RLI’s next virtual session coming up

The second virtual Rotary Leadership Institute session of the year is scheduled for 4 to 5 p.m. Sunday, November 8.

Rather than a single day-long session as is traditional with RLI, this year in a nod to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic organizers are holding an ongoing series of brief virtual sessions.

As of now, no pre-registration will be necessary. And, rather than being divided into first-, second-, and third-year breakout sessions, it will be open to all attendees as a group. Organizers will send via email a link to the session. The SRC website will publicize it, once received, so we are sure all who may be interested have all the details needed.

For this session, you can join the District Training Team to learn more about the Rotary Foundation , Gift of Life, and Shelter Box — what they are, what they do, and how they serve people all over the world.

A project for African women and girls

If you’re not familiar with the MoonCatcher Project, you will be after joining us next Thursday for our ZOOM meeting. That’s when Lon Penna of the Niskayuna Rotary Club and his co-presenter Alice Marcus  will provide a look at the project being nominated for a Rotary Global Grant.

Says Lon, “Like most Rotarians, my wife Helen and I are dismayed by hunger, thirst, extreme poverty, illness, fistula, slavery, injustice, etc. We have completed multiple Rotary Grants on five continents. Our current thinking is instead of giving fish (man eats for a day) or giving a fishing pole (man eats for a lifetime) that we want to give the fishing poles to the village women (her family and community are uplifted for generations.).”

He explains that the symbolic “Fishing Pole” has three components:

1. A MoonCatcher Kit so schoolgirls can handle their menstruation, and are better able to stay in school.
2. K-12 education, vocational education, and vocational ideas.
3. Micro-loans

The MoonCatchers are $5. The education provided electronically is $7.

“My co-presenter, ‘Awesome Alice,’ was born in extreme poverty, was once homeless, and lives frugally (Alice doesn’t own a washing machine; she still uses a bucket.) Yet, when she heard these ideas she immediately put up $25,000, a substantial portion of her life savings.

“So, Niskayuna Rotary drafted a Global Grant to obtain TRF match money and we are hoping Southern Rensselaer might like to chip in. Every $10 pays for three MoonCatchers after The Rotary Foundation’s 50% match, and earns Paul Harris credits.”

NOTE: We will, as usual, be sending a ZOOM link to all SRC members for access to the meeting.

Meeting Clipboard: 10/22/20

Meeting held virtually via ZOOM videoconferencing.

MEMBERS ATTENDING (13): Dick Drumm, Bill Dowd, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Ray Hannan, Charlie Foote, Debbie Rodriguez, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Pat Bailey, Phil Kellerman, Murray Forth, Kevin Leyhane.

GUESTS (1): Anthony Morris.

MEETING NOTES: President Dick Drumm welcomed 13 members and member-applicant Anthony Morris. … Phil Kellerman, who headed the effort with Terry Brewer and Murray Forth, reported that we have received a preliminary communication from the IRS asking for several minor additions to our application for renewal of our tax-exempt status. He expressed optimism that we are a step closer to success. Treasurer Murray Forth noted that the club’s IRS filing deadline this year is November 15. He will submit our paperwork to meet that requirement. …

Jim Leyhane and Roberto Martinez updated attendees on the sale of scented soaps. Almost all of the initial order of 100 bars has been sold, and another order of 100 bars has been submitted. Receipt is expected within two to three weeks. … Planning continues for viewing of the World Polio Day streaming video. At the moment, we expect something to be available for our November 5 virtual ZOOM meeting. The Danes Rotaract club will join us, according to Debbie Rodriguez. …

A brief discussion was held concerning food pantry contributions. Individual donations of good or money was encouraged, but President Dick said we would further evaluate direct donations/club collections of items for local pantries. … Tony Morris spoke about the effort he and other Your CBD Store franchisees are making to raise funds for HicksStrong, an organization dedicated to assisting suicide prevention programs for military veterans and active duty personnel. He will present a program on the topic at a later date. ….

Next week’s ZOOM meeting will feature a Niskayuna Rotarian speaking on the Mooncatcher Project, a feminine hygiene effort in Africa. Webmaster Bill Dowd said he would post on our website details of the program so SRC members could have a basis for questions.

