YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH (1 March 2022)

FIRST PUBLIC EVENT IN TWO YEARS

Beryl and Astro

In February “Captain Beryl” compered a fund-raising launch to jupiter. Beryl is pictured above with Astro Alissi who is COPSY’s newest committee member and a jupiter Youth Ambassador (more on COPSY and jupiter below).

Over the last couple of years, it has been impossible to run public fund-raising events. After a few postponements, we decided to press ahead with a major fund-raising event on the 15thFebruary. It was enormously successful with over 140 people attending, raising pledges worth over $100,000 and educating local benefactors about what we are doing.

The event was hosted by the Shoal Bay Country Club in NSW at its fabulous Greek restaurant, Atmos. The four-course lunch and serving staff were generously provided free by our host so that all ticket sales at $135/head went to COPSY Inc. to support the jupiter service.

We must also thank Wine Selectors who persuaded three major local wineries (Mount Pleasant, Tulloch and Usher Tinkler Wines) to provide a dozen different wines over the course of the afternoon free. And, we also thank AV Living who synced the three large television screens around Atmos.

Contributing to the success of the afternoon were our guest speakers John Eales (shown in the picture above), Nick Newling (a popular advocate on youth mental health), Stephen Hunt (philanthropist and winner of the 2021 NSW Business Leader Award), Damian Coxon and Astro (both COPSY Inc. Committee members).

OUR E-CLUB’S ROLE

The E-Club Serving Humanity (D9705) has over half a dozen important international projects and just one local project, which serves youth in Port Stephens, NSW. In December 2021 Youth Mental Health – jupiter (RABS) was recognised as a RAWCS project.

Nan and Geoff Basser

Two of our members (Geoff Basser OAM and John de Ridder) are also on the Committee of the registered charity, Caring for Our Port Stephens Youth (COPSY Inc.). This charity runs a free and confidential mental health and wellbeing service for youth aged 12 to 21 in the Port Stephens LGA. It is an early intervention service where help is typically given for anxiety and depression.

The Rotary Club of Medowie-Williamtown (D9670) is the local partner for the project.

DEMAND FOR THE SERVICE IS GROWING

March 2022 is the third anniversary of the jupiter service. It is clear that there is a need for this service. In November 2021, 152 free counselling sessions were delivered compared with 50 sessions a year earlier.

Our first counselling room

Our first counselling room opened officially in March 2019 at the Salamander Bay Library and Community complex (close to the two high schools on the Tomaree Peninsula). In 2021 we opened rooms in Tanilba Bay (on the Tilligeree Peninsula) in partnership with the Tomaree Neighbourhood Centre. This year we opened a third set of counselling rooms in Raymond Terrace (office pictured above).

It now costs around $200,000 a year to provide free youth mental health counselling and well-being services across our three sites and through telehealth (mainly phones). While we are grateful for the grants we have received, public donations and events will be key to future of the service.

Santa Isabel, Solomon Islands (21 February 2022)

One area of our Project: Community Resources

Due to lockdowns in Australia, reduced travel and shipping restrictions our pile of resources continues to grow with the hope we can soon pack it into strong boxes and send it on its way. Donations include medical supplies, high school and primary textbooks and library books, washable sanitary kits and sporting uniforms and equipment.

Where?

They are going to Santa Isabel, a province in the Solomon Islands.  The journey starts in Orange NSW which is the collection point for schools, businesses, community groups and individuals across NSW and the ACT. The journey is rough requiring the sturdiest boxes we can find, using excessive amounts of packing tape with the hope they will hold together until they reach their destination.

Muscles needed!

Once packed (a time-consuming heavy task), labelled and contents recorded, they are loaded onto a rented 4tonne truck and volunteers deliver them to Sydney to be unladed onto pallets for shipping. From Sydney they make their way to Honiara where they pass through customs. More muscles required from our friends in Honiara to unload and load them onto a boat heading to Isabel. On arrival at Buala Station, once again more muscles are needed to transport them to the Diocesan Centre. From here, they are allocated to the groups (coloured tape identify who the boxes are for) and head to schools and preschools along the coast and up into the mountains. A Ute makes its way down the road to the provincial hospital. Volunteers with muscles walk boxes in both directions to women’s support groups, dropping off the sanitary kits to the Mothers Union who provide education session for women across the Island. Finally, a boat arrives to take the remaining boxes across the lagoon by boat to the Bible College and preschool.  

