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Club Corner

COVID-19: NEW ROCHELLE ROTARY RAISES FUNDS FOR FIRST RESPONDERS

Rotary Club of New Rochelle has just donated $6,000 to support the Coronavirus first responders: $3,000 to the New Rochelle Police Department and $3,000 New Rochelle Fire Department for safety equipment.  As the New Rochelle area has been greatly impacted by COVID-19, the Rotary Club of New Rochelle is also looking to raise money to help those in need. These funds will be given back to the New Rochelle community and those in the Sound Shore area affected by COVID-19 in the aftermath of this pandemic.  
 
The Club has established a fund to receive donations
 

COVID-19: RYE ROTARY PARTNERS WITH "BREAD OF LIFE" TO FEED THE HUNGRY

 
The Rye Rotary Foundation has partnered with "Bread of Life", via a donation.  This not-for-profit organization feeds over 10,000 people weekly in Westchester County, where 1 in 5 is hungry. Based in Rye, NY, Bread of Life provides food, clothing, and support to food pantries, homeless shelters and individuals. It works with a variety of partners to deliver food relief to those in need.
 
A specific emphasis is placed on utilizing one of the most abundant resources in the community - excess food. Through "food rescue,” the Bread of Life team works with local grocery stores, restaurants, and food distributors to deliver excess food, that would otherwise be discarded as waste, to those experiencing food insecurity.
 
This virus has created an unprecedented challenge for nearly all of us. But it is also an opportunity for Rotarians and those in our communities to find new, meaningful ways to lead and to connect and do good in the world. Rye Rotary will be working with Bread of Life & Greenwich Hospital to help provide funds for meals as well as medical supplies to those in need throughout this difficult time.
 

COVID-19: EASTCHESTER ROTARY DONATES N95 MASKS FOR FIRST RESPONDERS
 
The Eastchester Rotary Club was able to secure 100 N95 respirator masks and donate them to the local police department that was in urgent need.  The Club is also working to obtain more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
 

COVID-19: BRONXVILLE HELPS LOCAL BUSINESS EMPLOYEES
The Rotary Club of Bronxville, in a rapid response to the urgent need for food relief, has started a matching fund to help support furloughed kitchen help and wait-staff at our local restaurants. An initial disbursement of funds was made on 27 March to staff at Fogarty's restaurant - the venue of Club meetings as well as many District meetings.  Forgarty's has closed an laid off all staff.  The Club Board took immediate action to stave off hunger for these families. This may be an ongoing crisis, so any donations from the public are encouraged and can be made through the Bronxville Rotary Club website.
 
The Club has also made a donation of $5,000 to the Harlem Rotary Clubs program with the Salvation Army to feed the hungry.

COVID-19: YONKERS-EAST YONKERS HELPS PACK FOOD FOR HOMEBOUND SENIORS AND DISABLED
Rotary Yonkers-East Yonkers President Steven Simpson and his Team once again gave up their lunch hour, on 18 March, to be at The Yonkers Community Action Program (YCAP) to pack groceries for home-bound seniors and disabled residents. The Club has been doing this for the past few months and they determined that they could not let the homebound seniors and disabled in their community down.
 
Special guests partnered up with Y-EY Rotary Club today ..... Yonkers City Council-member Tasha Diaz, former Council-member Lorraine Lopez, brought re-useable grocery bags from the City of Yonkers and the Yonkers IDA.
 
Our seniors shouldn't have to go without their much-needed groceries. Truly Service Above Self.
 

COVID-19: HARLEM ROTARY HELPS FEED FAMILIES IN NEED
(Dwayne R. Norris, Past President, Harlem Rotary Club, 18 March 2020)
 
 
I had the privilege of stopping by WestCOP today and seeing the operation they have going that is feeding thousands of Westchester residents every week!! I was able to bring 12 boxes of books donated by my business Soulful Synergy, Rotary Club of Harlem and The Book Fairies to help ease the stress on families during these difficult times
 
A special shoutout to Daniel E Bonnet for your incredible leadership throughout this crisis and my business partner Alejandro Alvarez for always putting community first!
 
Thanks to The National Guard for being on the front lines! New Rochelle is resilient and they will come out of this emergency but with your help it will be easier.
 

NEW YORK ROTARY & ROTARACT CLUB AT UN FEED FAMILIES

On February 7, 2020 the Rotary Club of New York, with help of the Rotaract Club at the UN, was able to serve dinners to the families at the Ronald McDonald House.  Providing these dinners was possible through the support of your New York Rotary Foundation.

Meals were served to over 100 family members at 6.30PM. It was wonderfully gratifying to see the delighted expressions of the families as they were served BBQ style dinners including, chicken, ribs, potatoes, vegetables, cornbread, etc.

