President’s Comment – 23 Oct 16 (23 October 2016)




We have only received four members surveys at this time.  Can those who have not completed it yet do so soon please?  We will be making a decision on these items at the AGM to be held Tuesday 15th November at 7.00pm ESDT

World Polio Day – 24 Oct 

Join in on 24 October for World Polio Day and share your voice that we are closer than ever to creating a polio-free world. Rotary will host its fourth annual World Polio Day: Making History live stream event at 18:00 EDT (UTC-4) from the headquarters of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The event brings together the biggest names in the global fight to eradicate polio. Watch live on

I thought I’d never walk again

: Nancy Wright Beasley, who wrote The Little Lion, sits on one of the motorcycles used in the stage adaptation of her book during rehearsal at Swift Creek Mill Theatre. Photo by Clement Britt

Nancy Wright Beasley, who wrote The Little Lion, sits on one of the motorcycles used in the stage adaptation of her book during rehearsal at Swift Creek Mill Theatre. Photo by Clement Britt

By Nancy Wright Beasley, a polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Brandermill, Virginia, USA

I thought I’d never walk again, but I did.

I thought I’d never talk about polio either, but I’ve regularly shared my childhood memories of the disease since joining the Rotary Club of Brandermill in 2005. I had been  invited to speak about my first book, Izzy’s Fire. That’s where I first learned about PolioPlus, and decided — that day — to join Rotary International’s fight to eradicate the disease. I often say that I’m the only speaker who gave a speech then never left.

I contracted polio in the summer of 1952, in the middle of one of the worst epidemics in U.S. history.

Nancy Wright Beasley with her favorite muppet, Miss Piggy, spreading the word about polio eradication.

Nancy Wright Beasley with her favorite Muppet, Miss Piggy, spreading the word about polio eradication.

Some 60,000 people nationwide were infected, killing 3,000 and paralyzing 21,000 others. My brother still remembers the summer day when he found me, the youngest of four children, unconscious under a snowball bush just beside our farm house in Christiansburg, Virginia.

A spinal tap at Roanoke’s Memorial and Crippled Children’s Hospital confirmed a diagnosis of polio. At 6, I had never spent a night away from my family, but I was isolated in a sterile room, seen only by medical personnel swathed in gowns and masks. I cried with joy the first time a nurse wheeled me into the sunroom where my mother placed her hand on a glass partition opposite mine. A prisoner of polio —I talked to her by telephone.

When I was released months later, my parents were told I’d never walk again. Mama refused to accept that. She chopped wood to heat the water she lugged uphill from the springhouse, lowering me into a steaming tub and exercising my body beyond exhaustion. I’m fairly sure a home health nurse demonstrated the exercises, trying to stave off muscular atrophy in my legs. For months, Mama followed this routine twice a day, while acting as my substitute teacher; caring for my siblings, my father and grandfather; and helping with farm chores. With tears in his eyes, Daddy used to tell how Mama was so worried about me that he found her one day sitting on the bucket beside a cow and milking onto the stool.

Her hard work paid off — I eventually began to walk again, and though I had missed most of second grade except the last two months,  I passed with flying colors.

My brother still remembers the summer day when he found me, the youngest of four children, unconscious under a snowball bush just beside our farm house in Christiansburg, Virginia.

I gleaned two important lessons from that experience: I never take walking for granted, and I approach difficult tasks as challenges to be overcome. When my third book, The Little Lion, was adapted for the stage by playwright Irene Ziegler, the world premiere was held at Swift Creek Mill Theatre in South Chesterfield, Virginia, in January. I approached Tom Width, director of the Mill, as well as the play’s artistic director, and he agreed to assist in a fundraiser for PolioPlus. Brandermill Rotarians joined with me to “Fill the Mill for PolioPlus” on 20 February 2016. Students, friends and Rotarians purchased tickets, some coming from as far away as New Jersey to help support the project, raising $4,512 for PolioPlus.

DeJa View, a Richmond, Virginia, club whose members are polio survivors, was one of the welcoming audiences. The vast majority of members are physically compromised, and some have been stricken with post-polio syndrome. That didn’t’ dampen their spirits, and one member managed to sell 13 tickets for the show. Several sent donations, even though they couldn’t attend.

