Archive for the “Blog” Category

Sasaki Masamitsu of Omagari Rotary Club, Japan

Rotary Club of The Palisades’ Vice President, Rick Pumo, exchanges banners with Omagari Rotary Club’s Past President, Sasaki Masamitsu who was visiting our club from Japan on Friday, January 12, 2018.

Sasaki Masamitsu

A Letter From A Student from the Kishermoruak-Obama Primary School in Kenya

Below is a letter from a student named Elizabeth Turere written to Paramus Rotarian Lois Horowitz. Lois sponsored the scholarship that allowed Elizabeth to attend school. The Rotary Club of The Palisades sponsors the hot lunches at the Kishermoruak-Obama Primary School. More information about this project can be found here.

Elizabeth Turere


My name is Elizabeth Koinanti Turere, I am 15 years old and a resident of Nkineji sub location, Siana Location, Narok County

I am from Turere family. My father has three wives and my mother is the second wife with 7 children, I am the fifth born in my family. The first wife of my father has 8 children and the third wife has 10 children. In total we are 25 children of my father. I had a wonderful life growing up, playing my brothers and sister, fetching water from the river, washing clothes, getting firewood and learning how to build a maasai Manyaata.

I was in grade 6 and 13 years old when I heard about the Maywood Rotary Kenya project scholarship and then I made a decision to work hard to be awarded this scholarship, by then it was the only scholarship being awarded to the 3 top students here.

At the age of 13, I was supposed to go through the rite of passage as per our traditional and married off to an old man who has a lot of cows. My sister was married at the age of 12, she was in grade 5. I went through the rite of passage, I didn’t want to but I had no choice. After a week or so I learned about the plans my father had from his third wife who is also like my mother, I was going to be married off. I had to come up with a plan to run away from home. I woke up the next morning and told my mother that I wanted to make bracelet for my husband to be and requested for permission to visit the market and buy the beads. My mother who was very happy about the plans my father had made gave me permission, this is when I made a decision to run away from home and never return.

At the town centre, I shared my story with Pastor Kidienye’s wife mama Linda as she is commonly known, she called the Pastor and a few people gathered. I told them about the plans my father had for me and told them about my desire to complete school and go to high school. The Pastors wife decided to host me for the night. The next day my father and his friends and everyone from my village arrived at Mama Lindas home, with them was my husband to be. Mama Linda had a phone which she used to call Mercy the Maywood Rotary representative. She talked to her and she requested to speak to my father. He was too angry so he refused to take the phone. My mother took the phone and told her about the plans my father had for me. Mercy has a rescue program for girls here and any girl that call or is referred to her, she always find a way help them. She negotiated with my mother and said he had money she could send to my father so that he can agree to let me go, requested for a week.

After a week, I was still at Mama Linda house, Mercy arrived with her husband. We walked for 7 kms to our village, found my father and negotiation started, it was horrible being there, being the discussion and only aged 13 years old. At the end Mercy won but my father said I was not his daughter anymore. I cried, I respected my father so much and I was hoping he will understand. I gathered my few belonging and left.

At the town centre people gathered again, the school committee, mothers and the area chief. A letter was written to my father telling him that he risk being jailed if he continues with his plans to marry me off. I was so relieved when the Area Chief said he was going to protect me. I was told to continue staying at Mama Linda till the school reopens.

In January of the following year, I joining the boarding section, there were other girls from different villages who had gone through the same have been rescued to put in school. I was so happy to be in the boarding school, I never lacked anything, I had food, I had clean water, I could sleep in a bed, I had clean mattress and new uniform to put on.

This year I sat for Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, I scored 333 marks out of 500 marks. I was the top girl in three schools names Kishermoruak Obama School, Mpopong Primary school and Nkineji Primary school. I was so happy to learn that I was going to be accorded a scholarship by FLSMR Lois. D. Horowitz of District 7490 Rotary and that the scholarship covers high school and University level. I can’t explain how I feel right now; my dream of going to a high school has been realized. I have received an admission letter to Join Ole Tipis Girls High school in Narok on the 9th January 2018.

I am so grateful to everyone who has contributed towards my scholarship, I appreciate you so much. This scholarship is everything to me; it is my ticket to the university to study law. You have given my life a meaning, a ladder to higher heights, I celebrate you all.

I am grateful to Mama Linda and Pastror Kedienye for welcoming me in their home you are my parents now , to Mercy Purity for fighting so hard for me to stay in school and for taking care of my needs, to the teachers of Nkineji Primary school for paying my school fee. God bless you all.

Yours happy Student,

Elizabeth Turere

Elizabeth Turere, Kenya

Phil Stafford – NJ Food and Clothing Rescue

Join us Friday, January 12, at 7:30AM for breakfast with Phil Stafford of NJ Food and Clothing Rescue. Phil will be speaking about his charity, which redistributes donated food, clothing, personal hygiene items and other necessities quickly to people in crisis due to fire, homelessness or personal situations.

Phil Stafford – NJ Food and Clothing Rescue.

January 12, 2018
7:30 am – 8:30 am

Gotham City Diner
550 Bergen Boulevard
Ridgefield, NJ 07657

NJ Food And Clothing Rescue

Phil Stafford and Batman Distributing Food to the Homeless.

Rotary Club of The Palisades receives the Leonia Styrofoam-Free Award

A note from Christie Evens:

“Congratulations to the Rotary Club of The Palisades. The Rotary received the Leonia Styrofoam-Free Award for their commitment to not buy Styrofoam products. They join ACS and 35 businesses on Broad Avenue who also received the award this year.

“Thank you Rotary for supporting this community health and environmental initiative.”

Styrofoam-Free Certificate

Tom Keating: A Walk Up Broadway

The Rotary Club of The Palisades presents Tom Keaton, “A Walk Up Broadway”, a presentation open to the public on January 4, 2018.

“A Walk Up Broadway” is about the history, architecture, and life of Broadway. Broadway is Manhattan’s longest street and runs the length of the island. The character of Broadway changes dramatically as you walk from the financial district to the Harlem River and you’ll see it all from the comfort of your chair.

Tom was an educator for 32 years, ten of which were spent in Leonia. He taught grades 5, 6, and 7 at Anna C. Scott School and the Leonia Middle School and classes at the Leonia Alternative High School. Tom served as a school counselor in a number of schools including Hunter College High School in New York City. He is currently the curator for a gallery run by the Friends of Historic Huletts Landing on Lake George.

January 4
Leonia Library
227 Fort Lee Rd, Leonia, NJ 07605
6:30 – 7:30 pm

Tom Keating: A Walk Up Broadway

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 or at 201-956-8509.

Edgewater, Leonia, Palisades Park