Meeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
May 5, 2016
Members Attending (15): Terry Brewer, Debbie Rodriguez, Pat Bailey, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, A.J. Amato, Dick Drumm, Charlie Foote, Julius Frankel, Roberto Martinez, Ron Annis, Monika Annis, Carole Spencer.
Guests (2): LuAnn McCormick, Phil Kellerman.
PROGRAM: “Girls On The Run“
Debbie Rodriguez introduced LuAnn McCormick, executive director of Girls On The Run – Capital Region.
LuAnn described GOTR as a physical activity youth involvement program. There are 225 GOTR local councils in 49 states, Washington DC, and Canada. They had more than 88,000 adult volunteers assisting in 2015.
She showed a short video that explained explaining the idea of empowering girls. The local council, founded in 2014, has more than 300 volunteers to date.The Capital Region chapter encompasses Albany, Rensselaer, and Schenectady counties, although presently the only Rensselaer County participating school is the Woodland Hills Montessori School.
The GOTR goal is to teach girls life skills by engaging them in activities, goal setting, and fun running activities, finishing with a 5K run. Participants are divided into two levels — grades 3-5 and 6-8, with eight to 15 girls on each team. Adult buddies help mentor them and help with two 90-minute practice sessions per week. The girls will be running in the annual Mother’s Day Run in Shenectady’s Central Park.
The program is open to all girls — urban, suburban, and rural alike. About 50% receive full or partial scholarships toward the $150 registration fee. Families unable to pay are asked to contribute a minimum of $10.
In five local seasons through this spring, 278 girls have participated. LuAnn said mentors and school personnel have witnessed significant improvement in attitudes, behaviors, and physical conditions among many of the participants. She said she is looking to get more participating schools in Rensselaer County and would appreciate any help we might be able to extend.
President Terry Brewer said our club, and the Capital Area School Development Association (CASDA) for which he works, will supply contacts to LuAnn, with emphasis on the Rensselaer City School District. He said the club also will discuss the GOTR program with an eye toward making a monetary donation.
CLEAN WATER — Our club is undertaking an effort to donate $1,400 to “adopt” one school in Haiti as part of the Pure Water for the World Inc.‘s initiative there. The organization, which has strong and growing Rotary support, plans to raise $14,000 to aid 10 schools at $1,400 each. Jim Leyhane had suggested our club support one school as a challenge to other clubs in District 7190 to also help underwrite the project.
EAGLE SCOUT AID — President Terry Brewer said we are looking into a request from a prospective Eagle Scout for assistance in a work project. The local scout is not a member of the troop we historically have supported, so additional information is needed before a decision is made.
SHREDDING DAY — A.J. Amato, our Youth Exchange Officer, reported that the annual document shredding day he holds at his office raised about $450 through donations last Saturday that will go toward our Youth Exchange program.
SUMMER ACTIVITIES — Terry asked that members begin thinking about hosting a cookout or group outing as part of the club’s “summer casual” schedule. The dates are July 7, 14, 21, and 28, and August 4, 11, 18, and 25. A signup sheet will be available at our next meeting.
INDUCTION CEREMONY — Terry has tentatively set June 23 as the date for our latest group induction of new members. Fred Daniels, who will be the District Governor for 2017-18, is scheduled to visit that evening to address the topic of Rotary’s recruitment and retention of younger members.
SHELTERBOX — Bill Dowd, our ShelterBox Liaison, last week reported on current demands on ShelterBox’s aid equipment because of multiple concurrent disasters around the world. He noted that even though the club already has purchased five ShelterBoxes this year (at $1,000 each), he hoped we could do more. This week, Terry set a goal of underwriting at least two more ShelterBoxes, at a total cost of $2,000.
OUTREACH — A prospective member has run into serious financial difficulties because of family illness, and started a GoFundMe effort to raise a certain amount of money. The club, thanks to Jim Leyhane, will donate $300 for emergency aid. … Stewart Wagner’s wife, Lois, has come home from a lengthy stint of hospitalization and physical rehabilitation. It was suggested that we might provide several meals a week to Stewart and Lois if acceptable to them.
HOSPITAL STAY BROCHURE — Terry announced additional support as an organization for the “Hospital Stay Brochure” project that has been created by Peter Brown, Roberto Martinez, and Jim Leyhane. Peter expressed their appreciation for the ongoing support of the club in making downloadable copies of the brochure available on the club website.
CLOTHES FOR KIDS — Bill Dowd, project coordinator, thanked everyone who contributed to the collection of new and like-new clothing for kids as part of the anti-poverty theme of the annual “Rotary Day of Service.” He will deliver them to the family aid organization Circles of Mercy for distribution through its thrift shop.
POCKET CHANGE — Our “Pocket Change for … ” contribution jar, the contents of which this year will go to the Down Syndrome Buddy Walk, has been closed. We now are switching to the next recipient, which will be the Freedom From Fistula Foundation. That effort will continue through the end of the 2016-17 Rotary Year. April Dowd inaugurated the weekly-donation project during her presidency in 2013-14. Since then, it has continued to be a president’s-choice effort. Donations have gone to autism education at Wildwood, The Great American MilkDrive for food pantries, and now to the Buddy Walk.
DRIVER TRAINING — Jim Leyhane asked for a headcount of people interested in participating in a defensive driving class that will enable them to receive a two-year discount on their auto insurance. He said the workshop would be held at Community Care Physicians at a date to be decided.
NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, May 12, at Quigley’s. Betty Brewer and Deb Dewey will make a presentation on “Occupational and Physical Therapy In Schools.”