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Friday, January 1, 2021

The year 2020 has been one for the record books. It has been all-things-COVID, which back in January was something the vast majority of us had never even heard of. Technology has certainly been beneficial for Rotary Club meetings. Our whole world has been shaken, but for the most part, we are all learning to cope.
      District 5500 Rotary clubs have done an extremely good job with projects such as Handbags for Hope, online auctions, virtual runs, and games for fundraisers, in spite of this situation. Rotary clubs are “teaming up” and working together on projects and fundraisers. As they say, “teamwork makes the dream work”. Rotarians have done so much across our District and across the globe we need to concentrate on that and how it has helped others in ways that we may never know.
      The Rotary Theme for January is Vocational Services. Vocational Service gives Rotarians the opportunity to help others escape poverty and gain a measure of self-respect. As business and professional leaders, we have a duty to lead and encourage good ethics through vocation.
      District 5500 is fortunate to have the Rotary Vocational Fund of AZ (TRVFA) trvfa.org. As a board member, I can assure you that every dollar you donate to TRVFA will help people escape poverty. In the past few years, we have had to turn applicants away because of a funding shortfall. Please consider donating your AZ Tax Credit this year.
NEW YEAR 2021 
  • 2021 promises to be a better year but look at the New Year as a blank book - it's a chance to write your story. The New Year will offer you another chance to set things right and to open up some new chapters in your life.
  • Remember that the road to success means you always look ahead. In that sense, may you reach your destination, and may your journey be creative.
  • Remember to let go of the past and start new relationships, perhaps with other Rotarians – Rotary is all about Fellowship. Reach out to members you have not seen in a while; it will certainly brighten their day.
  • Brush up on your Rotary knowledge. Rotary is changing. Enroll in an online Rotary training class at the District or at the RI Learning Center.
  • It's never too late for all of us, especially Rotarians, to be what we wish to be. Age is just a number; it should not define us, or our destiny, because it’s not our age that counts, but our attitude. Think forever 21!
  • Cheer for your successes and cheers to those who helped you achieve them.
  • Resolutions generally don't work.  Just consider letting go of the past and start off fresh.
  •     I'm wishing you 12 months of achievement, 52 weeks of happiness, 365 days of enjoyment, 8,760 hours of contentment.  
    Borrowing from this from the Song “I hope you dance” -- ‘When you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.' 
Happy New Year!
Diane Ventura-Goodyear
District Governor 2020-2021
Our Involvement with COVID-19 Vaccination         (RI President Holger Knaack & TRF Chair K.R. Ravindran)
Dec 15, 2020
Dear Rotary District 5500 Club members,
     In these difficult days, we are so heartened to receive such uplifting reports on the unrelenting efforts of our Rotary members who have responded in their communities against the COVID-19 pandemic.
     Today, the single question we hear time and again as we traverse the virtual world is, “Are we getting involved with COVID vaccination?” Considering the success and expertise we have gained in our polio eradication effort, this question is both natural and timely.
     The answer is “yes”. We will have an important role in the months ahead.
     This does not mean we will deviate in any way from our avowed commitment to eradicating polio, which remains our highest priority and will continue to be our only corporate program. Polio vaccinations and surveillance activities must continue unabated, as must our drive to raise $50 million per year for this effort.
      But, as we know, there is a pandemic sweeping the world. The Board of RI and the Trustees of our Foundation met in joint session and have agreed that we have a role to play.
     We ask you, then, to encourage your Clubs to:
  • Utilize Rotary’s knowledge of vaccine safety and efficacy based on our polio eradication experience to conduct vaccination education and communication outreach in your communities. This will need to be tailored to local contexts to address unique cultural and regional needs. Your leadership will be critical in crafting appropriate messages and strategies.
  • Engage, where appropriate, with our current polio eradication partners, WHO and UNICEF, at the country level to offer Rotary’s support to COVID-19 response activities, including vaccination efforts.
  • Partner at the local level with governments, corporations, and foundations to support Rotary activities at the country level.
     Through hundreds of global grants and projects, Rotary members have demonstrated what we can accomplish to raise awareness, deliver critical personal protection equipment, and provide support for frontline health workers.
     As you learn of work being done in your area, please encourage Clubs to add to the more than 3,000 projects already registered on Rotary Showcase. (Please log in to "My Rotary" first, and navigate to "Rotary Showcase".) We would like to know what you are doing.
     We have one final call to action: Help us combat the powerful, growing force of vaccine resistance and misinformation. Our advocacy in our communities will be critical — we need to spread the message about the power of vaccines to save lives.
     Working together, we have done so much to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, to care for our communities, and to prepare Rotarians for the work ahead.
     We do this for ourselves and for future generations. We do this as part of our obligation to support our world as it faces the most significant challenge of this generation.
     Thank you.
Holger Knaack                                                                                                                        K.R. Ravindran
President, Rotary International                                                                       Chair, The Rotary Foundation
One Rotary Center
1560 Sherman Avenue
Evanston, Illinois 60201-3698 USA

RLI - Rotary Leadership (Learning) Institute                                                               (from Bob Shogren)

     All Rotarians should attend - Rotary is changing. Three Scholarships will be offered to all Rotary Clubs for their members.

