Rotary District 6290
Monthly e-Bulletin

Volume 1 | Issue 7

Update from our District Governor, Brian Robertson
Greetings to all Rotarians’ especially those in District 6290. A very warm welcome to our new DGD Gary Chenoweth Gary is from the Rotary Club of Elk Rapids and will serve as District Governor in the years 2021 – 22. He has been involved, at the District level, with the District Rotary Foundation Committee.
The month of March is looking to be very busy for many Rotarians in the District. The annual Presidents Elect Training Seminar begins on March 14th in Kalamazoo. It is two and a half days of extensive information gathering for the 2019 -20 club Presidents My thanks to all of the PET’s team who make this event possible. It is no small undertaking and has been developed into a well-oiled machine that affords your incoming President the opportunity to gather information and the encouragement to assist them in having all of the clubs in the District succeed in their goals and objectives. Each incoming President had the opportunity to attend “Pre PET’s” thanks to DGE Dave Thomas and the training team. The amount of information at the formal PET’s can be overwhelming so the idea of a pre PET’s goes a long way in assisting as to what to expect March 14th to 16th... There will be many great speakers in attendance and it will be a learning experience for all of us.
The month of March is Water and Sanitation month and March 22nd is World Water Day. Water is becoming so important in our daily lives that it is just no longer a third world problem. It is on our door step and many of the lessons that Rotary has learned in other countries can be applied to local situations.
Also in March the week of the 11th to 17th is Rotaract Week. To quote RI President  Barry Rassin “These are young people who are committed to Rotary ideas, who are pouring their hearts into service, and who, in the process, don’t forget to have fun” he continues “Rotary is powerful. Together with Rotaract, it is unstoppable.”
For those of you that have not yet had the opportunity to read March Rotary magazine, The Rotarian, I encourage you, as always, to do so. It is just not very enlightening it is wealth of information and encouragement on the world we live in and the important part that Rotary plays.
Less than 40 days until the District Conference in Sault Ste Marie Ontario! Please rest assured that it is not just relying on me personally to make it a success. There is a great team in place to make it a fun event and to bring all Rotarian’s together to learn from each other and to exercise the full meaning of fellowship. Please check the District web page for details. My club in Sault Ste Marie wants to hear your success stories. The more we know about each other’s clubs the better chance we have to come up with new ideas for “Service above Self”
Yours in Rotary
Brian Robertson
DG 6290 2018 -19  
Introducing Gary Chenoweth, DGND 
We are very excited to introduce to you, Gary Chenoweth our 2021-2022 District Governor.  Gary is from the Rotary Club of Elk Rapids!
Club President, Bob Carricato and District Governor Brian Robertson have a question for you!
Rotary International Convention Hamburg Germany, 1-5 June 2019
Update from Peace Fellow Joanne Elvy
Greetings to all from Prague in the Czeck Republic!  As an update from November past, following a brief volunteer stint in Romania and Poland, I traveled to the Béqaa Valley in southern Lebanon, about six miles from the Syrian border.  I spent the month of January in Bar-Elias, living with a Lebanese family and volunteering to assist in the Syrian refugee community.  This May I will share a snapshot of my time in Béqaa Valley at District Conference in Sault Ste Marie, Canada. 
As a backdrop to the refugee crisis in this region, Syrians number three to every one Lebanese with a large percentage of the refugee population living in makeshift plastic tents randomly set up throughout the area.  This is just one example on the outskirts of Bar Elias, taken during the floods in January.
In order to discourage Syrians from settling permanently in Lebanon, since early 2015 all Syrians have been stripped of their legal status, including those living in the region before the crisis began in 2011.  Thousands of Syrian children in the Béqaa region are thus unable to attend Lebanese schools, with children under 12 never having had any access to formal education.  Social Support Societies have been set up by Syrian parents to provide basic schooling and support to their children.  For my part I volunteered in the education center at Al Makassed School in Bar-Elias, integrating English language learning into existing curriculum in math, science, and geography.  One interesting challenge I faced was explaining our English mathematical equations that we read “left to right,” whereas in Arabic these calculations are made right to left!
I also volunteered with GERO (“Global Education and Refugee Organization”), a local NGO comprised mainly of Syrian adults who provide outreach to those living in the tent cities.  We developed and delivered arts-based activities geared toward peace education and the recovery of motor and literacy skills.  We also provided networking workshops to promote ways in which those learning English could provide language learning activities to encourage and support others around them.  Our activities and interactions with the children were welcomed relief to as January is typically a difficult month for them, due to the flooding and also that the infrastructure in which they live is very fragile.
Back in the Czeck Republic, I am currently making arrangements to return to Lebanon for three months in mid-May to continue my advocacy and outreach.  In the meantime I look forward to the upcoming annual Rotary gathering in May to share more stories of my time in Béqaa and catch up in person!
Yours in Peace
Joanne Elvy (Peace Fellow, Class 24)  
Rotary Destiny
Don’t you love it when things come together? 
Shirley Grace, an inspirational Rotary speaker and Past Rotary District Governor from California, spoke of “Rotary Destiny” at PETS.  Basically she illustrated how, as an example, her Gramma made all her clothes until she was 9.  About then Shirley approached her Grandmother and said there was “a really pretty dress in a window downtown, and,  would Gramma make one like it for her?”
