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District Governor's Message
to All Rotarians in District 5500
     February is American Heart month. It's also Black History Month, National Bake for The Family Fun Month, National Library Lover’s Month as well as National Embroidery Month.
     In Rotary, we celebrate February with the theme of Peace and Conflict Prevention and Resolution. Here are some excerpts from rotary.org.  Over 70 million people have been displaced due to conflict, violence, persecution, and human rights violations.  Half of them, unfortunately, are children.  If you want more information, please visit https://www.rotary.org/en/our-causes/promoting-peace.
     Let’s talk about in-person events now. If any event is going to be in-person, you need to be sure that you're taking all the precautions necessary.  We do not want Rotarians to feel that they are in any danger while attending a Rotary event or a Club meeting. It goes without saying that we must encourage everyone to continue to wear masks when they are with others and also that they continually wash their hands and stay a minimum of 6 feet apart.   We know we have lost Rotarians not only in our District but in other Districts throughout the world because of COVID. 
     So please be extra cautious.
     The vaccine is slowly becoming available in AZ for those who are “at-risk”.  I have already heard of many Rotarians who have had their first injection. If you want further information about the vaccine, visit this link from Johns Hopkins.
      Our District has just approved a tax-exempt account specifically earmarked for District 5500 Youth programs.  See the article in this newsletter for more information. We are very excited to announce The Rotary Youth Fund.
     Here are some DG Challenges for Your Club:
  • Every Club should be talking about Peace and Conflict Resolution during February. We believe that Rotary creates an environment where peace can actually happen. Why not sponsor a special event or speaker for this month to talk about Peace and Conflict Resolution? Check out our District website, rotaryd5500.org for speakers who can do just that.  Join PDG Rudy Westervelt for his conversation about Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution on Monday, February 1, 2021, at 7:00 pm EST. (Click on the link above for registration information.)
  • February is one of my favorite months. I absolutely love the celebration of Valentine's Day. During February, especially February 14th, reach out to those Rotarians and friends whom you haven't seen or spoken to in a while. Mail them a greeting card or send a virtual greeting card or just pick up the phone and call them. Make a difference in someone’s life.
  • I am asking Clubs to please work together on projects and fundraisers. Work with Clubs in your region, work with Clubs outside your region, work with other organizations; let's show that we can collaborate and be very effective in neighborhoods across Southern AZ. Larger Rotary Clubs should consider reaching out to smaller Rotary Clubs to make a bigger impact in their communities. Many Clubs have already done this and have reported successes.
  • Sign up for Rotary Direct – We want to achieve 100 percent membership participation in each and every Club. Watch this video for an easy “how-to” sign up on rotary.org. Skip all the paperwork required for check donations; donate directly online.
  • Please consider applying for a District Award. Award details were sent out electronically last week.  Here is a link if you cannot find your original copy. Every Club has the same opportunity to achieve an award in at least one category. These are “outside the box” ideas with cash awards, something new for District 5500.
District Governor Diane Ventura-Goodyear
The Rotary District 5500 Youth Fund Approved!
     District 5500's Charitable Fund is now able to accept donations specifically earmarked for our Youth Programs. This will greatly help with the shortfalls and rising costs that have occurred over the last few years.
     All donations are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.
     For more information and the Tax ID #, please contact dvg@rotaryd5500.org.
     Our District is serious about continuing our support of Youth Programs.  This approval couldn't have happened at a better time.
The Rotary Club of Catalina (Tucson)                     (from Bob Grady)
In Celebration of Black History Month…
     The Catalina (Tucson) Rotary Club invites you to join us for a special program on Friday, February 5, 2021, at 12:10 pm.
     Program: People of African descent have helped mold the cultural, educational, social, economic, and political landscape of Arizona for 500 years.  Their story has been harrowing, instructive, and inspirational. Black activism and political accomplishments, in particular, have been the hallmark of their struggle for freedom and equality.
