Hurry Hard!

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We have all heard the talk about putting Fun in Rotary.  Many clubs look for activities that keep their members engaged socially or add a twist to meetings to bring out the laughter.  Let me tell you that for decades the FUN in Rotary has been alive and well in a group of energetic, creative, slightly batty, highly irreverent exhibitionists called Rotary curlers.

Every year District 5370 and its partner District 5360 get together and host a District Bonspiel. easyrider Did you know that these two Districts used to be one?  The District Governor had just over 60 clubs to visit in an area that stretched the length of our district and extended all the way south to the Alberta/ USA border.  No cell phones, no email, no SKYPE, just snail mail and open roads.

 

When Rotary International decided to split us into two districts, a pact was made to continue the long held tradition of the District bonspiel that included both districts.  Each year the bonspiel is hosted by either the north or the south.  Any community can bid on it, all you need is a few sheets of ice, and a sense of adventure to welcome the friendliest people in Rotary!20160303_22101620160304_111113

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There is a price to pay if you hog the rock!

 

Most of you know what curling is.  I suspect many of you have seen a few highlight reels of our exceptional curling representatives at the national or world level.  That is not Rotary curling.  Not to say that we didn’t see some great shot making and strategy but the focus is different.

Rotary curling is a true Fellowship.  It brings together men and women from all walks of life, from different parts of our geographically immense district, and for one weekend there is intense camaraderie, side splitting laughter, renewed friendships, and the good natured competition of curling.  Rocks are thrown, drinks are passed ’round, and it’s handshakes at the end of the day.IMG_3658

 

 

 

 

After years of absence, District Governor Tim was thrilled to throw the opening rock of the District 5370/5360 curling bonspiel.20160304_101326-1

An avid curler himself, Tim told his fellow participants that this is the best Rotary Fellowship he has had the pleasure of participating in.  He was thrilled to be invited to curl with Rotarians of the Stony Plain club and only hoped he wouldn’t disgrace IMG_3650their team.  This from the guy who has his name on the A event and B event trophies and has curled since high school.

 

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Our host club, the Rotary Club of Vermilion, put on a great show.  We stayed in clean friendly hotels and the ice at the Vermilion curling club was exceptional.  We were welcomed whole heartedly by the community.  Several restaurants generously sponsored the bonspiel and were thrilled when we would all roll up to spend money in their establishments.  20160304_123103Boston Pizza donated our lunch on Friday with unlimited pizza and salad.  It was a true testament to the service this Vermilion club provides for its community that so many are excited to give back when they can.

 

 

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lining up for instructions and the opening ceremony. True Rotary organized chaos.

20160304_111029While the focus is on curling and competing in the main events, there is also alot of opportunity for fellowship.  The bar is always open, with drinks that include something for everyone including the designated driver, and the tables are always full of friends.20160303_211237 Throughout the weekend it did not matter where  I sat, I was amongst friends…some I hadn’t even met yet.

Vermilion Rotary hosted two wonderful evenings of entertainment and fine dining.  Friday night was chili and Karaoke and Saturday was a delicious dinner and hypnotist.  As you might imagine, the entertainment was provided by the Rotarians themselves and they did not disappoint.  One fellow remarked that his abs and cheeks were so sore from laughing.  Isn’t that the best medicine!?12805665_1044571655602610_3298874541636483010_n12795517_1045521512174291_4814635484918503819_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This weekend Tim and I are excited to attend the Rotary World Curling championships hosted in Grande Prairie.  That’s right….Worlds!  Winner of the A event is eligible to represent Team Canada at the Rotary Worlds.  We couldn’t be more proud of our curling friends and we are looking forward to enjoying more laughter and friendship with Rotarians from far and away.  Maybe even watch a bit of curling while we’re at it!  Come Join Us!Rotary-World-Curling-Championships (1)

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V is for Vitality

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There may be a strange twilight zone triangle east of Edmonton that swallowed up my blog post about the Rotary club of Vegreville in November.  images_1dailyxchange_misc_deja-vu-all-over-again-yogi-berra_design.pngI remember writing it, Tim remembers my multitude of questions, we remember reading it and choosing the photos,  we both remember what a wonderful day it was, but it has disappeared from by blog posts!   Gentle reader, please indulge me while I reminisce of kinder, gentler days spent at a lunch buffet table straining under the weight of delicious Ukranian dishes provided by those heavenly beings, “the ladies of Mundare”.

