Theme: Reach Within to Embrace Humanity
“Reach within to Embrace Humanity” was the Rotary International theme for the year and ours was “Tell Your Story; Tell Our Story.” It was the year of “Why?” We explored the idea that people identify with why we do what we do. We tried to put that into practice by sharing our Rotary stories and motivation; with each other, in attracting new members, and in doing our fundraising.
Our Program Committee brought a stellar year of speakers and music to us. Current local hot topics to international guests, they made weekly meetings something we looked forward to.
Club Service kept meetings running smoothly, brought fun fellowship events, and welcomed twenty new high caliber members. We revamped our Rotogram, brought new technology to our Tuesday emails, started a Facebook page, and explored website options. The Art Fair Elephant Ears booth remains one of our favorite fellowship events, and we had great participation in the Golf Tournament and Dictionary Distribution.
One of the highlights of the year was our Fall Social and Fundraiser for the Salem Rotary Foundation at Hallie Ford Museum, viewing Renaissance Drawings from the Italian Maggiori collection and enjoying wine and hors d’oeuvres.
We had a record year for Tree of Joy giving, and raised $7,900 for the Salvation Army Kettle in December. Our White Elephant Auction raised almost $900, which was donated to our Salem Rotary Foundation. The annual Food Drive kicked off with a great event including other participating clubs, and raised $87,000 and 90,000 pounds of food.
Our major Good Works project provided start-up funds to launch H2°, a Habitat for Humanity vocational program that puts at-risk high school students to work on build sites learning construction and life skills. With our fundraising and a grant from our Foundation, we provided over $38,000 for transportation, incentives, promotion, and instruction. The effort culminated with a great Celebration at Willamette Valley Vineyards. The Good Works Committee also chose over $10,000 in small grant projects that were funded from the proceeds from the Salem Rotary Foundation.
New Generations continues to flourish with strong Youth Exchange and Short Term Exchange Programs. Tony Decker spent her year in Argentina, while Mariana Valdivia, from Peru, shared a delightful year with us.
Rotaract completed a vision session, led fall and spring service projects, and provided leadership in both the regional Baseball Night and the Golf Tournament. We had eighteen incredible students of the month and three Rotary Youth Leadership Award recipients.
On the International Service front, we exceeded our club goal of $20,000 for the Rotary Foundation. We received the International Change-maker Award and became a charter Peace Builder Club. We hosted a Friendship Exchange from India, and sent members to Israel.
Our World Community Service Committee pooled our $10,700 with funds from other clubs and District matching grants to leverage over $35,000 for nine projects in eight countries including wells and sanitation facilities in Haiti, pediatric heart surgeries in Bangalore India, books, ambulances, charcoal brick presses, and more.
This kind of service can only be accomplished by members who understand the value of their service and are committed to the motto of “Service above Self.”
Theme: Peace Through Service
This year’s theme was Peace Through Service. Peace starts from within, grows, and radiates outward to the community and ultimately the world. Our weekly meetings provide a haven of peace in an often rancorous world, and our myriad of service projects improve lives in Salem and the world beyond. Multiply that by the thousands of Rotary clubs out there, and one starts to realize Rotary’s significance in bringing about peace around the world.
This was the second year for our Peace Builder committee, and through it our club helped to sponsor 2 pairs of students from Cyprus, representing both sides of the divided country, who came to the US to learn about each other and how to help bridge the conflicts that divide them. Our club also sponsored its first candidate for a Peace Fellow Scholarship.
Locally, we continued our long-standing programs of community service, including the Food Drive, Tree of Joy, Salvation Army Bell ringing, grants to local non-profit causes, and dictionaries for every 4th grader in the school district. We rolled up our sleeves and got dirty, building trails for the Adaptive Riding Institute. Our major GoodWorks project was a $28,000 grant to purchase medical equipment and fund comfort and safety upgrades for Liberty House.
Internationally, with the help of other Rotary clubs and matching funds from Rotary International, we completed our water well project in Haiti. We also completed our heart surgery project for children in India, and helped other clubs with their projects around the world.
