Guests of Rotarians:
  • Suzanne Boxer-Gassman introduced Elena Purcell with Rebuilding Together
  • Dan Snyder introduced Heidi Owens who is becoming a member of our club.
  • Hal Rosen also brought his wife Lydia Rosen today.
Doug Brent provided our inspiration with a  short story from Amanda Yancey about cultivating gratitude between your friends.  The story was about a woman who had hand written a letter of thanks to an old friend who had inspired her to be a better person, but she hesitated to send it because it felt too personal in our electronic world.  But she decided to send it anyway and in so doing increased the happiness for both her friend, and herself. The story concluded with, “Cultivating gratitude is a great skill to practice, and life is too short not to do it.”
Tickets to the Crabfest (Jan 25th) were being sold prior to the meeting, and if you buy your tickets early then you get a discount, and a shorter check in time at the actual event since your CC will be in the system.  Rotarians will be available at the next meeting December 17th to assist you with buying tickets so please take advantage of this!
Our Christmas tree giving program was quite successful!  We had a goal of 100 gifts and we are at 120!
The Presidents brunch went very well, and great thanks to Tom Boyce who organized, and all the committee members who helped out.
Amy Potts announced she is organizing a holiday party for disadvantaged seniors next week and a sign-up sheet was passed to bring food. More details to come
Congratulations to the new Leadership group selected by the Nominating Committee (Amy Potts and Patti van der Burg Co-Chairs; Andrew Howard, Tina Orsi-Hartigan, Art Rabitz) and presented at our meeting today. They will be voted upon next week.
  • Investments Committee (3 year term)  Riley Barr
  • Scholarship Committee (3 year term)  Amy Potts
  • Board of Directors (2 year term)  Rachelle Lopp, Chris Potter
  • Sergeant at Arms  Greg Butterfield
  • Assistant Secretary  Rami Wazni
  • Secretary  Doug Brent
  • Assistant Treasurer  Dan Snyder
  • Treasurer  Ed Bowen
  • Vice President  Gae la Torre
  • President Elect  Nicholas Welzenbach
The district holiday party is Saturday December 14th.  Tina will be going, and welcomes other Rotarians and families to also attend.
Andrea Lee announced the December birthdays and anniversaries.
Next week we will have the acapella choir from Fisher Middle School.
Our speaker today was none other than our distinguished and illustrious club President Marty! He gave us an overview of Seeing Again Guatemala.  Marty has been taking trips for many years to the town of Santo Tomas la Union in the Guatemalan highlands to run a vision clinic for the people of that area. Most of the people in this small 10k population village are of Mayan decent.  
In 1964 a mission program began here to help provide medical services to these people, and in 1996 the diocese started to offer vision services as well.  When someone in this area is blind, it puts them out of work and is large burden to their family.  
In November Marty took 14 people to provide care to these people. Many patients came from far away, and are provided a place to stay for the night so they can go to post-op the next day.  Over the 5 days they were working they saw 300 patients, and performed 35 cataract surgeries, 9 laser treatments, and 1 eyelid surgery. Since inception there have been 43 trips, and over 9000 patients have been served.
Poverty has increased in the area as coffee has lost value and much sugar cane harvesting has been automated.  The government continues to make health care inaccessible, and so the waiting list for these services has grown.  The plan is for this effort to continue to help meet the needs of this community.
Marty also talked to us about the RACHEL program.  79% of the indigenous population of this area lives in poverty with very high malnutrition rates, and most children only go to school for a few years and those schools have very little material.  Most of the schools consist of a teacher lecturing on a blackboard with no supporting text books. So engineers from Cisco developed the RACHEL system to help provide that material to impoverished areas. It is a simple computing system with broadband abilities that can broadcast educational content to chromebooks or other simple computers (tablets, etc).  Several Rotary clubs have established grants to help provide these systems.
Marty and Wes visited several of the elementary schools in Guatemala, and the teachers there were interested in this system.  Marty obtained a grant for this from Rotary, and this was distributed to the schools which were the most in need. They equipped 5 schools with RACHEL, and chromebooks.  Now kids can navigate to topics on Wikipedia and learn from this content. In addition there is a plan to extend this to Adult education programs on evenings or weekends.