     $20.00 per attendee. An additional $20.00 will be needed if you request a printed copy of the RLI booklet. Otherwise, it will be available in PDF format for downloading and printing.  If you signup for all three sessions, you can graduate from RLI! What an opportunity!

     Other Districts across the Zone have offered RLI online for years.

     Questions? Contact Bob Shogren bobshogren1960@gmail.com or Liz Cohn  rotaryliz@aol.com














The Rotary Club of Saddlebrooke

Making Thanksgiving Celebrations Happy                                                                                                              (from Barbara Barr)
     Rotarians from The Rotary Club of SaddleBrooke found so much joy in making Thanksgiving happy for more than 230 local families in need.  The Club collaborated with IMPACT of Southern Arizona, the Catalina Mountain Elks Lodge, Shamrock Foods, and numerous food purveyors to provide complete "Turkey Kits for Thanksgiving" meals for those who would have otherwise not been able to celebrate the holiday.
     Each year Club members joyfully hand out turkeys, pies, and all the trimmings to local families.  Perhaps the happiest part of our Thanksgiving is in knowing that we have helped other families to have a happy Thanksgiving.
 (from left: Bre Zientarski, Eric Zientarski, and Neil Deppe)
     Members of the Saddlebrooke Club donated toys or money to the Tri-Community Food Bank.     They were like kids in a candy story as they shopped!
     Along with food, the Try-Community Food Bank distributed the toys to the children of the families it serves.
     Just think of all the smiles on the faces of the children in the Copper Corridor!
     Thanks to all of the Club’s members.  Your generosity with your time and donations are always over the top!
The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona                                                                    (by Jeanie Morgan)
     The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona was officially incorporated on January 9, 1991, following the founders' work during 1990 to organize it as a non-profit charitable foundation.  
     In April of 1992, the IRS recognized TRVFA as a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation.  
     The founders worked with leaders in all three Arizona Rotary Districts at the time to have TRVFA authorized as an ongoing joint District project.  To qualify for this status, the District Governors of all three Districts, as well as the District Governor Nominees, signed documents certifying that at least two-thirds of all Rotary Clubs in each District had elected to support their District’s participation in the multi-District activity.
      On October 7, 1993, Spencer Robinson, Jr., who was the General Secretary of Rotary International, certified that the Rotary International Board of Directors had authorized Districts 5490, 5500, and 5510 to continue this multi-District service activity.  For readers who enjoy Rotary history and would like to see a copy of this historic document, CLICK HERE.
     The current Board of Directors of TRVFA has established an ambitious fundraising goal of $300,000 for this anniversary year, with the hope of continuing to grow each coming year.
     Donations to TRVFA qualify for the Arizona income tax credit for donations to a Qualifying Charitable Organization (The QCO code is 20698).  For most donors, their donations may not cost them anything.  They will reduce their state tax up to an amount equal to their donations or they will receive larger refunds.
     For TRVFA to qualify as a Qualifying Charitable Organization, grant recipients must meet specific low-income guidelines and reside in Arizona.
     TRVFA currently limits vocational education grants to $2,000 per scholar in order to serve more students.  The majority of vocational education programs cost considerably more than that amount so the Board has set that ambitious fundraising goal with the hope of increasing the amount of the grants.  
     TRVFA is the only Qualifying Charitable Organization in Arizona that was formed by Rotarians and is still managed by Rotarians working together on a multi-District on-going Vocational Service project.
     Hopefully, recognition of TRVFA’s  30-year anniversary will be a point of pride and will encourage Rotarians to advocate for supporting it within their Clubs and in each Rotarian's circle of influence. 
     TRVFA grants literally enable recipients to lift themselves out of poverty.
     Help them help themselves.
     Go to trvfa.org and click DONATE NOW.
     Jeanie Morgan
     (928) 486 4328


The PolioPlus Society                                                                                                                                       (from PDG Michael Drake)
The PolioPlus Society of Rotary District 5500
Please help us finish the job of eradicating polio
     To raise funds and maintain awareness, District 5500 has a new District- administered recognition program, the PolioPlus Society.  Members pledge to donate at least $100 per year to the PolioPlus Fund until polio is eradicated.
     Upon commitment, you receive a Certificate of Membership, a lapel Pin, and an End Polio Now wristband, all to be presented at your Club so that you will be recognized for your commitment.  Your contributions will earn you Paul Harris Fellow credit and Recognition Points.
     Our PolioPlus Society was introduced on World Polio Day on October 24, 2020, during our Zoom presentation to the District. Since then, more than 60 District 5500 Rotarians have already joined the PolioPlus Society and have made the commitment to End Polio Now!  Join us!
     If you would like to become a member of the District 5500 PolioPlus Society or have questions, send an email to PDG Michael Drake, District PolioPlus Chair, at Michael@DrakeLawAz.com or call 520-624-2488.  He will send you a Commitment Form and further information. More information will soon be on the District website.

