Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay



Club Information

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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Hall of Fame singer Donovan becomes a Rotary polio ambassador

Hall of Fame folk singer and polio survivor Donovan recently became a Rotary polio ambassador.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Planet Earth Publicity

Legendary singer and polio survivor Donovan Leitch, better known simply as Donovan, has joined Rotary in its fight to eradicate the paralyzing disease that afflicted him during much of his childhood.

Donovan contracted polio at age three in Glasgow, Scotland. The disease weakened his right leg and left it thinner and shorter than the other. Confined to his bed for much of his childhood, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer said his father would read him poetry.

In a recent , Donovan said that listening to poetry piqued his interest in creative writing. “If I hadn’t had that experience maybe I wouldn’t have gone on to write and sing my own songs for the past half a century.

“I feel strongly that having a disability in one area makes you explore others instead. That was the case for me after having polio,” says Donovan, who recently became a Rotary polio ambassador.

Donovan went on to record several hit albums and singles in the UK, United States, and other countries. His top singles include “Mellow Yellow” and “Hurdy Gurdy Man.” Donovan collaborated with The Beatles on songs including “Yellow Submarine” and has shared the stage with musical icons Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.

“Having had polio never held me back as I got older. Although having one leg smaller than the other isn’t much fun I could always get about without any trouble,” Donovan says. “Luckily in the music industry everyone was only interested in my singing and playing and not the size of my legs.”

As a Rotary polio ambassador, Donovan will support the , a collaboration between Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland and the Royal Horticultural Society. The purple represents the colored dye that health workers use during immunization campaigns to mark the fingers of children who have received the polio vaccine.

“It was very easy to join this campaign because I had polio, and I wanted to tell everybody that it’s almost eradicated around the world,” Donovan says. “This is very important. I want to help with that last push, which is always the hardest. ”

Rotary News


August 10th as small group of Rotarians and "Families" met to welcome our new inbound Rotary Exchange Student, Louise, at the Homer Airport.
She's almost here!
She's Here!!
Louise came around the corner in the airport and saw...
Flowers and Pins
Outbound to France--Summer and Inbound from France--Louise
The reception committee.

Did you know that every Homer Police vehicle on duty has a defibrillator?  Did you know that there are AT LEAST 15 Public Access defibrillators available in Homer?  Did you know that the State Troopers have to go to their Post in Anchor Point to have access to a defibrillator?  Most of us did not, but that is the way it is.  Samantha Cunningham was kind enough to give us very useful information on the use of Public Access defibrillators, which tend to be quite a bit different than those that medical professionals use.  We also found out that the Alaska State Troopers do NOT have defibrillators in their vehicles.  Twelve years ago they did, but apparently the money to maintain them was never appropriated.  Batteries and other needed supplies are relatively short lived, so those defibrillators are no longer available.  The only defibrillator available to Troopers is required to be left at the Post in Anchor Point until it needs to be used, when a Trooper can take it to the site where it is needed.  That can be 50 miles one way.
Part of the reason she come to our Club is that Samantha is attempting to raise funds to equip the Trooper's vehicles with defibrillators and provide for their maintenance.  Each Unit will cost about $1500.  More on that at a later date.
Samantha Cunningham introduces Defibrillators to the Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club.
And this is a Public Access Defibrillator...
Just follow the directions--this is where the pads go...
The machine tells you where to FIND the pads...
Where to PUT the pads...
And what to do next....
Including when to STOP.

August 2nd, the Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club was invited to the meeting of the Homer Downtown Rotary Club at a special place and with a very special guest.  The Homer Downtown Club invited Governor Walker to speak at their meeting and changed the venue to the Quarterdeck at Land's End Resort...and they invited us, too!  It was great.  The main thrust of the Governor's talk was that Alaska is in desperate straits, financially, and that we will all have to pull together to ensure Alaska's financial future.  It will not be easy.  For those of us who were here before 1969, it looks like we will have to go back to the old days.  For those who came after Alaska's oil windfall, we will need to plan on a much tighter belt, and the way it looks, no-one will be happy with what needs to be done to balance the budget.  In short, we need to look at cuts and taxes in the future, and that future is already here.
State Representative Paul Seaton introduces Governor Walker
Governor Bill Walker speaks to Rotarians from both Homer Area Clubs
Thanks to Maynard for the pictures

Rotarian Nancy Dodge came to our meeting and talked about what the Shelterbox Program and Shelterboxes are.  Since we purchased our first Shelterbox in 2001, the Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club has, in some way, purchased or arranged the purchase of at least one Shelterbox each year!  New to the program are different types of shelters for different climates, the ability to send only what is needed, etc. For example, Haiti did not need tents, but needed blankets. Shelterbox sent 10,000 blankets.  Some major changes and really good ones!  Visit for more information.