Impact

The donations have provided classrooms with books, schools with books to start or replenish libraries and teachers with resources. Newborns in the hospital have knitted hats and booties to help keep them warm, along with other donated supplies.  Washable sanitary kits head throughout the providence as part of the education program seeing girls’ attendance and grades rise as they no longer need to stay home when they have their period. Preschools have books and other resources, and women’s support groups have supplies to assist the vulnerable in their community.

For many in Australia, these are small things. For our friends in the Solomon Islands

  • an Australian school updating classroom readers sees a class with their first classroom set of books
  • a library downsizing here sees a school able to provide students with a library
  • groups and individuals sewing washable sanitary kit components and collecting underwear and hygiene items, sees women able to work and girls go to school
  • knitted hats see a baby survive the night
  • The soccer or netball kit that cannot be used in Australia as the sponsor changed sees a team united

The common response is infectious smiles and excitement along with gratitude that others care.

Challenges

While we get many donations of resources, the challenge is getting them there. Sourcing boxes, storage while we collect and pack, the cost of the various legs of the journey and customs duty can be prohibitive due to the cost involved.

Hope

We look forward to once again sending a pile of boxes, filled with new opportunities and being able to go back to our second home, a place where the smiles are welcoming, the generosity is at times overwhelming, and we have the privilege of walking with others and sharing our journeys together.

Lotus Program Sri Lanka November 2021 (11 January 2022)

We recently received this feedback from a primary English teacher in one of the Lotus Program schools in Sri Lanka.

“My school is situated in Trincomalee district. There are more than 35 children in each classes. I am one and only English teacher in my school. I faced a lot of issues in my teaching career. I am a university graduate but I haven’t had any training for primary teaching. I want to tell something about our Lotus program. I have learned and am learning a lot of teaching strategies from the Lotus program. It’s an amazing experience for me. Every day I learn step by step through this program. I always try to learn new things and I always try to use them with my beloved students. I started my journey under the guidance of PIMD group. In grade 2 I begin by teaching only phonics sound through big books and posters given to us by PIMD. Every day I sing and dance with them and show how to pronouns all sounds. They all were interested. I always follow the guidelines and videos given by Lotus program. They were very helpful to me. In grade 3 I started to give dictations as the students learnt to write the sounds. First I gave them only two or three letters words and then one sentence, two sentence. Now they can write paragraphs. I am so happy about that. My grade 3 students can write long paragraphs as dictations. I tell them sounds and they can identify the sounds and write. It’s an amazing. The Lotus program is a very successful method. After the students start writing dictations I used the story books given by PIMD. Even today I am learning lot of things from this program. I have no words to thank them. My students are learning English very happily and joyfully. I can do lot of things in my school through this program. Thank you very much again and again.”

Protecting the Environment (4 December 2021)

Rotary shares an interest in protecting our common legacy: the environment.

PP Darcy Geale has accepted the role of representing the Environment in our Club.

We are committed to supporting activities that strengthen the conservation and protection of natural resources, advance ecological sustainability, and foster harmony between communities and the environment.

We empower communities to access grants and other resources, embrace local solutions, and spur innovation in an effort to address the causes and reduce the effects of climate change and environmental degradation.

HOW ROTARY WILL HELP PROTECT OUR PLANET

The Rotary Foundation will enable our members and their community allies through provision of funding.

$US18.4 million in Foundation global grant funding has been allocated to environment-related causes in the past five years through our support of community economic development and water, sanitation, and hygiene projects.

