In This Issue
- Kids Against Hunger Community Service Project
- Cabrillo School and Arbor Day Upcoming Service Projects
- Niles Rotary Annual Reverse Raffle
- Social at the Wine Steward
According to National Institute of Health and a National Geographic Survey in September 2016, 285 million people suffer from blindness worldwide. Out of those, ninety percent of the cases are in developing countries. Forty-three percent is completely and easily preventable. Preventable blindness consists of refractive errors and cataracts in the eye. Visual impairment due to preventable blindness is a life changing event for a child and/or elderly person that are not covered by government or personal insurance. They simply do not have the means to pay for these simple procedures. Niles Rotary club and its lead volunteer, Geeta Kadambi, conducted a pilot project for Niles Rotary in Chennai, India in conjunction with the South Madras Rotary club in January of 2017. Sankara Nethralaya Eye Hospital was chosen to provide the treatment and eye care for the international project. Sankara Nethralaya Eye Hospital is a premier facility providing treatments such as eye check-ups, glasses and cataract surgery while using their mobile van to reach those in rural areas. The mobile eye clinic vans are equipped with lens grinding and glass making equipment for refractive error correction on the spot. Patient’s eyes are first checked for vision impairment and if correctable by providing prescription glasses, lenses are made the same day. If the checkup suggests the presence of cataract in the eye, then the patient is taken to the surgery clinic at the main hospital in Chennai. Shuttled to Chennai by bus, all their costs are covered. This includes their boarding, lodging, and post-operative care. The level of trust a villager must have is substantial considering the cost covered is only for the individual. No family members accompany them on the medical trip. They go it alone.
Geeta Kadambi, of Niles Rotary, first found interest in doing this project when she did her graduate work at the University of Madras (1989) and collaborated with Sankara Nethralaya Eye Hospital as she researched on preventing cataracts. At that time, she was not involved with Rotary. But this had remained in the back of her mind for all these years even as she completed her post doctoral work at the University of Minnesota (1992) also doing research on preventing cataracts. Fast forward some time, Geeta joined Niles Rotary of Fremont in 2015 and her passion for helping others found a new path involving others in the good work of helping these people in India. Previously, she had been involved for many years. Her family was familiar with receiving phone calls annually and being asked to make some donations to support this worthy cause. Now, with more public and community exposure through Rotary, her plans are becoming bigger and this is just the beginning. This was her pilot project for what she hopes to turn into something much larger, perhaps on a Rotary District Level or even something Rotary can take on as an organization in whole. Even as the as a fledgling first project, it was very successful. Audrey Kearns, Niles Rotary’s International Chair, supported Geeta from the get go by helping organize fundraisers and being supportive in helping Niles Rotary get behind this wonderful project. Niles Rotarians got behind Geeta and what she was planning to do.
Typically, these Eye Bus clinics travel up to 125 kilometers per day to reach rural villagers. Without this service, these villagers who work in the fields or fishermen on the water daily, would never receive eye care of any sort. And with a simple free exam, glasses and surgery if necessary, someone who is dependent on the family can return to being a productive member of the family and society. It’s simply life changing. This leads to a life where the person served contributes economically, feels better about themselves individually by being able to contribute. This brings a sense of dignity at any age. Everyone understands how important it is to have some measure of independence. But, its not just the elderly that are served in these clinics. The ages vary across the board from small children to the aged. The following photo is one where a small three year old child had been injured while “climbing on things” and injured his eye and the left side of his face. His eye was bleeding but he had not yet lost sight when he arrived. The eye ball was fully ruptured. Even as he came to the clinic, he was happy and smiling. If he had not been seen quickly, he would have permanently lost sight in this eye for the rest of his life. Take a moment to imagine the change just this one surgery is going to have on this child. Look at his photo. How many years and life experiences just changed for the better from this one day’s events?
For each international project a US Rotary Club selects, they need to have a relationship with a local Rotary club in the country where the international project is being conducted. There are multiple reasons why. Rotarians pay their own airfare, lodging and travel expenses so that all the funds raised goes directly toward the project. The reason Rotary International has a policy where you must coordinate with a local Rotary clubs is to make sure the funds are spent properly and wisely in the given country. They are the locals, they have good contacts and are wise as to costs, business customs and local culture. The club hosting the US club is also responsible for contributing money themselves and being involved in the actual work project itself. The South Madras Rotary Club contributed $2,000 toward the project bringing the total between the two clubs to $7,700 USD. Rotarians make new relationships with each other in the process and accomplish some of Rotary Internationals goals – world peace, better friendships and serving humanity.