12274764_762596653871249_2562999799412525550_n (1)There is more than meat and potatoes when it comes to the Rotary club of Vegreville.  Tim and I made the drive out for a mid morning meeting with executive before the luncheon meeting where Tim spoke his inspiring message to the masses.man-woman-symbol.jpg  We were immediately struck by the number of women in the room.  For an organization that is yearning to attract more women to Rotary, our international friends should look no further than this club.  The ratio of men to women is 30:70. Makes no difference really, they all roll up their sleeves at the same time and get down to the business of serving their community.

Rolling up their sleeves involves their members in many avenues of Rotary service.  In their own community they spent days cleaning up community parks.  12004048_740789629385285_8268998319763872123_n.jpgThey worked on  Rendezvous park ( clock and gazebo) and Peace Park.   We visited the lovely Peace Park just as the winds picked up and it turned nasty cold outside.  That didn’t stop us from admiring this large community site that is widely used throughout the year.   Currently this Rotary club is looking for  up to date signage for the park and to expand the shelter and create accessible paths and toilets. Last year they built a permanent BBQ structure that gives groups and families a great facility to enjoy.20151123_134740

A strong commitment to the local food bank is fostered at every weekly Rotary meeting.  Members are encouraged to bring non perishable food items to drop off at every meeting and there are several businesses around town that support this Rotary initiative by having drop off boxes in the office.

Tim and I were thrilled to visit the St Joseph’s Hospital in Vegreville10422916_659806294150286_7453465601227155811_n.jpg  to view the comfortable and serene palliative care room provided by the Rotary club of Vegreville.  The room was large and homey, with a comfortable bed, sitting area and small tea making facility as well as a new tv and video player newly supplied by Rotary.  The hospital staff were so pleased to show us the room and were quick to remark on how grateful they were to have Rotary involved.20151123_114626

This club is remarkable for its friendships.  They really do like each other!  This camaraderie is fostered by a weekly newsletter called ‘the Buzz’ that highlights the weekly meeting and invites members to participate in the 5th Tuesday fun and fellowship activity.  This might mean a park clean up or a trip to Edmonton to cheer on the Oil Kings.  Members are encouraged to bring their own ideas and flavour to the club.  They are looking for new members and with that kind of attitude I know they will find more new friends to join them.

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Thank you Lois Byers for your leadership and World Class commitment to the Rotary Foundation!

The club commitment to the Rotary Foundation is fueled every quarter with a special luncheon.

Members are billed the regular lunch price but are served a simpler low cost meal.  The extra funds are channeled to the Foundation.

 

On the international front, this club is committed to making a difference in Belize.  They were one of the first clubs to  sponsor students to go to high school in San Ignacio, and send Interactors to build playgrounds.  We met a few Interactors recently returned from a playground build who were just beaming about their time spent there.  10985568_684618961669019_5875749825473864667_n (1)Currently, Rotary in Vegreville is looking for partners to start a water project to bring clean water to families.  If your club is looking for an international project perhaps you would want to contact them to find out more.  Renee Senko would love to hear from you.

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Ham and egg?

Our final stop: Edmonton South

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Welcome to Rotary Georgia! Tim and I were always excited to witness a new member induction at any club we visited. So happy to share the gift of Rotary membership.

November 25th marked the end of our incredible journey around Rotary District 5370 and we couldn’t have asked for a better way to close it out.  Our final club visit was with the remarkable Rotary Club of Edmonton South…just another amazing, inspiring, beguiling, fun-loving group of people sharing their many gifts with the world!  Ho Hum 🙂

Edmonton South is one of those exceptional clubs with their fingers in every pie whilst maintaining balance in every avenue of service.  Their members are committed and involved and feel value in whatever they can contribute.  That has led to some amazing jaw dropping contributions.

