Last year our Rotary Theme was Making a Difference.
At the start of the year, one million people in Honduras lacked access to safe drinking water, 1.6 million people did not have sanitation facilities and very few rural locations were treating their water to make it safe.
Anna Casalme, a student from Chino Hills, interested in pursuing an MSc in Childhood Studies from the University of Edinburgh with a focus on child and adolescent health, was seeking financial assistance to get the medical training she needed to help mothers and children.
In Tijuana, Mexico 649 people were preparing to take part in a program designed to develop mentors, and indigenous leaders to run projects, identify needs and create tailor-made programs for those needs turning a village into a community.
And I was asking each of our members the same 4 questions.
- What do you like about Rotary?
- What can be improved about Rotary?
- What can Rotary do for you?
- What can you do for Rotary?
Based on that feedback, we set one goal – to double our membership – from 17 members to 34.
In order to do that, I asked our members to commit to doing a few things for our Rotary Club.
- Bring a guest to every meeting
- Attendance matters
- Make our meetings more friendly
- Do more community service
- Connect more with each other
Bring a Guest:
We conducted a membership meeting at the beginning of the year and during that meeting I asked us to identify the organizations and individuals who should be a part of the Chino Rotary Club. And I got to work making sure we invited those people/organizations to our club.
- Arianna Fajardo, Management Assistant from the City of Chino
- Lea Fellows, Assistant Superintendent from the Chino Valley Unified School District
- Delinia Lewis, Community Resource Manager at California Institution for Men
- Ray Marquez, Councilman for the City of Chino Hills
- Jonathan Monroe, Detective/Corporal for the Chino Police Department
Rick Bui proactively invited:
- Anthony Verches, President of The ESV Group, Inc.
- Regina & Eric Price, Realtors at ReMax Champions
And Arianna Fajardo invited:
- JV Cuasito, a Realtor from Keller Williams
At the beginning of the year I printed out a sheet which had all of the clubs in the local area, the times they met and encouraged our members to make up meetings at other clubs.
We have a member in our club who has 55 years of perfect attendance. When Kevin Sullivan started his streak of perfect attendance my parents were in junior high school.
But, in addition to attending our regular meetings, it’s also important to attend the events that bring a bigger picture to Rotary. Gene and Louise Hernandez travel the globe attending Rotary events throughout the year. Our District also regularly puts on training events and fellowship events which help show the global impact Rotary has on the world.
CP Phan, Linda Perla, Rick Bui, Chris Foster, Dale Bright and Anthony Verches all spent time attending District events this year to bring back powerful ideas to our Rotary Club.
And lastly, while attendance is important we must remember the true mission of Rotary, service above self. Danny Bozart, who couldn’t make it to several meetings, is the General Manager of a $40 million steel plant in Chino and he travels on a weekly basis. It’s not possible for him to make it to every meeting, but he makes every effort to make our Wednesday meetings. In fact, last week he told me he was in another part of the United States on Wednesday, but when a meeting cancelled, he took the redeye flight to get home just so he could make our Rotary meeting.
Make Our Meetings More Friendly:
This year we did a few things to help make our meetings more fun. We continued Melinda’s Meet & Greet events and expanded on them. This year we
- Tried and failed to escape from a room
- Hit golf balls at Los Serranos
- Hung out at Chris Foster’s House
Of all the things I think our Rotary Club can stand to improve the most, being more friendly is at the top of the list. We have some amazing people in our Rotary Club who are all volunteering their time to make a difference. As a club, we’re often quick to criticize, and rarely take the time to thank each other for the work we’ve all done to make our communities better.
As Leadership Expert, Robin Sharma said, “Be slow to criticize, and fast to appreciate.”
There are so many things competing for our time today that if we feel valued and appreciated, especially as volunteers, we’re more likely to continue. If we feel our efforts are not valued, it’s easy for us to spend our time somewhere else.
I’d also like to use this as an opportunity to thank each and every one of you for the time, effort and energy you put in to make all our lives better.
Do More Community Service:
To be honest, when I joined our Chino Rotary Club, I was confused.
I thought we were a service club meaning we went out and provided service for those in need. And, after my first year in Rotary, we really didn’t do much in terms of hands on activities. But, in surveying our members, I understand that that was something that used to happen a lot more often and we just moved away from it as a club.
Every member I spoke with said they enjoyed those and so, as a way to attract more members, I asked our current membership to take the responsibility of planning a hands-on service project each month.
- Anthony Verches and Rick Bui organized a Chino Rotary Club team at the Love Them All Softball Tournament to help give children and adults with disabilities the opportunity to play in organized sports and participate in social outings.
- Watch the video – https://www.facebook.com/ChinoRotaryClub/videos/10156298153378840/
- Eren Cello organized an outing to the Inland Empire United Way where we toured the facility and wrote cards for terminally ill children.
- Watch the video – https://www.facebook.com/ChinoRotaryClub/videos/10156435323083840/
- Arianna Fajardo gave us an opportunity to organize clothes for homeless students and needy families through the Chino Valley Unified School District’s CARE Closet program
- Watch the video – https://www.facebook.com/ChinoRotaryClub/videos/10156471180468840/
- Dave King organized an opportunity for us to feed needy families in the Chino community through Isaiah’s Rock
- Melinda Robbins and Jeff Werner helped to get our club together to create Blue Star Boxes for Veterans
- Watch the video – https://www.facebook.com/ChinoRotaryClub/videos/10156631349213840/
- Dale Bright, Mike Faherty and Rick Bui helped out at the Christmas food and toy giveaway from Isaiah’s Rock
- Chris Foster organized our Chino Rotary Dinner & Auction where we raised $19,930.04
- Watch the video – https://www.facebook.com/ChinoRotaryClub/videos/10156883023828840/
- CP Phan organized our Sweet Cases program through Together We Rise to provide foster kids with much needed supplies
- Dale Bright and Arianna Fajardo organized our Stepping Up for Boys program to help Chino Valley Unified School District elementary school students prepare for junior high school
- Melinda Robbins, Anthony Verches and Rick Bui helped organize and distribute bags for human trafficking victims via the Every One Free program
- Narvee Intarachote and Anthony Verches helped to plant a tree in honor of Dave King outside the Chino Community Building
Connect More with Each Other:
In the middle of the year we instituted a mentor/mentee program with the idea to get more connected with one another. Each of our new members had the opportunity to choose a mentor from our established members.