In rural eye camps, people will line up for hours on end and patiently wait to be seen. People will travel from miles around when they know this organization is visiting their village. This eye hospital has been in existence for over thirty-eight years, so one of the most important considerations is that the local villagers trust this organization and what they do. In fact, local village elders will print flyers and walk home to home to advise their community members that the eye clinic is coming.
Below, you can see that the hospital must deal with situations where performing eye exams can be difficult due to the lack of adequate facilities. The staffs are well trained and have a positive attitude. They set up “camp” within about 20 minutes and start seeing patients all day long. This usually varies from 100 to 200 patients per day from 9am to 4pm. Imagine that many people coming through your eye doctor’s office in one day.
One distinctive quality of the villagers in Agaram is that they are positive people and very gentle in nature. These hard working people work in the elements every day and have substantial sun exposure to their eyes and bodies. It’s so different from the pushy crowds of the big cities. They have no sense of entitlement and patiently wait their turn, knowing they will be taken care of before the days end. Working with the villagers in Agaram was a joy and this is type of people that benefit from projects such as these.
During this specific trip, the contributions of Niles Rotary and the South Madras Rotary Club of $7,700 allowed Geeta and the Sankara Nethralaya Eye Hospital to serve 338 patients overall and of those patients, 93 received cataract surgeries where they were transported to Chennai for a three day visit. The cost for each individual eye exam only runs at $5/person. This includes staff costs, transportation of the clinic, examination fees and production of glasses when needed. For the cataract surgery, the cost is $65/person which includes transportation to and from the hospital, surgery costs, recovery, boarding and lodging and any post operative medical care needed.
In summary, Geeta Kadambi was humbled and moved by the experience she had in involving Niles Rotary, the South Madras Rotary Club and the people that were served by this project. This is how it goes. Being a Rotarian means giving a little time, giving a little money, giving a little of yourself and on occasion taking on a project that alters the lives of those in different places around the world. You can see the pure joy on Geeta’s face here in the last photo as she is serving her friends and fellow human beings in India. This photo was captured on her last day at the eye camp. You see, as quoted by Richard D. King, being a Rotarian is an act of selfishness. Ask yourself who benefited most? Was the person being served from the village the one that gained the most? Were the members of the South Madras Rotary Club when they saw Rotarians from Fremont, California on the other side of the globe doing something selfless to help their fellow community members the ones who benefited most? Or was it Geeta, who took on a project that was quoted as saying “it changed who I am and how I view life”. Her perspective has been altered permanently. So who benefited most? Who knows. Does it matter? We do know all involved benefited greatly from this project.
Maybe you should be involved with one of our projects and see for yourself, what it means to be a Rotarian. Rotarians all agree that when returning from international projects that they didn’t really know what Rotary was all about, until they had completed in person an experience doing international service.
Article and Interview with Geeta Kadambi by Paul Andrus
Niles Rotarians made a nice difference on Saturday, March 4th, 2017. They showed up to pack food for kids domestic and international. Each member paid $20 to help cover the costs of the food we packed and some contributed substantially more! Thank you – you know who you are.
Here you can see the Niles Rotary Crew at their food packing stations ready to get started!
Here is Sherry, our guide and the amazing woman behind it all. When she retired from banking, she wanted to make a difference and do something good, but never anticipated exactly how much impact she and this organization would end up having. The organization was started in 2010 and produced something around 130,000 meals. Below I will share a photo of their results in the last two years! It’s down right amazing!
The food that goes into these packages is really important because allergies, religion and nutritional value are important factors when considering international delivery. The organization is not a religious organization, but many of those heavily involved are faith driven folks, like Sherry.
The food we were packing today was going with a pastor from Castro Valley to the Philippines to be delivered by hand. There are many indigenous groups in Southeast Asia, that have always lived on the seas. In the Philippines as well as in other countries such as Thailand. These peoples, while not actually Thai or Filipino have lived along the coasts and survived by fishing alone. Eventually they began to build stilt houses along the beaches. This became problematic when the local governments began regulating and taxing these folks in the fishing industry. Even if they were not so much in the business of catching and selling their fish. In Thailand, these folks were banned from fishing areas they had been fishing for many generations when laws were passed to protect the seas and land near them as they became designated as national parks. This along with over fishing and the continuing contention in the South China Sea about fishing have forced these peoples to begin to migrate and become more permanent on land. They have become marginalized and now are the poorest of the poor. Our project today was to send food to these people in the Philippines.