Take their medical supplies project to India for example.  in 2013, club members visited a number of mission hospitals in Southern India.  They were impressed with the dedication o12308722_10153672009772707_6927507126300119267_nf the medical staff but identified a great need for medical equipment in these hospitals.  So they rolled up their sleeves, made important contacts with NGO’s working in the area and have since sent over several containers of medical supplies  and equipment for hospitals.  in 2014/15 this project has expanded to include sports equipment and and bedding supplies for an orphanage, school for the deaf and service to children with disabilities.   Members of Edmonton South continue to visit the project areas to determine the need, with follow up visits to confirm the impact of investment.  What an incredible story!  What a transformative GIFT to the World!

Closer to home, Edmonton South is leading the way in Youth Services. With their dedication to Interact in Lillian Osbourne,  the U of A Rotaract dynamos, RYLA RYPEN camps and Adventure programs you would think they were busy enough.  What really stood out for me was the Edmonton South 4 Way 5a20b557-4f54-4eaf-8c40-91b8b2ce11b7Test speech contest.  We have heard from a few clubs in Edmonton that they want to start this program, I say look to the South for inspiration.  Through their relationships with local high schools and Interact, 4 students are selected to present speeches to the Club.  Club members are given evaluation forms to determine their top picks.  Winners receive $750, $500, or $250 prize.

Do any of my fair readers remember when our District held a 4 Way Test speech contest?  Each Area in our District was invited to participate.  They would choose a student to send to the District Conference to participate in the contest.  A panel of judges would critique the speeches as the students performed them in front of the entire conference audience or break out audience.  I remember taking my own children to these speeches.  I wanted them to see how powerful a young voice could be.  I believe it is time to resurrect this program…time to hear those young voices again.

As far as getting involved in all aspects of community, Edmonton South is actively engaged.  They are supporting 10 different organizations with gifts of money, time, and hands on talent.   Joining with local church groups they help out with a Picnic in the Park program.  Rotarians are there to flip burgers, cut fruit, and hand out supplies to the homeless in their neighbourhood.  Last Spring they packed and handed out over 300 hampers 12034270_10153554617547707_1629188776181750907_oto families.  At every opportunity, they proudly fly the Rotary banner.  This club gets excellent exposure at every event.

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Every year Edmonton holds a gala event fundraiser.  This past Fall it was a Mardi Gras theme. 11251881_10153384271787707_4976272085869344089_n A lot of fun and a lot of money is raised to support local programs.  One such program is the Terra Center; a non-profit organization that provides supports and services that empower teen parents to succeed.  For three years now this club has donated close to $100 000 plus hands on projects to collect clothes and items, and helping host a Christmas party.

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Pretty sure this is everyday Pancake breakfast wear for Pauline! Interact and Rotary working together to provide a nutritious breakfast for students at Tipaskan school.

Other $$ and sweat equity were spent to provide benches along a seniors walking trail at Grace Manor and providing breakfasts to students at Tipaskan elementary school.  This year Edmonton South will be providing pancake breakfast one Friday a month to over 200 children plus provide a big Christmas lunch to everyone in December.

 

Fun and Fellowship are the cornerstones of this vibrant Rotary club.  They like to encourage members to get to know one another.  How about hosting a social event at a Rotarians place of business?  Edmonton South has  been trying this on and have found it to be not only a lot of fun, but a great way to get to know your Rotary neighbour on a different level.

Edmonton South is a great supporter of our Rotary Foundation and with all the great community and international projects they are involved in it is easy to see that they recognize the benefits of the Foundation. In one of the most touching moments on our tour, we were honoured to witness a great Gift exchange.  Charter member Ron Fath presented his daughter Maureen with a Paul Harris Fellow.  It was a beautiful moment marred only by someone chopping onions…made my eyes leak a little!

12291239_10153655328482707_1003256877707082507_oThank you Rotary Club of Edmonton South for sending us home with a strong affirmation of the good of Rotary.  You are a shining example of how Service Above Self is our ultimate Gift to the World.