     Moreover, their activism inspired white women, various people of color, and other marginalized groups to adopt many of their strategies for confronting discrimination and making a more perfect union.  This presentation will explore this history and reveal the dynamism of Black history and life.
     Guest Speaker:  Matthew C. Whitaker, Ph.D., is an award-winning educator, author, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and community engagement specialist, motivational speaker, and founder of the Arizona State University Center for the Study of Race and Democracy.  He is the winner of the 2014 Arizona Diversity Leadership Alliance (DLA) Inclusive Workplace Award, where he was a professor of history for 15 years.  He co-founded the Healing Racism Dialogue Series, winner of the 2008 National League of Cities Inclusive Award, and was given DLA’s 2016 Diversity and Inclusion Leader Award.  His books include “Hurricane Katrina: America’s Unnatural Disaster”, and “Race Work: The Rise of Civil Rights in the Urban West”. His forthcoming memoir is “The Undisputed Truth: A Revolutionary Journey to Black Manhood”.

     Please RSVP to Bob Grady at regradyjr@gmail.com to receive the Zoom link with the password.  As space is limited; first come, first served.
Extra! Extra!  Read All About It!
Handbags for Hope!  A District-wide project!

Special Edition on Valentine’s Day!
The Rotary Club of San Luis Frontera       (from Marcos Ramirez)
     Much more information about the Club's project in the Handbags for Hope Special Edition on February 14, 2021, in the Valentine's Day Edition!
The Rotary Club of Tucson Kino                        (from Dennis Bergquist)
Peace Fellow Presentation
     Josué Tambara is a Peace Fellow representing District 5500.  He will be the speaker at Kino Rotary on Friday, February 21, 2021, at the 7:00 am.
     Josué is a Mozambican national, born on April 5, 1979, but he grew up in Malawi in a refugee camp,  He had not seen his father until he was 21 years old.  Josué has four children.
     He participated in the 2009 Cochran Fellowship Program in Minnesota.  In 2014, the US Government nominated him for the 2015 International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) through its Embassy in Maputo, Mozambique. He participated in IVLP in Washington DC, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Portland and New Orleans.
     Josué was a Program Development Officer for USAID-OTI PCVE (United States Agency for International Development) (Office of Transition Initiatives) (Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism) program from 2019 to 2020. He also has worked as the Political and Cooperation Advisor for the municipalities of Nampula and Quelimane.
     He has travelled to Australia, Sweden and many African countries leading delegations and representing the municipalities, He is a leader-in-the-making who puts “Service Above Self”. 
Bringing Water to Mwongeti, Kenya
      Kino Rotary partnered with the Litchfield Rotary Club in District 5950 in Minnesota to apply in 2017 for a Global Grant to bring water to Mwongeti, a village of 6,000 in Kenya.
     The Rotary Foundation has just approved the Grant and is transferring the funds to begin the project.
     Dennis Bergquist, President -Elect of Tucson Kino Rotary, is a transplant from District 5950 where he initiated the project.
     In Mwongeti, women walk up-hill an hour from the water source to the village with a jerry can filled with 42 pounds of water balanced on their heads.  They rest at their houses and then repeat the trip for another can of water.
    Damaris Nyamkabaria, who lives in Minnesota, but whose mother lives Mwongeti, brought the need for the well to the Litchfield Rotary Club.
    Dennis, Dennis’ friend, Fred Rau, then President of the Litchfield Club, and George Ngotho with the Rotary Club of Kikuyu, Kenya, joined in partnership to secure the Grant.
    “Rotary Making a Difference” at home and around the world.
District Grants  Equip a Prenatal Clinic in Mwongeti, Kenya
     From April to September, 2020, Dennis Bergquist coordinated with five Rotary Clubs within three Rotary Districts for District Grants to equip a medical clinic in Mwongeti, Kenya.
The Clinic
The waiting room refurbished by Rotary
The ward for mothers waiting
to birth or who are not well
Ultrasound equipment purchased by Rotary being used to assess a mother-to-be
The delivery room equipped by Rotary
Teree, the clinic manager who volunteers her time at the Clinic
Volunteers wearing t-shirts marketing The Village Clinic to the village
Medical supplies from District Grants.
