District News

Rotary Clubs Expand Their Battle Against Alzheimer’s        

The Holly Springs Rotary Club and the Apex Sunrise Rotary Club have been working together to provide help to local assisted living facilities through a Music and Memory Program. Alive again through music!  This ground breaking therapy uses IPods and headsets to reconnect those suffering with Alzheimer to the present day by using music they grew up with to reach them. It dramatically awakens these individuals and self-initiates conversation and interaction.

The group met to discuss expanding the Music and Memory Program to other local facilities, this year they launched the program in the Carillon Facility in Fuquay-Varina and Spring Arbor in Apex. The group would like to add four other facilities like Waltonwood and Sunrise located in Cary, Windsor Point Retirement community in Fuquay Varina and Val’s Place family owned facility located in Raleigh NC.

The Rotary Clubs are working on their Fundraising plans in order to reach their goals to raise $2K per club. The Holly Springs Rotary Club is working with the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce by holding a Business After Hour’s event asking for iTunes gift cards to help with the downloading music selections as well as asking the business community to consider making donations to help offset the expenses an enable the Clubs to grow this important program.

Learn more, watch Alive Inside  – Alzheimer’s Documentary. Considering making a donation

The following is a link to video that is a fantastic example of the major and emotional impact the Music & Memory program has on its participants. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hd7dOIYIzYE

Doing Service for a Service Dog

The Rotary Club of Morrisville recently collected over 100 pairs of shoes that they donated to Robert Hinton of Raleigh, a young boy in need of a service dog to help with his autism.

With many other people from NC, SC, Florida and Virginia, he was able to gather almost 10,000 pairs of shoes to go to needy individuals and families all over the world who are without decent shoes.

The donated shoes are weighed and Robert’s family will receive a dollar amount which will be used to cover most of the costs of getting his service dog.

For more information or to make a cash donation you can do  so at https://www.gofundme.com/robertsheroes.

Rotary Foundation Approves Global Scholar

Micaela Arneson has been named Rotary District 7710 first Global Scholar and will begin her studies at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in September. Micaela was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Chapel Hill.

Micaela received a BA from the University of North Carolina in December, 2015 with a double major in Political Studies and Global Studies. As a student at UNC she completed a semester of the University of Heidelberg majoring in global studies. Her goal at the University of Edinburgh is a Masters of Science Degree in International Development. She has over three years of internship experience with domestic and international non-profit organizations working in community development and poverty alleviation.

Her ultimate goal is to work with non-profit organizations in impoverished regions to help identify and strengthen programs and strategies that best enable economic and community development.

While in Scotland she will be hosted by the Rotary Club of Tranent, Scotland.

Micaela Arneson provides a Report from Scotland

Things are going really well here!  My courses are challenging but very interesting, and the professors are incredible lecturers. The cohort for my program is quite large (we’re about 70), and from extremely diverse backgrounds. It’s a fun, collaborative, supportive environment here.

Aside from my courses, I’m involved in the university chorus and have joined the rowing team. The other Rotary scholars and I have met up a few times, and we got together with Ian Geddes (PDG) and his wife, Olive (DG). They’re lovely!  Although we have not been to a club meeting, the support and assistance from our sponsors and other club members has been fantastic.

Last month, I went to Rotary’s annual Link Weekend, for scholars studying across Great Britain and Ireland. About 50 of us met at the headquarters in Alcester, and were treated to some really helpful sessions on the history of Rotary, important cultural differences between the UK and our countries of origin, and leadership and presentation skills. We were also given the opportunity to network with one another, and some of us stayed the weekend with Rotary members and their families. It was a great opportunity to learn more about the organization and people’s individual experiences as members.

In other Rotary news: this Wednesday, I will be attending an International Night hosted by the Edinburgh Club for the 2016/17 Global Scholars. And this weekend, the other scholars and I will be going to the district conference in Harrogate!  I’m looking forward to meeting more club members and participating in the weekend’s events. I will be sure to send details of both events in my next update.

District Project to Dominican Republic

The District is going to the Dominican Republic on Feb 4 – 11, 2017, to team with The Santiago Monumental Rotary Club to build latrines, a playground, and repair homes in the Village of Los Cocos.

We have received a District Grant that totals $20,000. Five District Clubs (Wake Forest, Cary, Central Johnston, Clayton, and Cary Page) have joined in on this Grant. We need to raise an additional $8,000 to complete the projects and to provide supplies and drinking filters for the community. We hope you and your Club will consider donating to this project.

