THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS:  Should We All Be Wearing Masks In Public?

Health Experts Revisit The Question
Even without symptoms, you might have the virus and be able to spread it when out in public, say researchers who now are reconsidering the use of surgical masks.
Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Updated March 31, 8:25 p.m. ET
A few months ago, it may have seemed silly to wear a face mask during a trip to the grocery store. And in fact, the mainline public health message in the U.S. from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been that most people don't need to wear masks.
But as cases of the coronavirus have skyrocketed, there's new thinking about the benefits that masks could offer in slowing the spread. The CDC says it is now reviewing its policy and may be considering a recommendation to encourage broader use.
At the moment, the CDC website says the only people who need to wear a face mask are those who are sick or are caring for someone who is sick and unable to wear a mask.
But in an interview with NPR on Monday, CDC Director Robert Redfield said that the agency is taking another look at the data around mask use by the general public.
"I can tell you that the data and this issue of whether it's going to contribute [to prevention] is being aggressively reviewed as we speak," Redfield told NPR.
And Tuesday, President Trump weighed in suggesting people may want to wear scarves. "I would say do it," he said, noting that masks are needed for health care works. "You can use scarves, you can use something else," he said.
On Tuesday Dr. Deborah Birx, who serves as the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, said the task force is still discussing whether to change to the recommendation on masks.
Other prominent public health experts have been raising this issue in recent days. Wearing a mask is "an additional layer of protection for those who have to go out," former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told NPR in an interview. It's a step you can take — on top of washing your hands and avoiding gatherings.
In a paper outlining a road map to reopen the country, Gottlieb argues that the public should be encouraged to wear masks during this current period of social distancing, for the common good.
"Face masks will be most effective at slowing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 if they are widely used, because they may help prevent people who are asymptomatically infected from transmitting the disease unknowingly," Gottlieb wrote. Gottlieb points to South Korea and Hong Kong — two places that were shown to manage their outbreaks successfully and where face masks are used widely.
A prominent public health leader in China also argues for widespread use of masks in public. The director general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, George Gao, told Science that the U.S. and Europe are making a "big mistake" with people not wearing masks during this pandemic. Specifically, he said, mask use helps tamp down the risk presented by people who may be infected but aren't yet showing symptoms.
If those people wear masks, "it can prevent droplets that carry the virus from escaping and infecting others," Gao told Science.
The argument for broadening the use of face masks is based on what scientists have learned about asymptomatic spread during this pandemic.
It turns out that many people who are infected with the virus have no symptoms — or only mild symptoms.
What this means is that there's no good way to know who's infected. If you're trying to be responsible when you go out in public, you may not even know that you're sick and may be inadvertently shedding the virus every time you talk with someone, such as a grocery store clerk.
"If these asymptomatic people could wear face masks, then it could be helpful to reduce the transmission in the community," says Elaine Shuo Feng, an infectious disease epidemiology researcher at the Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford.
Given the reality of asymptomatic spread, masks may be a good socially responsible insurance policy, Gottlieb argues. "[Wearing masks] protects other people from getting sick from you," he says.
But there is still a big concern about mask shortages in the United States. A survey released Friday from the U.S. Conference of Mayors finds that about 92% of 213 cities did not have an adequate supply of face masks for first responders and medical personnel.
At this point, experts emphasize that the general public needs to leave the supply of N95 medical masks to health care workers who are at risk every day when they go to work.
And supplies are also tight for surgical masks, the masks used everywhere from dentists' offices to nail salons and that are even handcrafted.
"We need to be very mindful that the supply chain for masks is extremely limited right now," Gottlieb says. "So you really don't want to pull any kind of medical masks out of the system."
Given current shortages, it may be too soon to tell the general public to start wearing surgical masks right now. "We certainly don't have enough masks in health care," says William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University. "I wouldn't want people to go out and buy them now, because we don't want to siphon them off from health care."
Where does that leave us? Some research has shown that cotton T-shirt material and tea towels might help block respiratory droplets emitting from sick people, even if the effect is minimal.
"Homemade masks, shawls, scarves and anything that you can conjure up at home might well be a good idea," says Schaffner. "It's not clear that it's going to give a lot of protection, but every little bit of protection would help."
But experts say homemade masks may not be effective if not constructed and handled properly.
That's why Gottlieb says the CDC should issue guidelines advising people on how to construct their own cotton masks. "Cotton masks constructed in a proper way should provide a reasonable degree of protection from people being able to transmit the virus," he told NPR.
There's no definitive evidence from published research that wearing masks in public will protect the person wearing the mask from contracting diseases. In fact, randomized controlled trials — considered the gold standard for testing the effectiveness of an intervention — are limited, and the results from those trials were inconclusive, says Feng.
But Feng points out that randomized clinical trials have not shown significant effects for hand hygiene either. "But for mechanistic reasons, we believe hygiene can be a good way to kill pathogens, and WHO still recommends hand hygiene," she says.
And those randomized studies were looking at how the face mask could protect the wearer, but what experts are arguing is that face masks may prevent infected but asymptomatic people from transmitting the virus to others. It's hard to come by data on this point. One meta-analysis reviewing mask use during the SARS epidemic found that wearing masks — in addition to other efforts to block transmission, including hand-washing — was beneficial. Another meta-analysis of mask use to prevent influenza transmission was not conclusive but showed masks possibly help.
The research may not be conclusive, but researchers we interviewed agreed that mask use is better than nothing. "There are some modest data that it will provide some modest protection," Schaffner says. "And we can use all the protection we can get."
Concern over presymptomatic spread in the community has also led some hospitals to change their policies and extend the use of masks to nonclinical employees and visitors. Last week, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston took the unusual step of giving surgical or procedural face masks to all employees who go into the hospital to work, even if they don't provide care to patients, the hospital's Infection Control Unit associate chief, Erica Shenoy, told NPR.
"This runs very contrary to what we normally do in infection control," she says. "But we felt that with the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, this is the right decision at this time." She says if an employee were to get sick while at work, "the face masks would serve to contain the virus particles and reduce the risk of patients and others working at our facilities."
On March 29, the University of California, San Francisco, also started giving surgical masks to all staff, faculty, trainees and visitors before they enter any clinical care building within the UCSF system.
Feng cautions that if people do start wearing face masks regularly in public, it is important to wear them properly. She notes that the World Health Organization has a video on how to practice correct hygiene when putting on or taking off a mask.
Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease researcher and biodefense consultant, is skeptical that healthy members of the public need to start wearing masks regularly — she says people should follow current CDC guidelines. But she emphasizes that if you are going to wear a mask, "you have to wear it appropriately." That means, she says, "you have to discard it when it gets damp or moist. You want to stop touching the front of it. Don't reach under to scratch your nose or mouth."
Otherwise, she warns, wearing masks could give "a false sense of security."
THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS:  Should We All Be Wearing Masks In Public? 2020-04-01 08:00:00Z 0


Embrace your inner germaphobe…

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  •                                                       Wednesday 25th March, 2020

We all know how fast the germs can spread. When we’re in the supermarket we give other shoppers a wide berth. When we’re on a plane or train we remind ourselves not to touch our face. When walking down the street we hold our breath as a jogger passes. After paying for takeaway we sanitize our hands.

Then we go for dinner at our parents’ house, or friends’ and let our guard down. While this kind of gathering should now be curtailed (with the new recommendations in place), as little as two weeks ago Australians were still having large scale weddings. Even now, weddings are still allowed (though there are new, significant restrictions on their size).

In this atmosphere, we let our guard down. But as the following Mythbusters video shows, these kind of scenarios are one of the worst when it comes to contamination. And before The Glib retort: “If you’re living with your friends or family (or spending time with them) you’re screwed anyway,” – we’d highly encourage you to watch the video.

In the video, Adam has a drip attached to his nose, set to leak at the same rate as a usual runny nose. The liquid leaked is invisible to the naked eye, but detectable to UV light. His mission? Infect as many of the unwary guests as possible, without doing anything people don’t usually do at a dinner party. The result: overwhelming success.

Though it appears today’s virus spreads even faster than the fake version of a cold this Mythbusters video tested, it proves two crucial points. Firstly: being a germaphobe pays off. And secondly: social distancing is crucial if you want to reduce your infection risk.

Both points appear to be resonating with people. Even though the video was published in 2015, people are watching it today.

In fact, the top comment is: “Who else is watching this to find out/learn how easy this could spread?”

“Looks like germaphobes will have a higher survival rate….be like the germaphobes.”

“This probably is great timing,” wrote another. “Practice social distancing right now during this time.”

Alaska Covid-19 Mandates #11 and #12 2020-03-27 08:00:00Z 0
Alaska Covid-19 Mandates #9 and #10 2020-03-25 08:00:00Z 0

Why to Use a Face Mask, and How to Make One

The China Red Cross delegation to Italy was appalled that social isolation was so weak, because it was obvious that everyone was not required to use a face mask.  Doctors say that masks are needed for sick people to prevent droplet spread when talking, clearing a throat, or respiratory action. We now know that there are many non-symptomatic infected people spreading the virus, who have no knowledge that they are infected.  The only way to have almost 100% of droplet spread stopped is to have 100% of all people using masks when in public. That also gets rid of any 'you’re sick' stigma. Droplet spread from less than 6 feet is the most prevalent form of transmission, followed by droplet contamination of surfaces. These transmission methods both can be greatly reduced with community use of masks, including homemade cloth masks. Community use of sewn cloth masks also reserves medical grade masks for the health care system.
The news videos of each country that has 'controlled' the Coronavirus pandemic show 100% mask usage when people are outdoors or in public.  In a time of mask shortage, we are trying to give you a way to get a useable mask.  These are not normally as good as an N95 mask, and are NOT recommended for those who are actually known to have the coronavirus, but are FAR better than nothing.  This has been proven, and is recommended by the CDC.
In order to make it more likely that people can get a useable and useful mask, we are including some patterns for you on the < > website.  Some are very easy to make, and most will work well for everyone. The biggest thing is to get a good seal, so that you are actually breathing THROUGH the cloth.  Using 1/8” elastic seems to be the most comfortable to use for holding the masks in place, but make them so that people will actually use them.  If useable elastic is not available, ribbons that will tie around your head will work.  Please remember, the masks are for preventing the spread of disease, not to stigmatize anyone.  If we are all wearing masks, we are all less likely to get a disease.
People can get many patterns to sew their own or for their community. Many use double layers of cloth, but they may be so thick they do not pass air well. If you, or your child, cannot breathe through the mask, find something easier to breathe through. A single layer of flannel passes air but absorbs or stops passage of droplets created when talking, coughing, or sneezing. Remember, CDC says washing with soap and water will kill the virus, so these are reusable for the non-medical community after soap and water washing. An individual may need two or three for a day, but all can be washed, dried, and be ready for reuse overnight. People should save the used masks for washing in a plastic bag, and to treat them as contaminated until washing.  Of course, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after handling droplet laden used masks. 100% cotton cloth (no synthetic or synthetic blends) works best.
 We have lots of people sitting at home across the area wanting to know how to help. This could be a great local Rotary project, similar to the prevention project of Polio Plus.
Why to Use a Face Mask, and How to Make One 2020-03-25 08:00:00Z 0

How to Make a Simple Particle Mask.

This is a homemade particle mask as made by Tina Seaton.  It is pretty simple, and works very well.  The "pipe cleaner" used as a stiffener is something that makes this mask work very well by allowing you to form the mask around the nose.  Apparently the large diameter pipe cleaners cut in half work out very well. Dimensions can be adjusted to better fit smaller or larger people. there are many other designs available on the internet.
Several studies have been done on the best cloth to use.  Tea towels or dish towels appear to provide the best filtration, with two layers providing up to 97% filtration, but being almost impossible to breathe through.  The flannel here works very well, and is normally fairly comfortable. Normally, new cloth is washed prior to making the masks. then washed again afterwards. Using soap and as hot water as is available works the best.  This decreases the likelihood of contamination, also.
Large Size7"x 11"
Fold Over and Sew End Seams
Half a Pipe Cleaner Sewn Into Upper Seam.  1/8" Elastic, 7" Long On Each End.
Fold Up and Sew Bottom, Catching Elasticat Corners.  Reinforce Stich on Elastic
Three Tucks On Each End (Folded the Same Way).  Sew on Each End.

A View of One End of the Mask Illustrating the Folds
And Here Is Paul Modeling the Mask.
How to Make a Simple Particle Mask. 2020-03-24 08:00:00Z 0

How Soap Kills the Coronavirus

We are being told constantly that we need to wash with soap and water.  Our hands, our faces, etc., Here are two short videos that tell us how and why this works to help protect us from the Coronavirus.
Here is a short video that tells why and how "social distancing" works to make it more likely for us to survive Coronavirus.  You need to watch it all the way to the end to get the entire picture.  This is something that has been tried and actually works!
How Soap Kills the Coronavirus 2020-03-23 08:00:00Z 0
Alaska COVID-19 Health Mandate #4 2020-03-18 08:00:00Z 0
Alaska COVID-19 Health Mandate #3 2020-03-18 08:00:00Z 0
Social Distancing: what does it mean? 2020-03-16 08:00:00Z 0

If You Are at Higher Risk Get Ready for COVID 19 Now

If You Are at Higher Risk
Who is at higher risk?
Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:
  • Older adults
    • 60 or older
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease
Get ready for COVID-19 now
Take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick
Group of senior citizens
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.
  • Stock up on supplies.
  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible.
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
  • During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
Have supplies on hand
Prescription medicines and groceries
  • Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
  • If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.
  • Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
  • Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.
Take everyday precautions
washing hands
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Take everyday preventive actions:
  • Clean your hands often
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
  • Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
  • Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones)
  • Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
  • Avoid all non-essential travel including plane trips, and especially avoid embarking on cruise ships.
If COVID-19 is spreading in your community
Practice social distancing and stay away from anyone who is sick
Take extra measures to put distance between yourself and other people to further reduce your risk of being exposed to this new virus.
  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social, or commercial networks
If a COVID-19 outbreak happens in your community, it could last for a long time. (An outbreak is when a large number of people suddenly get sick.) Depending on how severe the outbreak is, public health officials may recommend community actions to reduce people’s risk of being exposed to COVID-19. These actions can slow the spread and reduce the impact of disease.
Have a plan for if you get sick
on the phone with doctor
  • Consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring your health for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
  • Stay in touch with others by phone or email. You may need to ask for help from friends, family, neighbors, community health workers, etc. if you become sick.
  • Determine who can care for you if your caregiver gets sick.
Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs
  • Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.
  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs*:
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
What to do if you get sick
  • Stay home and call your doctor.
  • Call your healthcare provider and let them know about your symptoms. Tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help them take care of you and keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
  • If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you can recover at home. Follow CDC instructions for how to take care of yourself at home.
  • Know when to get emergency help.
  • Get medical attention immediately if you have any of the emergency warning signs listed above.
What others can do to support older adults
Community support for older adults
  • Community preparedness planning for COVID-19 should include older adults and people with disabilities, and the organizations that support them in their communities, to ensure their needs are taken into consideration.
    • Many of these individuals live in the community, and many depend on services and supports provided in their homes or in the community to maintain their health and independence.
  • Long-term care facilities should be vigilant to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19. Information for long-term care facilities can be found here.
Family and caregiver support
  • Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand.
  • Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
  • If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
If You Are at Higher Risk Get Ready for COVID 19 Now 2020-03-16 08:00:00Z 0

Letter From DG Andre' Layral -- District Conference and More Cancelled Due to Coronavirus

D5010 Rotarians:
On Saturday I met with members of the D5010 Leadership team and several Past District Governors to discuss my recommendation to cancel the 2020 Peace Forum and District Conference.  I laid out the case for cancellation, sharing concerns discussed by conference planning committee. There was unanimous support in the meeting on Saturday for my recommendation to cancel the 2020 conference.  Therefore, I am officially announcing the cancellation of the April 30 to May 3, 2020, Peace Forum and District Conference. 
In an e-mail to D5010 Rotarians last week I announced we were still planning to go forward with the April 30th Peace Forum and May 1-3 District Conference.  At the time there were no positive cases of the virus in Alaska and we had many unanswered questions about the impact cancelling would have, chief among them whether we could back out of our contract with the Westmark hotel without financial ramifications.  After looking into what RI insurance covered and whether supplemental insurance was available, it became obvious that there were too many exclusions in the current policy, and no alternate insurance coverage was available that covered the Coronavirus threat.  Our conference Chair, Cindy Wright, met with the hotel management and learned that we would need to notify the hotel of our intentions no later than March 31st, a date after which there would be financial implications for our Rotary district. This accelerated our efforts to look at what other factors might justify cancelling our conference.  
The Work Health Organization’s announcement of a Global Pandemic, along with emergency declarations announced by the CDC and Governor Dunleavy, made this matter much more urgent. On Friday we were notified by the RI Representative to our conference, David Stovall, that RI had cancelled all travel by RI staff, and therefore he would be unable to attend.  After talking with each of our keynote speakers, each expressed concerns about traveling at this time, primarily because of the Coronavirus threat. We had not yet purchased travel for our speakers, so no financial risk would be incurred  if we made a decision to cancel.
There were many other factors we considered, to numerous to mention, but the health and safety of our conference participants was chief among them.  To our knowledge, there has never been a cancellation of a district conference, and postponement was out of the question due to other bookings at the hotel and higher costs after May 15th.  At this time, the CDC has also declared all gatherings of greater than 50 people be cancelled.
In my conversations with our Keynote speakers, each committed to working with our district to offer a virtual presentation, so we will look at the logistics of this.  We are also looking to the possibility of holding our Peace Forum prior to the Zone 28 conference in Anchorage in November.  We will keep members up to date regarding both these possibilities.
We are at an unfamiliar place.  How ironic that our Rotary theme this year is “Rotary Connects the World” yet people are being asked to socially distance themselves, including “self isolation” to slow the spread of the virus. Of course it saddens me that instead of celebrating our many Rotary accomplishments this year with friends, sharing our Rotary stories, and showcasing what Rotary clubs have accomplished, we are now challenged to keep our members engaged, learning, growing and serving.  Still I have never been more proud to be a Rotarian, nor more committed to completing my work as your District Governor.
With over three months remaining in this Rotary year, we will continue to plan and deliver training for club officers and Rotary education for members, but in innovative ways that minimize face to face delivery.  Similarly, I will be convening a group to develop some innovative approaches clubs can take to serve their communities in Alaska helping the less fortunate and seniors cope with isolation and fear and for Clubs to lead in meaningful ways working with local health authorities and social agencies address local needs during this unprecedented time.
A separate notification will be made soon to Rotarians who registered for the conference, describing how conference registration refunds will be made. 
Today I discussed with Don Poulton, Administrative Chair, my intentions for holding a virtual business meeting on May 2nd to take action as planned on 2020 D5010 Resolutions, the 2019-2020 Financial update, 2020-2021 Budget approval and action on selecting a Council on Legislation representative for our district for 2020-2023. More to follow.  In the meantime, please remember to submit your proposed resolution by the March 20th deadline and nominations for Council on Legislation representative by April 15th.
Andre’ Layral
D5010 District Governor
Letter From DG Andre' Layral -- District Conference and More Cancelled Due to Coronavirus  2020-03-16 08:00:00Z 0

Working with Rotary to Eradicate Polio

Bill Gates
Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
1. What made you decide to work on polio eradication?
In 1952, three years before I was born, the U.S. experienced one of the worst polio epidemics in its history. Thousands died and even more were paralyzed. I was born a few months after the first polio vaccine became available. Growing up, I had no idea how lucky I was.
Later in life through the work of our foundation, I began to see firsthand the impact that polio was having on kids. The U.S. had seen its last case of polio in 1979 thanks to polio vaccines, but even 25 years later in 2004, more than 1,000 children in Asia and Africa were paralyzed by polio simply because of where they were born.
Before our foundation joined the fight to end polio in 2007, I had spent months talking to experts and analyzing the history of eradication. While global progress against polio had stalled, I believed that eradication was possible because the world had done it before, with smallpox in 1980.
Rotary played an important role in inspiring the foundation to become involved in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, an incredible global partnership committed to fighting the disease. We knew that Rotarians would be passionate, committed allies in the push for eradication.
2. The number of polio cases increased in 2019. Why are you still optimistic that eradication is possible?
It’s true that we saw the number of cases go up in 2019, but we need to look at what has happened over the past three decades. In the 1980s, polio paralyzed 1,000 children globally every day. Today, that number has fallen 99.9 percent and the wild poliovirus is confined to just Afghanistan and Pakistan. Because of eradication efforts, there are 18 million people walking around who would have otherwise been paralyzed by the virus.
The past 30 years have been marked with incredible achievements. One of my favorite examples is India. The country was once considered the toughest place to eliminate the disease, but in 2011, the country recorded its last case of polio derived from the wild poliovirus.
In 2013, health workers managed to contain a wild poliovirus outbreak during the Syrian civil war. Vaccinators not only had to enter the war zone, waiting for lulls in the fighting to make sure children were protected, but also had to account for the 2 million refugees fleeing to neighboring Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Within weeks, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a plan to immunize 2.4 million Syrian children, and the outbreak was over by the following year.
In 2016, the wild poliovirus re-emerged in Nigeria. Health workers and partners redoubled their efforts, and the country has now gone more than three years without a new case, which means the entire WHO African region could be certified free of wild poliovirus in 2020. This achievement was difficult to imagine just a few years ago.
The final cases of polio are proving particularly difficult. But the polio program has overcome enormous challenges to keep driving progress, and we’ve spent the past decade sharpening the tools and strategies we need to finish the job. With the continued commitment of our partners like Rotary, I’m sure we’ll consign polio to history.
3. Why are you extending the Gates Foundation’s 2-to-1 funding match with Rotary?
The Gates Foundation’s long-standing partnership with Rotary has been crucial in the fight against polio. Through extending our funding match, we can raise $150 million every year — money that is essential to the eradication effort.
But there’s another thing about this funding match, which people don’t often know: The money helps us fight more than polio. At the same time that we’re delivering the polio vaccine to communities, we’re also bringing them bed nets to protect against malaria, improving access to clean drinking water, and helping immunize kids against other vaccine-preventable diseases. We’re making sure that every dollar we raise counts.
4. What message would you like to deliver to Rotarians as we confront the final challenges to eradication?
Everyone at our foundation is inspired by Rotary and proud to work alongside you.
Rotary was the first organization to push for a polio-free world. And for the past 30 years, so many Rotarians have been part of fundraising, vaccination, and advocacy efforts that have brought us close to the magic number of zero cases.
The final steps to a polio-free world are the hardest — and we’ll need the help of every Rotarian to get there. But I’m confident that we will end polio together.
• Illustration by Viktor Miller Gausa
• This story originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Working with Rotary to Eradicate Polio 2020-03-12 08:00:00Z 0

Pictures of RYLA 2020 in Homer

As most all of us know, RYLA 2020 was held in Homer.
  Below are some pictures take during some of the various RYLA activities. 
Pictures of RYLA 2020 in Homer 2020-03-11 08:00:00Z 0
DISTRICT 5010 APP 2020-03-09 08:00:00Z 0

For the Record:  Business Casual

A youthful outlook isn’t the only key to rejuvenating Rotary, but it’s a start.
For President-elect Holger Knaack, the opportunities are endless.
Photos by Samuel Zuder
Outside of One Rotary Center, it was an overcast October day. Lake Michigan shimmered a steely gray, and the trees’ red and orange leaves appeared drab.
But inside the office of Rotary’s president-elect, it was a bright new day, and not just because of the paisley handkerchief sprouting from the breast pocket of Holger Knaack’s blue blazer. Those vivid colors matched the cheerful attitude with which Knaack looks optimistically to the future — only one of the then-67-year-old’s youthful traits.
Over two hours, on two separate occasions, Knaack sat down for a conversation with John Rezek, editor in chief of The Rotarian, and Jenny Llakmani, the magazine’s managing editor. Speaking fluent, German-inflected English, Knaack discussed his atypical rise in Rotary, an ascent propelled by his longtime involvement with the Rotary Youth Exchange program. Those experiences define his aspirations as president. “Growing Rotary, and especially growing with young members, will definitely be one of my goals,” he said. “Because if we lose contact with the younger generation” — he lifted his hands and shrugged — “we are outdated.”
During the conversation, Knaack discussed his January 2018 speech at the International Assembly, where he had quoted Paul Harris: “If Rotary is to realize its proper destiny, it must be evolutionary at times, revolutionary on occasions.” He then offered his own take on that thought: “To be prepared for the future, Rotary must continue to be revolutionary and must believe in the power of youth.”
Knaack introduced a few aphorisms of his own — including “There’s no wrong age to become a Rotarian” — and spoke about the economic necessity of having a presidential tie. (Knaack, who rarely wears a tie, revealed that he keeps one of Mark Daniel Maloney’s blue presidential ties tucked into a desk drawer to have on hand if needed.) He also introduced his presidential theme: Rotary Opens Opportunities. The phrase is paired visually with the silhouette of three open doors, one blue, another gold, and the third in bright Rotaract pink. He chose the theme for its aptness, explains Knaack, and because “it’s easy to translate in every language.” (In Knaack’s native German, it’s Rotary eröffnet Möglichkeiten.)
During the first interview, Knaack’s wife, Susanne, sat in and provided clarifications. When Rezek asked Knaack about his reputation for being “unflappable,” the president-elect responded with a flapped expression. After briefly consulting her phone, Susanne provided a translation: unerschütterlich. With that settled, Knaack, ever imperturbable, continued the conversation.

THE ROTARIAN: You’re the first president-elect from Germany in Rotary’s history. Tell us about the nature of Rotary in Germany. 
KNAACK: Rotary is different all over the world. We all share the same core values, but with different emphases. In Germany, it’s really about friendship or fellowship — and it’s about integrity and ethics. That’s how German Rotarians look for members. And then the service we do grows out of friendship. I think one of the major points is that German Rotary clubs select their members carefully, and we have a very good retention rate. We don’t even think about retention.
TR: How did you get involved in Rotary?
KNAACK: For me, it started with an organization called Round Table, which has hundreds of clubs in Europe. Surprisingly, it was founded by Rotarians in England in 1927 who were tired of always hanging out with old men. So they created a new organization, Round Table, but stipulated that you had to leave when you turned 40. I joined at 30 and left when I was 39. They had this wonderful motto: Adopt, Adapt, Improve. I was interested in service; I was also interested in networking. Many of my friends from this organization joined Rotary, and again, the reason was the opportunity for networking, especially because of Rotary’s classification system. You need different people to make an organization more interesting, to have discussions go in unexpected directions.
I was asked to join the Rotary Club of Herzogtum Lauenburg-Mölln. It’s a crazy name. When Ron Burton was a director, he once introduced me as “Holger Knaack from the Rotary Club of [pauses] somewhere in Germany.” A new Rotary club in my hometown, Ratzeburg, was looking for members, but I knew many of the people in that club already, so I decided to join the old club. It gave me the opportunity to meet totally different people.
TR: What was your pathway to the presidency of Rotary?
KNAACK: I’ve been asked to list all the district leadership positions I held before I became a district governor. None. Zero. I didn’t have any before I became district governor, and I didn’t have any appointments in the district leadership. I was just known for my engagement in Youth Exchange, and because of that, people knew about me and my passion for Rotary. It was the same thing when I became a director: I had never, ever had any appointments at the zone level. When I came here to Evanston for my director-elect training, that was the first time I entered this building.
TR: What is it about Youth Exchange that makes it such a great program?
KNAACK: Youth Exchange was my path into Rotary. Susanne and I hosted Rotary Youth Exchange students and became involved in organizing Youth Exchange camps, where Rotary clubs and districts host students from all over the world. And then I learned how this enriched our lives. We don’t have children ourselves, so this program is really great for us. I think it keeps us young.
TR: We’ve heard that you are unflappable. Nothing upsets you. How can that possibly be true?
KNAACK: I can sometimes be embarrassed because of small things, as my wife knows. But when confronted by serious things, when we have to make serious decisions, then I become more calm. Plus, I’m always counting on other people. I know I can’t do anything alone. I have the greatest respect for people who are doing the work — not just doing the work, but doing it with passion. We have to show our respect for all people like that. That’s what I learned very early.
Right: Holger Knaack, with his wife Susanne, near their home in Ratzeburg, Germany, believes in trusting young people to steer Rotary into the future.
TR: What areas are you going to concentrate on during your year? And what do you hope to accomplish?
KNAACK: I have no crazy new ideas [laughing]. We promised to eradicate polio, and I mean to do everything we can to keep that promise. If we succeed, it will help enhance how Rotary is seen in the world. No. 2, of course, is growing Rotary, and that’s not just about growing our membership. It’s about growing Rotary at all levels. It’s about making our organization stronger. It’s about retention and growing through new Rotary club models. Rotary is indeed one of the slowest-changing organizations in the world. What we do takes so much time. We have to be much faster.
TR: What about Rotary doesn’t have to change?
KNAACK: Our core values have always been the basis for what we do. Friendship, diversity, integrity, leadership, service — they will never be outdated. The way we express and live those values, that will change. Our tradition of meeting for a meal might have worked for 100 years. But it doesn’t work anymore, because lunch is no longer a central thing in your life. We have to look for models that young people are interested in. Let them decide what kind of Rotary club they would like to join to share our core values. Rotary is a place for everybody: for young and old, for old club models and for new club models. There’s no need for very strict rules. Let’s enjoy what fits best.
TR: Are you worried that the average age for Rotarians keeps going up?
KNAACK: I’m so happy that our older Rotarians remain Rotarians and that older people still join Rotary clubs. They’re a great value for the clubs and our organization. But I want to encourage Rotary clubs to think about their future. Clubs should have a strategic meeting twice a year. If they really think about their future, it’s important that there is no big gap between age groups. If they’re able to attract members in every age group, in every decade, then there is not a big gap. It’s important for Rotary clubs to stay on track and yet still be interesting for young professionals. It’s always dangerous if a Rotary club says, “OK, we have the perfect number of members. We have 50 or 60 or 70 or whatever; we don’t want any more members right now.” Then the gap can grow very, very fast. One of my sayings is, “There’s no wrong age to become a Rotarian.” If someone is 18 and becoming a member, that’s great. And if someone is 80, that’s great too. So there is no wrong age to become a Rotarian — and there’s no perfect size for a Rotary club.
For the Record:  Business Casual 2020-03-04 09:00:00Z 0

Help Rotary Change the Narrative - New Details on Life Below Water Symposium in Bermuda

I wrote you last month to let you know about two exciting Rotary Symposiums our Zones are hosting in 2020-21.  The first, Life On Land, will be held in Anchorage, Alaska this November.
The second symposium takes place January 14-16, 2021. We are excited to visit Hamilton, Bermuda for this event, which will focus on the Unites Nations Sustainable Development Goal, Life Under Water. Past Rotary International President Barry Rassin has agreed to be our keynote speaker in Bermuda. The Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group (ESRAG) and a United Nations Environmental committee representative will support both symposiums. All Rotarians, community partners and NGOs are invited to participate in this symposium with a focus on changing the narrative.
Here are the expert speakers who have committed to joining us in Bermuda:
Barry Rassin, Past Rotary International President
Richard Randolph, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Heart to Heart International
Dr. Chris King, Former Head of the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the United States Military Academy
Mark Eakin, Coordinator of NOAA's Coral Reef Watch program
Ludovic Grosjean, Independent Collaborator working to preserve the Environment with the ultimate goal of Saving our Oceans
Help Rotary Change the Narrative - New Details on Life Below Water Symposium in Bermuda 2020-03-04 09:00:00Z 0

Health Education and Wellness Rotarian Action Group Seeking Your Input


As a Rotarian Action Group, HEWRAG has been and can continue to be an important resource for Rotarians in the global quest to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem.  With that statement as the premise, we need to acknowledge that HEWRAG has reached a plateau and needs to redefine its mission in CCP to be successful in the future.

 To that end, we are asking you to respond to three questions:   

1.    We believe that now is the time for HEWRAG to reassess its approach to CCP.  How do you believe HEWRAG can best help Rotarians to work within the WHO plan to address cervical cancer as a public health problem?  

2.     We believe that we need a much larger and more diverse team to support Rotarians when they ask for HEWRAG's assistance with CCP projects.  Are you willing to serve as a member of that team?  If so, how would you be able to help?  

3.     We have found that we need to fund supplies and travel in order to best serve Rotarians, and while we have self-funded in the past, our needs have grown beyond our abilities.  What suggestions do you have about how we can fund HEWRAG's CCP activities?


We hope that you will reply to this message by or before Tuesday, March 31, 2020 after which we will compile a summary of the responses and include them into our plan going forward before the Rotary International Convention in early June. 

If you have questions that could help inform your comments, you’re encouraged to write to PDG/HEWRAG Director Karl Diekman.  Please send your completed responses to him at

Kindest regards,

Karl Diekman

Rotary Club of Woodland

 District Rotary Foundation Committee Chair 2013-16 and 2017-20


Health Education and Wellness Rotarian Action Group Seeking Your Input 2020-03-02 09:00:00Z 0

Viewpoint:  Bound Together

While you’re holding a book,
the book is holding you




Illustration by Richard Mia 

The image looks like a million other family travel photos: two adults and a 10-year-old at a historic destination — in this case England’s Greenwich Observatory, the place where you could say time starts. But on close examination, the picture has a fourth element: a just-published Harry Potter novel, as big as the 10-year-old is small. Holding his place, the kid’s finger has disappeared into the book, and from the expression on his face, so has he.

We may have been in Greenwich, but my son was at Hogwarts.

A long time before, when I was about his size, I had torn through Treasure Island, dealing with words I didn’t recognize by either skipping over them or trying to sound them out, producing outlandish internal pronunciations that fortunately nobody ever heard. A bit later, I flung myself at James Michener’s Potter-weight Hawaii, with passages I still remember more sharply than things I read last week.

But in the years since Greenwich Mean Time became the standard measure of the moment, technology has surged past the binding together of printed pages. Information now moves with the form and speed of electronic impulses. Yet books persist, much like that kid refusing to be budged from the world his imagination has conjured. “Every time there is a new innovation, they predict the death of the book,” Michael Herrmann, the owner of Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, New Hampshire, said recently. “But the book is a perfect technology. Like the shark, it hasn’t changed and continues to thrive.”

The newest challenges to the printed book range from 500 channels of television and the boundless resources of the internet to the small plastic devices, the weight and thickness of a slice of pizza, that can display multiple volumes. The threats at one time appeared lethal: In the first decade of this century, the number of U.S. bookstores, both chain and independent, dropped sharply. All over America, bookstores were closing down, their spaces turning into nail salons and hot yoga studios.

But over the past decade, the number of independent bookstores across the country has rebounded — shooting up from 1,651 to 2,524, with sales rising steadily. This resurgence is not about “information,” or what the tech folks call “content.” It’s about actual books, ink on paper, that not only send words out but pull people in. Bookstores are drawing people back to the comfort of print.

In 2012, best-selling author Ann Patchett wrote in the Atlantic: “You may have heard the news that the independent bookstore is dead, that books are dead, that maybe even reading is dead — to which I say: Pull up a chair, friend. I have a story to tell.” Her story is that when the last independent new-book store in her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, closed, Patchett — explaining that she didn’t want to live in a town without a bookstore — joined with a couple of friends to open her own. With the help of some of her writer friends doing readings, Parnassus Books has been a dramatic success. “People still want books,” she declared. “I’ve got the numbers to prove it.”

In the summer of 2019, Patchett got still more proof of that: Amazon announced that it would open up its own bookstore across the street from Parnassus.


Viewpoint:  Bound Together 2020-02-25 09:00:00Z 0

Club Innovation: Social Network

Rotary Club of Downtown Franklin, Tennessee
Chartered: 2017
Original membership: 61
Membership: 145
Boom town: Franklin, Tennessee, was ranked the eighth-fastest growing community in the United States in 2017, the same year the Nashville suburb of 80,000 people added its fourth Rotary club. A network of old acquaintances — golf buddies and families who knew one another through their children’s sporting events — formed the nucleus of the Rotary Club of Downtown Franklin, devoted to cultivating friendship in a convivial, service-minded, and welcoming atmosphere.
Club innovation: “Happy time” sessions, which run 30 minutes before evening meetings begin, allow for networking and encourage mingling. Appetizers and drinks mixed by club members who have been certified as servers offer a low-cost alternative to a full meal and keep dues to $400 a year.
Club members Kyle Lo Porto (from left), C.J. Monte, Kathy Reynolds, and Lorrie Graves participate in a Habitat for Humanity project.
For decades, the Rotary clubs of Franklin, Franklin At Breakfast, and Cool Springs have been a vital part of the fabric of the city. But many people who wanted to serve their community couldn’t make those clubs’ noon or morning meetings. So Lawrence Sullivan, a longtime noon club member, approached Mike Alday, who had dropped out of that club. “He knew there were people like me,” says Alday. “With my business, I couldn’t commit to the noon club.” The group of people Sullivan contacted already had some connection to one another. “We weren’t good friends, necessarily, but we all knew each other,” says Alday, who became charter president of the club. “We thought we’d have 40 people and move around to bars and restaurants in town.” But membership quickly more than doubled, growing to the point that tavern-hopping wouldn’t be feasible. Although the group now meets at the Williamson County Enrichment Center, a parks department facility, an open bar and hors d’oeuvres remain an integral part of the program.
Tapping existing social networks led to a club with many couples joining together. Candida Cleve-Bannister, a longtime Rotary spouse whose work obligations prevented her from joining one of the daytime clubs, joined with her husband, Jerome Bannister. For Jerome, a past governor of District 6760 who had to leave the breakfast club because of a job change, the forming of the new club was fortuitous.
Kathy Reynolds gets to work.
“We try to keep our dues low, bearing in mind that a lot of our members are couples,” says Cleve-Bannister. “We’re a fun club. There’s no problem with somebody getting up and getting food or drink. We’re casual.” And because some committee work is undertaken during meetings, she notes, “we don’t burden our members with extra time outside of the meeting.”
The club helps out at events including a chili cook-off held in conjunction with Pumpkinfest, a local institution with a nearly four-decade history. The club’s Jockeys & Juleps party netted about $100,000 in its first two years, with part of the proceeds going toward My Friend’s House, a transitional home for at-risk teenage boys. The Rotarians play a role in the boys’ lives through activities including bowling and “chef’s nights,” at which they all share a meal they have prepared together.
A key ingredient in the club’s high level of project participation has been cooperation with other clubs. “All the clubs in town are supportive of each other,” says Alday. “At the end of the day, we’re all part of Rotary. We just meet at different times.”
He adds: “When we do The Four-Way Test, we actually add a fifth element: We yell, ‘Cheers!’ The social aspect can’t be overlooked.”
• Are you looking for more ideas on how your club can reinvent itself? Go to
• To share your ideas with us, email
• This story originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Club Innovation: Social Network 2020-02-19 09:00:00Z 0

How Do I Access and Change My Profile Information?


This feature allows you to edit and update the information within your profile. You can change your email address, phone number, password, login name, and more. Your profile contains details such as your address and contact information, as well as personal information you choose to share with your fellow club members. 

1. To access your profile for editing, you must go to your club homepage and login. Then, click on Member Area on the top right. 

2. Along the top of the screen, you will see several blue tabs. Click on the My ClubRunner tab. 

3. Next, click on the My Profile link on the grey menu bar below My ClubRunner.  

4. You are now on the Member Profile screen. This screen contains your personal information, which may be shared with fellow members of your club. To add or update the information that appears click on the Edit button just above your personal information. 


5. You can now enter your personal data into the fields listed or edit existing information.  

Note: Fields marked in red are mandatory. If you try to click Save when a mandatory field is blank, you will receive an error message. 


6. When you are finished editing your profile, click Save. There are Save buttons at the top and bottom of the Member Profile screen. Click Cancel if you do not wish to save your changes. 

Tab Information

There are 6 tabs on the member profile. Each one contains different information.

Personal Tab

On this page it displays personal information about the member. This is useful to see if the profile is up to date. If you want to edit any of this information click on the Edit button and once done click Save.

  • Profile Picture: This displays a picture of you. To learn how to add/update your picture, please click read the article titled How do I Change my Profile Photo?.
  • Member Details: This area displays the member's Title (Eg. Mr, Mrs, Dr, Rev), First Name, Middle Name, Last Name, Nickname (Eg. Dave, Mike, Bill), Suffix (Eg, Jr, Sr), Preferred Address, Preferred Phone, E-mail, Alternate E-mail, Gender, Date of Birth, Anniversary, Spouse/Partner First Name, Last Name, Nick Name, and Date of Birth.
  • Home: This area displays the member's Home address and Phone numbers.
  • Work: This area displays the member's Work Address, Position/Title, Phone number, Fax, and Website URL.
  • Custom Fields: This displays the fields that were created by the Club. These fields are used to gather additional information about the member. The data could be a date, flag, or field/text. For more information read the Custom Fields article

Rotary/Organization Tab

On this page it displays information about the Rotary and attendance. 

Note: Some details on this tab are not able to be modified without additional access. Contact your Club/Organization for assistance with updating these profile details

  • Membership Details: This area shows the Club name, Rotary Member Number, Membership, Office, Sponsor, Membership Type, Classification, Date Joined Club, and Date Joined Rotary/Admission.
  • Member Designations: This displays the member's designations. For more information read the Member Designations article.
  • Club Attendance: Shows their current year to date attendance percentage, last year's year to date attendance percentage, and year to date attendance report.

Biography Tab

This page displays the biography of the member. If you want to edit any of this information click on the Edit button and once done click Save.

  • Public: This area can be view by anyone in the Club and District.
  • Vocational Description: This is for anyone to see in the future release of a Rotarian business directory.
  • Private Biography: This can only be viewed by your Club members, it cannot be view by the District or the public. 

Commitments Tab

This page displays the Club Events, Volunteer Tasks, Meeting Responsibilities, New Member Program, and Current Committees you are in.

  • Club Events: This displays the events you registered for. For more information read the EventPlanner and MyEventRunner articles.
  • Volunteer Tasks: This displays the volunteer list the member signed up for. For more information read the Volunteer article.
  • Note: This will display "Loading Volunteer Data..." for a few seconds as it loads.
  • Meeting Responsibilities: This displays the meeting responsibilities you have. For more information read the Meeting Responsibilities article.
  • New Member Program: This displays the activity you have in the New Member Program. For more information read the New Member Program article.
  • Current Committees: This displays the committees the member is in. For more information read the Committees article.

Settings Tab

On this page it displays the Access Level, Login Information, Member Roles, and Custom Email Signature. If you want to edit any of this information, click on the Edit button, and once done click Save.

  • Club Access Level: This is the level of access the member has to the Club. For more information read the Access Levels article.
  • Login Name: This is your login name, and you can modify it as you see fit. It must be unique value across all of ClubRunner.
  • Password: This allows you to update your own password. Note that you do need to know your current password. If you no longer know your password, this article should help: I cannot login to ClubRunner.
  • Member Roles: This displays if the member has read only access to MyEventRunner. 
  • Custom Email Signature: This displays the member's email signature.

Privacy Tab

This page shows the member's Communication Preferences, Search Privacy and Club's RI Integration Privacy (If you are a Rotary Club). If you want to edit any of this information click on the Edit button and once done click Save

  • Communication Preferences: The member can choose not to receive certain emails. For more information, read the Email Privacy article.
  • Search Privacy: These options allow you to control what information is available to members who are not in your club when they use features such as the District’s Member Search and view your Club in the ClubRunner Mobile app.

