Car Festival postponed until spring
WELCOME TO THE MORRISVILLE-YARDLEY AREA ROTARY CLUB!
SCROLL DOWN AND SEE WHAT WE'RE UP TO!
To respond to the coronavirus pandemic, the club is meeting at the present time via Zoom and teleconferencing. Check the calendar for details and stay well - masks, frequent hand washing and social distancing.
Click to find: What's coming up? Where does the club meet and what is the ZOOM meeting ID, Passcode and Dial-in phone no.? Who are the Officers? How Can I be Involved?
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Click Here to read my welcome message and then continue to scroll down on this page to see what the club has been doing over the past year. (We've been busy!)
Oh, and click on the Facebook link below to go to the Club's facebook page.
Michael Yager, President 2021-2022
September 23, 2021 Education Needs and Opportunities - Here and There!
There were two guest presentations at the meeting. One was via Zoom by Vinita Saraf in India and the other by Dan O’Brien (in-person at Michael’s Restaurant) and Tomia Sippo-Smith (via Zoom).
SA Vaneswaran introduced Vinita Saraf of the Rotary Club of Calcutta who presented a proposal for a pilot project to help girls in poverty areas in Calcutta get an education and skill training. In India girls from poverty areas are bypassed when it comes to schooling. Vinita has organized the program under the name “Ektara” and is seeking to expand. The global grant would provide needed facilities and teachers. The Board of Directors of Morrisville-Yardley Area Rotary will be taking the proposal to participate under consideration.
President Mike Yager then introduced Dan O’Brien, Bucks County Coordinator, Public Citizens for Children and Youth, a Pennsylvania advocacy organization. Dan introduced staff member Tomea Sippo-Smith to present their report “No More Dreams Deferred: Building an Education System that Works for Black and Hispanic Students”.
Tomia presented several charts of the results of studies that compared outcomes of Black and Hispanic Students with White students in suburban Bucks County. For example, participation of Black and Hispanic students in advanced placement classes was significantly less than white students even though their academic achievement was at a par with the white students. In another measure, the number of dollars available to schools with higher percentages of Black and Hispanic students was less than those with a higher white student percentage.
The conclusion, as indicated by the title of the presentation, we need to work to build an education system that works as well for Black and Hispanic students as it does for white students.
September 9, 2021 Two New Members Approved
Amy Rinkivech and Christine ("Tina") Shannon were approved for membership. Welcome aboard, Amy and Tina!
August 12, 2021, Rotary Learns of Proposal to Screen for Diabetic Retinopathy in India
The scheduled speaker, a Rotarian located in India, was unable join the ZOOM General Meeting. SA Vaneswaran was knowledgeable of the presentation and had a copy of the supporting graphics.
Basically, there is a proposed Global Grant intended to support screening diabetic people within District 3190 in India for Diabetic Retinopathy (DR). One third of those with diabetes globally have DR, which a vision condition that can cause blindness. It can be detected by a retinal exam and treated before symptoms are noticed. Hence the proposal to provide free screening to those who otherwise would not know about the condition and who likely would not be able to afford an exam.
The global grant proposal shows the Morrisville-Yardley Area Rotary Club contributing $2000 along with a donation from District 7430 of $2000. While this appears to be a worthwhile project for the club in India, it would have to be compared with other Morrisville-Yardley Area Club projects before the club could consider supporting it. Inasmuch as this was the first time the club had heard of the proposal and the condition of the club’s treasury does not support such a donation at this time, SA was requested to communicate this situation to the club in India.
Update: August 26, 2021
SA introduced Ravi Kumar of Rotary District 3190 in India who was present via Zoom. He addressed the concerns of the club expressed at the previous meeting and there was agreement for the Morrisville-Yardley Area Club to go forward as a participant on the effort to obtain a global grant for the project.
July 22, 2021, "Passing the Gavel"
The Morrisville-Yardley Area Rotary Club met in-person at the Garden of Eatin restaurant. Past President, Danielle Larison, “Passed the Gavel” to new President, Mike Yager, who announced the new Board of Directors. Rotarian Juan Proano inducted Noel Sperry as a new member. Then he presented Paul Harris Fellow pins and certificates to Mike Rosso, Tom Mack and Denny Lanctot, in recognition of contributions made to The Rotary Foundation. He announced that Steve Ullrich, who wasn't in attendance, also was a Paul Harris Fellow recipient.
