NEXT MEETING: September 12, 2014
The Family Justice Center: Healing Trauma and Building Community
The West Contra Costa Family Justice Center, located near Hilltop, is a multi-service center for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse, and human trafficking. The Center brings multiple agencies together under one roof to coordinate wrap-around support services. The Center serves as a backbone organization to support collective efforts to end family and interpersonal violence. The desired collective impact of the work is to create violence-free futures for clients, their families, and the community.
- Many thanks to Liliane Koziol, Programs Director of the International House at UC Berkeley, for making some tickets available (each a $45 value) for the Cal football game last Saturday.
- Stoney reminded everyone about the Rotary District 5160 conference taking place October 31 to November 2, 2014, at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno. Click this link for more information and to register. An optional limited-seats package is available for traveling to the event by train (sign-up deadline is September 10).
- Jack Freehy, Membership Director for the El Cerrito Rotary Club and Membership Chair for the eight BARSHEEP clubs, shared some thoughts about the ongoing need to bring new members into Rotary. Jack has been a member of El Cerrito Rotary for 43 years and his dad was a member of Richmond Rotary. Jack encouraged everyone to take on the personal challenge of inviting at least one guest as a prospective new member by the first of January, 2015. Joe Bagley added the comment that retention of current members is important too. Jan Brown echoed thoughts of her father and long-time Richmond Rotarian, Don Hardison, who emphasized the importance of bringing next-generation professionals into the Club.
MEETING OF September 5, 2014
President Stoney Stonework rang the bell and called the meeting to order. Jon Lawlis, almost a visiting Rotarian, led the pledge of allegiance and Stoney asked for a moment of silence for freedom, peace, and justice on earth. Sid Chauvin offered this thought for the day: Do not be distracted by criticism – remember that the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.
Visiting Rotarians and Guests
- Jack Freethy visited from the El Cerrito Rotary Club.
- Sid’s guest was Joe Kelman.
- Daniel Ponce was a guest of program speaker Jim Kennedy.
Recognitions and Happy and Sad Dollars
- Doris Mitchell celebrated a birthday in July. Happy belated!
- Jon Lawlis had a birthday last week and was generous in his giving.
- Joe Bagley was happy about upcoming return trip to the “old country” (Chicagoland) for a variety of activities, including a special service for Rita’s mom who passed away earlier this year.
- Hank Covell happily looked forward to having a “full house” when he hosted a poker get-together later on in the day after the meeting.
- Herb Cole was happy to see Jon Lawlis again after Jon’s absence of several weeks up in Quebec. Herb complimented Jon on his shirt, which reminded him of the classic one he used have with the funny saying, “Bar & Girl”.
- George Egan was happy about today’s program topic and the scholarship fund that Richmond Rotary supported during George’s year as Club President (2006-07).
- Herb added some additional dollars in anticipation of hearing Alan Blavins’ stories of his recent fishing trip to Papua New Guinea, including being within a mile from a local volcano that blew its top while he was there. (At the Club meeting on September 26 at La Strada, Alan will be the program speaker as he shares all the details about his trip.)
Tom Waller introduced Jim Kennedy, Donor Relations Chair for the Kennedy-King Memorial Scholarship Fund, the largest locally based source of college scholarships for minority students transferring from one of the three local community colleges to a four-year college or university.
The Kennedy-King Fund was established in 1968 in memory of Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Its founding goal, which holds true to this day, is to provide $8,000 college scholarships to students from minority groups that are under-represented at California’s four-year colleges and universities (specifically African American, Latino, American Indian, and Pacific Islander).
The scholarships are awarded based on a rigorous process involving a written application, interviews, and selection criteria. Applicants must demonstrate financial need as well as academic success at one of the three community colleges in Contra Costa County (Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, Diablo Valley College in Concord, and Contra Costa College in San Pablo).
In 46 years, Kennedy-King has awarded 683 scholarships valued at nearly $3.5 million. With over 100 applicants in 2014, there were 30 awards (the largest class ever). Kennedy-King scholars graduate almost 80% of the time, far exceeding the national average.
Jim introduced Daniel Ponce, a graduate of Richmond High School who went on to Contra Costa College, dropping out once before trying again. He kept wondering, “How will I pay for a four-year college degree?” He applied for and received a Kennedy-King scholarship and then went on to graduate from Cal State East Bay in 2009 with a BA in Business. He currently works for a large property management company in Hayward and ultimately wants to start his own business. Besides providing the money to allow him to obtain his degree, Daniel credits Kennedy-King with totally changing his life: “They believed in me.”
Almost 40% of Kennedy-King scholarship recipients over the last six years are students who attended Contra Costa College. As a result, Kennedy-King is anxious to increase its visibility and donor base in West County and will be holding a special information event in early 2015.
Since the Kennedy-King Memorial Scholarship Fund is an all-volunteer organization, over 90% of donated dollars go directly to scholarships.
Tom Waller, Rotating Scribe