It was and remains a true honor to be able to support the great work of the Ronald McDonald House and its mission of keeping families close. The Club is  hopeful to be able to collaborate soon again with the House on a similar project!

Thanks particularly to all participating RCNY members led by President Larry Cohen, Dr. George Onourah, Bolor Erdene-Tumurchudur, Anastasia Takhnenko, Ayana Muir, Executive Director Andreas Runggatscher and the Rotaract team led by Anna Folz.

Rotary at work at its very best!


HARLEM ROTARY CLUB FEEDS THE HUNGRY

Rotary is a leader in the effort to end global hunger! And as has been said, Think Globally and Act Locally.  Harlem Rotary Club has been doing just that. One of the vibrant Clubs of District 7230, the Harlem Club partnered with two local organizations - One Sandwich at a Time and Pillars to organize a drive to make sandwiches for the hungry in their neighborhood - Harlem. 
 
On Saturday, February 8, the Club coordinated about 50 volunteers from across New York City who came together to make 1,250 sandwiches for the hungry and homeless in Harlem  The Club is grateful to all of the volunteers and their partners at One Sandwich at a Time and Pillars for being a part of this special day!
 
Here are glimpses of the day in pictures:
     
 
 

TARRYTOWN ROTARY CLUB BOOK DRIVE TAKES HOLD IN THE COMMUNITY

Laura Murray-Faggella (News story in River Journal, 15 February 2020)
 

“What is Rotary” is a question I get too often. I tell people “We raise money to give back to the community in grants and scholarship” which gets a smile and a nod but doesn’t really explain Rotary.

Rotary is a club that becomes family. And Family supports their community.

The Tarrytown Rotary Club has always worked closely with the literacy program in the Tarrytown school district.  A few years ago, the teachers expressed the need to have books in the classrooms so kids could access a book at any time. My immediate reaction was “of course, how simple.” So the club had a book drive. It was so richly supported we were able to fill classrooms at the John Paulding and W.L. Moorse schools. Rotarians were invited into the classrooms and read with the children.

The joy the imagination brings us is forgotten as an adult. We simply don’t have the time to allow ourselves to get lost in it. But by stepping into the classroom to see the kids elated faces ready to read and share a story with us was heartwarming. It made me remember every magical story my mother read to me and I later got lost in myself. The escape a story can give at any age.

It made me think every kid needs that joy. And not just in the classroom. How can Rotary bring the bookshelf from the classroom to the neighborhood?

I knew there was no shortage of books, I constantly hear people say they have basements and attics filled with their kid’s books. Where in our neighborhood could these books filled with so much imagination and story go so all the children could be reached?

Laundromats! That was my first thought. A long day at the laundry mat waiting for the cycles to go through. Both parent and kids need a distraction to pass the time. What better way to pass the time than with a story a parent and child can share together.

What if Rotary supplied books for kids to read and take home to snuggle with at bedtime? So, Rotary started collecting book which was easy but now where would we put them? Ron, the owner of Sleepy Hollow Laundromat on Valley Street in Sleepy Hollow was happy to welcome us. We set up a small bookshelf and loaded it with books. At the same time McDonald’s wanted to support the local community more and approached Rotary. So, we set up a bookshelf in the lobby at McDonald’s. To our surprise and delight the books were flying off the shelves. One of our Rotarians, Rabbi David Holtz, had built a beautiful bookshelf in excitement for this project and it needed a home. Dr Kothari of 914 Smile Inc opened his waiting room to our bookshelf and has done a wonderful job of filling it in his children’s corner.

The Tarrytown Rotary club is lucky to be part of such a special community. One filled with eager and helpful individuals, teachers, business owners and more. We want to thank everyone not only for help on this project but for always helping us support the community.

For more information or to donate books, please contact Laura Murray-Faggella at laura@ambins.com


 

ROTARIANS GIVE THEATRE GROUP BROADWAY BOOST

(News story in The Royal Gazette, Bermuda, 24 February 2020)
 
 

A fundraising campaign by a youth theatre to send youngsters to train on New York City’s Broadway has been given a boost from Hamilton Rotary Club.

The Noire Youth Theatre Company, based at the Blackbox Theatre at CedarBridge Academy in Prospect, was given $4,000 by Rotarians to help support its educational work.

A spokeswoman for Noire said the training trip, scheduled to take place in April, would allow the youngsters to take part in Broadway acting workshops, talkback sessions with Broadway professionals and an intensive training session, at the Neighbourhood Playhouse acting school.

