Meeting Notes from August 28, 2018

John Colwell led us in the Pledge.  Rodg Griffin introduced visiting Rotarian Wendell Stephens (past president Cupertino Rotary) and visitors Radha, Doug Brent, Scott Stauffer and Angela Hedges.
Mike Frangadakis graced the front page of the Los Gatos Weekly representing the LG Veteran’s Memorial, and it was worth $50 to him.
Marlon Smith gave us a tutorial on the Rotary club of Taft and how they were chartered the same year as our club (’24) and their mascot is the Wildcat as well.  He contributed $100 to the scholarship fund and passed along some puns from former member Ron Letterman.
We watched a video of how a Rotary club in Durango is helping provide sustainable solar lighting to Navajo people that don’t have electricity.
Thank you Gae LaTorre and the hospitality committee for arranging and promoting upcoming club events that include a private reception for our club (we’ve invited the LG morning club) at NUMU in the old library on 9/4 from 2-4 pm and First Thursday at Flights (formerly Hult’s) at 5 pm on 9/6.

Harol Pascal introduced speaker Mindy Berkowitz from Jewish Family Services (JFS) who enlightened us on the extensive, rigorous process refugees go through in order to receive asylum in our country.  In a “good year” the process takes somewhere between 2 and 10 years.  Refugees must pass between 25 and 30 background checks before being admitted.  Once approved they are allowed to bring 1 or 2 Suitcases per person. 
In October 2017 the Federal Administration announced a historically low refugee admissions ceiling of 45,000 (typically it has been 100,000).  Ten months into the Federal fiscal year Mindy says that only 18,214 refugees have been resettled compared to what should have been at least 37,500 by this time.  Locally in the past 12 months JFS of Silicon Valley has resettled 48 refugees, last year at this time they had resettled 165.  Refugee resettlement agencies like JFS are compensated per arrival, the hundreds of hours spent on pre-arrival is uncompensated.  They have established the Ruth Perkins Emergency Fund for Refugees to fill the gap so that they can continue their work on behalf of those seeking refuge. 
There were several good questions, one of them about work.  Mindy emphasized that one of the focuses of their agency is to get refugees off of welfare and working as quickly as possible.  They accomplish this through follow up, support classes and linking refugees to employers that are refugee friendly, she gave Safeway as an example.
Thank you to Harol for arranging our speaker and to Mindy and JFS for the work they do on behalf of refugees and asylees who want to call our beautiful country home.

Next week’s program will be our club’s visit from Los Gatos Morning’s very own, our district 5170 governor, Tim Lundell!