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The Rotary Club of Columbia-Patuxent has donated $6,170 for disaster aid to Ukraine.  The money came from individual club members and from a two-night “eat-in” fundraiser at The Periodic Table restaurant, which gave 10 per cent of proceeds toward the cause.

10216970499?profile=RESIZE_400xThe donation was made through Disaster Aid USA, a Rotary partner organization working with Disaster Aid Europe to answer the call for Ukraine relief.  Rotary clubs in the U.S. and around the world are responding to needs for water, food, medicine, shelter and clothing.  

The United Nations says Russia’s war on Ukraine has forced more than three million people to flee the country in search of safety.  Additionally, nearly two million Ukrainians have been internally displaced, making it the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

“Our club is proud to be part of the one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations,Columbia-Patuxent Rotary president Jim Ehle said.  “World peace and service to others are key to the mission of Rotarians here and everywhere.”  

The disaster relief contribution is the second recent instance of Columbia-Patuxent Rotary’s support for refugees.  In late February, several club members volunteered at Howard County Food Bank to pack bags of groceries going to Afghan families resettling in Maryland.

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Since the fall of Kabul to the Taliban and the American military evacuation from Afghanistan, about 1,700 refugees from that nation have arrived in communities across Maryland.  They’ve been moving into Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Frederick County and Howard County, according to the national Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.      

 

 

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Rocket Pitch Winners share their unique ideas

Twelve Howard Community College entrepreneurial program students pitched their innovative business ideas to a panel of business professionals at the 2021 Entrepreneurial Celebration held online Dec. 8.  In this event, each student had five minutes to explain his or her project.  Judging is based details including content, idea, marketing, feasibility, financial model and delivery.  

The top two scorers win the Rotary Rocket Pitch Prize sponsored by Columbia-Patuxent Rotary.  This year’s $1,800 first-place winner is Seth Greenberg’s “Track Them Down” infestation app/website.  The $700 second-place winner is David Longard’s “ZaLa” web browser.

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“Track Them Down” is focused on rats, which Seth called the most infamous, dangerous, destructive and infectious of pests.  He said infestations are treated like a private issue, but the rat population can spread from house to house long before exterminators arrive.  Warning neighbors as soon as possible is key.  Informing the database about a discovered infestation means one person can help thousands of others to be on the lookout for rodent trouble.  

“This is saving a neighborhood’s quality of living, not just protecting a specific house,” Seth said.  “This is not just one person's problem.  This is a public issue because we're all affected by pests.”  There are 125 million homes in the U.S., but a rat database would be helpful not only to homeowners, but also to farmers, construction workers, office building tenants, restaurants and all property owners.  “You can download the app, or you can access the website and find out where rats have been spotted,” Seth explained.  “All it takes is a little bit of knowhow and a little bit of a commitment for us to actually be in connection with each other.”

“Track Them Down” is a company about advertising and awareness.  Seth estimated the cost of making the app and website is $10,000 to $20,000, with maintenance of these two platforms running at $600 per month.  Rates for companies to advertise on the website and app would be 1% of a dollar per view.  Using the town of Frederick as an example, he said that if half of adults there were monthly app/web users, a single advertiser would pay $280 a month to be able to sell their products under a banner or picture that's part of the general website. 

David Longard’s ZaLa web browser promises to give its users privacy, unlike the major browsers such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.  “They track everything including personal information purchase history, website behavior, and even where you are,” David said.  “These browsers track all this information to create a profile of you to sell to companies to create ads.”  

ZaLa won't engage in that practice because its market is “those who truly value internet privacy, who feel exploited and disturbed by the invasive nature of major internet browsers, and who are fearful of their personal information getting into the wrong hands” David explained.  ZaLa is subscription-based so it’s not dependent on ads, and thus not dependent on tracking/sharing user information.  

“Currently, it's estimated that there are roughly 313 million Internet browser users in the world,” David said.  “Although omnipresent competitors like Google and Safari dominate the market share, the demand for privacy is here from users tired of being tracked and scared of their data being collected.  We obviously don't think we're going to dominate the market, but we will be aiming for a small group of loyal users to compete with the behemoths like Google.”

David estimates start-up costs of $100 million, based on $70 million to develop a prototype, $5-$7 million for a 50-person development team, $3 million for 24/7 support for users, and $20 million for advertising and overall refining.  ZaLa’s income strategy gives customers two options, a $19.99 monthly subscription or a $200 flat annual subscription.  “Even if we only get 1% of the overall 313 million internet users to use ZaLa all in one month, we will make $60 million in revenue, and that’s just the beginning” David said.  “This unique business model offers true privacy that no other browser can.  Remember, at ZaLa your privacy is our promise.”

