RECSDG, Andres Restaurant August 16, 2018 ~ 6:10 pm
Present: Amy Vegter, Maureen Duncan, Carmen Diaz, Natalia Diaz, Emma Aguirre España, Jose Maurilio Melendez, Scot Sargeant, Marian Pavlovich, Sandra Schrift, Enrique Sanchez, Aurora Salazar, and Amy Schrift online
Meeting opened by our Past President, Marian Pavlovich, recapping the Hands of Peace program. Sandra Schrift, District 5340 Peace Chair, attended the final ceremony and presented the club with highlights of the program. Teenagers from the U.S., Israel and Palestine gathered to discuss peace and their personal experiences in their homelands. Some had never met anyone of the opposite group and were forbidden by their families to speak with one another. This program transformed these teens lives by exchanging ideas and finding a common ground on some issues.
Sandra Schrift also announced the partnership her club, the San Diego Downtown Breakfast Rotary Club, is extending to ours. They would like for us to participate and help volunteer for their projects whenever possible. An upcoming opportunity to help volunteer will be on September 14th, their annual golf tournament held at Loma Santa Fe. The tournament proceeds will help our military families here in San Diego.
Also, please save the date on your calendars, sometime during March of 2019 we will be partnering with the SD Downtown Breakfast Rotary Club for their annual house build project. They work with an organization named “Casa de Luz” which helps build homes for families with a $100 a week income or less in Tijuana. Transportation will be provided, and a fee of $25 will be collected to cover food and lodging for the weekend.
Events to keep in mind:
- District Council on August 21st at 5:30pm at Hotel Karlan, cost $47
- Rotary Leadership Institute on September 15th at USD, 8am
- Rotary Foundation Seminar on September 29th at Grossmont College, 8am, cost $25
(If interested please register on the 5340 District website: https://rotary5340.org)
Peace Pole progress…
We agreed that we will start an email thread to explore possibilities for the placement of the pole. Jose Maurilio suggested Sweetwater School District, he mentioned his sister may know of a school. 12 languages were approved for the pole: English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Russian, Hebrew, Hindi, Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese, Italian. The peace message will be decided online via a group vote. A plaque will also need to be ordered and a ceremony planned with the children of the school.
An update was also presented on the Ecuador grant. All 22 beneficiaries have received the tools and resources needed to help jumpstart their businesses. Ongoing trainings are happening to help them learn best practices. A slideshow was shared with the group. Videos of testimonials are posted on our Facebook page.
Enrique Sanchez, a guest of President-elect, Carmen Diaz, introduced himself. He was in Rotary for over 20 years, serving in Riverside and then eventually in San Ysidro. He led a career in banking for many years and is now retired. He wanted to learn more about our e-club and its involvement with the community.
A special presentation was delivered by RI Cadre member and RECSDG Rotarian, Maureen Duncan. She began the presentation describing her experience evaluating a literacy grant in Guatemala. Maureen mentioned that the program has been sustainable and replicated in many regions. The children learn how to read in Spanish. Many of them are not taught at home given that their parents don’t have an education and speak a native language different from Spanish. The teachers themselves also have a limited education, so the grant aims to help the teachers provide instruction, as well as materials such as books and computers for the school children. Eventually the children learn how to read and write and go into their own homes teaching their parents. She shared with us a fantastic video giving us full insight of a classroom training with the children. The video also showcased photographs of the communities being impacted by this grant. She then presented another grant that she had the opportunity to evaluate, this one for clean water. She described that the conditions are very difficult as most of the schools don’t have latrines or clean water. Basic principles of washing hands, etc non-existent. As a result, when girls start their menstruation cycles they drop out of school. By ensuring that they have clean toilets and clean water on site the retention rate improves and children from a young age are taught basic sanitation.
She then described her trip evaluating several grants in Brazil. She began in Sao Paulo, evaluating an economic development grant. The grant centered on helping disadvantaged or refugee women start their own business. Basic business ideas, for example: cutting hair, painting nails, etc. The program has been very successful. She shared photographs of these beneficiaries and also some of the people she had known from the past when she lived there who are also involved with the grant. Thereafter, she took us to the Amazon and described a special moment planting trees on behalf of our club members. She touched all of our hearts showing us a beautiful video planting a tree for her granddaughter. One day the tree will grow, as she will and this will hopefully be a reminder for her to also continue the service of her grandmother. She discussed that the tree planting effort was very important, because unfortunately due to business interests particularly from the US, deforestation persists. She concluded with showing us more photographs of her trip, and answering questions from the group.
The club thanked Maureen for her exemplary service and time spent evaluating all of these grants.
Next meeting to be held by President Maxie, location to be decided, on Thursday, September 20th at 6pm.