The Rotary Club of Marana Dove Mountain                                                                                          (from Prudy Abeln)


PETS (President-Elect Training Seminar) to be Virtual!                           (from Hank Huisking, DGE 2020-2021)
     Registration is now open for Southwest Rotary PETS.
     PETS is normally held in Los Angeles, California, but, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a virtual PETS will be on March 5th and 6th, 2021.
     The training is open to all D5500 President Elects, Satellite Club leaders, Assistant Governors, and the District Governor leadership.
     D5500 policy requires all Presidents-Elect to complete PETS training before taking office on July 1st, 2021.  PEs must have completed Pre-PETS coursework before attending the Southwest Rotary PETS by vFAIRS.  (vFAIRS is a virtual conferencing program, but with an immersive feeling of being in an actual conference.)
    The cost of the PETS is $195.  For those registering before the January 15th deadline, will receive a $45 discount for a total of only $150!
    The Southwest Rotary PETS committee has worked very hard to provide the best experience possible, so you don’t want to miss this opportunity to hear inspiring speakers and network with your fellow Rotarians.
    The registration link is: registration@southwestrotarypets.org


Peacebuilders Network                                                                                                                                       (by PDG Ellie Patterson)



                                       WHO ARE WE?

     We are building a Peacebuilders Network represented by a dedicated force of Peacebuilder Clubs in District 5500. Members of this Network include Rotarians who officially represent their Peacebuilder Clubs as the Club Peace Committee Chair or Co-Chair as well as all their Club members.  Peacebuilder Clubs take action to promote Peace, Goodwill, and Understanding.
     The launch of our first District 5500 Zoom Peacebuilders Network meeting will take place on January 18, 2021, at 6:00 pm and will last one hour. The featured speaker is PDG Michael Caruso from District 5100 in Oregon. Mike, the Founder of the Rotary Peacebuilder Clubs program, which started in his District in 2011, will give us a history of Peacebuilder Clubs. He will also discuss peace-related projects and offer tips for successful service projects that will demonstrate Peace through Service.
     We welcome all Clubs in District 5500 to become Peacebuilder Clubs. The Peacebuilder Club application, Peacebuilder Club Network document, Peacebuilder Club Fact Sheet, and Peacebuilder Club Standards are on our D5500 website under "Peace Resources" found on the banner of the home page.
     Please contact Ellie Patterson (ellie.patterson1@outlook.com) or Joe Daniszewski (joed57@hotmail.com) for assistance in becoming a Peacebuilder Club. We’ll be happy to help!
And their Chairs/Co-Chairs
Casa Grande Daybreak-Ross Feezer, Linda DeVore
Catalina (Tucson)-Kirk Reed
Coolidge-Joyce Baker
Marana –Randy Brooks
Marana Dove Mountain-Jeff Penfil
Rincon-Wendy Hobbs
SaddleBrooke-Doug May
Tucson-Joe Daniszewski, Aimee Graves
Tucson Sunset-Michael Drake
Valle Verde (Green Valley)-Mark Horton
The Rotary Club of Sierra Vista                                                                             (from Candyce Pardee)
     Despite the logistical and financial setbacks brought about by COVID-19, the Sierra Vista Rotary Club has had a busy six months of service.  December 14, 2020, capped the first six months of this Rotary Year with donations to Toys for Tots.  The toys donated by members of the Club were supplemented by the toys collected from the Sierra Vista Rotary Evening Satellite Club and from $500.00 worth of toys donated by Grasshopper Landscaping.
      Darrel Claunchof the Thunder Mountain Detachment 1283 Marine Corps League received a resounding round of applause followed by a parade of members and guests of the Club who helped him load all the toys into his truck.
      Earlier, on November 30 and December 12, 2020, Vice-President Fred Shirley organized volunteers to ring the bell for the Salvation Army at Wal-Mart.
  Thanks to Fred, they covered all shifts at both door locations.
The Club and the Satellite Club have also committed to providing Handbags for Hope to the Salvation Army and the Forgach House.  Handbags for Hope are gently used handbags that are filled with a toothbrush, toothpaste, and other toiletries that individuals fleeing from a domestic violence situation may need after leaving everything behind.
    The Club also entered a tree into the Festival of Trees on behalf of all the Rotary Clubs in Sierra Vista.  The tree, entitled “A World of Peace; A World Free of Polio,” celebrated two of Rotary’s areas of service—peace, and health.
    The ornaments, handmade by Nancy Fusco and Candy Pardee of the Sierra Vista Club and Anita Farrow, President of the Sierra Vista West Club, showcased individuals distributing polio vaccine to children.