From the DG: Rotary is open for business

By RICH GRIESCHE, 7190 Governor

“Are you open for business?” This is a question many of us are asking our local businesses these days.

As we are in the sixth month of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are focusing attention this month on “Rotary on Economic and Community Development.” So many of our local businesses have been forced to close, or cut hours along with employees. But, Rotary does not shut down, or stop, or reduce workloads or production. We welcome new members, especially now as we globally take on the challenges that have been placed before us.

We need to support our local businesses and our community leaders. Be proactive in helping to keep these business’s open. Many Chambers of Commerce can advise you of businesses that may need help and support. At the same time, this is an ideal opportunity to join Rotarians and become more involved in your community. Rotarians know an engaged community member is a simply Rotarian in disguise. 

Saturday, October 24, marks a very significant day on our Rotary calendar: World Polio Day. As Rotary prepares to mark this day, members know that even in the face of a pandemic the important work of fighting polio must continue. Now more than ever, the support of all Rotary members is needed to help win the fight for a polio-free world. 

So, as we enter the second quarter of the 2020-21 Rotary Year, I leave you with these thoughts:  

• When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.

• When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.

• When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it. 

• When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.

• When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.

• When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.

• When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.

• When times are tough, dare to be tougher. 

• When love hurts you, dare to love again.

• When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.

• When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.

• When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.

• When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.

• When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.

• When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.

Dare to be the best you can. At all times — Dare to be!

SRC again part of Adopt-a-Family holiday project

SRC’s annual participation in the “Adopt-a-Family” Christmas effort by Circles of Mercy will go on despite the current pandemic restrictions.

We have informed Richard Zazycki, Circles’ executive director, that we will take a family — maybe two if needed — under our collective wing. Bill Dowd has once more volunteered to coordinate the Club’s effort.

“Please know how sincerely grateful we are for the Club’s ongoing commitment and support,” Zazycki said. “We are beginning next week our ‘Adopt-a-Family’ program.  We have an intern from Hudson Valley Community College, Austin Cramer, who will be the program coordinator as part of his internship experience here at Circles of Mercy.  He will be supported during the process by our dedicated staff and volunteers.”

As soon as we receive the name and makeup of our family, along with their wish lists broken into “NEEDED” and “NICE TO HAVE” categories, we will share that shopping list with all members along with details of our collection process. The deadline for Bill to drop off our donations to Circles is Monday, December 14.

For those unfamiliar with the process Zazycki and his staff use to select needy families, here is how it works.

“One of the services that Circles of Mercy attempts to provide to client families is a Christmas holiday service formally known as “Cate’s Adopt-a-Family” program. It is a supplemental program in which we attempt to match low-income client families and individuals in need with ‘adopter/donors’ who can shop and help provide the family or individual with gifts or gift cards for the Christmas holiday,” Zazycki says.

“Our program is limited to 50 families, with preference given to client families who were in the program last year. Clients enrolled in the program should not participate in another agency’s Christmas holiday program (if asked, all client information will be shared with other agencies).

“In order for any client family or individual to be eligible to take part in the program, you must contact the office to register and provide us with the following documentation and information:

• Provide Documentation – Proof of:
 SNAP benefit statement (current) from County Social Services (this proof meets all requirements)
 Rensselaer city address/residency (piece of mail post-marked not older than 30 days, i.e. utility bill)
 Proof of parent’s identity (driver’s license, social security and DSS benefit statement)
 Proof of child/children identity (birth certificate, social security and DSS benefit card)
 Household income is at or below the Federal Poverty Guidelines (generally income under $20,000). You must provide proof of income (last year’s tax returns, Social Security Administration, SSA, SSI, SSD and/or payroll stubs, etc.).
 You must prove participation in one of the following government programs: Medicaid, Food Stamps/SNAP, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) / Section 8, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program.

No-cost way to do good for Gift of Life

As we change seasons, most of us sort through our clothing closets and drawers to see what we can do without. So, if you find unwanted clothes you’d like to get rid of, may we suggest one of the Gift of Life dropoff boxes?

The one closest to our area of service is behind the Mobil station just off Exit 10 of I-90 — near the Top Form facility.

GOL, the childhood medical relief organization, has many locations throughout District 7190 for its clothing donation bins. There are several in the immediate Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club area, but for those of you who live or work elsewhere — or want to encourage friends, relatives, and co-workers to drop off their unwanted items to help GOL, there are plenty of other options as well.