They, and the many individuals who helped, have inspired me to help carry RI’s task to the finish line. After all, “We’re this close.”

Beasley is available to speak to Rotary Clubs about her experience with polio and the books that she has written. She donates a portion of proceeds from her books to PolioPlus. She can be reached at

President’s Comment – 16 Oct 16 (15 October 2016)

Club Logo - Transparent

Greetings to all

Members please completed your online attendance regularly and the survey by November 10th. The article below shows the ability of Rotary to respond to disasters and serve humanity.

Rotary and ShelterBox on the ground in Haiti

Staff from ShelterBox and the United Nation’s World Food Programme help unload a delivery of ShelterBox supplies at Les Cayes harbor in Haiti, where tents are likely to be used to help health professionals screen and treat cholera victims. Photo Credit: Alexis Masciarelli

Even as parts of Haiti were still recovering from a catastrophic 2010 earthquake, Hurricane Matthew tore through the impoverished island country 4 October, leaving hundreds dead and many more homeless.

The Category 4 storm affected an estimated 330,000 people in Haiti, including 6,400 who were moved to temporary shelters. Extensive damage to main bridges and other transportation networks have left some areas cut off and vulnerable. Torrential rains have resulted in flooding and landslides. And contaminated water supplies threaten to lead to a surge in cholera cases and other waterborne illnesses.

A ShelterBox response team of volunteers from Canada, England, New Zealand, and the United States traveled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, last week to assess the damage and decide how best to help people. ShelterBox, an independent charity, is Rotary’s project partner for disaster relief.

Working with Rotary members, government authorities, and other relief agencies, ShelterBox is focusing on the cholera outbreak in the southern region of the island and emergency shelter. A shipment of ShelterBox supplies arrived in Les Cayes, in the south of Haiti, on Wednesday, which likely will be used to help health professionals screen and treat cholera victims.

“We hope to provide ShelterKits along with other crucial supplies like solar lights, mosquito nets, water purification units, and water carriers. All of which will help in the fight against cholera,” says Chris Warham, chief executive of ShelterBox.

With wind speeds reaching 155 miles per hour, Hurricane Matthew is considered the worst storm to make landfall in Haiti in more than 50 years.

Storm’s path hits United States and Canada

The destructive path of the hurricane cut through communities in Florida, Georgia, and South and North Carolina, USA, and as far northeast as Nova Scotia, Canada, causing flooding, severe damage, injury, and death. Rotary members are working together to provide emergency supplies and help families find shelter.

“Rivers are still rising and expected to crest on Sunday,” says Rusine Mitchell Sinclair, governor of District 7710 in North Carolina. “We’ll work with our neighboring districts to provide relief once the flooding has peaked and we can get in to assess what’s needed.”

How you can help

The and Rotary District 7020 are collecting donations for relief in Haiti and the Bahamas. The initial funds will be used to replace the roofs of 1,000 homes and provide Sawyer water filtration systems. Please visit their to learn about ways to give.

If you would like to help those affected in North Carolina, send donations to .

Rotary staff are in touch with district leaders in other areas affected by hurricanes Matthew and Nicole and are also monitoring storms in the Pacific. Contact for information about how to contribute to other districts.

Learn how you can help at

President’s Comment – 9 Oct 16 (8 October 2016)

Last Week’s District Governor Visit

Thank you to all who attended last Tuesday to hear District Governor Michael Milston and his wife Ann Dib give their presentation to our E-Club. Thank you Michael and Ann for a wonderful presentation that has stimulated our thoughts about how our Club might develop. For all that missed the presentation it is recorded and on this website to view here – DG’s Presentation


The recording of your attendance has been refined and improved by Cameron to allow YOU to record meetings of our Club by browsing our website, attendance at other Rotary meetings or service that you have performed with another service organisation or the community generally. You can even download a copy to Excel of all your attendance for the year to see what you have  done.

You also need to be aware that your President, Secretary and Admin Director can see all attendance, all comments and download it to Excel. Please all try it out and keep attending!!


Can all members complete the survey under the Members menu by the 10th November please?

This is good advice:

7 features of a highly effective service project

Rotary members in Virginia, USA, deliver mobility equipment for a local hospital.