    The tree sold for $125.00 to aid the Sierra Vista Chamber of Commerce’s selected beneficiary, the Cochise Family Advocacy Center - Lori's Place.  Advocacy for women and children is a third Rotary area of service.
     Then, for the heck of it, the Club also participated with Tandem Upscale Restaurant and Lounge in creating a light display for the City’s Festival of Lights.  The light display, put together by Rebekah Tilley and a group of her youngsters and their friends, features a little train that could.  For those who recall Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam’s song, it is a “Peace Train”.
     In November, Club members generously donated food and cash to four local food pantries:  Peach’s Pantry, the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, and the Sierra Vista Methodist Church.  Chair Veronica Ochoa distributed a share of the donated food and $150.00 to each food pantry along with an additional $100.00 donated by Tony Waalkins to the Salvation Army.
The Boys And Girls Club of Sierra Vista
     The Sierra Vista Rotary joined with The Boys And Girls Club of Sierra Vista in refurbishing its events room.  Dallen Haws, Community Chair, worked with Les Orchekowsky as the Project Manager to secure a grant, devise a plan, and to round up Club members to carry out the project over two weekends.  Orchekowsky directed the volunteer crew throughout.
     Club members and staff put in a full day of hard work removing the old carpeting.  At first, the crew used a propane torch to loosen the glue, but eventually, a come-along attached to the back of Joe Puett’s 4-wheel drive managed to get the job done.
     Other days’ work included replacing damaged ceiling tiles, painting over the old dark orange and purple colors with lighter blue and cream, installing a new curtain system for the stage, and hanging the new blackout curtains sewn by K. J. Wigton.
     The Sierra Vista Rotary Club, using a Rotary District 5500 grant and a grant from the Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Co-op, hired a local electrical contractor to replace the old fluorescent lights in the room with a better, brighter, and more energy-efficient lighting system. The stage lights were also rewired to allow access from the floor level. 
  The Rotary Club also hired local professionals to tile the majority of the floor in the room and to re-carpet the stage.   Finally, one old pool table and the bumper pool table received new felt, replacing the duct-taped surfaces.
   The renovation was dedicated on November 7, 2020.
 After !!!
     In August, the Club joined with the rest of Sierra Vista in contributing to the Back-to-School Drive hosted by the Sierra Vista Herald.
     With donations in lieu of “Happy Bucks” and the proceeds from weekly half-and-half drawings, the Club was able to donate $1,475.00 to the Drive.
      The Sierra Vista Rotary Club also assisted the Sierra Vista West Club in providing new backpacks to the girls from St. Mary’s Mission.
     COVID-19 prevented the Fourth of July festivities usually held in Veteran’s Memorial Park.  But, the Sierra Vista Rotary Club, unwilling to break a 50+ year tradition of providing fireworks to the Sierra Vista community, carried on the only way it could. 
     Fourth of July Chair Randy delivered the fireworks portion in an aerial display so that people could view the fireworks from their yards, rooftops, or vehicles.  And, the fireworks show was live-streamed for those who preferred to stay home and watch on TV or on their computers.
     The Sierra Vista Rotary Club is looking forward to serving both locally and internationally by providing local high school students with Rotary Youth Leadership Academy in January, scholarships to Buena and Cochise College students, assisting the Agua Prieta Rotary Club in providing a bus stop for students, installation of a “Peace Pole”, and, if possible, supporting other local nonprofits with grants.

The Sierra Vista Rotary Satellite Evening Club

Four New Members!
     We’re not sure if Santa came early or if the Sierra Vista Satellite Evening Club rolled gimmel (ג) on a dreidel, but they certainly have good news at the end of 2020!  The Club has received applications from FOUR (count ‘em, FOUR) great Rotarians-to-be!  Let’s introduce them:
    1. Lori Zucco works in the Cochise County Attorney's office as the Chief Criminal Deputy. Her husband is Judge David Thorne, a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club.
    2. Misty Briseno is a small business owner of the local American Family Insurance agency. Her husband is the president of the Huachucans.  Misty is very involved in breast cancer awareness campaigns.
     3. Debbie Gedlinske works at the FBI with Katy Regan. She is new to the area but loves to be involved and to find service opportunities. She's very excited about service projects.
     4. Dr. Ann Lebek once carried out her sports medicine practice with professional sports teams.  She came to Sierra Vista to work with the soldiers at Ft. Huachuca and now has a private practice in Sierra Vista called Kynetic Health.  One of her current service projects has been to serve as a game sideline doctor for the Tombstone High School football team.


