NEXT MEETING: June 3, 2016
Touching the Lives of Veterans with Music
Richard Harrell, Director of Opera San Francisco Conservatory, will talk about Heroes’ Voices, an organization he founded “to create venues and opportunities for veterans to make music together and with other people, to help them connect with community.”
One of the greatest challenges that veterans face when returning home is how to reconnect with their communities. Veterans often feel isolation, even disorientation after leaving a war zone and military service to return to civilian life. Complicating this, over 500,000 veterans have, or will return from Iraq and Afghanistan with some level of traumatic brain injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or both. Music therapy is a powerful tool for treating battle-related brain injuries and enduring psychological traumas
Alas, announcements were made but none were recorded for publication here. But here’s the good news: if you have an event that you’d like to publicize to the club, come to this Friday’s meeting and announce-away. First announcement free. One dollar per announcement thereafter, unless you sprinkle it with foreign phrases—C’est la vie—or words of more than 5 syllables. They’re extra. But no announcements will be silenced for lack of funds.
MEETING OF May 27, 2016
President Alan Blavins called the meeting to order and asked Henry Moe to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Sid Chauvin’s thought for the day: “I am absolutely convinced that the socks that go missing from the dryer turn into extra Tupperware lids.”
Recognitions and Happy and Sad Dollars
Oscar Garcia stepped up to perform the exhilarating task of Recognitions.
- Stacey Street celebrated her 2nd Club anniversary on May 19th but was out-of-town. Two years have flown by!
- Charlie Wong celebrated 56 years in the Club, WOW! Jan Brown encouraged everyone to call him since he greatly appreciates and enjoys phone calls!
- Jonothan Lawlis was happy and sad at the same time, because he and Darlene will be going to Quebec for 4 months so will miss seeing everyone.
- Josh Genser was happy that his wife Elaina had a successful gall bladder surgery and was recovering nicely.
- Tom Butt said he presented on the Paris Climate Conference at the Kiwanis Club this week, and was surprised that all members participated in the recognitions! He was also happy to invite everyone to his 13th Annual Refinery Town BBQ and Bluegrass at Nichol Knob, 1-5:30 pm. Great food, company and music!
- Your Scribe Stacey (yes, me again!) was happy for several reasons: she was happy be back after 3 weeks away from the club due to planning and organizing Richmond Community Foundation’s 7th Annual Northern California Summit on Children and Youth on May 17th, which was very successful. It focused on “Building the Next Generation Workforce” and this year included a career fair for 225 high school students. Several members helped as mentors including Oscar Garcia and Josh Genser. The day after the Summit, Stacey left for Baltimore to be a bridesmaid in her longest-time friend’s wedding, and returned in time to celebrate her daughter’s 12th birthday (and unfortunately, Alyssa was empty-handed for recognitions….) Stacey was “looking forward” to taking Alyssa and 9 friends to the pool on Saturday…. Finally, she was very happy to have her family with her, to share the afternoon with her Rotary Family!
- Jan Brown was honored to have received the National Park Service Home Front Award for her many years of service in support of Rosie the Riveter National Park. She thanked Tom Butt for his support of the Park and the Home Front Festival, and all those who had contributed and volunteered over the years. She also announced that the next Home Front Festival would take place August 13th, and that the goal was to definitively secure the world record for the most Rosies in one place, with 5,000 Rosies! She encouraged everyone to participate and noted that there is no gender or age bias so whole families can attend!
Putting Richmond Students First
Your Scribe had the pleasure of “formally” introducing her husband, Don Benham, an accomplished professional trombonist and music teacher. Other than serving as principal trombonist in several Bay Area orchestras including California Symphony and teaching music at the Amethod Public Schools, Don enjoys long-distance running and vintage cars.
The “curtain” opened on 60 Third Graders from Benito Juarez Elementary School poised to play violin, and Don led them (while playing his baritone) in several exercises, including scales, as well as recognizable songs such as that one about the little lamb… The kids did a wonderful job and received a standing ovation!
Next Don introduced Jorge Lopez, CEO of Amethod Public Schools (AMPS). Jorge was born and raised in Richmond, the first in his family born in the US. He shared some of his own history, including some amusing anecdotes, which was challenging, and how ultimately his mother’s will that he have an education enabled him to persevere and not only graduate from high school but go on to college and a master’s degree. Jorge has taught in many different school districts, and came to the Amethod Public Schools in 2004 when he took over Oakland Charter School. It was struggling, with some of the lowest test scores in the state, but Jorge and his team changed the structure and focus, and it became a National Blue Ribbon winner in 2007. Since then, Amthod Public Schools have expanded to include two other schools in Oakland, Downtown Charter Academy and Oakland Charter High School, and three schools in Richmond, Benito Juarez Elementary, Richmond Charter Academy and John Henry High School. Ultimately, Jorge feels his job is to offer all kids an opportunity – especially those who don’t have any – and to teach them the values and rewards of grit, determination and hard work. Visit the organization’s website for more information about Amethod Public Schools.
- Stacey Street, Rotating Editor