Paul Reinert of Integrity Home Care has been always interested in Rotary’s international engagement since joining Downtown Rotary in 2002. In April of 2013, Paul led a Group Study Exchange to Central America. Other members of the group were Kim Green from Ozarks Technical Community College, Christi Sudbrock from Missouri State University, Charles Parker, Jr from University of Missouri and Jimmy Stilley from Oakstar Bank.
The group spent the whole month of April touring the four countries of the District (El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama) – by spending one week in each country. The purpose of Group Study Exchanges is to facilitate networking among Rotarians around the world, increase global understanding and awareness of local cultures, open opportunities for partnerships, and potentially foster co-operation on Rotary driven projects.
Paul and his team members were individually hosted in the homes of local Rotarians, who made them feel as if they were members of their families. In every country they had cultural and touristic experiences and had the opportunity to visit and connect with colleagues in similar businesses and industries.
They visited banks, universities, hospitals, farms, nonprofits, etc. However, local hospitality was truly the most remarkable experience. As Paul remembered, “The main emotion and memory of the actual experience for me is that we were truly welcomed from the heart by many wonderful people, and that we were going nonstop morning to night for 28 consecutive days.”
In Panama, they had the opportunity to board a charter ship through the locks of the Panama Canal and a partial transit of the isthmus – a great conclusion to a great experience! Paul noted, “Somehow we all held up well and find ourselves forever changed by this incredible experience. Rotary truly does offer us opportunities for global fellowship and learning.” A great opportunity to think about in the future.
Regardless of our profession, we all have skills and knowledge we can share with the next generation of community leaders. Rotary Club of Springfield members are doing just that by sharing their knowledge as a Big – in the best way. Members are serving as mentors, in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks, for students attending Middle College at Ozarks Technical Community College.
Middle College is actually for high-school students from Springfield and adjacent districts. It is a relatively new initiative that offers an alternative pathway for students who may be struggling in the traditional high-school environment or ready for a more mature learning experience. They may be the first members of their families to be on a post-graduation college track. About 125 students attend the Middle College program.
Similar to the traditional Big Brother Big Sister model, Rotary members volunteer to become “Bigs” to provide insight, guidance and the wisdom of their own life experiences by establishing a relationship with an individual student and meeting with him or her on a regular basis to encourage their success in Middle College.
The students spend their junior and senior years on OTC’s campus and start college early with training in career and technical education. Students who are selected for the program receive scholarships through the school district and OTC to cover books, tuition and other costs. The program also focuses on providing internships so students can gain real-life work experience to boost their entry into the workforce. Visit https://www.otc.edu/middlecollege.php for additional program information.
The Downtown Rotary Club of Springfield offers the ability for its members to serve on various committees that help achieve the mission of the club. These committees have been adjusted recently to best serve the club and the community.
Our current committees are:
Administrative Committee – Oversees regular functions of the club including weekly set-up, greeters, invocation, programs, budget, and strategic planning
Membership Committee – Oversees recruitment of new members and provides member orientation services
Club/Community Relations Committee – Oversees fellowship functions for the club including 5th Tuesday social events and the annual holiday party, the annual Curt Strube speaker event, membership directory services, and the annual John Mongell Award. This committee also send press releases to area media regarding club activities
Service Projects Committee – Oversees the community service projects for the club including Rock n’ Ribs, RYLA, Global and Student exchanges, scholarships, international service projects, and grant making
Foundation Committee – Oversees club charitable giving towards the Rotary Foundation and Polio Plus. This committee also encourages giving towards achieving the Paul Harris Fellowship status
Every committee is actively looking for additional volunteer leadership. If you are interested, please email your committee of interest to our club’s Executive Secretary Kim Pittman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rotary Club of Springfield presented a check for $20,000 to the Good Samaritan Boys Ranch at their weekly membership meeting on Tuesday, August 12. Accepting the check was CEO of the Good Samaritan Boys Ranch, Kevin Killian, who also spoke to the club about the mission and programs of the nonprofit.
Pictured from left to right: Andy Wright, Service Projects co-chair; Jaimie Trussell, Membership Chair; Kevin Killian, CEO, Good Samaritan Boys Ranch; and Casey Pyle, Service Projects co-chair.
The Downtown Rotary check presentation was one of seven that will be held this week to donate proceeds generated from the 2014 Rock ‘n Ribs BBQ Festival, presented annually by all Rotary clubs in Springfield. All profits from the 2014 festival were divided equally to 7 local charities including the Boys & Girls Town of Missouri, Ronald McDonald House Charities-Mobile Dental Unit, Ozark Trails Council – Boy Scouts of America, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Good Samaritan Boys Ranch, Ozarks Regional YMCA and Harmony House.