NEXT MEETING: May 12, 2017
Teen Mom's Gift Bag Assembly
Our 12th Annual Teen Mom’s Project launches at this meeting. We’ll roll up our sleeves, stuff gift bags with baby care essentials, and write letters of encouragement to 33 teen mothers who are students at Richmond high schools. Next week a small delegation from our club will deliver the bags to the girls’ classrooms. They truly appreciate the support.
The Teen Mom’s Project is among our most successful, hands-on community service activities. Please do your best to attend.
The only announcement at this meeting was that we need all hands on deck next Friday, May 12th, for the Teen Mom’s project. See you then.
MEETING OF May 5, 2017
Past President Alan Blavins presided over today’s meeting. Nick led the pledge and Herb the invocation. Herb’s thought for the day was “Your friends tend to come and go but your enemies accumulate, so make more friends.”
Visiting Rotarians and Guests
Our guests were Gilbert Silva, Marianne Haas, Festas Alhassan and Cecilia Orozco
Edgar De Leon was inducted into the Richmond Rotary Club. Again. Edgar was a member some years ago but then had to resign because of the location of his work, which prevented him from attending meetings. Welcome back, Edgar.
Recognitions and Happy and Sad Dollars
- Jon Lawlis had happy dollars because his daughter was visiting and accompanied him to Rotary today.
- Nick Despota had a happy dollar because a few minutes earlier Herb recounted his grandfather’s skepticism about the first moon landing. His story brought back an amusing memory for Nick. On the night of the moon landing Nick brought his Italian grandmother outside, pointed to the moon and told her that a man had walked upon it. She shook her head and smiled, as though explaining something to a 4 year-old: “Neecky, Neecky. The moon, she only looksa close but she ‘s very very far away.”
- Hank Covell had dollars both happy and sad. Happy that he was going to Arizona and Hawaii. Sad that he will miss Rotary for 3 weeks.
- Henry Moe had sad dollars that Joe Bagley is not coming back to Rotary. He will miss seeing his friend on Fridays
- Jerry Feagley gave money but I missed if it was happy or sad and what it was about. (Sorry Jerry)
- Edgar De Leon had happy dollars that is son is graduating and getting his degree, and moving out of the dorms and into his first apartment.
The Amarok Society and its contibution to peace
Gem Munro presented an inspiring overview of the mission and operation of the Amarok Society, which he co-founded with his partner, Tanyss Munro. The Society has developed a unique way to educate the poorest children in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nigeria. These children live in urban slums and other areas that are too poor to provide schools and employ teachers. Therefore the Society teaches young women to be teachers of their own children and their neighbors’ children in their own homes. The women learn the skills of reading, writing, arithmetic, personal health care and conflict resolution—which they then pass on to the children.
The Amarok Society plants a culture of education, self-care and conflict resolution within families. Literacy and numeracy make the women, and in time, the children more employable. This gradually promotes economic development within the community. Greater economic opportunity also reduces birth rates because women, with alternate sources of income, do not feel compelled to have large families with the hope that 1 or 2 may survive and remain in the home, to care for them in their old age.
From a western perspective these are, of course, all positive developments. But the very act of educating women also makes the Amarok Society a target for extremist groups in these societies. Gem must take precautions to insure his personal safety and that of any Westerners working with the Society. But the organization employs local people, not men or women from the West, to conduct its work.
Gem emphasized the social impact of education and the lives of the women who are transforming their communities. He ended his talk with a comment that resonated with anyone familiar with the work of Rotary International: “As polio distorts the body, ignorance distorts the mind.”
- Henry Moe, “Rotating Editor”