Meeting Clipboard 6/16/22: Scholarship Night, Part 2

MEMBERS ATTENDING (17): Debbie Rodriguez, Kevin Leyhane, Ray Hannan, Pat Bailey, Debbie Brown, Peter Brown, Phil Kellerman, Murray Forth, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Dick Drumm, Andy Leyhane. By proxy: Bill Dowd, Tony Morris, Carol Orvis, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras.

GUESTS (4): Scharlette Wilkins of Unity House, student Chelli Lopez and mother, RHS Counselor Chris Labatagglia.

President Debbie Rodriguez called the meeting to order at Moscatiello’s Italian Family Restaurant, noting the presence of a quorum.


Scholarship winner Chelli Lopez and mom pose with RHS counselor Chris Labatagglia.

• SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS — Last week, we honored the winners of $1,000 SRC Scholarship Awards to students from Columbia and Maple Hill high schools. Tonight, we honored the third student — Chelli Lopez of Rensselaer High School, who was accompanied by school counselor Chris Labatagglia. Chris described Chelli as someone dedicated to community service that is integral to having the school and public communities function together. She tries to provide tools for projects to succeed.  Because it is a smaller school district, she feels connections are more personal than in some others. Chelli also is a member of her school’s varsity softball team.

Chelli, who was presented with a $1,000 cashier’s check and a certificate of achievement from the club, plans to attend SUNY Oswego. 

President Debbie with Scharlette WIlkins from Unity House, holding a check from SRC.

• GUEST SPEAKER — President Debbie introduced Scharlette Wilkins, assistant director of domestic violence services for Unity House of Troy, where she has worked for 17 years.

Debbie presented Scharlette with a check from the club for $382. The money was collected via the “Pocket Change” contribution jug that is passed around at in-person SRC meetings. That method of fundraising for a different, specific purpose each Rotary Year as designated by the current president was instituted in 2013 under then-President April Dowd.

Scharlette explained that Unity House gets its funding from grants and donations. Its programs include assisting women and men in such areas as poverty, domestic violence, and mental illness. Unity House has a regular staff and the assistance of three attorneys plus a cadre of volunteers, serving people from all ethnic, racial, and socio-economic backgrounds. They even have a gun violence program. Most of their clients pay 30% of the cost of given services. 

• NOTES OF GRATITUDE — We received thank-you notes from ShelterBox and Capital Roots, our two most recent financial recipients.

• SHELTERBOX — Roberto Martinez and Jim Leyhane are in the process of acquiring a $250 Lumaid starter kit for rechargeable lights offered by ShelterBox, to be sold by the club as a ShelterBox fundraiser. We continue our Clynk container recycling effort to help support the emergency aid organization. Anyone needing bar code stickers for that purpose may contact Bill Dowd.

• IMPACT COMMITTEE — The most recent public meet-and-greet effort was staffed by Debbie and Peter Brown at Schodack Town Park on Tuesday during the town’s summer concert series. Anyone wishing to volunteer a few hours to help at additional weekly events is asked to contact Pat Bailey.

• NEXT MEETING — 7 p.m. Thursday, June 23, via Zoom. As always, use the link in the club’s website calendar page to access the session.

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