The weather broke for a day which helped to make the Rotary picnic a great success.  Hartley's cabin was loaded with lots of people, kids of all ages, (much to Sherrie's delight) and lots of food.  When we arrived, the tide was low and Sherrie handed out packets of beach exploration materials for the kids (and adults).  She also set up a bead stringing table that got plenty of use by the kids.  A real variety of delicious food was brought over by the Rotarians and the barbecues and fire pit was busy producing hamburgers, hot dogs, buns (Roger's toasting job) and S' Mores the day a great success.


According to Bob Hartley there were almost (or about) 60 people at the picnic, including a whole "horde" of kids.  Talk about a big smile when Bob was talking about the picnic!



Thanks to Tom, Dee, Vivian, and Maynard for the pictures!


The visionaries: Young women in Peru learn to see a future for themselves

Photo Credit: Christopher Carruth

From the of The Rotarian

It’s 3 a.m. on a Sunday, and Katheryne Rosa Barazorda Cuellar is up, preparing to work in her mother’s soup stall in the small Peruvian town of Anta, near the Inca capital of Cusco. Smart and seemingly indefatigable, she has a quick smile and infectious laugh.

Rosa is studying to be a chemical engineer, and she has unmistakable talent and drive. She needs them. Poverty, gender bias, and violence darken the lives of many young Peruvian women, including her.

Rosa is lucky, though. Her family supports her. And for the past four years,  so has Visionaria Perú – a Rotary Foundation-supported leadership and self-empowerment project in Peru’s Sacred Valley. Colorado Rotarians launched the summer program for adolescent girls with career and community-service aspirations. The project team hopes to generate measurably effective and sustainable empowerment projects worldwide. Peru is the first step on that ambitious journey. 

In Peru, women suffer higher rates of poverty and unemployment than men. About 50 percent of Peruvian women in the Sacred Valley region, which lies outside Cusco, will suffer severe physical or sexual intimate-partner abuse during their lifetimes, the World Health Organization reports.

Meanwhile, Peru’s environment suffers. Peruvians – particularly in rural areas – endure high levels of smoke from cooking over indoor fires. About 4 million of the country’s 30 million residents lack access to clean water.

Untangling such a knot is difficult.

In 2012, members of the Rotary Club of Boulder’s New Generations pilot satellite club came up with a plan to address all of those problems by concentrating on empowering local women – specifically in their ability to make and act upon their decisions.

The town of Urubamba shares its name with the river that flows past shops, farms, and ramshackle buildings painted with candidate ballot symbols from the 2011 general election – a soccer ball, a mother and child, a purple striped potato, a traditional cap. Downstream, the river snakes far below the misty ruins of Machu Picchu and tumbles toward the Amazon River.

Here, well-heeled tourists may drop $475 apiece – nearly the mean monthly salary in Peru – to ride the Hiram Bingham luxury train from Cusco to Machu Picchu. Visitors glide past squalid barrios where grandmothers bathe in ditches, children may breathe toxic indoor stove smoke, and dogs paw through piles of garbage, seeking food.

On an early January morning in Urubamba’s La Quinta Eco Hotel, young women gather for a weeklong leadership training institute through Visionaria Perú. The girls – the team calls them visionarias (female visionary, in Spanish) – come from both the bucolic Andes and the noisy city. Most receive tutoring, scholarships, and other help from Peruvian nonprofits such as project partner Peruvian Hearts, which supports Rosa.

Sitting in a circle, the young women each take a small piece of paper and write a fear they harbor. They put their paper in a hat, and each (anonymous) fear is read aloud and discussed. Genevieve Smith, a Rotarian and program director of Visionaria Perú, works with them to understand that shame and fear need not stifle their personal or professional growth.

This “fears in a hat” exercise is one of the lessons taught during the institute, in which visionarias are coached on leadership skills, professional growth, environmental awareness, and self-esteem. The training follows a 150-page curriculum developed by Colorado Rotarians in partnership with local Peruvian professors and experts.

“Before, I never really thought much about how I treated myself. I always used to tell myself  ‘You can’t’ and ‘You’re so stupid because you messed up,’ ” one participant says after the training. “But not now. Now I know I should treat myself better. And I know that when I fail, it’s just a chance to learn how to do something  better the next time around.”

At the end of the institute, the visionarias form teams and enter one of three activism tracks: improved cookstoves, water and sanitation, or solar lighting. The activism tracks give participants the chance to exercise their skills by working on sustainable development projects they envision and carry out from beginning to end.

Members of the Rotary Club of Cusco attend portions of the leadership institute to review and provide feedback on the girls’ community project plans. They also participate during implementation of the projects and attend the final celebration to review and support the girls’ achievements. A mentor and local NGOs assist each team in project planning and implementation, and Rotary Foundation-supported vocational training team members such as Smith participate.

