Over twenty Downtown Rotary members and friends joined forces August 3rd and 4th to brighten up the hallways and classrooms of Weaver Elementary. Volunteers worked with Weaver’s new principal, Ms. Cindy Webster, and her staff to paint both the first and second floors of the building. The two-night volunteer event allowed Rotary members to work together as a team to accomplish a sizeable task and provide an important service to the school.
According to Springfield Public Schools’ Quality Assurance Director, the school district employs five full-time painters for the entire district. Given the limited resources available, each school in the district is placed on an 18 year painting rotation. Volunteer painting initiatives, such as the one completed by our Rotary members, help supplement the district’s painting efforts and ensure students (and teachers) can start the new school year in the best environment possible.
Newly installed Downtown Rotary Club President Marty Anderson attended the 106th Rotary International Convention held in early June in Sao Paulo Brazil. Over 18,000 Rotarians from more than 150 countries were in attendance. Prominent guest speakers included Oscar R. Arias, former President of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. Two Rotary trademarks, “Ending Polio Now” and “Stopping Hunger Now” were a large part of this year’s convention.
Attending the Rotary International Convention helped Marty gain a stronger perspective of the humanitarian mission of Rotary, not to mention the connection, fellowship and friendship among Rotarians, worldwide.
Rotary International President-elect Ravi Ravindran introduced a member benefits program during the closing session, saying that many more hands are needed to continue Rotary’s work around the world. A new program is being planned called “Rotary Global Rewards” which aims to boost membership and enhance member satisfaction. It will debut in July. Stay tuned for further details.
“This innovative new program will allow Rotary members to connect with hundreds of businesses and service providers from around the world — and that number is growing,” said Ravindran. “These establishments will offer Rotarians discounts and concessions on the everyday business that you do. And, in many cases, not only will the club member benefit, but our Rotary Foundation will benefit as well, by receiving a contribution with each transaction.”
This new program will include discounts on car rentals, hotels, dining, and entertainment. Discounts on more products and services from companies worldwide are expected to be added throughout the year.
“Rotary Global Rewards will be another way to benefit from being a Rotarian and being part of the Rotary network,” said Ravindran, whose presidential theme for 2015-16 is “Be a Gift to the World”.
“Instead of giving you something to dust on your shelf …”
Downtown Rotary members smile when they hear that phrase each week because they know that’s when President Cindy Stephens goes on to tell the day’s guest speaker that our club is donating a book on his or her behalf to Weaver Elementary School.
Downtown Rotary has been donating a book in the weekly speaker’s name for two years now, instead of a plaque or other token of gratitude. It’s just one manifestation of our club’s commitment to Weaver Elementary as one of its core community service missions this year.
Weaver Elementary, 1461 N. Douglas Ave., is a school of about 350 students with a 93 percent free and reduced lunch rate. Downtown Rotary members have spent many volunteer hours and funded materials to paint school interiors, repair sidewalks, update landscaping and provide other general care. Members painted a large map of the United States on the school’s outdoor basketball court. The club also purchased t-shirts for each student and portable tables to help teachers better use the instructional space in the building.
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.
Polio is a terrible disease that is still threatening mainly children, particularly under the age of five. Great progress has been made so far, but the guard should not be lowered. As reported by the Rotary official web-site, fewer than 250 polio cases were reported worldwide in 2012, which is a 99% reduction since the 1980s, when the world saw about 1,000 cases per day. If we don’t stay the course, experts say polio could rebound to 10 million cases in the next 40 years.
In 1985, Rotary launched its PolioPlus Program, the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication. In 1988, The Global Polio Eradication Initiative was formed, as a public-private partnership including Rotary, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and governments of the world. Many Rotarians around the world have donated their time and personal resources to this project. Get involved!
For more information: https://www.rotary.org/myrotary/en/take-action/end-polio
For a few Downtown Rotary members, the motto might just as well include “Service Above Sleep” as well as “Service Above Self.”
They’re the ones who pull all-nighters every year so that the club can compete in the annual Rock’n Ribs BBQ Festival presented by the Rotary Clubs of Springfield Missouri. This year, Thomas Runion will be Downtown Rotary’s chief barbeque cook for the festival taking place April 24-25 at Ozark Empire Fairgrounds.
This will be the 16th year for Rock’n Ribs, which distributed more than $1.5 million to seven children’s charities in the Ozarks. The recipients of the annual festival proceeds are Big Brothers Big Sisters, Great Circle, Boy Scouts of America, Good Samaritan Boys Ranch, Harmony House, Ronald McDonald Tooth Truck, and the YMCA.
It takes thousands of volunteers to pull off the annual festival, which is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society. Downtown Rotary members join the cook team to set up and decorate the booth, pull pork, fill sample cups and pour on the sauce to serve the thousands who attend the festival in a smoky, sticky weekend of fun and support for kids across the Ozarks.
For more information, visit: rocknribs.com
The Downtown Rotary Club of Springfield offers nine leadership opportunities for its members via its governing board of directors. The executive committee consists of:
- Past President
Our board strives to be diverse in its membership including young and seasoned professionals that bring varied experiences and skills to their volunteer leadership role.
The board of directors meets monthly on the second Tuesday of each month at 10:45 a.m. at Kentwood Hall.
The typical agenda will include approval of the meeting minutes and financials, approval of new and outgoing membership, and full committee reports.