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Dr. Mohammed Shafeeq Ahmed, CEO and president of Howard County General Hospital, discussed the COVID pandemic, healthcare hiring, vaccines and expanding local medical services as guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Columbia-Patuxent’s Oct. 8 breakfast meeting. 

Dr. Ahmed was appointed to his leadership post by Johns Hopkins Medicine in June of this year. He had been serving as interim president since November of 2020.  Prior to that, he was vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer.  Previously he served in healthcare leadership at hospitals within the BayState Health System in Massachusetts.

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A gynecologist-obstetrician by training, he was in the Navy Medical Corps as an attending physician with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.  Dr. Ahmed grew up in the US Virgin Islands for a good portion of his childhood, but also lived here and saw Columbia as an incredibly progressive, important and really wonderful place.  He was eager to come back to work and live here. He and his family reside in Clarksville.

Dr. Ahmed said the world changed in 2020 because of COVID.  The challenge for everyone, hospitals included, was how to respond and manage that, especially not knowing how the pandemic was going to turn out.  Doctors and staff members worked to care for patients and to keep themselves safe. By and large they were successful, but extra stress and burnout has taken its toll.  The hospital here - like others nationally - is struggling to find healthcare employees that would love taking care of people and taking care of their community.

In addition to staffing, the big issues now include getting people vaccinated, getting booster shots out, and getting through this COVID wave and the next one.  Maryland and Howard County have been doing very well with vaccinations, keeping our disease rate down.  Now, the hospital has to care for other patients returning for other treatments, posing time and management issues.  Fortunately, Howard County General is able to handle that safely, but “just not necessarily as fast as we'd like to be,” according to Dr. Ahmed.

Dr. Ahmed said the hospital “thinks ahead” in five-year increments focusing on “where we need to be and where we've been.”  The commitment remains for high-quality care and high-quality outcomes. There are opportunities to improve operational efficiency.  Expanding clinical services to have more Johns Hopkins specialists here in Columbia “is a great opportunity to continue to make sure that you can get that top notch care right here,” he said.  “I'm looking at a number of specialties and working with folks to get those things going.”

In response to questions from club members, Dr. Ahmed touched on these other topics:

NURSING SHORTAGE - In addition to staff burnout, the growing travel nurse industry has impacted hospitals adversely. Better pay, bonuses and improved working conditions are part of the answer, along with fewer barriers for persons wanting to enter the nursing profession.

VACCINE SAFETY - The hospital has a vaccine mandate for its employees because patients need to feel the facility is safe and that they have a very low COVID risk when coming in for treatment.

PANDEMIC BECOMING ENDEMIC - Are there going to be regular requirements for COVID vaccines on an annual basis like the flu? And will they be combined or multiple shots? It’s anyone’s guess right now, Dr. Ahmed said, but the likelihood is this could turn into a flu shot type thing, where every year there may be different strains, and we prepare for different strains and get an update.

MORE PROGRAMS TO DEVELOP HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS - In general we need more schools and programs, but shortages in the number of professionals also is affected by where practitioners are. Some are becoming boutique practices that limit access. The real question is: do we have enough of the right type of doctors practicing in the right places?

“Here in Columbia, you have no shortage of physicians,” Dr. Ahmed said. “If you go out to rural areas, that's where you have a real shortage. I worry about smaller hospitals and rural places where you don't necessarily have access to care.”

DRUG PRICES NEGOTIATION - Yes, from a supply chain perspective, as a whole health system, we negotiate with the insurance companies and the drug companies, plus we have some special drug pricing programs.

TELEMEDICINE - Is being used more in practices, less in hospitals. Medicine has been fairly antiquated as an industry, in terms of how we adopt technology and how we move to the next step. But, definitely, it's the way of the future and a total game changer.

RANSOMWARE - Hospitals are constantly on the defensive and try to stay prepared, but this is a consistent threat. If you have to shut your IT system down for a few days, it's devastating. This issue is less about the loss of life due to ransomware - that’s not common - but more about the massive inconvenience to all our patients.

SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE FROM ORGANIZATIONS - Help the community remember that the hospital, as a nonprofit, needs local support for its fundraising, to understand the why, and understand what we're doing, and why it's so important. In terms of volunteering, ever since COVID struck our volunteers have been put on pause until we feel things are safe. But there are always volunteer opportunities, just on hold at the moment.

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The Rotary Club of Columbia-Patuxent named the Rotarian of the Year at its annual meeting in July and recognized two other longtime members for accomplishment.  Rotarian of the Year honors went to Laurie Reuben, while Cliff Feldwick received a Service Above Self Award and Dushyant Patel (with spouse Palli), a Legacy Award. Presentations were made by RCCP 2020-21 president Walt Mazzell.  