The Maternal and Child Health prenatal center named after Dennis’ wife, Vonnie, who passed away in July, 2020
Dennis Bergquist
Bergquist & Associates / Global
Cell (320).224.2209
Invite a Friend to Rotary 
     Think about why you joined Rotary…Was it for business networking? Fellowship? To make a difference in the Community? In your World? People of Action join Rotary for a variety of reasons.  All join Rotary because they were asked! 
     Which of your friends or acquaintances would benefit by joining Rotary? Which of your friends or acquaintances would benefit Rotary by joining? Whom do you know who cares about his or her community and cares about making our world a better, healthier, more peaceful world?  These folks would make great Rotarians!
     Rotary and Rotarians are positioned to make a real difference in the world! What a wonderful gift to give those you know and care about. Introduce them to Rotary! Ask them to join you at a meeting!  Ask them to join Rotary!
     I can guarantee that they will thank you.
Joyce Finkelstein
District 5500 Membership Chair
The Rotary Club of Valle Verde                       (from Steve Sibulsky)
Jazz In The Desert Reimagined....a big success!
     For 11 years, the Valle Verde Rotary Club's biggest fundraiser has been a jazz festival featuring jazz bands from schools along the I-19 corridor.  The jazz festivals have raised more than $110,000 through the years.
     The Club realized very early that the COVID-19 pandemic would mean that the 12th annual event would not be held in the spring of 2021.  So, the Club’s “Jazz” committee set out to do something different.
     “Jazz In The Desert Reimagined” became a non-event event…a simple 'ask' for funds that kicked off in mid-November and wrapped up at year’s end.  With a mix of direct mail, Facebook, Clubrunner, radio ads, and newspaper articles, plus good old personal appeals, the Club contacted sponsors and participants from past festivals and raised enough money to give $1000 to each of seven school music programs and to fund Valle Verde Rotary projects during the new year.
    Jazz Committee Chair Jim Rusk says “The members of Valle Verde Rotary Club extend a hearty “THANK YOU” to everyone who helped make "Jazz Reimagined" a great success.
     Thanks to this support, the Club can continue to support our local, state, national and international projects in 2021."
    "A special "thanks" to each and every Jazz Ensemble member of the seven schools that have supported "Jazz in the Desert" over the years.  We look forward to a "live" “Jazz in the Desert" in 2022."
Valle Verde Rotary Donates $2,225 from the Jim Click Raffle to St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic
     For the past several years, the Valle Verde Rotary Club of Green Valley has participated in the Jim Click ‘Millions For Tucson’ raffle.  This last fall, the Club’s 45 members sold over 100 tickets and raised $2,225.00.
     For the past two years, the Club has donated the entire amount raised to the St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic in Nogales, AZ.
     For 46 years, the St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic, a non-denominational, non-profit organization with a volunteer professional health care staff, has provided free, specialized medical care to children living in Mexico who cannot get or afford the care they need in their home country.
     The monthly Clinic is held at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Nogales, Arizona, where the staff sees more than 200 children.
     Every October, in cooperation with Children's Surgery International and CIMA Hospital, 50 to 60 children have had cleft palate/cleft lip surgery in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. This special mission involves volunteers on both sides of the US-Mexico border who work with the medical team to give patients smiles and a much better life.
    Rotary’s motto is ‘Service Above Self’.  Valle Verde Rotarians are happy to serve St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic and very thankful to the Jim Click organization for creating this fundraising avenue.
      In 2019, Valle Verde Rotary, via the ‘Millions For Tucson’ raffle, donated $2000 to St. Andrew’s.  Pictured are Laura Romero, Executive Director of St. Andrew’s Clinic, and Valle Verde Rotary Foundation President Jim Rusk.
      Due to the ongoing pandemic, Valle Verde’s mailed the 2020 donation of $2225 to the St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic. 