Note: The ClubRunner mobile app stores cached data for offline use and when internet connectivity is limited. This means, changes made to your privacy settings may take time to update and display in the mobile app. The mobile application caches member data for 14 days.

Note: Any individuals who are listed in their Club's Executives & Directors list will have their Name and Position listed in the Mobile app. All other privacy options will be respected.

  • RI Integration Privacy: Only Rotary Clubs have this option. This displays the Rotary International Integrations settings for the members. For more information, read the RI Integration Guide.

How Do I Access and Change My Profile Information? 2020-02-19 09:00:00Z 0

Now Accepting Applications for 2021 Rotary Peace Fellowships

Each year, Rotary awards up to 130 fully funded fellowships for dedicated leaders from around the world to study at one of our peace centers.
Click on Picture to Run Video
Through academic training, practice, and global networking opportunities, the Rotary Peace Centers program develops the capacity of peace and development professionals or practitioners to become experienced and effective catalysts for peace. The fellowships cover tuition and fees, room and board, round-trip transportation, and all internship and field-study expenses.
Since the program began in 2002, the Rotary Peace Centers have trained more than 1,300 fellows who now work in more than 115 countries. Many serve as leaders in governments, NGOs, the military, education, law enforcement, and international organizations like the United Nations and the World Bank.
Our fellowships
The Rotary Peace Fellowship is designed for leaders with work experience in peace and development. Our fellows are committed to community and international service and the pursuit of peace. Each year, The Rotary Foundation awards up to 50 fellowships for master’s degrees and 80 for certificate studies at premier universities.
Choose the program that's right for you
Master’s degree programs
Accepted candidates study peace and development issues with research-informed teaching and a diverse student body. The programs last 15 to 24 months and include a two- to three-month field study, which participants design themselves.
Professional development certificate program
During the one-year program, experienced peace and development professionals with diverse backgrounds gain practical skills to promote peace within their communities and across the globe. Fellows complete field studies, and they also design and carry out a social change initiative.
Master's degree programs
Professional development certificate program
Application timeline
We are now accepting applications for the 2021-22 Rotary Peace Fellowship program.
Candidates have until 31 May to submit applications to their district. Districts must submit endorsed applications to The Rotary Foundation by 1 July. Learn more about the endorsement process.
Our approach
We see peace not as an abstract concept but as a living, dynamic expression of human development. Peacebuilding is a cornerstone of our mission as a humanitarian service organization, and it is one of our six areas of focus — the channels of activity through which our members make their mark on the world. Our programs, grants and fellowships focus on creating environments where peace can be built and maintained. Rotary believes that if concerned citizens work together to create peace locally, lasting change can happen globally.
Now Accepting Applications for 2021 Rotary Peace Fellowships 2020-02-04 09:00:00Z 0
Cranium Cup 2020 2020-02-03 09:00:00Z 0

4 Questions about Scale Grants


with K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran

Chair-elect, Trustees of The Rotary Foundation

1. What are the key elements of programs of scale grants?

This is a new type of grant intended to provide measurable and sustainable solutions to issues affecting many people in a large geographic area. Every year, The Rotary Foundation will award a $2 million grant to one project that aligns with one or more of Rotary’s areas of focus. The grant will support project activities for three to five years.

These grants do not require an international Rotary partner. However, applicants are expected to work with partners outside Rotary, such as nongovernmental organizations, government entities, and private-sector institutions. These partners may assist Rotarians at any stage of program development, and we encourage them to contribute funding. While Rotary is required to have a leadership role, our partners must have “skin in the game.”

Finally, proposals for this grant type must demonstrate that similar projects have been successfully implemented. In turn, it should be possible to replicate the grant-supported project in other communities with similar needs.

2. Why did Rotary create this new grant type?

We wanted to complement the existing grant types with one that would benefit a much larger community. Programs of scale grants challenge Rotarians to think big and to work with other organizations to find comprehensive solutions to large-scale issues. As we’ve learned from the PolioPlus program, if you want to make a significant impact, you need to have partners who are willing to jump in with you.

For example, in Sri Lanka, we have been working on a project to eliminate cervical cancer. My club, the Rotary Club of Colombo, had set up a cancer detection center. We then partnered with the Rotary Club of Birmingham, Alabama, on a global grant that funded HPV (human papillomavirus) testing machines. In addition, we brought in the University of Alabama at Birmingham to train staff, a leading telecom company to fund the construction of a new facility, and the Sri Lankan government to cover the cost of vaccines. In 2018, the project ensured that 83 percent of all 10-year-old girls in the country were vaccinated.

The power of Rotary is much greater when we partner with like-minded organizations. This project involves multiple partners at a national and international level that are working together to prevent disease on a massive scale. Programs of scale grants give Rotarians the opportunity to replicate achievements like this one.

3. How does the application process work?

Rotary clubs and districts are invited to submit a proposal for a fully developed program, including proof of concept, baseline data from a community assessment, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation plans. Proposals are due 1 March. Those with the strongest proposals will then be invited to submit an application by 30 June.

Proposals and applications will be reviewed by a committee that includes members of The Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisers and other subject-matter and grants experts. The Trustees will then consider the recommendations the selection committee and will make the final award determination at their October meeting.

4. How will we measure the success of these grants?

The fundamental thing is that anything we do must benefit the community. Success will be measured in the ultimate impact of these grants on recipient communities. It will also be measured in Rotary’s ability to position itself as a leader in implementing solutions to long-standing development issues, especially in partnership with other organizations that represent the values and aspirations of Rotarians.


• Interested in applying for a programs of scale grant? Go to

• Illustration by Viktor Miller Gausa

• This story originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.

4 Questions about Scale Grants 2020-02-03 09:00:00Z 0
Cranium Cup 2020 This Saturday! 2020-02-03 09:00:00Z 0
Homeless Connect 2020-01-27 09:00:00Z 0

Earl of Sandwiches

Steve Carlson is a member of the Rotary Club of San Carlos, California.

Image credit: Ian Tuttle

“Sorry, can’t talk right now,” Steve Carlson announces to all within earshot, and there’s no need to ask why. He’s frantically mounding home-crafted charcuterie onto a large serving platter, pausing just long enough to wedge another plate of high-end goat cheese into a 10-cheese spread. Farther down the 8-foot table, he has already arranged helpings of venison and cherry terrine, Tuscan cured salmon, four varieties of sourdough bread, several chutneys, and what he calls “the finest Reuben sandwiches this side of the Danube.”

Carlson, a member of the Rotary Club of San Carlos, California, has prepared nearly all the dishes in this sumptuous gourmet spread, including the pastrami (lots of it), a product of teamwork with a fellow Rotarian who smoked it for 16 hours. About 120 guests are mixing and mingling between bites at his home on a bright September afternoon. They have paid $80 to attend this annual bash, and many have donated more. They know the funds will go toward transforming a dilapidated earthen ditch high up in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco into a sturdy concrete-lined irrigation aqueduct. The project will allow the people in the remote village of Ait Daoud to feed a steady flow of water to their crops.

In his 20s, as a Peace Corps volunteer, Carlson lived and worked in Ait Daoud, seven hours by car from Marrakech. He became conversant in the local dialect and developed a deep affection for the village and for the bighearted Berber culture that sustained it. “A wise elder, Si Abderahmen, told me, ‘Always pack a warm lunch for the road,’ ” he recalls. “He said, ‘I speak not of foodstuffs, but of generosity.’ When you hike to a distant village as a nomadic Berber, he said, your reputation will precede you. Expecting and trusting you to be generous in return, people will welcome you into their homes to share their food, fresh from the fire.”

That lesson of reciprocity had profound meaning for Carlson as he matured, married his wife, Suzanne, became the father of two boys, and chose a career in intellectual property law. At a meeting with his family’s lawyer, who had Rotary plaques on his office wall, Carlson inquired about the organization and learned that it was a community of people who share his values.

“A wise elder told me, ‘Always pack a warm lunch for the road.’”

And he never lost his itch to repay the Ait Daoud residents for their kindness to him. “I wanted to do a water project for the village, so I organized our first Reubens party in 2016 to raise funds. Suddenly I had almost $20,000 — now what?” he says. “But when I calculated the cost of building a functional aqueduct, it was like a punch in the gut. That is where the true power of Rotary kicked in.”

Carlson went to Bay Area clubs and to the District 5150 assembly to talk about the San Carlos club’s project in Morocco; he secured donations from more than a dozen clubs. With district designated funds and other contributions, they soon had $200,000.

When Carlson and his family went to Ait Daoud in December 2016 to see for themselves what needed to be done, their visit spurred the government to send a crew to build the first third of the aqueduct.

With Rotary support, construction of the next section of the aqueduct is underway. Inevitably there will be obstacles, but for a man who single-handedly turns out dozens of dishes for 100-plus guests, learns to speak Berber and Arabic, and persuades over a dozen clubs to help out with a project, creating an aqueduct out of a dirt ditch is duck soup.


• This story originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.

Earl of Sandwiches 2020-01-27 09:00:00Z 0

Bill Gates Announces Continued Fundraising Partnership With Rotary

From: John Germ <>
Date: January 22, 2020 at 9:13:59 AM AKST
Subject: Bill Gates announces continued fundraising partnership with Rotary
Reply-To: John Germ <>

Dear Rotarian,

I’m delighted to let you know that Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation just announced the extension of our fundraising partnership. The Gates Foundation will continue matching donations to Rotary’s PolioPlus program 2-1, up to $50 million every year.

Share your commitment by showing this video from Bill Gates at your next club meeting or event and help Rotary and the Gates Foundation spread the word about our extended fundraising partnership. You can also share this news by forwarding this email to your Rotary network.

Whether you’re a new Rotary member, or you’ve been fighting polio for decades—there’s a role for you to play in ending this disease. Visit to learn more and donate.


John Germ
Chair, End Polio Now Countdown to History Committee
Rotary Foundation Trustee
Bill Gates Announces Continued Fundraising Partnership With Rotary 2020-01-22 09:00:00Z 0

Homer Celebrates Life of Longtime Rotarian, Beloved Community Member, Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas
April 11, 1951-Jan. 14, 2020
Gary Thomas, 68, Homer’s public-spirited master of ceremonies, died in a sudden and unforeseeable accident Jan. 14, 2020, leaving a hole in the community where he was the affable auctioneer for every non-profit and good cause. 
Gary was the town’s longest-serving volunteer firefighter, supervised the town’s annual health fair, and ran a business watching homes when their owners were away. He had served as general manager of the public radio station, publisher of the weekly newspaper, and guest pronouncer at countless school spelling bees. 
He carried little fuzzy ducks in his pocket to give away in case somebody needed one.
“He answered every phone call, day or night,” his family said. “Everyone knew they could call him any time and he would be there for them.” 
Gary was born April 11, 1951 in Fargo, ND. He graduated from high school in Moline, IL, in 1969, and from St. Lawrence University in 1973. After several years working for John Deere, he moved to Alaska in 1979 with his first wife, Gail Radcliffe, and settled in Homer. His family said constant moving in his youth, to a different high school every year, prompted him to sink deep roots in the Homer community he found.
He joined the Homer Volunteer Fire Department as soon as he arrived, eventually becoming a statewide fire investigator. In 1986, he drove a new lime-yellow fire truck from Florida to Homer. He also worked with Kachemak Emergency Services after the rural coverage area was added. His 40 years of volunteer service were the most ever by any firefighter in Homer.

Gary also volunteered right away at Homer’s new public radio station, KBBI, where he became  known for his Friday afternoon “Moldy Oldies” show, and was swiftly elevated to general manager. He acted in shows for Pier One Theater. During the 1990s, he was business manager for Homer writer and radio personality Tom Bodett, and then was business manager and publisher of the Homer News from the late 1990s until 2005. 
After 18 years, he sold his business, “Housewatch,” and most recently had a contract with the U.S. Postal Service. When he was not running the mail out to Fritz Creek, he enjoyed traveling to Africa and floating the Amazon and Colorado rivers.  

As emcee, he hosted annual fundraisers for the Pratt Museum, the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust, Hospice of Homer, Kachemak Board of Realtors, South Peninsula Women’s Services, and the Dancing Bears of Anchorage, for whom he once enticed a bid of $400 for a quart of Spenard honey. He served that role as well at many private fundraisers for people in need.
His long involvement with the Rotary Club led him to take on running the popular local health fair, providing services to more than 1,000 residents every year. Gary served on the local hospital advisory board and road service area board. He played a key role on the grants committee for the Homer Foundation.
In addition to fuzzy ducks that quacked, he had a thing for two-dollar bills, lighthouses, and lions. 
“He was an amazing grandpa, a big goofy kid at heart,” his family said. “He was also a great mediator, who could bring people together in a positive way. Brother Asaiah once said, ‘Brother Gary is the voice of reason.’”
Gary is survived by his wife, Laura Patty, and daughter Jenny Dunne (and her husband Charlie Doherty); children Mica Thomas (and fiance Kelsey Ottley) and Mariah Greenwald (and husband Adam Greenwald); his grandchildren, Clayton and Anthony Greenwald; his first wife, Gail Radcliffe; his brother, Norman Thomas, and sister, Martha Twarkins (and husband Bill Twarkins); and nieces and nephews Steve Twarkins, Vanessa Twarkins, Jennifer Walters, and Chris Thomas.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Bob and Loie Thomas.
A memorial for Gary was held at Homer High School’s Mariner Theater on Jan. 19 with about 500 attending. Master of ceremonies was Tom Bodett, who returned to Homer for the occasion and professed himself flummoxed to have to serve in the role that should naturally have been filled by Gary Thomas. 
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Gary Thomas Memorial Donation Fund at Alaska USA Credit Union. Checks should be made out to Alaska USA. Gary’s family said the money will be distributed to good causes in the Homer area. 

Homer Celebrates Life of Longtime Rotarian, Beloved Community Member, Gary Thomas 2020-01-20 09:00:00Z 0

How to Tell Fact From Fiction and Trust the News Again

by Kim Lisagor Bisheff           Illustrations by Joan Wong
Journalist Dan Mac Guill was working at his home office in Maryland last August when he got a news tip from a colleague: A photo of a Democratic congresswoman was circulating on Twitter. It appeared to show her at a press conference amid a group of armed terrorists. She was smiling.
The Twitter replies ranged from skepticism (“This is verifiable as a real photograph?”) to condemnation (“The enemy is here”) to something in between (“I blew it up. … If it is photoshop they did an amazing job”). Many comments were too hate-filled to bear repeating.
The reactions caught Mac Guill’s attention right away. “If you see people who seem to genuinely believe that a sitting member of Congress is or has been a terrorist, then that’s worth pursuing,” he says.
Mac Guill, who works for the fact-checking website Snopes, suspected that this was yet another digital misinformation attack against U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who has been a frequent target of online trolls since she became one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, in 2018. Just the previous week, in fact, Snopes had debunked a photo caption that falsely claimed that Omar had attended a “jihad academy.” The photo, which appears to show a woman in a headscarf holding a rifle, was taken before Omar was born. But that didn’t stop it from gaining traction on social media.
Though Mac Guill was pretty sure the newer image was also a fake, he knew it would require research to settle the matter. “You can’t always make the assumption that what’s obvious to you is obvious to everybody else,” he says. “Especially if people have certain biases that they might not even be conscious of, they might look at that image and say, ‘Well, look at it; it’s clearly her, and she’s been caught.’ And then you have somebody else saying, ‘She’s a sitting member of Congress. There’s no way this is real.’ People approach this content from different starting points.”
So he got to work.
You can't always make the assumption that what's obvious to you is obvious to everybody else.”
Ideas and memes like these can go viral very quickly, exacerbating the ideological divide between groups with opposing political viewpoints. As Republicans and Democrats increasingly consume news from partisan sources, an individual’s political affiliation has become a strong indicator of whom they trust and what information they identify as factual.
Rotarians strive to abide by The Four-Way Test. So when we read something inflammatory, what guides our decision to believe it? Do we trust what we read because it is the truth? Because it’s fair to all concerned? Or because it validates our existing worldview? Rotarians have an obligation to set aside partisan assumptions in pursuit of truth and fairness. A good start would be to acknowledge that we are all susceptible to misinformation. (In fact, studies have shown that the older we are, the more likely we are to be duped.) And we can choose to start listening to the experts who have been trying for decades to help us sort manipulation from satire, opinion from fact, and fiction from truth.
The history of debunking misinformation far predates this political era. Snopes has been at it for 25 years, since long before “fake news” was on the public’s radar. CEO David Mikkelson launched the website in 1995 to tackle urban legends. Some of those early myths seem harmless today — like the one about the Poltergeist curse, which claimed that several of the 1982 horror movie’s cast members had since died under suspicious circumstances, or the one that correlated Super Bowl wins with stock market performance. The intensity and frequency of misinformation spiked after 9/11, when the internet, which was itself just taking off, became flooded with conspiracies and hoaxes, and fact-checking became an increasingly serious endeavor.
The next big bump came with the rise of social media. Facebook and Twitter enabled fake news to travel farther and faster, and fact-checkers struggled to keep up. Over the years, Snopes has been joined by new fact-checking organizations, including, PolitiFact, and similar endeavors worldwide.
In the months leading up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the misinformation circulating on social media had become intensely political and polarized. People on both sides of the political aisle had honed their social feeds to match their existing biases, and in doing so, they became prime targets for made-up posts that aimed to validate and reinforce those views.
As journalists and academics began researching the phenomena that contributed to the spread of false information through social networks, stories emerged about Russian misinformation factories where hired trolls used fake social media identities to spread lies online. Reporters found hundreds of self-proclaimed “news” websites, based in the United States and abroad, that were deliberately publishing and spreading phony stories. The search term “fake news” started trending on Google. It has been a hot topic ever since — thanks in part to the fact that it is now often deployed to describe news someone doesn’t like, rather than stories that are objectively not true.
Snopes is busy these days. The site now has a staff of 15, most of whom are experienced journalists, working in home offices spread across three U.S. time zones. They keep regular business hours and communicate virtually via Slack throughout the day. Because they understand the importance of transparency in establishing readers’ trust, they are open about their operations and editorial process.
The “Transparency” page on the Snopes website details that process, along with the organization’s standards for sources. “We attempt to use non-partisan information and data sources (e.g., peer-reviewed journals, government agency statistics) as much as possible, and to alert readers that information and data from sources such as political advocacy organizations and partisan think tanks should be regarded with skepticism,” it says. “Any published sources (both paper and digital) that we quote, link to, use as background information for, or otherwise reference in our fact checks are listed in the Sources section at the foot of each fact check article.”
Such transparency is consistent with the code of principles established by the International Fact-Checking Network, which maintains a list of 29 organizations that are in compliance. That list includes Snopes, whose website says it follows the network’s principles “because we think being transparent with readers is the coolest.”
When fact-checkers come across a suspicious photograph like the one of Omar, Mac Guill says, their first move is to take a step back and get an overview of the claim. “What exactly is the question that we are being asked?” he says. Is it: “Is this a real photograph? Does it show what it appears to show? What exactly does the image consist of? What do I actually need in order to come to a conclusion?”
Glancing at the photo, he noted that Omar was the only one smiling. “Without any fact-checking expertise, you can see that Omar is the only person in the room who is grinning ear to ear and appears to be very happy, whereas everyone else is looking very solemn or has their faces covered,” he says. “That is very clearly out of place. That doesn’t mean that it’s a fake, but it’s a clue.”
One of Mac Guill’s editors took a screenshot of the image and used Google to do a reverse image search. That turned up a photo of Omar taken by an Associated Press photographer in Washington, D.C., as she was walking to a meeting in the Capitol on 15 November 2018. Omar’s head and facial expression were a perfect match. “That gave me a bit of a head start,” Mac Guill says. “It made it clear to me that this image consists of two separate photographs, at least, sewn together using software.”
To establish the truth about the image, Mac Guill needed to find both originals, identify their sources, and gather enough information to put them into context. He took another screenshot of the suspicious photograph and did his own Google reverse image search. It didn’t take him long to find various images from a news conference with the same men sitting at the same table — without Omar. “You can fairly safely say at that stage, this is fairly solid evidence that her face was digitally added and superimposed on the original photograph, and it’s a fake.”
To eliminate all doubt, he tracked the source image to the websites where it had been published, and he quickly figured out that the original was a Reuters photo from a 2008 press conference. A person whose head was almost completely obscured by a headscarf sat in the position where Omar’s face had been superimposed. “So there you’ve got it,” Mac Guill says.
As fact-check detective work goes, this case was pretty straightforward, Mac Guill says. “Sometimes image searches can get complicated,” he says. If a suspicious image was a still shot taken from a video, for example, it can take hours to uncover the original source. “I personally really enjoy that part of it. There’s a sense of accomplishment when you’re able to trace something back to its origins.”
When we see something that makes us feel anger or fear, or something that validates an existing bias, we tend to respond to it without thinking.
The manipulated Omar photo is an example of what experts call “fauxtography,” which has been one of the most visited categories on Snopes over the past year, according to the site’s vice president of operations, Vinny Green.
Another popular category is “junk news,” or phony stories that are designed to draw traffic by intentionally misleading readers. Malicious entrepreneurs learned long ago that they can generate website traffic by taking advantage of a human weakness: our tendency to react to information that triggers a strong emotional response. When we see something that makes us feel anger or fear, or something that validates an existing bias, we tend to respond to it without thinking. On social media, that means liking, sharing, “hearting,” angry-facing, retweeting — all before stopping to verify that the information we’re spreading is correct.
As the tricksters who create fauxtography and junk news become more sophisticated, consumers are more easily duped. That’s why “deepfakes,” videos that have been manipulated to make individuals appear to be doing or saying things they did not actually do or say, are becoming a major concern among fact-checkers. Along the same lines are political quote memes, those boxes of text that contain quippy quotes attributed to politicians. They’re tantalizingly shareable — and quite often wrong.
Political figures are common targets for all forms of misinformation, which is why Snopes has increased its focus on political content in recent years. While reader interest in political stories used to drop off between presidential elections, Green says, “politics has never left the tip of our culture’s tongue in the past five years.” As the 2020 election season heats up, the number of political hoaxes and the demand for political fact-checking are likely to increase accordingly.
At Snopes, the process for fact-checking text-based content is similar to that for photos and videos. A staff member starts by trying to contact the source of the claim to ask for supporting documentation. They also contact individuals and organizations with direct knowledge of the subject. That reporting is backed up by research from news articles, journal articles, books, interview transcripts, and statistical sources, all of which are cited in the writer’s fact-checking story. At least one editor reviews the story and adds to the research as needed.
Our main job: to learn how to consume media responsibly in this new media era.
No matter how you define fake news or measure the political fallout, one major impact is clear: Its very existence has left readers disheartened and confused. A Pew Research Center study published in December 2016 found that 64 percent of adults said misinformation was causing “a great deal of confusion about the basic facts of current issues and events.” In a 2019 update, that number went up to 67 percent, and 68 percent of the Americans surveyed said that fake news has affected their confidence in government.
A 2019 report by the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy found that Americans have far less faith in their institutions — especially the media — than they did 50 years ago. It blames this “crisis of trust” on several factors, including the overwhelming number of information sources available online; the increasingly blurred line between news and opinion; declining news budgets; attacks by politicians on the media; and Americans’ inability to agree on what constitutes a fact.
“‘Filter bubbles’ make it possible for people to live in ‘echo chambers,’ exposed primarily to the information and opinions that are in accord with their own,” the report says. “One result of this technique is to provide users with content that reinforces their pre-existing views while isolating them from alternative views, contributing to political polarization and a fragmentation of the body politic. In turn, increasing political polarization encourages people to remain isolated in ever-more-separate ideological silos, offline as well as online.”
The problem is fixable, the report says, but it requires action by news organizations, tech companies — and us. Our main job: to learn how to consume media responsibly in this new media era. “My general advice to any news consumer or consumer of fact checks: Trust no one and nothing,” says Snopes managing editor Doreen Marchionni, a former Seattle Times editor.
If a news story or image seems scary or outrageous, that’s a red flag. If you see an image that doesn’t contain a link, be suspicious. If someone shares a picture of a tweet that doesn’t link to the actual tweet, it may be a fake. If an outlet publishing a story doesn’t have a protocol for running corrections or retractions of erroneous information, it might not be a trustworthy source.
“Start by looking for sound, primary data on the source of the stuff that you want to share,” Marchionni says. “See if you can find the original source of it.” Google unfamiliar stories and websites to see if they’ve been flagged as fakes. Use reverse image searches to find the earliest versions of suspicious images. Check independent, nonpartisan fact-checking websites for help with difficult cases.
In the meantime, resist the urge to share. “It is your civic responsibility and your civic duty to do the right thing by your [fellow] citizens. In this context, that means don’t share bad stuff,” Marchionni says. “Don’t share outrageous headlines and links unless you yourself know them to be true. If you can’t suss out the truth of the thing, then, by all means, check our website.”
But why should people trust Snopes? “Read up on our history. Look at the girth of our reporting across 25 years. Decide for yourself if you think we’re trustworthy,” Marchionni says. “I think we are, but basically the same rules apply when evaluating a potential meme by a white supremacist or evaluating a fact-checking organization that you look to in order to help you understand whether something’s true or not.”
Ultimately, the responsibility falls on each of us as consumers and sharers of news. “Misinformation has always been out there, since the dawn of humanity. What is different right now is social media,” Marchionni says. “It’s the act of sharing bad information that is creating this crisis we’re in.”
Kim Lisagor Bisheff worked as a fact-checker in the late 1990s, when “fact-checking” was still a politically neutral term. Over the past 20 years, she has reported for newspapers, magazines, books, and websites. Bisheff has taught journalism at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo since 2004. She teaches multimedia journalism and public affairs reporting and gives talks to campus and community groups on news literacy and fact-checking.
• This story originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
How to stop fake news, in three easy steps
1) Gut-check: Did the headline or image you just saw make you feel a strong emotion? Misinformation is designed to do just that. Before sharing, click the link and check it out. If you’re unsure about it, don’t share it or react to it.
2) Fact-check: What is the original source of the information? Are any familiar news outlets publishing this story or photograph? Does a reverse image search turn up different sources for a suspicious image? What do independent, nonpartisan fact-checking sites like Snopes, PolitiFact, or have to say?
3) Read real news: News institutions like those we revered in the Watergate era are still producing top-quality journalism. Subscribe to a variety of reputable publications and get your information directly from those sources — not through social media.
How to Tell Fact From Fiction and Trust the News Again KLB 2020-01-20 09:00:00Z 0

Holger Knaack Sees Opportunities for Rotary to Change,Thrive

Incoming RI President Announces 2020-21 Presidential Theme
By Ryan Hyland
Rotary International President-elect Holger Knaack is encouraging Rotarians to seize the many opportunities Rotary offers to enrich their lives and the communities they serve.
Knaack, a member of the Rotary Club of Herzogtum Lauenburg-Mölln, Germany, revealed the 2020-21 presidential theme, Rotary Opens Opportunities, to incoming district governors at the Rotary International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA, on 20 January.
Rotary isn’t just a club for people to join, but rather “an invitation to endless opportunities,” said Knaack, who becomes president on 1 July. He emphasized that Rotary creates pathways for members to improve their lives and the lives of those they help through service projects.
“We believe that our acts of service, big and small, create opportunities for people who need our help,” Knaack said. He added that Rotary creates leadership opportunities and gives members the chance to travel the world to put their service ideas into action and make lifelong connections. “Everything we do opens another opportunity for someone, somewhere,” said Knaack.
Changing for the future
Knaack also urged members to embrace change so Rotary can expand and thrive. Rather than setting a specific target for increasing the number of members, Knaack said he’s asking clubs and districts to think about how to grow in a sustainable and organic way. He wants clubs to focus on keeping current members engaged and adding new members who are the right fit for their club.
"We will capture this moment to grow Rotary, making it stronger, more adaptable, and even more aligned with our core values."
Holger Knaack
Rotary International President-elect
“We need to stop thinking of new members as people we can mark down as statistics and then forget about,” Knaack said. “Every new member changes us a little bit. That person brings a new perspective, new experiences. We need to embrace this constant renewal. We will grow stronger as we learn from new members.”
Knaack pointed to Rotary’s Action Plan as a compass that can guide clubs as they evolve. He recommended that every club have a strategic plan meeting at least once a year. At that meeting, clubs should ask where they want to be in five years and how they can bring more value to their members.
Knaack also wants to see more women in leadership roles and see Rotaractors play an integral role in how new clubs are formed and run. He encouraged district leaders to create new club models and rethink what it means to be in Rotary, and allow young people to be the architects of these new clubs.
“We have to be open to new approaches, and creating unique clubs for younger people is just part of the solution,” said Knaack. “Let Rotaractors decide what kind of Rotary experience works best for them. These young people are bright, energetic, and they get things done.”
In stressing the need for Rotary members to embrace change, Knaack noted that time won’t slow down for Rotary: “We will not let rapid change defeat us. We will capture this moment to grow Rotary, making it stronger, more adaptable, and even more aligned with our core values.”
Holger Knaack Sees Opportunities for Rotary to Change,Thrive 2020-01-20 09:00:00Z 0

What's It Like To Visit Every National Park in the United States?

Mikah Meyer
Ambassadorial Scholar


It seemed all but certain that I had blown it. After logging tens of thousands of miles in a cramped van with a solar-powered fridge that chilled things only on occasion, I wouldn’t achieve my goal. The pilot of the seaplane flying me into one of the most remote national parks in the United States, the Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve in Alaska, had just told me that, because of restricted visibility, he would have to scratch our planned landing on the crater lake below. Then he added, “Like we agreed, you’ll have to pay me full price whether we can touch down or not.”

Two years before, at age 30, I had set off on an odyssey to visit all of our 419 national park sites on one continuous journey that would ultimately take three years and cover more than 75,000 miles. No one had done it before. From the U.S. Virgin Islands to the Badlands of South Dakota to Florida’s Dry Tortugas and beyond, I had traveled by sea, land, and air to visit every single park. I had survived on canned foods, endured blizzards and scorching heat, repaired flat tires and oil leaks, and been chased by security guards out of dozens of parking lots where I had hunkered down in my van for the night to save money. And now it looked like my name would go into the record books with an asterisk noting that, due to inclement weather, I had been shut out from visiting the Aniakchak crater — even though I had paid full price.

“All right, one last look,” the pilot said, dropping into the thick soup to see if there was the slimmest chance this dense cumulus formation did not extend all the way down to the surface of the Aleutian mountain lake. I saw nothing but an all-encompassing blanket of gray; that vista perfectly mirrored my despondency. But just as the pilot throttled up to turn toward home, a sliver of sunlight appeared far beneath us; glowing like a beacon, it illuminated a bright expanse of water under the cloud cover. Both of us let out a loud cheer. Five minutes later, the seaplane made a smooth landing on Surprise Lake in a crater bowl formed 3,500 years ago. I felt as if I had been blessed by divine intervention.

That sense of spiritual connection had been guiding me for a long time. I’m the son of a Lutheran pastor, so maybe it was to be expected. For sure it played a role in my current quest. My dad, who died at 58, loved road trips, and I undertook mine in large measure to honor his memory. In spirit he rode beside me on every leg of the journey. And his early passing confirmed to me that you can’t hold off on your dreams.

If my father provided all the inspiration I needed, I still had to find the funds. As a student at the University of Memphis in Tennessee, I had received an Ambassadorial Scholarship, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Memphis Central, that enabled me to enroll in McGill University in Montreal to study voice training as a countertenor. I didn’t know at the time that the scholarship would, indirectly, provide the means for me to undertake my national parks venture.

I more or less sang for my supper. In addition to money I had saved over a decade, I paid my way by giving recitals in churches and talking from the pulpit about my travel experiences. I shared my adventures and put out a hat.

I talked about the time I was in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and drove through an entanglement of tall bushes that blocked my view, then felt a sudden drop. When I looked out the side window, I discovered that the front wheels of my van were hanging off a cliff. I threw open the driver’s side door and my whole life flashed by. Fortunately, some people showed up and pulled me and the van to safety.

And I related how at Dinosaur National Monument in northwestern Colorado — my favorite park — a wild goose, soon to be named George, joined our rafting group. He slept with us, partied with us, and flapped his way up a steep canyon hike with us. When we finally drove away, George honked and chased after the van.

My visits to churches also provided me with a chance to speak candidly as a gay Christian. I was raised in conservative Nebraska, where I struggled as a teenager to own my sexual orientation. It was super hard to come out. You had to choose whether to be gay and not be a Christian, or be a Christian and stay in the closet. Now, two decades later, I had an opportunity to tell my story and to be received with genuine affection.

From an early age, I had a strong desire to see the world. Rotary made that possible by seeding my journey. I’m asked often if I would do it all again. In a heartbeat, I answer. I was given a chance to follow my vision, embrace my true nature, and share both with a welcoming audience.

As told to Stephen Yafa

The LGBT Rotarians and Friends Rotary Fellowship is dedicated to creating an inclusive and welcoming community for LGBT+ people. 

Read more extraordinary tales from
ordinary Rotarians



• Illustration by Sébastien Thibault

• This story originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of The Rotarianmagazine.

What's It Like To Visit Every National Park in the United States? 2020-01-14 09:00:00Z 0

What's it like to visit every national park in the United States?
Visit every national park in the United States

Mikah Meyer
Ambassadorial Scholar


It seemed all but certain that I had blown it. After logging tens of thousands of miles in a cramped van with a solar-powered fridge that chilled things only on occasion, I wouldn’t achieve my goal. The pilot of the seaplane flying me into one of the most remote national parks in the United States, the Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve in Alaska, had just told me that, because of restricted visibility, he would have to scratch our planned landing on the crater lake below. Then he added, “Like we agreed, you’ll have to pay me full price whether we can touch down or not.”

Two years before, at age 30, I had set off on an odyssey to visit all of our 419 national park sites on one continuous journey that would ultimately take three years and cover more than 75,000 miles. No one had done it before. From the U.S. Virgin Islands to the Badlands of South Dakota to Florida’s Dry Tortugas and beyond, I had traveled by sea, land, and air to visit every single park. I had survived on canned foods, endured blizzards and scorching heat, repaired flat tires and oil leaks, and been chased by security guards out of dozens of parking lots where I had hunkered down in my van for the night to save money. And now it looked like my name would go into the record books with an asterisk noting that, due to inclement weather, I had been shut out from visiting the Aniakchak crater — even though I had paid full price.

“All right, one last look,” the pilot said, dropping into the thick soup to see if there was the slimmest chance this dense cumulus formation did not extend all the way down to the surface of the Aleutian mountain lake. I saw nothing but an all-encompassing blanket of gray; that vista perfectly mirrored my despondency. But just as the pilot throttled up to turn toward home, a sliver of sunlight appeared far beneath us; glowing like a beacon, it illuminated a bright expanse of water under the cloud cover. Both of us let out a loud cheer. Five minutes later, the seaplane made a smooth landing on Surprise Lake in a crater bowl formed 3,500 years ago. I felt as if I had been blessed by divine intervention.

That sense of spiritual connection had been guiding me for a long time. I’m the son of a Lutheran pastor, so maybe it was to be expected. For sure it played a role in my current quest. My dad, who died at 58, loved road trips, and I undertook mine in large measure to honor his memory. In spirit he rode beside me on every leg of the journey. And his early passing confirmed to me that you can’t hold off on your dreams.

If my father provided all the inspiration I needed, I still had to find the funds. As a student at the University of Memphis in Tennessee, I had received an Ambassadorial Scholarship, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Memphis Central, that enabled me to enroll in McGill University in Montreal to study voice training as a countertenor. I didn’t know at the time that the scholarship would, indirectly, provide the means for me to undertake my national parks venture.

I more or less sang for my supper. In addition to money I had saved over a decade, I paid my way by giving recitals in churches and talking from the pulpit about my travel experiences. I shared my adventures and put out a hat.

I talked about the time I was in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and drove through an entanglement of tall bushes that blocked my view, then felt a sudden drop. When I looked out the side window, I discovered that the front wheels of my van were hanging off a cliff. I threw open the driver’s side door and my whole life flashed by. Fortunately, some people showed up and pulled me and the van to safety.

And I related how at Dinosaur National Monument in northwestern Colorado — my favorite park — a wild goose, soon to be named George, joined our rafting group. He slept with us, partied with us, and flapped his way up a steep canyon hike with us. When we finally drove away, George honked and chased after the van.

My visits to churches also provided me with a chance to speak candidly as a gay Christian. I was raised in conservative Nebraska, where I struggled as a teenager to own my sexual orientation. It was super hard to come out. You had to choose whether to be gay and not be a Christian, or be a Christian and stay in the closet. Now, two decades later, I had an opportunity to tell my story and to be received with genuine affection.

From an early age, I had a strong desire to see the world. Rotary made that possible by seeding my journey. I’m asked often if I would do it all again. In a heartbeat, I answer. I was given a chance to follow my vision, embrace my true nature, and share both with a welcoming audience.

As told to Stephen Yafa

The LGBT Rotarians and Friends Rotary Fellowship is dedicated to creating an inclusive and welcoming community for LGBT+ people. Learn more >

Read more extraordinary tales from
ordinary Rotarians



• Illustration by Sébastien Thibault

• This story originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of The Rotarianmagazine.

