Friday, October 21, 2016

Rotary Christmas Bike Gift Program Gets Early Start

Rotarian Bill Newell, right, chairman of the Jefferson club’s Christmas Bike Gift program, introduced Lee Fox, left, with Club President Sam McDuffie, center.

Lee Fox, who owns State Street Bikes in Commerce, last year refurbished donated used bicycles for the club to give to needy children at Christmas. Club President Sam McDuffie welcomed Fox, who also oversaw a trail project in Commerce

 In introducing Fox, Dr. Newell said data on youth obesity rates indicate that today’s youngsters generally are likely to have shorter life spans than their parents, due to being so overweight and not exercising.

 Last year, the club and Fox refurbished or bought 30 bicycles to give children at Christmas, Dr. Newell said. The club hopes to exceed that level this year. Fox provides parts at cost for older bikes in need of repair and doesn’t charge for labor.

 Donations of good, used bicycles in need of some repair or painting are now being accepted at Fox’s store and by Jefferson Rotary Club members. Larger bikes for teens are a special need. The club is also accepting cash donations for the purchase of new bikes or for parts.

-Submitted by Tommy Toles, Rotary Club of Jefferson

Monday, October 17, 2016

Rotary District 6910 Governor Message - Oct 2016

What are you and your club doing to celebrate World Polio Day?  Rotary International and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be joining together for the 4th Annual World Polio Day event on Monday, 24 October. More than 50,000 viewers around the world will join together in viewing the live stream event. We will be joined by celebrities and experts to share our progress on the road to polio eradication. If you haven't yet made a plan, consider joining up together in a club member's home to watch the live streaming event at Share the live-stream and educate your social media network about the campaign to #endpolio.

Spearheading the most successful global health partnership in history with the launch of PolioPlus in 1985, we have nearly eradicated polio, one of the world's most feared diseases, from the face of the earth. Polio remains endemic in only three countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. For up-to-date statistics on polio, updated weekly, visit Committed to supporting PolioPlus, our Rotary District 6910 recently made a contribution of $38,450 from our Rotary Foundation District Designated Fund to PolioPlus. Based on funding requirements to continue this campaign of eradicating polio through 2019, a funding gap of $1.24 billion exists. Therefore, it is vital we continue to support this campaign. Many clubs have fundraisers specifically designated for PolioPlus. Not only does this raise needed funds, it raises awareness of our PolioPlus fund and lets our communities know that we as Rotarians are a vital part of the EndPolio campaign.

Rotary Club of Gwinnett Mosaic is a 25 member club committed to EndPolio.
Their bowling fundraiser "Bowlio" raised a total of $14,511 for Polio Plus.  
We have not seen a case of polio in India since 2011, yet the government still holds National Immunization Days (NID) twice a year as it is still important, especially in high risk areas, that children continue to receive immunizations. The goal is that each child under five receive two drops of oral vaccine. The scale of this is extraordinary with more than 172 million children vaccinators who visit more than 209 million homes in every city, town and village across the country. Since becoming involved in Rotary, I have always wanted to be involved in NID. In February, David and I will have the opportunity to visit India as part of a team of Rotarians participating in this NID. If you are interested in going as a part of this team, please email me, to let me know. The tentative departure date is 29 Jan 2017 returning 8 Feb 2017.

I would like to express a heartfelt thank you to all the District 6910 Rotarians who so generously support our Rotary Foundation. The good work we do in our communities and around the world is only limited by the amount we give to The Rotary Foundation, which allows us to 'do good in the world.'

In celebration of our Rotary Foundation's Centennial, more and more clubs in Rotary District 6910 are achieving 100% Paul Harris Fellow Clubs. If your club is not there yet and you'd like ideas on how to accomplish this outstanding achievement, please contact our Rotary District Foundation Chair, Bill St. Clair. I would like to thank Bill St. Clair, our District Rotary Foundation Chair for helping clubs all around the district achieve this, the donors and the clubs who have achieved 100% Paul Harris Fellow Club. Thank you for your support of our Rotary Foundation. Congratulations to these clubs:

We will celebrate 100 years of The Rotary Foundation in Atlanta at The Rotary International Convention, kicking it off with a Million Dollar Dinner on 9 June. I hope to see you there. Contact Rich Panyik for more information on the Million Dollar Dinner (you don't have to give a million dollars to be invited, but we'd love it if you did). Volunteer opportunities are now open at the convention website. I hope you'll get registered for the convention and also as a volunteer as we hope to show a record number of Rotarians what southern hospitality is all about.

Polio eradication is our #1 external goal. With membership our #1 internal goal, here's an membership update:  We are the number one district in Georgia year to date in membership growth with 23 new members as of 30 September. But this means we are behind if we are to accomplish our goal of at least net 200 member growth by 30 June. I hope you'll be thinking about who you can bring into Rotary this year. Thank you for all you do to keep our organization relevant and a vital part of our communities and the world, Rotary Serving Humanity.