The club was honored to have the District Governor, Robert Hobaugh, Gail Linenberg, the Assistant Governor for our area, and John Ortoff, our former Assistant Governor, in attendance.
July 8, 2021 Rotary Discovers How to Educate a Child in India for $200 Annually
At the July 8, 2021, virtual General Meeting of the Morrisville-Yardley Area Rotary Club, Rotarian SA Veneswaran introduced the main speaker, Sam Vonumu, with whom he is networking to provide educational opportunities for children in India who are living in the slums. Sam, now an Information Technology Project Manager in the US Department of Treasury, started life himself in the slums of India. He was fortunate to be sponsored by a philanthropic agency to receive an education and progressed to where he is now; a U.S citizen, college graduate, U.S. Navy Veteran and married, living in Maryland.
In India and other places, education is available only through private institutions. If one doesn't have access to money then there is no access to education. By providing a child in the slums with guaranteed school attire and payment for books, the private schools generally will accept the students. Hence, for about $200 annually, a child can gain access to schooling.
In 1996 Sam and his wife decided that they should begin paying back for all of the opportunities afforded to them and began putting away a few dollars regularly to sponsor the education of children from the slums in India. In 4 years they had sponsored 45 children. Co-workers began to get interested in what they were doing and began donating. By word-of-mouth the group has expanded to provide education for some 44,000 children! They also are helping children in the slums in other countries gain access to education.
They now operate though Uplift A Child, a 501( c)3 corporation, that he founded. Sam has expanded understanding of the project through many Rotary Club presentations and general networking. More information may be found at www.upliftachild.org.
June 24, 2021 Rotary Learns About Free Local Dental Services for Low Income Persons
At the June 24 General Meeting of the Morrisville-Yardley Area Rotary Club, Speakers John Sisti and Rick James explained the Healthlink Clinic’s purpose and origin. John, who retired after 35 years in
running manufacturing plants and developing startups, got involved by chance in refurbishing dental equipment and then donating the equipment to the Healthlink Clinic. Rick, who is the current President of the Central Bucks Rotary, is the President of Healthlink. He explained that the organization was founded twenty years ago by philanthropist Eugene Jackson to provide accessible medical and dental services to working, uninsured adults. About five years ago Medicaide and the Affordable Health Care Act dramatically improved the medical care landscape but not for dental care. Healthlink, in response, opted to focus solely on dental services and oral health education. Through the generosity of volunteer dentists, a small paid staff and various community partnerships, it provides free services to low-income working adults and U.S. military veterans living in Bucks and Montgomery Counties. From 2016 through 2019 the organization served 10,807 patients with the value of services amounting to $4,141,696. For more information go to www.healthlinkdental.org.
May 17, 2021 Morrisville-Yardley Area Rotary Club Meeting has an International Flavor!
Vice President Mike Yagar conducted the meeting from the Valley Day School in Morrisville where several members were present in-person. Speaker Carlos Rafael Rosales (lower right in picture) joined the meeting from Guatemala, club member Juan Proano (lower middle) joined from Peru and Axel Augspach (lower left) joined from Argentina. Two members joined the meeting from their homes locally.
Speaker Rosales talked about efforts of his club, the Hermosa Club of Guatemala, to develop nutritional and agricultural strategies in improve maternal and child nutrition. The focus is on hydroponic farming which can be done on a local level by small groups of families working together. These hydroponic units can provide for better nutrition and yield surplus food that can be sold to provide income for the families and help break the cycle of poverty. Only minimum land space and modest investment in equipment are required compared with traditional farming. Guatemala is suffering from severe drought is many places and hydroponic farming takes only about 10% of the water necessary for traditional farming. One hundred families, in groups of 10 families per hydroponic unit, currently are involved in the pilot program with the hope of replicating the model all over Guatemala. A Rotary Global Grant of $78,000 US for the pilot is in process.
May 13, 2021 General Meeting
Morrisville-Yardley Area Rotary Club Hears About the Science behind Covid Vaccinations
Speaking at the Rotary club’s hybrid meeting, Sergio Buitrago spoke about the science behind the Covid vaccines and the arguments in favor of getting vaccinated. Sergio, who lives in Morrisville, was a doctor in Columbia, SA, and came to the US a refugee. He worked in medical R&D for several years and now is in the pharmaceutical industry. Vice President Mike Wager welcomed several guests who were present at the Valley Day School including Assistant Governor Gail Linenberg and former Assistant Governor John Ortolf.