What's it like to visit every national park in the United States?Visit every national park in the United States 2020-01-11 09:00:00Z 0

Thanks For Not Sharing

Here’s a recommendation:
Don’t saddle me with your favorite books
by Joe Queenan
Illustration by Richard Mia
Few things in life are more feared than the book that comes highly recommended. Or the gifted book. Or the gifted book that you strongly suspect might be a regifted book.
Sometimes a warning, sometimes a threat, a gifted or recommended book is an attempt to force you to participate in a pleasure you would prefer to avoid. It is a search for validation, affirmation, honor. It’s not enough that I like you. It’s not enough that I enjoy your company. It’s not enough that you’re the person I would want by my side if I got into a fistfight in a dark alley with 365 Oakland Raiders fans. You also want me to respect you. Or at least you want me to respect your taste in books. This is asking too much of another person. Far too much.
Here is the basic problem. I like you. You seem to know a lot about trout fishing. Your thoughts about the inverted yield curve are jaw-droppingly perspicacious. I enjoy hearing you talk about that time you hitched a ride with Bo Diddley outside Macon. But I’m not interested in your book recommendations. Not now, not ever. In fact, I wish you had never told me that you liked books with names like Knee-Deep in the Dead or Scourge of the Saracen Scimitar or Let Us Now Praise Famous Yokels. Until then, things seemed to be going along swimmingly.
Now you’ve got me worried.
Tourists are warned to never study maps while walking around New York. It makes them look like “marks.” Something similar happens when you foolishly take a gander at other people’s book collections. Once the cormorant has spotted you, you have turned into dinner. I have made the mistake of picking up a book at a friend’s house — merely to test its weight — only to be told: “Go ahead, take it. I’m probably not going to get to it for a while.”
Well, of course you’re not going to get to it for a while. It’s a 989-page biography of John Quincy Adams. And you will never have to read it because you just dumped your copy on me. You have vowed that you are not going to crack it open until I finish reading it, which you know is never going to happen because there will never be a time when I will say to myself: “Hold my calls; I’m going to finally hunker down with that John Quincy Adams biography.” Not even if I live to be 115. So you are off the hook for life.
The recommended book is a deceptively cunning Rorschach test. It is an attempt to confirm that the quarry shares the same values as the predator. Giving people books they don’t want to read is not just an invasion of privacy: It’s a smack in the face. It’s punitive. It’s cruel. It is a socially acceptable form of sadism, the modern cultural equivalent of medieval hot pitch. I’m upset with you because you didn’t offer me your spare ticket to Hamilton on Broadway. So here’s the 1,200-page biography of Alexander Hamilton that inspired the musical. Enjoy!
People love to give you the book that changed their life. The Little Prince. Dow 36,000. The Official Preppy Handbook. Cujo. Frankly, unless the book explains how to cure lower back pain, I’m not interested. I am not interested in the book about octogenarian decathlon participants or the one about how the invention of tea cozies changed the world, and I am definitely not interested in the book explaining what really happened to that doomed Mars rover. I have my own reading agenda, and it does not resemble yours.
People are most likely to recommend books when the victim’s immune system is at its weakest. Hearing that you are laid up in bed with a torn meniscus or typhus, they pounce like uncharacteristically empathetic hyenas, armed with exotic chocolates, bouquets of gorgeous flowers, and potboilers by Dan Brown. They are well-meaning but annoying, not unlike Marie Antoinette, herself a reader of light novels. When confined for weeks to my bed of pain, my philosophy regarding get-well gifts is: Leave the cannoli, take the Kate Atkinson.
The chronic recommender of books clings to an unyielding and implacable personal philosophy. There is something missing in your life. It can be fixed by reading this book. Please let me improve you. But most people don’t want to be improved. Not if it involves reading a book about the deep state. With only a few exceptions — the Bible, the Koran — nothing important in life can be fixed by reading a book. This is particularly true of books written by or about politicians, or morally regenerated white-collar criminals, or plucky defensemen for the Red Wings. It should not be necessary to keep reminding people of this.
I enthusiastically accept book recommendations from only three people: my sister Eileen, my daughter, and my editor at The Rotarian.
People who recommend books display a willful obtuseness and insensitivity toward their victims. They want you to like a particular book even though all the data available to them suggests that you will hate it. This is like offering an Ohio State Buckeye a book about Michigan football. It’s like inviting a vegan to dinner and handing her a heaping bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Why would you do that? Were you paying any attention to who I am? Did you not notice that I was reading a book about Anna Karenina, not a book by Anna Kendrick?
Why is it that even on our deathbeds we are still thinking about the precious time we squandered reading the “classics” assigned to us in high school? The Scarlet Letter. Jude the Obscure. Death of a Salesman. Silas Marner. We hated these books, not just because they were unreadable, which they usually were, but because we were forced to read them. That’s what the compulsive book recommender is — your high school English teacher, Sister Regina Vindicta.
What goes through the mind of the obsessive book giver? Taking the charitable view, people sometimes give you books because they honestly believe that if you want to understand what’s going on in the world, you need to read it. Incorrect. Not everyone is fascinated by the hidden structural causes of unemployment. Not everyone cares what Barry Manilow thinks about Bette Midler. Moreover, people don’t all read for the same reason. Some people read to get information. Others read to be reassured. Most people read to be diverted.
I read because I like the way writers put words together, because language used well has actually changed my view of the world. Great Expectations is superhumanly inspiring to anyone growing up in a housing project. The Picture of Dorian Gray is a personal invitation to the fun house. A James Ellroy novel is like a 450-page tenor sax solo. What the obsessive book recommender fails to understand is: Not everybody likes the sax.
I enthusiastically accept book recommendations from only three people: my sister Eileen, my daughter, and my editor at The Rotarian. Everyone else I ignore. Still, in a spirit of woefully misguided human kindness, every few years I will stack up the books I have been given or have had recommended to me and vow to spend the next three months reading them and clearing the decks forever.
But I get only about 30 pages into the book about the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu before I give up. Then a few years later I try again. By then, another half-dozen books have been added to my reading list. The enterprise has become hopelessly Sisyphean. By the way, Sisyphus spent eternity futilely pushing a boulder up a hill. But he didn’t spend eternity writing about it. Otherwise, I would have to read that book, too.
In my office I have a small pile of books I give to people when they ask me for something I think they might really enjoy: Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively, Darwin, Marx, Wagner by Jacques Barzun, Meeting Evil by Thomas Berger, A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr, Light Years by James Salter, The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene, The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico, and Travels With Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuściński. These are books I have read again and again, books that mean a lot to me, books that I honestly believe are as close to perfection as any human undertaking can get.
Sometimes I give them to people and they seem reasonably appreciative. But most times I never hear from them again. On almost no occasion has anyone come back to me and begged for a second “desert island” book recommendation. That’s because they have, perhaps reluctantly, come to understand that these are books that I love, these are books that mean a lot to me, these are my desert island books.
Go find your own desert island.
Joe Queenan is a freelance writer based in Tarrytown, New York.
• This story originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Thanks For Not Sharing 2020-01-08 09:00:00Z 0

Selection of D5010 2022-2023 District Governor Designate


Please help me welcome and congratulate Mike Ferris as the 2022-2023 District Governor Designate for D5010.
Michael Ferris was inducted into Rotary in 2003 and is a member of the Anchorage South Rotary Club, where he served as Club President in 2015-2016.  Mike has completed the D5010 Leadership Academy and has served in a variety of  Club committees, including most recently as Membership, Foundation and Dictionary Project Co-Chair.  Beyond the club, Mike has served on several D5010 committees as Membership Committee Co-Chair, Public Image Committee and as Grants Co-Chair.
Mike continues to serve his community as a coach for 20 years and an official for Pop Warner Youth Football (ages 7-9) and High School Wrestling.  He has been involved in The Resource Development Council, the Alaska Support Industrial Alliance, the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce and The Alaska State Chamber. Mike has also served as President of a local Toastmasters club.
Mike has been a leader as early as High School, in both his personal and professional life. He has served as a deck boss at age 18 on his family’s commercial crab boat, the F/V SEABROOKE, fishing in the Bering Sea.  Later he captained the same vessel, generating some of the largest crab quotas in the fleet.  From 2000-2002 Mike led a team of Lithuanians at a refinery, moving product through ports in Lithuania and Latvia.
Mike will strive to keep Rotary fresh, while preserving the true Fellowship behind Rotary, “Service Above Self”.  
Andre' Layral
D5010 Governor. 2019-2020
Selection of D5010 2022-2023 District Governor Designate 2020-01-08 09:00:00Z 0

The Dry Blue Eyes

A dad laments putting the lack in lachrymosity
by Jeff Ruby
Illustration by Richard Mia
I am on the couch watching E.T. with my young son when the sniffles hit. Soon, as if someone has pressed a button, my tears begin to fall, thick and fast. When E.T. flies off in his ship forever and John Williams’ music tugs and swells like some kind of sadistic woodwind tear-generator, I lose it completely. Sobbing. Gasping for air, for Pete’s sake.
At some point, I realize my son has stopped watching the movie and is regarding me with a mixture of curiosity and horror. “Dad’s crying!” he hollers.
Various family members come out of their rooms to gawk at the wet, heaving mess that Dad has become, but by this time I’ve begun to compose myself. My children know me as silly and embarrassing and even willfully dumb, but this is the first time they’ve seen me cry. Mortified, I vow it will be the last.
I would not call myself the strong, silent type. I’m weak and loud, actually, overemotional and periodically prone to senseless outbursts. And yet: I do not cry in front of my children.
At my beloved grandfather’s funeral a few years back, with my kids at my side, I didn’t squeeze out a single tear. During my Great Cancer Scare of 2017, I spent a brutal week imagining them growing up without a father yet showed little emotion, only a steely resolve. In both cases, any loss of control was scheduled in advance, when I had a good block of time alone and would not have to rejoin society until mental equilibrium had been restored. In other words, I bawled my eyes out in private. But there was some kind of public barrier that I couldn’t cross.
This is patently ridiculous. I know that crying is normal for any human and is nothing to be ashamed of, regardless of gender or emotional IQ. I also know that it’s good for you. According to William Frey, a neurology professor at the University of Minnesota and one of the leading academics to study crying, tears contain adrenocorticotropin, an indicator of stress. That could mean that not crying only increases stress.
Other men seem to have understood that intuitively. The Old Testament overflows with sensitive characters like Abraham, Joseph, and King David, all of whom blubber without shame. Even the manly Esau, when he learns that Jacob has stolen his birthright, whimpers as only a guy who loses to his brother could. (He also weeps when they reunite.) Never once is there a stigma to those tears. Overt expressions of grief and joy reside within the normal range of response to biblical situations. Crying makes these men relatable, sincere, trustworthy — perhaps even heroic.
Or so suggests an anonymous 18th-century writer quoted in Tom Lutz’s 1999 book, Crying: The Natural and Cultural History of Tears: “Moral weeping is the sign of so noble a passion, that it may be questioned whether those are properly men, who never weep upon any occasion. They may pretend to be as heroical as they please, and pride themselves in a stoical insensibility; but this will never pass for virtue with the true judges of human nature.”
When did this attitude change? Was it in the Victorian era, when views on masculinity and femininity were defined by each gender’s approach to emotion? Women were depicted as impossibly fragile time bombs prone to hot-flash hysteria and in constant danger of taking to their beds. The steady, sturdy gentlemen in their lives were expected to be disciplined, rational, and averse to tears. This meant that men were either (a) suddenly content to lead buttoned-up lives of taciturn rectitude or (b) suffering privately with consequences that came out in less emotionally healthy ways than simple tears. (See Jack the Ripper.)
The stiff upper lip remained a fixture of Western male culture through much of the 20th century. For my stern immigrant great-grandfather and war-hero grandfather, tears were allowed only at the cemetery and, maybe, the altar. Then my father came along. A wartime baby raised by women, he grew up to be a gentle, hugging mushpot, strong and sensitive and ahead of his time in preaching the gospel of empathy. When I wrecked his car as a teenager and was hysterical with guilt, he shrugged and asked if I wanted to shoot some pool. “You’ve punished yourself enough,” he said. By the time of the 1972 release of Free to Be ... You and Me — a book and recording that challenged accepted gender roles and officially made it all right for an entire generation of boys to cry — he had been saying it for years.
But here’s the weird thing: Only once do I remember my father crying, and that was because he missed my mom, who had been out of town for a week. It was one of those terrifying moments when it hits you that the people in charge are not really in control after all, and maybe Earth spins on an axis of chaos. I assumed that his crying represented the beginning of a breakdown of sorts and that things would never be the same. As it turned out, the moment was an aberration, a blip on the timeline. But this blip must have profoundly affected me, because I still insist on hiding within the same all-powerful Dad shell that sheltered my forefathers.
It was one of those terrifying moments when it hits you that the people in charge are not really in control after all.
What do my kids make of all this? They’re growing up in a world that appears to have split in two. Meghan Markle, now known as the Duchess of Sussex, adopted the masculine pose of the stiff upper lip as she adjusted to life in the royal spotlight. How did that work out? “I really tried,” she reports in a recently released documentary, “but I think that what that does internally is probably really damaging.”
Meanwhile, a 2007 Penn State study by Stephanie Shields and Leah Warner suggested that crying in men can lead to a “positive evaluation” by other people. But as Shields explained, that favorable reaction can depend on the situation. When LeBron James sobbed uncontrollably on the court after finally bringing an NBA title to Cleveland in 2016, we understood: He had overcome a decade of criticism and heartbreak and ended 52 years of his hometown’s sports misery. Tears made sense.
Contrast this with the story of Adam Morrison, an All-American forward for Gonzaga University who, as he began to realize his team was going to lose during the 2006 NCAA basketball tournament, openly wept in a nationally televised game. Cameras focused on his face, almost cruelly, as if judging this startling loss of decorum and forever solidifying his legacy. For some hoops fans, that’s all they remember about Morrison: “Oh yeah, the dude who cried on the court.” In sports, it seems tears are OK only when you’re a winner. Or when you indulge in what’s known as the “man cry,” a single tear that streams down a male’s face while he reveals no other emotion whatsoever. So finally we have a tactic that makes it OK for 50 percent of the population to weep, so long as it’s laconic.
Back at home, as I navel-gaze about what this all means, my wife is matter-of-factly showcasing a full range of emotions for our offspring. This includes crying at everything from shaving commercials to photos of the family picking apples in 2013. That is strength and our children know it — and I’m pleased to say, all three of them cry constantly.
As for me, I keep waiting for the moment when I overcome years of conditioning, when real, raw emotion — not the reflexive Pavlovian response triggered by a fictional animatronic alien and a manipulative film score — boils over, and I show my children all of myself. They’re waiting, too. It’s only a matter of time. During a recent weekend in Albuquerque, one in which three generations of Rubys sat in a field at 5 a.m. to watch hot air balloons launch into the endless Southwestern sky, I asked my father about this not-crying business. “Tears were never close to the surface for me then,” he said. “I suppose I showed my emotions in other ways.”
But two days later, when he was saying goodbye at the airport, he pulled me in for one more hug and told me he loved me, and I saw his eyes welling up. He’s 77, so maybe there’s hope for me yet.
Jeff Ruby has written about his daughter Hannah and his son, Max, for The Rotarian; his daughter Avi awaits her moment in the sun.
• This story originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
The Dry Blue Eyes 2019-12-18 09:00:00Z 0

Our World:  A New Chapter

Nancy Leonhardt is a member of the Rotary Club of West Little Rock, Arkansas
Image credit: John David Pittman
When Nancy Leonhardt was asked if she would serve as governor of District 6150, she said no. She had her hands full as the executive director of Adult Learning Alliance, a nonprofit that supports adult literacy councils across Arkansas. But leaders in the district asked again. “I decided I’d go to a higher authority,” she says with a laugh. “I went to the Learning Alliance board of directors, anticipating that they would say no. Well, my board let me down and said I should do it.”
The ALA board members valued Rotary’s focus on literacy. They recognized the benefit of networking with Rotarians. And they figured that the leadership training Leonhardt would get would benefit their organization as well.
Leonhardt had first learned about Rotary in the 1980s, when she was an urban planning consultant in her home state of California. Though women could not join at the time, she went to a number of meetings of the Rotary Club of Redlands as a guest of her boss, Patrick Meyer.
Leonhardt left consulting and moved with her husband and two children to Wisconsin and later to Arkansas. While her kids were young, she worked part time at nonprofit organizations and volunteered with the PTA. But once her son was in college and her daughter was in high school, she decided it was time to go back to working full time. And it was time to join Rotary. That was in 2007.
“I’d always had it in the back of my mind that if I ever went back to work, I’d like to get involved with Rotary,” Leonhardt says. “I guess I didn’t think I could get involved when I was an at-home mom. I know better now.”
As district governor in 2017-18, she focused on literacy, adult literacy in particular, and made a point of talking about it whenever she visited clubs. Her work has had a measurable impact. “The ALA has a new literacy council being developed in the Jonesboro area, and it’s a Rotarian leading the charge,” she says. “More and more Rotary clubs in the district are supporting their local literacy councils. And because of my going to zone events and multidistrict events, more clubs around the state are aware of what I do.” The members of the ALA board were right: Leonhardt’s decision to become a district governor was fair to all concerned.
• This story originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Our World:  A New Chapter  2019-12-18 09:00:00Z 0

People of Action Around the World

The Rotary Club of Langley, British Columbia, led the drive to construct an interpretive center on the grounds of a local arboretum. The 1,000-square-foot post-and-beam structure of red cedar, pine, and fir harvested in the province opened in late June. “There are dozens of nonprofit organizations in Langley that meet at people’s homes or whatnot,” says club member Allan Richmond. “We thought, why not have a building that any one of these nonprofits can use?” The club provided $190,000 for the project, which was matched by Langley Township. Local residents also contributed materials and labor.
Trinidad and Tobago
More than 100 high school students from across the Caribbean demonstrated their diplomatic savvy in a Model United Nations sponsored by the Rotary Club of Central Port of Spain. The two-day mock General Assembly debate, with the youths donning garb representative of their randomly chosen countries, centered on the global refugee crisis. Four attendees who had fled their native Venezuela to settle in Trinidad and Tobago participated, and though they represented Afghanistan and Guyana during the March debate, they drew on their experiences as refugees. “They had a lot of valuable perspectives to share,” says club member Abigail Edwards.
A widow with five children, living in a 90-square-foot mud and brick room with a thatched roof, was offered a helping hand by a hardworking team from Habitat for Humanity that included four Rotarians and two of their spouses. In March, the volunteers constructed a three-room, 360-square-foot house. The Rotarians — Carey Beamesderfer, Doug Borrett, and David Driscoll of the Rotary Club of West El Paso, Texas, and Joann Navar of the Rotary Club of Anthony, New Mexico — are all on the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity El Paso.
Habitat for Humanity says Malawi needs 21,000 new housing units over each of the next 10 years.
Image credit: Courtesy of the Rotary Club of Llanidloes
England and Wales have 2,500 miles of National Trails.
United Kingdom
An annual walk across Wales drew more than 200 wayfarers in June to hike more than 40 miles in one very long day. This year’s event raised more than $22,000 for organizations of the ramblers’ choosing. “There are many ways to raise money, but seldom does a charity event involve crossing a country in one day on foot,” says Paul Jones, a member of the Rotary Club of Llanidloes, which sponsors the event with the Rotary clubs of Newtown and Machynlleth. The three clubs supported the walkers with food and cheers along the well-marked route, which starts in the west near the coast in Machynlleth and goes through the hilly countryside of central Wales before finishing at the Anchor Inn pub just across the English border (walks of 26, 16, and 8 miles were also options).
“Every year I meet people digging deep to finish what they’ve started,” says Jones, who carries out the duties of “back marker” – the person who brings up the rear of the group. “I’ve crossed the line with someone who didn’t finish the walk the previous year and had returned to set the record straight. From a 13-year-old to an elderly gentleman with tears in his eyes, every one of them is an inspiration, and they are the reason I return every year.”
When flooding brought on by heavy rainfall displaced more than 100,000 people in the plains of West Garo Hills in July, the Rotaract Club of NEHU (North-Eastern Hill University), Shillong, sprang into action. The Rotaractors collected donations from university faculty, staff, and students, as well as the Rotaract Club of Guwahati East. Five NEHU Rotaractors traveled about 180 miles to the hard-hit village of Haribhanga in a vehicle supplied by their sponsoring Rotary Club of Orchid City Shillong. There, they handed out packages with rice, dal, milk packets, cookies, soap, bleach, feminine hygiene products, and clothing directly to more than 200 households.
• This story originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
People of Action Around the World 2019-12-11 09:00:00Z 0

Our World: All Well and Good

Image credit: Courtesy of the Rotaract Club of Adenta Central
For residents of Kramokrom, a small village in Ghana, a lack of access to clean water meant they had to rely on digging shallow wells, harvesting rainwater, or sending children to fetch water from nearby communities, which meant they often missed, or were late for, school. The community also suffered from a high rate of waterborne diseases
So with help from residents, the Rotaract Club of Adenta Central built a mechanized borehole that was connected to an overhead reservoir and 10 taps to provide clean water to the community.
The Water Is Life project was suggested by then-club member Husseini Abdullah, who lives in Kramokrom. Before proceeding with the project, however, the club wanted to be sure that access to clean water was a priority for residents. “We carried out a community needs assessment to find out what were the most pressing challenges in the community,” says Edem Agbenyo, who helped guide the project. “We wanted to be certain that a water project would address the problems observed.”
After learning that residents wanted clean water, the club consulted with experts, including borehole companies, to determine the best site for the hole. Once they had dug, water samples were tested at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s Water Research Institute in Accra to make certain the water was safe to drink.
The community had a high rate of waterborne diseases.
The project took second place in the 2018 Commitment Awards, organized by the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at the University of Erfurt in Germany and the Engagementpreis Foundation, which recognizes innovative and sustainable social projects. The award included $1,750 in project support.
The club involved local residents in digging the well and installing the reservoir and taps to ensure that they would feel a sense of ownership. A water committee has been set up to maintain the water pump, and Rotaractors from the Adenta Central club will visit every three months to monitor the project and train the committee.
Agbenyo says schoolchildren will now be able to focus on their studies. “Children will have more time to prepare for school because they no longer will have to boil water or filter it before usage,” he says.
• This story originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Our World: All Well and Good  2019-12-11 09:00:00Z 0

December 2019 Governor’s Message

December 2019 Governor’s Message:

The holiday season is a joyful time to be with family and friends.  It is also a time to reflect and be grateful for all that we have as Rotarians when others locally and globally have so little.  Today, December 3rd is Giving Tuesday and my best hope is that all Rotarians in Alaska will remember to give generously to the Rotary Foundation.  The Rotary Foundation has earned the highest possible rating from independent evaluator Charity Navigators for the past twelve years.  When the Rotary Foundation partners with others your donation is increased and has greater impact. The Rotary Foundation tackles head on some of the world’s most difficult problems, delivering sustainable and long lasting results. Rotarians are able to use a vast network and resources of the Rotary Foundation to take action locally and globally.  Our members can donate funds that support the Rotary Peace Centers that trains Peace Fellows in the skills of Peace Building and Conflict Resolution.

I have completed 33 of 38 Rotary Club visits, and this week I’ll be making visits to three clubs in Fairbanks.  Next week I’ll be wrapping up my club visits, my own Fairbanks Sunrisers Rotary Club the final stop of this tremendous journey that began on July 1-5 in Ketchikan. Having visited 38 clubs has allowed me to meet many dedicated Rotarians who serve their club and serve others locally and globally.  I’ve seen first hand the many projects and fundraisers clubs in our Rotary District 5010 do.  Rotarians are making a difference here in Alaska.  Above all else, I’ve met new Rotarian friends and learned of club successes, club challenges and club plans for the future.  Rotarians care deeply about their clubs and take seriously the work they do to make the world a better place.

In the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with D5010 Rotary Youth Exchange.  DGN Cheryl, DGE Joe and I met with RYE Chair Jeff Johnson (Palmer Club) and Deputy Chair to get caught up on all things youth exchange.  At this meeting we talked about the implementation of the new RYE application and screening interview process implemented in 2019 for selection of 2020 Outbound students.  We also discussed the D5010 West Coast Tour, specifically the purpose and benefits of the tour.  A consensus decision was made to cancel the tour in 2020, replacing it with something smaller in Alaska in 2020 providing time to have a more collaborative process to design the purpose and benefits of any outside tour sponsored by D5010.  We also spent time talking about Youth Protection and how important it is that all our various volunteers and host families know what to do when a student may face unwelcome behaviors, including sexual harassment.  The following week I attended a planning session with the RYE team, who also participated in Awareness Training about harassment and abuse. Club YEO’s will receive similar training at Winter Orientation.

The D5010 Conference Planning Committee is in full swing planning the 2020 Peace Forum and District Conference to be held April 30 to May 3, 2020 in Fairbanks.  A brief promo video is available on the RotaryDistrict5010 website. Please note: Full registration includes the Peace Forum on Thursday.  Currently registration is $375 for early bird registration now until the end of the year 12/31/2019.  After 12/31, registration will increase to $400 (includes the banquet). Otherwise the Peace Forum only is $50 and the Saturday DG banquet only is otherwise $75.   Friday and/or Saturday all day registration is $150 each (includes lunch).  Banquet separately is $75. Friday or Saturday lunch separately is $50.  Young leader, Rotaract, or anyone under 30 may register for the full conference for $100.  Note, Rotarian spouses should register as a Rotarian attendee.  A link to register for the conference can be found at:

I would like to encourage all Club Presidents to designate someone in their club to submit stories with pictures of recent club service projects, fundraising events, youth programs, etc., in the time period of July 2019 to the present.  We are looking for bite sized articles (3-4 paragraphs - what, when, where, who).  Send only a few pictures, but choose those pictures where Rotarians are having fun or a picture of Rotarians with the beneficiaries of the project. Please send your articles to Andre’ Layral for review.  You may submit the articles using the new D5010 Mobile APP (GoTo Latest News button, select Submit a News Story).  You may also e-mail to

If you enjoy writing and would like to help serve as an editor to review and edit Club News stories for me, please contact me by calling 907-460-7786.  If you are web savvy and would like to be trained how to post these stories on our district ClubRunner website, please contact me.  We are not planning to send out a print or digital newsletter, instead we are encouraging members to utilize the D5010 Mobile APP by going to Social Media,  then use the D5010 website or D5010 Facebook buttons.  


DG Andre’ Layral

Cell 907-460-7786

Upcoming Events or Deadlines:

December 15, 2019 - Deadline to designate your club RYLA Chair and submit your RYLA Club Commitment Form (find it at

December 31, 2019 - Early District Conference Registration ends, goes up to $400 on 1/1/2020

February 1, 2020 - 9:00-4:00 PM

D5010 Team Training Assembly (aka., District Leadership Meeting) in Anchorage

March 5-8, 2020. RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) in Homer 

April 30, 2020 - D5010 Peace Forum - Fairbanks Westmark Hotel

    (open to Rotarians, Young Leaders and other interested community members)

May 1-3 - D5010 District Conference - Fairbanks Westmark Hotel

June 6-10, 2020 - Rotary International Conference - Honolulu Hawaii


December 2019 Governor’s Message 2019-12-04 09:00:00Z 0
RYLA 2019 Announcement 2019-12-04 09:00:00Z 0

Bringing Up Daddy

What to expect when the parent becomes the parented
By Paul Engleman
Illustration by Richard Mia
Twenty or so years ago, I wrote a short-lived weekly column in the Chicago Sun-Times called Diary of a Dad Housewife. At the time, we had a four-year-old and a two-year-old, and although the topic, parenting, was ripe for dispensing advice, I did little of that, knowing that I didn’t yet have much wisdom to share. Instead, I focused on relating the circumstances that pave the path to wisdom — emergency diaper changing in sketchy gas station bathrooms, avoiding injury to your hands or ego during car seat installation, making sure you dress yourself at least half as neatly as your kids, lest someone suspect you’re a kidnapper.
In 27 years of being a parent, I’ve found only one universal truth about raising kids: All parents have the same goal — that their children grow up to be independent human beings. We may wish for them to be happy, healthy, and successful, but the only thing we are fundamentally responsible for is guiding a fragile, totally dependent newborn to the land of adulthood. Assuming that the journey has not been detoured by health problems, at some point they are on their own. Although you’ll always be the parent, the need to act like one will eventually diminish, and at some point, you might be the one who needs parenting yourself.
Waist-deep in our 60s, my wife, Barb, and I now find ourselves in that tricky transition phase between being a parent and being parented. It’s a phase that’s already underway by the time you notice. It begins situationally, in subtle ways. Take driving, for example. After our kids got their licenses, they volunteered to drive anytime we were going anywhere. Now they are still likely to insist on driving — no longer because they are eager to do it, but because they believe they are better drivers than we are. And they’re probably right.
For several years now, when we’ve gone to a restaurant, one of the kids has been likely to reach for the check. This started as a tentative, symbolic gesture, but now sometimes they actually mean it. The day is approaching when they’ll be better able to afford it than my wife and I — which I hope will be a reflection of how well they’re doing and not how poorly we are.
These days, one of our kids calls every other day or so. More often than not, their purpose is more to check up on us than to let us know what’s going on with them. Living in the same city means they regularly visit our house, where they take charge of any heavy lifting that needs to be done. But they still almost always bring their laundry. Adult kids lugging their laundry home may be a trite notion, but it has value as an example of the changing relationship from both angles. It signifies a continuation of their dependence, even if prompted more by convenience than by need, and it also allows them to check up on the parents without being too obvious about it.
One of the things I’m mindful about is not repeating some of the behaviors of my parents, my father in particular. Years ago, when my wife and I would visit them in New Jersey, my father would insist on driving an hour to pick us up at Newark International Airport, which is at the confluence of a half-dozen highways totaling about 60 lanes, many configured like a roller coaster, with traffic moving at about the speed of that carnival ride. Eventually, Barb was just as insistent — in private with me — that she wasn’t making the trip again unless we rented a car. She was willing to indulge my father’s need to feel helpful, but she drew a double yellow line when it meant putting our lives at risk. My father did not take the news well.
How smoothly this transition goes depends on how willing you are to step up, if you are the kid, or how willing you are to step aside, if you’re the parent. We probably erred on the coddling side as parents, me especially, and that may account for why our kids still turn to us for guidance on matters that they are perfectly capable of figuring out for themselves. But we have become more careful about offering unsolicited advice. This is a lesson Barb has had to learn while engaging with our older son. They both work at small nonprofit organizations, so they occupy some common professional turf. Initially, when they compared notes, he would welcome the wisdom she was eager to offer; nowadays, he’s more likely to be the one making the suggestions. It’s her turn to do the listening.
“Transitions go more smoothly if there is already good communication,” says Sally Strosahl, who has been a marriage and family therapist in the Chicago suburbs for four decades and has three adult children and two grandsons. Strosahl is the author of Loving Your Marriage in Retirement: Keep the Music Playing, a book that draws on her personal as well as professional experience and includes contributions from her husband, Tom Johnson, a retired newspaper editor. “Coming to terms with the effects of aging is an ongoing task for all of us,” Strosahl says. “Getting older is not a choice. But how we choose to feel about it — and deal with it — is a choice.”
Strosahl recommends dealing with it by keeping a sense of humor and approaching aging in a lighthearted way. “Tom and I laugh with each other about our senior moments, and we deliberately do that with our children,” she says. “We want them to know that we’re open to being teased about it.”
In Strosahl’s view, this helps to clear the path ahead for truthful communication when issues of serious consequence present themselves. “We set the stage for being able to say, ‘I need your help,’” she says. “Our children do begin to take over more as we become more impaired, yet we can still be the leader by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and by seeing our vulnerability not as weakness but as truth. Aging gracefully is about acceptance and choosing to save our energies for what can bring actual results.”
Technology is one obvious, if clichéd, area in which vulnerability can show up early and often. Our kids are likely to be more facile than we are, and this can lead to frustration on our part and impatience on theirs. When these situations arise, I think it’s useful to have some defensive ammunition ready, like reminders of who showed them how to use a turntable or taught them to parallel park.
Forgetfulness and hearing loss are two all-too-familiar signs of senescence. Keeping a sense of humor can have some value here too. As a friend of mine likes to say, “Is it my age or is it the weed?” But memory loss should not be taken lightly when it’s an early warning signal of dementia, often accompanied by confusion about time and place or difficulty performing familiar tasks. I can deflect our kids’ observations about my hearing decline by attributing it to a long history of rock concerts, but soon I will have to face the music, as Strosahl and Johnson did recently.
“We had both noticed that we were having difficulty hearing each other, but neither of us wanted to admit that we were losing our hearing,” she says. “Our daughter finally sat us down and did a mini-intervention requesting that we get our hearing checked. We decided to do it on Valentine’s Day as a gift to each other. And we discovered that hearing aids do help! I’m sure our children had spoken about it, and we had all joked about it, but we needed the final callout.”
One major development that can complicate and enrich relationships is the arrival of grandchildren. Strosahl calls grandparenting “a dance of balance and boundaries,” noting that “the baby boom has become the grand-parent boom,” with many of us taking on the role of babysitter and some serving as primary caregivers to the next generation. Johnson points to the irony that, as a family therapist, his wife is often called upon to offer guidance on child rearing, but when it comes to their own grandchildren, they follow the recommendation of a friend: Do not give any advice unless it’s asked for.
That seems like a good tip for most of our interactions on the road to role reversal. Strosahl adds some deeper wisdom with an alliterative lift: “Let love lead.”
Paul Engleman is a Chicago-based freelancer and a frequent contributor to The Rotarian.
• This story originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Bringing Up Daddy 2019-12-02 09:00:00Z 0

A Grand (and Great-Grand) Tradition

Proud your parents were Rotarians? Some Rotary families go back five generations.
                                              By Kevin Cook                                       Illustrations by Greg Clarke
Paul Harris and his wife, Jean, never had children. They saw Rotary as their extended family; he spoke of each nation as having a place in “the world’s family.” Since 1905, Rotarians have carried that message all over the globe, starting in their own homes.
“Growing up, I heard stories of two legendary men — my great-grandfather and Paul Harris,” says Luanne Arredondo, whose great-grandfather Ezequiel Cabeza De Baca became the second governor of New Mexico in 1917. “He was a member of the Rotary Club of Albuquerque. Twenty years later, his son — my grandfather — joined. I remember our trips across the border to Juarez, where my family helped with an orphanage and built houses for the poor. My father, another proud Rotarian, used to tell me that Paul Harris would be proud of our family. He would say, ‘Luanne, women are not allowed in Rotary, but someday they will be.’”
Today Mama Lu, as everyone calls her, is governor of District 5300 and a founder of California’s newly chartered Rotary Club of Greater San Gabriel Valley. She’s one of many third-, fourth-, and even fifth-generation Rotarians whose family stories are as old as Harris’ Rotary pin and as fresh as this year’s newly inducted members.
Fourth-generation Rotarian Craig Horrocks, governor-elect of District 9920 in Oceania, has a copy of Harris’ 1928 autobiography, The Founder of Rotary, inscribed to his great-grandfather, Sir George Fowlds. After meeting Harris on a trip to the United States in 1920, Fowlds sailed home to Auckland, New Zealand, full of the spirit of service and fellowship and in the hopes of founding the first Rotary club in the Southern Hemisphere. The Australians beat him to the punch, chartering the Rotary Club of Melbourne in April 1921. Fowlds’ consolation prize was a copy of Harris’ book with a warm inscription: To Honorable George, whose devotion to Rotary has been one of the highlights of the movement. Sincerely Yours, Paul, Apr 3 ’28.
Dave Stillwagon of Ohio is a fourth-generation Rotarian — and the fourth in a line of Rotary Club of Youngstown presidents dating back to 1927. “My great-grandfather joined that year and later served as president,” Stillwagon says. “My grandfather followed him into Rotary — he had no choice, really, since our patriarch wouldn’t let him marry my grandmother unless he joined.”
Today, Stillwagon brings Rotary principles to his work as CEO of Youngstown’s Community Corrections Association, a nonprofit that helps people who have been convicted of crimes make the transition to productive lives in northeastern Ohio — a career he considers “an extension of Rotary. It’s about changing the world for the better.” His firm employs cognitive therapy to help those it serves “unlearn criminal behaviors, to see their lives as a chance to make better choices.” And it’s working: Less than 23 percent of his clients wind up back in prison within three years, a rate that’s significantly lower than the national average.
“I’m a firm believer that we’re put on this earth for a reason,” he says. “Service to others is part of that reason.”
Like Stillwagon and countless others whose families have carried Rotary membership through multiple generations, Magozaemon “Mago” Takano XVIII believes his family’s traditions and those of the organization make a good match. “My father taught me that the values of our business are similar to those of Rotary,” says Takano, a past governor of Japan’s District 2620 and a member of the Rotary Club of Kofu, a city of about 200,000 in the shadow of Mount Fuji. His family, which started out by selling salt, has helped drive growth in Kofu since 1568. (When the Kofu region ran out of salt in the 16th century, the first Magozaemon helped save the day.)
Takano remembers the first time he saw a faded black-and-white photo of a meeting of the Kofu Rotary club, where his grandfather was a charter member. “In the picture, my grandfather was wearing a Rotary pin, and I started thinking about why he chose to join,” he says. Upon becoming a member himself, he found the answer in its combination of altruism and networking. “The Four-Way Test my father taught me drove home the core values of service, fellowship, diversity, integrity, and leadership,” he says. “At the same time, a young professional like me got to interact with business and local leaders I might never meet otherwise.”
Takano’s son Yasuto recently followed his forefathers’ example and became a fourth-generation member of the Kofu club, which celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2020. “The Four-Way Test will be just as important to his generation,” Takano says. “One difference may be that my son has even more opportunities through the growing global network of Rotary. I hope he’ll feel as proud to be a Rotarian as his ancestors have been.”
As Rotary enters the 2020s, more Rotarians are finding themselves part of a multigenerational demographic boomlet.
Ann Parker, a member of the Rotary Club of Iowa City, is a fifth-generation Rotarian — or ninth-generation, depending on how you figure it, with four Rotarians on one side of the family and five on the other. Fellow Midwesterner Mary Shackleton is a fourth-generation Rotarian who left Indiana for the Rotary Club of Metro New York City, where social events include concerts in Central Park and trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her parents, “Shack” and Wilma, are past presidents of the Rotary Club of Attica-Williamsport, Indiana, and after serving as an assistant governor of District 7230 at the same time Wilma served in the same role in District 6560, Mary is now governor-elect of her district.
Natalie Bailey of the Rotary Club of Coronado, California — whose mother, Suzanne Popp, was that club’s first female president — is yet another fourth-generation Rotarian. And at 26, Bailey is also the founding president of the Rotaract Club of Coronado, chartered in February. “I’ve got photos of my first Rotary meeting, when I was five days old,” she says. “I was the newborn baby receiving my first Paul Harris Award, donated on my behalf by Paul Plumb, the same man who inducted me into Rotary last year.” Rotarians her age, she says, “want to give back just as much as anyone else, but we don’t have as much time” as older members, “or, more to the point, money. A lot of the service Rotarians provide is writing big checks, which is generous and very impactful, but the younger generation doesn’t have so much money to contribute on top of expensive lunch meetings and annual dues. So the Rotaract club I started came up with fundraisers that were fun social and networking events — a trivia night and a bar crawl — and they were huge successes.”
In 2013, Jamshyd Vazifdar joined the Rotary Club of Bombay, whose members are so tradition-minded they never changed their name to the Rotary Club of Mumbai. His great-grandfather Nowroji Vazifdar joined the Bombay club in 1950 and was followed by his son, Jamshed, and grandson (Jamshyd’s father), Nowroze, who has been a member since 1994.
Then there’s Nicholas Hafey, whose great-grandfather and grandfather were Rotarians in Australia, and whose father, Phil Hafey, is governor of District 9650. Nicholas was inducted as a member of the Rotary Club of Laurieton last year.
Eamon Wheeler followed his great-grandfather, grandmother (Ingrid Brown, 2009-10 governor of District 7930), and mother into the Rotary Club of Rockport, Massachusetts, last year at age 17 because his friends were too busy to help him start an Interact club. He proved his mettle by enduring his district’s annual polar plunge to raise money for polio eradication in 2018; the plunge is held in February off the icy Atlantic coast near Boston.
A Grand (and Great-Grand) Tradition 2019-12-02 09:00:00Z 0
Anesha  "Duffy" Murnane is Missing!  Please Help Find Her! 2019-11-21 09:00:00Z 0

How Kindness Appreciates

One gracious act can resonate for a lifetime
By David Sarasohn
Image credit: Richard Mia
A long time ago, when I was eight or nine, my father had a risky surgery. These days, that particular procedure is pretty much an afternoon’s inconvenience, but back then it was a roll-the-dice long shot. I wasn’t old enough, or maybe smart enough, to understand how dangerous it was. And the adults around me, though never less than honest, saw no reason to lay out the odds to a nine-year-old.
The day before the surgery, one of the doctors asked to see me. I went into his office cheerfully; at that age, just the idea of an adult wanting to talk to me made the occasion special. What he told me was very direct. There was a possibility, he explained, that the next afternoon I might be feeling very angry. If that happened, he said, I should come and be angry at him.
I don’t remember his name. I don’t remember what he looked like. I have a sense that he was tall, though to a nine-year-old, a lot of people look tall. But I remember what he said, and many decades later, that memory still has the capacity to warm me.
Kindness can do that.
The doctor owed me nothing except his best efforts to keep my father alive. But he went out of his way to reach out to a small boy who didn’t even realize that an abyss could soon open up beneath his feet.
We think of kindness as a way to ease our way through a day, to help us get to the other side of a situation. But an act of kindness can be much more than that. It can cast a light down decades and provide a warming feeling long after the occasion has grown cold. Gifts like that aren’t used up and forgotten; they’re remembered and cherished.
One message of the Harry Potter books is that being deeply loved as a child can provide a kind of protection throughout your life. It gives you a sense of self-worth and confidence when you’re threatened by the forces of darkness, or even by a disappointing SAT score. Being the recipient of an act of kindness can have a similar effect: It not only reassures you of your own worthiness, but also provides a permanent belief that the world is not as dark a place as that registered letter from the IRS might suggest.
There’s a reason we remember great kindnesses. It’s not that people are keeping accounts and preparing to repay them. In a transactional world, a luminous kindness is a combination of the act and the time, and that produces something beyond evaluation. Trying to repay it is like calculating the price of Versailles as an Airbnb.
The inability to figure out an exchange rate, a way to have the same impact on a giver’s life that he had on yours, has spurred the concept of paying it forward. If you can’t repay the person who lives permanently in your appreciation, you can at least adjust your balance sheet with the universe — and maybe plant yourself enduringly in someone else’s memory.
A decade after my father had that surgery, I was at college when I received a late-night phone call telling me that he had died unexpectedly. Numbly, I asked a friend with a car if he would drive me to the train station the next day. Instead, he immediately drove me the 2½ hours home, dropped me off, and in the middle of the night turned around and headed back to school. I don’t remember what we talked about on the road. I vaguely imagine that I tried to keep things relatively light, both not to burden my friend and to shove the fact of my father’s death into a far corner of my mind to think about later. But I know that on every mile, I was conscious that my friend was bestowing on me a great kindness, even a blessing.
I haven’t seen my friend in decades. He may have forgotten the whole episode, although I certainly haven’t. After all, his kindness to me reached not only to that occasion, but to all the times since when I’ve been nourished by remembering it. It’s a debt, and a dividend, built on massive emotional compound interest.
The kindnesses that stay with you, the ones that light your life for years to come, don’t involve the bestowing of stuff. Material generosity, the giving of things, is admirable, but our appreciation may last no longer than the stuff itself. A meal or a sweater or even a watch carries an expiration date; someone putting himself forward for you at a key moment stays with you as long as you yourself deal with other people. In the long-term database we each carry around, there are more entries filed under “Kindness, Deeply Remembered Acts Of” than most of us imagine
In 1970, after James Baker’s wife died of cancer, George H.W. Bush suggested that his fellow tennis club member might find some distraction in helping out on Bush’s Senate campaign. Baker was reluctant; he noted that for one thing, he, like most people in Texas at the time, was a Democrat. Oh, said Bush, he didn’t care about that. He just hated to see Baker looking so sad all the time.
Bush’s reaching out to a friend led to Baker’s eventually becoming White House chief of staff, secretary of the treasury, and secretary of state. It didn’t work out badly for Bush, either. And 48 years later, in his eulogy at Bush’s state funeral, Baker quoted the former president as saying, “When a friend is hurting, show that you care,” and “Be kind to people.”
Very late one night, a long time ago, a sudden problem developed with my wife’s pregnancy. As we bolted for the hospital, I called a neighbor to say we would be dropping off our three-year-old. I wouldn’t say it was a request, because the possibility of our neighbor declining never occurred to me — nor, I’m certain, to her. The individual who caused my wife such great discomfort on that occasion is now 30 years old. But that night, and that phone call, doesn’t seem nearly that long ago. I see my neighbor frequently, and always with a sense of a bond between us much deeper than our having each other’s house keys for emergencies.
Kindness is more than an action. It’s a power, even a superpower. It empowers the receiver, giving him something that can strengthen him years later, after the original circumstances have faded like old election predictions. It also empowers the giver, because making a positive impact on someone’s life is the most powerful ability imaginable, much stronger than Superman’s X-ray vision.
In God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Kurt Vonnegut’s hero works out a baptismal speech for his neighbor’s newborn twins: “Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter.  It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies —: ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’”
And if you are, the glow can last those hundred years.
David Sarasohn, a longtime columnist for The Oregonian in Portland, has written for the New York Times and the Washington Post. He has published three books, including Waiting for Lewis and Clark: The Bicentennial and the Changing West.
• This story originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
How Kindness Appreciates 2019-11-20 09:00:00Z 0

The Rotarian Conversation: Henrietta Fore

Connecting 1.8 billion young people with education and jobs is a tall order. UNICEF’s executive director is calling on Rotarians for ideas
Henrietta Fore is leading UNICEF at a historic time. There are 1.8 billion young people on the planet between the ages of 10 and 24 — the largest generation of youth the world has ever seen — and they are concentrated in the developing world, where many face poverty, violence, and a dearth of educational opportunities.
Fore outlines some statistics: 200 million adolescents around the world are not in school; 6 in 10 children do not meet the minimum proficiency levels in reading and math. “Some call this a ticking time bomb,” she says. But she is optimistic, championing a new initiative that aims to turn that potential demographic crisis into an opportunity. It’s called Generation Unlimited.
“Our goal is very straightforward,” Fore said in a 2018 TED Talk. “We want every young person in school, learning, training, or age-appropriate employment by the year 2030.” To meet this target, UNICEF partnered with other organizations to create Generation Unlimited to let the private sector, governments, nonprofits, and academia share ideas and solicit funding to expand ideas that work. The World Bank has pledged $1 billion toward the effort, and now Fore is calling on Rotarians, Rotaractors, and Interactors to share their own ideas.
Fore also brings bold thinking to UNICEF’s effort to eradicate polio in partnership with Rotary, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We need to do that last mile; we need to finish the job,” she says. Her approach in the hardest-to-reach areas involves a plan to invest $50 million to integrate more comprehensive health care into polio eradication efforts as an incentive for parents to bring their children to be vaccinated.
With a background at the helm of her family’s manufacturing and investment firm, Holsman International, Fore became director of the U.S. Mint in 2001. There she modernized the manufacturing process, gaining the attention of then-U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who tapped her to serve as undersecretary of state for management, a notoriously difficult job that involved managing 267 embassies and consulates and 7,200 employees around the world. Later, she spent two years at USAID, where she was the first female director.
When asked what skills are needed to lead such complex institutions, Fore says: “Sometimes we think that organizations are remote creations. But they’re not. They’re filled with people, and I feel so strongly that people are our most important asset. So if you think of an organization as being a gathering of people who care passionately about a subject, then you’ll probably connect with that organizational culture.” Fore spoke with contributing editor Vanessa Glavinskas from her office in New York City.