9313559479?profile=RESIZE_400xReuben, Club Service chair since 2015, joined Rotary in February 2010 and is a past club secretary and president. She’s also served on the Community Service Committee, Public Relations Committee, chaired the Service Above Self Award task force, and has been working with the Programs Committee to help automate the finding and booking of guest speakers for RCCP’s weekly meetings.

Mazzell said Reuben is “probably the most organized person I have met, who has an uncanny ability to ‘read a room’, is always smiling, eager to pitch in … we have spoken after meetings, during meetings, texting, e-mailing back and forth, (she) has been a sounding board for me all year.” 

Reuben called her award a surprise but said “being recognized for doing what you love makes the honor even more special.”   

I love my Rotary friends, those I’ve met in the club and those who’ve come into my world through my Rotary connections,” she continued. “I know that Rotary will always be an important part of my life.” 

Mazzell said that Feldwick’s Service Above Self Award recognizes his record as “a standout Rotarian for many years and a standout member for many volunteer activities over the years.” 9313560093?profile=RESIZE_400x

“Most recently, Cliff has been our Program Chair for about five years,” Mazzell added. “This is a crucial role in our club, keeping the weekly speaker series on track.” 

Patel is a founding Columbia-Patuxent Rotary member and was one of five who contributed seed money for the club’s charitable endowment which now totals nearly a quarter-of-a-million dollars, Mazzell noted. Patel also is a Major Donor and Paul Harris Society contributor to Rotary International.  

9313560696?profile=RESIZE_400x"Dushyant is very active, attends meetings, participates in our hand-on projects,” Mazzell said. “He is a model Rotarian, who has really dedicated his adult life to Rotary.  His contributions throughout the years are more than I can count.”  

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Sixteen Howard County community organizations received program and project grant awards from the Rotary Club of Columbia-Patuxent (RCCP) at a breakfast meeting June 18. The awards, supported by fund-raising activities throughout the year, are part of Rotary’s focus on community service and commitment to giving back.

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President Walter Mazzella (far right in group photo with recipients) said Grants Day is considered the highlight of the Rotary year by many club members. Grants for 2020-2021 went to: 

 Howard County Conservancy

  • The Howard County Conservancy promotes environmental education, preservation and stewardship. The RCCP grant supports nature preschool scholarship opportunities  

Community Ecology Institute 

  • The Community Ecology Institute cultivates connections between ecosystem health and human health. The RCCOP grant supports a community ecology center.

James’ Place

  • James’ Place educates, inspires and encourages hope for those experiencing addiction. The RCCP grant will support scholarships for recovery. 

Zaching Against Cancer  

  • Zaching Against Cancer aids patients, caregivers, family members and others affected by the disease. The RCCP grant supports Zack Packs filled with toiletries, snacks and creature comforts for medically fragile children. 

Gilchrist Hospice  

  • Gilchrist Hospice is a leader in serious illness and end-of-life care. The RCCP grant is going for a blanket warming machine for Gilchrist’s inpatient unit. 

Rebuilding Together

  • Rebuilding Together Howard County provides free home repairs to low-income families. The RCCP grant helps meet even greater needs in today’s difficult economic climate.

Howard County General Hospital  

  • Howard County General Hospital offers a full range of hospital and wellness services with more than 1,000 affiliated doctors in nearly 100 clinical specialties. The RCCP grant is earmarked for new units in the hospital’s campus construction project

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Respite Retreats  

  • Respite Retreats programs give periods of rest or relief for cancer patients, their caregivers and family members. The RCCP grant will help refuel the body, mind and spirits of those affected by cancer. 

Maryland State Dental Association Charitable Foundation  

  • The Maryland State Dental Association Foundation works to provides free dental services to people who do not have regular access to dental health care. The RCCP grant supports mobile dental clinics throughout the state. 

Grassroots Crisis Intervention  

  • Grassroots offers 24/7 intervention/counseling services for anyone experiencing a personal, behavioral health, housing or situational crisis. The RCCP grant is supporting shelter programs. 

Neighbor Ride  

  • Neighbor Ride improves health and quality of life for Howard County's seniors via affordable, passenger-focused and volunteer-based transportation. The RCCP grant is adding staff hours to expand services. 

Living In Recovery  

  • Living in Recovery helps individuals reclaim their lives and break the cycle of “addiction-rehab-relapse”. The RCCP grant contributes toward sober housing free of alcohol and drugs, with peer support and a climate of personal accountability. 

Howard County Autism Society  

  • The Howard County Autism Society seeks to improve the quality of life for people on the autism spectrum, their families and their communities. The RCCP grant supports the Patuxent Commons Housing Initiative, a mixed income inter-generational project to be located in Columbia’s Hickory Ridge Village. 

Oakland Mills High School PTSA  

  • Oakland Mills’ PTA advocates for students and their families so that every child’s potential for success can become a reality. The RCCP award contributes to scholarships for senior students and grants for teachers. 

