District 7710 Makes a Big Difference in the Dominican Republic

Rotarians from across District 7710 renewed our international friendships with our gracious amigos from the Santiago Monumental Rotary Club, Dominican Republic. During the week of February 4–11, 33 volunteers from North Carolina traveled to the Dominican Republic to build 53 latrines, repair three houses, build a community playground and much, much more!

This fifth year’s trip was initiated by Past District Governor Rick Carnagua, who created this ongoing relationship with his counterpart, District Governor Alexandra Martinez from Santiago while attending District Governor School in San Diego. The Central Johnston, Clayton, Cary, Cary MacGregor and Cary Page Clubs provided the initial funds for the District Grant. Almost every club in the district added in to the Community Fund to make this endeavor a smashing success.

PDG Rick has had additional District 7710 support from other 7710 District Governor’s experiencing the trip first-hand, Leigh Hudson, Matthew Kane, Newman Aguilar, Rusine Sinclair and Barry Phillips are all Dominican Republic veterans. Even District Governor Elect Shafi was set to go this year until he encountered his Pickle Ball predicament. Rick brought in Martin Tetreault to handle the planning of the project agenda with his counterpart, David Crow. Linda Sproat jumped on board to coordinate all of the volunteer travel plans, special requests & communication information and rooming details. Once our team arrived, George Harry, Ron Blackley and Rex Everhart herded the on-the-ground volunteer activities and work with our gracious hosts, the Santiago Monumental Rotary Club Team.

The efforts of the Santiago Monumental Rotarians before, during and after our week in Santiago were, as their name depicts, “Monumental”! Arranging for a week’s worth of food, transportation, lodging, and entertainment for 33 North Carolina 7710 Rotarians would be hard enough. Then came the challenges of building latrines, repairing dilapidated homes and creating a community playground.

The Dominican Rotarians leading their efforts were David Crow – Master Planner; Cesar Lopez – Club President and Los Cocos Community Coordinator; Rafael Lopez – Playground, Maximo Dominguez – Latrine Construction, Diana Abreu and Rosalina Dominguez – Entertainment and Community / Family Supplies; Ricardo Jimenez – Financial Controller. Even the Rotaract and Interact clubs brought high energy exciting the local youth with songs and games during the playground ceremonies.

The latrines were a combined effort of the actual families digging the holes, Maximo & Aneury & crew pouring the slabs and stools, transporting them over the holes and laying a layer of concrete blocks as the base for the walls. The NC Team cut the wood siding and frame lumber. Then assembled the pieces in place, adding a zinc roof and a door with a Rotary Wheel painted on it. The Santiago Monumental Rotarians coordinated with the local Rotary Corp in Los Cocos to locate latrine sites for the (53) selected families needing latrines to improve sanitary conditions. Ron Blackley lead our latrine team finishing on Thursday allowing a little time for celebrating with the families with supplies of mosquito bed nets, sheets, soap, paper products, sandals, clothing and an assortment of toys supplied by District 7710 Rotarians and the Community Funds donated by our clubs and individuals.

The house repairs were completed on 3 of the 5 selected houses. Material was bought and left for the local families to complete the other houses. Re-siding, re-roofing, building roof supports gave the houses new life. Josh Davis and Mike McLean headed up our housing crew with several others joining them.

The playground project brought a sense of community and enjoyment. Martin Tetreault coordinated the layout and installation with Rafael Lopez and Dinora Borrelly, architect. David Crow and Cesar Lopez negotiated a win-win with the Los Cocos – Jacagua Mayor William. Rex Everhart designed and built the wooden climber, truck, tire trees, and benches. The grandmothers were all smiles when they found out they could sit, talk and watch the children play. Seesaws, swings, jogging path and a tire picnic table filled the park with painted tire dividers brightening the layout. The centerpiece was the Dragon made out of painted tires. The Opening Ceremony can only be described as pure joy!

There was a dedication of the Otra Banda Medical Clinic that our 7710 provided assistance to CISAMA, the Church, the DR Government and Synergies to build. DG Leigh led 5 of our team to participate in their celebration. The medical clinic provides a clean medical building for medical and dental exams and treatments.