THE ROTARIAN: Looking back on your career, what experiences helped prepare you to lead UNICEF?
FORE: Like many Rotarians, I have run a business, my family business. It teaches you to think about what value you are getting for your investments and whether you should invest in one area or another, a new product, a new service. There’s never enough money or enough people to help, but you have to listen to your customers. Now that I have the chance to serve the United Nations, that experience helps me to realize that listening to people around the world is very important and to think about how public-private partnerships can improve the world.
TR: What has been a memorable experience for you at UNICEF?
FORE: One of my first trips in this role was to South Sudan in January 2018. We met with a number of mothers who had walked for hours to bring their children to a clinic. The children were malnourished, and the mothers were able to stay there with them for a week to get their children nourishment. But they did not have a way to change the problems they faced at home, which meant they would be back again in several months. It’s a humanitarian need, but also a longer-term development need. In short-term crises, there are also longer-term development needs that we must address so that people can be self-sufficient.
TR: When you spoke at Rotary’s International Assembly in January, what did you challenge Rotarians to do?
FORE: Well, first and most important, a very deep and heartfelt thank-you to all the Rotarians who have raised funds and raised awareness about polio. There would not be the enormous success of the polio programs without Rotary. But it’s no time for complacency. We need to finish the job.
I’m looking at an integrative approach: In addition to getting the polio vaccine, parents also want to get their children looked at for other health problems and to get nourishment for their child. That’s a big incentive. If we can get more health services integrated into polio eradication efforts, it will be a very important way for us to reach out in poor communities, particularly in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan, where the virus is still endemic. [Read more about what Rotary is already doing to meet other health needs through PolioPlus in “The Plus in PolioPlus,” in our October issue.]
TR: You recently proposed a $50 million initiative to do just that. Will you start by focusing on specific regions?
FORE: Yes, Afghanistan is the first place we will target, Pakistan is No. 2, and Nigeria No. 3. Within those countries, there are very specific geographic areas that need this help. They tend to be rural villages. They tend to be led by elders who are not part of the government or the general federal system. We do not have medical clinics in these villages; no one does. So if we can come in even with a mobile unit that could help give the vaccinations and do some of the basic health checks, word would spread, and parents would bring in children, and that’s what we want. We want them voluntarily coming to us.
TR: What’s your specific aim with this campaign? Have you seen this approach have a positive impact?
FORE: The initiative aims to help improve the overall health and well-being of children as well as increase polio vaccination coverage in these communities.
Aiming for polio eradication means every child must be vaccinated, and polio workers must reach every village no matter what. Many of the highest polio-risk areas visited by health workers often are also the most underserved, and the initiative seeks to ensure the delivery of a package of basic services that is more than just the “two drops.” It is a bit early to provide examples of impact, as the integrated package of services began rolling out only a few months back. However, we strongly believe that it will contribute to wider vaccine acceptance. This initiative was born out of the experience, faced by polio workers, of angry and often desperate mothers and fathers in underserved areas demanding basic services for their children beyond the polio vaccine.
TR: Is the health infrastructure you’re improving permanent, such as adding a hospital? Or is it more often bringing in short-term health services?
FORE: The package of services depends on the need in the community. For example, in some districts in Kandahar and Helmand provinces in Afghanistan, we are constructing water supply networks to deliver safe drinking water and a sewerage system. In other districts, we are expanding nutrition services to treat severe acute malnutrition among children and providing health services for mothers. In southern Pakistan, we are renovating and equipping a labor room at a community health center while also expanding maternal health and nutrition services in several districts. The initiative is also investing in opening informal education centers in certain areas in Pakistan with high numbers of out-of-school children.
TR: You also are a champion of a new initiative called Generation Unlimited. Can you describe that?
FORE: Right now, 10 million young people around the world turn 18 every month. That’s how many need a job. We know that we are not creating 10 million new jobs each month.
In many African countries, the average age is 20. African heads of state are asking for help modernizing their secondary school systems. They want to link that with vocational skills. So UNICEF and our partners have outlined four areas that we know we will need help with. One is basic foundational education. Every child should be able to read, write, and be numerate. In the world today, 6 out of 10 young people do not meet the basic levels of literacy or numeracy. The second is that young people need to have some basic life skills: They need language skills, to be able to communicate, and they need financial skills in order to be entrepreneurs. The third area is occupational training. And fourth, they are all asking for digital skills. So we are hoping that the world can stand up for these young people, that there can be a movement to educate and connect them to future livelihoods.
TR: How can Rotarians help?
FORE: We need mentors. We need people who can offer apprenticeships, internships, and job shadowing. If there ever were absolutely a perfectly placed group for this, it would be Rotarians. Rotarians are community leaders and could lead initiatives that allow young people to job-shadow out of local high schools. If Rotarians could do mentoring remotely to young people in other countries, it would be a game-changer for them.
Young people are also asking for work-study programs, because many do not have the economic freedom to pay school fees and buy books and food. Giving them a way to earn a little money after school would be a powerful way to help them.
TR: Who is UNICEF working with on this initiative?
FORE: Generation Unlimited is hosted by UNICEF and has more than 60 partners, such as the World Bank, which will invest $1 billion to support young people’s transition to work, and the government of Ireland, which contributed €1 million to help unlock the potential of young people.
TR: How do the challenges this generation faces differ from what previous generations have experienced?
FORE: Artificial intelligence and technology are changing the face of work. Klaus Schwab, of the World Economic Forum, talks about a fourth industrial revolution. A job that our parents had, or that we have, won’t be there for many young people. We have not done a good job of modernizing school systems to teach the skills young people will need to adapt to a world that connects machines and technologies with humans. That’s one piece. The second piece is the size of this generation. Ten million jobs a month is a great challenge for the world, so we are going to have to help young people move into mass entrepreneurship.
TR: Are there any other opportunities for Rotarians to work with UNICEF?
FORE: The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are ambitious, and to reach them by 2030, we are looking for innovations and accelerators. Those could be businesses that have products, services, or platforms that could help accelerate the way we reach those goals.
For example, I was just reading in the newspaper about a hand-held ultrasound device that has a cord attached to an ultrasound receptor. You can put it on the stomach of a woman who is pregnant to see how a baby is doing. You could put it on the knee of an injured young man. You could use it on the chest of a baby to see if there is pneumonia.
Are there innovations out there that Rotarians have seen or invented? We would like to hear from them to see if there’s a way that we could use those ideas somewhere in the world. Reach out to my colleagues on our Global Cause Partnerships team at
TR: What do you hope to achieve during your tenure at UNICEF?
FORE: First, I would love to find more ways to interweave humanitarian assistance and development assistance. To plant the seeds of longer-term development when responding to a humanitarian crisis — that’s what a water system or an education system gives you. You need it the first day of a crisis, and you need it years later. I was in Mozambique during the flooding from Cyclone Idai, and the first thing that went out was the water system. Without clean water, cholera takes hold, and children particularly begin to sicken, and you lose them. I would like to plant the seeds of a longer-term solution. Rather than just flying in bottled water, work on the municipal water system.
The second area I would like to see changed is primary health care. If we could give primary health care — community health care — to the families of the world, that would be very powerful. In Afghanistan, for example, many rural communities had no access to basic services such as vaccinations, sick child care, and antenatal screening. With the support of Japan and Korea, UNICEF supported the delivery of primary care services to almost 1 million women, children, and newborns last year, through 70 mobile health teams linked to and supplied by local community health services. It is a great example of how we can combine investment with the expertise and local reach of governments and partners — not only to provide temporary relief, but to begin building systems that can last.
The third area is this idea of new innovations. I know that if the private sector joins with the public sector, this world could be much improved. We often just don’t know quite how to work with each other. But right now, during my tenure at UNICEF, I want Rotarians to know the doors are wide open. We need all of the ideas and technology and brains of the private world to meet our development goals.
The fourth is Generation Unlimited. It is absolutely the calling of our time to help young people, and if we get it right, our world will be a better place.
And, of course, I would love to eradicate polio on my watch. Rotary has been so magnificent, and I would love to do my share.
• Illustration by Viktor Miller Gausa
• This story originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
The Rotarian Conversation: Henrietta Fore 2019-11-20 09:00:00Z 0

The Price of Polio

Meet five Rotarians who understand the disease’s long-term consequences
as told to Vanessa Glavinskas                  photography by Frank Ishman
When you go to your Rotary club meeting this week, look around at your fellow members and think about this: In North America, anyone younger than 70 likely doesn’t remember a time before the polio vaccine. Those under 40 were born after polio was no longer endemic in the United States. And among your club’s youngest members, the very word “polio” probably conjures a bygone age when children regularly died of diseases like measles, smallpox, or whooping cough. Now, however, we know that measles is staging a comeback. Tuberculosis, which might bring to mind 19th-century sanitariums, is gaining greater resistance to treatment. Until a disease is really gone, eradicated, extirpated from the planet, it will always be looking for ways to come back, for breaches in our defenses.
We’ve come very far in the 64 years since the introduction of Jonas Salk’s vaccine — and especially in the 40 years since Rotary decided to take on polio. Every day it gets easier to forget why it’s so critical that we eradicate this disease. Most of us don’t see polio in our daily lives. Whole generations have never experienced its terrifying power.
We let our guard down when we think that polio is a disease that happens only in faraway places, or that almost eradicated is good enough. But if we stop and remember what it was like when polio was everywhere and people felt powerless against it, we know that if we don’t finish the fight, we’ll soon be back where we started.
In the following segments, five Rotarians share their experiences with polio. Thanks to their willingness to recount painful memories, we know that we must keep fighting until polio is gone forever.

Ann Wade
Rotary Club of New Tampa, Florida
I felt like I was entering another world. Beds with paralyzed children lined every wall. I was put into a big room. There were rows and rows of children, probably about 50 children, and three or four nurses to care for us. I was seven when I was transferred to Hope Haven children’s hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, where I spent four months learning how to walk again.
I missed my mother so much. When she would visit, I’d ask her why she couldn’t come more often. But parents were only allowed to visit on Wednesdays and Sundays. I still don’t know why. I’d cry myself to sleep every night. The nurses used to get so mad at me. They’d say I was too old to cry.
I spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and my birthday in that hospital. At first, I was bedridden. Polio had affected my legs, and I couldn’t walk. When I got the virus, I had extreme pain all over my body and a high fever. I couldn’t stand up. That was very scary.
My parents took me to the doctor on a Saturday morning; he examined me and immediately sent me to an isolation ward. I had my own room there, but only the nurses could be with me. There was a balcony that extended around the building, and each room had a window. There were two chairs on the balcony outside every room, and that’s where parents would sit and talk to their child, through the window. No one was allowed into my room, and I was not allowed out.
Once my fever broke and I wasn’t contagious anymore, I was moved to Hope Haven to learn to walk again. The therapies were painful. They would put hot, wet wool towels on my legs and then exercise the muscles. The nurses would also massage my legs with oil. Sometimes they’d use these electrical shock-type things to shock the muscles into use. They would take all of us to therapy once or twice per day. In between, teachers came in and we had school. They’d roll my bed to a huge room, and the teachers would be in there teaching. It was the beginning of second grade for me.
Once I started walking, I was released from the hospital, but I didn’t return to my old school until third grade. After I left the hospital, I tried to put it out of my mind. Then the vaccine was released, and everyone went to get it. It was being given at a school on a Sunday afternoon. They called it Sabin Sunday, after Albert Sabin, who invented the oral vaccine, and I remember standing in a really long line, thinking, “Do I really need to do this? I’ve already had polio.” But my mother was adamant that my brother and I get vaccinated.
Since then, I’ve done most everything I wanted to do in life. I became a teacher. I married a wonderful guy 53 years ago who is also in Rotary. I have three children and 10 grandchildren. Not many people know I had polio, except that one of my legs is smaller than the other and I have a slight limp. About 12 years ago, I fell and broke the hip in my bad leg. After surgery, I was able to learn to walk again, so now I can say I’ve learned to walk three times.
This year, I’m president of my Rotary club. I’m eager to make eradicating polio a priority and to raise money for End Polio Now. Until now, I haven’t told many people my story, but if it can help the eradication effort, it seems like a good time to start.

Carl Chinnery
Rotary Club of Lee’s Summit, Missouri
There were five children in my family, all boys. In 1942, every one of us got polio. My oldest brother, George, died. My middle brother spent months in an iron lung. I was so young that I don’t remember having the virus, but I grew up with its effects on our family all around me. George’s photograph sat on our fireplace mantel. He had been afraid of the dark, so my parents plugged in a nightlight next to it.
But as time went on, few people even knew I had had the disease. In 1999, I was appointed PolioPlus chair for my district. That’s when I asked my mother to tell me about our family’s experience with polio. At first, she said she couldn’t talk about it. It was too painful. But a few weeks later, she surprised me with a letter. I’m sharing it now in the hope that our story will help my fellow Rotarians understand why we must continue to fight this disease until it’s eradicated.
It must have been August 7, 1942, when Bill came in and announced he had “poliomyalitus.” I didn’t know where he had heard of such a thing, but I said, “If you have poliomyelitis, you go straight up to bed and stay there” … and he did! He really did feel bad! Then George became ill. I called Dr. Eldridge, our pediatrician. On the night of August 11, George couldn’t swallow his medication. It came back through his nose. I called the doctor again and he came right over. (Dad was on the road.) Dr. Eldridge took George and me to old General Hospital. (No other hospital in Kansas City would accept us.) They took George, but they wouldn’t let me stay. I went home and called Dad. He started home immediately, drove all night, and went to the hospital about 4 a.m., but they wouldn’t let him in either. At about 7 a.m. the hospital called us and said George was dying. When we arrived, George was already gone.
By that time, Richard, Larry, and Carl had also become sick, and when I got home from the hospital, Richard was much worse and we rushed him to the hospital. When we marched in, I informed them I was staying … I had lost one child and I was staying, no matter what! Dad and I took turns so Richard always had one of us there. One of Dad’s aunts had come to help us and stayed with Bill, Larry, and Carl.
Dad sent someone to take me to the funeral home to see George. When I got back to the hospital, Richard wasn’t doing well, and in the night, I saw his skin sink into his chest. All I could see were bones covered with skin, drawn tight. I ran as fast as I could down the hall, calling the intern. We ran back and this man picked Richard up and plunked him into an iron lung. His lungs had collapsed.
When we went home, we had to start the “Kenny” treatments. We had to tear wool blankets into strips and put them in boiling water, run them through a tight wringer, and place them on each child for so many minutes, and then off for so many minutes, then on, etc. Dad put a hot plate in an upstairs bathroom to boil the water. He put an old wringer over the tub with stacks of wool strips handy. Bill was on his way to recovery, but Richard, Larry, and Carl were the sick ones now. Dad hired nurses to help during the day, and my dear mother drove from California to help. People came from everywhere to give us hope and offer to help, but they couldn’t come in the house.
When the boys were well enough, we had to start therapy, compliments of the March of Dimes. I took my children and another lady in leg braces and her little boy three times a week. Richard has one leg a little shorter than the other. Carl’s chest didn’t fill out. Bill had many problems. And, of course, we have one little boy angel in heaven.
Jim Ferguson
Rotary Club of Bluefield, West Virginia
My mother was in her 30s when she contracted polio. I don’t remember her having the disease, but I do remember her coming home with a cast on her left foot after she’d had a corrective surgery. I was about four years old, and I remember her getting out the drill to make holes in the legs of a kitchen chair so she could screw casters into it. She sat in it and rolled herself around our kitchen while she cooked, rather than hobble on her crutch.
The surgeon had put a plate in her foot in an attempt to straighten it, but it didn’t work, and it left her in pain. Doctors wanted to amputate her foot, but she refused. These were the days before the Americans With Disabilities Act. Nothing was accessible. She would struggle on one crutch up and down the stairs to our apartment, down the street to the store, up the steps to get on public transportation. I only saw her ask for help if she really needed it. I really don’t know how she managed to raise nine of us children. Before she got polio, she was raising my older siblings during the Great Depression and while my father was away fighting in World War II.
We all grew up here in Bluefield, West Virginia. In the 1950s, people were afraid of polio and the atomic bomb. A nearby town, Wytheville, had more cases of polio per capita than any other place in the country. People would keep their windows closed and hold their breath just to drive through Wytheville. Everyone was terrified because they didn’t understand how the virus was being transmitted. City workers sprayed insecticide all over the trees and houses in case insects carried polio. All public places were closed — movie theaters, pools. Kids were quarantined at home. There’s still a museum in Wytheville that documents its polio epidemic.
I joined Rotary when I found out about their work to eradicate polio, because I thought it would be a way to make my mother proud. She died of lung cancer at age 56, though she never smoked. I wasn’t interested in networking; I joined Rotary to help immunize children against polio, and in 2011, I traveled to India to do that. We went to a little town between the Ganges River and Nepal where we immunized about 45 children who had been missed by previous vaccination campaigns. While there, I met a 16-year-old girl who had crawled her entire life because of polio. She was getting fitted for leg braces so she could take her first steps at age 16. I still get emotional thinking about her.
After that trip, I became an advocate for PolioPlus. I gave presentations across our district, raised money, and served as our district’s PolioPlus chair. I didn’t have any of those aspirations when I joined, but I can be very driven, like my mother: Even though polio left her physically damaged, it never took her spirit.
The Price of Polio 2019-11-06 09:00:00Z 0

Wow Factor

The women virtually float down the runway at the “Fall into Fabulous” fashion show. As they smile and twirl, Secily Wilson sits in the back, relishing her role as fairy godmother.
Secily Wilson is a member of the Rotary Club of Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Image credit: Gregg McGough
“When you see before-and-after shots of these women, you can feel the empowerment,” she says. “They’re like, ‘I got this.’” They aren’t models, and their stylish clothes and makeup aren’t the main point of the event. The women are graduates of a six-month program that aims to lift them out of challenging life situations, whether as a result of domestic violence, a bad relationship, or a financial catastrophe.
The nonprofit Wilson founded, called WOW, or Women Overcoming with Willpower, provides a range of sessions that include mental health counseling, job interview preparation, and résumé-writing advice. Since she founded WOW in 2012, the organization has benefited nearly 1,000 women and children through the empowerment program.
In the women she helps, Wilson also sees herself.
Not long ago, she was a well-known local TV news anchor dreaming of a big-time network job. But that was before she had a stroke, on air, just before her 40th birthday. It was the first of a series of misfortunes that hit the mother of two: She was laid off. Her marriage broke up. Her home was foreclosed on. Then she had a second minor stroke.
At the Fall into Fabulous fashion show, volunteers on the “glam squad” assist the women in the program with hairstyling, makeup, and wardrobe.
Image credit: Nancy Jo Brown
“Why me?” she remembers thinking. “I lived very silently in this pit of depression and despair, thinking my life was over.” Eventually, a friend told her: “Snap out of it, girlfriend. Enough of this pity party.”
A “trained survivor” and “closet party planner,” Wilson set out to teach resilience to others who were in similar situations but lacked the advantages she had. She rallied friends and sponsors to organize the first fashion show and luncheon, but soon realized she needed to offer more. WOW is now a registered 501(c)(3) organization that serves 15 to 20 women a year, assisted by a range of corporate and other supporters.
One of them is the Rotary Club of Lake Buena Vista, near Disney World (read more about this club). Wilson had joined the club because she was drawn by the organization’s dedication to community service.
The club supports WOW through donations, says Greg Gorski, 2018-19 club president. Members also help coach the women in the program in job search and financial management skills, and volunteer at WOW events like the fashion show.
Program participant Yvonne Hoffman before her session with the glam squad (inset) and after, at the event.
Image credit: 106 Foto
The nonprofit has supported women as they bought their own homes, returned to college, and established savings accounts for the first time.
Yvonne Hoffman recalls her first day in the program, when Wilson asked each attendee to name five positive things about herself. Hoffman couldn’t come up with even one and broke down in tears. She and her two teenage daughters were just coming out of a bad domestic situation.
She says Wilson jumped in and quickly cited two things — her pretty smile and the fact that she had shown up to start anew. Today, Hoffman is happy, newly remarried, and working a higher-paying home health care job after going back to school.
“Secily was there when I needed her more than I ever needed someone in my life,” Hoffman says. “I think it’s because she’s got this ability to have such empathy. She’s been there.”
• This story originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Wow Factor 2019-11-06 09:00:00Z 0

2019 Great Potato Race

The Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club Great Potato Race
The idea for a potato competition came from a Rotarian in New Zealand who visited Alaska.
We started out with the concept of growing potatoes in a black garbage bag.  Each contestant got a bag, two seed potatoes and some soil.   They were to nurse these potatoes, adding soil and water as needed.
2012.   Charlie Welles was the big winner, with the biggest potato at 15.05 oz. and total weight of 8.3 lb. Charlie introduced a more competitive concept – the surrogate grower.  Running a close second was Clyde Boyer with a 14.95 oz. potato and 7.2 lb. total weight.
2013.   The competition opened up to allow a Rotarian to grow the potatoes as seemed best for them.  We had two varieties:   Kueka Gold and Shepody.  Records are missing for yield in 2013.
2014.   The big potato winner was Aurora with a beauty weighing in at 17.5 oz. Close behind were Will at 13.4 oz. and Vivian at 12.14 oz.  Vivian also walked away with total weight honors with 5.5 lb., followed by Clyde at 5.30 lb. and Paul at 5.00 lb.
2015.  A new crop of competitors emerges:   Seaton, Peters and Zak.   Biggest potato went to Marvin Peters with 1lb-11.25oz. Paul Seaton came in second at 1lb-8.30oz.Brian Zak was a close third with 1lb-7.0oz.  Total weight went to the same guys; Paul Seaton in first with 24.8 lb., Marv Peters with 22.8 lb. and Bryan Zak with 13.3 lb.  The Food Pantry received 109 lbs. of potatoes.
2016   This may be the first year we had seed potatoes donated by Oceanside Farms.  We had Red Gold and French Fingerlings.  Marv Peters and Charlie Franz were slugging it out.  Marv took top honors in all categories with 51.75 total weight and the largest Red Gold – a monster at 25.15 oz.  Charlie was the king of French Fingerlings, 45 lbs. total and the largest one at 14.6 oz.   We kind of lost control of the allocation of seed potatoes this year and Charlie wound up with only French Fingerlings.
2017.   Marv Peters walked away with all honors with 9.1 lbs. of Magic Mollie’s and 16.0 lbs. of French Fingerlings.  Charlie Franz came in second with his 8 lbs. of Magic Mollies but ceded 2nd to Mike Cline in the French Fingerlings with 15.5 lbs.   The Food Pantry received 131.93 lbs.
2018.  Marv Peters was top dog with a total of 83 lbs., 36.5 reds and 46.5 whites.  Charley Franz was credited with 2nd place but would have narrowly captured 2nd but for an error made when unlabeled bags potatoes were assigned to “Mystery Man”.   The error was not noted until Charley returned from vacation.   Tom Early was third place winner in all categories.  The Food Pantry received 347.6 lbs. of potatoes.
2019.  This year Charlie made sure to be at the weigh-in with an eagle eye.  Appropriately, he walked away with all honors:  70.5 lbs. of whites (Green Mountain) and 42.5 pounds of reds (Rkubinta).  Marv Peters had a total of 69.5 lbs. and Paul Seaton moved back up into the winners circle with 66 lbs. total.  The Food Pantry received a record 381 lbs.
This years weigh-off was at the Forrest Residence.  Included in the spectators were Donna and Don from Oceanside Farms, along with contestants, and families.  Burgers by Tina and Gayle, plus delicious dishes by everyone.  What a blast!
Overall Winner Charlie, with his EXTRA HEAVY Potatoes!
2019 Great Potato Race 2019-11-05 09:00:00Z 0

Club Innovation:  Among Friends

Rotary Club of Wiarton, Ontario
Chartered: 1938
Original membership: 18
Membership: 33
Building bonds: In Wiarton, gateway to the bucolic Bruce Peninsula between Georgian Bay and Lake Huron in Ontario, a dedicated Rotary club shoulders an outsize responsibility. With fewer than three dozen members, the Rotary Club of Wiarton has installed playground equipment, benches, and a wooden boardwalk, all while supporting a robust Rotary Youth Exchange program, polio eradication, and projects in Africa and Mexico. It also stages several major annual events. How? By summoning the exponential force of friendship.
Club innovation: To involve more people in club meetings and events, the members came up with a creative solution. Wiarton’s Friends initiative, inaugurated in 2016, appeals to people who share Rotary’s values but cannot commit to full membership, allowing them to attend as many as 10 club meetings a year while helping at fundraisers and other projects. The goal of the program, which has nine participants, is to provide a path toward regular membership.
Club members at a Canada-themed trivia night.
During an event for club presidents-elect at the 2018 Rotary International Convention in Toronto, Mike McMillan, then incoming president of the Wiarton club, stepped up to the microphone to raise the issue of how Rotary could expand its base. “We are in an area of generally blue-collar industries: tourism, retail, a national park,” McMillan recalls saying. “I asked, ‘How do we attract nonprofessionals, or rather professionals of a different sort?’ ” Other presidents-elect from all over the world told him that they faced a similar predicament. McMillan already had one possible solution.
Two years earlier, the Wiarton club had launched the Friends program to engage people in the community with limited time and money. “So many young people, in particular, can’t commit to a full-time membership,” says McMillan. “Particularly in an area like ours, to pay $80 a month for meals is beyond their budgets if they have young kids. It’s important to come up with other ways to keep people involved. Our community is small and not particularly wealthy.”
The club’s Amazing Race competition is a popular fundraiser and community event.
The club members help organize the four-day Village Fair every summer and run a Trivia Night that attracts more than 150 contestants. Maple Magic — held at Regal Point Elk Farm, which is owned by club member Eric Robinson and his wife, Dale — lures thousands of visitors. Events like that, McMillan notes, “require feet on the ground.”
One go-to volunteer, Jimi Avon, a retired musician who spends winters in Mexico, draws energy from the drive of the Rotarians. “I’m ready to be at all these events. For me, it’s a positive thing,” Avon says of his status as a Friend. “At the level I’m at, I’m happy and I don’t have quite the responsibility.” Also among the Friends are a hospice manager, a woman who operates a landscaping business and garden shop with her Rotarian husband, and four retirees.
And for one Friend, the program has been a pathway back to membership. Richard Bouillon had left the club in 1996 because of demands of business and family life. He tested the waters again as a Friend. “I’m not sure if I should be called an ‘old new member’ or a ‘new old member.’ I spent a year as a Friend before rejoining the club in 2018,” Bouillon says. Now he is fully committed, having worked the Village Fair and traveled to Honduras to help build a school through a Rotary-sponsored project. But it might not have happened without a gentle reintroduction. “The Friends program was one of the things that brought me back,” he says.
• Are you looking for more ideas on how your club can reinvent itself? Go to
• To share your ideas with us, email
• This story originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Club Innovation:  Among Friends 2019-10-17 08:00:00Z 0

District Governor Visit 2019

October 2 and 3 we were visited by District Governor Andre' Layral and Assistant District Governor Lori Draper visited Homer and the Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club.   October 2nd, we held a potluck at Dian and Clancy's, then on October 3rd they visited our Board of Directors and General Membership Meetings.  Below are some pictures from those events.

District Governor Visit 2019 2019-10-16 08:00:00Z 0

Small Change

A story of superstition and a sea turtle named Piggy Bank
By Victor Fleming
Image credit: Richard Mia
What can you say about a 25-year-old female who died? That she lived near the Gulf of Thailand in a small province called Chon Buri. That she had a life expectancy of another 50 years or so. That she weighed 130 pounds and was a really good swimmer — especially in the pond she knew as home. That she seemed to have an inordinate love of money — so much so that those who knew her nicknamed her “Piggy Bank.” That her death, in March 2017, was predictable and preventable.
Piggy Bank, you see, was a green sea turtle, a member of an endangered species. Sea turtles, by the way, are featured on the logo for the 2020 Rotary International Convention in Honolulu. And what fascinating creatures they are.
“Sea turtles travel far and wide, riding currents across the open ocean,” reads a description on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s website. “Females return to the same beach each year, using magnetic clues as a map back home.” Mother turtles lay their eggs on the beach, then cover them with a sandy quilt before returning to the sea. After hatching a couple of months later, the newborns dash to the water to escape being eaten by predators.
Unlike their kin found in rivers and creeks, sea turtles cannot retract their limbs into their shells. Over the millennia, sea turtles’ forelegs developed into “flipper-shaped blades, which help them ‘fly’ through the water” at speeds of up to 15 knots, or about 17 miles per hour, as they use their hind legs as rudders. In lieu of teeth, sea turtles have sharp beaks to help tear apart their food, which they wash down with sea water, using special glands near their eyes to desalinize it. This process makes them appear to be crying.
This seems apt. The natural habitat of sea turtles — and, thus, their very survival on the planet — is in peril. Among the threats are pollution, poachers, and residential and commercial development along the shorelines where the turtles nest. These creatures are often also accidentally caught by fishermen, although the fishing industry has developed some nets with “trap doors” to allow turtles to escape.
Scientists believe that, as oceans warm and sea levels rise, the basic tasks of finding food, mating, and nesting will become increasingly difficult for sea turtles. One problem is that females are born from eggs that are warmer; males result from cooler eggs. Ponder what this could bode for the species’ future on a warming globe.
Regrettably, sea turtles cannot distinguish between what is digestible and what is not. This was Piggy Bank’s downfall — coupled with the penchant of her human admirers for practicing a common superstitious ritual.
This turtle was given her nickname (“Omsin” in Thai) because people — human beings, we — knew that when coins were thrown into the pond, Piggy Bank would swim to them. And eat them. Or swallow them whole, rather. And she did that over and over. How could the humans — how could we — not have seen what was bound to come of this?
What can you say about people who throw money into bodies of water?
In Thailand, turtles are a symbol of longevity. Somehow related to this archetypal concept is a superstition: “If you throw coins into waters where turtles swim, you’ll live longer.”
Throwing coins into water for what you could call selfish reasons (such as making a wish) goes beyond Thailand and its customs. The practice started in ancient times, when water was often undrinkable. When potable water could be found, it was deemed a gift from the gods. People figured those gods would appreciate a little something in return. So they would toss a little money into the fountain, spring, or well.
When tossing in a coin, a person might say a little prayer, ask for something, make a wish. In 1876 when British archaeologist John Clayton excavated Coventina’s Well — a spring in a basin that was about 2.5 meters square, in England’s Northumberland County — 16,000 Roman coins were recovered. I cannot but wonder how many of the people who contributed to that cache felt lucky after their tosses. Or believed that their wishes had been granted.
In early 2017, folks began to notice that Piggy Bank was having difficulty swimming. National Public Radio reported that her shell had cracked. That couldn’t be good. Rescuers got her to a team of veterinarians. During seven hours of surgery, 915 coins, foreign and domestic, were removed from the swimmer’s stomach. Piggy Bank’s condition and recovery were chronicled on social media. Shortly after the operation, the patient was said to be stronger, brighter, happier.
But a few days later, Piggy Bank took a turn for the worse. One report cited a “gaping space” where the coins had been. The total weight of these coins was 11 pounds. As for the space they filled, imagine a roll of quarters containing 40 coins — it’s about an inch in diameter and about 2 3/4 inches long. Now, imagine 22 rolls and visualize the space required by such a collection. Piggy Bank’s intestines got tangled up in the void created by the removal of this small fortune. The result was an infection. The infection was made worse by the toxicity from the old coins. Piggy Bank became depressed and irritable, a bad sign. She was obviously in a great deal of pain and distress. Rushed to intensive care on 19 March 2017, she slipped into a coma and died.
Something about this story resonates in my soul. Or perhaps in my psyche. OK, in my brain, then. The symbolism, the pure metaphor of it all, simply cannot be overstated. Forget about The Lobster, the 2015 dystopian movie in which humans who cannot find mates are turned into the animals of their choosing. We are the green sea turtles. The green sea turtles are us. I am Piggy Bank!
In fairy tales, mythology, and dreams, money often symbolizes energy, power, prestige. How odd it is that, even in small doses, we humans regularly deploy it in such a way that it does us no good. And does others harm.
I frequently pass by a multi-tiered fountain at one of the landmarks in my city. It’s always cluttered with pennies, along with a few nickels, dimes, and quarters. This fountain probably attracts as many visitors as Coventina did in its heyday. Each time I’m there, it occurs to me that I ought to reread the littering statute. I’m fairly certain that there’s no exception for money thrown into public waters.
Tongue in cheek, I brought that up one day in conversation with a person of authority at this establishment. Her response included a smile and an eye-roll. I dare not repeat her full reply. Suffice it to say that it is someone’s job to clean out that money regularly.
Oh, well. At least there are no turtles in this fountain.
Victor Fleming, a member of the Rotary Club of Little Rock, Arkansas, is a District Court judge and, since 2006, the author of this magazine’s crossword puzzle.
• This story originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Small Change 2019-10-10 08:00:00Z 0

Four Questions About Our Strategy to End Polio

with John Sever
International PolioPlus Committee Vice Chair
Why do we need a new strategy?
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s (GPEI’s) previous strategic plan was from 2013 to 2018. We achieved many important things: Wild poliovirus type 2 was declared eradicated in 2015; wild poliovirus type 3 was last seen in 2012, giving us high confidence that it’s no longer circulating; no wild poliovirus has been detected outside Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2016. But the clear factor in creating the new Polio Endgame Strategy 2019-2023 is that we have not yet achieved complete eradication.
The new plan has three goals. The first goal is eradication. Second, integration — collaboration with other public health actors beyond the GPEI to strengthen health systems to help achieve and sustain eradication. Then, certification and containment — we have to prove through surveillance that we have interrupted the transmission of the poliovirus, and we have to be able to show that the virus in laboratories either has been destroyed or is appropriately contained.
The GPEI’s five-year budget to execute this is $4.2 billion. Why does it cost so much?
Every year, we have to vaccinate more than 450 million children in up to 50 countries to prevent the spread of polio from the endemic areas. In addition to the children in Pakistan and Afghanistan, we are immunizing children all over Africa and Asia. So we have to have a lot of people out there to help immunize, and that costs money. We have to have the vaccine, and that costs money. And we have to maintain and pay for sizable quantities of vaccine in case of an outbreak, and that costs money. Then we have to investigate about 100,000 cases of paralysis each year to rule out polio. We have to continue surveillance — looking for cases of polio to be sure we are not missing cases in certain areas. We need to test sewage samples in 34 countries to ensure that the poliovirus is not circulating undetected. And all of those things cost money. It’s a significant expense every year to maintain that level of performance.
What strategies are in this plan?
One key element is establishing a regional hub for Afghanistan and Pakistan to consolidate our efforts and increase technical support. We’re also focusing on mobile and hard-to-reach children — children who are crossing borders, riding on trains, and coming out of areas where our access has been restricted. We are developing rapid-response teams and surge capacity so if the virus is detected, our response can be swift and intense. We’re working with other actors such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to help strengthen immunization systems. And we’re delivering additional services such as clean water, nutrition, health, and sanitation, because often the local people say we’re always coming back to immunize against polio, but what about their other problems?
What can Rotarians do to ensure that the plan is successful?
The No. 1 thing is to continue to support the program. We have a $3.27 billion funding gap. We will need Rotarians to make direct donations as well as to advocate with their governments and other groups for their support so that we can continue to do all of the immunizations and surveillance we’ve been talking about. Rotarians in countries where active polio eradication efforts are underway need to continue helping with these efforts and immunizing children. They need to keep advocating with their governments to continue to support polio eradication.
• Illustration by Viktor Miller Gausa
• This story originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Four Questions About Our Strategy to End Polio 2019-10-10 08:00:00Z 0
2019 Rotary Health Fair November 2, 2019 2019-10-02 08:00:00Z 0

Project Fair Forges Strong Friendships

In 2004, a few years after Vasanth Prabhu joined the Rotary Club of Central Chester County (Lionville) in Pennsylvania, a flyer caught his attention. It was for a Rotary project fair, the first to be held in Quito, the capital of Ecuador.

The long-term collaboration between clubs began in Quito, Ecuador.

Image credit: F11photo

At the time, Prabhu was in charge of international projects for the club. So far, it had participated in two projects in India, where he had grown up, but the club wanted to expand its work to other countries. Prabhu had never been to Ecuador, or to a project fair. But the event intrigued him. There he could meet Rotarians who belonged to 40 clubs in Ecuador, some of them in remote parts of that country. At the fair, they would lay out their projects in a buffet of ideas to make communities across Ecuador better off with Rotary Foundation grants and help from international partners.

But something else stirred in Prabhu when he saw the flyer. As an avid reader of National Geographic as a teen, he had seen pictures of Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands and read about Charles Darwin’s historic visit there. Ever since, Prabhu had dreamed of seeing them. One of the post-fair trips organized for visiting Rotarians was to the Galápagos. Now he had a chance to realize his dream.
Galo Alfonso Betancourt Criollo (from left), Vasanth Prabhu, Juan Prinz, and Rene Romero Solano discuss plans at a project fair in Ecuador.
Courtesy of Vasanth Prabhu
In a conference room at the Hilton in Quito, as Prabhu strolled among the booths and looked over the projects, he met Juan Prinz, a member of the Rotary Club of Quito. Prabhu, who doesn’t speak Spanish, was happy to find Prinz, who speaks Spanish as well as English and German. “He offered to translate for me, and we talked about different clubs and their projects,” Prabhu says. “After that, we became really good friends.”
Prinz, who had been born in Argentina, first became aware of Rotary while working for a German company in Singapore in 1974. Later the company relocated him to Venezuela and finally, in 1983, to Ecuador, where he has lived and been a Rotarian ever since.
“One thing that interested me about Vasanth was that he wanted to make connections to clubs in the smaller cities that were not assisted by international partners, like the Rotary clubs of Morona-Macas and Puyo, which are in the Amazon River basin region of Ecuador,” Prinz says.
Prabhu explains: “Being in charge of the international projects, I realized that clubs in small towns don’t get much help with projects in their areas because they don’t know many people and they don’t have enough money. So our club decided we did not want to partner with big clubs, but instead with small clubs.”
Projects the Central Chester County club has collaborated on include buying a school bus.
Courtesy of Vasanth Prabhu
As Prabhu looked over the projects, his curiosity was sparked by a booth with information about a high school in Macas, on the edge of the Amazon rainforest, that didn’t have a computer lab. This led to a project partnership for the Central Chester County club. In a later visit, the partnering clubs also supplied computer equipment for a school in Bahia de Caraquez, on the coast.
In 2005, Prabhu was back, and he and Prinz traveled around the country. “He took me everywhere in Ecuador,” Prabhu says. “I have circled Ecuador maybe 10 times. Each time I go there, I visit different project sites and the Rotarians there.” They went to the city of Puyo, where two schools and a community center needed computers and other equipment, which the Central Chester County club helped provide. The club also helped pay for heart surgery for children in Quito.
The years went on, and so did the club’s work in different parts of Ecuador. One year, the Central Chester County club partnered with the Morona-Macas club to equip a mobile medical van to travel through rural areas, treating general medical problems out of one side and dental problems out of the other. The van has seen tens of thousands of patients since 2008.
Projects the Central Chester County club has collaborated on include providing eye exams.
Courtesy of Vasanth Prabhu
Another time, the club partnered with the Puyo club to purchase a bus to transport children with disabilities to school. The Rotarians also supplied a virtual medical library to medical students, dialysis machines for people with kidney failure, and biodigesters to purify wastewater. So far the Central Chester County club has partnered on 16 grant-supported projects in Ecuador and has plans for more.
The Ecuador Project Fair now is in its 16th year. Since 2004 the number of Foundation grants in Ecuador has increased, and so has the number of clubs participating in grant-supported projects, creating links with clubs abroad like the Rotary Club of Central Chester County. Prabhu has come back to all but one of those project fairs, though a few things have changed since he and Prinz first met. Project fairs have become more popular globally. Some, like those in West Africa and Central America, have become well established, while others, like the one in East Africa, are in their early stages. The fairs have helped to increase the flow of funds (and the success of projects) around the world, but some of the benefits can’t be measured in dollars.
“The successes we had in Ecuador opened up our hearts to go to other countries,” says Prabhu. “As we moved along, we became more understanding and tolerant of other cultural norms. We became better citizens of the world.”
To date, the Central Chester County club has done more than 120 projects in more than a dozen countries. But the most important benefit may be the hardest to quantify. “We developed a very good friendship,” says Prinz of Prabhu. “That’s why I think the project fair is so important. One of the main points of its success is the personal understanding between Rotarians. At the project fair, the contacts that our international partners get usually turn into friendships.”
• This story originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Project Fair Forges Strong Friendships 2019-10-02 08:00:00Z 0

Ben Walter's Park Playground is Going UP!

The City with the help of Dutch Boy is installing the playset our club purchased.  The monies came from the proceeds of the Cranium Cup held in 2018, as well as a matching grant from the District and a donation from McDonald's
Some Newer Pictures from Milli!  Nice!
Ben Walter's Park Playground is Going UP! 2019-09-26 08:00:00Z 0

The Plus in PolioPlus

We’re doing so much more than eradicating polio
                            By Vanessa Glavinskas                        Photography by Andrew Esiebo
Musa Muhammed Ali, a farmer in Borno state, Nigeria, has had to deal with the many ways polio has affected his life. For instance, he used to have to pay for transportation when he needed to buy feed for his animals. But after receiving a hand-operated tricycle funded through Rotary’s PolioPlus grants, Ali (pictured above) can now spend that money on other necessities. His life was changed by the “plus” in PolioPlus.
When we talk about PolioPlus, we know we are eradicating polio, but do we realize how many added benefits the program brings? The “plus” is something else that is provided as a part of the polio eradication campaign. It might be a hand-operated tricycle or access to water. It might be additional medical treatment, bed nets, or soap. A 2010 study estimates that vitamin A drops given to children at the same time as the polio vaccine have prevented 1.25 million deaths by decreasing susceptibility to infectious diseases.
In these pages, we take you to Nigeria, which could soon be declared free of wild poliovirus, to show you some of the many ways the polio eradication campaign is improving lives.

Preventing disease

Polio vaccination campaigns are difficult to carry out in northern Nigeria, where the Boko Haram insurgency has displaced millions of people, leading to malnutrition and spikes in disease. When security allows, health workers diligently work to bring the polio vaccine and other health services to every child, including going tent to tent in camps for displaced people. The health workers pictured here are in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno, where the insurgency began 10 years ago.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), of which Rotary is a spearheading partner, funds 91 percent of all immunization staff in the World Health Organization’s Africa region. These staff members are key figures in the fight against polio — and other diseases: 85 percent give half their time to immunization, surveillance, and outbreak response for other initiatives. For example, health workers in Borno use the polio surveillance system, which detects new cases of polio and determines where and how they originated, to find people with symptoms of yellow fever. During a 2018 yellow fever outbreak, this was one of many strategies that resulted in the vaccination of 8 million people. And during an outbreak of Ebola in Nigeria in 2014, health workers prevented that disease from spreading beyond 19 reported cases by using methods developed for the polio eradication campaign to find anyone who might have come in contact with an infected person.
Children protected from polio still face other illnesses, and in Borno, malaria kills more people than all other diseases combined. Worldwide, a child dies of malaria every two minutes. To prevent its spread, insecticide-treated bed nets — such as the one Hurera Idris is pictured installing in her home — are often distributed for free during polio immunization events. In 2017, the World Health Organization, one of Rotary’s partners in the GPEI, organized a campaign to deliver antimalarial medicines to children in Borno using polio eradication staff and infrastructure. It was the first time that antimalarial medicines were delivered on a large scale alongside the polio vaccine, and the effort reached 1.2 million children.
Rotary and its partners also distribute soap and organize health camps to treat other conditions. “The pluses vary from one area to another. Depending on the environment and what is seen as a need, we try to bridge the gap,” says Tunji Funsho, chair of Rotary’s Nigeria PolioPlus Committee. “Part of the reason you get rejections when you immunize children is that we’ve been doing this for so long. In our part of the world, people look at things that are free and persistent with suspicion. When they know something else is coming, reluctant families will bring their children out to have them immunized.”
Rotarians’ contributions to PolioPlus help fund planning by technical experts, large-scale communication efforts to make people aware of the benefits of vaccinations, and support for volunteers who go door to door.
Volunteer community mobilizers are a critical part of vaccination campaigns in Nigeria’s hardest-to-reach communities. The volunteers are selected and trained by UNICEF, one of Rotary’s partners in the GPEI, and then deployed in the community or displaced persons camp where they live. They take advantage of the time they spend connecting with community members about polio to talk about other strategies to improve their families’ health. Fatima Umar, the volunteer pictured here, is educating Hadiza Zanna about health topics such as hygiene and maternal health, in addition to why polio vaccination is so important.
Nigerian Rotarians have been at the forefront of raising support for Rotary’s polio efforts. For example, Sir Emeka Offor, a member of the Rotary Club of Abuja Ministers Hill, and his foundation collaborated with Rotary and UNICEF to produce an audiobook called Yes to Health, No to Polio that health workers use.