There was no specific format or procedure to follow, other than to connect with one another and learn about each other.
Prior to this year, my Rotary moment was building a home for a needy family in Tecate, Mexico. But, I think the thing I’m most proud of this year is connecting our members with one another to do some remarkable things.
- CP Phan and JV Cuasito were starting a podcast together
- Chris & Daphne Foster hired CP Phan to do their maternity photos
- Rick Bui and Al McCombs toured Chino and Rick started a Go Fund Me Campaign to try and get people to donate to create an Al McCombs Biography
- Linda Perla and Gene Hernandez went to Mexico to work on Rotary Project Hope
- Regina’s daughter Abby sung the National Anthem at the Love Them All Foundation Golf Tournament
But, probably my favorite story was with Kevin Sullivan and Linda Perla. Kevin called up Linda and asked her to attend an event he was scheduled to speak at because he needed a ride. Turns out the event was The Southern California Tennis Association was hosting a Hall of Fame ceremony for Kevin’s best friend, Rod Laver. Billie Jean King, Michael Chang, Tracy Austin and Pancho Gonzalez were also honored. And here was 21-year-old Linda Perla at the head table with these legends of tennis, all thanks to Kevin Sullivan and Rotary.
We Made a Difference
We raised $28,960.06 this year. We gave $2,000 to Isaiah’s Rock, $500 to Make a Child Smile, $500 to the Chino Cultural Center, $1,500 to the YMCA, $500 to Big Brothers/Big Sisters, $500 to the Love Them All Foundation, $500 to Gold Star Moms, $150 to the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Salute to Public Safety, $250 to Together We Rise, $2,650 to CVUSD Teachers via the Debbie Wilson Teacher Mini-Grants, $2,286.62 to Every One Free, $500 to an Eagle Scout Pole Project, $500 to the Boy Scouts, $156.44 for the Crombie Allen Awards, $1,200 to TLC, $1,200 to RYLA, $750 to the Academic Decathlon Team at Don Lugo, $750 to the Dan Stover Music Contest, $625 to the 4-Way Speech Contest, $3,262.68 to the Stepping Up for Boys program, $1,050 for Anna Casalme’s Global Grant, $500 for the SuperBuild project, $500 to the Rose Parade Float, $1,000 to the Honduras Water Project, $500 to the District 5300 Peace Conference, and $1,000 to the Polio Plus program totaling $30,314 distributed to the charities we support.
But, I think our biggest impact came form the things I mentioned at the beginning.
At the beginning of the year, Gene Hernandez was working on Rotary Project Hope, a program to train community leaders through engaging and replicable leadership courses. Those who attended trainings were then given the opportunity to create these leadership trainings for their communities creating a sustainable project that will impact thousands. Member Linda Perla made the trip down to Mexico with Gene to see these courses in action and said it was phenomenal.
Watch the video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEp2VM5JuQ0
Thanks to Melinda Robbins, Gene Hernandez, Chris Foster and Raghada Khoury, among others, Anna Casalme received a Rotary Global Grant Scholarship for $61,000 to attend the University of Edinburgh to study Childhood Studies and impact the lives of mothers and children wherever she ends up … Hopefully right back here in the Chino Valley.
And lastly, 21-year old Linda Perla took it upon herself to introduce the Honduras Water Project to our club, other clubs across the district and to our District. Thanks to contributions from our club, other clubs and the District, the Global Grant was funded for $500,000 to provide water for 31 schools in Honduras.
Members of our club helped to contribute more than $600,000 in financial support to worthy causes. Not only did we contribute with our pocket books, but we also contributed with our hands in the activities I mentioned previously.
I’m extremely proud of the work we did this year. I’m proud to be a Rotarian. And I hope you’re proud of the work we did this year too.
2017/2018 Chino Rotary Awards
Thank you to all our Chino Rotary club members who “Made a Difference” this year. Below is a list of the Chino Rotary Club Award Winners for 2017/2018.
- Membership Award – Rick Bui
- Vocational Service Award – Anthony Verches
- Club Service Award – Melinda Robbins
- Youth Service Award – Mike Faherty
- International Service Award – Gene Hernandez
- Membership Growth Award – Arianna Fajardo
- Public Image Award – Lorraine Sacca
- Community Service Award – CP Phan
- Foundation Award – Dale Bright
- Above & Beyond Award – Linda Perla
- New Member of the Year Award – CP Phan
- Rotarian of the Year Award – Rick Bui
Be the Inspiration
To leave you with one last thought, the theme for this year is Be the Inspiration. We can create the world we live in, but we have to “inspire” others to join us as we can’t do it alone.
I’m excited to pass the reigns over to Chris Foster as I know he will be the inspiration we need to make our club even better in 2018/2019. Thank you all for being a part of this journey with me. I’m truly grateful.
PS – One last thing. My sister, Lacey and I, realize how bad our Chino Rotary Club website was. Since that’s our business, we figured we’d redesign the Chino Rotary Club website. Would love to get your thoughts on our new website – http://chinorotary.org
If you know of any other Rotary clubs who could use a better website, tell them to reach out to Zeb Welborn at Zeb@WelbornMedia.com.