District News

Class 15 Rotary Peace Fellows Arriving Summer 2016- Rotarian Host Counselors Needed

We are looking forward to the arrival of Class 15 Rotary Peace Fellows at the Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center. Many thanks to the Rotarians and their families who have volunteered to host Peace Fellows, both currently and in the past. We are now seeking Rotarian Host Counselors for the incoming Class 15. As it is an honor to be a Rotarian Host Counselor, several Rotarians have already volunteered for the incoming class. The lives of past host families have been enriched through their activities with the Peace Fellows. To learn more about the responsibilities, please download the Host Counselor Handbook under the Resources tab on the District website or at http://rotarypeacecenternc.org (search Host Counselor Handbook). If you are interested in becoming a Host Counselor, contact Bart Cleary at bart@oxforddds.com or call 919-693-6171 the Peace Center Host Area Coordinator.

Young Professionals Summit

On June 10-11, we will be having a summit for young Rotarians and Rotaractors. This Zone 33/34 Young Professionals Summit, first of its kind on the East coast, will be held on the campus of Georgia Tech. Our hope is to have each of our twenty nine districts represented by up to three young professionals and a senior district leader.  Encourage the (YPs) in your districts to apply online, and please hurry as time is running out for registration. A video is to accompany the online registration, and that video will be used to select the three YP representatives from any given district, in the event there are more than three submissions.   For details, visit: www.southlandyps.org

Each district will also be represented by a District Leader. If you have any questions, please contact Ryan Clements, Chair of the Summit, at ryan.clements@acicms.com

The 2017 RI Convention Discount

Rotary International Convention registrations between May 28 – June 6, 2016 can register for $265. From June 6 until December the registration fee increases to $340 and in December 2016 goes to $415. Register early for the Rotary International Convention and save. All RI Convention events are within walking distance of the convention hotels. Bus transportation from the District is being organized.

A Peace Fellow in Australia

It is Autumn in Brisbane, and we have just returned from mid-semester break. I was recently given a friendly chiding on my use of the term “Fall.” It’s just not done here. You see, the native trees don’t shed their leaves. Rather, in the early-Summer (November-ish), they lose their bark. It sloughs off and leaves great curlicue bunches at the base of the trunks. This is just one example of the myriad “little ways” that life here is different.

From colorful wildlife to strange turns of phrase, we are having to re-learn how things operate in our daily lives. And here’s the rub- I’ve worked in cultures very different than my own before, faced linguistic and social barriers- but in those places, it was very apparent that I was the “other.” Here, everything is just similar enough that it seems the same. We share a common language, dress similarly, and have the same understandings of time, space and place of self in society. Yet- we find ourselves still relying on our host counsellor, Merv, to be our cultural liaison. We laugh together over the silly things that create great confusion and (sometimes) frustration.

And here I must talk about the importance of host counsellors. I cannot stress enough how instrumental Merv has been in making us feel welcome and secure here. Even before we landed, he had gathered some furniture and housewares for us, and shared many an email and Skype session. When we landed, it felt like coming home to the arms of a family member.

PeaceCenterFresh off the plane, he took us to see kangaroos in the wild- which cemented the fact that we had arrived!  He has taken us to visit the coast, the mountains, and “the bush,” given great hugs when we are homesick, and offered wisdom when we are ignorant. I cannot laud his efforts enough.

On campus here at the Rotary Peace Centre in Queensland, it is a busy week as we prepare for the Annual Peace Fellow Seminar this Saturday. My cohort is assisting Class XIII with logistics as they prepare to share their experiences on Applied Field Experience (AFE). They’ve been to Myannmar, India, Afghanistan, and Lebanon, among others- their various research and field work rich with meaning and impact. They are nearing the end of their tenure, and it will be a bittersweet goodbye in July to our first friends and mentors here.

We have this, our first and their final, semester together to come together in classes and social gatherings. I have learned so much from them, and the professors here, during our brief time together and am eager to see what the rest of this term will bring. No doubt it will be startling, eye-opening and challenging in unexpected ways. That’s what we came here for, after all!

If you would like to keep up with the ups and downs of my family’s experiences in Australia- please follow bloxinoz.com.

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.

North Raleigh Rotary wins with second Casino Night

Flush from the success of its second annual Casino Night fund-raiser, the Rotary Club of North Raleigh bet it would top last year’s attendance and it won that wager handily.

“Judging by increased attendance, the abundance of smiling faces and positive feedback, it’s apparent a great time was had by all,” said Casino Night chairman Scott Tarkenton, who will be the next club president.

“I look forward to becoming president of the Rotary Club of North Raleigh and hosting my club’s 3rd Annual Casino Night in April 2017,” Tarkenton said.

Held on April 9 at the North Carolina State University Club, this year’s event featured 14 gaming tables offering blackjack, craps, Texas hold ‘em and roulette. Elvis impersonator Billy “E” Thomas chatted with guests and sang popular Presley hits. Heavy hors d’oeuvres were served and a silent auction, coupled with a raffle, added to the bottom line.

All proceeds directly support Rotary charities, such as the Food Bank of North Carolina, Interfaith Food Shuttle, Triangle Literacy Council, Operation Coming Home, Stop Hunger Now, Lake Waccamaw Boys and Girls Home, Total Life Center, scholarships for high school seniors, and the club’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2017.

Committee members were Jay Williams, Brian Propst, JJ Jolliff, Mike Wienold, Frank Bouknight and Ed Smallwood. Photographs from the evening by Gene Hirsch.