Rotary District 6910 Governor

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

ShelterBox Relief Efforts Underway

When disaster strikes, ShelterBox is typically one of the first on the ground. And this has been the case in the areas suffering from the devastation of Hurricane Matthew. ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that provides temporary shelter and life saving supplies to displaced families. Our Rotary District 6910 ShelterBox Chair, Mike Freeman, asked that this update be shared.

ShelterBox USA President Kerri Murray was interviewed by CNN.  See the interview here.  "ShelterBox is preparing every single day for the worse day ever." - Kerri Murray from the CNN interview.

Key points:
  • While Hurricane Matthew made landfall elsewhere, Haiti was the worst hit.
  • Haiti is one of the world's poorest countries, and was only just starting to recover from the catastrophic earthquake in 2010.
  • While reports are still coming in about the level of devastation, Hurricane Matthew is the worst storm to make landfall in Haiti for more than 50 years.
  • At its height, the storm had wind speeds of 155 miles per hour.
  • Torrential rains have caused mass floods in many communities.
  • Extensive damage to main bridges and other transport networks has left some parts of Haiti completely cut off, leaving communities extremely vulnerable.
  • Reports are being updated still, but the death toll has surpassed 1000.
  • Reports suggest that more than 330,000 people have been affected by the hurricane.
  • Some areas are still cut off, but officials have said that parts of the south of the country of Haiti have suffered between 90-100% damage.
  • The first cases of cholera have been confirmed and medical facilities are overwhelmed by the amount of people wounded by the hurricane.
ShelterBox Response:
  • A ShelterBox response team, including volunteers from the UK, the US and Canada arrived in the capitol of Port-au-Prince on Friday night.
  • They have started to work with contacts in the country, including local Rotary contacts and representatives from IOM (the Organization for Migration) to get data on the affected areas.
  • These Rotary contacts have helped us gain information on some of the areas that have been inaccessible up until now.
  • The team will be carrying out thorough assessments to work out the level of need, as well as the most suitable selection of aid for each community.
  • We already have limited stocks of aid in Haiti and we are working with the Dutch Navy to transport many more stocks from our nearby storage locations.
  • We are exploring every option to get aid to Haiti as quickly as possible.
  • We are also looking at the possibility of partnering with fellow aid agency ACTED who we have worked with on several projects, including our response in Nepal. Working in partnership could give us more flexibility and capacity to reach isolated communities in the country.
  • The team includes Rebecca Swist, who lived and worked in Haiti for six months, and Yi Shun Lai, who took part in the ShelterBox response to the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. They will be able to provide invaluable insight into working in the country.
Why does ShelterBox need support?
  • Haiti is one of the world's poorest countries. Many families are incredibly vulnerable and live in shelters made of flimsy materials. Very few of these shelters will have been able to withstand the strongest storm in more than 50 years. While we don't yet have a clear picture of the situation, we expect the devastation to be huge. Torrential rains have caused flooding and landslides, which are likely to bring life threatening illnesses like cholera.
  • We need to be able to send ShelterBox aid to Haiti quickly.
  • We already have stocks of aid in Haiti, as well as on the way. 
  • Even with boxes and equipment already on the way and more coming, our stocks of aid won't be enough. With each new report that comes out, the situation becomes more desperate,
  • We need people to donate to ShelterBox so that we can send more aid, along with more response teams to reach even the most remote communities to ensure that no family goes without shelter.
ShelterBox Experience in Haiti
  • ShelterBox has worked extensively in Haiti, with the largest response after the 2010 earthquake.
  • ShelterBox played a major role in the provision of tented shelter after the 2010 earthquake, which displaced 1 million people. ShelterBox provided more than 30,000 boxes for that emergency, which represented a third of all tented shelter provided for the displaced families of the earthquake.
About Accepting Donations
  • Because ShelterBox is currently assessing still the best way to respond and the most appropriate aid for the situation, the full scale of the response is not yet known. Therefore, donations cannot be restricted to the Hurricane Matthew response.
  • It is requested that donor support be provided to help provide emergency aid to families affected by the hurricane, support people affected by disaster in numerous other ongoing responses around the world, and enable replacement of exhausted aid supplies.
  • Deployment Essentials or Unrestricted funds would be most appropriate at this time.
How You Can Help
  • Social Media - One of the quickest ways to help is by sharing updates with your entire network and encouraging them to share.  Please be sure when posting to social media or emailing information to link to ShelterBoxUSA information (not ShelterBox).
  • Donate now.
- Submitted by Mike Freeman, District 6910 ShelterBox Chair

Friday, September 16, 2016

Seeking Global Scholar in Rotary District 6910

Do you know a young person who is ready for graduate study and wants to study abroad?  Do they have career goals which are consistent with Rotary's Areas of Focus?  Are they committed to service and interested in building a relationship with a Rotary Club in another country?  Would $30,000 help them achieve their education goals?  

If the answer to these questions is yes, then let them know about District 6910’s Global Grant Scholarship.

