NEXT MEETING: September 2, 2016

Follow the money. Your money.

You generously donate to the Rotary Foundation. But exactly how is that money used? Jane Louie, the District Endowment Fund Chair, will talk to us about how the Rotary Foundation transforms your gifts into projects that change lives both close to home and around the world.

Jan is a member of the Dougherty Valley, San Ramon Rotary Club. She has been inducted into the Bequest Society and the Paul Harris Society, and is a Paul Harris Fellow.

MEETING OF August 26, 2016


Josh Surowitz presided over the meeting. Felix Hunziker led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Stoney Stonework offered the invocation. Sid provided a week’s worth of reflection with the following, “It has been universally accepted and agreed upon, the first five days after the weekend are the hardest.”

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Today’s featured speaker, Fernanda Castelo, is also a visiting Rotarian from Newport Beach. She brought as her guest George Hughes.


  • Alan Baer reminded folks that this week’s TGIFF will take place at Mira Vista Country Club.
  • David Brown announced that we were still raising money to help out teachers at Peres Elementary School and $500 short of our goal. In a matter of moments our members had made up the difference.


Happy and Sad Dollars

Norm’s Nonsense


A journey of changes and restoration

Shana introduced our speaker, Fernanda Castelo, as a personal friend, an accomplished sailor, and a “test pilot” for Ekso Bionics, a Richmond-based company that develops exoskeleton solutions for medical and industrial applications. A former Disneyland dancer who cherished the release and creativity of movement, twenty years ago Fernanda experienced a spinal cord injury that left her quadriplegic. Through fierce determination, she gradually regained use of her hands and learned to provide for her own needs with the use of a powered wheelchair.

While still early in her recovery, she announced to her medical team that she was going to Paris despite their objections. She ended up staying more than six months, negotiating a city without a thought to accommodating disabilities and where cobblestone streets were a barrier to wheelchair use.

On returning she found herself spending a lot of time in the water learning to move without the restrictions of gravity. During this time she worked with Ekso Bionics, providing design feedback to engineers on their exoskeletons. She also consulted on wheelchair designs. Her greatest passion, however, has been in her discovery of sailing, which, she says joyfully is like dancing again. Sailing allows her freedom and the opportunity to experience responsibility for others in her boat. It also forces her to react physically to her environment. It makes her aware of aspects of her body and forces her to focus. Now president of California Inclusive Sailing (, she is sailing competitively and providing like opportunities to people with all kinds of disabilities

- David Cole, Rotating Editor