Providing clean water

Addressing a critical long-term need such as access to clean water helps build relationships and trust with community members. Within camps for displaced people, vaccinators are sometimes met with frustration. “People say, ‘We don’t have water, and you’re giving us polio drops,’” Tunji Funsho explains. Rotary and its partners responded by funding 31 solar-powered boreholes to provide clean water in northern Nigeria, and the effort is ongoing. At left, women and children collect water from a borehole in the Madinatu settlement, where about 5,000 displaced people live.
Supplying clean water to vulnerable communities is a priority of the PolioPlus program not only in Nigeria, but also in Afghanistan and Pakistan — the only other remaining polio-endemic nations, or countries where transmission of the virus has never been interrupted. “Giving water is noble work also,” says Aziz Memon, chair of Rotary’s Pakistan PolioPlus Committee.
Access to safe drinking water is also an important aspect of the GPEI’s endgame strategy, which encourages efforts that “ensure populations reached for polio campaigns are also able to access much-needed basic services, such as clean water, sanitation, and nutrition.” The poliovirus spreads through human waste, so making sure people aren’t drinking or bathing in contaminated water is critical to eradicating the disease. Bunmi Lagunju, the PolioPlus project coordinator in Nigeria, says that installing the boreholes has also helped prevent the spread of cholera and other diseases in the displaced persons camps.
Communities with a reliable source of clean water enjoy a reduced rate of disease and a better quality of life. “When we came [to the camp], there was no borehole. We had to go to the nearby block factory to get water, and this was difficult because the factory only gave us limited amounts of water,” says Jumai Alhassan (pictured at bottom left bathing her baby). “We are thankful for people who provided us with the water.”

Creating jobs

Polio left Isiaku Musa Maaji disabled, with few ways to make a living. At age 24, he learned to build hand-operated tricycles designed to provide mobility for disabled adults and children, and later started his own business assembling them. His first break came, he says, when a local government placed a trial order. It was impressed with his product, and the orders continued. Rotary’s Nigeria PolioPlus Committee recently ordered 150 tricycles from Maaji to distribute to polio survivors and others with mobility problems. The relationship he has built with local Rotarians has motivated him to take part in door-to-door polio vaccination campaigns.
“It is not easy to be physically challenged,” he says. “I go out to educate other people on the importance of polio vaccine because I don’t want any other person to fall victim to polio.”
Aliyu Issah feels lucky; he’s able to support himself running a small convenience store. He knows other polio survivors who have attended skills training programs but lack the money to start a business and are forced to beg on the street. However, the GPEI provides a job that’s uniquely suited to polio survivors: educating others about the effects of the disease.
“Some of my friends who used to be street beggars now run their own small business with money they earn from working on the door-to-door immunization campaign,” Issah says.

Improving health care

In Maiduguri, Falmata Mustapha rides a hand-operated tricycle donated to her by Rotary’s Nigeria PolioPlus Committee. She is joined by several health workers for a door-to-door immunization campaign, bringing polio drops to areas without basic health care. UNICEF data show that polio survivors like Mustapha have a remarkable success rate persuading reluctant parents to vaccinate their children — on average, survivors convince seven of every 10 parents they talk to. In places where misinformation and rumors have left people hesitant to vaccinate, the survivors’ role in the final phase of the eradication effort is critical.
“Since working with the team, I have seen an increase in immunization compliance in the community,” Mustapha says. “I am well-regarded in the community because of my work, and I am happy about this.”
Eighteen million people around the world who would have died or been paralyzed are alive and walking because of the polio eradication campaign. Health workers and volunteers supported by PolioPlus grants have built an infrastructure for delivering health care and collecting data that, in many parts of the world, didn’t exist before. It’s already being used to improve overall health care and to fight other diseases, proving that the legacy of PolioPlus is more than eradicating a deadly disease from the planet — it’s also building a stronger health system that provides better access to lifesaving interventions for the world’s most vulnerable children.

• This story originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
The Plus in PolioPlus 2019-09-26 08:00:00Z 0

Guatemala Literacy Project

From: "Jim Hunt PDG—Guatemala Literacy Project" <>
Date: September 11, 2019 at 7:00:12 AM AKDT
To: "Donald Keller" <>
Subject: Many hands needed to fight against poverty in Guatemala
We need Rotarians to join service trips to Guatemala. 
Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP)
Dear Donald,
My name is Jim Hunt and I am a past District Governor and member of the Rotary Club of Ohio Pathways (D-6600). Joe Berninger, founder of the Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP), and I are organizing Rotary service trips to Guatemala and we are looking for interested Rotarians.                                                 
The GLP is the largest grassroots, multi-club, multi-district effort in the Rotary world not directed by RI itself and—according to former RI President Ian Riseley—the “gold standard” of Rotary projects. Over 600 Rotary clubs from 8 countries have participated in the GLP since its inception in 1996. GLP Textbook, Computer, Teacher Training, and Youth Development programs currently serve more than 50,000 impoverished children.
And we need Rotarians to join the following service trips to Guatemala:
  • Feb 1-9, 2020
  • Feb 18-23, 2020
  • July 12-18, 2020
  • July 21-26, 2020
These trips offer a variety of experiences: some are longer or shorter; some more hands-on; yet all give you the opportunity to serve as a meaningful part of Rotary’s work fighting poverty in Guatemala. Please visit the project’s website for more details.
Could you also share this opportunity with members of your club?
If you have any questions, you can email Joe at
Yours in Rotary Service,
Jim Hunt, PDG 
Rotary Club of Ohio Pathways (D-6600)
Joe Berninger
Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP) 
Rotary Club of Ohio Pathways (D-6600)
P.S. Check out this heartwarming blog post about other Rotarians in action!
Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP)  
Rotary eClub of Ohio Pathways
2300 Montana Avenue, Suite 301
Cincinnati, OH 45211
(513) 661-7000
Guatemala Literacy Project 2019-09-18 08:00:00Z 0

Cub Innovation:  Tokyo Rise

Rotary Club of Tokyo Hiroo, Japan
Tokyo Hiroo members Nikolaus Boltze (from left), Ai Ito, Yoko Hattori, and Alain Wacziarg at Zōjō-ji, a historic Buddhist temple in Tokyo.
Image credit: Irwin Wong
Even by the standards of Tokyo, one of the world’s great culinary cities, the spread on Yoko Hattori’s dining room table is impressive. On this evening in May, the 2018-19 governor of District 2750 has prepared rolls of maki sushi, filled with fresh crab and cucumber, and golden brown pockets of inari tofu rice. There are deep red slices of seared katsuo tuna and a plate of melt-in-your-mouth braised pork belly, or kakuni, simmered for hours in soy sauce, sake, and ginger.
There are non-Japanese delicacies too: The dinner, after all, is for members of Hattori’s Rotary Club of Tokyo Hiroo, who hail from six countries on four continents. Alain Wacziarg, a Parisian who has lived in Tokyo for 45 years, has brought a loaf of pain de campagne and authentic Camembert. There’s even guacamole. “Hattori-san made it,” says Pablo Puga, the club’s lone Mexican, using the Japanese honorific title for his hostess.
If this dinner feels more festive than a typical Rotary gathering, there’s good reason. Several times a year, the club breaks from its regular Thursday lunchtime schedule and holds a less formal evening meeting at a member’s home. This also happens to be the first time the club has met in Japan’s new imperial era: On 1 May, the 59-year-old Naruhito succeeded his father, Akihito, to become Japan’s 126th emperor, marking the end of the 30-year Heisei era and beginning the era of Reiwa, or “beautiful harmony.” The transition came with an unprecedented 10-day national holiday.
Tokyo Hiroo, Japan’s only bilingual club, prides itself on being different. While most Rotarians in Japan are older men, the youngest of this club’s 30 members is 33, and about half of them are women. Meetings are conducted in Japanese and English, and most members can speak both.
Chartered in 2001, the Rotary Club of Tokyo Hiroo was the result of a push by Wacziarg and other expatriate Rotarians to start an English-speaking club in the Japanese capital. It was named after Tokyo’s Hiroo district, an upmarket neighborhood of condominiums, boutiques, and embassies where many of its members resided.
Today, the club meets in nearby Roppongi, a neighborhood that’s home to multinational corporations, luxury retailers, and some of Tokyo’s most famous nightlife. Its regular meeting venue, the Roppongi Hills Club, is on the 51st floor of a Tokyo landmark: the 54-story Mori Tower, which boasts a rooftop observation deck that offers a 360-degree view of the world’s largest metropolitan area. On a clear day, you can even see the distant peak of Japan’s tallest mountain, Fuji.
Japan's only bilingual club prides itself on being different.
Because of its international connections, Tokyo Hiroo is particularly well positioned for global service. For more than a decade, the club has led a project in Kenya that began when Dennis Awori, Kenya’s former ambassador to Japan, was a member of the Hiroo club. Since then, working with the Rotary Club of Nairobi-East, where Awori is now a member, and several other Japanese clubs, Tokyo Hiroo has supported the construction of more than 30 wells across Kenya. The wells are drilled using a 19th-century Japanese technique known as kazusa-bori that a small group of people can carry out using locally available materials. “These wells are perfect for rural areas, because they don’t require electricity,” says Michiko Mitarai, who traveled to Kenya with a group of Tokyo Hiroo members in 2013. The project has received two Rotary Foundation grants.
The club also supports causes closer to home. It sponsors an Interact club at the Canadian International School Tokyo and every few years hosts a foreign university student through a Rotary Yoneyama Memorial Foundation scholarship (Umekichi Yoneyama was the man who brought Rotary to Japan in 1920). Because club members are fluent in English, they’re important assets for District 2750, which includes non-Japanese-speaking clubs from the Pacific states of Palau and Micronesia and the U.S. territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Members host students selected by clubs there to visit Japan on exchanges.
Nikolaus Boltze, the 2019-20 club president, is a German who has lived in Japan for two decades; he says Tokyo Hiroo’s greatest strength is the diversity of its members. In a way, this is also its greatest challenge: Many foreign members come to Tokyo on temporary assignments, he says, which means turnover is high. But despite the challenges, the club is growing: According to Boltze, membership has increased by 50 percent in recent years and remains steady as the club looks forward to a busy year. Next July and August, during the 2020 Olympics, the club plans to host meetings and events to welcome foreign Rotarians who come to Japan for the games. At the end of that year, it will celebrate its 20th anniversary.
On this particular evening, though, discussions of all that can wait. As the wine continues to flow and a cheesecake makes the rounds, business has largely given way to socializing, which continues late into the Tokyo night.
• This story originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Cub Innovation:  Tokyo Rise 2019-09-17 08:00:00Z 0

Turtle Power

Hawaii’s green sea turtles, also known as honu, are a symbol of good luck, wisdom, and longevity. In Hawaiian legends, honu figure as messengers, protectors, and guides. The turtles, which appear in ancient petroglyphs as well as in modern iconography throughout the Hawaiian Islands, are also the inspiration for the official logo of the Rotary International Convention in Honolulu, taking place from 6 to 10 June.
Image credit:
In Hawaii, snorkelers often encounter these graceful giants — adult turtles often weigh more than 300 pounds — as they use their long, winglike front legs to propel themselves through the water. The best places to see green sea turtles include Hanauma Bay, just a half-hour by car from Honolulu, and Laniakea Beach, on Oahu’s north shore.
At Hanauma Bay, you might see the turtles swimming in the shallow water near the reefs. At Laniakea Beach, the turtles come up onto the beach to sun themselves. Be sure to give them their space; for the protection of this endangered species, it is illegal to touch or disturb them. But seeing green sea turtles sunning themselves or swimming offshore is an unforgettable experience for visitors to Hawaii.
• Don’t miss the 2020 Rotary Convention in Honolulu. Register at by 15 December to save.
• This story originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Turtle Power 2019-09-17 08:00:00Z 0

Four Questions About Family-Friendly Service Projects



with Steven Boe

President-elect, Rotary Club of Silverdale, Washington

1. Making Rotary family-friendly is one of Rotary President Mark Daniel Maloney’s priorities this year. What has been your club’s approach?

Several of our members have young kids, including me — I have a five-year-old and a seven-year-old — and many have grandkids. Our annual fundraiser is the Silverdale Rotary Duck Race, where we drop 18,000 rubber ducks into the bay and they race to the finish line. Through sponsorships and ticket sales, we raise $70,000 and upward a year. Several Rotarians bring their kids to help tag the ducks ahead of time, sell tickets, or do cleanup afterward. That prompted us to start coming up with ideas for projects that were specifically designed for kids and parents to work on together. That’s how our project for families got started.

2. What’s the project all about?

The project allows parents to lead by example and build the next generation of Rotarians. People often say they want to get involved in volunteering, but they don’t know what to do or where to start. Our website ( offers a list of kid-friendly ideas — everything from walking dogs at the animal shelter to stuffing bags of supplies for homeless teens. Families can do those things together. Our club has always been open to kids at events, but our project helps the family members feel like they’re part of Rotary, rather than guests. Now we’re working with organizations in our community to have a day of volunteering designed for parents and kids.

3. Did your kids inspire this project?

They have been the inspiration since the beginning. Last June, I created a comic book for our duck race — a small coloring book that kids could color while they were at the event. The characters were based on my kids. I realized a lot of kids might want to help others, but they don’t exactly know how. We have to teach them. That was the big moment. Now we’re in the middle of creating an animated commercial to help promote our project. My kids love Rotary. They like coming to the Rotary events and they steal all of my Rotary pins! One of the reasons I joined Rotary was to set an example of service for my kids. My five-year-old daughter was asking me about some homeless people she had seen. When I explained that they had nowhere to live, she said, “We should do something.” I told her that’s why I joined Rotary. I reminded her of the time she helped stuff bags of supplies for homeless teens at one of our meetings. She had a very big smile on her face when she realized that she had already been helping them. And that put a big smile on mine.

4. How are you connecting with parents, especially those who aren’t members of Rotary?

Rotary connects to the community, and we want the community to connect with us as well. For those who aren’t already committed to Rotary, it might seem difficult to come to a Rotary meeting — especially for parents, both in terms of money and time. But maybe they can come on a weekend to volunteer on a project, or we can call them when there’s an event. The next step is getting them into a pattern of service, not just the one-time thing. And that’s where Rotary comes in. The next time they see that park, that cleanup project, those people who were helped, that holiday event, or whatever it is, Rotary will be on their radar.


• Illustration by Viktor Miller Gausa

• This story originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.

Four Questions About Family-Friendly Service Projects 2019-09-11 08:00:00Z 0

Our International Committee in Action

Our Club's International Committee decided to contribute funds, $500, to assist with this Rotary Dental clinic in South Africa.  Attached is information about the Clinic.  Our connection with the RC of Knysna is that Clyde and I took a Rotary organized and led tour of South Africa a few years ago and we stayed in contact with the Rotarians from the Knysna Club who were the tour guides/leaders. 


I'll be working on the transfer of payment details within the next few days.

I thought it would be good to keep club members informed of another good project we are helping to fund.


Our International Committee in Action 2019-09-11 08:00:00Z 0

Coral Reef Revival

Image credit: Rotaract club of University of Moratuwa
The beautiful coral reefs along Sri Lanka’s coastlines have long attracted tourists. But the coral reefs, once filled with brilliantly colored fish and other species, have been dying. Coral bleaching due to warmer ocean temperatures, along with excessive fishing, sand mining, and polluted waters, has heavily damaged these living systems.
The Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa recently completed a three-year project to replenish the corals. Project Zooxanthellae — named for the type of algae that lives on the surface of corals and nourishes them — involved Sri Lankan Navy divers placing 10 steel-framed structures underwater several hundred yards from shore. The divers then attached about 60 finger-size branches of live coral to each of the six-sided, 5-foot-high frames, which look like industrial jungle gyms. The coral polyps secrete the protective exoskeletal material that forms a reef. In four to five years, new reefs will have formed around the frames. The frames will eventually rust away, leaving a healthy reef.
“We wanted to do something to save the coral and help tourism,” says Rotaractor Paveen Perera. “This project will help people in those coastal areas who earn a living through the tourism industry.”
The project came about in 2016 after Sahan Jayawardana, the club’s environment director at the time, heard a lecture on coral reefs by Nalin Rathnayake, an oceanography expert from the Department of Earth Resources Engineering at the University of Moratuwa. A similar reef seeding project had been done successfully in the Maldives.
The location of the future reef was determined by the National Aquatic Resources Research & Development Agency, which conducted a survey looking for optimal growing conditions. The structures were designed and made by Siam City Cement (Lanka) Ltd., in collaboration with Rathnayake.
The coral pieces came from a nearby site, and it took about a year to get permission to harvest them, explains club member Natasha Kularatne, who helped oversee the project. Over the course of a week, the structures were placed in the waters off Jungle Beach, Rumassala, a major tourist area, and the corals were attached.
So far, the project has been successful, and this year the club was recognized with a Rotaract Outstanding Project Award for the South Asia region. “The Navy went on a dive and took photos, and it shows growth,” says Perera. “They are doing well.”
This story originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Coral Reef Revival 2019-09-11 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary Disaster Relief

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You can help with a gift to our Disaster Response Fund

Disasters can devastate a community, leaving people in urgent need of medical care, housing, and other services. Following a natural disaster like Hurricane Dorian, your contribution ensures that we can deliver supplies, provide health care, and support rebuilding efforts. By making a donation today, you can help Rotarians respond swiftly and effectively, bringing hope to those whose lives have been affected by disaster.

Your gift will be combined with that of other Rotarians to provide disaster recovery and support rebuilding efforts where the need is greatest so that, together, we can continue Doing Good in the World.

The Rotary Foundation
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Rotary Disaster Relief 2019-09-05 08:00:00Z 0

20th Annual BBQ

Hello all attendees of the 20th annual Labor Day (weekend) BBQ at the Gordon’s in Halibut Cove! Can you believe this is the 20th BBQ they have sponsored!

FYI there were 25 from the Homer side of the Bay who attended and 9 who decided not to attend. No doubt the weather forecast played a part in the lower count! Fortunately the NOAA forecast did not hold true!

I hope everyone had an enjoyable time, I certainly did!! If I Did not get around to talking with you it was not intentional 😀, seemed like the afternoon flew by. Every time I attend one of our functions I learn something new about the Homer Rotary history (both clubs) and at other levels as well, i.e. Speaking with Carolyn Jones, former District Governor and former Rotary International Trustee!

A HUGE Thank You to Mike, Shelli, and everyone else who helped us get there and made it such a pleasant and enjoyable gathering.

Thank you

~Yours in Rotary~

Don Keller

Boarding the AR in Homer

Ready to Go!

Got a Bit Bouncy Going Over!

Halibut Cove

Halibut Cove

Halibut Cove

We're There!

Now, a Little Climb


To Fantastic Views

Looking Back at More Up!


And Berries!

Made It!  And It is Really Worth the Climb!

Fantastic Food!  Gardens Raided, Cookbooks Perused, Skills Dusted Off!  Wow!

How About This View of Halibut Cove From the Deck!


Places to Explore

Beautiful Scentery



Berries to Chase (Pic)!

Lots of Friends, Old and New, to Visit With (Unfortunately No Pictures Submitted).



Unfortunately Even the Best of Days Must Come to an End

The Cove Says Goodbye


The AR Coming to Pick Us Up

And Homer We Go

On the Way a Humpback Whale Visits Us

And a Good Time Was Had by All!

20th Annual BBQ 2019-09-03 08:00:00Z 0

School Supplies Still Needed for Backpacks

Per my announcement at yesterday's meeting, the Community Service Committee did donate $200.00 towards the back to school supplies, however, Delta Kappa Gamma spent over $600.00 and have run out of key needs.   They need the following: 

colored pencils

big glue sticks 

#2 pencils

wide lined notebook paper (be sure it is 3 hole punched) 

composition books

wide rule spiral notebooks

lead for mechanical pencils

If you are able to get any of these, please bring them to the meeting on Thursday and I will deliver them to the ladies who manage the program.

Thanks so much for your help.

Milli Martin

Community Service Committee

School Supplies Still Needed for Backpacks 2019-09-03 08:00:00Z 0

September District Governor's Letter

DG Andre's Message - September 2019

As the Labor Day weekend comes to a close, I reflect on the first two months into this Rotary year.   Two issues immediately come to mind:  Economic uncertainty for our state and the many summer wildfires that continue to impact so many communities in Alaska.  With recent budget vetos, Alaskans have faced uncertainty for much of the summer and are now adapting to a new economic reality as we look to the future of Alaska.  And while this summer was one of the warmest on record, many Alaskans were (and continue to be) impacted by smoke, water emergencies, changed travel plans and worries about their property.

With Hurricane Dorian devastating the Bahamas in the past 24 hours and threatening parts of the east coast, my thoughts are with the many citizens who have lost loved ones and property, but are now safe from this historic storm. Look for an e-mail from Rotary with details. Whether you want to help Past RI President Barry's home country or donate to one of the southern states that are awaiting the storm, there are a number of ways Rotarians can donate to the Hurricane Dorian relief fund. 

A hallmark of Rotary is providing service to community, helping others less fortunate and implementing projects that improve the quality of life for our communities.  There is no shortage of future opportunities for Rotary clubs in Alaska to step up and make a local impact to help seniors, the homeless, youth servicing organizations and community organizations at their greatest time of need.  How we as Rotarians and Rotary clubs respond will speak volumes about what we care about and who we are as Rotarians.

Since July, my Rotary journey has taken me to Ketchikan, Eagle River, Anchorage, Kodiak, Kenai, Soldotna and most recently Nome.  These club visits have allowed me to meet dedicated Rotarians (#PeopleOfAction) both young and old, who embody Rotary’s enduring values.  I've had opportunity to see current and past club projects and participate in lively and fun club meetings, fundraisers, parades and social events.  I even got to throw out opening pitches at a Glacier Pilot game and Alaska Goldpanners game.

As part of my club visits, I have been sharing my Rotary story, the Rotary vision of RI and goals established by 2019-2020 President Mark Maloney.  I’m also sharing details of several D5010 initiatives and projects for our district that are intended to strengthen clubs so they can be more effective in achieving their goals.

Congratulations Keith Green, President of the Rotary Club of Anchorage and Marti Buscaglia and Louise Russell for the newly formed Rotary Satellite Club of Anchorage ECO, Alaska.  If you would like to learn more about the club, their meeting format, please contact (

Our District membership on July 1st, after losing our two Whitehorse clubs, was 1653 members.  On August 31st (at the conclusion of Rotary Membership Month) was 1670, so we are up 17 new members in our first two month.  Congratulations to all our clubs that have increased membership since July 1, 2019.  Our district goal of 5% net gain in membership (82 new members) in 2019-2020 is off to a good start.

As we head into September you’ll begin to hear more about future district efforts to provide Rotary education and training about Rotary and roles of club officers.  I’ve asked our AG’s to talk with club presidents about the education and training needs of their clubs, so we can personalize the training needs by region.  This year we will be offering some regional training assemblies and also some online education sessions as an effort to help Rotarians new and old learn more about Rotary - it’s values, programs and resources.  We will start with offering a training session, hopefully in September, for club Public Image officers, a pre-requisite for taking advantage of the $200 stipends being offered to clubs in support of their club PI efforts.

In August we launched the new D5010 Mobile APP.  All 1600+ district Rotarians can download the APP from the Apple iOS store ( and/or the Google Play store (

Currently five clubs are piloting the club version of this APP, and soon it will be offered to all other clubs in the district for $100 each.  Clubs interested in using the club APP will be asked to provide the name of a member of their club who we will train in how to enter club information into the APP.  

Using the new D5010 mobile APP, there are a couple features for members to use for sharing stories about their club (Open the APP, under Latest News button the feature is called Submit a News Story) Please provide copy ready content and images and submit. Stories that are shared will be put into ClubRunner, and you’ll find these as well in the APP under Latest NEWS or on the D5010 Facebook page (under Social Media button in the APP).

To share ideas (or any other feedback) with D5010 leadership (Open the APP, under Share Ideas button, select Send your Feedback, complete and submit).

Clubs should be planning now to celebrate World Polio Day on Thursday, October 24, 2019. In a separate e-mail you will receive information on how to participate and celebrate this important day.  We encourage clubs to work with local media outlets to promote this important event. I’ll also forward the most recent Polio Plus Institute PowerPoint, which clubs are encouraged to share in early October. I have issued a challenge to all club presidents in D5010 to have 100% of their members donate $25 minimum to Polio Plus in October so we can match the district donation made earlier this year.  This will raise an additional $35,000 towards that match. I have suggested each club include the $25 Polio Plus donation as part of their quarterly or monthly member dues invoice in October. 

Finally, I have received several requests from other Rotary districts about having a Friendship with D5010.  This is a reciprocal Rotary program, funded entirely by the individuals who participate, involving 4-6 couples visiting Alaska for 7-10 days, then 4-6 individuals/couples from D5010 visiting their district the following year. As a host district, housing, meals and sightseeing is provided by Rotary host families.  Travel and personal spending is provided by the guests. If you have interest in helping to organize the planning for a group visit here in 2019-2020 or 2020-2021, please let me or DGE Joe Kashi know.  Generally this involves visiting one community in Alaska, but may also involve attending another community or the D5010 district conference.


Andre’ Layral

District Governor 2019-2020

Cell 907-460-7786

September District Governor's Letter 2019-09-03 08:00:00Z 0

Transportation To Gordon's in Halibut Cove Sunday, September 1


The Halibut Cove BBQ is fast approaching! At this time we have 34 planning to attend! In addition to the AR which is Stillpoint Lodge's boat (23) passengers we have Steve Yoshida and Paul Seaton's boats. we are needing both of  the boats to get everyone over and back. Steve has room for several people more. Paul Seaton has room for 4, his boat is a large 23 foot open set net skiff so if you are traveling with Paul and Tina dress appropriately! Contact Paul at 299-3434 or email at < >.

A reminder to bring a Dish to share ,as well as any beverage that you may want for yourself or to share. Last year those who were on the Stillpoint Lodge boat were encouraged to Tip the staff as we disembarked. The same would be appreciated this year. We are very fortunate to have them donate their time and vessel. Without them we would be looking at the expense of water taxi's which would likely decrease attendance! 

The Stillpoint Lodge's boat will be loading at RAMP 1, planning to leave at 1pm

Our new Exchange Student, Euna, will be attending, it has been brought to my attention that some one on one conversation would be appreciated as she continues to adjust to her new life and our language. She is still adjusting to larger groups.

~Yours In Rotary~

Don Keller 
Transportation To Gordon's in Halibut Cove Sunday, September 1 2019-08-28 08:00:00Z 0

Report From International Committee

This is information from the global grant project to which our Club’s International committee contributed $500.  
Seems to be a great project.  
The report comes from Mary in Ketchikan who coordinated the contributions from Alaskan clubs. 
---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Mary Kowalczyk <>
Date: Tue, Aug 20, 2019 at 11:40 AM
Subject: Fwd: Healing Little Egyptian Hearts - with gracious thanks for GG contributions
To: stuart <>, Vivian Finlay <
Dear All,
Recently I received this the below and attached information, but I haven't had a good opportunity to forward this update to everyone concerning their GG contribution to this 2018-2019 international project.  Please share this with your club members.  It is pretty exciting to see the accomplishments so far.  Also, a big thank you to District for the match with our 4 clubs.
Have a great rest of the summer!

From: "Rob Raylman" <>
To: "Mary Kowalczyk" <>
Cc: "brenda giftoflife" <>
Sent: Wednesday, July 31, 2019 1:36:47 PM
Subject: Healing Little Egyptian Hearts
Hello Mary:
Hoping this finds you well
Our Rotary Global Grant to sponsor the healing of 64 Little Egyptian Hearts has begun….
19 precious children have been operated on by Dr. Hesham Shawkey (a Rotarian) at Cairo University Hospital…we have 45 more children to help under this grant….
Please see attached a pictorial report highlighting the 19 children who have received their Gift of Life!!!
Thank you for being part of our Global Network of 29 organizations and 1 individual who came together with The Rotary Foundation to answer the prayers of Egyptian children and their parents….in Connecting the World  we have Made A Difference in the lives of many!!!!
Rob Raylman
Gift of Life International
(845) 546-2104
Report From International Committee 2019-08-28 08:00:00Z 0

Letter From Vladimir Donskoy

 Dear   Clyde & Vivian, Ted & Gloria
 Dear All

 Let  me  tell you that my student Maria Kupchinskaia  has  safely arrived
 back home after an eventful month of her "Watch & Learn" internship in
 your part of the world.

 She  gave  me  the names  of  the many Rotarians and non-Rotarians
 to   express  her   and   our   heartfelt   gratitude    to   you for
 your  time,   efforts and willingness to share your   culture,  including  business  culture.

 Especially  she  is  grateful  to  Clyde & Vivian who coordinated her
internship   activities  and her first host family;  many thanks go
to Ted and Gloria for the coordination of her visit to  Anchorage
and for taking drastic  measures when she suddenly fell ill.

Maria  warmly  mentioned the names of Sue Clardy, her "angel guardian"
as    she  put  it.

Regrettably, she does not have  the e-mail addresses for
all   who  have  made  her  experience  in  Alaska  most  meaningful,
productive  and enjoyable. Warmest regards   and  a big thank you  to Andrew Peter, Steve and
Noko,   Maynard,   Kathy  Grimes,  Bill  P. Jay, Arthur Sose(Sp.), the
Clynes, and many others.

Unfortunately, I have been  unable to touch base with Maria as she has
acted   as  a caregiver for her dying grandfather and grandmother with
Alzheimer. Hence a delay in communication.

Within a week the reports of all ten interns, including Maria's ,  will be posted on the
 school's site ( for us  to see what has been accomplished
 due   to  the  wonderful  hospitality  of  Rotarians  and  non-Rotarians  in
 Australia, Canada and the U.S.

With  renewed thanks for all  your generous gestures  that are very much appreciated.

Vladimir Donskoy
PDG/Professor Emeritus
Irkutsk State University
1996-2019 Watch & Learn Intern Program

Letter From Vladimir Donskoy 2019-08-28 08:00:00Z 0
A Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea,Volume 2 2019-08-22 08:00:00Z 0

Rotarian Rides Again

On his way from his home in California to the Rotary International Convention in Hamburg, Germany, Edwin Velarde took an unusual detour.
Edwin Velarde is a member of the Rotary Club of Westlake Village, California
Image credit: Samuel Zuder
In an effort to raise awareness of diabetes, Velarde, 57, rode a bicycle for the last leg of his trip, cycling 525 miles from London to Hamburg. After making stops along the way to visit Rotary clubs and talk about the impact of diabetes, he arrived on 31 May after 13 days of riding. He spoke to clubs in the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany.
This was not the first time Velarde, a board member of the Rotarian Action Group for Diabetes, had cycled to a convention. “I thought I could create awareness by riding to conventions,” says Velarde, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 29. He biked from Busan to Seoul, Korea, in 2016, from Chicago to Atlanta in 2017, and from Rotary headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, to Toronto in 2018. This year, the journey had added meaning; Velarde dedicated this ride to his son Davis Edwin Velarde, who died at 22 of lymphoma in April.
Diabetes is a chronic illness that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce insulin (type 1) or when the body cannot effectively use insulin (type 2). When diabetes is not controlled, it can result in severe damage to the eyes, kidneys, and nerves and can double a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke.
The World Health Organization estimates that the number of people with diabetes rose from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.
Several years ago, when Velarde was feeling fatigued and depressed about his illness, a friend gave him a bike. He took it out for a spin.
“That ride woke me up to the fact that I was not fit,” he recalls. “I realized I wanted to become a cyclist, and not just someone who rides a bike.”
Velarde’s goal is to rally support among Rotarians to find a cure for diabetes, and to spread the word that a healthy lifestyle can help people who have type 2 diabetes better control the illness.
“We have what it takes to conquer the diabetes epidemic,” he says. “Imagine the 422 million people we could help.”
• This story originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Rotarian Rides Again AMM 2019-08-20 08:00:00Z 0

Book Smarts

If you want to get serious about reading, time is not your friend. Here are some suggestions for making each book count.
Story by Joe Queenan               Illustrations by Joey Guidone
I have read more than 7,000 books, but not all of them were a good use of my time. I had to learn the hard way that certain habits are wasteful or even destructive. As a young person, I frittered away too much time reading trash, dross, and drivel. Now that I am in the autumn of my years, I almost never read a book that might not in some way elevate me. Life is a zero-sum game: Every bad book you read takes the place of a good book. And no matter what your age, the meter is running.
Sooner or later, most of us reach a point in life where we realize that we are not going to make all of our dreams come true. We are never going to learn French, never going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, never going to buy a stock like Amazon when it’s trading at four bucks a share. We will never have a 29-inch waist, never look good in leather pants, never learn to play the piano. These are the hard facts of life and we simply have to accept them.
But there are certain things we can control. And for those of us to whom reading books is like eating or breathing, there comes a time when we need to run the numbers. I read X number of books a year. I expect to live Y more years. Maybe Z, if I can get that cholesterol under control. So the question is: Do I have enough time to read all the books I want to read (X times Y) before the Big Sayonara? And if not, what adjustments should I make?
Text Messages
Three writers, each a lover of language, explore expedient strategies for reading, the labyrinths of lexicography, and the subtle pleasures of rereading — and re-rereading — a favorite book.
If you want to get serious about reading, time is not your friend. Here are some suggestions for making each book count.
A longtime lexicographer reveals the rebarbative precision by which dictionaries are made and celebrates the unruly evolution of the English language.
Rereading an old favorite at different stages in life is a chance to discover new things in the text and in ourselves.
Here are a few thoughts on the subject:
Beware of recommended books. Books tell us an awful lot about the person recommending them, and sometimes we would be better off not having this information. If you are a thoughtful, well-read person, you will regard a suggestion that you try out Clive Cussler or V.C. Andrews or anything with Special Ops in the title as an insult. If you have read masterpieces such as The Guns of August and A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, you will regard the suggestion that you sample something along the lines of The Day They Shot McKinley or The Plot to Kill Tippecanoe — and Tyler Too! as an affront to your intellect.
Get rid of unwanted gifts quickly. Gimmicky books that fit the template of A Short History of Wheat or Hook, Line, and Sinker: Ways of the Wily Halibut or Why Rutherford B. Hayes Still Matters may have started out as harmless Christmas gifts, but the longer they sit on the shelf, the more they start to resemble taunts, dares, perhaps even smacks in the face. For this reason, you should never be afraid to ditch a book you have no intention of reading. Donate it to the library or a nursing home or leave it on a park bench. Using an unwanted book as insulation in a drafty crawl space is not an unacceptable suggestion.
But do not regift it: If the book is so dull, cute, or slight that you have no intention of reading it, it’s not fair to place that burden on another person’s shoulders. People can tell when a book has been regifted; it has the smell of death about it. And it often has the words The Untold Story in the title.
Don’t climb all the mountains at once. When we start college, finally emancipated from those dreary, politically correct high school reading lists, many of us devour the classics in quick succession. War and Peace. Pride and Prejudice. Crime and Punishment. We are like children who have broken into the larder — and at first glance the larder seems inexhaustible.
The larder is not inexhaustible. Yes, there are plenty of mountains in the world, but there are a finite number of Everests. If you polish off Homer and Jane Austen too early in life, you will wish that you had kept a few titles in reserve for your autumnal years. Hadji Murat isn’t in the same class as Anna Karenina. This Side of Paradise is no Great Gatsby. Troilus and Cressida is a joke compared with Romeo and Juliet. If you use up Middlemarch too quickly, you’re going to be stuck with Daniel Deronda. And Adam Bede. Close, but no cigar.
Avoid inspiring books by the professionally inspirational. A friend of mine once said that he read Tolstoy because he seemed like the kind of guy who could help you solve some of life’s problems. You could say the same thing about Plato, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Jane Austen. You cannot say the same thing about most guys named Guy. If you are looking for inspiration, try Great Expectations. Or the Bible. And if you absolutely must read these sorts of faux-chummy books, try to hold the carnage down. Just as no one really needs more than one Gipsy Kings or Chieftains record, no one really needs to read more than one book by Jimmy Carter or Deepak Chopra. You get the idea pretty quick.
Learn to speed-read. This is an effective technique for quickly disposing of books you have to read for work, books your loved ones gave you, or amateurish, self-published memoirs by close friends. Remember: Mysteries and thrillers do not need to be read word by word. Nor do books about Ironman triathlons.
If you’re going to read trash, read higher-class trash. These days, when I read mysteries, they have to be really good ones, usually set in Scandinavia or Laos or Japan, where the exotic settings alone add value to the reading experience. Mysteries about trailer trash out in the sticks won’t cut it anymore.
Read the article, not the book. An awful lot of nonfiction books start out as mildly interesting newspaper or magazine articles before morphing into something totally out of scale to their actual importance. Search Google for the essay that inspired the book and read that. This is particularly true of books written about “mentoring” or “building team loyalty.” It’s all padding. And it’s all ghostwritten.
Reading is a deeply personal affair. Meaning that no matter how much you may love The Little Prince or Fight Club or Dune, you cannot make other people like it.
Read the first two chapters and skip the rest. Writing is a form of marketing: Authors show off their top-quality merchandise first. In most nonfiction books, everything of interest is jammed into the first two chapters; the rest is filler.
Avoid books written by politicians. For starters, the pols didn’t write them; some industrious hack ghosted them. And on the rare occasions when they did actually write them, you’ll end up wishing some enterprising hack had ghosted them. These books are all the same: America needs to get back to its roots; why, when I was a boy, you didn’t need to lock your doors; yup, that feisty girl I met walking across campus back in 1973 is now my wife; hey, whatever happened to class? The obvious exceptions to this rule are books written by Winston Churchill, Marcus Aurelius, Niccolò Machiavelli, or any of the Founding Fathers. One other thing: Never read a book by someone who lost his last election. Read the book by the person who beat him.
Avoid rock star autobiographies. The template never varies: I was born dirt-poor; I could never measure up to my father’s expectations; I triumphed over seemingly insurmountable adversity; drugs brought me to death’s door; I was saved by the love of a good woman. The lone exception to this rule about avoiding rock star autobiographies is Keith Richards’ Life. Then again, Keith was always the exception.
Avoid anthologies. They always contain Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” or Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown,” and they always make us think we are back in high school.
Recognize that not all reading pleasures can be shared. I have friends who will swear up and down that Frederick Exley’s A Fan’s Notes is the greatest sports book ever written. This, for the record, is like being the tallest office building in Duluth. Which in and of itself doesn’t make the building special.
No, reading is a deeply personal affair. Meaning that no matter how much you may love The Little Prince or Fight Club or Dune, you cannot make other people like it. My son assures me that spending my entire life without reading any science fiction or fantasy is to deliberately deny myself some of life’s greatest pleasures. For 68 years, I have been more than willing to take that risk. As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t read The Chronicles of Narnia.
Seek out tiny classics. If you’re never going to get to The Portrait of a Lady, make do with Washington Square. If you’re never going to get to the daunting, six-volume History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, settle for the abridged version. If you can’t get to Dostoyevsky, settle for Chekhov.
Read three how-to books in your entire life, then call it quits. For my money, you still can’t beat trusty old classics like Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, Charles Goren’s Point Count Bidding in Contract Bridge, and, of course, Caesar’s The Gallic War.
When purchasing used books, check to make sure that no one wrote in them. Nothing wrecks Macbeth more than coming across marginalia like: “Boy, talk about sexist behavior!” or “She is such a head case!” People who write in books are having conversations with themselves. These are conversations you do not want to join.
Avoid self-help books with a number in the title. As in: Seven Steps to Serenity, The First Nine People You Meet in Purgatory, Twelve — No, Make That Thirteen — Steps to a Slimmer You. Books like this are a form of PowerPoint; the authors make lists because they can make lists. These books are built around the premise that success or happiness requires doing more than one thing. Wrong. Success is built around doing one thing. Stop eating Twinkies. Stop smoking. Stop being lazy. Stop being mean to your kids. Stop reading dumb self-help books.
Be careful what you reread. People often say that if you have a wonderful meal at a restaurant, you shouldn’t go back because the second visit will be a disappointment. The same is often true of books. Some books — Kidnapped, Emma, The Sun Also Rises — hold up no matter how many times we read them. Some books are brutal disappointments when we return to them. Siddhartha and The Prophet probably seemed wise and knowing when you were 18. Try them at your peril when you’re 58.
Occasionally, very occasionally, read a bad book. Reading bad books helps you articulate what you like or dislike about a particular author. Moreover, the occasional Lee Child thriller is a good form of inexpensive psychotherapy. Feeling vulnerable, distracted, overmatched, ineffective? Spend a few hours with Jack Reacher or James Bond. They’ll show you how to cut through the red tape.
Read books in an age-appropriate fashion. Death of a Salesman will make no sense to a pimply 16-year-old. It will make sense only to an adult who has carried the burden of a job for a few decades. Catch-22 and The Catcher in the Rye are great books to read when you are a snarling, impudent youngster; if you don’t read them until you are middle-aged, they will seem flippant and immature. For the record, Wuthering Heights will probably make no sense to you or anyone else no matter how old you are when you finally get around to reading it.
One final thought: Waiting until later in life to read a classic is not necessarily a bad idea. I didn’t get to Don Quixote until I was 51. I was 53 before I finally cracked open Jane Eyre. In each case, the experience was enthralling: I turned off the phone, refused to answer the doorbell, immersed myself in the incontestably sublime. Proving that a pleasure delayed is not a pleasure denied.
Joe Queenan is a freelance writer based in Tarrytown, New York. He wrote about the joy of procrastination in the February issue.
• This story originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Book Smarts 2019-08-20 08:00:00Z 0

Shekhar Mehta of India Selected to be 2021-22 Rotary International President

Shekhar Mehta, of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India, is the selection of the Nominating Committee for President of Rotary International for 2021-22. He will be declared the president-nominee on 1 October if no challenging candidates have been suggested.

Mehta acknowledges that current membership trends are a challenge and says that membership development should be Rotary’s highest priority. He believes that focusing on regional plans, successfully transitioning Rotaractors into Rotary clubs, and increasing diversity and female members could yield a 5 percent net growth in membership each year.

“A major brainstorming is needed to find effective solutions suited to different areas of the world,” says Mehta. He adds that regional ethos and culture have to be taken into account to find localized solutions, as “one size does not fit all.” He believes Rotary can extend to new geographical areas and countries.

As a strong proponent of Rotary’s strategic plan, Mehta says he will encourage clubs to use action plans and reinforce the core values of Rotary.

Mehta says Rotary needs to become more contemporary and adaptable by focusing on partnerships with governments and corporations, expanding partnerships with organizations that specialize in Rotary’s areas of focus, and investing in technology.

Mehta, an accountant, is chair of the Skyline Group, a real estate development company he founded. He is also a director of Operation Eyesight Universal (India), a Canada-based organization.

Mehta has been actively involved in disaster response and is a trustee of ShelterBox, UK. After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, he helped build nearly 500 homes for families affected by the disaster.

Mehta pioneered a program that has performed more than 1,500 life-changing heart surgeries in South Asia. He is also the architect of the TEACH Program, which promotes literacy throughout India and has reached thousands of schools.

A Rotary member since 1984, Mehta has served Rotary as director, member or chair of several committees, zone coordinator, training leader, member of The Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisers, and district governor. He is also the chair of Rotary Foundation (India).

Mehta has received Rotary’s Service Above Self Award and The Rotary Foundation’s Citation for Meritorious Service and Distinguished Service Awards.

He and his wife, Rashi, are Major Donors and members of the Bequest Society.