Rotary members in Virginia, USA, deliver mobility equipment for a local hospital.

By Richard Cunningham, Rotary Club of James River, Richmond, Virginia, USA

We cannot expect to grow membership without engaging our members in service. RI President John Germ has stated this unequivocally and our club is taking that to heart.

Selecting the right project, therefore, is critical to the health of your club. Here’s a few basic principles we’ve found to be true about service projects:

  • Sweat equity is the single most vital aspect of our mission and one of our greatest strengths.
  • Club leaders are responsible for both success and failure.
  • Engaged Rotarians take responsibility for their own learning.
  • Technology is important.
  • Members should expect to serve.
  • We need to recognize the volunteer resource represented by retirees, the self-employed, and non-working parents with time to spare.
  • One-off walk-away projects do little to cultivate longer term engagement with Rotary.
  • Hands-on projects provide opportunities for members to develop their leadership skills.
  • Fund raisers are an important part of what we do, but there is much more to being engaged in Rotary.
  • Rotary is more than being a member of a single club.
  • Our Rotary Foundation is one of the finest vehicles for giving in the world.
  • Club 501(C)(3)s are important to capture individual tax free donations in the USA. Setting one up is not expensive, and within the ability of club leaders.
  • Rotaract, Interact, RYLA, and Rotary Leadership Institutes are important to our present and future.
  • Most of us learn by doing.
  • We need to watch out for the threat of status quo and board inertia.
  • We need to say “yes” to good projects promoted by one or more of our members.
  • Our ability to serve is proportional to the number of available volunteer hours.

With this in mind, we suggest any great project should have these seven attributes:

  1. Involve several of the six Areas of Focus. Our most recent project dealing with eye care for underprivileged children relates to basic education and literacy; maternal and child health, and disease prevention.
  2. Be interesting to as many professions as possible. For example, our latest project is of particular interest to medical professionals, educators, and community and political leaders
  3. Benefit as many people in the community as possible. The bigger the better, as larger efforts will attract more media interest. By collaborating, you can engage small clubs in bigger issues.
  4. Be affordable and grant eligible and pursue international partners. Collaborating with other clubs on district or global grants opens up opportunities for members to step into leadership roles and experience Rotary on an international scale.
  5. Involve multiple age groups, including Interact, Rotaract, RYLA participants, and all generations from Baby Boomers on.
  6. Address a major community issue and include a public image component that will stimulate local media interest and build relationships with media outlets.
  7. Involve a long range vision for sustainability and focus on long-term relationships. A series of related projects is a great way to develop ongoing relationships and retain membership interest. Small projects grow into larger efforts this way.

We believe doing all these things develops a “Service Centered Leadership” culture which results in a sustained and sustainable membership growth environment.

Give to support the work of our Rotary Foundation, and learn how you can celebrate 100 years of doing good in the world.


President’s Comment – 2 Oct 16 (1 October 2016)

remember to attend dg michael milston’s presention

Tuesday 4th October at 7.00pmEST and 8.00pm ESDT.  

The email to attend the GoToMeeting has been sent to all members. All are welcome to attend. If you have not received the email with the link to the meeting please contact me –


What does it mean to practice peace?


Nations observe 21 September as International Day of Peace, a “day of global ceasefire and nonviolence.” Rotary’s commitment to building peace and resolving conflict is rooted in the Rotary Peace Centers, which yearly prepare up to 100 fellows to work for peace through a two-year master’s degree program or a three-month certificate program at partner universities worldwide.


New Englanders, Nigeria clubs aid Boko Haram refugees

By Marty Peak Helman, District 7780 Foundation Chair

Children in a refugee camp in eastern Nigeria.

Children in a refugee camp in eastern Nigeria.

The American University of Nigeria (AUN) was co-founded by Rotarian Felix Obadan in 2000, and 12 years later, when Felix was governor of Rotary’s District 9125, which covers a large portion of Nigeria, he chartered the Rotary Club of Yola-AUN on campus. Their strong influence on campus makes it not surprising that many University professors and senior staff are Rotary members, and that the University prides itself on its work toward peace, entrepreneurship, and economic development as well as its strong academics.

