The Rotary Club of

Ojai Rotary Reminder Newsletter
May 15th, 2020

Bret Bradigan, Editor

May is Youth Service Month
Are you an established professional who wants to make positive changes in your community and the world? Our club members are dedicated people who share a passion for community service and friendship. 
Our 1.2 million-member organization started with the vision of one man—Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed one of the world’s first service organizations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member.
The May 15th meeting of the Rotary Club of Ojai, Covid-19 era got off to a hair-larious start with today’s Funbassador Kay Bliss orchestrating a photo-sharing walk through furry forest of yesteryear hairdo’s. Bill Gilbreth, Cheree Edwards, Nathan Kaehler (beefcaking it up at a farm project in Mexico) Marty Babayco, Bill Prather (gloriously abundant), Mike Weaver (impressive facial hair), Dave Watson, Dr. Skankey and Judy Gabriel all showed off their hairstyles of yore.
Cheree opened the proceedings around quarter past noon with her cheery welcoming of” The Best Rotary Club I know!  “
With Tara at the command post of Zoom, Mike Malone led us in the Pledge to a virtual flag flapping in the background.
Then Judy Gabriel gave us the inspiring invocation that together, “nothing is above us or beyond us.”
We had a few, including Dr. Skankey visiting in from Utah, thanks to the marvels of modern technology. The rest were there to share their community grant projects of PEP student of the month.
1.    Pay it Forward – Update on Ginger, Check & Card delivered on Mother’s Day to Ginger Case, who said, “God Bless all of you.”
2. The board meeting Monday May 18th will be the final for Cheree’s presidenting year. The meeting in June will be a joint meeting of the outgoing & incoming officers.
3.    Rotary Student Peace Ambassadors, in partnership with the OUSD Values Award was presented at the School Board zoom meeting on Wednesday evening. – The students chosen by their teachers were Finn Christie, Chaparral HS and Karley Echevarria Meiners Oaks Elementary. Cheree had the pleasure to award these two students with certificates, $50 and an additional $50, that we sent with a letter to their non-profits of choice. Finn chose Tender Life Maternity Home and Karly chose CI Marine and Wildlife Institute.
4.    Dr. Fauvre announced the PE Student of the Month: Jaire Soto, a freshman at Nordhoff High School. Jaire was honored for his leadership as well as athletic prowess on the cross-country track. He ran a 4:44 mile, an incredible feat for someone so young. Matilija Principal Javier Ramirez urged him to keep running, using his own example as a track scholarship winner: “It will change your life.”
5. Andy Gilman gave us an update on his effort to move the club’s social media presence into the 21st century with accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. He urged us to  hit the “like” or “follow” buttons to build our online presence.  Look for Rotary Club of Ojai on your favorite platforms and let’s get going on the good kind of “viral.”
6. Next week is the annual Scholarship luncheon, which will be a little different this year in the social distancing era. The 26 students will be joining us via Zoom and Janet is planning a few fun things for the meeting to bring in a little humor and to give the kids a proper send off.
Judy Gabriel extracted lucre for the club from …
  • Terry Beckett, whose son’s wedding was to take place in Seattle soon, and for his grandson’s high school graduation.
  • -Dr. Marty Pops, Don Reed’s running star grandson Colin Kirkpatrick, who helped a New Zealand track star make the Olympic squad.
Betsy Watson, chair of the Community Grants committee, which happily had extra money to disburse this year because of the success of Taste of Ojai. introduced the speakers – three grant recipients from this year’s $30,000 disbursement.
OUSD Superintendent Tiffany Morse talked about the Family Fund, which received $4,000 which goes to cover urgent needs in the district, of which there were many revealed by the Covid-19 lockdown. Homelessness and hunger are evident behind Ojai’s prosperous façade. Next year the district faces another round of cuts; 10 to 20 percent, which will reveal even more need. She said it’s important for the students and teachers alike “to feel loved and well-supported by the community.” The fund can also cover field trip fees, athletic gear that might be too expensive for some families, even bicycles, which the district is collecting.
Ojai Studio Artist Vera Long talked about OSA’s education outreach, for which the club granted several thousand for an afterschool program at Meiners Oaks Elementary, setting up an art-making workshop. ”It teaches core concepts of art and builds students’ confidence,” she said. “It builds their creative muscles.” She said the students often surprised themselves with their abilities.
Matilija Principal Javier Ramirez spoke about COPA, Community Orientation, Pro-Academic, program, which is designed to get students and their parents thinking about college from middle school on. The 8-year-old program includes speakers about academic expectations, how to pay for college, and field trips to college campuses. Mental health support (e.g. “how to make good decisions”) is part of the program as well. He said that many parents continue to support the program even after their children has graduated and gone off to university.
Susan Dvortczak, with Matilija’s Drama Department, talked about how their grant will be used, for scripts, props, tech gear, etc. She also thanked us for building the Pavilion outside the school, which gets heavy use from her students.
 As the meeting wound down, Cheree gave us another fitting quote for the occasion:
 “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”
 – Benjamin Franklin

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