If you are interested in becoming part of the District 7710 Team, please email PDG Rick Carnagua, at: rcarnagua@aol.com.

There will be an informational meeting about the trip on Tuesday, November 1, 2016, at The Cary Chamber of Commerce building located at 307 North Academy Street, Cary, North Carolina 27513. This will be a great opportunity for you to learn more about this great project.  Please let Rick know if you will be attending the meeting.

Peace in Australia

By Leanne Simon

It’s springtime here now and the jacaranda trees litter campus with fragrant purple petals, magpies swoop cyclists to protect their hatchlings, and pale geckos come wriggling up the walls in search of a late-night snack. A pair of abandoned ducklings approached us on the riverside path last weekend and we housed them in our bathtub until the veterinarian’s office opened on Monday. We saw them again on campus after wildlife rescue reunited them with their mother (or a good enough substitute). We visited the Sunshine Coast and Steve Irwin Zoo and cavorted with wombats, otters, and a lackadaisical tortoise named Goliath.

At the Peace Centre, we are finishing up our second semester and preparing for our field placements. I am thrilled to announce that I have been accepted to work with Save the Children in Fiji over the summer (November-February). My position is on the Monitoring, Evaluation, Assessment and Learning (MEAL) team and I will be working primarily on two projects. Before I explain those, allow me to give some context as to the situation in Fiji.

On February 20th, 2016, the most powerful cyclone in recorded history to make landfall in the South Pacific smashed the shores of the archipelago nation. Around 350,000 people (including 120,000 children) were affected as entire communities were decimated by the strong winds, waves, and flooding. Approximately 40% of the nation’s children are still suffering the effects of the storm. Nearly one year after the damage, many of the schools and homes have not been repaired. Save the Children has been working tirelessly to restore and maintain infrastructures (including education and water & sanitation) and offer continued protections for children at risk of harm.

My role on their team will be to review and organize digital data (photos, video, audio) taken by staff, volunteers, and community members in the aftermath of Winston and use them to create short videos for online use. I will also be gathering my own footage and interviews to splice in with these to make a longer film that will screen on February 20th- at a remembrance celebration on the anniversary of the storm. In addition to this, I will be undertaking my own work with children in the affected communities. This will be a child-led participatory video project that focuses on what they see as special or important about their communities, families or selves with the goal of building resiliency and youth leadership.

I leave for Fiji on November 15th, and my family will join me on December 10th. Until then, I am preparing to be unprepared for what the situation will be.

Operating in the wake of a natural disaster is unlike other peace work. There are no negotiations, there is no disarmament. What has happened is done, and there was never anything possible to prevent it. The job in these regions is to pick up the pieces and try to rebuild. The hope is that it works like Kintsugi- the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold- that you end up with something stronger and more beautiful than before it was damaged. But, as with all peace work, you only begin to know the result of your effort years later.

My next dispatch will be from Suva, Fiji. Until then, you can keep up with our adventures at my blog: bloxinoz.com

Global Run 4 Water

This year’s Run raised over $10,000. The Committee will now leverage this money in partnership with other Rotary Clubs and organizations around the world to sponsor clean water projects.

Thanks to all that participated and to the organizing committee, especially Scott Rossi.

Top Men
Mark Sullivan, Raleigh                            20:48.8
Anil Chintapalli, Cary                              20:57.2
Bryce Peterson, Cary                             21:33.2

Top Three Women
Catherine Doyle, Raleigh,                       20:27.8
Michelle Quinn, Cary                              23:29.3
Katherine Ducker, San Francisco, CA      24:04.1

Top Female >65
Helen Collier, Cary (Age 75)                   56:26.6

Water Carry Challenge
Cary Page                     135    gallons
Cary MacGregor            126.9 gallons
Cary Kildaire                   57.5 gallons

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.


Happy Feet Champion – Henderson Rotarian – Robert Nelson 

Robert Nelson of the Henderson Rotary Club got the Happy Feet spirit early this Rotary year!  He has already donated 25 pairs of athletic shoes on behalf of his club through his company, SporTrax. This ensured each foster child in Vance County has a new pair of athletic shoes.  Kudos for being the first club in District 7710 to meet their Happy Feet goal.

Happy Feet is the district-wide service project that encourages District 7710 Rotary clubs to donate new athletic shoes for middle and high school aged children in foster care. The Children’s Home Society and county social services agencies are our partners to identify and distribute the athletic shoes that will be packaged at the 2017 District Conference being held April 7-8, 2017 in Raleigh, NC.