Here Sherry Higgs, Director of Drivers for Survivors, is busy putting labels on the food packaging in preparation for our assignment today. Jeff Schinkel arrived early and was promptly put to work in effect serving two shifts. The Niles Rotary Crew was also complimented with a few other groups including a birthday party of tweens, a group from a high school in Danville and another church related group. All in all, we packed 13,500 meals between all of us. That’s pretty amazing, right? Think how many stomachs that will fill?
We felt great, had fun and then went out to enjoy the Pleasanton farmer’s market and broke bread at Nonni’s in old downtown Pleasanton. Good times, good people, good work! Make sure not to miss the next Niles Rotary Community Service Activity coming up in April. We can always use helping hands. As Sherry of Kids Against Hungers said so aptly as she taught the youth at the end of the project “Many Hands Makes Light Work”. Thank you Niles Rotarians!
Article Contributed by Paul Andrus, Community Service Chair
Today Niles Rotary was enlightened by the organization of space, furniture and technology to facilitate “Active Learning Centers” areas or “Flexible Learning Centers” in our schools. Dr. Jim Morris, the Superintendent for Fremont Unified School District, and a proud member of Niles Rotary, introduced Paul Andrus, Community Service Chair to Principal David Thornley so Niles Rotary can do a community service project at Cabrillo Elementary this upcoming April. From that David has attended several Niles Rotary meetings and came to present to us today. We also learned that his father was once President of the Hayward Rotary Club. David, you’ll have to bring your dad back to visit us soon!
Principal David Thornley of Cabrillo Elementary along with Thom Birbeck of the Fremont Unified School District came presented what an impact the space students learn in can have on their level of engagement and interest when learning.
What is “Active Learning”?
“Students must do more than just listen: They must read, write, discuss, or be engaged in solving problems Most important, to be actively involved, students must engage in higher order thinking tasks and analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Wishing this context, it is proposed that strategies promoting active learning be defined as instructional activities involving students in doing things and thinking about what they are doing” (Bonwell, C. & Eison, J. 1991). Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom. AEHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 1 Washington, D.C. Jossey-Bass.
They also shared a video with us how U.C. Berkeley is using this concept and how the students not only enjoy it, but prefer it to other classroom settings
Hopkins Junior High was the first school in the Fremont Unified School District to try this concept out and that space has now been dubbed “the Nest”. As all the furniture rolls around into the needed structure for each unique learning situation, the possibilities are endless. Most of the layouts involve students in small groups facing each other and they automatically begin building relationships and working together from this simple approach. Most of these spaces include large screens on the walls where students can work together as a group designing presentations, practicing presentations, researching on the internet versus crowding around one students laptop. In addition, there are Chrome Book Stations installed into the walls where the teacher/facilitator unlocks the Chrome books for students to use and when class is over, they place them back and they are automatically charged in the storage racks before the next group uses them.
An article published in November 2014 in the School Planning & Management magazine has a great article called The Furniture Effect — School Planning & Management.
It looks like Fremont is constantly helping find ways to further engage our students to grow, learn and challenge each other. Thanks for the presentation David Thornley & Thom Birbeck!
Blog Contributed by Paul Andrus, Community Service Chair
We are now more than half-way through the Rotary year, and the Club is gearing up for the many activities planned for the winter and spring. President Elect Rose is organizing the Reverse Raffle Fund Raiser and an outing to a rugby game; Past President Lisa Lorenz and Chuck Canada are setting their sights on the annual Paso Robles wine adventure; Paul Andrus has three service projects in planning stages; Dirk Lorenz is helping the Interactors register for RYLA and the speech contest; Jeff Falk can’t wait for our annual Day at the A’s; Sandra Young and Manuel Franco are facilitating the digging of a well in Kenya; and Geeta Kadambi is in India as I write this column promoting her Sight Now eye-care project in India.
