South Granville Rotary Club Provides Final Link for School Supplies

In mid-September Creedmoor Mayor Darryl Moss contacted the South Granville Rotary Club seeking help. He had been contacted by Caroline Farmer, Director of the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service about Governor Roy Cooper’s School Supply Drive which ended September 8. State Employees Credit Union (SECU) branches, state government offices and businesses across North Carolina collected school supplies that teachers and students need most throughout the school year. The issue was that although the supplies had been collected in the county, there was no mechanism to get the supplies to the schools. Could we help?

Delighted to participate in a local program supporting education, one of South Granville Rotary’s key areas of emphasis, the club agreed to step in. Members collected the supplies from local State Employee Credit Union offices, sorted them and then delivered them to Shelby Hunt, Principal of the West Oxford Elementary School. Although the quantity was small, Ms. Hunt pointed out that every little bit helps.

South Granville decided to follow through, looking to the great example of the partnership among the Durham Rotary Clubs and Crayons2Calculators which collected almost $170,000 of supplies in their fall Fill That Bus campaign. That program started with less than $5,000 of collections the first year, so the club feels it can help grow the Governor’s program by partnering and expanding the concept.

The need is great, since on average, teachers spend about $500 of their own money on supplies for their classrooms each year, and state funding for school supplies has been cut in half since 2008. In March, Gov. Cooper announced his budget proposal, Common Ground Solutions for North Carolina, which called for a $150 annual supply stipend for all North Carolina public school teachers to help offset the cost of purchasing supplies. The teacher supply stipend was not included in the budget passed by the North Carolina General Assembly.

The Impact of Rotary

One of the many captivating speakers, and definitely most moving, was Jessica Holmes, a member of the Cary-Kildaire club.

Jessica explained how she uses the “Four Way Test” in her role as Wake County’s youngest County Commissioner.

She also demonstrated how a note from her Club President, Sue Pruskin and the support of her club members helped her through a trying time which made the a life-long Rotarian.

Rotary Youth Exchange

Helen Holt chaired a panel of two incoming students and one outgoing student.

Colleen Kane, the Outgoing Student, sponsored by the North Raleigh Club. Her responses to some of the questions gave an insight to the Youth Exchange Program.

“My experience with Youth Exchange started before my own exchange year, because my family hosted three exchange students from Japan, Argentina and Brazil. While I was growing up, and my older brother also went on exchange to Santiago, Chile.

I lived with three Chilean host families, attended Chilean high school, and traveled a lot with the other exchange students. I visited the Torres del Paine National Park, which was the most spectacular place I think I’ve ever been. I rode a moto-taxi in Paraguay, a boat under the Iguazu falls in Brazil, and a very stubborn horse in the Andes Mountains. I climbed to the top of a volcano in Easter Island and watched a traditional Rapa Nui dance. I visited our old exchange student from Argentina with my brother.

Most importantly for me, I learned that a vast and rich world exists outside of the pressures of high school and college. What’s moving to another city, when you just lived in another hemisphere for a year, immersed in a foreign language and culture?

Greetings from Edinburgh

I hope you all are well! My apologies for the delay in this update– I was preoccupied with final essays and my research proposal the last couple weeks. I’m very happy to say that I have officially handed in the last of my master’s coursework! Dissertation, here I come…

This last month has flown by, and I haven’t been doing much aside from studying and writing. My coursework was particularly demanding this semester, but I thoroughly enjoyed my classes; they were a perfect mix of theory and practice, and I learned a lot. To celebrate the end of term, I went to a masquerade ball hosted by the postgraduate law students at a very swanky hotel in Edinburgh’s New Town. Venetian masque balls are surprisingly popular in Scotland. (Some handy British lingo: “fancy dress” = costume, NOT formal wear).

Last month I also officially accepted a placement with Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Glasgow! I will be interning for the organization and conducting my dissertation research there. CPAG works on behalf of low-income families and children; my work will focus on the impact of social security policy on poor families in Scotland. If you’re interested in learning more about CPAG, here’s a link to their homepage:

There were no Rotary events in March, and so far the other scholars and I don’t have anything lined up this month either. There will likely be a few more gatherings and presentations this summer, however. I’ve had such wonderful experiences with the clubs in and around Edinburgh, and am looking forward to meeting more members in the near future.

Another notable Edinburgh attraction to add to the list: the Royal Yacht Britannia. She served Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip from 1953-1997, and is now moored at Ocean Terminal, on the outskirts of Edinburgh. The yacht is absolutely beautiful– very well maintained and a fascinating piece of history. I highly recommend the audio tour!

I hope you all are enjoying the warm, spring weather and GO HEELS!!


Happy Feet for Kids Inspires Acts of Generosity

Thanks to many dedicated and generous members, Rotary Club of Raleigh is proud to announce that we will be purchasing approximately 100 pairs of shoes as part of the 2017 District Conference Happy Feet for Kids community service project. District Governor Rusine Sinclair, also a member of the Rotary Club of Raleigh, announced her goal to pave the way to the Atlanta Rotary International Convention by purchasing at least 500 pairs of shoes to be donated to the Children’s Home Society, making sure that children in need of new shoes for the summer have them.