Our international Youth Exchange program continues to flourish, helping to increase world understanding and build the foundations of future peace. This year we hosted two delightful exchange students — Ditte Larsen from Denmark and Mateus Bianchi from Brazil. Our club also hosted two friendship exchange groups of adult Rotarians, one from Israel and the other from Argentina.
To fund all of these efforts we raised a lot of money! Our contribution to The Rotary Foundation, the international arm of Rotary, was almost $32,000. We raised $87,000 (and 18,800 pounds of food) for the Food Drive, $8,925 for the Tree of Joy, and $5,600 for the Salvation Army. Our major GoodWorks fundraiser netted almost $52,000. And through a combination of a record year for Bellringers, a successful Fall Social, and personal donations, our own Salem Rotary Foundation surpassed the halfway mark on its way towards accumulating $1 million by the year 2020.
These numbers are all the more impressive considering that our club dropped to just 159 members at the beginning of the Rotary year. During the course of the year, however, we added 26 strong and vibrant new members, and lost only a few along the way to bring our total to 176 at year’s end.
Our communications grew stronger this year, with a weekly eBlast that is continually improving, and a brand new website that helps club members keep track of what’s going on and tells the world who we are and what we do.
The fellowship committee came up with new ways to get us together outside the confines of the weekly meetings, keeping us laughing and engaged with each other.
We continue to be a club that gets things done, in a way that is fun and inspiring. And because of what we do in our club, in our community, and around the world, we bring about Peace Through Service.
Theme: Engage Rotary, Change Lives
The Rotary theme for 2013- 2014 was “Engage Rotary – Change Lives” and the Rotary Club of Salem did just that in big ways. We had members involved in the District level as the two Assistant District Governor’s for our area (Jim Booth and Renee Campbell), Youth Exchange positions, and the leadership for the District Conference in Salem (Linda Wooters and Ken Van Osdol). Many of our members also stepped up to make sure this was one of the most successful District Conferences ever. Moreover, to top it off at the District level, our club received an award for introducing more new members to Rotary than any other club in the entire District. That’s right, the entire District.
Our own projects in Salem, and internationally rounded out the year. Everything from blood drives, the dictionary project, Tree for Joy, fellowship events, having riders in the inaugural PoliPlus Bicycle ride put on by the Keizer Rotary Club, and celebrating the 25th Rotary Food Drive. Those are just some of the examples of what we did in the Salem area.
Internationally, we had inbound student Yusuke Nagaoka from Iyo, Japan, and outbound we had Alicia Munoz to India. We have been able to follow Alicia’s time thru a blog on our eBlast site. The International Service Committee was busy again working with various projects and were successful with clean water projects in Haiti. We provided funds for a Shelter Box, a truly amazing group of people, ready to go at a moment’s notice, to provide shelter for people in a crisis. Our Peace Builder Committee under the leadership of Val Keever brought us the Cypress Friendship Program. This is a program where Rotary is building peace one student and one family at a time. Very exciting.
In the fall, the Good Works Committee, under the leadership of Bruce Anderson, selected the Center of Hope & Safety as the recipient of our fundraiser. Committee members also felt that another project was worthy, this one a hands on project. The idea was no fundraising, but a time to share with each other as we become engaged to make change. St. Francis Shelter has an opportunity for us to do just that and Christian Bryant and Don Lulay are working to get this accomplished.
Our Good Works Fundraising and Celebration, under Lauren Jones, took on the task of accomplishing our goal for the fundraiser. In good old Rotary fashion, with the assistance of our charitable heart of our club, Salem Rotary Foundation, and the collaboration of the Center of Hope & Safety, we were able to help secure $ 60,000.00 for the Center of Hope & Safety and $ 40,000.00 for our own charitable works.
We missed the Elephant Ear booth at the Salem Art Fair this year. It all started in 1988 as a hot dog booth. Elephant ears arrived in 1989 and we had to borrow an electric French fryer from a Vancouver Rotary Club to start the journey. It was a good run as fundraiser and then as a fellowship event. However, with all good things, there is a time for change.