The Gift of Rotary

     Have you ever wanted to give a special New Year’s gift, but were not sure what to give?
     How about the Gift of Rotary?  With so many Clubs meeting virtually (or hybrid), this is a great time to invite your friends, neighbors, and colleagues to a meeting, especially when your Club has a good speaker.  Prepare your guests with a little information about Rotary and the good that we do for our Community and our World.  Then follow up with them to find out what they thought of the meeting.
     Want to give the Gift of Rotary to even more people? This is a good time to “Share” your Club’s Facebook (or other) posts about upcoming meetings and speakers, on your Facebook page. You can ask those interested to contact you for the Zoom or YouTube information.
     Your Gift of Rotary will benefit not only your friend or colleague and the Community, but will also benefit men, women, and children throughout the World.
     It is truly a priceless gift!
Joyce Finkelstein
District 5500 Membership Chair
The Rotary Club of Casa Grande Daybreak                                                       (from AG Sheila Chavez)
    We wrapped up our monthly project (and exceeded our goal!) by donating 25 Handbags for Hope to Against Abuse, Inc., our local women's shelter.
New Rotary Club with Environmental Focus Being Formed                                      (from PDG Michael Drake)
     A new “cause-based” Rotary Club is being formed in District 5500. The Club’s programs and projects will focus on environmental issues. The provisional name is “The Rotary Club of Tucson Verde” with the intent of being chartered on Earth Day, April 22, 2021.
     The District hopes the new Club will appeal to those concerned with issues of global warming, conservation, and environmental sustainability as potential Charter Members.
     For several years Rotary has had six “Areas of Focus” with The Rotary Foundation funding projects that fit into those areas of focus.  Rotary International has recently added “Supporting the Environment” as a seventh area of focus signaling that Rotary wants to be in the vanguard of promoting international environmental health.
     If you know someone in your business, family, or circle of acquaintances who would be interested in learning more, please contact Michael Drake at Michael@DrakeLawAz.com; Ellie Patterson at Ellie.Patterson1@outlook.com; or Kirk Reed at Wkirkreed@gmail.com.

The Rotary Club of Tucson Presidio

2020 Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 40 under 40                                                        (credit to the Arizona Daily Star)
The Mexico USA Friendship Conference and Global Grants Exchange                       (from District 5495)
Hello Rotarians:
     As you are probably aware, the Mexico USA Friendship Conference and Global Grants Exchange will be held on February 13, 14, 15, 2021. We will use a hybrid format with a small group of in-person and global grant presentations on Zoom. The presentations will be on Friday and Saturday with results to be announced on Sunday, the 15th.
      At this point, we need to know if your Club has a global grant project you would like to present or if your Club has dollar commitments you’d like to make to an international project. We will be accepting project proposals until January 15, 2021. Because the presentations will be virtual, we are capping the number of projects at 14. We will vet the submissions and select the most viable projects for presentation.
     Also, a small group of 20 will be able to attend in person. If you would like to attend in person there will be an estimated $150 cost that will include lodging and meals, as well as ground transport in Mexico. Of course, this is subject to CDC guidelines about COVID-19 in place at the time.
     Please email Kevin Pitts @ kpitts@stratoswp.com if you are interested in attending, have a global grant project for consideration or if your Club would like to make a pledge to an international project.
     We look forward to your participation in this wonderful event!
Kevin Pitts,  PDG Barb Feder
Co-Chairs, Mexico USA Friendship Conference, and Global Grants Exchange
The Rotary Club of Sierra Vista Sunrise                                                                                                (from Peter Huisking)
Sierra Vista Sunrise Rotary Club – Rising Sun Run October 2020 – A Virtual Event…A Real Success!
     The Sierra Vista Sunrise Rotary Club conducted its 8th annual “Rising Sun Run” in October as a virtual race for runners in Cochise County and across the US.
    The Rising Sun Run raises funds for the Club’s youth programs, vocational scholarships, and service projects.
    The COVID-19 pandemic prevented safely staging this annual event in person. But staging the run virtually still offered participants an actual running experience and challenge.
    The virtual race included all the standard features of an in-person race: registration, race bibs, swag bag, runners technical t-shirt, and special finisher medal for half-marathon participants.
     Runners could complete their races from October 1 through October 31 and submit results through the race’s website. The race attracted 115 runners locally and nationally from Washington state to California, from Florida to New York, and states in between.
    The virtual race was exciting, accessible, and raised $10,000 for Sierra Vista Sunrise’s programs.
    The Club is now planning for an in-person race, Rising Sun Run 2021, on May 1, 2021, on the USA Track and Field Association certified courses here in Sierra Vista.
     Watch for promotional information for Rising Sun Run 2021 on the web!
Sierra Vista Sunrise Rotary Completes 2020 Ride to End Polio
     Each year the Sierra Vista Sunrise Rotary Club participates in the Ride to End Polio during El Tour de Tucson. Team Sunrise does both the indoor ride and the Tour itself in Tucson.  We are one team, one ride! 
     This year the pandemic affected the Tour but that didn’t stop Team Sunrise.  We rode indoors and out, in Sierra Vista and Tucson, in November.  Last year we raised $4,000.00; so this year we set a goal of $5,000.00.  Thanks to the support from our Club, family, and friends, we rolled across the finish line with $5,100.00 for End Polio Now!
     We know there might be a Tour de Tucson in April 2021, but Team Sunrise has already set another record for this year to End Polio Now. Another indoor ride may take place in April in addition.
     Watch for Team Sunrise because we will be back, in person and on stationary bikes, in November 2021 at El Tour de Tucson and the Ride to End Polio! 