Gateway Rotary

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Before District Governor Tim meets with a club, he likes to sit down with the Board and learn abReplica_OpenBook_largeout the activities and challenges the club is involved in.  This helps him tailor his presentation to each club’s needs.  We were unable to coordinate that with the Edmonton Gateway club so they were kind enough to send him a written report of club activities so he could be prepared.
Hahaha  a 17 page report!
17 pages!!  Wow this club truly is Robust!

It just so happens that Edmonton Gateway Rotary hosts Edmonton’s largest and most popular wine tasting event “Robust Reds for Rotary”.  Now in it’s tenth year it sells out with 600 guests, over 100 wines to sample,dsc_03311 and some very high end auction items.  Last year they welcomed major sponsors and contributors from West Jet, Edmonton Oilers, Lexus to name a few.  Later in the Spring, they also host a high end wine maker’s dinner that features  a visit/presentation from a high end producer.  I told Tim that if he does get that District 5370 Chapter of Rotary Wine Appreciation Fellowship up and running this could be one of the events we support.  Who’s with me?

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Here’s a spectacular way to start your day!

The money raised by these fundraisers is well spent in the community and abroad.  One of the major recipients is The Centre for Autism Services.  Gateway Rotary sponsors kids and teens to attend a summer camp designed specifically for their own requirements and thanks to efforts like Robust Reds, they have been able to increase the number of spots available at these popular camps.

 

Gateway Rotary has really focused it’s attention on literacy.  Tim and I noticed it at the Edmonton Oilers game we were lucky enough to attend.  There, up on the Jumbotron, is a flashy advertisement for “Reading: Give it a Shot” and one of the sponsors listed is Gateway Rotary club.  RGIASlogo_201516Fantastic exposure for the club and a great program for local children. “Reading, Give it a Shot” is a literacy incentive program for students in Grades One to Six. Each month, after students complete their assigned reading minimum, teachers may enter the class in a draw for Oilers or Oil Kings hockey tickets.  Within two weeks of opening, there were over 400 students participating with many more expected to sign on.

Gateway Rotary also gives resources to the Fort Edmonton Park Project, Edmonton River  Valley Ski club, and Calder School. They are co sponsors of that highly motivated U of A Rotaract group.   Right now the club is gearing up to sponsor 4 Christmas hampers.  Warming hearts - Pre Campaign Ad (1)The club is divided up into 4 teams.  Each team is given $100 per basket and the members are asked to contribute $20 each minimum.  The baskets are made up and then distributed to the Christmas Bureau,
Sounds like a great idea for fellowship and service above self.

 

If you are looking for help setting up a major international global project, I would suggest you talk to these guys.  The work they are doing in Mozambique is outstanding.  Dr. Lorne Parker and his team have developed a sustainable, global school construction project that is recognized globally by Rotary International.  Since 2005, this Rotary club has been sponsoring school construction projects in the villages of Xia Xia, Macambuciune. and Pussa.  IMG_1519Along with school construction they equip students and teachers with basic school supplies.  Where available they provide. technology, general maintenance, and teacher training.

Please have a look at the following Best Practices list provided to me in their report.  This is the stuff that makes or breaks an international project.

  • Community members and school staff are involved in developing construction plans and are encouraged to stay actively involved in the school.
  • Construction companies contracted are local companies.  They are required to run an apprenticeship type program to build skill of employees.
  • detailed estimates for each construction project required prior to contract being awarded.
  • building materials, including furnishings, are purchased locally wherever possible.
  • teacher workshops, delivered in partnership with the Faculty of Education, U of A, are planned and delivered in collaboration with the local teaching staff.
  • All administrative fees, other than bank transfer fees, are waived.
  • A detailed list of construction maierial purchased, and a breakdown of all costs incurred are required at the completion of each project.
  • Project expenditure are audited as per the Club’s requirement on an annual basis.
  • Revenue and Expense statements must also accompany project expenditures.
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A new Paul Harris Fellow! Thank you Mario Turcios for investing in our Rotary Foundation.

What a gift!

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Taking it up a notch. Robert Jong receives his Paul Harris Fellow +1. Thank you for investing in education, disease prevention, peace, micro finance, maternal and child care, and sanitation around the world!