Gramma said, “No . .  . . But I will teach you how to make it yourself.”  Fade out for several years while Shirley made all her own clothes, thanks to Gramma, until she was a Rotarian working on a grant for women in Indonesia to get sewing machines and teach the women to sew so they could make clothes to sell and make money for their families. Shirley found her sewing skills very helpful as she took the lead in building this grant.
Don’t you love it when stuff just works out right?
As it turns out, Shirley is a PDG from California.  She knows the PDG from District 5160, also in California, the district where the horrific Camp Fire took place last summer. Our Grants folk planned last November to make a $5,000 grant to aid the victims of the Camp Fire in Paradise, CA.  My search for a contact in district 5160 turned up this PDG friend of Shirley’s named Pam Gray, who actually lives in Paradise, the epicenter of the fire.  Pam and her husband, both Rotarians in the Paradise Rotary Club, lost their house, car and business to the fire.  Have a look at these before and after pictures of their house.
Like most of the residents of Paradise, the Grays had to go find housing elsewhere while they put their own lives back together and helped the community to find footing and start all over again after the fire.
PDG Pam Gray and I began communicating about how they would use our $5,000 grant back in January. As it turned out they had a project for the local Ponderosa Elementary School principal who wanted to replace 38 Chromebooks, important tools for their early literacy teaching, which burned in the fire. The Chromebooks cost $15,000.  A local donor was already in for $10,000.  Our $5,000 completed the purchase. We immediately agreed.
Upon receiving our check on February 25, Pam wrote me, “Next week is four months since the fire – it is still devastating, but we continue to keep getting up each morning, putting one foot in front of the other. . . . . .Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”
Our check was attached to the purchase order for the Chromebooks a week ago and the kids are looking forward to getting back to their early literacy lessons as I write this.
Last weekend I met Shirley Grace at PETS and we discovered we had a mutual friend in Pam Gray.  Flying home on Saturday evening Shirley texted her friend Pam to report on meeting me saying, “Met the Foundation folks from 6290 this weekend and they were sharing how they were able to help provide funding [for the Camp Fire victims]. It is a small Rotary world.” 
Pam replies, “Love this!  Rotary is keeping us strong!  Personally more than difficult. As Rotarians we must step outside ourselves.  We moved back into Paradise yesterday.  It looks like  war zone but I needed to be back on the ridge.”
Shirley responded, “ . . . . .I will share this with Al and team and look forward to learning more.”
Pam comes back, “People want to help with projects, but once you see the devastation it is clear it will take time to identify projects.  The water is still not safe – we are a third world town in a first world country.”
Shirley: “There are no words.  I will share [your story].”
Pam: “For a decade we [she and her husband] hosted dinner on Friday night for the District Assembly folks who had to travel to attend the event here [in Paradise].  We will do it again this year, but we will have to get some folding tables and chairs.  Might be just pizza on paper plates.”
Shirley: “And that will work. Bless you all.”
Shirley sent this interchange to me on Monday morning knowing it would make me very happy to hear two Rotarian friends speaking about the tragedy and the Paradise Rotarians indomitable spirit. 
Pam sent me a note on Monday telling me about the Chromebook purchase and saying, “You are correct about Rotary helping Paradise, and they will continue to help.  Our new club motto is, ‘Even if your town burns down, you can’t kill a Rotary Club.  We are inducting two new members this week!”
She sent chills of pride down my back: pride for being a Rotarian myself, and Pride that 6290 has been a small part of helping people like the Paradise Rotarians.
The story is not complete yet.  I will tell you how it ends when the kids get their ChromeBooks and the community of Paradise begins to get their feet back underneath them. Stay tuned, but until then, if any clubs want to help the Rotary club of Paradise do good in their community, let me know and I will put you in touch with PDG Pam Gray. OK?
Al Bonney
District 6290 Rotary Foundation Committee Chair
It's MATCH time!
For a limited time only, April 1, 2019 thru May 15, 2019 on a fist come first serve basis, Rotary International District 6290 is offering to match a gift of $500.00 to the Rotary Foundation's Annual Fund, with 500 recognition points to name a Paul Harris Fellow. ( Note, the entire $500.00 contribution must be made within the program date. (Earlier partial donation cannot be counted towards this match program.) Please check you email for form and details!
You asked for it and we responded!
You asked for it and we responded!
Last year we began to hear club comments that they would like to know more about what other clubs were doing for service projects that were supported by Rotary Grants.  The initial comments came too late in the year,but this year we have it organized and ready for you on the district web site, right now.
If you go to the District web site at and click on Our Foundation at the top of the page, you will get a drop-down menu. Click on Foundation Grants and scroll down till you get to Find out How the District and Global Grant Money was used.
Below “Find Out How . . “ you will find a list of all the grants that were awarded last November.  Each grant listed is a link to a more detailed explanation of that grant, how much grant money was awarded and the club that created the project. If you like any of what you read, contact the club and start asking questions!
We hope you find this helpful.  Let us know what you think.  If you like it we can do it every year.  We can get it out even earlier now that we know what we are doing!