A Morning of Inner Peace                                                                                                                            (from Joseph Daniszewski)

     Saturday morning, November 7, 2020, 52 Rotarians and friends from Southern Arizona participated by Zoom in the Morning of Inner Peace Workshop organized by the District 5500 Peace Committee.
     The first stage placed participants into several virtual break-out rooms.
     Then facilitators from the Center for Community Dialogue and Training posed questions to each break-out room about the technique each person uses in working toward Inner Peace. The questions prompted deep listening and generous sharing among the group’s members.
     Next, two presenters from the Center for Community Dialogue and Training offered PowerPoint presentations and role-playing to the re-assembled participants about:
  1. Why is Inner Peace So Hard to Find and Keep?
  2. How Can I Better Manage My Inner Peace?
   And then the group reviewed the morning with a closing dialogue.
   Many participants shared that the morning’s step-by-step approach to working toward forgiveness was beneficial and especially timely.
     Participants’ comments:
  1. “I learned so much from the Workshop.”
  2. “The workshop was well organized and well run.”
  3. “I learned several useful things. I even took notes to look at again.”
  4. “I thought the program was very good and helpful.”
  5. “I did find the topics and discussions interesting and enjoyed meeting other Rotarians.”
  6. “Very well done and useful. A reminder for me rather than new material, but a reminder I very much needed.”
The Rotary Club of Green Valley
Wrightson Ridge’s Sensory Garden a Colorful Collaboration      (Story and Photos by Jamie Verwys  jverwys@gvnews.com)
    For students with special needs, sensory experiences can do everything from encouraging learning to providing motivation or even offering a little respite.
     Wrightson Ridge School’s new sensory garden is designed with those needs in mind.
     Filled with colors, art, activities, music-makers, and places to rest, the new and interactive space is the result of hours of volunteer work, community collaboration, and a grant from the Rotary Club of Green Valley.
     The project was spearheaded by GV Rotary Club member Pat Pease, who has written three other grants for projects at the Sahuarita Unified School District.
     Michael and Pat Pease discuss some possible changes
to the music wall at the sensory garden.
     “The main focus of it is a sensory garden for special-education kids, but all the kids in the school have the opportunity to use it,” she said.
     Pease looked at other sensory gardens — spaces for children that focus on textures, shapes, colors, sounds, and mind/body awareness — to get ideas of what could work within their $4,000 budget, half of which came from the Rotary Club grant and was matched by Rotary District 5500.
     “I went through about seven designs because we had to keep it within $4,000 and some of the materials and designs turned out to be too expensive, but we ended up with most of the things we wanted,” she said. “We had to be really thrifty and we had a lot donated and a lot of help.”
     Student Aryah Robles strolls around the labyrinth.
     Among the features in the garden are pathways, activity bins with sand and toys that can be brought into classrooms, a music wall with different items that make sounds, and a labyrinth path of rocks created by a community member.
     In the center of the garden is a stage with a wheelchair ramp where kids can play and Pease hopes it’ll be utilized for performances or outdoor lessons.
     One of the most eye-catching items is the sensory wall which includes artwork Pease created herself, activities, items with texture, magnetic tic-tac-toes, and lots of color.
     “A lot of things you see here came from thrift store purchases that we’d take apart and use parts or change them,” she said. “I want children to be exposed to art.”
     Student Lucas Reeves prepares to drum
on buckets at the music wall.
     The school’s Extended Resource teacher, Shelly Ruesch, oversees special-education students at Wrightson Ridge. She said the kids who have interacted with the garden find ways to play with the items in the way that works best for them.
     “There’s nothing about it that isn't wonderful,” she said. “It fills so many different needs and there are even things we didn't think about that we’re finding kids doing.”
     Ruesch explained that children’s sensory needs have a wide range and that the children have been using the garden regularly since it was completed right before the Thanksgiving recess.
     “Some of our students just need a break and, if they don't have a way to ask us with communication, they can give us a little break card and come to the sensory garden,” she said. “They can go and choose whatever they feel like they need.”
     Ruesch said they also are using the garden as a reinforcer or a reward after students complete their classroom tasks.
     “It meets their needs to get them ready to learn and it motivates them to learn so that they can have a break,” she said. “We can use it in so many different ways and we are so grateful.”
     They’ve even done scavenger hunts using photos of items in the sensory garden and asking their students to find them.
     “If they are in a meltdown, you can kind of break that behavior. You can say, ‘You show me this.’ and, as soon as they show you that, you have something positive,” she said.
     Vice Principal Will Arias said all students, regardless of age, are showing excitement for the garden.
     “It’s to spark that curiosity and it doesn't matter if they’re little ones or big ones on the middle school side, it still attracts them,” he said. “Wrightson Ridge is a new school and this is part of building our cultures and traditions.”
     Principal Shelly Lizardi said the student resource program is new to their school, and a sensory garden was at the top of her list when Pease approached them about a grant project.
     “This being a new school, it's something we saw as an opportunity to open up for students who have sensory issues but also for all students,” she said. “What a welcoming feeling to a beautiful campus and the climate we are trying to build. We are a school for all."
     Wrightson Ridge Vice-Principal Will Arias, Principal Shelly Lizardi and
GV Rotary Club members Pat Pease and Michael Pease.
     Pease said the garden is a big community effort.
     She started making prototypes for items starting back in July, seeing what she could make from thrift store finds and what she had on hand.
     Her husband, Michael, was in charge of construction once they actually received their grant funding in August. The two of them worked almost every day on the project.
    “She proposes; I disposes,” he laughed. “She's the artist and I’m the could-have-been-an-engineer who ended up teaching math instead.”
     Along with the pair, Rotary Club members, teachers, and people from the community stepped in to help or donate items. The student council also painted a few areas in the garden.
     “We've got over 1,000 hours in this among everyone who's been working,” Pease said. “I was just blown away. We had people from the community volunteer to come help, teachers, many others."
      Pease said she and Michael now will be stopping by weekly to check on how well items are holding up, and fixing things here and there.
     “When I write grant reports, I always point out that things change as you go along and that you have to be flexible and adapt to the changes,” she said. “Things happen along the way and each thing might force you to go in a different direction.”
     Student Michael King and Pat Pease at the activity bins, which include
play sand, and can be moved to classrooms to be used inside.
     Pease will do her grant report in April and then the garden will be in the hands of the school.
     She’s proud of what she and the many others who helped make the space a reality were able to accomplish for the children of Wrightson Ridge.
     “It feels good to have it done and it’s very satisfying to see the kids,” she said. “We’ll see what has longevity and what doesn't. It has a whole lot of work in it and I’m thrilled with the way it turned out.”
    Reporter Jamie Verwys grew up in Sahuarita and graduated from the high school in 2006. She lives in Tucson and graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2018.