The week was not all work. Our group was taken up into the mountain village of Jarabcoa where a resort provided us a Sunday buffet, a mountain river and pools to swim, and magnificent trails and hanging bridges to wander. The annual Carnival Celebration was over the top with a parade, music and entertainment from various groups all over Santiago. Diana Abreu arranged a VIP viewing stand that put us almost in the parade itself. Every evening meal was special as we experienced The Santiago Monumental meeting including a visit from their DG Morris Tallaj and Monumental’s own DGE Roberto Almonte greeting our PDG Leigh. A country cooking demonstration was brought to the Fab Workshop by Yanet Dominguez and Lydia Sanchez including fire pit brewed coffee and yummy coconut / cocoa desserts. The Finale Celebration Friday night was highlighted with our awarding Maximo Dominguez with a Paul Harris Fellow along with a “PDG Barry Phillips” framed watercolor of the first latrine built in 2013. Yes there was a trip to the Porto Plata Beach, the Lopez Cigar Factory, the Leon Museum and a power-shopping lunch in downtown Santiago.

There is only one-way to truly understand the heart-filling experience that we were privileged to have. Just start making plans to join us for the next Dominican Republic 2018 Adventure.

Boys and Girls Home Receives Donation from Rotary

At the Boys and Girls Home of North Carolina’s annual Rotary Day, they received almost $24,000 in donations from Districts 7710 and 7730. Numerous clubs lined up to present their donations to Gary Faircloth, the president and CEO.  The Clayton Morning Club made the largest single club donation of $5,000 from the proceeds of their Derby Day fundraiser held last May.

Since 1966 Rotary has supported a house at the Boys and Girls Home campus, located at Lake Waccamaw. Over almost five decades, hundreds of young people suffering from physical and verbal abuse, neglect and even sexual abuse have found refuge and a new, brighter future at this facility.

Most of these funds will go towards supporting Flemington Academy, a public charter middle and high school associated with the Boys and Girls Home campus that provides a unique educational opportunity for 75 students, of which 45 are from the Home.

Lighting up Uganda

unlit2A little light for your day – Amity Senior has Solar

With the assistance of a District Grant the installation of lights for the first school in Uganda as part of this project is complete (three more to go). Thanks to the support of: Raleigh Midtown, North Raleigh, Raleigh, Cary Kildaire, Research Triangle Park, West Raleigh, Wake Forest and Durham Rotaries and Past District Governor Matthew Kane.

Our team of electricians installed 88 LED lights throughout Amity Senior Secondary school campus.

The following video highlights the project;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHKMMJVqcEE

Pictures from the Amity Installation: Link

Thank you from Amity’s Headmaster: Link

Video proof of the difference between lit and unlit schools: Link

 

Supply Store Helps Chapel Hill-Carrboro Teachers Get Supplies

supplystore2It’s a hot Tuesday in Chapel Hill, but teachers are waiting in a long

line outside of the American Legion. They’re waiting to get their chance to shop for school supplies, but without spending any of their money.

Each elementary school teacher or teaching assistant in the area was invited to come shop at the tenth annual Teacher Supply Store. The East Chapel Hill Rotary Club fundraises all year to be able to afford the $45,000 of school supplies given away just at this event.

Pat Phelan is a chairperson for the Rotary Club and is the 2016 Chairman for the Teacher Supply Store. He says the best thing about the event is seeing the appreciation from the teachers.  “They are so appreciative, they really, really do need it, and it’s just great to see such great smiles on their faces.”

Lynn Lehmann is the Executive Director of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation. She says the foundation’s job is shopping and organizing all of the supplies. She says the project got started as a way for the Public School Foundation to express to teachers that they matter.  “The idea was to mainly reward and make teachers feel honored and appreciated as they start the new school year. And I think that they do feel that.”

Nelson says that as she stands in line to receive the sharpies and cardstock she would normally have to buy herself, she does feel honored and appreciated.  “It’s just very generous, especially with the state budget cuts right now. Less resources, less parents are going to have to supply, so we’re just so thankful to the Public School Foundation and the Rotary Club for opening this up for us.”

Next year’s Teacher Supply Store will be for Middle and High School teachers. The East Chapel Hill Rotary Club will begin fundraising again as the school year begins.