Clubs and their community allies will take action in these ways:

  • Protecting and restoring land, coastal, marine, and freshwater resources
  • Enhancing the capacity of communities to support natural resource management and conservation
  • Supporting sustainable agriculture, fishing, and aquaculture practices
  • Addressing the cause of climate change by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases
  • Strengthening ecosystems and communities affected by climate change supporting education initiatives that promote behavior that protects the environment
  • Advocating for sustainable consumption to build an economy that uses resources more efficiently
  • Addressing environmental justice issues and public health concerns

My Work In Peru. (9 November 2021)

By Bev Cooney

In 2003 I first travelled to Peru to visit as a tourist. This is when I learned how well off we are in Australia. The poverty there is really terrible and people are begging in every town I visited. During Covid-19 it has been particularly bad.

We constantly hear how it has devastated the developed countries like the United States of America and Britain and Europe but most don’t realize that Peru was far worse, per capita, than those countries and in fact all of the rest of the world, when it came to deaths. When I read about the number of deaths and the problems that they had with and getting the vaccines out to the population on the WHO site I was devastated. In the years I have been working there with many medical teams I have gotten to know many doctors and nursed from the cities, the Amazon Jungle and the high Andes cities, and have many friends in places most people don’t get to visit.   

My dearest friend is a man whom I met when I first travelled over there. He was a tour guide and worked for an Australian company called Tucan Travel.

I have been working with him ever since. His name is Rudy and I just love him to bits. He comes and works in the theatres when we travel there to look after the children of the poor. He ONLY speaks 6 languages and gives of his time to help us out in the theatres, by translating to the staff there in the hospitals. What a gem.

Rudy and I have been working together during Covid-19 to feed the people living on the streets as they are literally starving to death. So sad. What a great thing he has done in doing this. He and his mum buy all the food and prepare it and make up the meals, and that is hundreds of them, to take out to the homeless. I was able to organize many recipes for them, all of which came from websites here on feeding the homeless. I also send the money for them to buy the food and they cook it. He has a team of friends who distribute the food.

I am currently getting together a team of medicos and nurses to travel to the jungle to treat trachoma in 2022. Rudy will be there working with us yet again. What a man he is. He put together the attached video showing the work they do in the streets right now.

Update on PNG Covid19 Crisis (28 October 2021)

The Covid19 Delta variant is ravaging Papua New Guinea and due to our proximity Australia needs to assist.

Rotary Kula Spirit Floating Clinic has been supporting Port Moresby General Hospital and Rita Flynn Field Hospital by providing PPE, masks, Oxygen Concentrators, oxygen lines to help alleviate suffering.

Professor Glen Mola, head of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at Port Moresby General Hospital has been using the Kula Spirit supplies held aboard the floating clinic to help with his task in saving mothers and babies.

We are continuing to airfreight these items needed to fight the Covid 19 infections in Papua New Guinea.

Please help us to help Papua New Guinea.

Donate to Kula Spirit Floating Clinic, RAWCS Project – 18-2009-10

Orkeeswa – building a sustainable leadership pipeline (12 October 2021)

In September 2021, the Leadership Team at Orkeeswa in rural Tanzania visited 65 homes in 8 villages as part of the annual student selection process. Leading the selection process this year were two Orkeeswa alumni who have deep and meaningful relationships within their community. Because of Orkeeswa’s outreach program in the local primary school, the team are familiar with most of the students who applied. And, new Pre-Form One students are now being taught by Orkeeswa alumni 

Using the community as a classroom, Orkeeswa invests in student-centered, skills-based learning for young people at three critical points:

  • Orkeeswa Outreach uses trained and motivated Orkeeswa student and alumni leaders to run holistic programming in local primary schools;
  • Orkeeswa School provides high-quality academics, robust co-curricular programs, student wellness services, and community-based leadership through a holistic secondary school experience; 
  • Orkeeswa Incubator supports the ongoing impact of alumni through professional development, higher education scholarships, and small grants and mentorship for entrepreneurs. 

Orkeeswa is growing, and extending its reach in a self-sustaining cycle of leadership development and community impact.

You can assist this project sponsored by the Rotary E-Club Serving Humanity, D9705 by making your tax deductible donation here:

Mental Health Strategy Announced (12 October 2021)

The federal government today announced a youth mental health strategy for under 12s. This is welcome news, although not directly relevant to our Jupiter project which is for 12 to 21 year olds.