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

The members of the Nominating Committee for the 2021-22 President of Rotary International are: Mikael Ahlberg, Ölands Södra, Sweden; Bernhard Baumgartner, Kitzbühel, Austria; Gerson Gonçalves, Londrina-Norte, Pr., Brazil; Serge Gouteyron, Valenciennes-Denain aérodrome, Nord, France; Mary Beth Growney Selene, Madison West Towne-Middleton, Wisconsin, USA; Allan O. Jagger, Halifax, W. Yorks., England; Masahiro Kuroda, Hachinohe South, Aomori, Japan; Hsiu-Ming (Frederick) Lin, Taipei Tungteh, Taiwan; Larry A. Lunsford (secretary), Kansas City-Plaza, Missouri, USA; Anne L. Matthews (chair), Columbia East, South Carolina, USA; Ekkehart Pandel, Bückeburg, Germany; P. T. Prabhakar, Madras Central, Tamil Nadu, India; José Antonio Salazar Cruz, Bogotá Occidente, Cund., Colombia; M.K. Panduranga Setty, Bangalore, Karnataka, India; Steven A. Snyder, Auburn, California, USA; Yoshimasa Watanabe, Kojima, Okayama, Japan; and SangKoo Yun, Sae Hanyang, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Shekhar Mehta, of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India, is the selection of the Nominating Committee for President of Rotary International for 2021-22. He will be declared the president-nominee on 1 October if no challenging candidates have been suggested.

Mehta acknowledges that current membership trends are a challenge and says that membership development should be Rotary’s highest priority. He believes that focusing on regional plans, successfully transitioning Rotaractors into Rotary clubs, and increasing diversity and female members could yield a 5 percent net growth in membership each year.

“A major brainstorming is needed to find effective solutions suited to different areas of the world,” says Mehta. He adds that regional ethos and culture have to be taken into account to find localized solutions, as “one size does not fit all.” He believes Rotary can extend to new geographical areas and countries.

As a strong proponent of Rotary’s strategic plan, Mehta says he will encourage clubs to use action plans and reinforce the core values of Rotary.

Mehta says Rotary needs to become more contemporary and adaptable by focusing on partnerships with governments and corporations, expanding partnerships with organizations that specialize in Rotary’s areas of focus, and investing in technology.

Mehta, an accountant, is chair of the Skyline Group, a real estate development company he founded. He is also a director of Operation Eyesight Universal (India), a Canada-based organization.


Shekhar Mehta of India Selected to be 2021-22 Rotary International President 2019-08-14 08:00:00Z 0
Our Newest Paul Harris Fellowship Member 2019-08-14 08:00:00Z 0

Don't Play it Again, Dad

A father changes his tune after
a game of musical shares
By Jeff Ruby
"At the most crucial time of my daughter’s social and mental development, I had made it all about myself."
Illustration by Richard Mia
When my daughter was an infant, her sleepy-time playlist did not involve Mozart or Raffi. No Baby Einstein for Baby Hannah. She listened to Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits’ notoriously creepy 1983 LP. On repeat. All night.
If you aren’t familiar with Swordfishtrombones, it’s basically 40 minutes of cockeyed tales from an underground world populated with freaks and misfits, herky-jerky howling and whispering accompanied by angry trombones and rusty marimbas being played in a bathtub. It sounds like steam oozing from a sewer grate outside a pawn shop at 2 a.m. Unless you want your offspring to grow up to be a boxcar-hopping grifter, Swordfishtrombones may be the absolute worst album to play in a baby’s nursery. 
“What the hell is she listening to in there?” my wife asked while slipping back into bed after a 3 a.m. feeding.
“The 11th-best album of the 1980s, according to Pitchfork,” I mumbled. Then I rolled over.
This, my friends, is what happens when a grumpy failed hipster has children. I cared not a whit whether Tom Waits was developmentally appropriate — or what twisted dreams were unspooling in my daughter’s evolving brain. I just knew I didn’t want her brand-new neural connections clogged with Kidz Bop and anthropomorphic dinosaurs singing B-I-N-G-O. No, sir. My tyke would listen to music about real life. Loss. Longing. Sailors on shore leave drinking forties of Mickey’s Big Mouth and shooting pool with dwarfs.
A closeted music geek, I spent much of my awkward young life standing in the back of sweaty music venues making sure I had on the right T-shirt, the right sneakers, and the right beer in my hand, tapping my foot but keeping a safe, ironic distance from it all, even if my heart was beating so hard I could feel it pushing against my chest. Only in the privacy of my home could I show genuine love for the music. But I married a woman who has no musical opinions whatsoever beyond turn it down! so in Hannah I was ecstatic to have someone with whom I could share my passion. The fact that this someone was not yet potty-trained, or even ambulatory, barely occurred to me.
By the time my daughter was four, I had her on a steady diet of Johnny Cash, Yo La Tengo, and Stevie Wonder (circa 1972-76, of course). By five, she was singing along with the Clash. The day she requested Bob Dylan’s original 1963 version of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” from her car seat, I knew I had done my part. 
Of course, it all came crashing down. When Hannah was six, I happened upon a story in the satirical online newspaper The Onion. Its headline: “Cool Dad Raising Daughter on Media That Will Put Her Entirely Out of Touch with Her Generation.” The accompanying photo shows a father watching proudly as his daughter pulls a Talking Heads record from its sleeve, while she gives the impression she would be more comfortable at a Taylor Swift concert. The father looked a little like me. And the girl was a dead ringer for Hannah.
It was a punch in the jaw. At the most crucial time of my daughter’s social and mental development, I had made it all about myself. Call it snobbery, call it the fragile male ego run amok; I was guilty of both. I had lied for years, to myself, to my wife, to anyone else who would listen, that I was helping to mold a human being who would grow up to be sharp and literate, fluent in what I called “the classics” — when all I really wanted was to create a perfect Frankenstein monster of pop culture references. A mini-me, but more hip.
There’s a possible biological explanation for my actions. “From the beginning, we tempt [our children] into imitation of us and long for what may be life’s most profound compliment: their choosing to live according to our own system of values,” writes Andrew Solomon in Far From the Tree, his 2012 book about families adjusting to children with disabilities and differences. Then Solomon twists the knife in further: “Though many of us take pride in how different we are from our parents, we are endlessly sad at how different our children are from us.” This may clarify why, 30 years after running as fast as possible from the Bach cantatas my father was always humming, I was force-feeding my daughter Ramones albums.
On its face, this is entirely rational. What is parenting, after all, but an attempt to instill values in your progeny that will live on once your time is up in this world? A desperate stab at immortality — the ultimate ego trip.
But without a moral code to impart, what’s the point? Once I got past the most basic principles (be nice! work hard! um ... help people?), it became clear that I didn’t have much left to offer. The rest of my knowledge was trivia. Values are one thing; making sure a kindergartner knows the difference between Lennon songs and McCartney songs — and demanding that she care desperately which is which — is another completely. Worse, most of my input for my daughter seemed to revolve around being “cool,” which in my middle age I had managed to forget was a constant burden that suffocated my teen years.
So I backed off. Or tried to, anyway.
OK, so Marvin Gaye might happen to be in the CD player when Hannah got in the car, or Elvis Costello on the turntable when she popped into my office. If she asked what was playing, I would tell her. When she gave a song a thumbs-down or, worse, expressed indifference, I felt strangely wounded, and when she went her own way and inevitably developed her own interests, my stunted heart broke. Not because I had to let go of my daughter, but because she would be shaped by influences that were not my own. Influences I perceived as inferior.
Hannah is 14 now, and we’ve both grown up considerably. She’s smart, anxious, and sarcastic, a terrific writer and a mezzo-soprano in the Chicago Children’s Choir. She has good friends and good sense and is always searching. And I stayed out of her face while she found her own offbeat diversions: episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix; the infinite minutiae of Greek mythology; the joys of online animatics, which I didn’t even know was a thing, by an obscure Polish artist. Best of all, she’s eager to share them all with me.
Last September, I took my daughter to her first concert. It was by Dodie Clark, a waifish British chanteuse whose aching vulnerability has made her something of a sage to quirky teenage girls. I had heard Hannah talk about Clark’s 1.8 million YouTube followers and was naturally suspicious — but also flattered that she was willing to have me there. Plus, she needed a ride.
The concert blew me away. Clark’s lilting performance was raw and endearing, every lyric conveying unironic, life-affirming messages I had forgotten existed. Social anxiety? Totally normal. Worried no one will ever love you? It’s OK. Sexually confused? Join the club.
The crowd — young, enthusiastic, and unjudgey — included girls and boys of all ages, shapes, sizes, colors, and orientations, each of them dressed how they wanted, singing how they wanted, laughing and crying and losing themselves in the music in a way I had never been able to with someone watching. Hannah could not stop smiling. And I cried. Because at 14, my daughter had learned how to be comfortable in her skin in a way that I never could.
Hannah’s own peculiar music play-list today includes everything from lo-fi pop to Croatian choral music. And yes, she has managed to enfold Queen and the Beatles into the mix. “I don’t mind when you recommend a song you like,” she said recently. “I like your taste in music.” This may mark the first time in history that a child has said that to her parent. And, as it turns out, I like her taste too.
• In our March issue, Jeff Ruby, the chief contributing dining critic for Chicago magazine, explained how his son Max got his name.
• This story originally appeared in the August 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.
Don't Play it Again, Dad 2019-08-06 08:00:00Z 0


Message From DG Andre'

Several Rotary members have notified me in the past few minutes that they have received suspicious e-mail(s) that appears to originate be from Amazon, or Chase.

This certainly looks like a Phishing attempt from a scammer, using Past District Governor Michelle O'Brien's e-mail account, and the signature line says Rotary District 5010.

The e-mails appear to be hacked from Constant Contact, or appear to imply so.

Please do not open the link.  These e-mails are not from D5010 or Michelle O'Brien, despite what they say.


Andre' Layral

D5010 District Governor


FYI  I recieved the scam email just prior to receiving the above email.  They are trying to convince people that it is connected to Rotary.  In the past when I've recieved one of these, it is often followed by similar but different emails trying to get you to give them info, etc.  Please be careful.
IMPORTANT!  IMPORTANT! IMPORTANT! 2019-07-31 08:00:00Z 0

August 2019 District Governor Message to Members

July 2019 is now behind us, all our clubs have inducted new officers, sponsored a few new members, held a few meetings, come together in fellowship, conducted a fundraiser or participated in a service project that has benefitted the community.  If you are like me, you have enjoyed the warm summer months, perhaps gone camping, fishing, hiking or enjoyed a barbecue or two. A reality of life in Alaska is that we are all beginning to think about our plans for the Fall.
I’ve had the privilege of visiting clubs and their projects in Ketchikan, e-Club of Alaska International, Eagle River, and the new Alaska ECO Satellite Rotary club.  Ive felt firsthand the spirit and pride of Ketchikan and Eagle River Rotary clubs and their communities as they conducted their annual Rotary Duck Race fundraisers while expanding my vocabulary with words like, “duck butts” and “quacker sackers”. I’ve thrown out opening pitches at Anchorage Glacier Pilots and Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks baseball games. 
Serving as District Governor enables me to learn about the many ways that Rotary Connects people, communities and the World.  The many projects I've seen thus far address a variety of community needs while positively impacting many lives.  These local projects are possible because of district grants that are funded by member contributions to the Annual Fund.  Half the donations each year come back to our Rotary District in the form of District Designated Funds that fund both local and global projects.  
D5010 funded 22 District Grants this year that were submitted by clubs.  We currently have several clubs participating in Global Grants in 2019-2020 with one or more partner districts, and all Alaska clubs have pledged to support our D5010 Global grant effort with D9141 to provide 1000 two seater desks in schools in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria, where currently students sit on dirt floors as they learn.
I've asked all club presidents to align their club goals based upon the Rotary Presidential Citation.  The goals in the citation support RI’s strategic priorities.  Club achievements toward their citation award are automatically verified through Rotary Club Central.  Therefore, I’m asking that all presidents take time to reacquaint themselves with the citation requirements and align their club goals with the citation requirements (900en19-20_theme_citation_brochure.pdf).  This year, there are also criteria for our Rotaract Clubs and Interact Clubs.
August is Membership and Extension Month in the Rotary world.  Making an impact in Rotary starts with our members.  Rotarians make the world a better place, so impact begins with every member making a commitment to serve their club, their community, bring new members into Rotary and contributing to the Rotary Foundation.  Rotary provides a way to connect our communities, opportunity to network with others who share Rotary values, share ideas and build strong and lasting relationships.  The global community of Rotarians begins with membership.  Rotary is very much a family and this year we must do better making Rotary possible and within reach to young leaders.  Part of this means making Rotary more family oriented for young leaders.  I am asking clubs to have a conversation with young leaders in their club about steps their club can take to establish reasonable expectations for busy young leaders.
Finally,  I am pleased to announce the new D5010 Mobile APP is now available FREE in the Apple store and Google Play store.  A separate e-mail will contain details about finding and downloading the APP. Only members of D5010 may download the APP.  The APP has many features that will put Rotary at your fingertips, including a calendar of events, latest Rotary news, a Directory of clubs, Resources for Presidents, Clubs and new Rotarians with a great section on Rotary ABC’s and how to engage with Rotary.  The APP links to a number of Facebook pages, including D5010, and there are links to Submit a news story, another to share ideas and provide feedback to district leaders. A number of volunteer leadership roles and opportunities are still available, so please check out the descriptors of our many committees.
Enjoy the remainder of the summer!
Andre’ Layral
D5010 District Governor
Cell 907-460-7786
August 2019 District Governor Message to Members 2019-07-30 08:00:00Z 0

Class Project

Nestled in the hills of Guatemala City, Colonia Trinidad is a neighborhood at odds with itself. “It’s a well-off area with huge apartments and lots of construction,” says Mónica Davila. “But we also have areas that are home to a lot of poor people.”

Davila is president of the Rotary Club of Guatemala Vista Hermosa Uwara, a satellite of the Rotary Club of Guatemala Vista Hermosa. While volunteering at a shelter for orphans, members of the Vista Hermosa Uwara club learned about Escuela Republica de Alemania, a school in Colonia Trinidad attended by 150 children between ages seven and 13. Some of the students live at the shelter, including some who lost family members when the Fuego volcano erupted in 2018 and killed at least 190 people. All of the school’s students live in poverty.

The school building was in bad shape, with rotting wood and problems with the roof, and had few of the resources needed for education. “Most of our club members live close to that school,” Davila says, and after seeing the conditions under which kids in their neighborhood were trying to learn, the members of the Uwara club knew what had to be done.

Nestled in the hills of Guatemala City, Colonia Trinidad is a neighborhood at odds with itself. “It’s a well-off area with huge apartments and lots of construction,” says Mónica Davila. “But we also have areas that are home to a lot of poor people.”

Davila is president of the Rotary Club of Guatemala Vista Hermosa Uwara, a satellite of the Rotary Club of Guatemala Vista Hermosa. While volunteering at a shelter for orphans, members of the Vista Hermosa Uwara club learned about Escuela Republica de Alemania, a school in Colonia Trinidad attended by 150 children between ages seven and 13. Some of the students live at the shelter, including some who lost family members when the Fuego volcano erupted in 2018 and killed at least 190 people. All of the school’s students live in poverty.

The school building was in bad shape, with rotting wood and problems with the roof, and had few of the resources needed for education. “Most of our club members live close to that school,” Davila says, and after seeing the conditions under which kids in their neighborhood were trying to learn, the members of the Uwara club knew what had to be done.

“We are trying to make a model school at Republica de Alemania,” she says.

In a three-month fundraising drive, the Uwara club members raised $1,000 and got additional support from District 4250 (Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras). In May 2018, they installed 100 new desks in classrooms. In February 2019, they set up a computer lab using donated equipment from a local call center.

“We are trying to make a model school at Republica de Alemania.”

The Uwara club has more plans for the school, including replacing the remaining classroom desks, fixing the roof, and stocking a library.

The work of the Uwara volunteers has inspired parents at the school to pool their own funds to help pay for some renovations.

María Valladares, a new member of the Uwara club, says her experiences at Republica de Alemania have confirmed to her how important becoming a Rotarian was. “I joined this club because the members are dedicated to education and helping children,” she says.

The Uwara volunteers see what a difference they’re making whenever they come back to the school. In February 2019, when they arrived to build the computer lab, the students were excited to show off how well they had taken care of their desks. “They said, ‘Can you come and see our desks? We have papers in them!’” Davila says. 


• This story originally appeared in the August 2019 issue of The Rotarian magazine.

Class Project 2019-07-30 08:00:00Z 0

The Rotarian Conversation:  Jonathan Quick


When it comes to addressing epidemics, the public health expert says we have the solutions. We simply have to embrace them

Jonathan Quick thinks on a grand scale. His book The End of Epidemics: The Looming Threat to Humanity and How to Stop It argues that we can end not just one particular epidemic, but all epidemics. He lays out a seven-point call to action (e.g., “Invest wisely, save lives”; “Active prevention, constant readiness”) to prevent the inevitable outbreaks of diseases from growing into epidemics that kill thousands or even millions. The scale of his ambition is matched only by the scale of the problem and the price tag on his proposed solution: Quick calls for an investment of $7.5 billion annually for the next 20 years in prevention, but he points out that a severe pandemic — when an epidemic goes global, something made more likely by our interconnected world — could cost the global economy up to $2.5 trillion. 

When it comes to public health and disease prevention, Quick knows what he’s talking about. He earned his M.D. at Duke University and spent 10 years at the World Health Organization, working with local governments on access to medicine, particularly AIDS medications, in Pakistan and Kenya. During his time in Kenya, he was a member of the Rotary Club of Nairobi-South and was involved in the club’s polio vaccination efforts. When he returned to the United States in 2004, he led Management Sciences for Health, a nonprofit focused on helping governments develop effective health systems management.

Quick decided to write The End of Epidemics in 2014 during an Ebola outbreak in West Africa. He viewed with alarm the failure of governments, nongovernmental organizations, and affected populations to learn the lessons of recent epidemic outbreaks. “Based on what I’d seen with AIDS, with SARS [severe acute respiratory syndrome] in 2003, with Ebola, I asked myself where we would be in three years,” he recalls. “And my sense was we’d be just as vulnerable because we tend to go through a cycle of panic and neglect. I fear we’re going to leave my daughters’ generation a world that’s in more danger of pandemics if we don’t really get a good, solid, persistent response.” Senior editor Hank Sartin spoke with Quick about the factors that make for robust public health infrastructure, how engaged individuals have made a difference, what we should be focused on now, and the recent measles outbreak.

THE ROTARIAN: Since your book came out, we’ve faced a serious measles outbreak. What happened? And does this temper your optimism about the end of epidemics?

QUICK: The recent measles outbreaks in the United States and around the world are no surprise to those of us who have been tracking the rise of the vaccine resistance movement and the resulting global decline in measles immunization in many countries. This is a surmountable setback, but it must be confronted with utmost urgency.

The decade of the 2010s has seen an alarming decline in measles immunization. Between 2010 and 2017, more than 20 million children worldwide missed their first measles vaccination.

The global rise in vaccine rejection has been driven largely by a discredited and retracted 1998 article in a prestigious medical journal. The purported link between measles vaccine and childhood autism has been repeatedly disproven in rigorous scientific studies. As important, we now know much more about the real causes of autism, which include a combination of genetic and environmental factors, both prenatal and postnatal.

Our greatest challenge is not the microbes. Our greatest challenge today is combating the disinformation and underlying distrust of science that lead to vaccine rejection. The first step is to strengthen epidemic literacy, including vaccine literacy, from primary to graduate school and in continued public education. The second step is to acknowledge and respond to sincere concerns about past vaccine safety issues and to ensure the safety of new vaccines. The third, and most daunting, step is to develop local, national, and international vaccine acceptance efforts capable of turning around a well-organized global anti-vaccine community that has a simple, emotive message — “measles vaccine causes autism” — is highly effective on social media, and has enlisted stars and political leaders.

TR: You argue in the book that we need to move into prevention mode when it comes to epidemic diseases. But every time we’ve faced a previous epidemic, we have gone through a cycle of funding during the crisis and then defunding after. Is there any reason to think we will support a prevention strategy now?

QUICK: We had the combination of Ebola in 2014 and then the Zika virus in 2015. Coming so soon after Ebola, the Zika outbreak focused public attention on epidemics. And then in 2018, we had 80,000 flu deaths in the U.S. That accelerated the research on the flu vaccine. We have something new, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, dedicated to developing new vaccines. We have more funding put in the right places, and we also have much greater attention to building good public health systems. The global public health community put the SARS virus back in the box in 2003. We did that without a vaccine because of good public health: Go find the cases, isolate them, get their contacts, and stop it that way. The innovation, the funding, and the work on systems — those are the reasons I think it is possible.

TR: You write a lot about the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Why was that out-break so serious?


The Rotarian Conversation:  Jonathan Quick 2019-07-30 08:00:00Z 0

Fighting Poverty on a Small Scale

 A collaboration between Rotary and Heifer continues to produce big results, helping small farms provide healthier, locally-sourced food
By Arnold R. Grahl                               Visuals by Miriam Doan
In the fall of 2015, volunteers from Rotary and Heifer International came together to build hoop houses for a few farmers working small lots in Arkansas, USA. The afternoon outing was part of a larger project that is still reaping benefits four years later, supporting small-scale agriculture in the region and increasing access to locally-grown food.
Heifer has been using the small-scale agriculture model for decades to alleviate hunger and fight poverty around the world. The approach has the added benefits of being environmentally friendly and offering healthier food options.
That mission dovetails with Rotary’s mission to grow local economies and improve health. So it’s not surprising the two groups have teamed up on a number of occasions in the past 30 years to improve communities by helping families escape poverty. Several Heifer employees are or have been members of the Rotary Club of Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, the city where Heifer has its headquarters.
“Our values line up very well,” says Ardyth Neill, a member of the Little Rock club and president of the Heifer Foundation. “With Rotary, it’s Service Above Self and helping to serve others. Heifer has been working with farmers to be accountable, pass on their gifts, train other farmers, and work together in community. It’s learning to share and care, basic things that work well together.”
In the United States and other developed nations, a lot of food production is controlled by large industrial operations, which produce cheaper food by focusing on a single crop and using specialized equipment to cut labor costs.
But according to research into sustainable agriculture, this food model has downsides, including a reliance on commercial fertilizers, heavy pesticides, and other chemicals that can harm the environment.
The trend has also contributed to the failure of smaller family farms, increasing the poverty rates in places like rural Arkansas. 
Nationwide distribution networks have also resulted in food deserts in urban areas, particularly in the U.S., England, and Australia, where poor neighborhoods have little access to fresh produce and instead rely on less nutritious fast foods and packaged products.
Small-scale sustainable agriculture, on the other hand, tends to keep things local. The money you spend on food stays in your community and helps your neighbor. Farmers maximize land use by planting multiple crops that replenish the soil and reduce the need for fertilizers and pesticides.
And fruits and vegetables grown closer to home keep more of their nutrients.
Consumers are increasingly aware of these health benefits, fueling the market for local produce.
“There’s a phenomenon going on, really nationwide, about people becoming more and more concerned and thoughtful about where their food comes from,” says Sharon Vogelpohl, a past president of the Little Rock Rotary club and a volunteer on the project.
In Heifer’s back yard
Before teaming up with Rotary on the project, Heifer USA conducted a study that found considerable untapped demand for locally grown produce. The study calculated that Arkansas spends more than $7 billion  a year on food, with about $6.3 billion of that coming from outside Arkansas.
Heifer set up a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) network — a food subscription service in which consumers buy produce in advance at a fixed price, guaranteeing farmers a market for their crop regardless of how weather or other factors may affect their output.
Rotary members used their extensive contacts to find buyers for the CSA shares, and offered business and planning advice to the farmers. Heifer provided training in sustainable practices and taught its philosophy of accountability, sharing, passing on training, and self-reliance.
Through its first five years, the number of shares sold grew from 150 the first year to more than 400 a year.
The New South Produce Cooperative became a largely independent cooperative in 2016, and in 2017 expanded to wholesale markets. Now, Heifer USA is transitioning oversight of the program to one of its funding partners, 275 Food Project, smoothing the path for expansion into the Memphis area.
"We’ve always viewed our role as being an incubator of this project,” says Annie Bergman, Global Communications Director for Heifer. “This will allow growth across the border and provide more support for the farmers. We will still offer training and funds when needed."
Farming around the world
The tools of small-scale sustainable agriculture look different around the world, but the principles are the same. Noel Mace, Heifer International’s program manager for Africa, explains that cooperatives play a crucial role in bringing together groups of farmers — many with both livestock and crops — and connecting them to markets.
“We are now developing more of a market-driven approach,” says Mace. “Historically, Heifer has spent a lot of time on how to bring poor farmers to a subsistence level where they can feed their families. But our mission is to end hunger and poverty, not to lessen it. Poverty is a big challenge without connecting to markets.”
Volunteers from the Rotary Club of Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, and Heifer built a high tunnel for Joe Carr
“So the question,” he continues, “is not just how do we make sure you are not hungry, but how do we move you beyond a family-level production to participating with others in a market” that creates income and increases livelihood?
Africa has a strong dairy program, so much of Heifer’s work there flows out of milk. Tight groups of 15 to 20 farmers join with other groups in cooperatives that then have enough scale to access chilling plants and, ultimately, processing plants. The farmers then look to diversify further by using their milk co-op to sell avocados, lettuce, tomatoes, and other produce.
“If I am a consumer, I now can go to the co-op and buy milk, but also buy fresh fruits and greens, and I know it will have the same level of quality,” says Mace. “It’s really about marketing a brand, something I can rely on and know they will have when I go there.”
Spreading success
Back in Arkansas, Ben Wihebrink of Heifer USA says the larger vision is to encourage others to copy their model. In addition to building support for the cooperative in Memphis, pilot efforts have been launched in northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas Delta.
“There is an infinite demand across the (American) South specifically for local foods and organic foods,” says Wihebrink. “And as long as there is consumer interest, there is opportunity to help farmers in many places struggling to make a living.”
Joe Carr, recipient of one of the hoop houses, has been farming since he left his job at Whirlpool in 1987. He started a farmer’s market in 2003 that has grown to more than 60 vendors. The co-op and high tunnel (as it’s also called) have allowed him to increase his income.
"The beauty of the high tunnel is it gives you the quality you need for public demand,” he says. “Choy, kale, broccoli, carrots, and lettuce will all go through the winter. With the proper crop management, you can harvest all winter long."
Help Rotary Help Farmers
Fighting Poverty on a Small Scale 2019-07-25 08:00:00Z 0
Leadership Academy Application -- Due August 1, 2019 2019-07-24 08:00:00Z 0

District Leadership Academy

District Leadership Academy
District 5010 logo
Greetings Fellow D5010 Rotarians!

My name is Jodi Stuart, your District Leadership Academy Dean for the 2019-20 course year! I’m excited to work along with you as your Dean. I believe strongly that being prepared with knowledge is the best way to be of service to my Club. I had been my Club’s Secretary for 6 years before I started the process of becoming a District Leadership Academy graduate. I wish I had done it sooner! The information provided through the Academy is helpful as well as the relationships made with other Clubs and Rotarians. I encourage everyone that is thinking of being in a position of leadership to participate in the Academy. The Academy provides knowledge and resources while instilling an additional level of enthusiasm for the work that we do as Rotarians. I recommend getting a team together for every Club in the District to attend! 

So, who should take the District Leadership Academy? Presidents-elect, Presidents Nominee, Past Presidents, Assistant Governors, District Committee Chairs, as well as all club officers and directors and those who aspire to serve as leaders at the club or district level, are encouraged to enroll in the District Leadership Academy (DLA) program. The DLA is an 8 month series of courses in Communications, Membership, Public Image, Youth Services, RI Organization, and The Rotary Foundation. All courses are taught online using Moodle. You can find the website at Each course is taught by an experienced Rotarian with extensive knowledge in their specific course topic. There are times throughout the courses to catch up if you fall behind as well! 

Since District 5110 (the Academy founding district) began the program 19 years ago, 12 Rotary districts have adopted the DLA to train their club and district leaders. In all, these districts have graduated more than 1400 Rotarians. Our District 5010 Leadership Academy training will provide our Rotarians with the broadest Rotary background possible, thereby enabling them to be the effective leaders that our clubs and district will need to grow and strengthen Rotary. All interested Rotarians are encouraged to learn more about the DLA and enroll for the Class of 2020. Download DLA information enrollment documents from our District Leadership Academy link on the D5010 website.

So, look around your Club and ask yourself, do I know what could make my Club the best Club it can be? If you do, come share your knowledge with the District Leadership Academy. If you don’t, come get some knowledge from the District Leadership Academy! Overall, I want to invite all of you that aren’t graduates of the program to join us. There is limited space, so make sure to get your application in early!
I look forward to a great year!
Jodi Stuart
Soldotna Rotary Club
District Leadership Academy Dean
District Leadership Academy 2019-07-24 08:00:00Z 0

District Leadership Academy--Course Schedule

September 1-30: Dynamic Leadership and Communication

The basics of leadership in a diverse organization are very useful in being a successful Rotarian. Students will register for their account on My Rotary at Rotary.Org. This account will be used to become familiar with and learn how to navigate the Rotary International (RI) and District 5010 web site as well as the various RI Social Media sites. In addition, best in class Leadership tips and traits will be referenced to help all learn how to lead diverse committees and grow strong, effective clubs under the new Council on Legislation changes.

October 1-31: Growing Vibrant Clubs

Rotary's Be a Vibrant Club leadership plan challenges members to revitalize their clubs and better engage new and established members. We use these fresh ideas and cover the new membership models, sharing of recruitment and retention ideas, and extension. All of Rotary’s latest membership resources are used, as well as tools to help students analyze their club’s membership over the previous years.

November 1-30: Tell Rotary’s Story – Public Image

Promoting Rotary to the general public can be as simple as wearing your Rotary pin or as elaborate as organizing an integrated marketing campaign. By increasing the public's understanding of Rotary, we're strengthening our ability to make an impact in communities around the world.

The course covers RI’s Public Relations policies and the importance of developing Rotary’s Public Image. Students will be given examples of the successful use of Public Relations to promote the work of their club and will survey their club's PR status. Learning to tell Rotary’s story and your own club story will help attract energetic new members and bring attention and support to worthwhile club projects

December – A catch-up month

January 1-31: Youth Services

The youngest generation in the family of Rotary take action in their communities, develop their leadership and professional skills, and have fun - many are participants in Rotary’s youth and young adult programs: Interact, Rotaract, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), and Rotary Youth Exchange. Others are service-minded young people involved in Rotary club and district activities. During this month’s course, you will review your Club’s various Youth Services programs, identify needed enhancements and consider new ideas to help formalize a final plan.

February 1-28 - RI Organization

Rotary International is the global association of Rotary Clubs. Our 1.2 million members are the heart of our service efforts and share a dedication to the ideal of Service Above Self. This course covers the organizational structure of Rotary at the club, district, and international level. You will learn how to propose changes to our rules and discuss the process for the latest Council on Legislation that is transforming Rotary into a forward-looking organization.

At the club level, you will bring all the above plans together to form an ongoing structure and process for your club.

The Rotary Foundation (TRF)

Part 1 - March 1-21
Part 2 - March 22 - Apr. 20

The Rotary Foundation is a nonprofit corporation(US 501(c)(3)) that promotes world understanding through humanitarian service as well as educational and cultural exchanges. The final course in the Academy program covers TRF. Due to the many components of TRF, the course covers seven weeks and is taught in two parts.

Part 1 covers PolioPlus, the various educational programs of TRF, the Six Areas of Focus, the club and district MOU’s and the various ways of giving to the Foundation.

Part 2 covers the new Grant Model, project sustainability, District Grants and Global Grants

In addition to discussions, students will prepare and submit a District Grant based on a project of their own choosing (preferably one that their club will be submitting to the district).

The Finale - Graduation!

All students finishing the year’s courses will meet to discuss the year and their experience. All will be recognized before the entire Conference attendees to receive their certificate, special pin, and vest with the DLA logo. Future Leaders of Rotary - go forth and share your passion for and commitment to enhancing communities and improving lives across the globe.

District Leadership Academy--Course Schedule 2019-07-24 08:00:00Z 0

The Grief That Does Not Speak

While dining with an old friend, an acclaimed Chicago author witnesses the enduring repercussions of violence

By Illustrations by

Not long ago, over lunch at a restaurant, I asked Pharoah Rivers how much he remembered from a murder he witnessed 21 years ago. I’d written about Pharoah in my first book, There Are No Children Here, but the event I wanted to talk about happened after its publication, on a summer evening in Chicago in 1998. It’s at the restaurant that I come to realize how much that incident remains a part of Pharoah. “I can’t get it out of my mind,” he says.

The incident occurred on 19 August of that year. My wife, daughter, and I were visiting my parents in upstate New York when I received a phone call near midnight. The voice on the other end sounded familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it. “It’s Anne Chambers,” she said. Anne was a Chicago violent crimes detective whom I knew. She told me she was calling from the kitchen in my family’s home in Oak Park, a suburb bordering Chicago. She told me that Pharoah was there with her, and that he may have been involved in a murder. My legs buckled. I sat down to catch my breath.

At the time Pharoah, who had grown up in one of Chicago’s housing projects, had been living with me since he was 12 — a two-week stay that turned into six years. He had recently been accepted at Southern Illinois University and had decided not to visit New York with us during this summer trip because he wanted to get ready for classes that began the following week. And then I got this call.

I knew Anne from my time reporting There Are No Children Here. Here’s what she told me in that short midnight phone call: Pharoah had taken a taxi from our house to his mother’s home on the West Side, and when the cab pulled up, two young men pulled Pharoah out of the backseat and then jumped in. One of them held a pistol to the cabbie’s head, demanding his money. The cabbie must have panicked, and when he pressed down on the accelerator, one of the assailants shot him in the back. Anne told me that some detectives suspected Pharoah might have set up the driver. Fortunately, she knew him from her time in the projects and knew that he wasn’t that type of kid. I told her that I, too, couldn’t fathom Pharoah pulling such a stunt.

By the next morning, Anne and her colleagues had determined that in fact Pharoah knew nothing of the robbery. His sister had seen much of what transpired and could identify the assailants. For my part, I tried to reach Pharoah. This was before cell phones. His mother said he was out, but she wasn’t sure where. I tried calling regularly throughout the day. Both my wife and I were concerned. He’d just seen someone murdered. It wasn’t the first time, I knew, but I also imagined how disorienting it must be. Morning came and went. As did the afternoon. Finally that evening I reached him at our house.

Where have you been? I asked.



At Marshall Field’s. For school.

Shopping? I was incredulous.


Pharoah, how are you doing?

OK. Why?

Why? You just saw someone murdered.

I’m OK. I got to go. I need to get packed for school.

I hung up, shaking my head. I was dumbfounded — and angry. How could he not be grieving? How could he not be upset? Shopping? I told my wife that if it was me, I’d be curled up on our couch in a fetal position. I thought to myself, something must be terribly wrong with Pharoah. How can you not feel? How can you not cry? How can you not express gratitude for not getting killed yourself? Pharoah gets yanked out of the backseat of a taxi by two men with a pistol and then watches as they shoot and kill someone he’s just shared time with. Something, I thought, was off. Out of kilter. And for the longest time I thought Pharoah was without heart, that he’d become hardened, if not numb, to the violence around him. This of course is the mistake we all make, thinking that somehow one can get accustomed to it.



The Grief That Does Not Speak 2019-07-18 08:00:00Z 0

Apply to serve on a 2020-21 Rotary committeeApply to serve on a 2020-21 Rotary committeeApply to Serve on a 2020-21 Rotary Committee

Would you like to contribute further to Rotary by serving on a committee? Each of Rotary's committees, made up of Rotarians and Rotaractors from around the world, works with the organization's leadership to ensure efficiency and promote the goals and priorities of the strategic plan.

The following committees are searching for qualified candidates for openings in 2020-21. All committees correspond via email, teleconference, or webinars as needed, and some involve at least one mandatory in-person meeting per year. Most committee business is conducted in English.

To be considered for committee membership or recommend someone for an appointment, visit .

Applicants must be registered on My Rotary at and ensure that their includes current contact details.

The application deadline is 12 August.

Communications committee

Function: Advises the Board on communication with key audiences

Prerequisites: Professional background and experience in a communications-related field

Commitment: One three-year term; multiple conference calls; annual meeting in Evanston

Finance committee

Function: Advises the Board on Rotary's finances, including budgets, investment policy, and sustainability measures

Prerequisites: Professional background in a finance-related field; nonprofit experience preferred. Candidates should have experience at the club and district level in financial matters.

Commitment: One three-year term; two meetings a year in Evanston

Leadership development and training committee

Function: Advises the Board on Rotary's leadership training program for Rotarians, clubs, and districts, with a special emphasis on training for district governors

Prerequisites: Must have significant training or education experience with a preference for leadership development

Commitment: One three-year term; annual meeting in Evanston


Apply to serve on a 2020-21 Rotary committeeApply to serve on a 2020-21 Rotary committeeApply to Serve on a 2020-21 Rotary Committee 2019-07-18 08:00:00Z 0

The Wheel Deal

This 92-year-old Rotary club was once the place to see and be seen. But its numbers had dwindled. So one member took a unique approach to wooing new recruits, starting with the town’s civic leaders. Anyone need a badge polished?

By Illustrations by

The mayor gave me a funny look. "You want to do what?"

"Fill some potholes, sir. I want to prove our Rotary club isn’t just talk."

Mayor David Narkewicz and I sat in his office at City Hall in Northampton, Massachusetts, near a portrait of one of his predecessors, Calvin Coolidge. I told him I might also be good at stabbing litter with one of those spiked poles. I swore not to wound any of his constituents.

"It’s a nice gesture, but it’s really not necessary," he said. His phone was ringing; he had a meeting to get to. But I wasn’t quitting yet. For once I wasn’t fighting City Hall, but trying to butter it up.

"If you give me something to do,” I explained, “you’ll have one more reason to send a city representative to our Rotary meetings. We both win."

He shook my hand. "Let me get back to you."

I belong to a small club in Northampton, a busy college town with a population of 28,000-plus. It was once home to a thriving Rotary club with 92 members: doctors, lawyers, bank presidents, even the owner of Northampton Cutlery, which supplied the U.S. Army with knives.

But over time the club lost members and influence. The mayor gives an annual talk at one of our Monday meetings, but he isn’t a member. Neither are the local bank presidents, partly because locally owned banks are becoming extinct — eaten up by global banks. Today our members include a bank manager, a couple of lawyers, and a chiropractor, but Rotary meetings — once held at the luxurious Hotel Northampton — were no longer the see-and-be-seen events they used to be.

Phil Sullivan, a six-time club president and a Rotarian for 45 of his 74 years, remembers when all of Northampton’s civic leaders were members. "But times changed," Sullivan says. "We got older. I was the youngest one at the meetings when I began attending with my father in 1967, and when I turned 67 in 2011, I was still one of the youngest!"

Today our 92-year-old club has 30 members, up from its all-time low of 19. "It starts with one meeting," Sullivan says. "First, you have to get people in the room. Maybe they join, maybe not, maybe they tell their friends. One way or another, you give them a taste of Rotary and take it from there."

Thanks to Sullivan, our meetings definitely taste better than they used to. After years of steam-table lunches elsewhere, Sullivan moved meetings to a high-end Italian restaurant. Spoleto wasn’t open for lunch, and owner Claudio Guerra couldn’t begin to feed 20 or 30 Rotarians for the $20 per person the club had to spend. But he and Sullivan worked it out: The restaurant now opens early on Mondays exclusively for the Rotary club, with a limited menu that makes it affordable for both sides: a salad, a dessert, and a choice among four entrees, including one of the better chunks of salmon you’ll get this side of Boston. Holding meetings at Spoleto has boosted attendance and membership.

After Mayor Narkewicz, Police Chief Jody Kasper was next on my list. A Northampton cop since 1998, she has been the department’s chief — the first woman to hold that role — since 2015. We talked about the challenges a chief faces in a town like ours: the opioid epidemic; keeping officers from bolting to the state police for better pay; occasional sexism. Kasper said she enjoyed speaking to our club a few months ago and hoped we would support her department by liking its Facebook page, praising officers who do good deeds, maybe send a letter of support.

The Wheel Deal 2019-07-17 08:00:00Z 0

2019-2020 D5010 Governor's Message -- Rotary Connects the World

Over the past week, Alaska Rotary clubs have come together to celebrate the service of current club officers and welcome incoming club officers for a new Rotary year. Besides being a great fellowship event, it is a hopeful time, providing opportunity for every Rotarian to renew their commitment to their Rotary club and the enduring ideals that make Rotary the world leader of humanitarian service organizations. This planned succession of officers keeps Rotary strong, brings new ideas, engages our members, and makes Rotary unique.

On behalf of all Rotarians in D5010, I would like to thank outgoing 2018-2019 District Governor Diane Fejes for her dedication, commitment and leadership of our Rotary District.  In her outgoing letter to district Rotarians, Diane recapped the many accomplishments in her year as Governor, an impressive number of accomplishments.  Most of all I am grateful to Diane as a friend, mentor and leader whom I’ve had the privilege to work closely with for the last two years.  Diane is truly an exceptional Rotarian and she set a high bar as I begin my year on July 1st as 2019-2020 District Governor. Thank you Diane for Being the Inspiration for D5010 Rotarians.

I also would like to acknowledge the many Rotarians who have served our Rotary District, and the 38 presidents who served their clubs in 2018-2019.  In February, in Seattle, I first met all thirty eight President-Elects for 2019-2020, and also two Rotaract PE’s. This is a fun group of club leaders, and I was immediately impressed with the degree of fellowship shown, and the range of their talents and interests.   This gives me great hope for a great year in 2019-2020.

As I began preparing two years ago for my year as your Governor, RI has asked us to focus on a number of priorities. RI President Mark Maloney has asked us to Grow Rotary, become more effective in Telling Our Rotary Story, Make Rotary more Family Friendly and help Rotary finish the job of Eradicating Polio in the world through donations to Polio Plus.  You’ll hear more about these as we get into the new Rotary year.

I proposed four District initiatives, intended to move our Rotary district forward in 2019-2020.  These are being funded with D5010 Excess Reserve funds, have been vetted by the Excess Reserve Committee, and recently approved by the Finance Committee:

  • Provide stipends for young leaders to participate in the 2020 District Conference,  Zone Conference and International Conference.  
  • Provide stipends for travel to clubs who commit funds to International projects and would like to send a Rotarian to experience the project firsthand. 
  • Provide training to club Public Image Chairs and make $200 available to every club in the district to implement a club Public Image strategy.  
  • Implement regional Rotary education and training events in several areas (eliminating the annual Training Assembly connected to the district conference) to better prepare club leaders.  Part of this strategy will be to train Resource Leaders (Membership, Public Image, Foundation and Grants), in all five regions of our district, to help us implement this education and training. DGE Joe Kashi and the above committee chairs will help me implement this.

Lastly, DG Diane recently led an effort to complete updates to our district website so it is more user friendly for non-Rotarians and easier to find information. I’m pleased to announce that we will also be rolling out a district Mobile APP (targeting August 1st) which will link to the D5010 website, while providing an opportunity to more efficiently communicate with members in our district.  Provided at no cost to all D5010 Rotarians, members will have access to information, resources, district calendar at their fingertips (on their favorite mobile device - phone or tablet), and be able to share ideas, receive notifications, get alerts, get involved, contribute stories, post Rotary events, and find D5010 clubs/meeting times.  Clubs will have the opportunity to use the APP for their club (with a full suite of features), for a $100 annual fee, matched by D5010.

The Rotary Theme for 2019-2020 is Rotary Connects the World. I invite each of you to connect in fellowship and engage in Rotary, locally and around the world, to help share Rotary’s story as we Grow Rotary in D5010.