The project started in 2012 when Smith, then a Rotaractor, was in Peru through her studies at the University of Colorado Boulder and visited a hogar (home for girls) supported by Peruvian Hearts. There, she asked the girls what kind of support they would need as they got older. She found out that while the students in Peruvian Hearts’ college prep program were smart and qualified to attend a university, they lacked confidence and felt discriminated against because of their indigenous, and often troubled, backgrounds. Smith crafted a project plan to support the girls by the time her bus took her back to where she was staying.

Marika Meertens, a Rotarian with experience at Engineers Without Borders, pitched the Peru project to the Rotary Club of Boulder’s New Generations members. And Abigale Stangl, who has been working alongside one of her instructors at the University of Colorado to produce metrics that show how well the project works, “got on board as soon I heard about the project,” she recalls.

The trio is the driving force behind the project. They assumed roles reflecting their strengths: Smith with planning, Meertens in fundraising (including two global grants totaling $55,000 from The Rotary Foundation), Stangl with project evaluation.

Evaluating the annual program design and execution is one thing. “Measuring empowerment is a different kind of challenge,” Stangl says.

In four years, 55 visionarias have installed 62 cleaner cookstoves, sold 61 water filters and 75 solar lanterns, and addressed 145 students in workshops. Some 1,640 individuals have been touched by this work, Visionaria Perú calculates. Visionarias themselves report positive results in their own lives: 80 percent said participating in Visionaria Perú improved their status in their communities, and 100 percent agreed or strongly agreed that the program improved their capacity to imagine and create change in their lives and the lives of others. “The program helped me a lot because I had visions and goals, but I did not feel capable in making decisions,” says one girl in an assessment. “Now I am capable of making decisions and taking risks for my life.”

Peruvian Rotarians are preparing to take full control of the project once Rotary funding ends this year. Flavio Miraval, past president of the Rotary Club of Cusco, is working to form a nongovernmental organization to carry on the work. Colorado Rotarians have sought local input every step of the way, including cultural adaptation of lesson plans, involvement by local NGOs, and adjusting the program to fit participants’ priorities. That transfer back to local control, the final objective of the Rotary project, is what the group means when it speaks of “sustainability” and is an important component of any vocational training team project.

With all metrics in hand, Colorado Rotarians want to replicate the empowerment program for women in other countries and continents. Since 2014, the team has conducted empowerment, leadership, and business training in 10 countries, including Bolivia, Kenya, India, Uganda, and Guatemala, with funding from USAID, German partner GIZ, and the United Nations Foundation.

The team recently launched Visionaria programs in two Peruvian schools and plans to expand throughout the country. It is designing a mobile-friendly online platform to allow visionarias to share their visions with one another. This team doesn’t think small.

Meanwhile, Rosa believes she will find a good job in chemical engineering “with perseverance and with my sacrifice.” Getting to the university in Cusco is a four-hour trip several times a week, but the time she has put in has borne fruit: She just completed an internship at a top laboratory in Lima, Peru’s capital. That lab offered her a chance to pursue her thesis work this fall. She works hard but is grateful. She is quick to credit Peruvian Hearts for its steadfast support.

And she praises Visionaria Perú, which helps “us to believe more in what we may be able to achieve each day, empower us, and give us strength to achieve our dreams.”

But the young Rotarians behind Visionaria Perú believe that such power and strength existed all along and that their work to unleash adolescent girls’ powerful visions has only begun.

The Rotarian



Altruism: Individual serving

Illustration by Dave Cutler

From the of The Rotarian

The sun rises on a new school day. In rural Ganguli, India, 450 students climb aboard school buses. Five years ago they couldn’t have gone to school because the distance from their village was too far to walk.

In San Agustín, Ecuador, students used to attend classes in the town morgue when it rained, because their school had no roof. Since 2012, hundreds of children there have learned to read and write in a real classroom.

Quietly orchestrating these and other projects was Vasanth Prabhu, a member of the Rotary Club of Central Chester County (Lionville), Pa. When he was growing up in India, education was not free, and he saw how hard his father worked to pay for schooling for eight children. Understanding how school can change a person’s life keeps Prabhu working to provide education to those with no access to it, he says.

“I feel that everyone is a diamond in the rough,” he says. “But it must be cut and polished to show its brilliance.” So instead of spending his money on luxuries, he is using it to bring out that brilliance.

There are three ways we can deal with enormous problems and our emotional responses to them. We can let them overcome us until we feel too paralyzed to act. We can bury our heads in the sand. Or we can act. And when we help others, we often find that we benefit as well.

