Notes from Weekly Meeting May 13, 2020

Harpoon Report for 5/13/2020 by Paula Brown

Members gathered for social time prior to the start of the meeting, discussing everything from bird watching to haircuts.  At 12:30 p.m., President Rosemarie Rowney welcomed everyone.  Prior to the ringing of the bell, Lauren Heinonen covered a PowerPoint presentation on Zoom etiquette.  John White then range the bell at 12:37.  Tom Strode invited everyone to join in as he played “America.”

Joyce Hunter provided the inspiration, reading a poem called “The Carpenter,” author unknown.  She dedicated it to the Strive students who were being celebrated at today’s meeting.  The message included “You are the carpenter…Life is a do-it-yourself project… Build wisely.”

President Rosemarie Rowney greeted everyone, and reminded everyone of our club’s goal to “help children succeed, play, and be educated.”  She played a video, compliments of John White, to show all the features of the Gallup Park Rotary Playground, made possible through support from the Ann Arbor Rotary Club.

She next welcomed our guests, and thanked the members of the team who worked on the logistics and presentation for today’s meeting.  She also wished happy birthday to many members celebrating this week.

The Board met earlier this morning.  $60,000 in grants were awarded by the board, including grants to help those experiencing homelessness; in addition to the scholarship grants to Pathyways graduates.  Rosemarie thanked everyone for making this possible.

Sumedh Bahl provided an update on environmental education signage at Gallup Park Rotary Playground.

  • Sumedh introduced the members of the team who worked on this project.
  • The project had many goals including assuring universal design and pleasing aesthetics.
  • The two categories of signs chosen were Scavenger Hunt and Match Up Games.
    • All are designed for youth to observe, touch, hear, smell, and explore animals and plants that can be found at the park.
    • Spacing will be compliant with COVID CDC social distancing recommendations as well as ADA compliant.
    • The signs are to be installed near the playground.
  • Timeline for installation is not yet determined due to COVID restrictions.

Norma Sakar updated everyone on the Pandemic Response Fund.  $38,000* has been raised toward the minimum $50,000 we need qualify for the 1-1 matching gift opportunity. (*Update: $47,000 raised as of Sunday, May 17.)  She asks everyone to keep giving so we are able to take advantage of the generous matching grant.  She also reported:

  • Thermometers were purchased and delivered to the Delonis Center for those experiencing homelessness
  • $7,500 grant was given to the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County
  • Safe House received a grant of $3,000 to support staff costs during COVID

Rosemarie next introduced Brian Schrag for our presentation.

Brian reminded everyone that each year, we provide a special luncheon for Strive students and their families.  Unfortunately, we aren’t able to do this, but we offered today’s presentation as our virtual celebration banquet for these students.

An important feature of Strive is the Success Coach Program.  Mentors to Strive students support and help the students succeed and prepare for college.  Brian introduced Anthony Webster, a Success Coach from Washtenaw Community College.  Anthony grew up in Mississippi, and is the first in his family to attend college.  He likes to tell students, “There is more to life than you see.”  He encourages students to “show up and be present” by joining clubs, getting involved, and building their own networks that will help support them through their college years and beyond.  He invited students to look him up when they get to WCC.

Next came our keynote speaker.  Phil Snyder is the Chief Development Officer of Washtenaw Community College, and President of the Washtenaw Community College Foundation.  He has worked more than 35 years in corporate and foundation fundraising for organizations such as Oakland University, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Phil started his remarks by sharing regrets from WCC President Dr. Rose Bellanca who was unable to attend.  He also thanked members of AA Rotary Club who are supporters of WCC, and our club for support of the Strive Program.

Phil stated attending college is attainable, and they should think of high school graduation as a beginning, not an end.  He encouraged students in attendance today who will be attending WCC next year, assuring them they are in good hands.  College exposes students to opportunities to grow, and Strive prepares students for college, supplementing the classroom in ways that are essential for their success.  Phil shared a story about Carson, a Strive member who is excelling toward his own personal goal to become a millionaire.  He concluded by inviting everyone to come and visit the WCC campus.

Brian returned to introduce the Strive class of 2020 via a video featuring photos and quotes from the students.  A total of 17 students received Strive scholarships this year.  Many congratulations were shared with the students via Zoom chat.

President Rosemarie congratulated everyone and parted with a quote from her father:  “Get an education.  It’s something no one can take away from you.”

Tom Millard announced next week’s speaker will be Robert Ash, Head of Bands at Huron High School.  Rosemarie closed the meeting with the reminder: “Let’s help children succeed.”  Meeting was adjourned.