Howard Community College

  • The college offers two-year degree and certificate programs preparing students for the workforce and built around careers that are in demand. The RCCP grant goes for entrepreneurial program scholarships plus a faculty speaker series open to local citizens. 

Community Action Council of Howard County  

  • The Community Action Council is the county’s designated antipoverty organization, active in early childhood education and assistance for food, housing, energy and weatherization. This was the RCCP’s “Darrell Nevin Memorial Award,” honoring a deceased longtime Rotarian who was a strong supporter of the Community Action Council and other Howard County non-profits.  

A club committee considers applications for RCCP grants based on merit. Applications must be sponsored by a club member in good standing. 

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A mentoring program to help academically struggling, underserved students in Howard County has completed its pilot year and plans to expand when school resumes. That’s the message Rotary Club of Columbia-Patuxent members heard from June 25 guest speaker Steven Porter (shown in photo with Rotarian Wendy Letow).  

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Porter is a co-founder of Ohana Howard County (OhanaHC), a local non-profit modeled after a similar organization in Baltimore. “Ohana” means “family” in Hawaiian. The idea is to set up an “extended family” of volunteer mentors for at-risk 9th graders. Beginning with 10 students and 40 volunteers at Wilde Lake High last September, Porter said the pilot had encouraging signs of progress, especially in building trusting relationships for those involved.  

OhanaHC’s goals are:

  1. To help young people work toward removing any barriers that may stand in the way of their achieving success. 
  2. To build a diverse, equitable and inclusive community culture with more social, economic and educational opportunities for all in Howard County.

Porter said that in addition to Wilde Lake, the program is expanding to Long Reach, Oakland Mills and Hammond high schools for 2021-22, serving eight students per school, with a total of 140 volunteers. It’s a leap of faith because “it may be two years before we see a significant difference in how these students see the world and what they try to do in it,” he said.  

The future growth for OhanaHC services is daunting, since about 400 9th graders enter the four high schools each year with deep academic needs, Porter added. “It really would take about 1,600 volunteers to mentor these kids,” he said. “But think what it would mean to help young people make good decisions about their future.  It has the potential to change the lives of hundreds of Howard County students and the people who help them.” 

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Commercial Realtor Joins Rotary Club Rank

A 28-year commercial real estate veteran has been inducted into the Rotary Club of Columbia-Patuxent. Will McCullough (at right in photo), senior vice president at the Lee and Associates office in Columbia, was welcomed by RCCP president Walt Mazzella at the June 25 meeting. McCullough is the club’s ninth new member for the 2020-2021 Rotary year. 

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Prior to joining Lee and Associates, McCullough was a leasing agent for St. John Properties, the 2018 Commercial Real Estate Development Association’s national developer of the year. He’s a past officer and board member for the development association, was named one of its “emerging leader” award winners, and worked as a commercial and industrial broker in the Baltimore-Washington market for 15 years. 

McCullough earned a BS in Business Administration at Towson University. He’s a member of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, is a Certified Commercial Investment Member and is a past member of the River Hill Village Board of Directors.  

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Sixteen Howard County community organizations received program and project grant awards from the Rotary Club of Columbia-Patuxent (RCCP) at a breakfast meeting June 18. The awards, supported by fund-raising activities throughout the year, are part of Rotary’s focus on community service and commitment to giving back.

President Walter Mazzella (far right in group photo with recipients) said Grants Day is considered the highlight of the Rotary year by many club members. Grants for 2020-2021 went to: 

 Howard County Conservancy

  • The Howard County Conservancy promotes environmental education, preservation and stewardship. The RCCP grant supports nature preschool scholarship opportunities

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Community Ecology Institute 

  • The Community Ecology Institute cultivates connections between ecosystem health and human health. The RCCOP grant supports a community ecology center.

James’ Place

  • James’ Place educates, inspires and encourages hope for those experiencing addiction. The RCCP grant will support scholarships for recovery. 

Zaching Against Cancer  

  • Zaching Against Cancer aids patients, caregivers, family members and others affected by the disease. The RCCP grant supports Zack Packs filled with toiletries, snacks and creature comforts for medically fragile children. 

Gilchrist Hospice  

  • Gilchrist Hospice is a leader in serious illness and end-of-life care. The RCCP grant is going for a blanket warming machine for Gilchrist’s inpatient unit. 

Rebuilding Together

  • Rebuilding Together Howard County provides free home repairs to low-income families. The RCCP grant helps meet even greater needs in today’s difficult economic climate.

Howard County General Hospital  

  • Howard County General Hospital offers a full range of hospital and wellness services with more than 1,000 affiliated doctors in nearly 100 clinical specialties. The RCCP grant is earmarked for new units in the hospital’s campus construction project

Respite Retreats  

  • Respite Retreats programs give periods of rest or relief for cancer patients, their caregivers and family members. The RCCP grant will help refuel the body, mind and spirits of those affected by cancer. 