“Taking action allows me to exercise passion,” Prabhu says, “to give it a good place to go.”

James Doty, director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, wrote Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart. “We’re adapted to recognize suffering and pain; for us to respond is hard-wired into our brain’s pleasure centers,” says Doty. “We receive oxytocin or dopamine bursts that result in increased blood flow to our reward centers. In short, we feel good when we help.”

Caring for others brings other benefits, too. “When we engage in activities that help, it also results in lowering our blood pressure and heart rate,” he notes. Research shows that it can help us live longer. And the good deeds we do can inspire others.

On the flip side, Doty says, “People can create mistrust or fear by implying that another group is threatening our safety. When that happens, fear or anxiety makes us want to withdraw into our own group and not care for others. Hormones are released that are detrimental to long-term health. But generally speaking, most people will be kind and compassionate to other people.”

For years, Peggy Callahan has told stories that are hard to hear. A documentary producer covering social justice issues, she’s also a co-founder of two nonprofits working to help people who are enslaved or caught in human trafficking. But perhaps paradoxically, her difficult work brings her happiness, and, thanks to neuroscience research, she understands why. “When you do an act of good, you get a neurotransmitter ‘drop’ in your brain that makes you happy,” she says. And there’s a multiplier effect: “Someone who witnesses that act also experiences that, and remembering that act makes it happen all over again.” She wondered how she could leverage that.

The result was Anonymous Good, a virtual community and website where people post stories or photos of acts of kindness they’ve carried out, observed, or received. For each act posted, website sponsors make a donation to feed the hungry, free people who are enslaved, plant a tree for cleaner air, or dig a well for clean water.

“One act of good is much more than simply one act of good,” says Callahan. “It’s part of a much bigger force.”

Like Prabhu and Callahan, P.J. Maddox – a member of the Rotary Club of Dunn Loring-Merrifield, Va. – has felt the joy of tackling issues that seem too big to face. Rotary projects she has supported include funding a nurse-led clinic in war-ravaged rural Nicaragua. She has also mentored and made a Youth Exchange trip possible for a student otherwise unable to participate because of hardships at home.

“Some problems are so complicated and huge, it could be easy to say, ‘Why bother?’” Maddox says. “But in addition to Rotary’s power of collective talents to make something happen, I realized that the outcome of these projects wouldn’t have been what they were if I wasn’t there. I realized that a single human being can change the world.”

As the sun sets around the globe – as students in India head back home on the school bus, as pupils in Ecuador close their books for the day, and as people in many places are well-fed, free, and happy – the world looks a little different. Because one individual extended a hand, there are people newly ready to change the world tomorrow.

Carol Hart Metzker is the author of Facing the Monster: How One Person Can Fight Child Slavery and a member of the E-Club of One World D5240.

The Rotarian


An unsolicited letter from one of our past Exchange Students, Lily Westphal!
Aug 25, 2016
Ken Castner
Public Safety Building
Sep 01, 2016
Sep 08, 2016
Bob Hartley
Port and Harbor
Sep 15, 2016
Sep 22, 2016
Larry Persily
Changes in the Kenai Peninsula Borough Sales and Property Tax Codes
Sep 29, 2016
Oct 06, 2016
Oct 13, 2016
Tom Early
Club Assembly
Oct 20, 2016
Christie Griffard
Inbound Exchange Student
Oct 27, 2016
Nov 03, 2016
Nov 10, 2016
Nov 17, 2016
Dec 01, 2016
Dec 08, 2016
Dec 15, 2016
Dec 22, 2016
Dec 29, 2016
Jan 05, 2017
Jan 12, 2017
Tom Early
Club Assembly
Jan 19, 2017
Michelle O'Brian
District Governor Visit
Jan 26, 2017
Feb 02, 2017
Feb 09, 2017
Feb 09, 2017
Feb 16, 2017
Hall of Fame singer Donovan becomes a Rotary polio ambassador
Legendary singer and polio survivor Donovan Leitch, better known simply as Donovan, has joined Rotary in its fight to eradicate the paralyzing disease that afflicted him during much of his childhood. Donovan contracted polio at age three in Glasgow, Scotland. The disease weakened his right leg and left it thinner and shorter than the other. Confined to his bed for much of his childhood, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer said his father would read him poetry. In a recent interview with the Daily Express, Donovan said that listening to poetry piqued his interest in creative writing. “If I...
World Polio Day toolkit available — start planning now
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Young member uses leadership positions to promote diversity, inclusion
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eBay Live Auctions that benefit Rotary
Each month, eBay, the world’s largest auction website, selects a set of upcoming Live Auction events and donates a portion of all sales proceeds to Rotary. Only U.S. auction sales are eligible. See the schedule of August auctions.