     For more information, contact Steve Sibulsky.  steve@sibulsky.com
Rotary Donation Turns a Music Teacher's Dream for Outdoor Music Park into Reality                  (from Gary Friedman)
    The Valle Verde Rotary Club joined members of the Continental Elementary School District Governing Board to celebrate the completion of a music park at the school. The park was the result of a Valle Verde Rotary Club District Grant.
     The park includes multiple outdoor musical instruments for the Continental School community to enjoy.
     The music park is the brain-child of Joe Ferguson, the Director of the Continental School Band and Middle School Music Teacher.
     Joe told us “I visited the Reid Park Zoo and Tucson Children’s Museum and saw that they had outdoor musical instruments. I thought about how great it would be to have instruments placed around campus at Continental School for our different age groups. I found Percussion Play while searching for instruments online and, with the help of Seth Murzyn, our Elementary and Orchestra teacher, put together a proposal for a phased installation of various outdoor musical instruments in four different areas, and then started looking for donors.”
     Fortuitously, the Superintendent of Schools Roxana Rico, a member of the Valle Verde Rotary Club, has helped the Continental School with several previous projects previously, including purchasing of birthday books for each child and getting a grant to put equipment and books in the school library.
     Gary Friedman, a Valle Verde Rotary Club Director, said, “Each year we try to participate in a District Grant from our Rotary District 5500. Roxana told us about the wish Joe Ferguson had about a music park on the school grounds to be purchased and installed in phases.
     Due to the District 'fund-matching’ the amount the Club was able to donate, we were able to pay for the most costly phase.       Phase 3 was $8000.00 so we applied for $4000 from our District.  Our Club was able to put up the other $4000.”
    “Joe placed the order with Percussion Play and we planned a ‘work-day’ to construct and install the instruments. The construction day was a real team effort with many Rotarians working alongside the principal, teachers, and staff of Continental School. We cleared the area, dug the holes, and assembled the instruments.  We completed the ‘Valle Verde Rotary Music Park for the Continental Community within a few days.”
     Joe continued, “At this point, we had installed instruments in the preschool area and in another area closer to the middle school.  Our special education department is using the instruments regularly.  They will be available to any student before or after school, once the COVID mitigation eases. They will also be available to the greater Continental School community when visiting the School or attending any of our events."
     “The instruments will help create a sense that music is a central component of Continental culture. They will also provide a valuable resource to our counseling, special education, and speech departments.”
      “Due to COVID-19, Continental School, as with so many schools, has had to make changes to the normal school day including restricting access to the outdoor musical instruments for now.
      “There was a little 'pomp and circumstance' with the dedication, but, since then, the instruments have, sadly, not yet seen much play.
      “We are very pleased with the instruments and impressed with the quality.  My goal is to install instruments in two more locations once we secure the funding.”
A New Look at Combining Peace and the Environment in April Service Projects for Peacebuilder Clubs in Arizona                                                                                                             (from PDG Ellie Patterson)
     This doable and meaningful service project addresses two of Rotary's Seven Areas of Focus: "Peace" and "Supporting our Environment."
     Promoting peace has long been a Rotary priority and supporting the environment was recently added recently to our Rotary efforts.
     Changes in climate have deeply affected world peace. The losses of farmland, persistent drought, and violent storms have disrupted people living on the margins all over the world. The upheaval and massive migrations of starving, frightened people resonate with all of us.
     Building even one garden or planting one tree can provide benefits to a community. Imagine if Rotarians all over the state contributed their efforts to "green and growing" projects!  Working with local partners we can contribute toward improved air quality while helping to stabilize lives all over the world.
     Interested? Start by identifying potential agencies/partners to approach. Your Club might engage schools and colleges, County Master Gardeners, governments, private gardens, and landscape centers.  Partnering with other Rotary Clubs will expand Club resources.
     Conducting a Needs Assessment is a best practice that will ensure your project fits with a community need and builds-in sustainability and future maintenance.
