Meetings of 3/16: Refugee resettlement; school capital budget

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-7-10-54-pmDinner Meeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
March 16, 2017

Members Attending (12): Debbie Rodriguez, Roberto Martinez, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Becky Raymond, Dean Calamaras, Debbie Brown, Peter Brown, Dick Drumm, Julius Frankel, Stewart Wagner, Jim Leyhane.

Guests (4): Sarah Stangl, Mike Stangl, Medora Jones, John Justino.

PROGRAM: “The Modern American Dream – The Refugee Resettlement Experience”

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 9.42.21 PM
Speaker Sarah Stangl with attentive mom and dad, Becky Raymond and Mike Stangl.

Becky Raymond introduced her daughter Sarah Stangl, a case manager with the Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island.

Sarah often works with as many at 70 refugees. She displayed a map of where current refugees are coming from — about half from Syria, but other places elsewhere in the Middle East and Europe as well. She said the numbers have been seriously reduced since January, and spoke about how extensive the vetting process is, showing  a list of 20 different items including background checks, interviews with Homeland Security, and interviews with the State Department.

She noted that a few people have waited as long as 20 years for clearance. She cited as an example a man named Burkan, a Sunni and a radiologist in the Iraqi Army who fled the country in 2011. He spent three years in Jordan then a year completing security and background checks. He and his family finally arrived in Rhode Island in November 2014.

Refugee resettlement is overseen by the State Department, and there are 10 VOLAGs — thr acronym for voluntary agencies — that take on the responsibility of resettlement. Among them are Church World Service, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the Lutheran Immigration & Refuge Service, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Dorcas International Institute first receives a “travel notice” that a family is coming and must then prepare an apartment, doctors’ appointments, cultural orientation, education and job search. Dorcas staffers and other members of the community welcome the immigrants at the airport.

She said refugee immigrants receive $925 per family the first month they are here to cover rent and food. Families with young children receive additional funds —  $554 per month for a family of three, or $635 for a family of four. They are required to quickly become employed, which, Sarah said, may leave little time to learn English or become acclimated, so Dorcas offers additional services such as ESL (English as a second language) classes, employment services, case management services, public school advocacy, and legal referrals. They continue to monitor families over the next few months and some even for years. Anyone 2ishing to contact Sarah for additional information can email her at

[Sarah’s presentation can be viewed on our website’s Program Presentation Archives page. Click here to access it]

Announcements & Businesss

NOTE: Scroll down for the minutes of today’s breakfast meeting that contain updates on:

• Ronald McDonald House cooking dates

• The polio video project

• Two club social events

• Results of the indoor golf fundraiser

GRANT SEMINAR: Debbie Rodriguez and Becky Raymond have registered for the District Grants Training session scheduled for April 1. Clubs are required to have at least two attendees to be able to apply for grants in the following Rotary Year.

DISTRICT CONFERENCE: Several SRC members are planning to participate in the annual District Conference scheduled for Friday-Sunday, May 5-7, in Lake George. You can get registration details online by clicking here.

NEXT DINNER MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, March 23, at Quigley’s. The speaker will be Josephine Reeder, YMCA Director of Health and Wellness, on the topic of “YMCA Global Immersion Program: Vietnam.”

SRC Breakfast Logo

Breakfast Meeting at Greenbush YMCA
20 Community Way
East Greenbush, NY
March 16, 2017

Members Attending (8): Murray Forth, Jim Leyhane, Andy Leyhane, Shannon Romanowski, John Sawchuk, Roberto Martinez, Mike Dewey, Matt Smith.

Guests (1):  Jeff Simons.


INDOOR GOLF: The Indoor Golf Simulator Tournament at Burden Lake Country Club last Saturday was a success, raising about $800 for funds for both community service projects and the  Ronald McDonald House. The winners of the two raffles d0nated their winnings back to the club.

RMH BREAKFAST/DINNER: The club approved a Saturday, April 22, date for preparing breakfast at the Ronald McDonald House in Albany. Anyone wishing to be on the kitchen crew is asked to contact Terry Brewer. Earlier, the club approved a Wednesday, May 31, date for preparing dinner at RMH. Three of the six kitchen crew slots for that effort have been spoken for. Anyone who wishes to volunteer is asked to contact Bill Dowd.

ROTARY HOME COOKING SERIES: Terry and Geoff Brewer are co-hosting “A Rotary Cocktail Party” with drinks and hors d’oeuvres at their residence from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 25. Cost is $10 per person. Family and friends are welcome, but please be sure you contact Terry if you haven’t already done so to allow him to have an accurate headcount. … Then, at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 8, April and Bill Dowd will host a guided tasting of high-end tequilas, served with Mexican -inspired tapas. Cost is $35 per person. Just four seats remain. … Proceeds from both events will go to the club treasury to help support our community service efforts.

POLIO VIDEO PROJECT: Shooting and editing continue today. The goal is to have a finished product depicting the history of polio and Rotary’s support of work against the disease video ready for presentation at the District 7190 Conference in Lake George in May.  This is a group effort among SRC Rotary, CASDA, the District, and the UAlbany School of Public Health.


Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 3.08.53 PM
Breakfast guest speaker Jeff Simons

Jeff Simons, in his first year as superintendent of the East Greenbush School District, was in attendance.

Prior to his current position, Jeff had been superintendent of the Rome (NY) City School District for nine years. He gained significant community support there for three capital referendums totaling $92 million.

He now is working on  gathering support here for a proposed $39.7 million capital project, which he outlined at breakfast today. Details of the proposal are publicly available  online at

Jeff will speak on the same topic at our dinner meeting on March 30.

NEXT BREAKFAST MEETING: 7 a.m. Thursday, April 20, at the Greenbush YMCA, 20 Community Way, East Greenbush.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s