District Hosts Global Scholar from Japan

Yutaka Endo will begin his studies at the University of North Carolina in September as a Global Scholar.  He will be hosted by Dave Stuckey and Bill Palmer of the Chapel Hill Carrboro Rotary Club.

Yutaka has earned a MD Certificate at Nigata University and has worked as an intern for two years, two years as a clinician in south east Asia and since May as a general practitioner in Japan.

His goal at UNC is to complete a Masters Degree in Public Health that will prepare him to work in impoverished countries, analyzing and creating policies that will improve community health.

Yutaka’s Global Scholarship of $40,000 has been approved by The Rotary Foundation and the Rotary Club of Niigata, Japan.

Let’s show Yutaka our American hospitality by inviting him to a club meeting and   other club activities.

Old Dominion Rotary Golf Tournament raises $18,768 for Boys & Girls Home

A steady rain fell over the course as the participants completed the final holes of the 2016 Old Dominion Rotary Golf Tournament at Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club earlier this month, but it did not dampen the spirits of the fundraising event for the Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina (B&GH).

bghome2The annual event led by Old Dominion Freight Line and Rotary clubs from throughout the state raised $18,768 to support B&GH. This event has raised more than $163,000 over 11 years.

Located in Lake Waccamaw, the non-profit agency is committed to providing a comprehensive array of services for children and youth who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or other family dysfunction. B&GH offers adoption, family and therapeutic foster care, as well as residential care on the Lake Waccamaw campus.

“What was done today helps some of the most deserving children we have ever served,” said B&GH President Gary Faircloth. “We are currently serving 230 children through foster care, traditional residential care, and the school located on our campus.”

Since opening in 1954, B&GH has helped nearly 5,000 children break the cycle of neglect and abuse.

“You can never make a better investment than that in the life of a child,” said Old Dominion Freight Line representative Chip Overby during the event’s closing reception. “When I think about this tournament and these children that we are serving I am reminded of the story of Mr. Harris.”

bghome3Overby shared that Mr. Harris worked on a 5000-piece puzzle gifted to him for seven years. As the puzzle work neared the end, the realization hit that one of the pieces was missing so it could not be completed. The puzzle was no longer being produced so the company could not send a replacement piece. The local newspaper learned the story and helped rally the community to pay for the single piece to be produced so the puzzle could be finished.

“That is what you are doing participating in this tournament,” Overby said. “You are completing the puzzle.”

Boys and Girls Homes provides an array of services for children and youth who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or other family dysfunction. The campus features a  public charter school with a middle and high school curriculum, vocational education, recreation facilities, farm, chapel and cottage life.

More about the Boys and Girls Home of North Carolina

We will continue the traditional events for this Rotary Year:

The Summer Enrichment Program:  This is a summer, four week program allowing four to six girls and boys to visit the Raleigh/Cary area to experience living outside the Boys & Girls Home before they leave.  The girls stay for two weeks, then the boys come for two weeks.  Thanks to the Cary Rotary Clubs for their sponsorship and leadership with this experience for the residents.

The Annual Rotary Day:  This is an annual event held on the campus every year on the second Sunday, which this year is February 12, 2017. This annual event starts with a church service at 11:00 AM, followed with a lunch. After lunch, there will be a short program from the Boys & Girls Home, then each club will have an opportunity to present contributions to the BGH.  After the program, we will visit the Rotary Cottage hosted by the current residents.

12th Annual Old Dominion Rotary Golf Tournament:  This is a state wide tournament sponsored by Old Dominion Trucking Company with all proceeds going to BGHNC.  This year’s date is June 5, 2017 in Pinehurst.  PDG Charlie Hatch will coordinate this event for the district.  More information will follow.

Our goal this year is to increase the District 7710’s contribution by $10,000.  Thanks to 7710 Rotarians for over 50 years of supporting the Rotary Cottage and BGHNC.

Young Professionals Summit

The Southland Young Professional Summit in Atlanta, Georgia from June 9th-11th was full of excitement, fun and problem-solving. Five representatives from District 7710, Jheanne Schack (e-Club), Catherine Doyle (Raleigh Midtown), Jason Potts (North Raleigh), Marie Howard (Kerr Tar Region) and Joyce Mckinney (Southwest Durham) attended the summit. Young Rotarians and Rotaractors, from ages 25 to 45  from zones 33 and 34 came together to figure out what the problems and solutions are to recruiting and maintaining young professionals (YPs) in Rotary.