    Assessment questions might include:
         •Have you considered doing a garden-related project?
                If so, what kind of project are you interested in?
                If not, what kind of project would interest you?
         •What resources do you have that might help support this type of project?
         •How might we assist you in developing and carrying out such a project?
         •After completion, how might sustainability and future maintenance be                               achieved?
     Project Ideas:
         •Construct raised vegetable and flower beds in assisted care or nursing
            home facilities that are wheel-chair accessible.
         •Build vegetable and flower beds in elementary schools or other locations.
         •Construct or refurbish "parklets" with shade trees.
         •Install a public pollinator or xeriscape demonstration garden with all
            plants labeled so they might be easily replicated in a back yard garden.
         •Assist with garden projects at YMCAs or Boys and Girls Clubs.
         •Sponsor/teach an outdoor class for youth on planting and growing seeds.
         •Plant trees for your city, county, or school district.
         •Build compost containers for recycling vegetable and garden waste.
         •Your own project idea!
     Information and Project Support: peaceresources@rotary5495.org or ellie.patterson1@outlook.com;
     Your Arizona Rotary Peacebuilders Networks developed this All-Arizona Rotary service project.
The Rotary Club of Mountain Empire-Sonoita
     Volunteers from the Mountain Empire Rotary Club joined with the Patagonia Recycling Task Force on Saturday, December 5, 2020, for the first organized recycling event in Patagonia since the COVID pandemic forced Santa Cruz County to suspend its recycling program last March.
     The event at the Patagonia Post Office resulted in seven truck and trailer loads of recyclables being taken to recycling facilities in Tucson.
     Rotarian Clare Bonelli joined the meetings of the Task Force to develop detailed plans for the event and to recruit Rotary volunteers who donated the use of their vehicles and helped load the recyclables.
     An estimated 25-30 local residents brought their recyclables and donated more than $350 in cash that went to the town’s recycling fund. Bonelli called the event a “resounding success.” 
     Building on that success, the Task Force has opted to sponsor, with the town, a series of recycling events to partially fill the void left by the suspension of the County’s program.
     The Task Force will begin a monthly collection of a single recyclable, beginning with glass and only glass, on Saturday, January 23, 2021, from 9:00 to 11:00 am at the Patagonia Post Office.  No other recyclables that day.
      It will piggy-back onto the Rotary Club’s electronics and scrap metal collection event at the same time and place.
     “The rationale for this approach,” said Task Force Chair Bob Brandt, “is that we believe focusing on one recyclable item each month will allow us to better educate our citizens about how to properly recycle each type of commodity until we can begin collecting all items at the same time. It also acknowledges that the town lacks the financial and staff resources to implement a full-scale recycling program, although that is our ultimate objective. For now, recycling in Patagonia will have to be a largely volunteer operation.” 
     The glass recycling and Rotary events will be conducted as separate operations at the rear of the Post Office. Rotary has arranged for Tucson-based Suburban Miners to receive electronics and all types of batteries and scrap metal, even major appliances. 
     The Recycling Task Force will accept glass of any color, rinsed or washed so that it is free of food or beverage contaminants and without lids. Lids may be thrown in with the scrap metal collected by Suburban Miners at the Rotary event.
     The Rotary Club will accept cash donations – $5 suggested – to help pay the cost of having Suburban Miners come to Patagonia.
     Donations to the Task Force will be added to the town’s recycling fund. 
     Both the Task Force and Rotary welcome new members. If interested in joining the recycling group, contact Bob Brandt at brantownb@gmail.com. For information about the Mountain Empire Rotary Club, email Bonelli at clarebonelli@gmail.com
New Rotary Club with Environmental Focus Being Formed                                                                                  (from PDG Michael Drake)
Join us on Saturday, February 13, 2021, from 3:00-4:00 pm and Learn How We Can Make a Difference.
     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, Thursday, April 22, 2021.