Jupiter Ambassadors

You can assist this project sponsored by the Rotary E-Club Serving Humanity, D9705 by making your tax deductible donation here:

Lotus Program Teacher Training (30 September 2021)

The Lotus Program in Sri Lanka offers training to primary English teachers in participating schools. The recent training program was opened up to any interested teacher and attracted 400 enrolments. This is a record – the Lotus schools account for approximately 45 of the 400 teachers! The training is conducted online using Zoom which enables us to reach so many more than costly face-to-face workshops. We can also spread the training over several months instead of cramming it into 2-3 days.

For more information on the Lotus Program for English Literacy in Primary Grades go to www/microdevpartners.org .

For information about the training offered contact info@microdevpartners.org.

RAWCS Project 18-2005-06, sponsored by the Rotary E-Club Serving Humanity, District 9705

Be a role model for Each One, Bring One (8 August 2021)

Posted on  in Rotary Voices

I encourage all members to look for prospective members that you might be overlooking. Please give them the opportunity to become a member of the Rotary E-Club Serving Humanity

Editor’s note: Membership is the life blood of Rotary. Surveys have confirmed that members join because they want to connect with other people and take action to create lasting change. For Membership Month in August we have asked several experts to talk about how they reach out to prospective members, keep existing members engaged, and create an environment that allows new clubs to form and thrive. This is the first in that series

Elizabeth Usovicz

By Elizabeth Usovicz, Rotary International Director, Zones 30 and 31 

Rotary connections are powerful, for both current and future members. After 16 months of lockdown, online business and virtual Rotary meetings, I recently met a longtime client for lunch. The restaurant we chose was quiet that day, and the dining area was empty except for one table.  

Our fellow diners were two young men of different races. They seemed to be talking about business as my client and I were seated at a nearby table. We didn’t focus on their conversation until our ears perked up like hyper-alert terriers when we heard one of them say, “Rotary.” 

Expanding the conversation 

My client is a past president of her Rotary club, and we both began to listen in on the young men’s conversation. One was explaining the motto of Rotary, Service Above Self, and the service projects of his local Rotary club. “I have to introduce myself,” I told my client excitedly. She laughed as I slid out of my chair and moved toward their table. 

They looked up, surprised, when I approached them. “Excuse me,” I smiled. “My colleague and I heard you say “Rotary” and we wanted to introduce ourselves.” I pointed to my lapel pin. “We are both Rotary members too!” 

Each One, Bring One – and beyond 

As it turns out, one of the men, Jeff, is a member of the Rotary club of Lee’s Summit, Missouri. He was discussing Rotary with Jordan, a prospective member. 

Jordan grinned in amazement at our Rotary connection, which happens every day for Rotary members across the globe. “Wow!” he said. “You mean people in Rotary just find each other like this?” My client, Jeff, and I each smiled. “We all serve,” I replied. “We are people from all backgrounds, all walks of life, and we all serve our communities.” 

That brief exchange was a simple, yet powerful moment of Rotary pride and purpose for three Rotary members. For Jordan, it was an impressive example of the strength of the Rotary network and our capacity to connect people across communities. 

Each one of us is a role model for growing Rotary 

Since that lunch meeting, Jordan has visited Jeff’s club twice and is on the path to becoming a member. Jeff’s support of the Presidential Initiative, “Each One Bring One” prompted me to reach out to three prospective members.  

What if each of us did the same? What if each of us encouraged the formation of a new club? By this time next year, our Rotary network and our capacity to connect people across the globe will be even more powerful. All we need to do, like Jeff, is to be a role model for Each One, Bring One. Find your Jordans and invite them to lunch. 

Read President Shekhar Mehta’s July message about Each One, Bring One 

About the author: Elizabeth Usovicz is a member of the Rotary Club of Kansas City-Plaza, Missouri, USA, and Rotary International Director for Zones 30 and 31. She was a Rotary International Women of Action honoree at the White House in 2014.