains, it wasn’t surprising that residents didn’t have access to electricity. When the group returned, however, new member Nancy Lauro, a civil engineer in Durango, brought up a provocative question: Similar developing-nation conditions exist within a couple of hours by car. Why not serve our neighbors, the Navajo? 
“We can’t go very far south from Durango without driving through the Navajo Nation, and many Durango-area residents work or go to school with tribal members,” says Lauro, who joined Rotary after her daughters participated in the club’s Youth Exchange program. “Our International Committee had just come back from installing the solar lights in Nepal, and we all thought that it was a natural to bring it home.” 
The group planned a project that would bring solar lights to at-risk populations on the reservation, including elders over 70 years old and disabled tribal members. Soon after launching, the group asked Joe Williams to become the project leader. 
To see a house go from kerosene to solar ... it’s life-changing. No longer do they have a proclivity for upper respiratory infections because of the soot. 
Joe Williams
“I viewed this as a bookend project,” says Williams. “I started off as a kid out there, and there were no lights. I’ve lived my whole life and traveled everywhere, and I’ve come back 50 years later, and the same places have no lights. I said to myself, ‘This is my project.’”  
Williams has an air of gentleness about him and an indomitable wellspring of energy. He walks with the slight stoop and occasional uncertainty of Parkinson’s, which he staves off with determination. Last year alone, Williams coordinated 90 service trips to the reservation at his own expense. 
“To see a house go from kerosene to solar ... it’s life-changing,” he says. “No longer do they spend $20 a month on kerosene. No longer do they have a proclivity for upper respiratory infections because of the soot. It’s a hell of a thing.” 

Transformative power of light



One weekend in November, a group of Rotarians and international exchange students, part of the Mountains & Plains Rotary Youth Exchange, drove from their homes in southern Colorado across the state line and into northwest New Mexico. 


The wind was howling, kicking up sheets of dust, making the town of Shiprock look like a scene from an apocalyptic movie. But overhead, long spine-like clouds lay across a desert sky turning pink and purple with sunset. 


The group gathered to sleep on mats camping-style inside the Sanostee Chapter House, a branch of the tribal government. 

The Power of Light 2018-01-03 09:00:00Z 0

Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a great holiday season!

Thanks for all of the responses to my survey about our club's priorities for fundraising events - it's so helpful to hear from everyone.  Thanks also to everyone who is able to help with the Cranium Cup event - expect to hear more from committee chairs in the coming week!!


Save the date: Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club's First Annual Cranium Cup Trivia Fundraiser - February 10 Alice's Champagne Palace 6:00 - 8:30


Shout out to the Girdwood Rotary Club! A member - Sue Liebner offered to host our exchange student, Winston, as he travels to have the ultimate Alaskan experience - learning to downhill ski!



Words From DG Harry


As your District Governor, I would like to thank you for being Rotarians and for your wonderful efforts to make your communities and our world a better place. Some of your efforts are obvious to you and I but the effect of some of your efforts will never be known. But just imagine the smiles on the faces of young people in your neighborhood enjoying that playground project or young people in far away lands being able to walk without crutches or drink water that won't make them sick. And imagine that tiny glimmer of joy that foster kid might enjoy when she receives that back pack that she can call her own. 

Thank You 5010 Rotarians for all you do. Be safe tonight and have a wonderful and well deserved New Year.


DG Harry (Iceman)

Announcements: January 4, 2018 2018-01-02 09:00:00Z 0

I Just wanted to update you and let you know that our inbound exchange student from Nigeria - Winston - arrived on Tuesday December 19th!

He is staying with Paula and John Kulhanek right now.  We will all be able to meet him at our next meeting on January 4th!

Yahoo!  Please reach out to make him feel welcome if you see him over the break or at our meetings!



Winston arrives in Homer!
Winston is Here! 2018-01-01 09:00:00Z 0
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!