The Rotary Club of Tucson Kino

Tucson Kino Rotarians Spread the Word at Local Schools                                                                             (from David Fawcett)
    Even though children are not in classrooms, Rotarians from the Tucson Kino Rotary Club once again distributed over 1,600 dictionary/reference books to all third-graders at 21 local schools in the southern part of Tucson and as far west as Baboquivari in Sells. 
     “We do this every year and normally are able to hand them directly to the children and see the joy they express when they can write their own names in the books and take them home with them.”, says Rotarian Buck Crouch, President of the Sunnyside Unified School District School Board. This year, due to the pandemic, school staff distributed the books.
     The Tucson Kino Rotary Club, the Long Cares Foundation of Long Realty, and the South Tucson Cyber Lions financially support the program.
     “This is such a great project that it motivated me to become a Rotarian,” said the newest Tucson Kino Rotarian, Richard Stevenson. 
     Learn more at kinorotary.org.
                                                                         Rotarians Buck Crouch, Andy Townsend (Principal at Elvira Elementary), and Richard Stevenson. 


The Rotary Club of Oro Valley

     The Oro Valley Rotary Club installed a mini-library at the Catalina State Park and will sustain it as part of the Club’s commitment to the Park.
     The idea is to seed books about good stewardship, hiking, birding junior rangers, the environment, and more.
 (Left: Park Ranger, Barbara and Marc Snow)
Rotary Global Grant  Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, El Jute, Guatemala                                      (from Rick Chimblo)
The Rotary Club of Rincon (Tucson)                                                                                                                    (from Tom Eiff)
     Rincon Rotary Club Rotarians continued their service to others with generous donations for this 2020 Holiday Season.
     $2,250 to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona to help with their stock of food for the Holidays. 
     $1,620 to Desert Skies United Methodist Church to
assist adopted families during the holidays.
     $1620 to Wings for Women to help needy families. 
     And Rincon Rotary Club installed its first Peace Pole at Tanque Verde Elementary School.
     John Lee, with the wheelbarrow, is a fourth-generation Rotarian who has rejoined Rincon after having moved
to the East Coast for a few years.
     He was the Club’s president four years ago.
The Rotary Club of Casa Grande                                                                 (from President Steve DiMuzio)
     The Casa Grande Rotary Club has engaged in a service project since June of 2020 to assist those in financial crisis and need due to the pandemic. We partnered with a local restaurant and agreed that, if they would rehire their cooking staff, we would pay a set fee and the restaurant would prepare ready-to-heat-and-eat meals for families of six. Since June we have provided meals to 3,550 families of six for a total of 21,500 meals.
     Incredibly, this project has attracted several new members to our Club.  Since June we have installed three new members and will install a fourth on January 5, 2021, and have two more potential members via inquiries through RI and our local website.  This project has not only attracted new members who want to serve the community but has renewed interest from the community in the Casa Grande Rotary Club and has invigorated a Club that had grown tired.
     Our members regularly volunteer, bringing family members and guests to assist us as we meet, greet, and provide meals to our fellow community members. Our focus has been on single-parent families, seniors, and those unemployed or underemployed due to the pandemic.
     This project has met three of RI’s focus areas: Maternal and Child Health through nutrition, Economic and Community Development, and Peace and Conflict Resolution.