The University’s mission is to graduate students prepared to take on the challenges in Nigeria and throughout West Africa – challenges of climate change, development, and peace building. And peace is not an abstract concept at the university. After all, it is located in Yola, the capital of Adamawa State, in the region where Boko Haram is most powerful. In fact, those few dozen Chibok schoolgirls who escaped from being kidnapped by Boko Haram are now safely living at the University, where they are receiving social services and education.

Boko Haram has brought me to the American University of Nigeria as well. I am here as part of a team from Rotary’s District 7780 in New England to meet with the two Rotary clubs in Yola, and to visit Rotary projects including a camp for internally displaced families in flight from Boko Haram. It is our intention to see what we can do in terms of a global grant to help them.

Putting together a global grant will not be easy. The needs of the people living at the camp are immediate, and it is hard to think in terms of long-term sustainability. Food, for example, is a continuing problem. The men are agricultural workers and are eager to get back to working the soil, but even if they could rent land near to the camp, it’s hard for them to think ahead to next year’s crop. One non-governmental organization gave the men seed for planting, we are told, but because their children are hungry, the seed was promptly cooked and eaten.

The families at the camps – who are there because they have fled their villages for their lives – are living testimony of the need for us, their neighbors, to strive for peace.

Meanwhile, while they wait for political change, the women weave craft items to sell out of the plastic bags that litter the sides of the road, and the children – many of whom have been out of school for several years while their families have been on the run – attend a government school near the camp.

Still, I find myself very optimistic about being able to craft a global grant to help these families. After all, the Yola clubs know the camps intimately, and have both the contacts and the resources to understand what will work best. Our Districts – 9125 in Nigeria and 7780 in New England – have worked together for over a decade, with National Immunization Days, a Group Study Exchange, and both matching and global grants to our credit.

This is what Rotary is all about – developing relationships that span the globe and make possible long-term humanitarian change. And the families at the camps – who are there because they have fled their villages for their lives – are living testimony of the need for us, their neighbors, to strive for peace.

Support Rotary’s Peace Centers

President’s Comment – 25 Sep 16 (25 September 2016)

District Governor Michael Milston Official CLUB Visit


Tuesday 4th October at 7.00pm EST (Brisbane) – 8.00pm ESDT (NSW & VIC)

DG Michael  and partner Ann Dib will deliver a presentation then will take questions.

It would be great if ALL members could make the effort to attend.

If any other Rotarian wishes to make-up  or  any prospective member or interested person wishes to attend please email me ( i will send you the GoToMeeting link and instructions on how to join the meeting and presentation.

The monthly Board meeting will be held after the presentation.



The survey asked members to consider Club goals and what they wanted to achieve by being a member of our Rotary E-Club.

These are comments made by our members in the recent survey that all members completed. Thank you to all for completing the survey and the sincerity of your comments. 

Please feel free to email, make comments on the website and discuss the comments below with your fellow members:

