NEXT MEETING: February 12, 2016
Early Childhood Mental Health, Then and Now
Tiffany Straus, M.Ed., Early Childhood Mental Health Program’s Executive Director, will talk about the importance of early childhood services to the community’s ability grow and thrive. Over 40 years ago, a group of community activists understood the impact that our early childhood experiences have on us, and often serve as predictors for how we’ll do later in life. As such, they started a non-profit organization in a church basement providing mental health services to West County’s most impoverished young children ages 0 – 6. Today, the Early Childhood Mental Health Program serves an average of 40 families daily, and 500 families annually. Tiffany will talk about how early childhood services continue to be our community’s best defense against encounters with the juvenile justice system, educational failures, unemployment and unhealthy high-risk behaviors, and how her organization continues to address this.
- At Friday’s meeting we’ll hear the final numbers for the annual Richmond Rotary Crab Feed held last Saturday night at Salesian High School. As of last Friday’s meeting, Henry Moe announced that there were 125 people signed up, including a table purchased by the Richmond Police Officers Association.
- Don’t forget to mark your calendars, sign up for, and attend the Rotary District 5160 Conference, April 1-3, 2016, in Woodland, CA. For more information, talk to Alan Baer.
President Alan Blavins called the meeting to order at the Richmond Country Club. Using as few words as possible, Tom Waller led the pledge of allegiance to the flag. Alan asked for a moment of silence for freedom, peace, and justice on earth. Sid Chauvin provided this thought for the day: “Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.”
Visiting Rotarians and Guests
- Mac Lingo was visiting from the Berkeley Rotary Club.
- Philip Gonsalves and his colleague, Drew Craven, both from the West Contra Costa Unified School District, were guests of the Club as program presenters.
- Jon Lawlis introduced his guest, Darlene Quenville.
- Mike Winter and Herb Cole introduced their guest, Jim Findley, who will be inducted as a new Club member at the next meeting.
- Jerry Feagley’s guest was J.R. Griffin.
- Josh Genser introduced his guest, Simon Ellis, who will be inducted as a new Club member at the next meeting.
Recognitions and Happy and Sad Dollars
- Jon Lawlis had some happy dollars for his daughter, Alissa, who is flying to Australia to be in a friend’s wedding.
- David Brown offered some happy dollars for Jan Brown, who provided two checks for David to deposit, one in the amount of $100 for Polio Plus in honor of Jim Young and the other as a donation of $50 for the Crab Feed since Jan will not be able to attend.
- Ric Ambrose happily announced the Richmond Art Center’s “Upcycle” (beyond recycling) program on Saturday, April 23, with support from the Richmond Rotary Club. Also during February at the Art Center is the 20th annual “Art of Living Black” exhibition.
- Dan Tanita also had happy dollars for Richmond Rotary’s support, in this case a donation of $1,000 for supplies to support the newly opened dental clinic at Coronado Elementary School. About 20 kids have been served so far, including one youngster that had 10 fillings from Dan the other day. The need is great. Dan is also happy for his daughter being in Korea during her fifth year of a PhD program.
- Herb Cole was happy that a total of six Richmond Rotarians are going to Monterey, Mexico at the end of March to take part in a Rotary distribution of over 200 wheelchairs for those in need.
- Alan Blavins happily thanked all Club members who were able to attend Jim Young’s memorial service on January 30. Jim will be missed.
Richmond Fab Lab: Where Students and Community Can "Make Almost Anything”!
New member Oscar Garcia from Chevron introduced the program speaker, Philip Gonsalves, Senior Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Mathematics, Science, and STEM education for the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD).
Phil took us through an exciting multimedia introduction to the fabulous 4000-square-foot “Fab Lab” now in place at Kennedy High School. The lab’s grand opening took place last September with banners proclaiming, “Dream It. Design It. Make It. A place to dream, design, and innovate.”
The Richmond Fab Lab is “a non-profit digital fabrication laboratory and community workshop in the heart of Richmond, based in the WCCUSD, advancing STEM education, human-centered design, collaborative projects, and the creative economy.” It is intended to “connect people and create opportunities for learning, research, and experimentation.”
The Richmond Fab Lab was developed in partnership with Chevron and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Bits and Atoms. Chevron has generously funded a Foundation that is committed to building at least ten Fab Labs across the country to support STEM education (the one at Kennedy being the first one in the western United States).
The ambitious goal of the Richmond Fab Lab is to be a high-tech resource to all K-12 district schools and to the community. A hybrid Fab Lab at Crespi Middle School plus a mobile Fab Lab will be up and running in the next few months to help provide support to schools throughout the district.
The heart of the Fab Lab is state-of-the-art, software-enabled equipment like the following.
- Vinyl Cutter – allows the creation of professional-grade graphics, signs, stencils, and decals.
- Mini-Mill – used for molding and casting by machining modeling wax and for milling circuit boards.
- 3D Printers – use an additive process to ‘print’ digital models as solid forms in plastic.
- CNC Router – used for cutting, drilling, carving, and machining of wood, plastic, aluminum, and other materials.
- Laser Cutter – engrave, etch, and cut a variety of materials including wood, acrylic, plastic, cloth, leather, paper, rubber, veneer, cork, and more.
- Electronics Workbench – includes soldering stations that allow for creating custom circuit boards, and configuring integrated project components.
By the promotion of proper safety and operating know-how, these pieces of equipment and the integrated design software are made quite accessible to students as their minds become more and more open to the wondrous possibilities of technology-enabled manufacturing. Because of the hands-on nature of all this, students of all ages are better able to connect important principles taught in the classroom with the real world of making stuff. Among other things, one benefit of this program may be that more students will get excited about pursuing high-paid STEM careers.
Many thanks, Chevron! For more information about the Richmond Fab Lab, click here.
- Tom Waller, Rotating Scribe