You as the Rotary Club of Salem certainly got things done. As one of our speakers said, dream big and never give in. We had big dreams and it is not just the end of a Rotary year, but the beginning of stories of how lives were changed as we, you, engaged Rotary.
Theme: Light Up Rotary
The Rotary International theme this year was “Light Up Rotary,” a phase coming from the thought that is it better to light one candle than to sit and curse the darkness. Our club shone a light in our community again this year, brightening the way for many, and shining a light on Rotary in the process.
We continued our long tradition of blood drives, support for our annual city-wide Food Drive, and our holiday giving to the Tree of Joy. Our Salvation Army Kettle drives were as strong as ever.
We sent another two participants to Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), allowing them to gain confidence in their leadership skills and become the leaders of tomorrow. We recognized truly outstanding students from North Salem and South Salem High Schools, and distributed more than 4,000 dictionaries to area 4th graders. Our Literacy Committee went well beyond dictionaries to distribute thousands of children’s books by various means. In youth exchange, we sent Ally Peterson to Mexico, hosted Andres Klingler from Argentina, and shared the hosting of Claire Devousin from France with the Creekside club.
Our weekly e-newsletter kept members and friends up to date, and a major project over the course of the year was updating our website, www.RotaryClubOfSalem.com to bring updated branding and a sleeker look and interface. We’ve begun to explore a collaboration with CCTV to televise some of our fabulous programs, which continue to be a weekly highlight of membership.
The fundraiser raised just short of $59,000, $23,000 of which was dedicated to our major Good Works project, HOME Youth and Resource Center’s Youth Empowerment Program (YEP). This program is for homeless and disadvantaged teens who make a commitment to continue their education and make positive contributions to the community. By supporting youth in this program, we sent a powerful message that there are people who care
about them and their future.
In additional to our major Good Works project, we also provided $10,000 in small grants to area nonprofits. The remainder of the funds were distributed among our club’s committees for our broader charitable causes.
Having had a good year financially, we began to think about the year 2020, when our club will be celebrating its 100th year. In hopes that we will undertake a larger than normal community project in recognition of our centennial, we earmarked $15,000 as seed funding for such a project.
As a club, we get things done. We are forever changing lives.
Theme: Be a Gift to the World
Rotary International’s President, Ravi Ravindran, set the theme “Be a Gift to the World” for this Rotary year. Our Club had a great year making meaningful contributions in our local community and in the world.
Our Food Drive, holiday giving to the Tree of Joy and the Salvation Army, and blood drives were as strong as ever. Again this year we sent two aspiring young leaders to Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) camp. We lined up host families to welcome pairs of teenagers from the divided nation of Cyprus. We sponsored a Rotaract Club, and maintained ties with an Interact Club at South Salem High School. We welcomed exchange student Nishka Ajmera from India, and followed the progress of Emani Price in Slovakia. Leah Borden was our short term student in Japan during June.
The Salem Area Trail Alliance (SATA) was selected as our major Good Works project. With the $30,000 awarded, they proposed to build a pump track for bicycles in Geer Park within city limits. We loved the idea of kids being able to get outdoors and play in their own neighborhood, testing their skills on a hilly bike track. Near the end of the year, we had a ceremonial presentation of the big check to SATA that was enthusiastically attended and featured on our Facebook page and website.
The Board of Salem Rotary Foundation made available $28,000 for the Club’s charitable projects around Salem. The Good Works Committee, led by Bruce Anderson, awarded $12,000 to nine worthy recipients for small grants and scholarships. These projects included an industrial-grade kitchen appliance at a homeless shelter; scholarships for would-be soccer athletes; and prescription medicine for low income patients. We continued to fund the Duval scholarship for a student at Chemeketa Community College.
As the year closed, the Board dedicated a second $15,000 seed funding for a major project in celebration of our Club’s 100th year in 2020.