  • I still very much feel I am learning the ropes about Rotary as a whole.
  • Encourage those who wish to join Rotary but don’t have the time for weekly meetings, to understand the benefits of the E-Club.
  • Increase membership and raise fund for the Rotary Foundation.
  • I’m comfortable with the Club taking six to twelve months to establish itself.
  • We need more members attending more regularly.
  • Find ways of working with the Youth in our communities to participate in the youth programs available.
  • Raise awareness and develop networks to promote our RAWCS projects.
  • Fund raising for our Club RAWCS projects.
  • Participation in a Rotary club that is much more convenient and fits in with my busy lifestyle and personal situation.
  • Encourage more engagement with members via the Facebook group – as an E-Club I think it’s really important that social media is used effectively.
  • We need some local projects – at least one – to support.
  • Be part of a functioning Club that continues to actively support international projects, and develop relevant community projects.
  • We need to get used to visiting the website regularly and each of us keeping up-to-date between meetings.
  • Learn together about the ways other E-Clubs in Rotary function – what their successes and difficulties have been.
  • Networking and flexibility of E-Club membership.
  • Come up with a  fundraising project, around a current relevant issue that even those members that are more remote from the District can be involved in.
  • As a new member, I hope to continue to learn more about the work of Rotary as a whole and build my knowledge of this great organisation.
  • We need to sort out the technology (is GoToMeeting the best tool, do we all need better headsets, etc).
  • Be part of an enthusiastic group of  Rotarians who want to actively serve humanity.
  • I hope I can be involved in the Club’s activities, even though I am going to be remote from the District more often than not.
  • Leverage my experience working in international development beyond my own project which may wind down over the next twelve months – then again it may get a new lease of life with some Rotary input.
  • Not sure what goals I want our Club to achieve yet.
  • I feel that I’m too new to offer much in developing goals and stating what I personally want to achieve.
  • To further grow as a Rotarian, joining with other members to be part of something incredible to make a difference and do good in the world.
  • Increase our membership to have a variety of members with different interests, knowledge and ideas.
  • I’m quite enjoying listening to others, reading about Rotary and its projects, and just getting a general ‘feel’ for the organisation, its clubs and what they achieve.
  • Establish a functioning e-club that is taking action to raise awareness and support international and local projects. A club that someone who knows nothing about Rotary would be inspired to join. 
  • Increase active membership, with a plan of how we will become a functioning club that is actively working on Rotary goals and projects.
  • I am interested in piloting an Australian based alternative schoolies project in an Indigenous context.
  • Increase our membership.
  • Contributing to  the good work of Rotary International.
  • I wonder whether we might also consider a more structured and active online campaign for recruitment? How can we draw people to our online presence?
  • Participation in Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) style projects.
  • I want to get my head around all the different web presences for Rotary – its very confusing between RAWCS projects, ClubRunner, our own site, and I think there are others.
  • Increase support for the Rotary Foundation.
  • Support  those in our club who have existing projects.
  • Encourage our members to attend District Conference for yearly fellowship.
  • To become an active club within the District of 9700.
  • I want to be able to contribute to my community.

These comments show a positive enthusiasm by most members to continue the development of our Club; the desire to educate and mentor our newer members with the ideals of Rotary and  to encourage our serving humanity in the best possible way that we can.

President’s Comment – 18 Sep 16 (18 September 2016)


Both have been updated.

Our Club international Projects

We now have five International Projects listed on our website that are managed in part or entirely by members of our Club. They have recently had a Donation link added to each page that goes directly to our RAWCS payment gateway. Have a look! Make a donation!

Ethical Dilemma Discussion: what do you do?

Your club is working to provide technology and training for teachers and children at a school in a very low-income area with limited educational resources. During your search for sponsors, a club member in a senior position at a well-known business offers to pay most of the project’s costs. This sponsorship would allow you to complete the project quickly, and kids would be in classrooms learning in just a short time. You are grateful for the generosity but hesitate because this business has been in the media over some ethical concerns. You aren’t sure it’s a good idea to accept the sponsorship, but raising the funds in other ways could sharply delay the project.

Some comments by Rotarians on this Forum Topic are listed below:

President’s Comment – 11 Sep 16 (11 September 2016)

Thank you to all who attended the Guest Speaker and Board Meeting on Wednesday 7th September. Matt Eakin gave a great presentation that you can access under Member Login/ Video Meetings on this website.

This is Basic Education & Literacy Month and I believe the comments below are very relevant  and explain the power of the Rotary Youth Exchange program to change lives and the world.


Making peace, one exchange student at a time

Belgian Exchange Student Marcellin Niset in Alaska

Belgian Exchange Student Marcellin Niset in Alaska

By Marcellin Niset, Rotary Youth Exchange Student from Belgium to Alaska

The Italian-American author and actress Vanna Bonta wrote, “There’s no hospitality like understanding.” That quote stuck with me as a Rotary Youth Exchange student to Alaska in 2015-16. I arrived in Alaska, a wilderness filled with beauty and love, determined to make my exchange purposeful and beneficial for myself, my host community, and the world.

An exchange is not only about a student going abroad, it is about all the people who make this exchange possible, and the ones that are impacted, directly and indirectly.

Niset addresses a Rotary club.

Niset is using his exchange year as an opportunity to promote tolerance and respect.

I come from a small village in rural Belgium and the exchange is a unique chance to accomplish something bigger than myself. To be selected as an ambassador for Rotary and my country meant being the custodian of national values and beliefs.