Andre’ Layral

2019-2020 D5010 Governor


Rosie Roppel

2019-2020 Lt. Governor

2019-2020 AG’s:  Bill Wright (Interior area),  Mike Bridges (Anchorage area), Lori Draper (Peninsula area), Brenda Shelden (Mat-Su area), Sharon Bergman (Southeast area).

Dean McVey (Treasurer), Jodi Stuart (Secretary), Brad Gamble (Foundation), Lindsay Knight (Membership), Sharon Burns (Public Image)

2019-2020 D5010 Governor's Message -- Rotary Connects the World 2019-07-11 08:00:00Z 0

She's Here!!  Update!

Approximately 18 People attended a Very informal gathering in the loft at Alice's July 10.  Appetizers and pizza were available.  Maria (Masha) was introduced to Rotarians and friends by Sue Clardy and members of the Sunshine Committee.  Many thanks to all who helped Masha feel welcomed and those who organized the gathering!!
Masha has already been Kayaking, Snorkeling, and swimming with Sue Clardy and Vivian!  Look at those smiles!
She's Here!!  Update! cmkf 2019-07-09 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary Garden--Wow!

Rotary Garden! Lorna, Denice and Susie met today to finish up weeding and mulch. Stop by and enjoy! 💜
Rotary Garden--Wow! 2019-06-26 08:00:00Z 0

2019-20 RI President Announces His Presidential Theme

By Arnold R. Grahl              Photos by Alyce Henson
Rotary International President-elect Mark Daniel Maloney explained his vision for building a stronger Rotary, calling on leaders to expand connections to their communities and to embrace innovative membership models.
RI President-elect Mark Daniel Maloney announces the 2019-20 presidential theme, Rotary Connects the World, to incoming district governors in San Diego, California, USA.
Maloney, a member of the Rotary Club of Decatur, Alabama, USA, unveiled the 2019-20 presidential theme, Rotary Connects the World, to incoming district governors at Rotary’s annual training event, the International Assembly, in San Diego, California, USA, on Monday.
“The first emphasis is to grow Rotary — to grow our service, to grow the impact of our projects, but most importantly, to grow our membership so that we can achieve more,” Maloney said.
Maloney believes that connection is at the heart of the Rotary experience.
“(Rotary) allows us to connect with each other, in deep and meaningful ways, across our differences,” Maloney said. “It connects us to people we would never otherwise have met, who are more like us than we ever could have known. It connects us to our communities, to professional opportunities, and to the people who need our help.”
Maloney also called on every Rotary and Rotaract club to identify segments of their community not represented in their club by creating a membership committee with diverse members.
“Through Rotary, we connect to the incredible diversity of humanity on a truly unique footing, forging deep and lasting ties in pursuit of a common goal,” he added. “In this ever more divided world, Rotary connects us all.”
Maloney urged leaders to offer alternative meeting experiences and service opportunities to make it easier for busy professionals and people with many family obligations to serve in leadership roles.
“We need to foster a culture where Rotary does not compete with the family, but rather complements it,” Maloney said. “That means taking real, practical steps to change the existing culture: being realistic in our expectations, considerate in our scheduling, and welcoming of children at Rotary events on every level.”
Maloney said many of the barriers that prevent people from serving as leaders in Rotary are based on expectations that are no longer relevant.
“It is time to adapt, to change our culture, and to convey the message that you can be a great district governor without visiting every club individually, and a great president without doing everything yourself.”
Relationship with the United Nations
During 2019-20, Rotary will host a series of presidential conferences around the world, focusing on Rotary’s relationship with the United Nations and the UN’s sustainable development goals that many Rotary service projects support. More information will be available in July.
In 2020, the United Nations will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its charter and its mission of promoting peace. Rotary was one of 42 organizations the United States invited to serve as consultants to its delegation at the 1945 San Francisco conference, which led to the UN’s charter. For decades, Rotary has worked alongside the United Nations to address humanitarian issues around the world. Today, Rotary holds the highest consultative status that the UN offers to nongovernmental organizations.
“Rotary shares the United Nations’ enduring commitment to a healthier, more peaceful, and more sustainable world,” Maloney said. “And Rotary offers something no other organization can match: an existing infrastructure that allows people from all over the world to connect in a spirit of service and peace and take meaningful action toward that goal.” 
2019-20 RI President Announces His Presidential Theme 2019-06-26 08:00:00Z 0

Value of Rotary Volunteering

A special report prepared for Rotary International by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies estimated the value of Rotary member volunteer hours at $850 million a year.
Cosmos Segbefia, a member of the Rotary Club of Sekondi-Takoradi, and Derrick Ababio Kwarteng, of Global Communities, assist with the construction of a borehole in the Western Region of Ghana in 2018. A report by Johns Hopkins University prepared for Rotary International estimated that Rotary members provide about 47 million hours of volunteer effort a year at an estimated value of $850 million.
That Rotary members log a lot of volunteer hours should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the organization. But a new report just released by Johns Hopkins University provides a powerful look at the impact of all those volunteer hours.
The special report prepared for Rotary International by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies found that Rotary members had volunteered a total of 5.8 million hours within a four-week survey period. Extrapolating those results over an entire year, the report gave a conservative estimate of nearly 47 million hours of volunteer effort generated by Rotary members in a typical year.
The report then analyzed the economic impact of all those hours and estimated the value conservatively at $850 million a year, if communities had to pay for the services that Rotary volunteers provide.
Rotary, with the help of Johns Hopkins University, is the first global service organization to conduct an empirical analysis of its volunteer’s impact using an internationally sanctioned definition of volunteer work. The authors of the report noted in their conclusion that at each stop, the analysis had chosen the most conservative estimates.
“This makes the results reported here all the more remarkable,” the authors noted. “Translated into economic terms, Rotary is annually generating a scale of social and economic problem-solving effort that is worth nearly nine times more than it costs the organization to produce.”
Rotary General Secretary John Hewko said the figure doesn't even include the in-kind contributions and the money that Rotary clubs and the Rotary Foundation raise every year. In addition, the figure doesn’t include the volunteer work of the many relatives and friends of Rotary that members often involve in a project, or that of members of Rotaract, Interact, or the Community Corps, that would easily double the estimate of Rotary’s economic impact.
Value of Rotary Volunteering 2019-06-26 08:00:00Z 0

Table Maintenance at Water Trail Pavillion

Time for a little maintenance on the tables at the Water Trail Pavilion


Replacing worn planks


Rotary providing the labor to paint the tables with paint from City of Homer


Just about done Bernie, Thanks.

Table Maintenance at Water Trail Pavillion 2019-06-26 08:00:00Z 0

A New Rotary Club for Alaska

 Subject: New Alaska Eco Rotary Club - focus on the environment -
 Date: June 21, 2019 at 10:52:52 AM AKDT
 To: "Bernie Griffard" <>
 Reply-To: "Diane Fejes" <>
Dear Bernie,
Soon to be PDG Diane:)  is helping to spread the Good news!  A new kind of Rotary is coming to Alaska.  Please join us in welcoming Alaska Eco Rotary Club. 
Rotary is where neighbors, friends, and problem-solvers share ideas, join leaders, and take action to create lasting change.  No challenge is too big for us.  For more than 110 years, we've bridged cultures and connected continents to champion peace, fight illiteracy and poverty, promote clean water and sanitation, and fight disease.
With fewer meetings than traditional Rotary clubs, a focus on projects not fundraising, and low annual dues, Alaska Eco Rotary club brings a fresh new perspective to Rotary in Alaska.  The club will focus on eco awareness in our great state.  Below are the mission and vision of the club. 
 Mission: to become a resource to the community in preserving and enhancing our region's natural beauty and resources through hands-on service projects and educational programs.  
 Vision:  A focus on service (not fundraising) in order to attract a non-traditional Rotary club member and become a strong and sustainable Rotary addition throughout Alaska.  
The original plan calls for meetings twice monthly, one hopefully to be a project, and annual dues of $160.00
We will be hosting informational meetings for interested prospective members in the next few weeks. 
If you are interested in a Make-Up meeting, or know someone who would like to join the club, please email  or text or call (907)268-9391.
And, please help spread the word throughout your organization, look for potential projects and enjoy the wonderful summer weather in our beautiful country.  Thank you!
Marti Buscaglia
 P: 907.268-9391 |
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle."
                                   Philo of Alexandria
A New Rotary Club for Alaska 2019-06-26 08:00:00Z 0

Guatemala Literacy Project

Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP)
Dear Bernard,
My name is Jim Hunt, and I am a past District Governor and member of the Rotary Club of Ohio Pathways (D-6600). Joe Berninger, founder of the Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP), and I are organizing Rotary service trips to Guatemala and we are looking for interested Rotarians.                                                 
The GLP is the largest grassroots, multi-club, multi-district effort in the Rotary world not directed by RI itself—the “gold standard” of Rotary projects, according to former RI President Ian Riseley. Over 600 Rotary clubs from 8 countries have participated in the GLP since its inception in 1996. GLP Textbook, Computer, Teacher Training, and Youth Development programs currently serve more than 50,000 impoverished children.
We need Rotarians to join the following service trips to Guatemala:
  • July 21-27, 2019 
  • July 30-Aug 4, 2019
  • Nov 14-17, 2019
  • Feb 1-9, 2020
  • Feb 18-23, 2020
  • July 12-18, 2020
  • July 21-26, 2020
These trips offer a variety of experiences: Some are longer or shorter; some more “hands on”—and all of them give you the opportunity to be a meaningful part of Rotary’s work fighting poverty in Guatemala. Please visit the project’s website for more details.
Could you share this opportunity with members of your club?
If you have any questions, you can email me at
Yours in Rotary Service,
Jim Hunt, PDG 
Rotary Club of Ohio Pathways (D-6600)
Joe Berninger
Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP) 
Rotary Club of Ohio Pathways (D-6600)
Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP)  
Rotary eClub of Ohio Pathways
2300 Montana Avenue, Suite 301
Cincinnati, OH 45211
(513) 661-7000
Guatemala Literacy Project 2019-06-19 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary Announces US$100 Million to Eradicate Polio

EVANSTON, Ill. (June 10, 2019) — Rotary is giving US$100 million in grants to support the global effort to end polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that once paralyzed hundreds of thousands of children each year.
The funding comes as Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) address the final—and most pressing—challenges to ending poliovirus transmission, and as Nigeria approaches three years without any reported cases of wild poliovirus, bringing the Africa region closer to polio-free status.
“We have the wild poliovirus cornered in the smallest geographic area in history, and now there are just two countries that continue to report cases of the wild virus,” said Michael K. McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee. “As we work with our partners to apply innovative new strategies to reach more children, and embrace lessons learned thus far, Rotary is doubling down on our commitment to end polio for good. I’m optimistic that the end of polio is within our grasp, but we must remain vigilant in rallying global political and financial support as we push towards a polio-free world.”
While there were only 33 cases of wild poliovirus reported in 2018, the last mile of eradication has proven to be the most difficult. Barriers to eradication--like weak health systems, insecurity, and mobile and remote populations--must be overcome. As long as a single child has polio, all children are at risk, which underscores the need for continued funding and commitment to eradication.
To support polio eradication efforts in endemic countries, Rotary is allocating half the funds it announced today to: Afghanistan ($16.3 million), Nigeria ($10.2 million), and Pakistan ($25.2million). Additional funding will support efforts to keep vulnerable countries polio-free:
  • Chad ($102,395)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo ($9.5 million)
  • Ethiopia ($2.6 million)
  • Iraq ($6 million)
  • Kenya ($6.3 million)
  • Mali ($1.2 million)
  • Somalia ($1.4 million)
  • South Sudan ($1.2 million)
  • Syria ($1.7 million)
  • Yemen ($2.1 million)
The World Health Organization (WHO) will receive $1.3 million to conduct research, and will also receive support for surveillance activities in its Africa ($10.9 million) and Eastern Mediterranean ($4 million) Regions.
Rotary has committed to raising $50 million a year to be matched 2-to-1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, amounting to $150 million for polio eradication annually. Rotary has contributed more than $1.9 billion to fight the disease, including matching funds from the Gates Foundation, and countless volunteer hours since launching its polio eradication program, PolioPlus, in 1985. In 1988, Rotary became a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Gates Foundation later joined. Since the initiative launched, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases in 1988 to 33 cases of wild poliovirus in 2018.
About Rotary
Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer 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. Visit and for more about Rotary and its efforts to eradicate polio.
Contact: Audrey Carl,,     847-866-3424
Rotary Announces US$100 Million to Eradicate Polio 2019-06-11 08:00:00Z 0

mytaxi Donates Proceeds From Rides to Rotary

HAMBURG, Germany (31 May 2019) — To multiply the impact of the 25,000 Rotary members expected to attend the service organization’s international convention 1-5 June, mytaxi will donate all proceeds from rides to and from the Hamburg Messe - beginning today until 5 June – to Rotary efforts that improve lives.

“Along with being one of our main event sponsors, we are grateful for mytaxi commitment to support Rotary club efforts to transform lives and communities for the better,” said Barry Rassin, Rotary International president.

Each year, Rotary members invest hundreds of millions of euros and countless volunteer hours to promote health, peace and prosperity in communities across the globe. mytaxi contribution will support:

  • A bee pasture project developed by the Rotary Club of Ahrensburg to help the dwindling bee and butterfly populations to flourish;
  • Emotions Training for Autism, developed by Rotaract Germany, to support those with autism spectrum disorder thrive in their personal and professional lives; and
  • HANWASH, a collaborative initiative led by Rotary clubs in Haiti, The Bahamas, The Cayman Islands, The British Virgin Islands, The Rotary Foundation, DINEPA and others, to bring clean water to Haiti.

“We take pride in knowing that our donation will go toward improving our environment, economy and wellbeing,” said Eckart Diepenhorst, CEO of mytaxi. “With the leadership of Rotary clubs, we know that our contribution will result in lasting, positive change.”

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 those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Germany’s 56,000 members and 1,100 clubs are taking action to make the world a better place at home and abroad.

About mytaxi: mytaxi was founded in June 2009 and was the world’s first taxi app that established a direct connection between a passenger and a taxi driver. With 14 million passengers and more than 100,000 drivers, mytaxi is the leading taxi e-hailing app in Europe. Since February 2019, mytaxi is part of the FREE NOW group, the ride-hailing joint venture of BMW and Daimler. Within 2019, mytaxi will rebrand to FREE NOW. mytaxi today works with 700 employees in 26 offices and is available in around 100 European cities. Eckart Diepenhorst is the CEO of mytaxi. More information is available at: 


Philipp Krüger: +49 (0)40 533 08878, 
Tamira Mühlhausen: +49 (0)40 533 088 87,

mytaxi Donates Proceeds From Rides to Rotary 2019-06-11 08:00:00Z 0

Rotary Peace Scholar Visits Homer

Late last Friday I received word from Rosie Roppel, ADG from Ketchikan, that a Rotary Peace Scholar and retired High Court Judge, Roshan Dalvi, from India was heading to Homer to walk the Homer Spit.  She wondered if we could help Ms. Dalvi in her Quest. I, of course, said "Sure!" and waited for an itinerary.  Unfortunately, the first email didn't come through, and it wasn't until a resend on Monday that the Peace Scholar was already in Homer!  
When I met Roshan Dalvi, I was immediately impressed.  She really hadn't been expecting anyone to show her around but accepted my offer and we headed out on a quick tour.  Ms. Dalvi was interested in everything, and extremely friendly and easy to talk with.  A quick trip up East Hill to give her an idea what the Homer area looked like, especially the Spit that she came all those thousands of miles to walk and explore, then up to the overlook on Bay Crest where Mt. Iliamna was in full glory, as were Mt. Augustine and Mt. Douglas!  The sun came out just for her!  Our next stop was to City Hall to meet with City Manager and Rotarian Katie Koester, who is a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar.  The conversation was mostly over my head, but the City Manager and the retired Judge seemed to have pretty good handle on solving the worlds problems.  Now to get the world's leaders to listen to them!
I had to depart and Van Hawkins joined Ms. Dalvi on her Spit Walk.
Roshan Dalvi with the Homer Spit and Kachemak Bay behind her.
Rt. to Lft.  Roshan Dalvi, Katie Koester, and Craig Forrest
Rotary Peace Scholar Visits Homer 2019-06-05 08:00:00Z 0

Rain Trust

Elias Thomas
Rotary Club of Sanford-Springvale, Maine
In 2012, Elias Thomas was in Rajasthan, India, visiting a site that two years before had been dusty and barren but now was lush and green. “Waterfowl had moved in to make it their habitat,” he recalls. “I heard engines pumping water up the hills to irrigate garden beds on terraces. As far as I could see, everything was green.” The transformation was the result of a catchment dam, which collects rainwater during the monsoon season and holds it in reserve for the dry season.
Michael D. Wilson
The dam had been built in 2010 by Thomas and other Rotarians from his club and the Rotary Club of Delhi Megapolis, with the support of a water conservation trust in India. It was the first of 10 such dams they have built together. “I first went to India in 2001 to participate in National Immunization Days. We thought the time would be more valuable if we incorporated a service project,” says Thomas.
A local rural development foundation identifies ideal locations near villages and farms where the dams can be built, taking advantage of dry riverbeds formed during previous monsoon seasons. “We dam it up and force it to create a reservoir — that’s a water catchment dam,” says Thomas, a past governor of District 7780 (parts of Maine and New Hampshire).
Local workers use machinery to dig huge trenches, and then the Rotarians spend four to five days building the foundation and walls by hand. Local laborers finish the project. The dams allow farmers to employ gravity-fed irrigation, help raise the water table, and recharge wells.
Last year, U.S. Senator Susan Collins of Maine recognized Thomas on the Senate floor, reading a tribute to his four decades of work as a Rotary volunteer. But he isn’t resting on his laurels; in February, he led a group of volunteers back to Rajasthan to build another dam.
This new dam will benefit more than 11,000 people. “Farmers can grow three crops instead of one. The first is for subsistence, the second will feed cattle, and the third can be sold,” Thomas says. “So what they make from selling the crop can be used to buy goods and services from others, and there’s a ripple effect.”
— Anne Stein
Rain Trust 2019-05-30 08:00:00Z 0

5 Questions About District Grants

with Margie Horning
District 5960 (parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin) grants team leader
1. How have you seen district grants help members become more engaged?
Participating in district grants gives Rotarians a sense of ownership and the knowledge that they made a difference in someone’s life. It also energizes people to donate to The Rotary Foundation and to become involved. A few years ago, there was a club in my district that hardly participated in giving to the Foundation and didn’t do any district grants. Then they applied for a district grant for a food shelf in their rural community. Within a year of seeing how their funds doubled because of the grant, nine members had become Paul Harris Fellows. They had a sense of pride, and they’ve gone on to be involved with other service projects.
2. Are district grants more often used for local or international projects?
Generally speaking, more district grant projects are local than international. For example, in our district, seven of our 25 district grants in 2017-18 were used for international projects. Currently, seven of our 18 projects are in foreign countries, including Guatemala, India, Nigeria, Togo, and Uganda.
3. How do district grants help clubs foster relationships with the community?
District grants can be like building blocks; they can allow clubs to start small and then go larger with their projects. There are always needs in your community. Even if it’s a $1,000 or $2,000 grant, get going on it. It doesn’t have to be a multimillion-dollar project to begin with.
4. What’s the most creative use of local district grants that you’ve seen?
Clubs have gone far beyond the park bench or dictionary project. They’re working with their communities, asking how they can help, and thinking bigger. One club, working closely with its local school district to come up with projects, provided equipment and software for an industry certification. It will help students get jobs in manufacturing or, if they go on to higher education, will count toward their coursework.
5. What are some misconceptions about district grants?
People say, “I could never do that; it’s too hard.” Our district has mentors who will help walk clubs through the process. It may seem like a lot of work, but that grant money allows you to apply your club’s extra funds to another project you want to work on. Apply for the grant, and if it’s too big a project for just your club, the district grants team can help you connect with other clubs.
— Diana Schoberg
5 Questions About District Grants 2019-05-30 08:00:00Z 0

Great Gatsby Fundraiser

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Dear Friend,
On Saturday, June 29th the Great Gatsby fundraiser will be held by the Susitna Rotary Club & D5010 Rotary E-Club at Settler’s Bay Golf Course.  This is the third year for this joint fundraiser that benefits the Kids Kupboard meal program in Big Lake and the Water Safety programs for kids (Kids Don’t Float life jacket stations & Josh the Otter educational programs teaching kids to float).  The direct impact to our local community is tremendous with over 3,000 meals served to kids in the past year; and students from Glacier View to Talkeetna being taught water safety.
Please see attached flyer for event details & tickets.
We invite you to sponsor the Great Gatsby event where you will have a roaring good time AND make a difference in young lives!
$500 Flapper sponsor:  company logo proudly displayed on the event banner and announced at event by emcee.
$1,000 Jitterbug sponsor:  company logo proudly displayed on PSA’s, event banner and announced during the event by emcee.  Includes 1 complementary ticket for two ($250 value).
$2,500 All That Jazz sponsor:  company logo proudly displayed on PSA’s, event banner and announced during the event by emcee.  Includes 1 reserved table for 8 ($1,000 value).
For questions or to purchase sponsorship, please contact Cheryl Metiva ( or cell #907-315-9920).
In friendship & Rotary service,
Rosa & Floyd Shilanski, D5010 E-Club
Cheryl & Marty Metiva, Susitna Rotary Club
A person in a suit and tieDescription automatically generated
Great Gatsby Fundraiser 2019-05-30 08:00:00Z 0
2019 Russian Open World Visitors 2019-05-22 08:00:00Z 0

Rebels With a Cause

Rotary Club of Evening Downtown Boston, Massachusetts
On the night the Rotary Club of Evening Downtown Boston was chartered in 2010, co-founder Scott Lush called it a “100-year-old startup.” He and two co-founders had respectfully broken off from another club because, he says, “we felt the existing model did not have mass appeal.” They wanted their new club to be a test model for Rotary — a place where they could experiment with the club experience while retaining Rotary’s commitment to fellowship and service. They envisioned a vibrant club that showcased stimulating speakers, focused on members’ needs, and welcomed everyone, no matter who they were or why they had come.
Evening Downtown Boston Rotarians Scott Lush (from left), Hélène Vincent, Samantha Drivas, Jim Hogan, and Jennifer Smith at Boston’s Old State House.
Photo by Ian MacLellan
Fast-forward nine years to a cold winter evening in a private room at a popular Boston pub. Every seat is taken and there are visitors at all the tables: friends, strangers, Rotaractors, a Rotarian from Brazil, the assistant governor of the district. Nearly half of the 40 people present are not members of Rotary.  
The room buzzes as everyone socializes over sliders and drinks. People come in, fill out name tags, give hugs, and join conversations. There is an informal rule for club meetings: No one should be standing alone. With so many visitors, members’ socializing exclusively with other members is gently frowned upon — that’s what the club’s members-only events are for. The monthly meetings are a way to introduce the club to, and a chance for members to meet, new people. 
In the beginning, the club tinkered with just about all the aspects of the Rotary experience. In addition to the monthly evening meetings, it holds members-only social events once a month — recent ones have included hiking, bowling, trivia nights, and ski trips — as well as volunteer events once or twice a month. Those have included serving meals at food kitchens and tutoring adults for their high school equivalency test.
The board members continue to come up with innovative approaches. But they don’t only try new things; sometimes they go back to tradition. The co-founders had promised, for instance, that they would never do happy bucks at meetings, but they eventually reversed course because new members liked the idea (with a twist: They accept electronic payment via the Venmo app). 
The board members also use technology to help make decisions. Based on click-through metrics, they discovered that they get the best bang for their marketing dollars from Facebook. On their website, they offer a $10 off coupon for the first meeting (visitors usually pay $20). They also promote their meetings on Eventbrite and use an email marketing platform, Mailchimp, to manage member communications. They even test different versions of their welcome email for new members to see which subject lines prompt a higher “open rate.” The constant influx of new members helps keep that innovation going. 
Members also do some old-fashioned marketing by “outing” themselves as Rotarians and talking openly about Rotary at work and with friends. A few years ago, the club gave out Rotary mugs and encouraged members to use them at work, hoping to create opportunities to talk up the club. 
Many of the club’s 40 members have walked in the door with a connection to Rotary through a family member, boss, or friend. President Jennifer Smith is a transfer from a Connecticut club. Membership Chair Jim Hogan’s parents are Rotarians in Vermont. Past President Hélène Vincent’s grandfather and father are Rotarians, in France and Rhode Island, respectively. “My dad was shocked when I told him I joined Rotary. I think he thought it wasn’t cool, but I always thought my dad was cool,” Vincent says. 
Samantha Drivas was in Interact and participated in Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. Her grandfather, like Vincent’s, was a Rotarian, and she remembers helping him sell Christmas trees as a club fundraiser. “I wanted to be a Rotarian from age five,” she remembers. 
Club leaders know that to compete for members’ attention in a city that has an abundance of cultural activities, they need to offer a consistently positive and uplifting experience. Meetings are casual but efficient, and the emphasis is still on excellent speakers, who have included former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis and Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe’s and now co-CEO of Conscious Capitalism. 
Smith opens meetings with a short welcome that she practices at home. “I always try to tell a story or make people laugh,” she says. “I want it to be fun and I want people to walk away with something interesting.” This effort is not lost on those who attend. “You leave with a good feeling,” says David Hart, assistant governor of District 7930 (parts of Massachusetts and New Hampshire) and a member of the Rotary Club of Malden, Massachusetts. Then he leans in and lowers his voice: “When I recruit people, I love to send them to this club.”
Lush says the club is “the opposite of Facebook. On Facebook, you can have a million shallow friends. Here you have to show up and work together. We are the antidote to digital life. We are helping people get back what Facebook took away, and helping Rotary find a new formula.”
— Susie Ma
• Read more stories from The Rotarian
Rebels With a Cause 2019-05-15 08:00:00Z 0

Secondhand Treasures Book Sale Raises $95,000

When five trucks arrived at a secondary school in the city of Venlo in the Netherlands, members of the Rotary Club of Venlo-Maas en Peel were ready.
About 10,000 book and record aficionados attended the sale.
Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Venlo-Maas en Peel
The trucks were filled with items to be sold at the club’s 33rd annual book and record sale. The seven-day event in early January raised $95,000 that will go toward projects that improve the lives of children in Brazil, Malawi, Peru, and Sri Lanka.
In partnership with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the club mustered about 200 volunteers, including people who are not Rotary members, who made sure the event went off without a hitch. About 10,000 book and record aficionados from throughout the Netherlands, and from other countries including Germany and Belgium, attended the sale and took home 60,000 books and 15,000 records.
The club members work throughout the year to organize the fair. The club has drop-off points for book and record donations, and volunteers sort through them twice a week.
The items are categorized by genre, and a coordinator responsible for each category makes the final decision on what will be included in the sale. Most books sell for between 50 cents and $2.50, but those that are new or special can cost between $3 and $50.
Sometimes the club receives a donation of something unique. A few years ago, a dossier of documents related to the history of the city of Papendrecht brought in $8,000. The oldest of the documents, which the city bought, dated to 1328.
“The city of Papendrecht organized a special exhibition with these documents,” says club member Peter Elbers, noting that the documents contained previously unknown information about the city’s history.
After 33 years, Elbers has some tips on how to organize a successful book and record fair. Most important, he says, is to plan from the start to make it an annual event.
“Don’t try to organize such a fair only once,” he says. “When people recognize the quality of what you are selling, they will come back.”
A reliable volunteer workforce is also a must. Club member Jaap Verhofstad brought his children to help set up and break down the fair. “My children have had a few hours of fun helping out at the fair during the sale,” he says. “Our 11-year-old twins are too young for the heavy work — but in a few years we will have two more strong men.”
— Annemarie Mannion
• Read more stories from The Rotarian
Secondhand Treasures Book Sale Raises $95,000  2019-05-15 08:00:00Z 0

Optimism Has Gone Out of Style,

a best-selling author argues, but he thinks the world is in better shape than ever
If you watch the news, you could be forgiven for believing the world is on the brink of collapse. In the current media environment, that message is in heavy rotation, and it gets heavier all the time. In 2017, 59 percent of Americans said this was “the lowest point in U.S. history that they can remember.” To many, it seems obvious that the present is far worse than the past.
But Gregg Easterbrook has some news for them: The facts don’t support that conclusion. In his new book, It’s Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear, he argues that the developed world is mired in “declinism” — the belief that things are getting worse all the time — when the opposite is true. In almost every area — the environment, the economy, education, health — Easterbrook says conditions are improving thanks to government policies and the efforts of organizations such as Rotary to find solutions to the problems we face. 
Why is this so hard to believe? Some of the reasons are psychological, some are economic, some are cultural. But the misperception matters, because pessimism can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. To solve problems, we must believe they can be solved. 
Image by Viktor Miller Gausa
Easterbrook is the author of 11 books, including the best-selling The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse, which examined why our standard of living and our sense of well-being have not risen in tandem. Easterbrook is a contributing editor at The Atlantic and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He spoke with frequent contributor Frank Bures from his home in Washington, D.C.
Q: What gave you the idea for this book?
A: The Progress Paradox was about what’s subjective — how we feel about our current moment. Things are mainly good, yet people don’t feel happy about them. That was the big question of that book. But I was left thinking, OK, things are mainly good. Why are things mainly good? What caused that to happen? Maybe some of it was just luck, but it can’t all be luck.
In It’s Better Than It Looks, I show that most of the improvement of society is the result of policy choices, by both institutions and individuals, that worked. Not only do people not generally understand that, but they believe the reverse. They think that everything that’s been tried has failed. But the facts are that the United States and Western Europe have never been in better condition. Most, although of course not all, of the world has never been in better condition.
Q: You trace the rise of declinism in your book and suggest that it accelerated in the early 2000s, when social media took off. 
A: The trend of thinking that things are worse than they are was already in progress before Facebook was turned on. But social media has accelerated that trend and made it worse. I’m not saying social media was the only reason. It was one of many. But it amplified a trend that was already in progress.
Q: Why do we want to believe that things are going downhill?
A: One reason is that we’ve been trained by schools and colleges to think that everything is bad and that anybody who’s telling you anything good must be a Pollyanna or an apologist. He must be secretly in the pay of the super-rich. Americans have been trained to a specific type of selection bias to only see negative news and not positive news.
Another factor is that government controls an ever-larger share of the GDP. When my parents were growing up in the 1920s and 1930s, government controlled hardly any of the GDP. There was a lot wrong with this arrangement. There was no Medicare or Medicaid, no federal housing assistance, almost no federal help for transportation, less federal funding for education. It’s good that we have those things now. 
Today, in the United States, government controls [through direct spending on goods and services and transfer payments such as Social Security, subsidies, and financial aid] 41 percent of the GDP. In the United Kingdom, it’s 48 percent. In some Scandinavian nations, it’s more than half. Increasingly our lives are tied to government benefits, which isn’t necessarily bad; the expansion of the entitlement state resolved a lot of the structural problems of poverty and destitution. But it also drilled into our heads the words “woe is me.” If you want something from the political system, you claim to be the victim of some injustice. You claim that the world is in terrible condition and that the only possible solution is for government to give you a special benefit. It gives us a huge incentive to claim that things are worse than they are. And the political parties have responded to that.
Q: So the belief that the world is getting worse isn’t just the province of the left or the right?
A: You can find it on both the left and right. But there are also many people who have what I call “abundance denial.” Most Americans now live better, in the material sense, than any generation of the past. Anybody who tells you he or she would rather live in the 19th century either is lying or has no idea what 19th-century life was like. Almost everybody today lives better than any generation in the past, but they don’t want to admit it. They want to deny it. People say, “It’s so terrible, I don’t live as well as my parents did.” Check your parents at the same age [as you are now], and see what their material living standards were — what their education level was, what their longevity was at that point in life, et cetera — and see whether you’re actually not living as well as your parents did.
Q: What are some of the things that are getting better?
A: Practically everything. Take the last 30 years: Criminal violence has been declining steadily. It peaked in the early 1990s and has declined since then. The number and the intensity of wars in the world have gone down. Many forms of pollution are in decline everywhere in the world. The big exception is climate change. 
The current Western generation is the most educated generation in the history of our planet. And education is rising everywhere. India, for example, is a very well-educated country. Not a century ago, almost everyone in India was illiterate. Now, a majority of people have received a pretty good education. 
Disease rates are declining in almost every nation in the world, including the big killers: cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Longevity is rising everywhere. We’ve had a little bit of sputter in American statistics because of painkiller abuse. That’s a big concern and a huge problem. But in general, longevity is increasing almost everywhere in the world. It’s been increasing for a century and a half. 
Material living standards are increasing. Buying power is increasing. In the United States and Western Europe, the level of income received by the middle class clearly has been stalled for the past 30 years or so, but buying power has continued to increase at 3 percent per year.
Those are the big trends. It’s hard to think of any underlying trend in the Western world that’s negative. And the same goes for most of the underlying trends, although sadly not all, in the larger world. 
Q: Are you even optimistic about climate change? 
A: I am. It would be wrong to say it will be easy to correct climate change. But I think it can be done, and I think it will end up costing a lot less than people think. Inequality is a much tougher nut to crack. In a free society, you want freedom of opportunity, but it’s hard to imagine equality of outcomes and retain that freedom. I’m much more optimistic about climate change than inequality. But I don’t think we should give up on inequality.
Q: You also say that climate change might be less apocalyptic than we think.
A: I think an apocalyptic outcome is very unlikely. If you look at the range of possibilities for climate change, there’s a tiny chance it will be apocalyptic. There’s also a tiny chance it will be beneficial. The more likely outcome for climate change is that it will gradually cause social problems like higher disease rates in the equatorial countries. But I think those problems could be avoided. It won’t be easy. It’s just more practical than people think. Greenhouse gases are fundamentally an air pollution problem, and the last two big air pollution problems — smog and acid rain — both were solved much more quickly and cheaply than anybody predicted. If society gets serious about greenhouse gases, we’ll address it faster and more cheaply than people think, too. 
Q: What would you say to people who have a feeling of dread about the future?
A: If you look at all of the predictions of doom in the past, none of them have ever come true. It’s not that a few of them came true. None of them came true. Population growth was supposed to destroy us in the 1960s. Fifty years ago, it was commonly predicted that there would be mass starvation, hundreds of millions or even billions of people starving to death. Now the global population is double what it was, and malnutrition is at the lowest level ever. Runaway, unstoppable diseases were supposed to cause millions, or billions, of people to die. But they’ve never been observed in society, and they’ve never been observed in nature. So far as we know, there has never been a runaway disease, and the likelihood is that there never will be a runaway disease. The biosphere is elaborately designed to resist all forms of runaway effects. That plants, mammals, and people are here is proof the diseases don’t win.
We were supposed to run out of oil. We were supposed to run out of ferrous metals. We were supposed to run out of rare earth materials. We were supposed to run out of natural gas. Not only have none of those things happened, but we now have significantly more of all those resources than when people predicted they were about to run out. A hundred years ago, everybody thought we were about to run out of coal. 
In general, one should be skeptical of sweeping statements, but I don’t think this statement is too sweeping: No predicted apocalypse has ever occurred. So it’s possible that predictions of doom that swirl around climate change could come true, but it’s not likely.
Q: You make a great case for the fact that things are slowly and steadily getting better. Aren’t you afraid that people might see that as a reason to sit back and do nothing?
A: Often when you say things are getting better, pundits and politicians say, “Oh, that leads to complacency!” That is not what I am saying. I am simply saying that things are getting better. The success of past reforms is the reason to support reforms for the future. Nobody expects me, or you, or any one individual to change the world. But we do expect each individual to influence the things that he or she is able to influence. Support reform programs. As a voter, when you have a choice, choose the optimistic candidate.   
Q: How do you define optimism?
A: Optimism is not being a Polly-anna. That’s what people say to try to discredit it. Pessimists believe that problems cannot be fixed. Optimists believe that problems can be fixed. Optimism is a hopeful point of view. You can be a cynical optimist. You can be an optimist and be furiously angry about all the things that are wrong with the world, which I am. But if you’re an optimist, you think those things can be fixed. In my book, I quote the economic historian Deirdre McCloskey, who says that throughout history, the pessimists were almost always wrong and the optimists were almost always right.
Q: That sounds good, but it is hard for people to trust that optimism, given that the news we consume about the world is so insistently negative.
A: If you, or me, or anybody wants to make a choice to be negative about life, you can do that, but it is important to remember it is a choice. Being a declinist is not something that’s imposed on you by factual understanding of events. It is your choice. But if you make that choice, the improvement of the world becomes a lot less likely.
Q: Rotarians are fundamentally optimistic; they believe problems can be solved. How do you think polio eradication fits into this mindset?
A: That’s a great example. People said eradicating polio was impossible, and we now know it is possible. Today people say that eradicating malaria is impossible. That’s because we haven’t yet figured out how to do it. That’s all.
People who make the optimistic choice — not to deny the problems but to believe they can be fixed — make the world better. 
• Read more stories from The Rotarian.
Optimism Has Gone Out of Style, 2019-05-07 08:00:00Z 0

Sushil Gupta Resigns as RI President-Nominee


Sushil Gupta

My Fellow Rotarians,

It is with a heavy heart that I announce my resignation as the president-nominee of Rotary International. While it was my dream to serve as your president, my health prevents me from giving my absolute best to you and the office of the president at this time. I believe Rotary deserves nothing less than that from those elected to represent this great organization of ours.

I have made this difficult decision after much soul searching and conferring with my family. This is not only a disappointment for us, but I am also keenly aware that this will be a disappointment for many Rotarians in India who were so proud to see someone from our country again named as president. I know that this is what is best for Rotary International.

I have been a Rotarian for more than 40 years and it has given me everything I could ask for. I can think of no higher honor than to have been selected by the Nominating Committee as president of Rotary for the 2020-21 Rotary year. I will continue to proudly serve as a Rotary member and pursue some major initiatives that I wanted to accomplish during my year as president, because I know that we are poised to achieve more great things in the future.

I wish nothing but the best to the candidate who succeeds me as president and thank you all for the support and encouragement you have shown me in the past year.

-Sushil Gupta

Sushil Gupta Resigns as RI President-Nominee 2019-05-07 08:00:00Z 0

Presidential Citation

Congratulations to all members of the Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay. Due to your selfless efforts throughout the Club year, we were awarded the 2018-2019 Presidential Citation-Gold Distinction. Of all the Clubs in District 5010, less than ten received this recognition. Give yourself a pat on the back—you deserve it!!