 

 

Whyte Avenue Rotary: Fun, Fearless, Focused!

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Edmonton’s Whyte Ave district is a popular destination for people looking for fun, t2015-11-24 17.23.28rendsetting excitement, a great place to meet people, to celebrate a zest for life.  This young Rotary club encompasses all this and more!  They are game changers for many of the homeless and disadvantaged in their area.  They are avid supporters of youth who are looking for a hand up not a hand out.  They are a respectful group of Rotarians who know they can count on each other to get the job, any job, done.

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RESPECT! Upon hearing the Queen of Rotary would be visiting in full regalia, Whyte Ave Rotarians donned their favourite headgear to mark the occasion.

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President Tamara proves that everything is better in Minnie Ears!

I think one of the ways this club stands apart from other Edmonton Clubs is their lack of casino funding (though they hope to change that in the near future). They do not have big bank account so they look for other ways to create a positive impact on the world.  We noticed a real can-do attitude among the members that was rather inspiring!  They have racked up tons of volunteer hours as they make important connections in their community.

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The medals are cookies!!

What do you get when you bring youth, Strathcona residents, businesses, city staff and community organizations together for street hockey and barbecue?      Hockey Night on Whyte sponsored by this active Rotary Club: a 4 on 4 street hockey tournament that involves teams of businesses, community groups, banks, youth from all over.

It has grown over the past 5 years to be supported by the entire Old Strathcona district and has raised the profile of the club and provided good clean fun for all participants.

One of their amazing outreach programs involves the dinner club  run by the Neighbour Centre, the only resource organization for the homeless and poor on Edmonton’s south side. IMG_9453 Ten times this year Rotarians will join their neighbours — homeless, poor, and well-to-do, who cook, clean and eat together as part of an unorthodox dinner club near Whyte Avenue.  Everyone is involved in preparing the entire meal and then they sit down together to eat and visit, and argue over who gets to do the dishes!!

The club is gearing up to participate in the Old Strathcona Whyte Wishes Christmas event.  Our Rotarians will be manning the horse drawn carriage stops.  Helping people up and out for donations will be a great way to raise the profile of the club as well as raise some much needed funds for their various scholarships and programs.  Check out this video:

There is a lot of emphasis on giving a hand up to students in need.  Not only do they offer a financial scholarship they also offer mentorship to the student to help them write applications, survive first year jitters, write resumes and more.

 

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Rotary Induction Whyte Avenue style! After the formal paperwork and handshakes, Guiscela Perez Arellano is formally dubbed a Rotarian.

One of my favourite membership stories this year comes from this club.  Assistant Governor Marilyn Mucha is a proud member of this club.  Several months ago Marilyn went to get a haircut at a local shop.  She was wearing a Rotary pin and her lapel that was noticed by the young woman doing her hair.  Turns out the young woman was a Rotary Youth Exchange student from Mexico who went to Germany.  The conversation turned to Rotary and how she could become involved.  We were so excited to be at her induction ceremony last week!

Another cool membership story from this club involves Skype.  A young man moved to town from Ontario.  Just before he left he had been recruited to join a local Rotary club back east.  He hooked up with Whyte Avenue Rotary that were only to glad to welcome him.  To honour the man who first proposed him, they set up an induction ceremony through Skype to include his participation.  Original, creative thinking is the hallmark of this young, exciting Rotary club!

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World Class Rotarians! Tim was honoured to present World Class pins to President Tamara Larson and AG Marilyn Mucha.

 

Hockey Night in Rotary!

Our visit to Urban Spirits Rotary Club was a real treat and somewhat alarming.  It may have been the fastest ‘O Canada’ in the District or perhaps their tradition of banging small hockey sticks on the table when the anthem is done.  Either way, Tim and I were energized and ready to play. And play we did…our evening was filled with laughter and shenanigans.  The meeting started with a question of the day ” what is your favourite buzz wmeetingbingoord?” and degenerated into meeting bingo….everyone got a Bingo sheet of preposterous words and phrases and we had to try to fit them into the meeting conversations.  Hahahaha!