Sometimes, the mission was easy. I brought happiness to people by making countless Belgian waffles. I presented facts about my homeland to my host club and community. But going deeper, and sharing what makes people from my country unique, explaining why we think and behave differently, without judging, is harder. There is not just one way to do things, and one way isn’t better than another, just different.

At my first orientation with the other exchange students in Alaska, our coordinator told us that the Rotary Youth Exchange motto was to “Make peace in the world, one student at a time.” I only understood the real meaning of this sentence later in my exchange.

Terrorist attack

On 22 March, Belgium became the target of a terrorist attack. I saw the last place I had been in my country, the airport, blown up by people who didn’t understand differences. I saw a symbol of globalization exploded and my beliefs harmed. I had a friend from France, two from Indonesia, one from Germany. All of them felt the weight of terrorism. It oppresses you, makes you fearful, sad, and angry.

How in a world interconnected, multicultural, and full of exchange students, can terrorist attacks still happen?

But then it suddenly made sense to me why I was on exchange at this time. I realized how I could explain the values my country stands for, and show how Rotary members and exchange students can work together to help solve the world’s problems. Rotary members already have a drive to change the world. Exchange students promote tolerance and respect.

Thanks to my exchange, I had the opportunity to share my values, my beliefs, my identity. I try to make the world stronger, one speech at a time, and am inspired to strive for greater things.

This is the power of Rotary Youth Exchange. And it can be the pride of Rotary, too.

Learn more about exchange opportunities through Rotary

President’s Comment – 4 Sep 16 (5 September 2016)

Reminder – Board meeting & Guest speaker – MATTHEW Eakin

On Wednesday 7th September at 7.00pm EST. All welcome to attend but you need to contact me at by 12.00 noon Wednesday 7th if you want to be sent the email with the link to the GoToMeeting

Co-Chief Mountaineer and International Representative

Matt grew up in country Australia, approximately 300kms from Sydney. He first visited the Australian snowy mountains when he was 7, from then on he was hooked and began travelling and vigorously exploring mountains everywhere. This continued throughout the completion of his University Studies, graduating with a bachelor of Commerce and Law. He then began work as a tax solicitor while he pursued his passion part time. His love for adventure has seen him travel all over the world avidly pursing his sporting interests – trail running, rafting, trekking, climbing, paragliding, mountaineering, mountain biking and snow skiing. His love of adventure was so strong he attempted to become a full time professional athlete, being sponsored by an international shoe company. He also became preliminary talks to establish an adventure company in Australia, which was not to be. It was on a fateful trip to Nepal in 2009 to explore more mountains and culture that he met Prakash. They instantly bonded over their mutual love of Nepal – her people, her mountains and her culture. Matt particularly loves the spiritual and peaceful experiences that result from all these aspects together, in particular being in the high mountains. His goal with Hike Himalaya Adventure (“HHA”) is simple, share these experiences and feelings of what it is like being in the mountains with others – the high altitude, the humility of the mountains, engaging with the mountains and the healthy lifestyle of being outdoors. Matt has spent much time undertaking expeditions throughout the Himalaya’s and broader Nepal since first arriving and especially enjoys the Annapurna region. His latest expedition in March 2013 involved running the trails up to and around the Annapurna Base Camp region and surrounding lower peaks. During a two week period at altitude he ascended some net 17,000 vertical meters.

Whilst Matt vigorously pursues physical activities in Nepal he is equally interested in exploring the spiritual and cultural side. He has recently undertaken a 10 day Buddhist sit meditation and would like to explore similar experiences further

Importantly, Matt is also passionate about ensuring HHA supports and benefits local people, currently focusing on the Dhading region of Nepal where Prakash is from. HHA aims to achieve this by working with communities to establish sustainable community projects. This has involved teacher training, dental health initiatives and building programs. Finally, when Matt isnt mountaineering crazy and exciting expeditions in the Himalayas he is found running trails, riding his mountain bike or skydiving.

