Archive for the “Blog” Category

A quest for international service led to my Rotary moment

By Jerry Kallman, Past President of the Rotary Club of Ridgewood, New Jersey, USA, and inspiration for the Rotary Club of The Palisades’ Kenya Project.

Jerry Kallman in Kenya

When I first served as president of the Rotary Club of Ridgewood in 2008, I sought out an international service project to complement the several community service activities our club traditionally supported. During that year’s District Conference, I learned the Rotary Club of Maywood, also in New Jersey, was supporting a school in the Maasai Mara Reserve of southern Kenya. My wife Lorraine and I joined the club’s annual visit to Kenya, with the intention of emulating their experiences while seeking out a school of our own to support.

In Kenya we found the Kishermoruak Primary School. After an informational meeting and learning session with the head teacher, who had never heard of Rotary, we agreed to a partnership. We drew up a wish list of project ideas based on community needs and as they say, the rest was history. Over the past eight years our club has:

  • Provided hot nutritious lunches for each student every school day;
  • Constructed and refurbished many classrooms, an administrative block of offices and a library;
  • Installed a deep water well serving over a thousand villagers and built a hand washing station for students;
  • Supported a three-year program in bee-keeping for mothers, empowering them to earn their own income and support their families;
  • Sent more than a dozen graduates to high school, and six onward to university;
  • Introduced feminine hygiene products for girls, allowing them to continue attending classes during their menstrual cycle;
  • Arranged eye exams, administered anti-worm pills, treated ring worm, and provided access to other health care services.

My wife and I time our annual visit for July when school is in session. Our visits always coincide with a meeting of the parents’ council, who we work with closely on every major decision. They have been important partners, contributing to projects with materials and labor, thus not only supporting the local economy but also giving them ownership of each program.

Funding for these initiatives has come from donations from my own club members, other Rotary clubs in the district, generous family members and Rotary friends around the world who have learned about the program through my publicity efforts.

During a recent visit, I met a group 20 girls who were new students at the school. The head teacher explained the girls had all escaped abusive homes or the threat of female genital mutilation or an arranged marriage. The head teacher asked me to help distribute uniforms we had brought for them, and I presented each girl with a blouse, jumper and sweater package. As each slightly excited youngster entered the office, she bowed her head in the traditional Maasai show of respect and in turn, I obligingly placed my hand on each head. When all 20 uniforms were presented, the girls scampered away, only to reappear ten minutes later, all giggles and smiles, wearing their new attire.

“This is the first time I have seen them smile in the six weeks they have been here at school,” said the head teacher. This was a true Rotary moment for me, and for them as well.

Partners For Peace Videos

Hal Rifken showed three short videos, at last Friday’s Rotary breakfast meeting, he has made for Partnering for Peace. This unique and fascinating video project documenting sustainable Rotary & Peace Corps projects has tremendous value for promoting our club and Rotary International’s work in developing countries. Hal’s project was awarded a Rotary District Grant to help fund it.

The video will be featured at the Partners for Peace booth at the Rotary International Toronto Convention next June. District Gov. James Boyer will show the videos at a Peace conference on NYC’s Intrepid Museum in the Spring.

Partners for Peace 12-05-2017

Rotary Welcomes Two New Members!

Rotary of the Palisades inducts two new members at its weekly Friday breakfast meeting. From left to right, Governor Jim Boyer, Sally Seymour, President Arthur Aranda, Daniela Castaldo,  Governor-Elect Nikki Mederos and Assistant Governor John Mitchell

Hal Rifken’s Partnering for Peace Project Underway

Rotary member, Hal Rifken recently spent 5 days in Costa Rica with a contingent of Denver Rotarians. Hal’s completing production of an informational video for Partnering for Peace, an organization that encourages Peace Corps/Rotarian collaborations on community development projects around the world.

Hal Rifkin

Club President Rory Sutherland – Friday, May 19th 7:30-8:30am

Rory Sutherland has been a volunteer EMT in Hackensack for 9 years. He will be speaking about Leadership in EMS ahead of a similar presentation at RYLA. Leadership in EMS is not always about being in charge, but about taking responsibility for a very specific role and performing that role for the benefit of the patient. This involves working with other agencies: police, rescue, dispatch, ALS.Rory EMT Photo

Rotary of The Palisades Club President Rory Sutherland (center) with co-workers from the Hackensack Volunteer EMS crew.

Rotary Club of The Palisades, NJ meets most Friday mornings at 7:30 at the Gotham City Diner, 550 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, and the first Tuesday of each month at Dante’s Place, 373 Broad Ave., Leonia. Meetings last one hour. All participants buy their own meal. Evening dinners are $30 and  BYOB . Contact Philip Wilson with questions at WilsonPhilipE@Gmail.com or at 201-956-8509.

This Mother’s Day weekend Rotary donates $500 to Freedom From Fistula Foundation

Angela McCabe (Development Director) explaining the goal of the FFF http://www.freedomfromfistula.org/  of helping women in Africa.

  • 1 woman every 2 seconds is seriously injured or disabled giving birth
  • An estimated 2 million women and girls in Africa live with obstetric fistula
  • It is estimated that another 100,000 develop the condition every year
  • More than 500,000 women die each year during pregnancy or childbirth, mostly in developing nations
  • 80% of these deaths are completely avoidable
  • In 2005, 8 million women around the world experienced life-threatening complications during pregnancy and childbirth

*Source: AFri-Dev.Info

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Guest speaker Angela McCabe and Rotary Club President, Rory Sutherland with Joe Dino Jr. ( Rotary International)

Angela McCabe: Freedom from Fistula Foundation – Friday, May 12th 7:30-8:30am

The Freedom from Fistula Foundation (FFFF) manages and funds projects that deliver maternal health care to vulnerable girls and women across Africa. The foundation treats and cares for those suffering from obstetric fistula by offering free surgeries, free maternity care and programs that provide social and psychological support and economic empowerment. The overall goal of the organization is to completely eradicate obstetric fistulas for women and girls in Africa.