These bins are placed in conjunction with American Clothing Recycling Company, a Glens Falls business, with profits going to Gift of Life.

Here are the most convenient clothing bin locations (the list may change from time to time):

In the immediate SRC area:

  • As noted above, behind the Mobil station on Miller Road, Schodack
  • Tractor Supply Store, Schodack Plaza, 1649 Columbia Turnpike, Castleton

Elsewhere in the region:

  • Hewitt’s, Clifton Park
  • Powers Irish Pub, Clifton Park
  • Kelley Farm & Garden, Cobleskill
  • Rustic Gourmet Restaurant, 785 Delaware Ave, Delmar
  • SE Kitchens & Baths, Gansevoort
  • Hewitts, 605 Feura bush Road, Glenmont
  • Faddegon’s Nursery, Latham
  • Grassland Equipment & Irrigation Corp., Latham
  • Mechanicville Area Community Services Center, Mechanicville
  • Watervliet Elementary School, Watervliet
  • State Line Flea Market, Whitehall

Meeting Clipboard: 10/8/20

Meeting held virtually via ZOOM videoconferencing.

Members Attending (12): Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Charlie Foote, Murray Forth, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Phil Kellerman, Andy Leyhane, Ray Hannan.

Guests: None.

MEETING NOTES: President Dick Drumm welcomed members virtually. … Treasurer Murray Forth said Carol Orvis has donated $1,200 to the club treasury. She had been awarded that amount in lieu of winning the Cafe Capriccio wine dinner raffle; the raffle went on as planned, but the COVID-19 shutdown of the restaurant killed the dinner. … Dick said he wants to hold a Board discussion at the end of the month to evaluate what service projects we can carry out with whatever money we have raised from summer events, personal pledges, and other sources so far in the 2020-21 Rotary Year. …

Dean and Doris reported that the recent Gift of Life Golf Tournament netted about $14,000 for the pediatric medical philanthropic organization. Unfortunately, the Albany club’s annual Christmas dinner that usually raised about $5,000 for GOL has been cancelled for this year. … Jim and Roberto reported they have sold 75 of their initial supply of 100 bars of specialty soaps as a fundraising effort. A second batch of 100 has been ordered. The handmade scented soaps sell for $7 each or three for $20. They underwrote the $3-per-bar purchase, meaning that 100% of the sale price of each bar goes directly to the club. Details on the soaps are available on the website.

Our next ZOOM meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, October 15. Members will be sent a link to the session.

You can catch up on virtual fundraising

District 7190 last week hosted a ZOOM workshop on virtual fundraising. We had a strong presence of SRC members participating, but we assume others will find the proposal of interest.

Our initial group reaction, as shown in our online discussion at last Thursday’s meeting, was (a) SRC may not be eligible for the program until our pending request to the Internal Revenue Service for a tax-exempt status is approved, and (b) we need additional information on specific virtual fundraising possibilities beyond soliciting our own members. (Eventgroove, the company handling the program for 7190, says it will provide more, specific workshops as needed.)

Meanwhile, just click here to view the original ZOOM workshop. Here is the pass code: g$^w%5cr

Some ZOOM etiquette for Thursday


We will meet at 7 p.m. this Thursday via ZOOM video conference. The meeting is scheduled to last about 30 minutes. Please use this link to gain access to the meeting:


Several etiquette items to remember to avoid confusion and give everyone a chance to be heard:

• When the meeting is called to order by President Dick Drumm, or other presiding officer, please mute your audio.

• If you wish to make a comment, ask a question, etc., please raise your hand to gain Dick’s attention and, when called upon, then unmute your audio. When you are finished, re-mute.

• Please try to participate from a location without a lot of background noise (TV volume, barking dogs, clamoring kids, random gunfire, snoring, etc.). ZOOM has very good sound pickup and extraneous noise can be heard by everyone.

We’ve continually been getting better at ZOOM sessions as we get more experienced, so we’re hoping for even more participation. While our account limits us to a maximum of 40 minutes of meeting time, the participant limitation is well beyond the number of members we have, so there’s plenty of room for all.

Hope to “see” you, literally, on Thursday.