That’s just a sample of all the activity that the Niles club generates through our shared commitment to the ideals of Rotary International. I haven’t even touched on the work that goes on keeping the operations of the club running smoothly. Sandy Stabile manages club service with aplomb; Audrey Kearns is a persuasive voice for us on the Area 3 international service committee; Paul Iannaccone drums up support for the Rotary Foundation and recognizes our Paul Harris fellows; Tammi Souza cheerfully takes minutes for the monthly board meetings and does so much more; Don Cole runs the numbers and keeps a wary eye on our finances; Larry Bowen safeguards the Niles Foundation funds; Dana Jones cracks the whip (with a smile) at our weekly meetings; Rick Hood and Chuck Canada drive our membership efforts; Adam Moura oversees mentoring and on-boarding of our new members; Margo Hood makes sure we send our best wishes to members under the weather; Rosemary Ashley makes our weekly deposits at the bank; Steve Barnett does his best to inject some levity into the club with the Bad Joke Contest; Josh Carlson cranks out our e-Bulletin every week; Scott Chambers engages lively and engaging speakers; Mary Lynn Pelican and Aggie Freeman support our local Rotaract Club; and Sandi Pantages writes, edits, and publishes the monthly Pinion and cajoles me into writing this column most months. (Sorry I am frequently late with my submission, Sandi.)
I know I must have left off the names of some members from this litany. I apologize for any omissions. The larger point I am trying to make is that the collective energy expended on the behalf of this club is nothing short of awesome. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the people listed above, for helping to make Niles Rotary the best Rotary club in the world. For newer members, level of activity indicated by the roll-call of announcements made each week must seem overwhelming. But the best way to overcome that feeling is to dive in and volunteer on a committee or attend a service event or come to a social. Jump in!
Before I end, I would like to mention a couple of highlights from the past month. On January 3, 2017, Rotary International President John Germ came to dinner in San Jose. Hundreds of Rotarians from all over our Zone were there. But which table did Rick King introduce to John Germ? You guessed it – the Niles Rotary table. Thank you, Rick, for bringing President John Germ over to meet us. It was a thrill.
I also wanted to thank Sam Forbes for kicking off the fundraising last week for the District Governor’s spouse, Barbara Orth’s “Read Me a Picture” project. We are well on our way to meeting our goal of giving a book to every second-grade student in the Title 1 schools of Fremont Unified School District. My personal thanks go out to everyone who has contributed to this effort so far. If you haven’t given yet, please consider making a donation to support Barbara and our students.
This blogpost was requested from our speaker Dr. Lily Muldoon by Paul Andrus with regard to her work in Africa. It so happens that our own Niles Rotarian, Dr. Rich Godfrey, during her speech in Fremont, California was meeting with one of her contacts in Kenya simultaneously. How small the world is when we work to do the good work together. Please enjoy her blogpost
Saving mothers and fighting disease are two areas of focus for Rotary International. Rotary Clubs from Colorado, California and Kenya are collaborating to tackle these priority issues.
The Rotary Club of Mbita Mfangano is spear-heading a unique intervention, the Mfangano Health Network, to save mothers and children in one of the poorest and sickest populations in the world. Mothers and children in the Lake Victoria Basin of Kenya have limited access to health care and Rotary International is poised to respond.
I have been a Rotarian since 2007 and am proud to be collaborating with the Rotary Club of Mbita Mfangano. As a physician, I am horrified by the struggles women face on Mfangano Island trying to access prenatal care and, even more importantly, health care during labor. In fact, two years ago I delivered a baby in a boat while trying to cross the lake to get to the hospital on the mainland, as there are meager delivery services on the island.
Mfangano Island, Kenya
The remote communities of Mfangano Island, home to 26,000 Suba and Luo people, represent one of the poorest and most HIV prevalent populations in East Africa. With local HIV prevalence on Mfangano estimated at approximately 30% for over a decade, few places in the world have been hit harder by HIV/AIDS. Homa Bay County, where Mfangano Island is situated, is among 15 counties with the greatest maternal and newborn mortality burden in Kenya.
The Rotary Club of Mbita Mfangano
Since 2012, community leaders on Mfangano Island have been inspired by the work of Rotary and envisioned the formation of the first Rotary Club on Mfangano Island. With mentorship and support from Rotarians in Colorado and Kenya, as well the Governors of Districts 5440 and 9212, these local leaders successfully established and registered the Rotary Club of Mbita Mfangano in 2015.