We are grateful to nearly 40 members in our club who donated $50 or more to purchase a large portion of these shoes.

Two specific acts of generosity are worthy of specific recognition, and these gifts come from people outside of our Club membership. Jannah Said, an 8th grader at Martin Middle School, won the first prize in our Club’s Four-Way Test essay contest. She not only won the contest, but she also won the hearts of our members when she wrote this email to Club member Eric Stevens, who coordinated the contest for our Club:

“I was the 1st place winner of the Rotary Club Essay Contest from Martin Middle School (yesterday). I was awarded $300. First of all, I would like to thank you and the Rotary Club for this amazing opportunity. I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciate it. Secondly, upon discussion with my family, I’ve decided that, with the money I won, I will keep $100 to spend for myself, put $100 in my college bank account, and give the last $100 back to the community through a charity of my choice. Since the Rotary Club helped me to have my voice heard and my writings read by a real audience, not to mention winning a few hundred dollars, I have decided to give back through it. Yesterday, during the meeting, I heard a project mentioned called “Happy Feet for Kids.”  I was inspired by this idea and was wondering if you could direct me on how to send the Rotary Club of Raleigh a check for $100 to purchase 2 pairs of sneakers.”

To hear Jannah Said’s speech click on the Four-Way Test.

Second, Mark Hackett, who is a member of our Club and also the coordinator of the Happy Feet for Kids project at the District level, let his church know about this important project. As a result, members of the Baptist Grove Church (7109 Leesville Rd., Raleigh, NC 27613) under the leadership of Pastor Bankole Akinbinu, took up a collection of $2,100 to be donated to the Happy Feet for Kids Project, allowing our Club to purchase close to 50 additional pairs of shoes.

In service to those in need, Rotary Club of Raleigh is delighted to partner with other Rotary clubs in our district and play a small but important role in the lives of the children being cared for by the Children’s Home Society.

Update from Our Global Scholar in Edinburgh

Over the holidays, Edinburgh looked very festive. The Christmas markets (a tradition imported from Germany) have been up since the end of November, there’s a nightly light show in the New Town, and there’s a caroling concert nearly every weekend. The semester has flown by!

global scholar 1

All is well here. Classes have officially ended and we’re all in the middle of writing final papers and studying for essays. The workload is unbelievable, but I’m getting through it, one assignment at a time. To break up the monotony of reading and researching, my program organized an international food night. I helped some coursemates prepare a Lebanese feast, and at the dinner we learned a little Arabic, a traditional Lebanese dance, and played games.

In Rotary news, I attended the Edinburgh club’s International Night with the other scholars, and it was really good fun! We introduced ourselves and talked a little about what we’re studying and what we hope to do after our program. It was nice to get to know the club members a bit better, and for entertainment they hired a belly dancer, which was a first for me. I was meant to go the district conference a couple weekends later, but unfortunately I came down with a stomach bug and missed it.

Next semester I will have Thursdays free to attend the Tranent club’s lunch meetings. The other ladies and I have also been invited to other clubs in the area, so after the New Year we’ll get together to plan where we’ll go and when.

And I have some more travel recommendations for you all! The Cairngorms National Park is stunning, snowy, and definitely worth a visit. There’s a not a lot to do in Inverness, but the country-side is beautiful, and it’s close to Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle. I believe I caught a glimpse of Nessie, the Loch Monster, but I can’t be sure it wasn’t just a big wave…

Hope all is well.


Micaela Arneson

E-Club and Interact Team up for Service Project

Monday, November 7, 2016. The Rotary E-Club of District 7710 and their sponsored Interact Club from the School for Creative Studies in Durham had a great time volunteering at the Goodwill Community Foundation (GCF) in Durham.  During their service project the Clubs helped assemble over 200 school kits. GCF, a Durham based tax-exempt organization focuses on creating opportunities for a better life, by partnering with tier one elementary schools and youth programs to provide school kits to children. Each school supply kit distributed by GCF is valued at approximately $5.00. GCF has provided approximately 34,000 such kits since beginning the project in 2001. GCF and Rotary understand the importance of providing opportunities that encourage and enable students to complete each school year successfully. Such volunteer opportunities strengthen Rotary’s engagement in communities where Rotarians live, work and provide service to others.

Rotary Youth Exchange

Clockwise, from lower center: Oceane Rousseaux (Belgium), hosted by Apex Sunrise; Soph Silva Dragao (Brazil), hosted by North Raleigh; Mirei Isozaki (Japan), hosted by Clayton; and friends.

Clockwise, from lower center: Oceane Rousseaux (Belgium), hosted by Apex Sunrise; Soph Silva Dragao (Brazil), hosted by North Raleigh; Mirei Isozaki (Japan), hosted by Clayton; and friends.