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This Rotary club was chartered in 2003 and prides itself on being a young professionals club. Their average age is 35 ish and they are excited to offer great networking and fellowship opportunities to their peers.  A club mandate that focuses on ‘kids at risk’ is a powerful motivator.

One such program that really touched me was the support of the  Zebra Child Protection Center.  ” As a celebration of our 10th anniversary we worked with the Zebra Protection Centre to purchase two service dogs for $50,000 to serve as comfort animals for abused children. 09-06-zebradog5 The canines help abused and often scared children provide valuable testimony and will eventually be used in Edmonton courtrooms – both are a first in Canada. ”   The club is planning to purchase another dog for the program this year.  You can read more about this amazing gift here:

http://globalnews.ca/news/824426/dogs-help-child-victims-open-up-about-their-experiences/

We were really impressed with the hands on service opportunities this group of Rotarians is involved in. DSCF1298   Two times a year they serve a big spaghetti dinner to families of Prince Charles elementary.  These delicious dinners coincide with parent/teacher night and they encourage families to take the time to attend.  If you know you don’t have to cook a meal, and there is free food, a family is more likely to take the time to go out and meet that teacher and make a small investment in their child’s education.

The positive energy and focus on kids at risk extends into the international community with support of projects like adopting a village in Kenya and providing $10 000 for a water collection project as well as using matching grants from the Alberta government (CIP) to build a school in the Masai, and supporting the Agape orphanage in Malawi.2015-UCBFF-Poster_Fulll

This club is very willing to go into the community and their goal this year is to participate in at least one hands on project per month.  Whether that is working food bank, flipping 2600 burgers for a soccer tournament, or planning their hugely successful beer fest to fund some of their scholarship programs, they do it all with a smile and endless energy.

Thank you Urban Spirits for the #fun #fellowship #inspiration #Rotary!

 

 

Rotary Heroes

Heroes, like Rotary clubs, come in all shapes and sizes. A well-established Rotary club, Edmonton Mayfield is a club full of heroes.

Governor Tim was thrilled to present this club with a banner from Rotary International that recognized their contributions to the Rotary Foundation.  This group of generous individuals is #1 in our district for per capita giving to the Annual Programs fund.  How do they do it?  Support for the Rotary Foundation is part of the club culture and history.  They believe in the work of our Foundation and they put their money where their heart is.20151118_130441-3

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Mayfield Rotary honoured long time friends John Lilley and wife Eileen Guilfoyle with Paul Harris Fellows for their work with Canadian Medical Teams Abroad (CAMTA) as well as many other avenues of service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim also presented the club with a hero banner from Shelterbox Canada.  By supporting Shelterbox for three or more years running, Edmonton Mayfield achieved Hero status.  I know they are heroes for those families in need who now have a roof over their heads and supplies to have hope for the future in desperate times.

Locally, these heroes are supporting Brightview elementary school. This is a major program for the club, they give time, talent, and money ($30 000) to the school.  Currently,  the Rotary Club of Edmonton Mayfield provides a weekly hot lunch program, an annual Christmas Turkey lunch (where the Rotarians provide the food and serve the 200 students at Brightview), and a year-end BBQ and sports afternoon. In addition, the club is supporting Brightview as it becomes an APPLE school. The APPLE program program motivates change and transforms school environments for improved learning and health. The goal of the project is a transformation into a healthy school community.ba60aefc-6d6e-46f4-8c92-d7daad84fb57

Mayfield Rotarians support an APPLE program that teaches children how to prepare healthy meals. These children learn basic cooking skills, recieve nutritions and diet training and  get to take the recipes and leftovers home!

 

Internationally,for the past 18 years, the Rotary Club of Edmonton Mayfield has been proud to support physicians and medical personnel travelling to East Africa and South America.    The bursaries are named in honor of two Rotarians who exemplify the Rotary motto ‘Service above Self’. Dr. Julius Buski  ( now a member of Saint City St Albert Rotary club) is an educator, past President of the Rotary Club of Edmonton Mayfield and past District Governor. Dr. Zaheer Lakhani is a distinguished cardiologist, a Member of the Order of Canada and recipient of the prestigious Rotary International ‘Service above Self’ award.  This year the scholarship includes 6 x 1000 awards.

