NEXT MEETING: October 9, 2015
Conversation with Assemblymember Tony Thurmond
Tony Thurmond was elected to represent California’s 15th Assembly District in November 2014. The district includes the East Bay communities along the I-80 corridor from Hercules to Oakland. First elected to the Richmond City Council in 2005, Thurmond served as Council Liaison to Richmond’s Youth Commission, the Workforce Investment Board and the WCCUSD.
His priorities in the Assembly have been a continuation of his priorities as a non-profit leader, school board member, and city councilmember. Specifically, Thurmond focuses on improving the local and statewide economy, improving education from the ground up, and preventing crime. As a community advocate, Thurmond has helped create job training and workforce housing programs that serve as a model for state efforts at poverty reduction.
Immediately prior to his election to the Assembly, Thurmond’s project, CEO Youth, was improving school attendance and reducing dropout rates. Recognizing that jobs, education and crime are interrelated challenges, Thurmond believes that, “To get it right, we need to give our youth a California as good as its promise. To get there, we need to do the real work to improve our schools, reduce dropout rates, create sustainable jobs that preserve our environment and invest in job training opportunities to build a 21st-century workforce.”
A Fellow in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Children and Family Fellowship program, Assemblymember Thurmond is a graduate of Temple University. He did graduate work at Bryn Mawr College, PA where he received dual Masters Degrees in Law and Social Policy and Social Work. He lives in Richmond, California.
MEETING OF October 2, 2015
Prez Alan Blavins welcomed guests and Rotarians and called the meeting to order. Jon Lawlis was asked to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Prez Alan led us in the invocation, a silent prayer for Peace, Freedom & Justice. Prez Alan, no doubt thinking about some members giving to the Rotary Foundation and Paul Harris Society said, “When it comes to giving, some people start with nothing.”.
Visiting Rotarians and Guests
CPA Mei Saechao, visiting again, hopefully for her last time as a guest as, local girl that she is, she is going to join the club.
- DAB is still looking for contributions to provide the club’s annual $100 gift to all the teachers at Peres Elementary School, a $3,000 goal.
- Alan Baer made several BARSHEEP related announcements:
- The San Pablo Club is holding a Gumbo and Chili Cook-off Contest at Maple Hall on October 24th., $20/person. BYO bi-carb. See Alan for time.
- The Fall Rotary Foundation Paul Harris Society drive is underway. See President Alan Blavins’ insightful comments about giving (below) and know that a rumor was circulating at last week’s post-meeting analysis and debriefing that PDG Laura Day would personally give out this year’s Paul Harris Society recognitions if we have more than two.
- Alan Baer’s daughter is working with the ECHS Interact Club to raise funds to purchase electric lights to replace kerosene lighting in developing countries. See Alan for more details.
- Henry Moe is looking for drivers to transport dinners prepared by the Salesian Interact Club to the RotaCare Clinic in Richmond. October is our club’s month to supply the dinners which the Interactors have graciously prepared, but they cannot transport them. Pickup is at the Salesian cafeteria at 5 PM. Drivers are needed for Oct, 5th, 12th, 19th & 26th. This project takes all of 30 minutes to complete. Contact Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy and Sad Dollars
ESCAPE Club at DeJean Middle School
David Brown introduced John Iwawaki, today’s speaker and a long time friend of Richmond Rotary, and also his friend and neighbor.
Richmond Rotary has been helping to sustain the ESCAPE Club (acronym for (Environmental Science, Conservation, and Photographic Excursions) at Lovonya DeJean Middle School since the 1990s when John and his sidekick Jason Lau (no relation to Don) started the club at Adams Middle School before it closed. Besides providing students an after-school venue to study and ‘hang out’, once a month the club goes on an outing into the greater Bay Area. For many of the club members, these trips are their first experiences outside Richmond city limits. Local geography that we take for granted, the Golden Gate Bridge & Fort Point, Muir Woods, Rock City at Mt. Diablo State Park and Pt. Reyes National Seashore, are new and exotic. Once a year the club also tries to go to the snow (if there is any) and on a camping trip to Yosemite National Park.
All these adventures are free of charge to the members and that’s what Rotary supports.
During Q&A Jim Young reminded the members of a past presentation John did when he brought ESCAPE Club alumni. One young woman in particular talked about how the club, “…changed my life.” John said he has had hundreds of similar comments and that’s why he keeps doing it. John then told the story of the 2015 winter snow trip when it actually snowed on the trip. He said one of the mother chaperones was all a twitter. She had never seen snow in her life.
John, you’re amazing! You are a local hero. Keep up the good work.
For those of you who want more information about the ESCAPE Club, check out the club website at http://www.escapeclub.org
- Jim Young, Rotating Scribe