The Flywheel

Next Meeting: June 1

Writer Coaches

The WriterCoach Connection program uses trained volunteers to help teen-age students in public schools develop better writing skills. Started in Berkeley over 10 years ago and in El Cerrito High School last school year, the program will begin at Richmond High School this coming Fall. Shelli Fried is on the Board of the associated non-profit and will tell us more.

The presentation about Burning Man scheduled for this date has been postponed due to an unforeseen circumstance. Michelle Itagaki's presentation will be re-scheduled soon.

Meeting of Friday, May 25th

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Past President Alan Baer called to order another well-attended meeting of the Richmond Rotary Club. Don Lau was asked to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. The room erupted into cheers and applause as John Nicol paid special tribute to Ralph Hill on this, his 89th birthday.

Rotarians with Guests

Guests attending today’s meeting included Charlie Fender’s friend Ron Yourd, and Jan Brown’s husband, Byron. Jan also introduced Kathy Anderson, who was both a guest and our speaker today. Alan Baer was also pleased to note that Don Hardison was in attendance at today’s meeting.

Sunshine Report

All were happy to see John Nicol at the meeting today.


  • Alan Baer announced that Poker & Rib Night at his house last Friday was a lot of fun and raised a nice sum for the scholarship fund. Alan and his wife, Santa, have offered to host another Poker & Rib Night in June or July. Stay tuned.
  • The Barsheep Happy Hour continues to be held the last Friday of each month at Restaurante La Revolucion.  


David Brown and his wife celebrated their anniversary and, to commemorate, David donated $100 towards his next Paul Harris Award.

Ralph Hill celebrated his 89th birthday today and graciously listened as the balance of those in attendance exuberantly sang a rather off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday” to him.  Despite the raucous singing, Ralph still donated $125 to the Foundation. When asked what he planned to do to celebrate his birthday, Ralph stated: “At 89, you get a Playboy magazine and think about the good old days”!

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Mike Winter was quite pleased to have spent the past week in Gualala, and to have attended the Gualala Rotary Club meeting and traded club flags.
  • Josh Genser enjoyed a great time at the Poker and Rib Night eating endless amounts of Santa’s amazing food.

Norm's Nonsense

Two cannibals meet one day. The first cannibal says, "You know, I just can't seem to get a tender missionary. I've baked them, I've roasted them, I've stewed them, I've barbecued them, I've tried every sort of marinade. I just can't seem to get them tender."

The second cannibal asks, "What kind of missionary do you use?"
The other replies, "You know, the ones that hang out at that place at the bend of the river. They have those brown cloaks with a rope around the waist, and they're sort of bald on top with a funny ring of hair on their heads."

"Aha!" the second cannibal replies. "No wonder—those are friars!"



The Teen Mom's Project

Jan Brown gave a brief history of our club’s Teen Mothers’ Project. (Some of the most senior members in the gallery also described how, noting that since the establishment of the Richmond Rotary Club, April 1, 1920, the Club has always had extremely close ties with the Richmond schools.) In 1996, the YMCA opened infant/toddler centers at Kennedy and Richmond High Schools. The two centers provide care for the children of teen students during the school day, and offer support to the teen parents so that they can complete and graduate high school.

Kathy Anderson, Coordinator of the Teen Parent Program for the YMCA of the East Bay, spoke about what a success the Teen Parent Program has been since its inception in 1996. She described how the Program teaches teens how to be good parents, and the success the Program has had in helping to support and encourage teens to graduate high school. As a result of the Program, the incidence of second or repeat teen pregnancies has been very low.

The Teen Mothers’ Program got its start about 7 years ago when Rhonda Harris and her daughter, a student at El Cerrito High School at that time, put together a gift basket for a pregnant girl at school with items she would need for her new baby. After this single kind act, Rhonda’s daughter asked her mom if they could arrange to do the same for all high school students who were either pregnant or who already had babies. With that as her inspiration, Rhonda came to the Richmond Rotary Club several years ago and obtained the support of the Club to make her daughter’s vision a reality. This is the 7th year that the Club has put together gift bags of essential items for pregnant students or students who already have a very young child.

With that, the meeting was adjourned and those in attendance, in assembly-line fashion, put together gift bags of essential baby supplies for the teen mothers participating in the Program and wrote personal notes of encouragement for the mothers, which were then included with each gift bag.

- Rotating Editor, David Keystone