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Maryland State Dental Association Charitable Foundation  

  • The Maryland State Dental Association Foundation works to provides free dental services to people who do not have regular access to dental health care. The RCCP grant supports mobile dental clinics throughout the state. 

Grassroots Crisis Intervention  

  • Grassroots offers 24/7 intervention/counseling services for anyone experiencing a personal, behavioral health, housing or situational crisis. The RCCP grant is supporting shelter programs. 

Neighbor Ride  

  • Neighbor Ride improves health and quality of life for Howard County's seniors via affordable, passenger-focused and volunteer-based transportation. The RCCP grant is adding staff hours to expand services. 

Living In Recovery  

  • Living in Recovery helps individuals reclaim their lives and break the cycle of “addiction-rehab-relapse”. The RCCP grant contributes toward sober housing free of alcohol and drugs, with peer support and a climate of personal accountability. 

Howard County Autism Society  

  • The Howard County Autism Society seeks to improve the quality of life for people on the autism spectrum, their families and their communities. The RCCP grant supports the Patuxent Commons Housing Initiative, a mixed income inter-generational project to be located in Columbia’s Hickory Ridge Village. 

Oakland Mills High School PTSA  

  • Oakland Mills’ PTA advocates for students and their families so that every child’s potential for success can become a reality. The RCCP award contributes to scholarships for senior students and grants for teachers. 

Howard Community College

  • The college offers two-year degree and certificate programs preparing students for the workforce and built around careers that are in demand. The RCCP grant goes for entrepreneurial program scholarships plus a faculty speaker series open to local citizens. 

Community Action Council of Howard County  

  • The Community Action Council is the county’s designated antipoverty organization, active in early childhood education and assistance for food, housing, energy and weatherization. This was the RCCP’s “Darrell Nevin Memorial Award,” honoring a deceased longtime Rotarian who was a strong supporter of the Community Action Council and other Howard County non-profits.  

A club committee considers applications for RCCP grants based on merit. Applications must be sponsored by a club member in good standing. 

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9035069256?profile=RESIZE_400xA Rotary Club of Columbia-Patuxent donation drive for COVID-19 relief in India has earned Baltimore TV coverage plus more dollars for oxygen generators. The “breath of life” campaign was launched by club members two weeks ago to answer medical needs in the pandemic hotspot.  

The club initially raised nearly $10,000 for the generators – devices that produce medical grade oxygen from ambient air and cost $550 each. That amount was matched by SEWA International, an India-based charity supporting humanitarian causes.

The campaign story was featured June 3 on WMAR-TV2 News in Baltimore. The club’s International Service chairman, Larry Newman, gave details in an interview with reporter Abby Issacs. Within an hour of the broadcast, RCCP received another $600 in donations attributed to viewers. 

RCCP’s fund-raising has purchased approximately 45 oxygen generators thus far, while SEWA International aims to provide a total of more than 1,500.  Disaster Aid USA – a Rotary-sponsored organization for emergency relief worldwide – has met its donation goal of $250,000 for this purpose. 

Oxygenator distribution will be based on demonstrated need in all areas of India. That country’s more than 3,000 Rotary clubs will assist in placing the devices.

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Oxygen for India

by Pete Pillow

While the most recent COVID-19 news in the U.S. is positive, other places around the world face higher numbers of infections and deaths. This is especially true in India, with 400,000 new cases daily, severe vaccine shortages and a lack of lifesaving oxygen.

8984342898?profile=RESIZE_400xIndia has over 3,000 Rotary clubs. Many are working to support their communities as the pandemic takes hold. Area governor Temrah Okonski alerted Howard County Rotarians about the critical need for oxygen, noting that our clubs have many members who either immigrated from India or have relatives there.  

Rotary Club of Columbia-Patuxent (RCCP) members are responding with a rapid-response “breath of life” initiative.  In one week, the club has given nearly $10,000 for oxygen generators -- devices that produce medical grade oxygen from ambient air and cost $550 each. Purchase and delivery to India is being arranged by Disaster Aid International (DAI) – a Rotary-sponsored organization that provides relief for dire emergencies anywhere in the world.  

A corporate interest in India is making a dollar-for-dollar match to RCCP’s donation, enabling shipment of 36 new oxygenators for distribution to the country’s rural hospitals. This match also applies to any future contributions. 

We welcome additional “breath of life” donations in the spirit of international community service. Interested in giving? Visit our “Donate to the Trust” page and select the India Oxygen Generator pulldown. Thank you in advance.

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PROMOTING PEACE

Today, over 70 million people are displaced as a result of conflict, violence, persecution, and human rights violations. Half of them are children.