The District 7710 Youth Exchange Committee has adopted some new policies that will make sponsoring Outbound Long Term Exchange students even easier for local clubs and will help move the Youth Exchange program toward self-sustainability, which will be easier on the District’s budget.

Our membership in Rotary’s Eastern States Youth Exchange (ESSEX) consortium requires that each district hosting or sponsoring Youth Exchange students submit administrative fees of $250 per student, both inbound and outbound. This year, with five Inbounds and three outbounds, District 7710’s bill to ESSEX was $2,250, including a $250 charge for an outbound student who was placed by ESSEX, but did not participate in the exchange.

To help cover these expenses as well as provide our local students with tools to professionally be a Rotary District 7710 ambassador abroad, a total of $775 will be charged to each outbound student, beginning with the 2017-2018 academic year. This fee will cover ESSEX dues and will also include purchasing a student blazer, District 7710 name badge, patches and lapel pins for exchanging with other students, and business cards.

In addition, Jim Harrington, Outbound Coordinator, has developed instructions for students and for sponsoring clubs which will facilitate the application process.

Outbound applications are currently being received. Students must be age 15-18 by departure date in 2017. (NOTE: Some countries have different maximum ages they will accept). If you are interested in an exchange student contact Harrington at or Helen Holt at, as soon as possible. The sooner an application is received, the more quickly it can be processed, including interviews at the club and district levels, and the more likely a student will be assigned to their top country choices.

Finally, please remember that clubs which sponsor an outbound student are also expected to host an inbound student during the same year. Johnny Whitfield serves as inbound coordinator and can be reached at

We look forward to working with even more district rotary clubs as this excellent international youth exchange program continues to grow in the Heart of Carolina!

Rotary’s Youth Exchange Program is Growing!

This year, a total of eight students are participating in District 7710’s long-term Outbound and Inbound Youth Exchanges, representing three continents and six different countries.

The district has five Inbound students. From the left are: Sophia (Brazil), Robin (France), Oceane (Belgium), Agustin (Argentina), and Mirei (Japan)

The district has five Inbound students. From the left are: Sophia (Brazil), Robin (France), Oceane (Belgium), Agustin (Argentina), and Mirei (Japan)

This year’s three “outbounds” have all landed safely in Europe and South America:  Ryan  Raulynaitis, sponsored by Fuquay Varina Downtown,  in Mellau, Austria; Grace  McCrorie, sponsored by West Raleigh, in Brazil; and Allison Becker, sponsored by North Raleigh, in Argentina. While in their respective countries, they will have broad exposure to a variety of cultural experiences.

The five “inbounds” all arrived during the week of Aug. 21 and were enthusiastically greeted at RDU by various club members, host families, and Youth Exchange committee members. Those students, their home countries, and area club sponsors include: Sophia  Dragao (Brazil), North Raleigh;  Robin Schultz (France), Oxford; Agustin Brignolo (Argentina), Fuquay Varina Downtown;  Oceane Rousseaux (Belgium),  Apex Sunrise;  and Mirei Isozaki (Japan), Clayton.

Whether inbound or outbound, the Youth Exchangers will all be changed by this year abroad.  Travel experts value the long-term Rotary exchange as a $25,000 scholarship, made possible by the efforts of volunteer Rotarians worldwide.   With room and board supplied by host families, monthly stipends provided by host clubs, and a local network of supportive Rotarians, District 7710’s youth ambassadors encounter life-changing experiences and build life-long relationships.

Outbound student Grace McCorie pictured above with her Argentina host family is  sponsored by the West Raleigh club

Outbound student Grace McCorie pictured above with her Argentina host family is sponsored by the West Raleigh club

Outbound student Grace McCrorie is doing a “gap year”—the year in between high school graduation and college– and writes this in her blog, “Tudo Bom: It’s All Good” about Brazil:

“Every time I say a word in Portuguese that isn’t “oi”, “tudo bom”, or “sim”, everyone cheers, gives me a high five and a fist bump.  Everyone here is super kind to the new foreign girl who speaks little to no Portuguese, and I am forever grateful for that.” 

Inbound Brazilian student Sophia Dragao, hosted by North Raleigh Rotary, gave these observations about her first week in the United States:

“I am amazed with all I see here: the houses are different, the way people dress is different, the food, the city, the school and everything imaginable. The stereotype that Americans are reserved was broken when I arrived at the airport and received all the affection that anyone could offer to me.”

Breaking stereotypes.  Getting to know each other. Accepting differences: these are the goals for these Rotary youth ambassadors.  May they live their dreams this year!

youthexchange4District 7710 Rotary Youth Exchange orientation took place at the home of Terry & Brenda Winebrenner (Apex Sunrise Rotarians). Helen Holt, Chair of the Youth Exchange Committee for District 7710 and member of the Wake Forest Rotary Club, planned a great afternoon which included District 7690 and 7730. YE committee member, Johnny Whitfield, provided orientation for the inbound students and everyone enjoyed hot dogs, hamburgers and brats afterwards. We are looking forward to an eventful year with students from Japan, Brazil, France, Germany, Belgium and Argentina.


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.