Rotary District 6910 is offering a competitive $30,000 scholarship for graduate study starting the fall of 2017.  The student’s career goals must align with at least one of the Rotary Foundation Areas of Focus:  Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution, Disease Prevention and Treatment, Water and Sanitation, Maternal and Child Health, Basic Education and Literacy, and Economic and Community Development.  

Scholar may NOT be (1) a Rotarian; (2) an employee of a club, district, or any other Rotary entity, or of Rotary International; (3) the spouse, a lineal descendant (child or grandchild by blood or stepchild, legally adopted or not), the spouse of a lineal descendent, or an ancestor (parent or grandparent by blood) of any person in the forgoing two categories. Scholar MAY BE a member of a Rotaract Club. Scholar must have legal or permanent residence in District 6910 or must be employed full time in the district or be a full-time student in a college or university in the District.

Geographic Area of Rotary District 6910

Applications are due by January 27, 2017.  For more information and a copy of the application, check out the Rotary 6910 website (under Foundations, then Grants Program, then Scholar Grants). Scholarship inquiries may also be sent to Al Hombroek District 6910 Scholarship Chair at by phone at 770-313-4790.

Submitted by: Al Hombroek – District 6910 Global Grant Scholarship Chair

Sunday, September 11, 2016

District 6910 Governor Message - September 2016

With two-thirds of our 73 clubs in Rotary District 6910 visited now, I have learned that almost every club has a literacy project directed at youth, from providing books to pre-school aged children to buying books for elementary school libraries. In Rotary, our focus for September is Basic Education and Literacy.

Insufficient vocabulary, comprehension and literacy skills as children have lasting negative effects as adults.  Therefore, it is vital that we continue these efforts directed at young children in developing literacy. What I see less of, and hope you'll consider, are projects addressing adults in our communities who lack a general equivalency diploma (GED) or high school diploma. It is estimated that unemployment amongst those with less than a high school diploma in Georgia is 15%. Illiteracy is one of the root causes of poverty, homelessness, and crime.

Worldwide, our Rotary Foundation supports education as one of Rotary's six areas of focus.  In 2015-16, the Foundation awarded 146 global grants totaling $8.3 million to support basic education and literacy projects worldwide. If literacy is a passion of yours or someone in your club, please join and help spread the word about the Literacy Rotary Action Group.  

If you have an idea for any project and need clubs to partner with your club, whether it's a District 6910 project or a global grant project, bring your ideas to District Conference on October 7-9, 2016.  Our first ever fall district conference will give you an opportunity to showcase your project idea in the House of Friendship. Contact Doug Bolton for more information.  In addition to ideas for projects, clubs will also be displaying their Centennial projects.

Speaking of District Conference, I hope to see you there. Even if you've never been to a conference, consider booking yourself a room and registering for the conference. This conference is not just about Rotary, but about personal growth and professional development as well. Speakers on our lineup will include Brandon Williams, a US Air Force pilot who speaks for a company called Afterburner, devoted to developing leadership skills and high performance sales teams; Ronda Rich, an entertaining best-selling southern author and columnist; Rodney Bullard, an engaging speaker who grew up in Atlanta's inner city of Cabbagetown, and is now Vice-President of Community Affairs for Chick-Fil-A plus many more speakers. I promise you'll leave motivated and inspired, with new friends from around the district. I'm looking forward to seeing you there.

In celebration of our Rotary Foundation's Centennial, Clubs in our District 6910 continue to make progress toward our district's goal of being a 100% Paul Harris Fellow Club district by the end of 2016-17 year. Help me congratulate all clubs who have achieved that outstanding milestone, especially the newest clubs, Rotary Clubs of Dahlonega Sunrise, Etowah-Cartersville, and Hall County.

As our Rotary International President John Germ says in his September message, "It was the Foundation that turned Rotary from an organization of local clubs into an international force for good with the power to change the world." Let's continue to focus on our Foundation this year, all year long, with the ultimate goal of increased giving in celebration of our Centennial.

Thank you for all you do in making your club vibrant and relevant in your community. The clubs in Rotary District 6910 are truly Rotary Serving Humanity. 

Yours in Rotary,

Kim Waters
District 6910 Governor


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Rotary Club of Gwinnett Honors School Bus Drivers

Recently, the Rotary Club of Gwinnett County hosted nearly 2,000 bus drivers at Hebron Baptist Church for a Chick-fil-A lunch.  The lunch was the Club's way of saying "Thank You" to some of the hidden heroes of Gwinnett County.  These bus drivers are an important component to making sure that Gwinnett County continues to provide a quality education to its’ children.  School bus drivers often have a thankless job and this annual lunch is the Rotary Club of Gwinnett County’s way and letting these bus drivers know that they are appreciated.  This is the third year that the Rotary Club of Gwinnett County has provided lunches for the drivers. 

Submitted by Shevonn Willis, Rotary Club of Gwinnett County