We refuse to accept conflict as a way of life. Rotary projects provide training that fosters understanding and provides communities with the skills to resolve conflicts.

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Rotary creates environments of peace

As a humanitarian organization, peace is a cornerstone of our mission. We believe when people work to create peace in their communities, that change can have a global effect.

By carrying out service projects and supporting peace fellowships and scholarships, our members take action to address the underlying causes of conflict, including poverty, discrimination, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources.

Our commitment to peacebuilding today answers new challenges: how we can make the greatest possible impact and how we can achieve our vision of lasting change. We are approaching the concept of peace with greater cohesion and inclusivity, broadening the scope of what we mean by peacebuilding, and finding more ways for people to get involved.

Rotary creates environments where peace can happen. 

 

Rotary’s Four Roles in Promoting Peace 

Rotary and its members are:

  • Practitioners: Our work fighting disease, providing clean water and sanitation, improving the health of mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies directly builds the optimal conditions for peaceful societies.
  • Educators: Our Rotary Peace Centers have trained over 1,300 peace fellows to become effective catalysts for peace through careers in government, education, and international organizations. 
  • Mediators: Our members have negotiated humanitarian ceasefires in areas of conflict to allow polio vaccinators to reach children who are at risk. 
  • Advocates: Our members have an integral role as respected, impartial participants during peace processes and in post-conflict reconstruction. We focus on creating communities and convening groups that are connected, inclusive, and resilient.

courtesy of rotary.org

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Many people use the end of one year to reflect on things they would like to accomplish in the coming year. What better resolution than to sow the seeds of peace in 2021?

Peace underscores much of the work that Rotary members do in improving their communities around the world. Rotary’s peacebuilding initiatives seek to create environments where lasting peace is possible. We do this by continually investing in sustainable and measurable peace programs throughout our communities and across the globe; by creating an extensive network of peacebuilders and community leaders dedicated to peace and conflict prevention; and by providing Rotarians with several avenues in which they can actively participate in peacebuilding processes within their communities.

We believe that if Rotarians and concerned citizens mobilize locally to create peace, change can happen globally. Here are 10 ways you can be an everyday peacebuilder. (Check out an expanded list here).

  1. Enroll in the Rotary Positive Peace Academy.
  2. Read the Positive Peace club presentation and facilitator’s guide and share the presentation with your club
  3. Help recruit and endorse worthy candidates for the Rotary Peace Fellowship
  4. Seek out any Rotary Peace Fellows who live or work in your district and invite them to collaborate on your club’s next peacebuilding project – they can offer invaluable help on the planning and implementation of the peacebuilding project.
  5. Check out the Rotary Peace Fellowship Alumni Association website, where you can access the Online Speaker Database to find peace fellows globally who can give a virtual presentation to your club.
  6. Encourage your district to become a Global Peacebuilder District.
  7. Start an Inter-Country committee (ICC) or a Rotary Friendship Exchange between your district and a district in another country, or create a Rotary Fellowship.
  8. Work with young leaders to promote global understanding and peace.
  9. Engage with a local Rotaract club and implement a service project that fosters understanding within and across cultures.
  10. Work with one of our peacebuilding partner organizations: Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI)ShelterBox, the Peace Corps, and Ashoka.

 

courtesy Rotary.org

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Rotary creates environments of peace 

We refuse to accept conflict as a way of life. Rotary projects provide training that fosters understanding and provides communities with the skills to resolve conflicts.

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As a humanitarian organization, peace is a cornerstone of our mission. We believe when people work to create peace in their communities, that change can have a global effect.

By carrying out service projects and supporting peace fellowships and scholarships, our members take action to address the underlying causes of conflict, including poverty, discrimination, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources.

Our commitment to peacebuilding today answers new challenges: how we can make the greatest possible impact and how we can achieve our vision of lasting change. We are approaching the concept of peace with greater cohesion and inclusivity, broadening the scope of what we mean by peacebuilding, and finding more ways for people to get involved.

Rotary creates environments where peace can happen. 

 

 

Rotary’s Four Roles in Promoting Peace 

Rotary and its members are:

  • Practitioners: Our work fighting disease, providing clean water and sanitation, improving the health of mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies directly builds the optimal conditions for peaceful societies.
  • Educators: Our Rotary Peace Centers have trained over 1,300 peace fellows to become effective catalysts for peace through careers in government, education, and international organizations. 
  • Mediators: Our members have negotiated humanitarian ceasefires in areas of conflict to allow polio vaccinators to reach children who are at risk. 
  • Advocates: Our members have an integral role as respected, impartial participants during peace processes and in post-conflict reconstruction. We focus on creating communities and convening groups that are connected, inclusive, and resilient.
Read more…

3849050656?profile=RESIZE_710xHear more about:

• Rebuilding Together is the nation's premier nonprofit community revitalization organization. There are 128 affiliates in 39 states.