The Rotary Club of Edmonton Mayfield is proud to announce the recipients of the 2015 Drs. BuskiLakhaniInternational Travel Bursaries. These bursaries in the amount of $1,000 are awarded to students in a health related field interested in global health initiatives. Award recipients:

 Alyssa Chappell – Nursing – Ecuador – volunteer with CAMTA (Canadian Association of MedicalTeams Abroad)

 Caroline O’Keefe-Markman – Public Health – Tanzania – implementing public health programs

 Elise Cloutier – Nursing – Ghana – nursing preceptorship

 Mika Wierenga – Dentistry – Kenya – dental mission

 Nicola Gage – Pharmacy – Tanzania – implementing public health programs

 Stephanie McCorkill – Dentistry – Kenya – dental mission

Mayfield Rotary is a great example of the leadership in this District providing Gifts to the World!

Edmonton South East Rotary makes all the difference in the world.

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wpid-20151117_190251.jpgwpid-20151117_201912.jpgWe can honestly say, without a doubt, that the Rotary Club of Edmonton Southeast is the most diverse, cosmopolitan club in our District. Chartered in 2007/8 this club is made up of a mosaic of members that truly represent our multicultural society, and the work they are doing, left us breathless. These men and women are ready and willing to share their gifts to the world. They are one of three clubs in our District designated by Rotary International as an innovative and flexible club.
The one defining characteristic of the work they are doing in their community is hands on, capacity building, pride in helping others less advantaged and they are doing it in the most surprising ways.
Thanksgiving Dinner in a laundromat!?! Believe it or not these Rotarians are cooking and serving a sensational turkey dinner with all the fixin’s to over 1000 guests at the Millbourne laundromat!

Their guests come from near and far and would be considered less advantaged or marginalized residents. They span all ages and circumstances but they all sit down and enjoy the company and service of Rotarians who care.
Soccer-BallHow about a soccer tournament for kids who don’t get to play soccer? Every spring, these Rotarians organize a soccer tournament for 10 schools to participate. Every school is invited to enter two teams, grade 3/ 4 and grade 5 / 6. The tournament allows over 200 kids plus their parents and siblings to enjoy a sport they would not normally be able to play because of finance or social restrictions. This day they come to play! They enjoy sportsmanship, good clean competition, and a feast of hotdogs/ hamburgers of course! Every child goes home with a medal and the top three teams receive a trophy. Every school gets to pick an MVP, and one school wins the sportsmanship cup. What a delightful gift!


Perhaps the most poignant program they are involved in is the SNUG program. http://http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/cj-jp/fv-vf/annex-annexe/p7.html  Project SNUG is an Integrated Community Response to Prostitution. Founded six years ago, the program has helped to assist street walkers in becoming safer, gaining access to medical care and has also helped to build trust between those on the street and local police.in a partnership with the Metis Child Society, Edmonton Police, Southeast Rotary hosts a Christmas party for the street working women and their families . Men are not allowed to a social event that allows these women an opportunity to relax with their families in a safe environment. DChitwood_OnceYouChooseHopeThe Rotarians supply and serve the meal and also present gift bags to the families filled with items on a wish list the Metis Child Society provides…personal hygiene kits, household articles, perhaps a small toy for a child. The greatest gift is the personal connection with these women and their families to remind them that they are not forgotten and they are valued as human beings in a difficult situation.
Thank YOU Rotary club of Edmonton Southeast. You inspire us to share more of our gifts with the world.

Operation Awesome: Reaching Inner City and Around the World.

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Everyday Rotarians who are working tirelessly to improve the lives of marginalized citizens in downtown Edmonton. We were really happy to meet with their executive in the hombichon-frisee of President Miles. He served us delicious pizza and had the fireplace blazing and his sweet little dog setting the perfect ambiance for a relaxed discussion about the work of their club.

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President Miles is a World Class leader…and knows how to order the best pizza too. Thank you for all you do for Rotary, your community, and the world!