The overall goal of the organization is to completely eradicate obstetric fistulas for women and girls in Africa.

More than 2 million women in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Arab region, and Latin America and the Caribbean are estimated to be living with fistulas and some 50,000 to 100,000 new cases develop annually.
A fistula occurs when women and girls are subject to prolonged and obstructed labor during childbirth. A fistula is a hole between the birth canal and bladder or rectum. Not only do the women frequently lose their babies, but without access to timely, high-quality medical treatment it leaves women leaking urine, feces or both, and often leads to chronic medical problems as well as depression, social isolation and eventually deepening poverty.

The condition is almost entirely preventable. The WHO states that obstetric fistula can be avoided by timely access to obstetric care. Its persistence is a sign of lack of access to quality health care (global inequality) and an indication that health systems in place now are failing to protect the health and human rights of the poorest and most vulnerable women and girls.


Rotary Club of The Palisades, NJ meets most Friday mornings at 7:30 at the Gotham City Diner, 550 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, and the first Tuesday of each month at Dante’s Place, 373 Broad Ave., Leonia. Meetings last one hour. All participants buy their own meal. Evening dinners are $30 and  BYOB . Contact Philip Wilson with questions at WilsonPhilipE@Gmail.com or at 201-956-8509.

 

Pedals for Progress Sept 9, 2017

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Now that better weather is here many of us are spring cleaning and possibly thinking of getting rid of unwanted adult or kids bikes.

I want to remind you of a great program called Pedals 4 Progress.   http://www.p4p.org/   Rotary of The Palisades partners with this 26 year old organization to rescue bicycles destined for overburdened U.S. landfills and ships them to developing countries where they are sorely needed and highly valued.

Pedals for Progress has collected over 150,000 bikes and has changed countless people’s lives by providing much needed transportation.  I can arrange to pick up your bike and store it until we have our collection Saturday, September 9th in Leonia

If you don’t have a bike to donate but would like to contribute in another way we are also raising money to off-set the $10 dollar shipping fee for each bike collected. Any amount is greatly appreciated. We also need volunteers to help on the day of collections to “ready” the bikes for their new owners.

Please contact me if you can contribute bikes, money or time.

Thank you so much!

Sincerely,

​Arthur Aranda

201-741-1537 talk/text

aranda1492@gmail.com

Huge crowd for Yoojin Grace Wuertz

Rotary members and guests listening as Author Yoojin Grace Wuertz discusses and reads from her debut novel, Everything Belongs To Us. A fascinating tale of  two women who struggle to find their way in South Korea during the late 1970’s.

 

Author, Yoojin Grace Wuertz, Friday April 21, 2017 7:30-8:30am

Grace Wuertz #2

Yoojin Grace Wuertz was born in Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated to the United States at age six. She holds a BA in English from Yale University and an MFA in fiction from New York University. EVERYTHING BELONGS TO US is her debut novel, which was selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice. She lives in northern New Jersey with her husband and son.

Yoojin’s mom and aunt are the owners of  Sylvan Grace Florist in Leonia http://sylvangrace.com/

Grace will talk about her novel, read a passage and answer questions about her book. Please visit her website for more information: http://yoojingracewuertz.com/

Editorial Reviews of Everything Belongs to Us by Yoojin Grace Wuertz

“The intertwined lives of South Korean university students provide intimacy to a rich and descriptive portrait of the country during the period of authoritarian industrialization in the late 1970s. [Yoojin Grace] Wuertz’s debut novel is a Gatsby-esque takedown, full of memorable characters.”The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ ChoiceEverything Belongs to Us.)
 
“Wuertz’s masterful novel traces the paths of two friends who come from very different backgrounds, but whose trajectories have taken them to the same point in time. This is a story of love and passion, betrayal and ambition, and it is an always fascinating look at a country whose many contradictions contribute to its often enigmatic allure.”Nylon
 
“Less a debut and more an arrival, this arresting first novel from Yoojin Grace Wuertz brings to life a South Korea poised on the brink of transformation and the young people caught up in its turbulence. . . . Readers will easily draw parallels between the South Korean generation pictured here and today’s millennials, both groups of young people set to inherit sink-or-swim social orders with huge gaps in wealth. . . . Powerful and absorbing, Everything Belongs to Us introduces a new and compelling voice.”Shelf Awareness
 
“Hauntingly relevant . . . hums with exquisite tensions . . . The novel reveals an exciting place and time, in the catalytic sense, and all the more-so for us as visitors who are surrounded by its echoes—class, sex, race—even now.”Paste
 
“Engrossing . . . Wuertz is an important new voice in American fiction.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“[A] memorable debut . . . Wuertz crafts a story with delicious scenes and plot threads.”Publishers Weekly
 
“An absorbing debut destined for major lists and nominations.”Booklist


Rotary Club of The Palisades, NJ meets most Friday mornings at 7:30 at the Gotham City Diner, 550 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, and the first Tuesday of each month at Dante’s Place, 373 Broad Ave., Leonia. Meetings last one hour. All participants buy their own meal. Evening dinners are $30 and  BYOB . Contact Philip Wilson with questions at WilsonPhilipE@Gmail.com or at 201-956-8509.

 

 

Edgewater, Leonia, Palisades Park