Posted by DG Michael Milston FOR Basic Education & Literacy Month

 “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free” – Frederick Douglass
This month when we can think about the reasons why we give such emphasis to basic education and literacy in our work serving humanity. Sometimes, what we think of as self-evident truths, require a review to ensure we have sound reasoning and therefore our efforts can help bring about change.
Now you may have an education background, and then again you may find the following very interesting. Did you know that:
“The brain is the only organ that is not fully formed at birth. During the first three years, trillions of connections between brain cells are being made. A child’s relationships and experiences during the early years greatly influence how their brain grows” [Zero to Three, in its booklet titled ‘Getting Ready for School Begins at Birth’].
So these very early months and years are most important for learning. Many of us in the developed world take learning for granted, but in fact it was not always so. Over the generations parents have been encouraged to read to their child, sing with them and play. But how does an illiterate parent read to their child? And how does the family in poverty afford a book or an education?
And of course there are many other influences; these have been summarized by the Victorian Government in their publication – ‘Making the most of childhood: the importance of the early years’ 2010 – as follows…
Children’s development and learning are affected by:
  • influences within themselves – their genetic inheritance, temperament, gender, and health
  • influences within the family – family relationships, parenting styles and values, the family’s financial situation, parents’ level of education, parents’ occupation, and parents’ physical and mental health
  • influences within the community – children’s services (both availability and quality), support for parenting, housing (both quality and security of tenure), safety and crime in the neighbourhood, unemployment levels and the general feeling of trust among the residents
  • influences within their culture – with different cultures marked by differences in parenting styles, beliefs and values, and different views on how children should be educated.
Rotarians in our District have understood the needs of our communities for many years. And the focus on literacy is often supported from the very beginning, with projects (as recently publicised by the Rotary Club of Wagga Wagga) to give every new-born a book for mum to read to them.
Consequences of failing to effectively improve literacy
Of course, we all recognise that when poverty is involved it is much harder to ensure the necessary early childhood learning practices. In a US study it was concluded:
A large body of research continues to document the negative effects of poverty on children and their later life outcomes. Children growing up in poverty complete less schooling, work and earn less as adults, are more likely to receive public assistance, and have poorer health. Boys growing up in poverty are more likely to be arrested as adults and their female peers are more likely to give birth outside of marriage. [Poverty And Education: Finding The Way Forward by Richard J. Coley and Bruce Baker, 2013 Educational Testing Service, USA].
And then “there is … research indicating that high crime rates are typically concentrated in small geographical areas characterised by structural disadvantage, including low economic status, poverty, segregation, a high proportion of single parent families, residential instability and a large proportion of racial/ethnic minority groups” [T.Allard, A. Chrzanowski and A. Stewart Targeting crime prevention: Identifying communities that generate chronic and costly offenders quoted in Rethinking Justice – Vulnerability Report 2016, Australian Red Cross].
The importance of this education and literacy therefore starts from the day we are born for that’s when the foundations for the future are laid, and when we begin moving down the path that will take us through childhood, the teenage years and ultimately into adulthood.
The importance of the early years is now well known throughout Australia and the rest of the world. These years are a time when the brain develops and much of its ‘wiring’ is laid down. The experiences and relationships a child has, plus nutrition and health, can actually affect this enormously. Positive experiences help the brain to develop in healthy ways.
Rotary Clubs have been providing important support over many years. And it is emerging now that in our local early childhood learning space – preschools and childcare centres – that children are learning the Wiradjuri language. This development is doubly important as it provides the Aboriginal child with a connection to and validation of their culture, and for the non-Aboriginal child it opens there thinking to understanding diversity and their place in it. The examples of these language practices are evident in Wagga Wagga and Orange, and quite likely in other communities in Wiradjuri country.
So What do children need to support learning in the early years?
They need:
  • adults who help them to stay safe and healthy
  • positive caring relationships that are ongoing – the most important factor in supporting a child’s learning. All children need people, or at least one person, who believe in them, care for them, and want to support them as learners. Children do some of their most powerful learning from copying what people around them do, so it is important that they are with adults who are learners themselves
  • adults who appreciate the uniqueness of each child, and who respect and respond to the child’s feelings, needs and interests
  • help to learn to control their behaviour and patient teaching about what behaviour is accepted
  • opportunities to ‘be in the world doing things’. Children need to be actively involved in meaningful experiences
  • books to look at and read, stories to listen to and people with whom to have conversations. Loving language and books makes a great and strong start to developing a wide vocabulary and literacy skills
  • time to really get involved and build relationships with other children and adults
  • a group experience – this might be a playgroup, a childcare or occasional care centre, a family day care home, a kindergarten program, school or outside school hours care
Information in this Conversation was sourced from:
Getting Ready for School Begins at Birth Zero to Three, Washington, DC.
Making the most of childhood: the importance of the early years, State of Victoria (Department of Education and Early Childhood Development) October 2010
President’s Comment – 28 Aug 16 (28 August 2016)

