Service Above Self

Ojai Rotary Reminder Newsletter
January 20th, 2023

Wendy Barker, Editor

January is Vocational 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.
In the Beginning...
Co-president Marty Babayco  opened the meeting and welcomed all.
Dave Watson led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Bill Prather shared a lovely inspirational moment:
“In the midst of Winter, when the days are cold and the wind can pierce let us be reminded that we can find warmth in being loved and in lending a helping hand. In the midst of Winter, when daylight is short, dawn comes late, and dusk arrives early, let us be reminded that even in darkness a guiding light will shine, and let us be reminded that Spring is but a short time away. And while we are rejoicing in the rain we have received, remember there are some who are suffering because of it. Let us lend helping hands to those in need, and let us never forget Service Above Self is a way of living, not a completed task.
Jayne provided us with a delicious lunch.
Many thanks to:
Co-President Marty thanked everyone who helped with this meeting:
Dave Watson for leading the Pledge,
Bill Prather for his inspirational moment,
Greeter Suzanne Scar, Dave Brubaker at the Welcome table,
Reminder Editor Wendy Barker.
Bruce Hanson, Bill Prather and Sean McDermott for room set up,
Finemaster Christine Golden, Kathy Yee on the net, and roving mic by Bret Nighman.
Joining us by Zoom were Frank Finck and Bob Skankey.
Visiting Rotarians and Guests
Steve White from Washington State was our only Visiting Rotarian.
There were lots of guests including our speaker Dan Parzaile, Leslie Ruhl new councilperson for District 1, Kelly Rasmussen, student Diane Vasquez and her father and Principal Tristyne White, Anne Kaplan, Brian Schlack, Rebecca Benard, and several special guests.
Service Above Self Award: Diane Vasquez
Bill Hatch gave our Service Above Self award to Diane Vasquez of San Antonio Elementary School. Diane received a check for $100 and a certificate. Principal White told us that Diane shows up and is a good steward of their school and their students. Diane told us she always helps the younger kids.
Paul Harris Award Given to Larry Beckett
Co-President Marty gave Larry Beckett a Paul Harris plus 3 pin. Thanks, Larry for your generosity and overall service!
New Member Induction: Dr. Bob Eisler
Deirdre Daly inducted new member, Dr. Bob Eisler. Bob is a patent lawyer with a multitude of professions in his past.  He was sponsored by Fern Barishman and Bret Bradigan will be his mentor. Welcome, Bob to the Family of Rotary!
The 75th Committee is meeting immediately following today’s lunch meeting.
Pick up your Rotary shirt from Fern Barishman if you haven’t done so yet.
We need volunteers for Taste of Ojai, so if you haven’t signed up yet, please talk to Carl Gross. Please let him know of any non-club members who want to participate.
Larry Beckett is looking for suggestions for the Fred Clapp Award.
We are going to do a club group and Board photos. Is Feb 10 or Feb 17 better for you? We voted by a show of hands. It looks like it will be February 10. It might be the perfect time to wear our new shirts.
This is the last day to sign up for our lunch mobs. Sign up today. It’s a fun way to meet and get to know other Rotarians. These are restaurants that helped us by participating in Taste of Ojai.
Fining and Confessions: Christine Golden
Then it was time for fining with Christine Golden.
Confessions included Jack Jacobs sharing that he has been in our club 52 years.
Bob Davis said January 7 was his 51st year in Rotary, plus he put in a plug for Taste of Ojai sponsors – for every new potential sponsor name Bob gets, he will donate $10 to the club. And then another $10 if they actually do become a sponsor. He is especially interested in out of town businesses, such as your bank.
Steve White spent 4 days in the Ojai Valley Community Hospital in late December; he gave thanks to everyone who supports and/or is involved with the hospital.
Then it was time for questions about rain.
Ren Adam didn’t know what rain lovers are called. pluviophiles
Kay Bliss missed a riddle that made us groan,
Marty Babayco didn’t know that 1 billion tons of rains fall on the earth every minute.
Sue Gilbreth didn’t know that a state in India is the wettest place on earth with over 400” of rain every year. Christine racked up some cash for the club.
Upcoming Programs
Bret Bradigan shared upcoming programs:
Kimberly Cluff on February 3 talking abut Native American Children and the Law,
on February 17 writer Franz Lidz will discuss British vs American style journalism.
On March 3 we’ll have an environmental education program
and then on March 17, we’ll learn about the Thacher School’s astronomy program.
The Program: Dan Parziale with Mesa Farm
Bret introduced Dan Parziale of Mesa Farm, the new transitional living facility on 10 acres in the East End.
Mesa Farm was launched recently for aging out Foster kids.
Programs like this tend to try to remain kind of quiet because people can get scared about potential problems in their neighborhood and community. Mesa Farm rejects that idea and wants to get our community involved.
An interesting video showed that 70% of aging out foster kids are homeless, and less than 30% finish high school.
Two huge tax bills were recently passed to help address the problem, but we are housing more and more kids every year. But the need continues to grow every year. A huge percentage of foster aging out people end up incarcerated within two years.
Mesa Farm will have 10 tiny homes, plus room for 2 people to live in the main home on the property. They will farm the property and sell crops at farm stand and farmers markets along with sales to restaurants.
There will be therapeutic programs on site. Art therapy, equine therapy, yoga, traditional therapy and anything else deemed useful might be used.
Why Ojai? Because we DO have a need here, but we tend to export that to other parts of the county. For instance, half of Cal State Channel Islands students that needs housing help are from Ojai. There are about 40 students in our local school district experiencing homelessness right now.
They maximum time allowed for transitional housing is 24 months. They are looking at 4 big goals: mental health, educational goals, vocational goals, and community engagement. They want to create a program with flexibility to help each person in the ways they need. They are looking for companies that need employees, and that offer job training to help their residents figure out where their passions lie and what career goal they might pursue.
Mesa Farm is in the final stretch and aims to open by mid-May. He encouraged us to spread the word about their organization and help if you can.
Final Thoughts...
The meeting ended with a Life Hack from Marty:
Take note if you find yourself wondering “Where is my good knife? Or where is my good pen. That means you have bad ones. Get rid of those.

You are invited to visit us at an upcoming meeting.

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