Presidential Citation 2019-05-07 08:00:00Z 0

Putting Civility Back Into Civil Discourse

          By David Sarasohn                   Illustrations by Joan Wong
The woman sitting at the end of the carefully arranged tables looks as though she would rather be someplace else — maybe at her real estate agency, maybe just with people she knows, people who see the world the way she does. But a friend asked her to come here, and she agreed, and she will carry out her role.
“It’s not my notion of a family,” she says firmly, her chin set as she explains the burden of holding conservative views in a liberal town. “It’s my truth of a family. I don’t want my views to be considered hate speech. But I don’t want to celebrate things that I don’t celebrate.”
At least half the people sitting around the table disagree with her. But none of them show it, not by a snort, or an impassioned interruption, or even a rolled eyeball.
It’s almost as if she’s in a place, and a moment, where people actually talk to each other — and listen to each other.
She, and the other people in the room, are in a workshop of Better Angels, a growing movement built around the idea that red and blue Americans can meet and talk for a day without name-calling or Twitter-blasting one another — and that the custom could spread. In a church activities center in a suburb of Portland, Oregon, seven people from each side of the ever-widening divide — all of them white, most of them old enough to remember the time before the internet ate politics — get together, work through a set of carefully arranged exercises, and discover that they can talk politics without sounding like a cable news network.
Since its inception in 2016, Better Angels has held hundreds of workshops around the United States, from daylong events to 2½-hour training sessions, to help people cultivate the vanishing skill of listening.
This morning in Oregon, people start out wary about the venture, so wary that a visiting writer is instructed not to quote anyone by name. Wearing red- or blue-rimmed name tags and sitting in alternating red and blue seats, participants offer opening statements that sound discouraged yet determinedly hopeful. Their concerns cross party lines.
“I’m really worried about our country, about the way we’re separated more and more,” says someone wearing a red tag.
“A lot of my friends are really quick to cut off anyone who objects to them,” admits a blue sitting nearby.
“I’m really tired of the vitriol,” says a neighbor, sounding indeed tired of it. “Something is terribly wrong in this country.”
In the course of the day, they will talk, separately and together, about the stereotypes each side holds about the other — and how those stereotypes might contain a kernel of truth. They will devise questions to ask the other side, and answer the questions from across the line. 
From the front of the room, one of the moderators, Linda Scher, assures the group that nobody is there to persuade anyone else, and cautions that participants should be careful with body language. It seems that these days Americans have trouble not only talking to each other, but even sitting near each other inoffensively.
The hope, explains Dan Sockle, the other moderator, is to end with “more introspection, more humility.” 
Sockle got here partly by way of Rotary; he’s a member of the Rotary Club of Three Creeks Vancouver, Washington. He thinks the idea of Better Angels fits rather neatly with The Four-Way Test.
Sockle spent 22 years in the military, bouncing around Germany, Italy, Korea, and southwest Asia. He came back to the United States for a government job in Washington state, but left again to work with a military program in Iraq, partly because his son was stationed there. 
Sockle noticed that Iraqi politics had some similarities to what he had seen back in the United States. “If everybody’s screaming, who’s listening?” he asks in a speech he often gives. 
Returning stateside, he came to rest — although “rest” isn’t really a word that comes to mind where Dan Sockle is concerned — back in Washington state, just across the Columbia River from Portland. He joined the Three Creeks Rotary club as a charter member and became active in Peacebuilders, an effort of the Rotarian Action Group for Peace, speaking to clubs in the West and Hawaii.
In the spring of 2018, he came across Better Angels, a project dedicated to producing less screaming and more listening. The name comes from Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address, when, looking at an onrushing civil war, the president expressed his faith that “the better angels of our nature” would one day bring Americans together again. After four years of war and massive casualties, they did.
Sort of.
Sockle is a man of lengthy answers and big enthusiasms who sweeps other people up in them. For this session of Better Angels, his fourth, he has invited the president of his Rotary club; a former district governor; and his own son. The week after this event, he’ll drive 200 miles to a Better Angels training event in Grants Pass, a southern Oregon town situated, geographically and politically, at the other end of the state.
Expressing his enthusiasm for Better Angels, Sockle points to his eye, which is swollen for medical reasons but does look a bit like the result of a heated discussion about the proper definition of family.
“Here’s what you’re getting if you stay polarized,” he declares with mock warning.
In the day’s first Better Angels exercise, the reds and blues separate, which helps reassure those uneasy about interacting with people whose outlook is so clearly wrong. The goal is to think about stereotypes, and one stereotype is already reinforced: The blue team is almost all women, the red side heavily male.
Asked what image the other side has of them, and what might be its kernel of truth, the blue team members quickly fill up their whiteboard. They think that reds believe blues are unpatriotic, have anti-family values, are obsessed with political correctness, and are driven to tax, spend, overregulate, and grab everyone’s guns. But the blues see themselves as believing in inclusion and respectful language, and don’t think that America is necessarily better than anyplace else.
The reds have some trouble choosing from all the negative images they think blues have of them. While they see themselves as just more practical and cautious, they eventually agree that the other side considers them racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, intolerant, and anti-environment. Somehow, they go back out to talk to the blues anyway.
The contrast might explain why, especially in Portland, it can be harder to recruit reds than blues for Better Angels events. 
“The stereotypes about reds are so much more harmful,” says Scher, who works as a family mediator. While blues may be considered as too soft or as wanting to throw money at problems, she says, “the red stereotype is that you’re a terrible person.”
On the other hand, Sockle reports that in ruby-red Grants Pass, “blues are a little more reluctant” than reds to come to a Better Angels event. In general, when invited to encounter the other side, “people fear an ambush.”
In the second exercise, the Fishbowl, the two sides take turns sitting in the center of the room while surrounded by the other side. After agreeing that the media exaggerates differences and emphasizes extremes — even today, no political difference is so wide that it can’t be bridged by dislike of the media — both sides voice their beliefs and fears, and now have less anticipation of being attacked.
“I have a son who won’t have a family because of concerns about the environment,” says one of the women on the blue side.
Explains a man from the other side: “It’s good to be skeptical about policies and change. Republicans put more emphasis on who we are and how we got here.”
Gradually, the two groups get comfortable enough to admit to some discomfort with their own side.
“The Democratic Party has moved away from what it should be,” confesses one of its adherents.
A red then concedes that his Republicans have moved away from Abraham Lincoln, from the Dwight Eisenhower who created the interstate highways, from Teddy Roosevelt and conservation.
By the last exercise, when people from the two sides come together in small groups to ask each other questions, certainty on both sides seems a lot wobblier than it was in the morning.
“A lot of liberals equate conservatism with racism and sexism, and that’s not OK,” admits a blue participant. “We keep ourselves so isolated.” Another notes, “I live in a completely blue bubble.”
A red tells a cluster of blues: “There are no easy answers to any of these things. Even when I phrase my positions, they sound so lame.”
For the program, it’s a gain when each side says such things. And another gain when the other side listens.
At the Better Angels workshop, Nelson Holmberg wears a red-rimmed ID tag. He’s representing the Republican side, but he’s also representing something else.
“Applying The Four-Way Test to the idea of having a civil conversation is really appropriate,” he explains. “Being able to be part of both Rotary and Better Angels is incredibly valuable.”
Holmberg is president of the Rotary Club of Three Creeks — which, he notes proudly, has completed more than 25 service projects in only 2½ years of existence. Sockle, the club’s Peacebuilders chairman, has brought Holmberg today, but it doesn’t appear that Holmberg took a lot of persuading.
“I’m super-excited that there is this organization to address our politics,” says Holmberg. He was particularly taken with the first part of the daylong Better Angels program, identifying stereotypes and finding the kernel of truth. “The Four-Way Test really speaks to the idea that we all need to do what we did in that exercise.”
The same idea is bubbling up through other Rotary clubs. In November 2017, after reading an article about the work that Better Angels was doing, the Rotary Club of St. Paul Sunrise got in touch with Bill Doherty, a professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and a co-founder of the new organization.
The club invited Doherty to speak about Better Angels at its annual Community Forum in 2018, stirring such enthusiasm that the District 5960 Ethics Team, in conjunction with Better Angels, hosted three skills training sessions for other clubs in the district, training 100 Rotarians. One of the other clubs reported that “members couldn’t stop talking about it,” says Ellen Luepker, a St. Paul Sunrise member and co-chair of the Community Forum organizing committee. 
“Doherty kept pointing to The Four-Way Test, saying, ‘This is in your DNA,’” recalls St. Paul Sunrise member Ed Marek, who will be governor of District 5960 (parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin) in 2020-21. “It comes down to being respectful.”
The impact wasn’t just political, reports Luepker: “One person says she feels better in family conversations.”
Such communications gains might also be recognizable to someone sitting in on the Oregon session.
“I’m loving what I’m hearing,” says Mike Caruso, a past governor of District 5100 (parts of Oregon and Washington), after listening to the Oregon reds and blues exchange stereotypes. “I’m very excited about what this could be.”
At the end of the long day’s exercises in Oregon, reds and blues regather in the big central room to talk about what they might do next. The coordinators write down the participants’ “action plans” on big white sheets of paper, to be sent back to national Better Angels headquarters. Compared with the attitudes they brought in this morning, the participants now sound more open, less resistant.
The new plans may sound modest, but seven hours earlier, they might not have been heard at all.
“I make a commitment to you guys that when my fellow Republicans say Democrats are socialists who want to take our guns, I will say that’s not true,” declares the woman who had been firm about the behaviors she didn’t want to celebrate.
A blue woman promises, “I will challenge my more liberal friends.”
Many of the ideas are about everyday life, a sign that the experience can get very personal
“I’m looking forward to talking to my brother,” says a participant. “We’ll see what happens.”
One blue vows, on the topic of avoiding occasions of anger and misinformation, “I’m going to stay off Facebook, except for kitten and puppy posts.”
Another pledges, “I’m going to be writing handwritten notes to my representatives about education, the environment, and civil discourse.”
Nobody seems to consider it a wasted day. “The program sells itself,” says Sockle — who’s working hard to sell it, especially to fellow Rotarians — “once you get people in the door.”
And nobody has to be persuaded about the stakes involved.
“I’m taking away a faith that we can promote civil discourse,” says a participant, “as if our country depended on it.”
• David Sarasohn, a longtime columnist for The Oregonian in Portland, has written for the New York Times and the Washington Post. He has published three books including Waiting for Lewis and Clark: The Bicentennial and the Changing West. Read more stories from The Rotarian.
Putting Civility Back Into Civil Discourse 2019-05-01 08:00:00Z 0

The Four-Way Test in a Post-Truth Era

        By Joseph Epstein                Illustrations by Davide Bonazzi
I only recently learned of The Four-Way Test, one of Rotary’s central principles. It is of special interest in the current day, when truth — or, more precisely, truthfulness — seems to be losing its prestige in public life.  
Examples are not difficult to find. A current member of the U.S. Senate claimed to have fought in Vietnam, which he didn’t, a major lie that seems not to have impeded his being re-elected to his Senate seat or to his continuing to make severe moral judgments about political opponents. Our current president, with his taste for braggadocio and hyperbole, would appear to operate outside the normal bounds of accuracy and precision of statement that once upon a time used to demark truth. Everywhere you turn, the first of the Four Ways — “Is it the truth?” — would seem more and more in danger of going by the boards.  
Poet Marianne Moore believed that “verbal felicity is the fruit of ardor, of diligence, and of refusing to be false.” Refusing to be false is a simple yet somehow majestic phrase that recalls the Houyhnhnms in Gulliver’s Travels, those intelligent horses who had no word for “lie” but fell back on “the thing that was not.” 
Saying “the thing that was not” has become a minor specialty, almost a profession. What else is “spin” — that word much revered by politicians, public relations experts, and others for whom truth is often a serious inconvenience — but twisting the truth in a manner that favors one’s own position, needs, or motives of the moment? 
Then there is the new use of the word “narrative.” Narrative once meant, simply, “a spoken or written account of connected events; a story.” In recent years it has come to mean little more than “my version” of events. Narrative, as historian Wilfred M. McClay has written, “provides a way of talking neutrally about [events] while distancing ourselves from a consideration of their truth.” Nowadays, several movie stars as well as a Supreme Court justice have laid claim to, or been accused of, “changing the narrative.” In an article in Vanity Fair, Monica Lewinsky writes that she intends to “take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past” — which, after all these years, she, as much as anyone, may be justified in doing.
And let us not forget the contemporary notion of “reinventing” oneself, as if people could easily shed their personality, their character, all that has gone before in their life, by changing jobs, neighborhoods, spouses. I myself have always liked the saying, in contravention of the notion of reinventing oneself, “Anywhere you go, there you are.”
Spin, the new use of narrative, and the notion of reinventing oneself are all subsets of relativism. Relativism is the doctrine that holds that, outside mathematics and certain physical laws, there are no central truths, only contending versions of what passes for truth. Under relativism, one opinion may not be as well-informed as another, but no one point of view, religion, or philosophy holds the monopoly on truth. It’s all, so to say, relative, dependent on a person’s time, background, or position in life. Truth? For the relativists, who play a major role in contemporary higher education, the word carries little weight, has no real authority. All the more reason, of course, for those of us who believe in the truth to defend it, which, surely, is one of the chief intentions behind The Four-Way Test. 
The Second Way — “Is it fair to all concerned?” — is of course inextricably lashed to the First Way. Truth may be difficult, trying, painful, and much else, but if it is unfair it isn’t quite truth. For truth is impartial, disinterested, by its very nature without favoritism — and hence fair. If you are unfair in your judgments or pronouncements, you are, ipso facto, being less than truthful, and if you are truthful you are, again ipso facto, fair. The two, truth and fairness, do not so much follow, one after or from the other, but travel, like well-trained horses, in tandem. A third horse, making a troika, is to ask, “Have I succeeded in treating my subject with the complexity it deserves?”
Often when we think we are being truthful, we are being less than fair. This seems especially so in politics. Politics has never provided fruitful ground for truth; quite the reverse. No single group is perhaps less noted for consistent truthfulness than politicians. The reason for this is that politics does not seem to allow for neutrality; in politics people are regularly asked — “forced” may be closer to it — to choose sides. Once they do, their version of truth takes on a coloration that is likely to preclude fairness to people with politics different from their own. 
Truth and fairness are most elusive where passions are engaged, and few things engage the passions more readily than politics. Left/right, liberal/conservative, Democrat/Republican, each side in the political debate encapsulates a version of virtue: If you’re of the left, then the virtue of social justice is central to your beliefs; if you’re of the right, then that of liberty is central. The reason arguments about politics can get to the shouting stage quicker than arguments on just about any other subject is that they are really arguments about competing ideas of virtue. Attack my politics and you attack my virtue. 
What, then, is to be done? One thing to do is keep in mind the aspirational impulse behind the Third and Fourth Ways. You’re likely to build goodwill and better friendships, to be beneficial to all concerned only if, even as political passions swirl about, you keep your eye on the goals of truth and fairness. Easier said, of course, than done. Yet I wonder if the reason our country is so divided, our politics so divisive, is that the spirit behind The Four-Way Test has largely been abandoned by the nation at large. 
Building goodwill and better friendships has in history proven more difficult than being beneficial to all. Think of the great historical heroes of truth: Socrates, Galileo, Giordano Bruno, among others. These were men whose truths did not find easy acceptance in their time — Socrates was forced to suicide, Galileo silenced by the church, Bruno hung upside down and burned by the Roman Inquisition — but whose thought has since been recognized as being at the heart of Western philosophy and science. 
Few people at any time are equipped to be truth seekers of the kind and magnitude of Socrates, Galileo, and Bruno. The best most of us can hope for, in Marianne Moore’s phrase, is “refusing to be false.” Bishop George Berkeley, the 18th-century Irish philosopher, wrote, “Few men think; yet all have opinions.” To be able to distinguish thought from opinion, no easy task, is perhaps a first step on the way to truth and fairness. A second step may well be cultivating a certain detachment that allows people to get outside themselves to view truth apart from their own personal interest. 
In his masterwork, The World as Will and Representation, 19th-century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, taking up the concept of the sublime, describes what he calls “the sublime character”: 
Such a character will accordingly con-sider men in a purely objective way, and not according to the relations they might have to his will. For example, he will observe their faults, and even their hatred and injustice to himself, without being thereby stirred to hatred on his own part. He will contemplate their happiness without feeling envy, recognize their good qualities without desiring closer association with them, perceive the beauty of women without hankering after them. His personal happiness or unhappiness will not violently affect him. ... For, in the course of his own life and in its misfortunes, he will look less at his own individual lot than at the lot of mankind as a whole, and accordingly will conduct himself in this respect rather as a knower than as a sufferer. 
When it comes to The Four-Way Test, Schopenhauer, this darkest of philosophers and a profound pessimist, would have made a good Rotarian. 
• Joseph Epstein’s most recent book, Charm: The Elusive Enchantment, was published in October by Lyons Press. Read more stories from The Rotarian.
The Four-Way Test in a Post-Truth Era 2019-05-01 08:00:00Z 0

Altruist Relief Kitchen


This is a "news" item for the Club and for the bulletin.

The International Committee approved a $500 donation to the Altruist Relief Kitchen (ARK), a not for profit organization that provides emergency relief to people in natural disasters and to refugees at the USA border.  The founder of this organization is Lucas Wilcox who was the guest of Clyde and Vivian at Rotary on the 11th. 


Lucas Wilcox will be a speaker at our club meeting on May 2.   Lucas will not solicit funds because his presentations are not about fund raising.  He is interested in sharing what his organization is doing and he wants to get feedback, advice and learn from others' expertise to improve his organization and the services he delivers.  It seems as though the ARK is following four of Rotary's areas of focus:

  • Peace and conflict prevention/resolution 
  • Disease prevention and treatment 
  • Water and sanitation 
  • Maternal and child health
Read more about ARK at < > or on FaceBook at < >
Altruist Relief Kitchen 2019-04-17 08:00:00Z 0

The Hustler

Column: A would-be hustler learns to appreciate the game despite the odds
By Kevin Cook
My Tuesday nights used to be relaxing. I’d open a beer, watch a ballgame, do a crossword if I was feeling adventurous. Then my wife came home with news.  
“José runs a pool league on Tuesdays,” she said. “I told him you’re great at pool. Want to check it out?”
There were some good ballgames on that night. But, I thought, maybe it was time for something more challenging. Something new. 
There’s nothing more cinematic than walking into a poolroom. When I went to the bar that hosts the league, I heard the balls clacking and saw the players leaning over the emerald-green tables, calling their shots.
“Five in the corner.” Down went the orange ball.
“Ten off the 12.” Clack clack and the 12 fell in. 
I found my team captain watching the action from a barstool. Phil, a sleepy-eyed psychology professor at Smith College, thanked me for signing up. I told him I hadn’t played since college, 40 years ago. “I thought I’d just watch —”
“You’re up.”
My opponent shook my hand. “I’m Doyle.” He racked the balls, drew back his custom-made cue, and bang — sent them flying all over the table. Two balls fell into pockets. Doyle made two more before it was my turn.
The game was eight ball, the most popular form of pool. Picking a stick from a rack on the wall, I chalked the tip. It seemed like the thing a league player would do. I made an easy shot but left the cue ball in the wrong place. The rules say your shot must strike one of your own balls first, and I was literally behind the eight ball. Another rule of eight ball is that you have to call your shot. Good players do so with confidence, but I was guessing. “Ten in the side?” 
I banked the cue ball off the 10, which rolled into the pocket. Doyle was impressed. He whistled and said, “Phil, you brought a ringer!” 
Phil called it a highlight-reel shot. Unfortunately, that was my whole highlight reel. Still, Phil said, I’d had a good showing, losing a close one. “You’ll get ’em next week.” 
But I didn’t. Week after week, I lost. There were sharks in the league who could beat me on their worst day, but the tuna and mackerel ate me up too. I liked the guys on my team: Phil and another professor, Jamie, who could beat everybody except an elderly player who looked like Sigmund Freud (“When I play him, I get a complex”), and Eric, a burly bartender. But I was letting them down. 
One night Phil told me I had an easy assignment: thin, bearded Zeke, who knocked in two of my balls but won when I sank the eight ball by mistake.
“Think positive,” said Phil, the psych professor. “We’ll get ’em next week.” But we didn’t. Thanks largely to me, we sank into last place. I started dreading Tuesdays — the consolation handshakes and the long walk home. When my wife asked how it was going, I told her I quit. 
Thirty-five million Americans play recreational pool. Many of them are baby boomers like me, who remember when pool was cool. We wanted to be like Paul Newman as Fast Eddie Felson in The Hustler, going up against Minnesota Fats. 
To play a sport is to be part of its history, and pool has great history. Minnesota Fats, played by Jackie Gleason in the movie, was a real barnstorming hustler who once hit a shot while the pool-hall floor, unable to hold his weight, collapsed under him. Fats made the shot while plunging through the floor to the bar below, where he dusted himself off and ordered a drink.
But as anyone who has tried it knows, pool’s harder than it looks in movies. One advantage today’s players have is that you can learn a lot online. You’ll find experts demonstrating every sort of shot on YouTube. One of the best tactics is easy: By angling your cue downward you can apply backspin, making the cue ball stop or back up.
After watching the experts, I wanted to try out a few new shots. Why not? Even a quitter can rent a table. 
It wasn’t glamorous, racking and re-racking balls, practicing alone, but it was interesting. Sixteen balls on a table the size of a queen bed make for more angles than a computer can calculate, but an afternoon of practice gave me new looks at them. Bank shots began making angular sense. I saw why you don’t want to hit the cue ball harder than necessary and how sidespin adds or subtracts to its angle off a rail.
There’s one question the experts haven’t solved: What’s the best way to break? Six hundred years after the game evolved from croquet in 15th-century France, with green cloth on the table to evoke the grass of croquet courts, there’s still no consensus. Some players hit the cue ball with overspin. Some smash it into one side of the racked balls. Some make it hop in the air on contact with the racked balls. 
Trying every sort of break I’d seen on YouTube, I wondered if I’d quit too soon. Maybe I should be more like Elaine. One of only two women in the league, Elaine was petite enough to put her at a disadvantage on the break. She couldn’t smash the ball as hard as most of the guys, but she didn’t give up. She’d played me twice and won both times.
Life seems to speed up every year, and the faster it gets, the more quick fixes it offers. But maybe there’s still something to be said for stick-to-itiveness. As Minnesota Fats used to say, “If something’s hard, most folks won’t even try. That’s my edge on them.” 
Fast Eddie Felson didn’t quit. He came back 25 years later in "The Color of Money," the sequel to "The Hustler." Paul Newman was 61 at the time — my age now. He yanked a house cue off the rack and took on Tom Cruise. Fast Eddie’s only concession to age was a new pair of eyeglasses. Maybe I could win a game or two with a little more practice and a trip to the optometrist. 
So I gave the pool league another week. What did I have to lose but a little more self-esteem? Maybe there are more important things. Competition. Camaraderie. A challenge.  
That week I faced José, hottest stick in the league. “Your break,” he said.
I reared back and tried to bash ’em on the nose. To my surprise, the seven ball fell in. That made me solids, aiming for balls one through six, and what do you know — the five and six were perched next to pockets. I bagged those two bunnies and then, by sheer accident, the cue ball rolled to a spot between two more of my solids. I tapped them in, putting backspin on the cue ball. The yellow one ball beckoned from a far corner. 
“Ace in the corner,” I said. And knocked it in. José tapped the butt of his cue on the floor — a pool player’s applause. I had a chance to run the table. 
The eight ball hugged the rail 80 inches away, a tough shot. Lining it up, giving myself about a 10 percent chance, I decided to stay in the league.
• Kevin Cook’s new book is "Ten Innings at Wrigley: The Wildest Ballgame Ever, with Baseball on the Brink." Read more stories from The Rotarian.
The Hustler 2019-04-17 08:00:00Z 0
A Day In Homer With Some Exchange Students 2019-04-17 08:00:00Z 0

Diabetes--Prevention and Detection

Are you in danger of getting Diabetes?  Do you want to know more about preventing diabetes, or perhaps keeping yourself from getting diabetes?  Check out the posters below.  A program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is looking for volunteers to take part in a study to help prevent diabetes.  Please check out the posters below, and if you are interested, please contact Leslie Shallcross and take part in the program.
Diabetes--Prevention and Detection 2019-04-16 08:00:00Z 0

Type A Retirees

They want a productive second act, but not everyone wants to be written into the script
By Joe Queenan
Shortly before my good friend T.J. decided to retire from his high-powered job, I suggested that we collaborate on a play. T.J., who had abandoned a career as an actor and playwright 30 years earlier, almost immediately sent me an engaging one-act play called Alms. I quickly got to work writing jokes and rearranging scenes, and within a month we had the play ready to go.
Before we could schedule a public reading of Alms, T.J. sent me a second play. Because I am still an active member of the workforce, I could not immediately give it the attention it deserved. By the time I started to work up a head of steam, T.J. had sent me the first 40 pages of a third play about two brothers divided by their opposing political beliefs. And he was already sketching out a fourth collaboration. 
It is a basic principle of warfare that you must never fight a war on more than one front. I learned this too late, as did Napoleon. And so I soon found myself facing the same situation as Bonaparte at Waterloo — so preoccupied with the English army directly in front of me that I never noticed the Prussian army sneaking in from the side. Because T.J., who was not even officially retired yet, was not the only Type A person I knew. I have a number of friends who have recently retired, and none of them is going gentle into that good night. They are attacking retirement with all the passion with which they had attacked their careers. And they expect me to help them do it.
Was I free for breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? Could I go to the Army-Air Force game up at West Point? How about the New York Knicks developmental league game in White Plains? They had an extra ticket for La Traviata. They had an extra ticket for La Bohème. They had an extra ticket for everything.
Alas, these outings were not innocuous social get-togethers, but heavy-duty work sessions. While we were at the game or the film or the opera, they would spring the trap. Could I give a speech at an event they were organizing? Could I read a memoir they had just written? Any chance of my pitching in and helping with their foundation that helps teach ex-cons marketable skills?
Or consider this. My best friend, Rob, retired from the IRS in his late 50s. That left him with a lot of time on his hands. He filled it in various ways: estate planning, helping a sick friend sell his house, the usual. Then one day, thanks to Facebook, he found out that he was living not 15 minutes away from the lead guitarist in the garage band we had played in 43 years earlier while growing up in Philly. Feelers were put out and the bass player from the band was run to earth, and soon the Phase Shift Network had a joyous reunion. At first we merely got together to play “Sunshine of Your Love” and talk about the good old days before Billy Joel showed up on the scene and ruined life as we know it. But then we got a drummer off Craigslist. And then things got serious. And then we started playing all the time. 
Unfortunately, those guys all live in or around Philadelphia, while I live 120 miles away. I found myself flying up and down the dreaded Jersey Turnpike every fourth Sunday, playing “Hey Joe” with a band consisting of the retired, the semi-retired, and the soon-to-be retired. Fortunate son? I think not.
Last year we hired a hall and held a concert for a hundred of our friends. It was great fun. But after that, exhausted by all the travel, I suggested to Rob that we scale back the live music for a while and write a musical together. Rob quickly sent me 30 jaunty, exquisitely crafted songs. All we needed now was a script — which I could easily bang out if I weren’t already writing four full-length plays with T.J.
In olden days, people did not retire. They simply died. This made it impossible to write a musical. But as life expectancies lengthened, people began to live a long time after retirement. That first wave of retirees knew what to do once their race was run. They fished. They knitted. They read Master and Commander novels. They traveled. And they did all this at a relaxed pace. They did not overcommit. They did not overschedule. They chilled.
The first wave of the retirees among my own acquaintance fit into this laid-back, reassuringly generic mold. They packed in their jobs selling computers and moved to Hawaii, sending me an annual postcard telling me how much fun they were having golfing. Or playing tennis. That was fine with me, as I loathe both sports. And as I had no desire to learn Portuguese, or visit those amazing waterfalls in Argentina, or get a master’s degree in theology, their retirement activities did not make me envious. 
But then the second wave of retirees arrived. These were not laid-back old geezers happy to play bridge and drift down the Rhône in a houseboat and learn Introductory Sanskrit to help stave off Alzheimer’s. These were Type A retirees. They had seized life by the throat when they were working, and they were going to seize it by the throat now that they were retired. They were going to serve on the board of their local health clinic. They were going to chair fundraisers for the public schools. They were going to get things built, bills passed, politicians elected.
Once retired, Type A people — accustomed to delegating responsibility to others — must cast about for someone new to task with demanding chores. In my circle of friends, because I am self-employed and therefore appear to have lots of time on my hands, that someone is me. 
I am not a Type A person. I am not a 24/7 kind of guy. I do not take it to the limit one more time. I don’t even take it to the limit the first time. I am not the kind of person who gets things done yesterday. I get them done when I feel like it. Often I do not get them done at all.
But because I am now hemmed in by high-energy retirees, I have been plunged into a vicariously stressful Type A life. I am writing introduc-tions to books. I am listening to self-recorded compact discs. I am reading family histories, self-published astrological guides, novels involving hipster werewolves masquerading as hedge fund managers. It is quite, quite laborious. 
If retirees would embrace their traditional role and sit on the porch whittling or making quilts, the rest of us could breathe easy. But because so many of them fall into the Type A category, the rest of us find ourselves struggling to keep up. 
That’s why we need to cajole our Type A friends into doing things that will get them all tuckered out so they’ll leave us alone. That’s where golf comes in. Despite its negligible merits as a sport, golf performs a positive societal function because it takes four or five hours to finish 18 holes. Five hours spent playing golf is five hours that can’t be spent asking other people to read your self-published book of haiku. That’s why I never disparage the game in front of my retired friends. 
Nor do I ever discourage people from taking a year off to hike the Appalachian Trail or live on a houseboat in Tierra del Fuego. Take two years, guys. Take 10. For similar reasons, I never talk down bridge. I never make fun of people for playing bingo or attending supper club productions of Pal Joey. If retirees want to jump into the Winnebago and visit all 50 state capitals, to them I say, “Godspeed.” I even encourage them to visit every baseball stadium while they’re at it, or go to England and spend a month in the room where Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland, or visit the house where the lead singer from the Small Faces grew up. To deal with the coming onslaught of Type A retirees, the rest of us need to encourage them to sign up for Danish classes, join the Peace Corps, replace the roof on every abandoned house in the South Bronx, or go on long, long, long trips to Nepal. Otherwise, we’ll never have a minute’s peace. 
• Joe Queenan is a freelance writer based in Tarrytown, New York.                             Read more stories from The Rotarian.
Type A Retirees 2019-04-10 08:00:00Z 0

7 Questions About Polio

Why the last mile is so important 
      with Michael K. McGovern
               International PolioPlus Committee Chair
1. There were more cases of wild poliovirus in 2018 than in 2017. Should we be discouraged?  
No, not at all. We’ve always expected the number of cases to fluctuate somewhat as we get closer to zero. We’ve gone four straight years with fewer than 100 cases per year. That’s an indicator of great progress. With dedication from governments and Rotarians in areas still affected by polio, we’ll get there. 
2. Why is it so difficult to eradicate a disease like polio?
Remember that even in the United States, where the polio vaccine was readily available, it still took 20 years to become polio-free. And the areas we are working in now don’t have health systems that are as well-developed as in the United States. 
3. What challenges are you seeing now?
We have been working intensely in the endemic countries — Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan — for a number of years, and some of the citizens in those countries are getting concerned that we are spending money on polio eradication when they have so many other needs. There’s some resistance to keep on receiving immunizations for polio, and polio alone. Our challenge is to find ways to provide other services to the citizens and children so we still have the parental support we need — to provide the “plus” in PolioPlus. 
4. What role does armed conflict play in those areas?
It makes the logistics of immunization far more difficult. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative partnership is not only dealing with governments — we’re dealing with anti-government elements as well. While we’ve worked to gain everyone’s trust and support, we’ve had areas that were inaccessible to immunization teams for months and sometimes years at a time. 
5. Do immunization teams know when they miss children? Or are there children they don’t even know about?
I think we have a good handle now on knowing when and where we’re missing children. The challenge is to keep reducing the number we miss. In Nigeria, we have done a lot of work since we were surprised by the discovery of several polio cases in Borno state in 2016, two years after the country had last seen a polio case. We now know through GPS mapping where the children are, and we are working with authorities there to make sure all children receive the polio vaccine.
6. Where are we seeing successes?
We haven’t had any cases of wild poliovirus anywhere in the world in nearly five years except in the three endemic countries. And in Nigeria, it’s been almost three years since we had any wild poliovirus cases, and those occurred in a small area of the country.
7. What’s the most important thing Rotarians should know?
I’ve been extremely impressed with the dedication and persistence of Rotarians in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. They are working hard to make sure polio is eradicated. It’s pretty amazing what they do in those countries.
Rotarians should continue to be optimistic and to support eradication. We also need Rotarians to bring the need for continued funding to the attention of their government leaders. We can’t lose sight of the goal.
— Diana Schoberg
• Read more stories from The Rotarian
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7 Questions About Polio  2019-04-10 08:00:00Z 0

News and a Request From the International Committee

The Club's International Committee is asking your help filling out this schedule by giving them ideas, and making commitments to host, hold a social event, help with a volunteer activity, take Maria on a fun event, and/or provide a job experience for her.

Please contact Clyde, Sue, or Vivian for information or to assist.

Maria Kupchinskaya – Russian Intern – July 5-19, 2019 for RC of Homer-Kachemak Bay
Tentative intern experiences, cultural, volunteer, and social events, plus hosts
Work opportunities   (Check on Ulmer's, NOMAR, Chamber, South Peninsula Hospital, City of Homer - Katie Koester and Rick Abboud – city planning, Harbor, water and sewer utilities, Peony farms, Kachemak Heritage Land Trust)
All day options:
Save U More, Mark Hemstreet.
Optometrist business, Andrew Peter
Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, Beth Trowbridge
Ist National Bank, Cinda Martin? Needs permission
Coal Point, Craig will ask
Half day or less
Van Hawkins and Clark Cripps – Financial advising/consulting, etc.
Charlie Franz?
Volunteer options:  Food Pantry, AKF&G, Kachemak Advocates of Recycling, Farmer’s market,  
Host options: Van Hawkins, Andrew Peter, Vivian and Clyde
Fun options:  Minus tide on July 6.7.8; Send her on CACS tour to Peterson Bay?; Hiking? Boat cruise, Fishing, Dinner with Rotarians, Farmer’s market,
News and a Request From the International Committee 2019-04-03 08:00:00Z 0

Climate Change

How Rotarians are already fighting climate change
By Diana Schoberg
Rotarians are doers. Show them a problem and they look for solutions. But a global problem such as climate change might seem daunting to even the most resourceful Rotary member. 
Our climate change series
Rotarians understand that the whole world is their backyard. They can see the effects of climate change in communities they care about, and they haven’t waited to take action. They’re tackling the problem the way they always do: coming up with projects, using their connections to change policy — and planning for the future.
Read our series to see:
Break that complex problem down into smaller pieces, however, and you find there are many things Rotarians can do — and are already doing, with help from The Rotary Foundation. 
A coalition of researchers and scientists led by environmentalist and writer Paul Hawken mathematically modeled the climatic and economic impact of potential solutions to learn which ones would yield the best results for people and the planet. The list, compiled in a 2017 book called "Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming," included some surprising possibilities, such as educating girls, promoting family planning, and assisting farmers. As it happens, all of those align with Rotary’s areas of focus. 
Drawdown researchers ranked solutions from 1 to 80 based on their potential to avert or reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We looked at those rankings alongside global grant projects to see how Rotarians are already helping to fight climate change.
Photo by Brounat
Family planning
Drawdown ranking: 7
In lower-income countries, the Drawdown authors write, 214 million women who want more control over their pregnancies lack access to contraception, which leads to about 74 million unintended pregnancies each year. Giving women the health care they want and need also benefits the planet, reducing population growth as well as greenhouse gas emissions. 
Pregnant women who gave interviews to Rotarians in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said that family planning was their top priority — a sentiment echoed by their families and doctors.
This led the Rotary clubs of Finot, Ethiopia, and Darmstadt, Germany, to develop a global grant project that trained skilled birth attendants and midwives in three health centers to provide family planning counseling. Medical staff also conducted home-based counseling for 1,500 women and organized a one-day family planning workshop for 90 women who were receiving obstetric care.
Photo by Ijeab
Girls’ education
Drawdown ranking: 6
A woman with no schooling has four or five more children than a woman with 12 years of schooling, which means that educating girls will have a huge impact on population growth.
While the regions of the world with growing populations are often the ones with the lowest per capita carbon emissions, reducing fertility rates will still have massive benefits — not only for the planet but also in reducing intergenerational poverty. And, the Drawdown authors note, one study found that educating girls is the single most important factor in reducing vulnerability to natural disasters, which occur more frequently with the extreme weather events associated with climate change. 
In Bosnia-Herzegovina, about 90 percent of Roma women are illiterate and less than 15 percent of Roma children go to school, leaving them vulnerable to human trafficking, among other things.
The Rotary clubs of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Denver, Colorado, partnered with a local nonprofit on a global grant project that mentored 80 families with at-risk girls. Twenty students from the University of Bosnia volunteered as mentors, and 15 Roma girls enrolled in school as part of the effort. Organizers estimate that at least 1,000 parents, teachers, and girls in 20 communities learned about the importance of gender equality in education through printed materials and workshops.
Regenerative agriculture
Drawdown ranking: 11
Regenerative agriculture practices include avoiding the use of plows to keep from disturbing the soil; planting a diverse array of cover crops; and limiting or abstaining from pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. These methods boost the amount of organic matter — carbon — in the soil, improving its health and that of the plants growing in it.
According to the Drawdown authors, regenerative agriculture increases organic matter in the soil between 4 percent and 7 percent over 10 years, representing an additional 25 tons to 60 tons of carbon stored in the ground per acre. That reduces the need for fertilizer — which means regenerative agriculture can help cut carbon in the atmosphere while increasing farmers’ production. 
Forty people from Meihua village, Taiwan, were trained in organic farming techniques through a global grant project of the Rotary clubs of Taipei Lungmen, Taiwan, and Patumwan, Thailand.
The effort, carried out in partnership with the Organic Farming Association of Taiwan, included creating a training facility and providing internships at organic farms. Organizers expected that growing without pesticides would lower farming costs and that selling organic vegetables at a premium price would improve villagers’ earnings.
Photo by Elena11
Reduced food waste
Drawdown ranking: 3
One-third of the fruits and vegetables, meat, and other food the world produces never gets eaten. Instead, it rots unharvested in fields, spoils in storage, or sits forgotten in the back of the refrigerator, only to end up in the garbage.
The production of uneaten food squanders resources such as energy, land, and fertilizer. In landfills, food waste generates methane, a greenhouse gas. From start to finish, uneaten food is responsible for releasing the equivalent of 4.4 million gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, the Drawdown authors write.
Centroabastos, a food wholesaler in Bucaramanga, Colombia, generates about 20 tons of organic solid waste per day. The Rotary clubs of Bucaramanga Nuevo Milenio, Colombia, and Woodland Hills, California, are working with the company’s nonprofit arm to set up a center that will use the surplus produce to provide training in safe food handling and processing. The project is expected to reduce food waste by 15 percent while creating employment opportunities.
Climate Change 2019-04-03 08:00:00Z 0

An Opportunity to Ease Travel and Help Rotary

Here’s an opportunity for you to help Rotary District 5010 and get some added benefits for yourself anytime you travel on Alaska Airlines.

About EasyBiz

EasyBiz addresses the unique needs of busy travelers with rewards and tools to save you time and money.

Enjoy all of the benefits of flying Alaska Airlines when you book your travel using EasyBiz. They guarantee it. Get extra perks yourself while helping Rotary District 5010.

Earn more miles

As a participating EasyBiz® organization, Rotary District 5010 earns 1 Mileage Plan™ mile for every dollar you spend on base fares. These miles are accrued by our Rotary district on top of the miles that are earned by you on your own personal Mileage Plan™ accounts. Everybody wins!

24-hour reservation holds

Alaska’s EasyBiz® service provides time for you to confirm itineraries before you buy. All reservations made through EasyBiz® can be held for 24 hours before you pay for them.

Just remember your tickets must be reserved and purchased through our EasyBiz® portal at  And, you'll always find the lowest airfares for flights at

To enroll, just let our travel advisor, David Berg (, know that you’re interested and he will send you an invitation link.  All he needs is your name and email address.

Once confirmed, you’ll have access to the District EasyBiz account for all your future travel purchases.

Sorry, If you’re already an EasyBiz user with another group, this option is not available to you :(



Andre’ Layral

DGE 2019-2020

An Opportunity to Ease Travel and Help Rotary 2019-03-26 08:00:00Z 0

Profile: A Vine Idea

Heidi Kühn

Rotary Club of San Francisco
Heidi Kühn arrived in Utsunomiya, Japan, in 1975, a few months after the end of the Vietnam War. She was a Rotary Youth Exchange student, and what she saw and experienced in Japan led her to reflect on the post-World War II reconciliation between that country and her native United States. “The idea of former enemies bridging borders for peace left an impression in my heart,” she says.
Heidi Kühn, of the Rotary Club of San Francisco, founded a nonprofit called Roots of Peace to remove land mines and revive farmland.
Photo by Ian Tuttle
More than 20 years later, Kühn had become a successful television journalist. She was asked by the Commonwealth Club of California, a well-known public affairs forum, to host an event featuring Jerry White, a land mine survivor who had escorted Princess Diana on her last humanitarian mission in 1997. It was a short time after the death of Diana, whose efforts to ban land mines had inspired Kühn. “That night, I made a prophetic toast,” she recalls. “‘May the world go from mines to vines.’”
Kühn decided to act on those words and founded a nonprofit called Roots of Peace that has worked to remove hundreds of thousands of land mines and other unexploded ordnance from farmland and replace them with productive fields, such as orchards and vineyards.
In Afghanistan, the organization has helped restore fields in the Shomali Plain north of Kabul, which had been a thriving agricultural region until the Taliban burned vineyards, cut down fruit trees, and laid land mines. Since 2003, Roots of Peace has connected growers with supermarket chains in India. 
Roots of Peace is also partnering with the Rotary clubs of San Francisco and Bangkok Klongtoey, Thailand, which received a $197,000 global grant from The Rotary Foundation to remove land mines and plant black pepper vines and taro in Vietnam’s Quang Tri province, and help farmers market the high-value crop.
Kühn and her husband and Roots of Peace partner, Gary Kühn, visited Afghanistan in 2018 to see the fruits of their labor. They flew out of Afghanistan on a cargo plane carrying the harvest. 
“To me, that was the greatest inspiration, the greatest moment in my life, to know that we can turn dreams into reality,” Kühn says. “Not just for ourselves, but for countless farmers and families around the world.” 
— Nikki Kallio
• Read more stories from The Rotarian
Profile: A Vine Idea 2019-03-26 08:00:00Z 0

Fluid Approach to Water

How Rotary has changed to help people get clean water for longer than just a few years
By Ryan Hyland
The lack of access to clean water, sanitation facilities, and hygiene resources is one of the world’s biggest health problems — and one of the hardest to solve.
Rotary has worked for decades to provide people with clean water by digging wells, laying pipes, providing filters, and installing sinks and toilets. But the biggest challenge has come after the hardware is installed. Too often, projects succeeded at first but eventually failed.
Across all kinds of organizations, the cumulative cost of failed water systems in sub-Saharan Africa alone is estimated at $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion, according to data compiled by the consulting firm Improve International.
Rotary projects used to focus on building wells, but Rotary started to focused on hygiene education projects, which have a greater impact.
Rotary International
Rusted water pumps and dilapidated sanitation facilities are familiar sights in parts of Africa, South America, and South Asia — monuments to service projects that proved unsustainable. A 2013 review by independent contractor Aguaconsult cited these kinds of issues in projects Rotary carried out, and the review included a focus on sustainability to help plan more effective projects.
That’s one factor in why Rotary has shifted its focus over the past several years to emphasize education, collaboration, and sustainability.
With Rotary Foundation global grants, a dedicated Rotarian Action Group, and a partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Rotary’s water, sanitation, and hygiene, or WASH, programs are achieving greater, longer-lasting change.
“All Rotary water and sanitation projects are full of heart and well-intentioned, but many of them didn’t always meet the actual demands of the community,” says F. Ronald Denham, a founding member and chair emeritus of the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group. The group, formed in 2007, stresses a needs-based approach and sustainability in projects.
In the past, equipment and facilities were usually installed properly and received well, but the local ownership, education, and sustainability were sometimes lacking. Communities often did not receive enough support to manage the projects independently for the long term.
One obstacle to sustainability: the ongoing human involvement that’s required.
Rotary members, by their nature, are volunteers. “Like everyone else, Rotarians have priorities like work and family,” says Denham, who has worked with clubs on water, sanitation, and hygiene issues for more than 30 years and led projects in Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, and Uganda.
Speaking of the Rotary members who work to make improvements in their own communities, he says, “It’s difficult for host clubs, for instance, to manage WASH projects long-term,” especially if the projects have complex technical components. “We’re extremely dedicated, but we need help. Reaching out is essential to our success.”
Community engagement, community ownership
That success now increasingly depends on collaborations with organizations that provide complementary resources, funding, technology, contacts, knowledge of a culture, and other expertise.
Rotary members work with local experts to make sure projects fit a local need and are sustainable. Educators Mark Adu-Anning, left, and John Kwame Antwi work with engineer Jonathan Nkrumah, center, Rotary member Vera Allotey, and Atekyem Chief Nana Dorman II on a sanitation projects in Ghana.
Photo by Awurra Adwoa Kye
“Clubs need to better engage with the community, its leaders, and professional organizations,” Denham says. “More important, we need to understand the needs of the community. We can’t assume or guess what’s in their best interest.”
The Rotary Foundation has learned over time that community engagement is crucial to making long-term change. It now requires clubs that apply for grants for some projects in other countries to show that local residents have helped develop the project plan.
The community should play a part in choosing which problems to address, thinking of the resources it has available, finding solutions, and making a long-term maintenance plan.
No project is successful, Denham says, unless the local community ultimately can run it.
In 2010, his club, the Rotary Club of Toronto Eglinton, Ontario, Canada, became the lead international partner in a water and sanitation program in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya, where clean water is scarce.
When initial groundwater tests revealed high levels of fluoride, the sponsor clubs changed their plan to dig shallow boreholes. Given what they learned, rainwater collection was a safer approach.
The Rotary Club of Nakuru, Kenya, the local host club, now provides materials and teaches families how to build their own 10,000-liter tanks. Each family is responsible for the labor and maintenance. With a $50 investment, a family can collect enough water to get through the dry season.
To date, the project has funded the construction of more than 3,000 tanks, bringing clean water to about 28,000 people. Family members no longer have to walk several miles per day to collect water, a task that often fell to women and children.
As owners of the tanks, women are empowered to reimagine how their households work. And with the help of microloans they get through the Rotary clubs, mothers are running small businesses and generating income instead of fetching water.
“With ownership comes liberation, not just for the mothers but for their children, who now have the time to attend school,” Denham explains.
Teaching WASH
It takes more than installing sanitation facilities for a WASH project to succeed in the long term. It’s also important to cultivate healthy habits. Good hygiene practices can reduce diseases such as cholera, dysentery, and pneumonia by nearly 50 percent. Washing hands with soap can save lives.
More than 4.5 billion people live without a safe toilet, the U.N. says. A lack of toilets leads to disease and also keeps some girls from going to school. In Ghana, Rotary and USAID projects at schools are leading to fewer days missed due to illness or menstruation.
Photo by Awurra Adwoa Kye
The Rotary Club of Box Hill Central, Victoria, Australia, facilitates Operation Toilets, a program that builds toilets and delivers WASH education to schools in developing countries including India and Ethiopia. The group constructs separate facilities for boys and girls to ensure privacy, and Rotary members teach students how to wash their hands with soap. Workers at each school are instructed in how to maintain the facilities.
The program works with the advocacy group We Can’t Wait, which raises awareness of WASH needs and promotes education to the community. Since the project launched in 2015, nearly 90 schools and more than 96,000 students have directly benefited from the program.
In another example of successful WASH education, the Rotary Club of Puchong Centennial, Malaysia, partners with Interact and Rotaract clubs in the Philippines to teach at several schools in Lampara, Philippines. The groups invited several speakers to instruct students about oral hygiene, hand washing, and the importance of frequent bathing. After each presentation, students were given kits that included toothbrushes, shampoo, soap, combs, and other toiletries.