Niles and Kenya
While I was on the BART train traveling from San Francisco to Fremont to present on the inception of the Mfangano Club to the Niles Rotary Club on January 12, 2017, I saw the below post by Robinson Okeyo, the first Project Service Director of the Mfangano Island Club.
Here Robinson is pictured with Rotarian Dr. Richard Godfrey, the International Chair of the Niles Rotary Club, who is very active in Rotary in Western Kenya. They were joining together in fellowship while I was presenting to Richard’s home club. This is one of many examples demonstrating the small but expansive world of Rotary International.
Global Grant: Mfangano Health Network
The Rotary Clubs of Mfangano Mbita and Fort Collins Breakfast are championing a Global Grant to promote maternal and child health. In partnership with a local NGO, Organic Health Response, we are building an island-wide network to coordinate and sustain maternal health for 26,000 people of HIV-affected communities of Mfangano Island, Western Kenya.
This Rotary project intends to support the building of a unique and powerful health maintenance network for the island community. Through a system of social support structures this program will empower mothers and adolescent girls with knowledge and increase access to primary, obstetric and delivery care.
Learn more about the grant on the Rotary International Global Grants website.
Feel free to reach out to me with ideas and questions.
Lily Muldoon – firstname.lastname@example.org
Blogpost updated by Niles Rotarian Paul Andrus – Website Chair
Lily Muldoon, MD, MPH
Organic Health Response, Health Advisor
Community Health Worker engaging with men in maternal and child care, a unique component of the Mfangano Health Network
Mfangano Health Network: Harnessing the power of existing social networks to activate community-level involvement in health coordination, monitoring, and mobilization.
WCSC stands for World Community Service Committee and is made up of the 7 Area 3 Rotary Clubs and our Rotaract Club: Niles, Fremont, Mission San Jose, Fremont Warm Springs Sunrise, Newark, F.U.N. Sunset, HuaRen and the Rotaract of Greater Fremont.
In 2013, the Area 3 Rotary Clubs decided to combine forces and to pool their District Designated Funds (DDF) funds so that we would be able to maximize the use of our DDF. Combining our resources would make it easier for our Area 3 club projects to qualify for matching grant funds available from The Rotary Foundation (TRF) for World Community Service Projects. It also makes larger or multi-year projects more achievable, and any club in Area 3 may propose an international project for consideration. However, the WCSC can, at its discretion, support a project that is not suitable for a matching grant from TRF. In a case like this, the group can hold a fundraiser for this purpose, or it can allocate DDF funds without any matching funds.
Each participating club contributes time and effort to the success of the selected project (s), which may require grant writing, research and analysis, project reporting, project oversight and other tasks required for TRF grant approval and project completion. The club that proposed an adopted project generally takes the lead on the grant application and project execution.
Each Club appoints two representatives to serve on the Area 3 WCSC each fiscal year, and each Club has one vote on the WCSC. Generally, one of these representatives is the board member who is responsible for international service. The committee accepts proposals for projects, reviews the budget and plans, and determines which project(s) they will fund and support for the upcoming Rotary year. If the committee chooses,
Area 3 WCSC is now in their 3rd year and has been able to allocate funding totaling over $134,000 to international projects. The following projects have benefitted from WCSC support: the Melghat Surgical Hospital in Melghat India which was approved for a Global Grant, the DSES Public School in Ballia, India to rebuild the school due to an earthquake, the Matibabu Hospital in Matibabu, Kenya to ship operating equipment and supplies to the hospital and Breathing for Life, in Nejo, Ethiopia a Global Grant Project to fund oxygen tanks and the equipment to refill the tanks in a rural hospital.
Article Written by Audrey Kearns
We meet Thursdays at 12:00 p.m.
Washington Hospital West
2500 Mowry Avenue
Conrad Anderson Auditorium
Fremont, CA 94538-1605
Map & Directions
08.19.17 LEAF Community Service Day – Event Chair – Paul Andrus
08.31.17 Feed the Hungry – From 4-6pm Centerville Church – Event Chair President Rose Evernden-Andrade
08.11.17 – Niles Rotary Club Assembly, President Rose Andrade-Evernden & The Board
08.18.17 – Successful Aging, Penny Vittoria
08.25.17 – Profit First: How to make any business successful by the next deposit, Holly DeVito
08.31.17 – Ohlone College : Successes, Highlights & Measure G, Dr. Gari Browning, President of the Ohlone Community College District
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