After reviewing their long list of activities I would dub this Rotary club the Inner City club for all the work they do to support the children struggling to get an education in Edmonton’s inner city. They take a holistic approach to involve the whole family in supporting their child’s future.
The list of activities they are personally involved in is long and extensive. They are working with several inner city schools trying to build full community partnerships. In order to entice parents into the schools they provide a full dinner for report card/ meet the teacher night. I loved the Voyageur experience program that takes bus loads of children in grade 4 to travel through time at Fort Edmonton Park and then sleep overnight. All meals and provided by Rotary. Grade 6 students get to go to Nordegg and sleep overnight. For all of these students, it is their first time out of the city. Thank you Rotary.
Other youth programs include support of RYLA and RYPEN and sponsorship of the U of A Model UN program.

Riverview Rotary is actively supporting programs in the McCauley center with it’s  IUD program.   OFSS.Logo_They are heavily involved with Operation Friendship Seniors Society helping with beautification in the gardens and serving dinner three times a year.  They take the time to visit the patrons and also collect coffee and cups and socks for the patrons. Gifts like these give everyone a sense of dignity.  Thank you Rotary Riverview!
Internationally, this club is famous throughout District 5370 for its multi year commitment to Operation Esperanza’s medical mission to Ecuador. “Every year, for 17 years, a team of healthcare professionals has been traveling to CuencaRCRR3 on a medical-dental humanitarian mission to provide free hip and knee replacement surgery to poor adult Ecuadoreans, surgery for children with dislocated hips and club feet, and dental care to hundreds of children in rural schools.”

Last year Rotary held a fundraiser raised $55 000 for the medical mission and sent 75 hockey bags of prosthesis to supply the surgery.
Currently, this club supports one of those Super Rotarians,  Dr. Roman Bayrock, who has dedicated his life to making things happen in other parts of the world. Roman has been instrumental in creatingDSC01551(2) a wonderful program in Gales Point Belize. Through his leadership, Riverview has supported the program with $5000 for two years and refurnished a school, built new desks , and delivered several incubators to Belize City…making headlines for the national news. Currently, 2 used ambulances are on their way toRotary-International-1-4-pg-Ad-B (1)
Miami and then Belize through the efforts of Romeo and his team.
They are also supporting fellow Rotarians Judy and Ron Brown who are down in Mexico right now looking for projects the club can support to help the community recover from that horrible hurricane that went through last month.
This is only a small snapshot of the work Edmonton Riverview is doing. They are dedicated Humanitarians and World Class Rotarians.

Sherwood Park Heartland

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Rotary club of Sherwood Park Heartland just celebrated 10 years in the community and though it is small in numbers, they continue to make a positive impact.  Locally they support the Strathcona food bank, Canadian Guide Dogs for the blind, and offer vocational training through the local library.

Sherwood Park library offers a program called Career Test Drive and this Rotary club sponsors the resume writing class. download So far, they have assisted in creating 10 000 resume pages!  The class meets monthly in the Rotary business room to work with educators and they partner with the chamber of commerce to create a job shadow program. You can read more about it here:

http://www.sherwoodparkchamber.com/pdf/Career%20testDrive%20Billboard%20(4).pdf%5B/embed%5D

Through Heartland Rotary, I learned of a fun, fantastic, small group fundraiser called a Wine Survivor Night.  Invite friends to your home or meeting room and ask them all to bring a bottle of wine and charge them $20 to join.   Everyone who brings a bottle is considered ‘on the island’ and their name goes in a hat.  You may buy extra island tokens for $20.00. 1799017_10152378283187377_4347997965619866091_o During the night, names are drawn from the hat and that person is off the island…unless they buy their way back on.  At the end of the night, one person is left and they win, the wine.  All the money collected is used for your project.    You can Google it, here is one link I found that you may find helpful:

http://central-alberta.momstown.ca/family-life/active-mamas-wine-survivor-support-moms-training

Heartland Rotary has used this fundraiser to great success.  Their first Wine Survivor night allowed them to support the purchase of equipment ( $1500) for someone local who was battling MS.  The second one raised enough funds to purchase a shelterbox!  I would say that was a success…and it sounds like a lot of fun.

Little ripples, big waves.  That’s Sherwood Park Heartland.