Some of our new members have requested an explanation of their access to Rotary websites.

First and foremost is our own Club website where we meet and communicate with each other. This can be reinforced with personal email messages, Facebook messages and phone conversations. In addition we propose to hold some face to face meetings of our members in when we are in someone’s locality. If your username or password do not work please contact me.

DG Michael Milston has introduced his District Governor Communications format for this Rotary year. His objective is to allow you to consider each piece of information and decide if it tweaks your interest and you want to read on, or if not then you delete it. To achieve this, each bulletin will mainly be single topic focussed. So how will it work?

He will be sending out, by email, regular short “tweets” in a bulletin format called “Quick News“; a (probably monthly) “Conversations” bulletin which will look at thoughts and ideas around the monthly Rotary theme; and finally, but not least, a regular (probably monthly too) “What’s On” bulletin (see read more link below).

All these bulletins will, where there is more information available, refer by linking, back to the D9700 website. All these bulletins will be sent to your registered email address. Needless to say I welcome any feedback, contributions, comments, and thoughts.

There will also be other items of interest to Rotarians and others on the D9700 website also know as ClubRunner, so do make a point of checking the site. Some of the bulletin stories above will also be on the Home Page. All Rotary Club members can login using their email address that they use for our E-Club. If you do not have or cannot remember your password  click on the link at the bottom of the login page.

Clubs have been asking for sometime about how they can use the web site for getting information to you and other Rotarians. The “What’s On” is an attempt to moderate this desire to tell the District Rotarians of these Clubs’ fundraising, social, and project endeavors.
Your Club can already put events onto the D9700 web site Calendar; so those items will be included in the “What’s On” and if you something also included, you will need to send the following information to our District Bulletin Editor, Ian Davison :
  • Type of activity (eg fundraising event, raffle, stall, etc)
  • Title of the activity
  • Purpose of the activity (support children/adults/etc improve/learn/ etc etc)
  • Dates
  • Location
  • Club involved
  • Contact details (for more info, buy tickets, name, email, landline or mobile); links to your Club’s website where there is more information would be the best for you to get your message across.

The other website that all Rotarians can login on is the Rotary International site at: .  This website is for the public but all active Rotary members can go to MyRotary and login to access a lot of information on Rotary. You will need to quote your Rotary Club and your Rotary International ID number. If you do not have this please ask our Club Secretary to email your number to you.

You will note that you are identified as  a member of your Rotary Club and you can look up any donations you have made to the Rotary Foundations. You can subscribe to newsletters from any of the various Action Groups, Committees or interest groups that can be accessed from here. You also have access to the International Directory that lists all Clubs worldwide, their meeting place and date, their executive contact details  so that you can organise to visit them or contact them to carry out a mutual project together.

It is on the Rotary International website that YOU begin to feel part of an extremely large and effective organisation serving humanity.

President’s Comment – 21 Aug 16 (21 August 2016)

Thank you to all six members who have submitted their member surveys. I will contact the remaining four by email who still have to submit.

Attendance by some members has been excellent. I encourage all members to log on to our website regularly and record their attendance an learn more about Rotary.

Pic 1

August is Membership Month, a time to celebrate your club, your members, and the good you do in your community and around the world! Many people join Rotary to serve others locally and globally. Rotary allows members to make a difference while promoting fellowship and international understanding.

We offer many programs that allow you to engage with fellow members and make new connections outside your club and district. Here are just a few ways to get more involved:

Youth Service recognizes the importance of empowering youth and young professionals. Read how Rotaract clubs are building stronger communities through sustainable service projects.