District 7710 comes to the aid of Fort McMurray

Wildfires in the Canadian province of Alberta continue to grow furiously leaving in their wake thousands of burned homes, cars and communities. Over 1,000 firefighters are working to bring the blaze under control with the help of helicopters and air tankers. Rotarian Richard McCleery with the Hillsborough Club has extended family living in Canada who are professional fire fighters working to extinguish the blaze.

Rotarians in District 5370 have established a fund to assist in the rebuilding of the city of Fort McMurray after the blaze has been controlled. Our District is collecting contributions from concerned Rotarians and will send a single check on behalf of our District.

Thanks to iPDG Matthew Kane and PDG Rick Carnagua for coordinating this effort.

Ageless Hero Nominated

Cary Page past President Brian Blum has been nominated for the Ageless Hero award, given by SearStone retirement community, for his work to organize a monthly dinner-and-entertainment event for Cary seniors with dementia and their caregivers.

Blum marshalled the resources of Cary’s five Rotary clubs three years ago to buy food and organize volunteers to staff a Memory Café once a month at the town’s Senior Center. The event has grown to accommodate more than 50 participant families and volunteers, breaking bread together.

Volunteers from the five clubs serve in a variety of roles, including seating guests, serving meals, engaging folks in conversation and helping with cleanup. Rotarians also have been known to mention join in on the entertainment when it involves music and dancing.

Memory Café is just one of Blum’s regular volunteer activities, which include serving breakfast at the Chapel Hill Ronald McDonald house and tutoring disadvantaged youngsters at Read-and-Feed. He also raised money for cancer research by running the 26-mile Boston Marathon this year.

Also nominated for this year’s award are:

  • Thirteen-year-old Unika Boyce-Cooley, for volunteer work at Preston Pointe senior living community.
  • Jeanette Lee, for providing a visiting hairstyling service for seniors.
  • William Dunlap, a retired oncology/ internal medicine specialist who founded Hospice of Wake County.
  • Silver Connections, started by Laura Kay House nine years ago, for its work in bringing together isolated seniors for opportunities to socialize.

SearStone, a continuing care community located at High House Road and Davis Drive in Cary, will celebrate winners of the Ageless Hero awards at a May 17 banquet.

GlobalRun4Water Funds Peru Project

he GlobalRun4Water Committee allocates the money raised at the event to support water projects. This year part of the money went to support a global grant to provide a solar-powered water treatment system, hygiene education and management training for the community of Loma Negra, in Peru. This system will empower the community to manage the system as a public utility which will generate income for future operation and maintenance, in addition to powering 50 flush latrines. The project cost $47,894 and was submitted by the Rotary clubs of Piura Oeste and Cary-Kildare.

The community of Loma Negra is not unlike the millions of communities across the world that lack access to safe water. The regional government lacks resources to tackle these problems and promote development which leaves the community with underdeveloped infrastructure. Children are constantly sick and missing school. Parents are trapped, desiring more for their families. Progress is stunted. Without help, there is little hope for this forgotten community.

Contaminated water is a primary factor perpetuating the continuous poverty cycle plaguing this community. Currently, diarrheal illness, cholera, and malaria are prevalent in Loma Negra and members of the community know that their existing hand-dug well is contaminated.

Their average household income is $175 USD per month and there is electricity available in the community. The community and local municipality have agreed to partner to provide the treatment system enclosure and help promote health and hygiene education. The community also understands that safe water fees will be collected for sustainable operation of the water treatment system.

Clayton Clubs build Tables and Benches for Community

During the month of February, the Clayton Rotary Club and the Clayton Mid-Day Club worked side by side to complete picnic tables and benches for the Clayton Community Parks. The combined workforce of men and women built six picnic tables (one table was handicap accessible) and six benches. The work was completed over three Saturdays and involved over 90 work hours. These tables and benches were distributed to several area Clayton Community Parks. The picnic tables and benches will adorn the Rotary wheel and the club names so that those who enjoy them will know that Rotarians built them.

This project was funded in part by a matching District Grant of District Designated Funds.

Dominican Republic Global Grant Project

2016-04-07DR-Global-Grant3 2016-04-07DR-Global-Grant2On February 20, 2016, Rotarians from District 7710 flew to  Santiago, Dominican Republic, to continue work that began four years ago with the Monumental Rotary Club. This year, we built 20 latrines and constructed a playground for the children. The construction on the market is expected to begin shortly. Overall, we have built over 200 latrines, a playground, repaired and painted homes, visited their schools and provided supplies for families. This year we had a group of 27, but overall we have sent 65 different Rotarians from District 7710, and our friends in the DR have become like family.

Computers for Kids of Costa Rica

Costa Rica has a computer program for Junior High and High School, but nothing for grades Kindergarten through 6. This project installed 110 laptop computers and 30 XO tablets computers (designed for kindergarten students) in nine elementary schools near Puntarenas and Alajuela, Costa Rica.