The spokeswoman added that three youth members were also enrolled as trainee theatre technicians in New York, which will offer certification for lighting systems that are used in theatres all around the world.

She added: “The Noire Youth Theatre Company is very grateful to the Hamilton Rotary Club for supporting their efforts to provide quality training experiences in the performing arts and technical theatre to Bermuda’s youth.”

 

YONKERS ROTARY TO SPONSOR TWO TEENS FOR LEADERSHIP ACADEMY

(News story in Yonkers Rising, 21 February 2020)

 

OSSINING ROTARY CLUB DONATES BOOKSHELVES FOR BASICS LIBRARIES      

(Adapted from News story in Patch, Ossining, 11 February 2020)
 

An amazing local partnership came together in Ossining, thanks to the collaboration between the Ossining Basics campaign, the Ossining School District and the Ossining Rotary Club.  Through this joint spirit of community service, eight local businesses and organizations have new, fully stocked bookcases for children and families to read.

Park School pre-kindergarten teachers and Ossining Basics facilitators Dianna Langdon and Natalie Ortiz joined with the Rotary Club of Ossining to see how they could collaborate to support the community and each other's respective missions. The Ossining Basics seeks to teach parents and others, simple practices to stimulate brain growth in children from birth to 3, such as "Talk, sing and point" and "Read and discuss stories."  One of the missions of Rotary is to support basic education in communities through local involvement.

The Ossining Rotary Club donated 10 bookshelves, which children in pre-kindergarten classes at Park School helped assemble. The books were donated by various community members, (914) Cares and Molly Ness, founder of End Book Deserts.

The new bookshelves and books were delivered to laundromats, a pharmacy, a restaurant, Neighbors Link and other sites, by the organizations. Additional lending libraries are planned.

"This work happens when everyone comes together," district Community Schools Leader, Ms. Mastrogiacomo said, adding that school buildings and grounds employees also assisted. "It's really a team effort and with everybody helping out, it makes the job easier and more successful."

They originally were going to get used bookshelves and spruce them up, but the Rotary Club offered to donate new ones. The goal is to have the lending libraries throughout the community, especially in places where people are waiting for a long time, Every lending library has information sheets and bookmarks with reading tips on them.

It was not hard to convince businesses and organizations to host the lending libraries, They were excited when they received the bookshelves and books, Ms. Ortiz said. HealthSmart Pharmacy purchased child-friendly chairs, and the owner of Good Choice Kitchen planned to purchase an area rug.

"It's been a great journey that has really created some awesome results and I think that it's really going to be beneficial to the community," Ms. Ortiz said. "We look forward to adding to those libraries and expanding to other businesses as well."

Rotary Club President Marcia MacNeill-Perillo said the organization maintains a strong relationship with the school district, from high school scholarships to free dictionaries and thesauruses for younger students. "We love to assist in any possible way that we can, and that's why when Ossining Basics came to us, I thought this was a brilliant idea," she said of the bookcases.

The Ossining Basics facilitators said they are grateful to club members for their generous donation. "Without them, this really would not have been possible," they said.

Some of the district's youngest students and their teachers helped build the bookshelves. Children used Allen keys and hammers (with adult supervision) to put them together. "They were pretty easy to build and the kids had a really great time," Ms. Ortiz said.

The eight locations are:

  • Z & H Laundromat, 96 Croton Ave.
  • Deli Bagel, 238 S. Highland Ave.
  • Neighbors Link, 23-25 Spring St.
  • Open Door Family Medical Center, 165 Main St.
  • HealthSmart Pharmacy, 203 Main St.
  • Brothers Laundromat, 182 Spring St.
  • Good Choice Kitchen, 147 Main St.
  • Briar Wash n' Fold, 197 S. Highland Ave.

HISTORY OF THE BLOOD-4-ROTARY CHALLENGE

By Don Rizzo (Peekskill Rotary Club)
 
I became a father for the first time in 1992.  Complications during the birth made it an unnerving experience, and the entire process was unlike anything childbirth education classes had prepared me for.  Thank goodness everything turned out well for my wife and our newborn son.  Three years later during my wife’s second pregnancy, a different set of unexpected complications threatened the birth of our second son. Thankfully, the problems were mitigated, and our son was born during another not so standard birth.  Both instances left me feeling helpless and at the mercy of others, which was quite frightening and bothersome.  It occurred to me that in an instant, the situations could have gotten much worse and my wife and newborn sons may have needed blood.  Although it was to late for me to donate for them, I started to wonder about the people who donate blood and how incredibly generous and valuable their donations are.  I wanted to donate so that anybody who needed blood could have mine and hopefully live a long time because of it.  I wanted to be the person to save a life.  As I thought more and more about donating blood over the years it occurred to me that it is really an amazing gift.  It made me feel extremely good knowing when I donated somebody who was in life-threatening circumstances was going to live because of me.
 