The summit was energetic and a place where ideas and action were catalyzed for change. We came away knowing that YPs don’t want to be sold something but want to buy into ideas and something bigger themselves. We found that the ideal way to get more YPs involved in Rotary is the same way we recruitment new members in general. The majority of YPs join for professional development and for community service, but stay in Rotary because of the fellowship and the fun they have in being a part of their community and global organization that changes the world.

As a district, we decided to tackle YPs involvement by continuing and supporting our district’s YP committee, the New Generations Committee, that engages in quarterly socials and community service. In addition, we are planning a professional development workshop on topics that appeal to young professionals such as public speaking, communication, and networking. The summit was an experience that changed my perspective on Rotary and will be an experience I will never forget.

Durham Rotary Names 2016 Scholars

Alexandra Zagbayou, Executive Director Student U (left), Tiwana Adams, Frank Adams (Durham Rotary Centennial Scholar), Fahsyrah Knight (Durham Rotary Centennial Scholar), Sylvia Knight, Fahim Knight and Meg Solera, Co-Chair, Scholarship Committee, Durham Rotary Club

Alexandra Zagbayou, Executive Director Student U (left), Tiwana Adams, Frank Adams (Durham Rotary Centennial Scholar), Fahsyrah Knight (Durham Rotary Centennial Scholar), Sylvia Knight, Fahim Knight and Meg Solera, Co-Chair, Scholarship Committee, Durham Rotary Club

The Durham Rotary Club selected five 2016 scholars from Durham Public Schools who have achieved academic excellence and need assistance to continue their educations.

Marge Nordstrom, co-chair of the Durham Rotary Club Scholarship Committee, said, “The goal of our 2016 Rotary Centennial and Brown Family scholarships is to make their future education dreams a reality. Each student will start their college education with a $1000 scholarship.”

Named as Durham Rotary Centennial Scholars were Fahsyrah Knight, Frank Adams, Khalik Weaver, and Brenda Durhan Velazquez of the Student U program.

Named as the Brown Family Scholar was Pamela Gonzalez of the Emily K program.

Each of the students and their parents attended weekly club meetings on July 11 and July 25 at the Durham Convention Center.

“Our club is proud to help them achieve their education goals,” Nordstrom said.

Adam Eigenrauch, Executive Director, Emily K Center (left), Troy Weaver, Kahlik Weaver (Durham Rotary Centennial Scholar), Florentina Gonzalez, Pamela Gonzalez (Brown Family Scholarship recipient), Blanca Velazquez, Brenda Duran Velazquez (Durham Rotary Centennial Scholar), Alexandra Zagayou, Executive Director Student U, and Meg Solera, Co-Chair Scholarship Committee, Durham Rotary Club

Adam Eigenrauch, Executive Director, Emily K Center (left), Troy Weaver, Kahlik Weaver (Durham Rotary Centennial Scholar), Florentina Gonzalez, Pamela Gonzalez (Brown Family Scholarship recipient), Blanca Velazquez, Brenda Duran Velazquez (Durham Rotary Centennial Scholar), Alexandra Zagayou, Executive Director Student U, and Meg Solera, Co-Chair Scholarship Committee, Durham Rotary Club

Student U is a college-access organization founded in the proposition that all students in Durham have the ability to succeed. Student U creates a pipeline of services to support students through middle school, high school, and college.

Brown Family Scholarship recipients are members of the Emily K program.  The K to College programs of the Emily K Center develop educated student leaders who achieve in school, gain entry to and graduate from college, and ultimately break the cycle of poverty in their families.

A big Vision for Book Harvest’s Little Free Library

The Downtown Durham Rotary Club has put Book Harvest on the map — the Little Free Library worldwide map, that is!

Thanks to Rotary member and library builder Joe Houde, Book Harvest is among the newest stewards of a Little Free Library here in Durham. In fact, Houde is one of a group of Rotary members who have embraced the Little Free Library movement and are determined to make sure Durham is filled with opportunities for the community to “take a book, return a book.”