Over 1500 children and adults who attend these nine schools now have access to durable and reliable computers. Adult night computer literacy classes have been started at a number of these schools.

The following organizations cooperated and assisted with this project:

  • East Chapel Hill Rotary Club the lead club had over 40 Rotarians involved and donated funds;
  • Sunrise Rotary Club donated funds;
  • Downtown Chapel Hill Rotary Club donated funds;
  • Alajuela Rotary Club and Puntarenas Rotary Club of Costa Rica provided logistics, located schools,
    clearance with school boards, transportation, custom clearance requiring the assistance of the
    President of Costa Rica;
  • Goodwill Foundation donated funds; and the
  • Kramden Institute, a non-profit computer organization whose goal is to provide home computers for
    students in need, volunteered time, training, expertise and funds.

Costa Rica Computers For KidsStudents from the University of Costa Rica assisted in the delivery and set up of the computers and helped with the refurbishing of classrooms for computer labs. The university students formed a Rotaract Club, which will continue to maintain the computers and assist in training of school staff. Through the local Rotary Clubs, funds for transportation for the university students (Rotaract) are provided.

Total cost of this project was $21,547; $4000 from the District Rotary Grant, $7,547 from the five Rotary Clubs, $10,000 from the Goodwill Foundation.

The computers obtained from Kramden are durable and reliable units, IBM and LENOVO, which they had
cleaned and loaded with Spanish software. They also provided training for the UCR students.

The technical director of Kramden Institute is now joining the East Chapel Hill Rotary Club.

MLK Day of Service

January 18 was Martin Luther King Day of Service. Rotarians from 14 clubs, plus volunteers from the United Way of the Triangle, Duke University, Durham Tech Community College, and the general public gathered at the Research Triangle to pack food for the needy in our community. Over 500 volunteers packed 113,000 meals to be distributed by the Interfaith Food Shuttle to families in the Triangle.

Thank you to Andrew Kerr and Joyce McKinney for organizing this event.

Alzheimer’s Support Program Implemented

On Friday, December 4, 2015, the Music and Memory program was implemented at three long-term care facilities in Johnston County. This simple and effective program provides an iPod with a personalized playlist for each person. Favorite music from their past has been proven to help  participants come back to life, allowing them to feel like themselves again and socialize with loved ones.

“My grandfather died from Alzheimer’s. When I heard about the Music and Memory, I became passionate about introducing the program to Johnston County,” said Doug McClentic, Rotary Clubs Project Chair.

Liberty Commons in Benson received 40 devices, Gabriel Manor in Clayton received 48 devices and Brian Center in Clayton received 30 devices. Staff at each of the facilities received over four hours of training on how to set-up the program for the patients.

The Cleveland School, Clayton Morning, Clayton Mid-Day and Central Johnston Rotary Clubs raised over $23,000 to fund this project, including a $15,000 grant from The Rotary Foundation, through the District 7710 Grants Committee. With the money left over after installing the three facilities, the clubs plan to implement the program at one more location before the end of January.

Making a Difference: Global Grants

The B.T. Savani Kidney Hospital situated Rajkot, Gujarat, India for over 10 years is the only Charitable Trust hospital in the area with a full range of treatment and intervention for kidney related disorders. The Hospital treats all patients with a strong bias in favor of low-income groups irrespective of religion, caste, or creed. The hospital was running a 32-unit dialysis center on 3 full shifts a day and still turning away 20 to 30 patients a day in need of treatment.

Global Grant #1528904 provided funding for 10 additional state-of-the-art dialysis units. The majority of the patients benefitting from the services of this project are low-income farmers and industrial workers. The new units are now providing up to 1,000 dialysis treatments per month.

This was the eighth in a series of matching grants and global grants completed between Rajkot Rotary Clubs and Cary-Kildaire Rotary Clubs and other District 7710 Clubs (Chapel Hill-Carrboro Sunrise Rotary Club, Lillington Rotary Club, and Cary Rotary Club).

Cary-Kildaire member Dr. Manu Domadia and his wife Pramila (both natives of Rajkot) are currently visiting all of the project sites. They will return in March with progress reports on all projects.

MudLOVE Fundraiser

In December, the Interact club at the North Carolina School of Science and Math hosted a fundraiser focused on the sale of MudLOVE bracelets. MudLOVE is an organization that, through their partnership with Water for Good, centers on providing a citizen in a developing African country with a week of clean water with each bracelet sale. These bracelets are made up of a cord along with a small wooden piece with an inspiring word carved into it: “be the change,” “hope,” “love,” and more.

Our club was ecstatic about helping this organization. We figured that, as with most fundraisers, we’d simply attempt to sell the bracelets outside of our cafeteria during lunch time. However, our local Rotary chapter offered us a great opportunity; a member could attend the next meeting and advertise their fundraiser to the Rotary members! I was fortunate enough to be able to attend and it was a very enjoyable experience. All of the members were very generous and pleasant. Not only did we sell all of the bracelets, but numerous members gave donations as well. I was overjoyed and inspired by the results.