     Rotarians understand that the whole world is their backyard. They can see the effects of climate change in communities they care about, and they aren’t waiting to take action. Rotary has just added “Supporting the Environment” as the seventh Area of Focus reflecting its commitment to protecting the environment.
     If you have friends, associates, or neighbors who share this concern or are passionate about the environment, please refer them to Michael Drake at Michael@DrakeLawAz.com; Ellie Patterson at ellie.patterson1@outlook.com; or Kirk Reed at Wkirkreed@gmail.com.
     We will invite your friends to our February event where they can learn more about our new Rotary club.
     The meeting will be Saturday, February 13, 2021, from 3:00-4:00 pm at Tucson Botanical Gardens beginning with a short tour of the Gardens followed by an informational talk with time for Q & A.  Beverages and snacks provided. No entrance fee.
The Rotary Club of Rincon (Tucson)                             (from Tom Eiff)
Blue Cans
     Each week, for at least ten years, members of Rincon Rotary have been putting money for PolioPlus into blue cans at each table.
    Now, during virtual meetings, members are "filling" the blue cans with pledges and then paying them with their monthly bills or by mailing in checks.
    Kino Club President, Steve Pedigo with the Club’s "End Polio Now " hat, his wife, Sandy, and one of the Club’s Blue Cans.

The Rotary International Council on Legislation

More Flexibility to Clubs
     The Rotary International Council on Legislation in 2016 provided more local control for Clubs, recognizing that a Club’s health is not determined by attendance alone.
     The new rules provide flexibility in meeting frequency, format, and attendance. 
     These provisions provide greater flexibility for Clubs in accepting new members who share the same profession or vocation. The only mandatory requirement for membership is that Rotarians are adults who demonstrate good character, integrity, and leadership; have a good reputation in their business, profession, and community; and are willing to serve in their community and around the world. Retirees are welcome.
     Many of the traditional rules and requirements that Rotary Clubs have had historically, such as weekly meetings, attendance requirements, morning or lunch meetings, traditional classifications, and high costs, have limited who is able or willing to join. When we join together different perspectives and backgrounds, professions and areas of expertise, talents, and resources, we can see challenges in new ways and can identify creative solutions.
     Any Rotary Club wishing to try a new approach can do so by amending its Bylaws as permitted by the Standard Rotary Club Constitution. But Clubs can also continue to follow their current requirements for meetings, attendance, structure, and categories of membership. Have a conversation with your Club members to determine whether flexible options can help to address your Club’s membership needs.
In what ways are Clubs changing the format of their meetings?
      Some Clubs are meeting virtually or allowing some of their members to call into the in-person meeting. Many Clubs are using meetings to plan and conduct their service projects and fundraisers and having social events to help members get to know each other better. Consider surveying your members to see what new formats they would be interested in.
What are the advantages of changing the meeting format?

     Changing the meeting format not only gives members a variety of Club experiences but also keeps them engaged and active in the Club. It can also be more appealing to guests to have hands-on, fun, productive meetings that connect with Rotary’s values and mission. This form of flexibility also makes it easier for some members to attend meetings virtually when they would not have been able to attend in person. We recommend asking current and prospective members what they hope for in a Club meeting experience.

How frequently should the Club meet?

      Clubs should offer opportunities to meet twice per month at a minimum. Those meetings could be traditional meetings, social outings, service projects, etc.. Clubs that wish to meet more often can do so.

Are Clubs allowed to remove attendance requirements?
     Does our Club secretary still need to send monthly attendance reports to the District Governor?
     Rotary International does not collect attendance reports, which were originally thought of as a way to gauge how engaged members were and how healthy the club was.
     However, we can measure Club health in other ways – for example, by how many members are involved in a project, Club leadership role, or by how many beneficiaries have benefitted from a Club’s service.
     District 5500 does not require a report. Many clubs still award members for 100 percent attendance, so collecting Club attendance numbers would make sense for that Club.
Protecting the Wildlife of the Portuguese Algarve
  (from Klaus Ukens)



     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.
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