April 22, 2021 General Meeting
First ever hybrid meeting of the Morrisville-Yardley Area Rotary Club!
The General Meeting was a combination of in-person attendees at the Valley Day School in Morrisville, hosted by Rotarian Dr. Ron Hall, and attendance by others via ZOOM. The main speaker was new Rotarian Noel Sperry who spoke in-person and gave a sketch of his background and is very interested in service projects around Morrisville. In-person guests included Sergio Fonseca Buitrago and spouse Cristian Ruizzf. Asst. Governor Gail Linenberg and guest Scott McCrea of the Valley Day School Board of Directors attended via ZOOM. VP Mike Yager made the introductions in person while President Danielle Larison attended via Zoom. Other members attending in-person included Tom Miller (shown with mic) , Juan Proano, Denny Lanctot and Dave Sample. Member Tom Mack and new member SA Vanewaran participated via ZOOM, which was hosted by member Hal Long. The Valley Day School has full technology support capabilities, including large screen projection of the ZOOM participants for the in-person attendees and a cordless microphone to ensure good sound quality for benefit of the ZOOM participants.
April 3, 2021 Annual Egg Hunt
For more than 70 years the Morrisville-Yardley Area Rotary Club has sponsored the Morrisville Borough Easter Egg Hunt in Williamson Park. This event drew hundreds of families to the park to get their share of the thousands of candy-filled eggs made available by the efforts of our club members and generous donations from the community. Unfortunately, with continued COVID19 restrictions on large gatherings, the egg hunt had to be canceled for a second year.
To keep the tradition alive (to some extent) members of the club, accompanied by the fully vaccinated Easter Bunny, delivered candy and prizes to children in the area so they could have an egg hunt in the privacy and safety of their own homes. We also spent a day with the Easter Bunny handing out candy to children at the Interfaith Food Alliance which is located at the Morrisville United Methodist Church. Based on the smiles from the children involved. We intend to return to the park next year, as gathering restrictions are lifted. (In the IFA pic: Eileen Heitman, Diane Casey, Easter Bunny (a.k.a. Kurt Holthenrichs), Alen Ibric, Judy Dallas & Daniel Paton. In the last pic: Mike Yager, the Bunny and Danielle Larison. In the 5th pic: Juan Proano & Danielle)
March 25, 2021
Guest speaker was Tom Gump, Governor District 5950, speaking on how to form a cause-based club. Tom was speaking via ZOOM from his home in Minneapolis, MN. Tom was introduced by ADG Gail Linenberg and Club VP Mike Yager. Tom has been featured in the Rotary magazine and is in demand throughout the world of Rotary for his innovative approach to membership growth and retention, especially through cause-based clubs. He founded the first-ever Rotary club for veterans and is co-founder of the End Human Trafficking Rotary club. (Lloyd Campbell and Anya Magnuson who were present are part of Bob’s team.) Click here for slide presentation
March 11, 2021
S.A. Vanewaran was introduced by VP and Pres. Elect Mike Yager, who explained that “SA” had expressed interest in joining the club through the club’s website. Mike, after talking with SA, invited him to speak to the club about himself, his background and his interest in joining Rotary.
SA explained that in his home country, India, he had worked in the aerospace industry for a large part of his career. A medical condition caused him to move to the U.S. where he became employed for several years by Lucent Technologies in Bridgewater, NJ. (Lucent was a spinoff of the Bell Laboratories after the breakup of the Bell System in the 1980’s). Lucent was bought by Nokia in 2015 and SA, at the suggestion of his son who lived in Morrisville, decided to move to Morrisville.
Throughout his career SA was always interested in philanthropic projects and has a website in India devoted to promoting service projects to help the poor in India. He has utilized his network of important contacts to raise money for various projects including education of the poorest and some 6000 cataract surgeries for older people. He also worked with Lucent in India to develop a water purification system that would serve some 2000 villages. Implementation has been stymied, unfortunately, by the pandemic.
He now has a website in the U.S. that complements the one in India. At some point he was advised to get in touch with Rotary as a potential partner in his philanthropic interests. Hence his interest in joining.
District Governor-Elect Bob Hobaugh was in attendance and noted that “India is the place to be for Rotary”, citing that the Rotary International President-Elect is businessman in India and noting that Rotary has been and is involved in significant service projects in India beyond the polio eradication program.