• Rebuilding Together Howard County is the local affiliate. We are proud of our 28 year history of providing free home repairs to low income residents living in Howard County. We have repaired over 1050 homes free of charge in Howard County.

• Our mission is: Repairing homes, revitalizing communities, rebuilding lives.

• We have a thousand volunteers who do the work as well as contractors who provide pro bono or reduced cost services.

 

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• When the Ellicott City floods of 2016 and 2018 hit, Rebuilding Together became a board member of the One EC Recovery Project and provided major repairs to 14 homes. Currently we are building from the ground up a home of a Ellicott City flood victim.

• As well as providing team builds where volunteers from the community and corporate world repair homes, we also supply Urgent Repairs and Handyman Services. In addition, we have a Community Revitalization Program and Safe and Healthy Housing Initiative.

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New Programs of Scale grants for new year

By Victor Barnes, Director of Programs & Grants

3818713044?profile=RESIZE_710xIn 2013, Rotary set out on its new grant model under the Future Vision Plan, in the hopes that the approach would enhance the scope, impact, and sustainability of humanitarian projects. More than six years later, and with over $460 million invested in almost 7,000 projects across the globe, Rotary is ready to augment these critical investments with a new grant type. Beginning January 2020, Rotary International is introducing a highly selective, competitive grant model that empowers Rotarians to implement large-scale, high impact projects with experienced partners.

In support of Rotary’s Action Plan, Rotary International’s Programs of Scale grants will award $2 million to one approved project each year that responds to a community-identified need. These projects will benefit a large number of people in a significant geographic area using a sustainable, evidence-based intervention with measurable outcomes and impact. Each grant will support, for three to five years, activities that align with one or more of Rotary’s areas of focus.

This is an exciting opportunity to complement the international service Rotarians already undertake with a larger grant investment over a longer time frame. Time and resources that will be dedicated to help deliver service in communities that will live on beyond project implementation. And by focusing on documenting the metrics of our good works, we get a clearer picture of results, and the good Rotary does around the world.

To find out more about this ambitious opportunity, visit rotary.org/grants.

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The Heartstrong Foundation focuses on raising funding and awareness around congenital heart defects. 1 in 100 babies are born with a heart defect, and it is the number 1 birth defect. Life with congenital heart defects (CHD) does not exist without intervention, most often open heart surgery within the first few months of life. It takes a lot of strength to be living with or be affected by CHD and our foundation draws so much inspiration from the families that don’t let circumstances dictate what they get out of life

 

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The foundation focuses on the positive steps that are being taken in the CHD community. All of our fundraising goes to CHD research and family support, as well as educating the public about CHD. Our big event is coming up in September; the Feet for Beats 5K and 1-mile walk.

 

Our hope is to make a difference in the CHD community by contributing to the positive influences for these families.

The Heartstrong Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that is happy to accept tax-deductible donations to the extent allowed by law. The EIN is 82-1962070.


OTHER WAYS TO GIVE:

  • You can contibute to Heartstrong through Amazon Smile. A portion of your purchase will go to Heartstrong, and will incur no additional cost to you!

  • You can mail checks (made out to Heartstrong Foundation) to: Heartstrong Foundation, 10153 Maxine Street, Ellicott City, 21042

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Author, Theo Emery Visits the Club

A Brief Bio on This Week's Speaker:

A native of South Burlington, Vermont, I love to fish, hike, cook, sketch, garden, bake, juggle, puzzle, putter and tinker. I aspire to renew my scuba certification and open a breakfast joint one day. I like taking the long route and stopping along the way. I’ve never regretted climbing a mountain or walking in a downpour.

Journalism takes you places you’d never expect. After I graduated from Stanford University, I moved to Boston and lived in a scrappy house of rabblerousers while I covered the Cambridge, Mass., City Council for the Sunday Boston Globe. My first full-time journalism job took me to the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, Massachusetts, then the Associated Press in Boston, where in the crucible of reporting on 9/11, I met my wife, Audie Cornish. In 2005, we moved to Nashville, where I covered Tennessee and the South for the New York Times and other publications, then reported on state government for the Tennessean. We moved to Washington, DC, in 2009, where I’ve lived ever since. I earned an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from Goucher College in 2014, and was a 2015 fellow with the Alicia Patterson Foundation. Hellfire Boys is my first book.

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Diana Ellis from Humanim visits

Established in 1971 in Howard County, Humanim is a non-profit organization supporting and economically empowering individuals through the areas of human services, youth transitional services, workforce development and social enterprise. Our organization was founded on the belief that every human being has potential and that work is transformative, with the goal of creating economic equity for individuals with disabilities and socio-economic challenges.