Click here or on image above to play video
In June of 2018, I was infected by a deer tick with a parasite called Babesiosis which at the time was a permanent disqualification for donating blood.  It may no longer be the case as of Jan 2020.  By that time, I had donated over 100 units of blood, platelets, and plasma and was disappointed that I would no longer be able to donate.  In June of 2019, I was installed as the President of the Peekskill Rotary Club.  Our club was celebrating our 100th year and as President, I chose a Presidential project to get 100 units of blood donated.  Halfway through the year, our blood donation goal thermometer read a disappointing 21 donations, so I decided to create a challenge to get people to donate.  I modeled my blood donation challenge after the Ice Bucket Challenge and with the help of two very generous friends, JP Patrick, a videographer & director, and Diane Cricchio another video superstar we created the challenge video.
 
Donating blood doesn’t cost anything but your time.  There is a very brief needle stick which is really what deters most people.  It’s a selfless gift to an unknown person.  They could be young or old, male or female, any nationality, political persuasion or sexual orientation.  It is a completely blind gift to a fellow human being.  What more generous gift can you give than your own life-giving blood?
 
I believe that almost anybody would donate blood if they were standing outside an operating room when a nurse came out and said we’re out of blood, can anybody donate NOW?  We have a patient who’s going to die if they don’t get blood!  There’s a huge disconnect between the need for blood and the blood donor.
 
In addition to the recipient, there are also benefits to the donor.  Over the years I’ve heard that donating blood equates to losing about 500 calories.  The blood cells you donate need to be replaced with fresh new efficient blood cells making you healthier.  Cholesterol is reduced, it reduces the risk of hemochromatosis, the excess absorption of iron by the body.  Iron stores are better maintained and help reduce the risk of cancer.  More stable iron stores help reduce the risk of heart & liver ailments and this, in turn, decreases the risk of cirrhosis, liver failure, damage to the pancreas, and heart abnormalities like irregular heart rhythms.
With benefits to both donor and recipient, I hope that you will start donating regularly.  You can start now by donating soon and using the Blood-4-Rotary challenge video to challenge as many people as possible.
 

BERMUDA INTERACT CLUBS REFLECT ON INITIATIVES

(News story in BERNEWS, Bermuda, 16 January 2020)
 
 
Clubs from our District have been busy collecting and distributing turkeys and meal packs to needy families across the District.  Here is a video sampling of our People of Action:   https://youtu.be/vnOiYQdkuu0     or Click on the picture

 

INSPIRING HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO WRITE

By Karl Milde (North-East Westchester)
 
When I was a teenager in high school (very long ago) my school had a literary magazine called The Mirror. It was published once a year in the spring, and everyone in the school read it from cover to cover. To have one’s article or poem appear in The Mirror was an incredible honor.
 
I was a sophomore when I finally got up the courage to submit a short poem. Those ten lines came from my inner being and revealed my deepest longings but, throwing privacy to the wind, I sent them in to the editors of The Mirror and waited. To my joy, and also dismay from my audacity, the poem was accepted for publication.
 
I still recall the pride I felt when The Mirror came out that year. My work was published for all to see! I was now a somebody on campus. That one poem gave me the confidence to write another, and then to write an article and eventually further poems, articles, and stories. I have continued creative writing to this day.
 
Although many schools nowadays have a newspaper, few have a publication to showcase the creative writing of their students. Enter the Northeast Westchester Rotary Club, abbreviated to “NEW Rotary,” with a unique project to meet this need.
 
Each year, the NEW Rotary publishes a book called On My Mind which includes articles, poetry, and artwork submitted by students from more than fifteen high schools in our local area. A book-launch for On My Mind, celebrated in mid-May each year, is attended by the student authors, their parents and teachers, and by the media and members of the public. At the launch you can just feel the excitement, the pride, and the sheer joy of these young people who see their work in print for the first time. Ten students are selected randomly to read their poem or story aloud to the attendees.
 
When these student authors and artists apply to the colleges of their choice, they can say their work has been published. This is just the kind of thing that colleges look for when making their admission decisions.
 
On My Mind has been published annually for fifteen years thus far, and each year it has increased in size to meet the needs of more schools and students. As the size of the book has grown, so has the cost to publish it. The NEW Rotary wishes to thank its many donors, especially PCSB Bank and IBM, for their continued generous support of this worthy project.
 
If On My Mind inspires even one student a year to write with self-confidence and to write well, it is a project well worth doing.