Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay

 

 

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Welcome to the Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay - Celebrating Over 30 Years Serving Homer and Abroad

Homer-Kachemak Bay

Four Way Test: True, Fair, Goodwill & Beneficial to All

We meet Thursdays at 12:00 PM
Best Western Bidarka Inn
575 Sterling Hwy
PO Box 377
Homer, AK  99603
United States
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Home Page Stories

Rotary President-elect Sam F. Owori dies

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

Rotary President-elect Sam F. Owori died Thursday, 13 July.

 

“Rotary has become a way of life for me – with the intrinsic value and core belief in mutual responsibility and concern for one another as a cornerstone,” Sam said when he was nominated last year. “I feel immense satisfaction knowing that through Rotary, I’ve helped someone live better.”

Sam's term as Rotary’s 108th president would have begun on 1 July 2018.

“Please remember Sam as the outstanding, hardworking Rotarian he was,” said Rotary International President Ian Riseley. “In this difficult time, I ask you to keep his wife, Norah, the Owori family, and Sam’s millions of friends around the world in your thoughts.”

Under Sam's leadership, the number of clubs in Uganda swelled from nine to 89 over the course of 29 years. 

Sam saw in Rotary members "an incredible passion to make a difference," and wanted to "harness that enthusiasm and pride so that every project becomes the engine of peace and prosperity."

Sam was the chief executive officer of the Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda, whose mission is to promote excellence in corporate governance principles and practice in the region by 2020. Previously, he was executive director of the African Development Bank, managing director of Uganda Commercial Bank Ltd., and director of Uganda Development Bank.  He has also served as corporate secretary of the Central Bank of Uganda.

He served as member and chair of several boards including FAULU (U) Ltd., (now Opportunity Bank), the Uganda Heart Institute, the Centre for African Family Studies, Mulago Hospital Complex, Mukono Theological College, and the Kampala City Council.

Sam also was the vice chair of Hospice Africa Uganda, and board member and chair of the Audit Committee of PACE (Programme for Accessible Health, Communication, and Education) in Uganda.

“Sam was a special person in so many ways, and his unexpected death is a huge loss to Rotary, his community, and the world,” Riseley said. “We are establishing details on plans to celebrate his life as they become available.” 

Rotary is establishing a memorial fund in Sam's honor and will provide details soon.    

Interactor from Brazil combats a deadly online game 

White Whale designed to promote peace and self-esteem

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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


Interact Club of Pinhais, Parana, Brazil

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

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

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

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

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

 

Rotary member and author Marilyn Fitzgerald stresses the importance of community involvement for sustainable service projects.

Rotary members, volunteers, and donors are usually excited to talk about successful projects. Marilyn Fitzgerald, a member of the Rotary Club of Traverse City, Michigan, USA, draws inspiration from a far less popular topic: failure.

A clinical psychologist and author, Fitzgerald has spent years studying economic development projects in poor countries, where well-intentioned efforts to improve lives sometimes backfire. Now she travels the world to consult on projects and speak to Rotary clubs about sustainability and lessons from her fieldwork. We caught up with her at One Rotary Center, where she had addressed Rotary staff.

It’s about getting away from the charity model, where we give things away, and getting into the opportunity model, where we empower people to carve their own paths out of poverty.

Q: How did you come to focus on sustainability in projects?

A: Looking back on international projects I’ve been involved with, I realized that they often created a dependency on the Rotarians, outsiders coming into a community with money and good intentions. I asked myself why projects no longer existed, why the people we wanted to help weren’t carrying on like we planned. I started to realize that those people were not included in project planning, and that’s not sustainable.

What does it take for people to sustain a project themselves, and go on without our help? It’s about getting away from the charity model, where we give things away, and getting into the opportunity model, where we empower people to carve their own paths out of poverty.

Q: How does that work?

A: I work with microloan programs that provide entrepreneurs with capital to start or invest in a business, and the programs I work with always incorporate an educational component. People sometimes don’t know how to count or even the cost of the goods they’re selling. They can get themselves into terrible financial trouble.

It’s amazing to watch in the field: You teach financial literacy, and the people that will listen and learn are the youth and the mothers and grandmothers, the core of the community. In the past we’ve given loans mostly to men and learned when we give a loan to a man, he gets some money, develops a business, and often leaves his family. Women tend to take better care of the money and share their skills with the community.

Q: How do we define sustainability with respect to humanitarian work? 

A: There are two main areas of humanitarian aid. One is relief aid, and we don’t expect for that to be sustainable; we expect to take people out of dire straits and help them get back on their feet. Development aid has to do with people being able to do something for themselves, so they’re not dependent on us. It’s a simple litmus test: What will happen to these people if you walk away today?

I was involved in a scholarship program in Indonesia where I was raising $72,000 a year for 1,200 kids to go to school. I didn’t think too much about what would happen if I didn’t show up [with the money] one year, because I planned to keep showing up. You know who thought about it? 

The mothers and the children — every year they worried if I was going to be there or not. That wasn’t a sustainable source of income for tuition and we had to change our approach. Income from livestock eventually helped that community become more self-sufficient.

Does what you’re offering matter to them? If not, you have to go back to the drawing board and come up with something that will matter.

Q: What steps can Rotary clubs take to make their projects more sustainable?

A: The first step is to involve the community you want to help; talk to the people who live there about their priorities.

In Guatemala, I worked with women who lived and worked on a city dump. A group of Rotarians came in with the goal of providing shelter for these women and their children. But the houses they built were four miles from the dump, and it wasn’t practical for the women to stay there during the workweek.

One woman later told me she had never asked for a house, that she was used to living outside, and what she really wanted was an education for her children. Do you know how much cheaper that would have been than building houses?

As Westerners, we often think we know the answers, we know people need clean water. What we forget to ask is whether they think they need clean water. Does what you’re offering matter to them? If not, you have to go back to the drawing board and come up with something that will matter.

 

July 7th Senator Lisa Murkowski spoke to us and members of the public, to give us a legislative update about what is happening with legislation in Washington, D.C. After the update, she took questions from the audience and answered them.
 
Representative Seaton and Senator Murkowski
Senator Murkowski speaking to Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary
 
 
 
 
Speakers
Erin Cline
Aug 03, 2017
"How Chinese Religions/Philosophies Have Influenced Chinese and East Asian Cultures."
Chuck Hawkins
Aug 10, 2017
NE Asia
Beth Trowbridge
Aug 17, 2017
Club Assembly
Hannah and Laura
Aug 24, 2017
Resilience Coalition--MAPP
Rebound YE
Aug 31, 2017
Youth Exchange Experiences
Chris Figureida
Sep 07, 2017
Biking for the Heart
Marie McCarty
Sep 14, 2017
Katie Koester
Sep 21, 2017
Ballot Measure 1
DG Harry Kieling
Sep 28, 2017
District Governor Visit
Dr. Sean Dusek -- Superintendent of KPBSD
Oct 05, 2017
Kenai Peninsula School District
Van Hawkins
Oct 12, 2017
Boyd Walker
Oct 19, 2017
Inbound Youth Exchange
John Mouw
Oct 26, 2017
Thanksgiving
Nov 23, 2017
No Meeting
Holiday
Dec 21, 2017
No Meeting
 
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