 Judi Olinger, Vice President for Development Disabilities at Humanim and iHomes, President & CEO

Judi Olinger is the Vice President for Development Disabilities at Humanim, as well as the President & CEO for iHomes, Inc. (a Howard County private non-profit community housing development organization established by Humanim to provide affordable housing options to individuals with disabilities). Judi has over 30 years of experience providing services to individuals with disabilities.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a two-year certificate from the University of Maryland in “The Development and Financing of Affordable Housing”, and most recently obtained her certification in Health Care Compliance.  She is a graduate of Leadership Baltimore County (class of 2000) and Leadership Maryland (class of 2013). In addition, Judi is a national surveyor for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).  Most recently, Judi was appointed by the Howard County Council to the Commission for Transitional Youth with Disabilities.

 Diana Ellis, Vice President of Advancement at Humanim

Diana is the Vice President of Advancement at Humanim. Diana has over 14 years of experience in nonprofits and fundraising. Born and raised in Romania, Diana earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and MBA from the University of Charleston (Charleston, WV). She is a graduate of Leadership Maryland (class of 2017). Diana is currently involved with the Program Committee of Leadership Maryland, Executive Forum at the Center Club, and the Program Committee of Women In Business at the Center Club.

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Do you love to read? I’ve been surprised to learn that not everybody does, and in fact, for many its a chore. But for me, reading has always been a big part of my life. Nowadays I read almost exclusively for entertainment (the years of reading investment research certainly don’t count) and I divide my reading time into “serious reading” and “fun” reading. In fact, over the years I’ve offered book reviews here at Ready, Fire, Aim when I found something I thought was particularly relevant to Rotary.

But lately I’ve found something even more fun than reading. And that is discussing the books I’ve read with others who also love to read. I’ve learned that these discussions tend to be informed, rational, interesting, educational, and an absolute hoot. And guess who I’ve been discussing these books with? That’s right, the Rotarians in our new Rotary Book Club. [Full disclosure: We haven’t come up with a pithy name for the club yet so we seem to be sticking with the endlessly creative name of “book club.”] I did a little research to see if Rotary International has a book club fellowship, since literacy is pretty big on our collective “to-do” list, but I didn’t see one on the list.

If you Google book clubs, or ask the many millions of folks who belong to a book club, you will find that there are endless ways of organizing your club. Don’t feel obligated to do it our way, but just in case you’re interested, here’s how we set up ours:

We meet once a month on the first Tuesday of the month. This implies we are reading twelve books during the year. The meetings are hosted by yours truly at my home with participants gathering around 6:30PM. Discussions usually go from 7PM to 9PM.

We currently have ten official members in the club, but usually get six or seven attendees for any one meeting. Our Rotary club has 50 members or so and even though we are constantly asking others to join us, for the rest of the club a monthly reading assignment just isn’t their cup of tea. We think ten is a good number to manage a robust conversation. ( I have been reliably informed that if we changed the club to the “bourbon and book club,” membership would soar.) If you have more interest in your club you might want to split up the groups somehow. I leave that to you.

Each member gets to recommend a book when it’s his or her turn. Other book clubs decide on books in a much more democratic fashion with members voting on each month’s reading selection. For us, so far at least, it’s worked that a member recommends the book with the proviso that they’ve already read it. If the group hates the book (it hasn’t happened yet) it may be that the member’s choice of books next time around will be more carefully vetted. Anyway, we think this reduces the risk of reading a clunker book because everyone is time constrained and our book reading time is precious.

So far the book list has been very eclectic and I think we are getting a little more ambitious in our book selections as we’ve gone along. Our first four books were nonfiction but the last two were fiction, or at least historical fiction. So far we’ve read:

Hidden Figures, The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly

The Gatekeepers, How the White House chiefs of Staff Define every Presidency; by Chris Whipple.

Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart, Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now, by Dr. Gordon Livingston

Factfulness, Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – And Why Things Are Better Than You Think, by Hans Rosling,

Beneath a Scarlett Sky, by Mark Sullivan, A story about a forgotten hero of the Italian resistance during World War II.

And our current reading assignment – Educated, by Tara Westover

The person who recommends the book leads the discussion. That usually entails asking the group questions about the book. Everyone has their own style as discussion leader, but we’ve found it’s a pretty easy job because everyone is eager to join in and share their views. The conversation is wonderful!

Snacks in the form of a bottle of white, a bottle of red, and a 12-pack of beer, along with inexpensive munchies, are provided by the person who is “on deck” with the next month’s book.

So that’s pretty much it. If you are looking for a creative way to stimulate fellowship in your Rotary Club, to be able to offer another option to new members to get engaged with Rotary, and to actually do something to promote the 5th part of the Four Way Test (Have Fun!….but you knew that), then I highly recommend you start a book club in your Rotary Club.

Happy reading everyone and even happier fellowship!

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