January 28, 2021
The club was honored to have Bob Hobaugh, District Governor-Elect, as its guest.(2nd row, right)
Zachary Mahon, Director of the Solid Rock Youth Center in Morrisville, (2nd row, middle) was the guest speaker talking about the newly-formed Morrisville Community Coalition. It’s purpose, he explained, is to bring together organizations and leaders in the Morrisville community to identify things that can make Morrisville a healthier and safer community and to implement action plans addressing the needs and opportunities. He presented a number of interesting charts from a state-wide survey of school districts about student and parent attitudes on relationships and issues within the family, the school and the community, comparing Morrisville responses to state norms. For instance, influence of drugs and gangs was not as high as might have been anticipated but factors related to teen suicide and thoughts of suicide identified a definite need to provide more help. Hal Long is currently representing Rotary in the coalition.
November 12, 2020
The club was informed about hospice services by Terry Bennett, Nurse Referral Liaison for Chandler Hall. She talked about hospice care and services provided by Chandler Hall in Newtown. .
New club business: The club will be donating a bus shelter in Morrisville to help protect riders during inclement weather. The shelter will be installed by the Borough of Morrisville and will be located near the intersection of Bridge Street and N. Pennsylvania Ave.
The club also is donating $500 to help the Guatamalan Rotary Cub deal with extensive flooding as the result of Hurricane Eta.
October 22, 2020
General Rotary Meeting. VP Mike Yager conducted the meeting and welcomed Asst. District Governor, Gail Linenberg, who encouraged participation in the district’s “Purple Pinkie” Polio fundraising activities. Mike then introduced his long-time friend and business associate, Daniel Umstead, as the speaker. Daniel spoke on "Building your brand through social media" and gave a number of tips on engaging others. His central message was that on social media people are more interested in getting to know who you are on a personal basis, rather than what business affiliations you may have.
Sept. 24, 2020
Diane Marseglia, Bucks County Commissioner, explained to the club the county's plans for handling the expected heavy load of mail-in ballots in the coming election and talked about efforts to establish a Mental Health Court to better address the issues of clinical and criminal justice outcomes for people living with mental illness.
At the first meeting in September, the speaker was John Scott of the District talking about the Purple Pinkie/Race to Zero,
a District event to raise money for the polio fight. Click Here for more info.
Pleased to have Asst. District Governor Gail Linenberg attending and introducing John.
August 27, 2020
At the second club meeting of August, Rob Grau, owner of Horizons Advertising in Morrisville, spoke via ZOOM to the club about developing the Yardley Car Festival website, which he did at no cost to the club.. He also talked about his development of the new Make It Morrisville website, which he disigned to promote everything in Morrisville. Go to MakeItMorrisville.com and look around. Other info shared in the meeting was that Peruzzi Auto Group had made a $500 donation to the club for its Major Sponsorship of the Yardley Car Festival.
August 13, 2020
District Governnor Janet Kolepp talked to the club about the goals and resources available from the district and RI to aid in Growing Rotary. She noted the five core values of Rotary: Fellowship, Integrity, Diversity, Service and Leadership. (Go to the RI website rotary.org/learn and select Learning and References in the drop down menu. Scroll down to the menu selections and explore.) Janet was introduced by Asst. Governor Gail Linenberg. The entire Zoom presentation is available by clicking here pwd GM$v.4j+
July 23, 2020 Asst. District Governor Gail Linenberg spoke to the club via it's Zoom General Meeting. She offered some ideas about fund-raising and member recruiting in this pandemic. She also cited Welcome to the World of Rotary New Member Event Aug. 3 being offered by the district and the July 27 Changeover Celebration for the district leaders. (Go to the District 7430 website for details.) She also described the new Rotary International Area of Focus which is on the Environment.
July 21, 2020 Rotarian Mike Yager, 3rd from right, led the club in arranging for food and gift card donations to the Interfaith Alliance in Morrisville which helps local families that are food insecure. The funding was through a Rotary District 7430 cornavirus grant. Rotary 1st VP, Danielle Larison is on the right and Exec. Dir of the alliance, Diane Casey, is 2nd from right. The others are Rotarians and spouses.
July 17, 2020 The Virtual Yardley Car Festival has ended. Go to the festival website (Click here) to see the winners and thank the advertisers by looking over their ads. Thanks to all who particpated, entered vehicles, provided ads and gift certificates, voted and helped spread the word. The website will remain open for anyone who wants to relive the experience!
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