     Several local businesses and agencies have partnered with us as the cost of this project has now reached $49,860. We are grateful to District 5500, Wal-Mart, APS, Light House Ministry, Eva’s Restaurant, City of Casa Grande CARES Funding, Fitzgibbons Law Offices, Al and Riley’s HVAC, Simple Legal Forms LLC, and individual Rotarians and other donors via our Go Fund Me page for their support.
     Thank you for sharing our efforts with others.
The Rotary Club of Tucson Sunrise                                                                                                             (from Myron Donald)
Bell Ringing
     Carolyn Monjoi, Rich Bailey, Paul Smith, Jim Hobbs, Dave and Karen Hammond, Anne Harman, Rebecca Craig, Georg Haubner, Mary Guss, and former member, Jay Ofori, rang bells for the Salvation Army's annual red kettle fundraiser on Saturday, December 12, 2020,   Their kettle raised $400!
Santa's Sunrise Stockings
     The elves assembling 30 Santa’s Sunrise Stockings last Saturday, December 19, 2020, were Georg Haubner, Wanda Nordlie, Steve Cox, Rebecca Craig, Isabel Banerjee, and special visitor Dan Gregory, Community Development Coordinator for Southern Arizona Children’s Advocacy Center, who came by to see what the Sunrise elves were doing and was visibly moved by the elves’ passion and the Club’s generosity.  On Sunday, due to COVID, Georg delivered the Stockings to Dan for distribution through the Advocacy Center.



























Basket Auction
    The basket auction raised $1117 for the Tucson Sunrise Rotary Foundation. Thank you everyone!!
The Tucson Sunrise Bagel Project
     Most days of the week, members of Tucson Sunrise continue to pick up unsold bagels from two Bruegger’s Bagels locations and take them to the Tucson Food Share at 101 E. Ventura St., Tucson, for distribution to those in need.
Bagging Pet Food
     Tucson Sunrise and other partners such as Dove Mountain Rotary continue to bag pet food at the Pima Animal Care Center.  It is not just people who need help but also their pets. 
New Member Jessica Koꞔ
    Jessica Koꞔ is the newest member of Tucson Sunrise Rotary.  She was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, CA, but moved to Tucson to go to the U of A.
   Jessica’s husband is Erman Koꞔ whose mother is a Rotarian in Turkey.  Many people ask how to pronounce her last name which leads to making connections.  “Koꞔ” is pronounced “coach”.
     Jessica understands Turkish and is fluent in Spanish because her mom is from Mexico.
     Jessica is a real estate agent with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International, but she and her husband also buy houses then turn them into Airbnb rentals.
     She and her husband like traveling, hiking, and trying new cuisine and experiencing other cultures.
     “I love doing hands-on things and hearing about other people’s lives and experiences.”
     “I joined Rotary because I love the passion of people who contribute and to task myself with giving after having received so much.”
     “I hope to inspire more people in my age group to help the world a better place.“
                Information will be sent to all Rotary clubs.


     Please submit your Club’s news by the 20th of each month. The Clubs’ Showcase will be distributed on the first of each month.
     Show off your Club.  Tell us what your Club and your members are doing for our communities and for the world.  Please share your best practices and what you have learned while doing your projects.  Rotary Clubs all learn from each other!
     Our editor, Myron Donald, is eagerly waiting for your articles. Please send articles as attachments in Word or in the body of an e-mail.  Please don't send PDF files and do send any photos as attachments with the highest resolution possible and not embedded in your email.  PDFs and embedded photos are difficult to transfer to ClubRunner.
     Thank you!
Upcoming Events
RYLA Virtual Workshop
Feb 12, 2021 5:00 PM –
Feb 13, 2021 9:00 AM
Mexico USA Friendship Conference and Global Grants
Tlaxcala, MX
Feb 13, 2021 9:00 AM –
Feb 15, 2021 4:00 PM
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