60+ students from ages 4 to 14
Under the able leadership of Mayra Franco and Ernesto Alfaro, 60+ students from ages 4 to 14 are enrolled in a 3-week summer school, sponsored by Amigos and held at Cetmar in La Cruz.
You may know Mayra and her husband Jason, and their partner Pia, who six years ago started and presently run the Mercado Huanacaxtle (La Cruz Sunday Market). This nonprofit company is responsible for creating the La Cruz Skate Park, with visions of rebuilding the community volleyball court and constructing a Community Center. In their "spare" time, Mayra and Jason run a boat maintenance company. email@example.com (329) 295 5988 Their Mercado Huanacaxtle office is next to the paper store on Coral in La Cruz.
Ernesto is on staff at Cetmar, the local vocational-technical high school in La Cruz. At Cetmar, he teaches swimming and lifesaving/rescue skills. He has rounded-up three able volunteers from Tepic to help with summer school. These teenagers have worked with Ernesto for the past four to six years in coordinating summer school. The teens have relatives that live in La Cruz, where they can take up residence during their stay.
Students are rotated through different programs each day, which include dance (pop, rock & roll, modern, and ronda); art with recycled materials; writing; swimming; and sports (soccer, basketball, volleyball, and recreational games).
The culminating event will be an evening performance held on the last day of camp, Friday, Aug 5. Arms are being twisted now to request Valle to set up a stage, and chairs for parents and community members to view the students' performance at the town square. More information to follow.
PS: One group of students will be dancing to Michael Jackson's "Thriller." Should be very fun!
For more pictures go to Ernesto's Facebook page Club de Atletismo Ernesto Alfaro
From protecting the environment to eradicating a paralyzing disease, Korea’s Rotary clubs are addressing humanitarian challenges facing the world today
GOYANG CITY, Korea (26 May 2016) – As Rotary members gather from 160 countries in Korea (28 May – 1 June) for the humanitarian service organization’s annual convention, they will enjoy the hospitality of a host country where Rotary clubs have helped improve lives and bring positive, lasting change for 88 years.
Seoul is home to the first Rotary club established in Korea, chartered in 1927. Today, Korea is the fourth largest Rotary club country with 1,625 clubs and 64,149 members who support an array of local and international service initiatives, including:
- Helping infants and toddlers with critical illnesses or chronic conditions in partnership with Seoul National University Children’s Hospital;
- Teaming up with environmental experts and the government of Mongolia to help prevent the adverse health effects caused by the yellow wind dust storms from the Gobi desert;
- Bridging cultures among recent immigrants by opening a children’s library near KINTEX where convention participants will donate illustrated children’s books in multiple languages.
- Providing educational opportunities for nearly 500 children with autism and other intellectual and emotional challenges in partnership with Andong Youngmyung Special Education School.
- Making global health history by supporting Rotary’s top philanthropic goal of eradicating polio. Since 1985, Rotary has contributed more than KRW 1.4 trillion (US$1.5 billion) and countless volunteer hours toward ending the paralyzing but vaccine preventable disease, with Korean Rotary clubs donating more than KRW 146 million (US$14.6 million).
ShelterBox volunteer receives Rotary's highest honour
Derek Locke has been a response volunteer for disaster relief charity ShelterBox for many years. Now his dedication to the local and global community has earned him Rotary’s top award, for ‘service above self’.
There can be few greater life achievements than being honoured as a ‘gift to the world’in a personal letter by the President of an international organization.
That is exactly what has happened to ShelterBox volunteer Derek Locke, described by outgoing Rotary International President K.R. Ravindran as ‘an extraordinary example of how each Rotarian can make a difference. I am honoured to have you as my fellow Rotarian and I thank you for all you have done, and all you will continue to do.’
Derek was presented with the Rotary International ‘Service Above Self’ Award on June 25 by then District Governor Wayne Brown Titus III in a ceremony at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Now retired from the telecommunications and computer service industry, Derek was born and raised in Plymouth, Devon, and has travelled abroad extensively. Resident in the USA for most of the last 30 years, he now lives in Michigan. A member of the Rotary Club of Dearborn Heights for eleven years, Derek has been a ShelterBox Ambassador since July 2010, a team coordinator for the SE Michigan Ambassador team, and a member of the ShelterBox USA Ambassador Council.
Derek describes his introduction to the charity in 2010. ‘When I visited my parents in Plymouth, being so close to the headquarters, my family decided to visit ShelterBox. I learned much about the operation and was so impressed with what ShelterBox did and the way that they operate, I decided that I needed to do what I could.’
Just returned from ShelterBox’s deployment to the landslides in Sri Lanka, Derek has clocked up an amazing 38 weeks of service as a response volunteer in locations including Peru, Nigeria, Lebanon, Paraguay, Mexico, Malawi, Chile, Nepal, California, Fiji, and three separate deployments to the Philippines.
Rotary’s highest honour, granted to very few Rotarians worldwide, recognizes those who live up to the organization’s motto, ‘Service Above Self’, by volunteering their time and talents to help others. In addition to this latest plaudit, Derek Locke also holds five separate Volunteer Service Awards awarded by the US President.
Alex Youlten, ShelterBox’s Community Development Coordinator, worked with Derek recently in Sri Lanka. Alex says, ‘Derek’s actions really highlight the strength and potential of the Project Partnership between RI and ShelterBox. His commitment, passion, compassion and meticulous attention to detail are evident in all his work for communities around the world – helping to ensure the right response is delivered in the right way to those who need it the most.’
‘It was a privilege to work with him in Sri Lanka, and as a new Rotarian myself his energy and enthusiasm for both Rotary and ShelterBox are a shining example and endorsement that I have joined two great organizations.’
ALTRUISM: INDIVIDUAL SERVING
The sun rises on a new school day. In rural Ganguli, India, 450 students climb aboard school buses. Five years ago they couldn’t have gone to school because the distance from their village was too far to walk.
In San Agustín, Ecuador, students used to attend classes in the town morgue when it rained, because their school had no roof. Since 2012, hundreds of children there have learned to read and write in a real classroom.
Quietly orchestrating these and other projects was Vasanth Prabhu, a member of the Rotary Club of Central Chester County (Lionville), Pa. When he was growing up in India, education was not free, and he saw how hard his father worked to pay for schooling for eight children. Understanding how school can change a person’s life keeps Prabhu working to provide education to those with no access to it, he says.
“I feel that everyone is a diamond in the rough,” he says. “But it must be cut and polished to show its brilliance.” So instead of spending his money on luxuries, he is using it to bring out that brilliance.
There are three ways we can deal with enormous problems and our emotional responses to them. We can let them overcome us until we feel too paralyzed to act. We can bury our heads in the sand. Or we can act. And when we help others, we often find that we benefit as well.
“Taking action allows me to exercise passion,” Prabhu says, “to give it a good place to go.”
James Doty, director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, wrote Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart. “We’re adapted to recognize suffering and pain; for us to respond is hard-wired into our brain’s pleasure centers,” says Doty. “We receive oxytocin or dopamine bursts that result in increased blood flow to our reward centers. In short, we feel good when we help.”
Caring for others brings other benefits, too. “When we engage in activities that help, it also results in lowering our blood pressure and heart rate,” he notes. Research shows that it can help us live longer. And the good deeds we do can inspire others.
On the flip side, Doty says, “People can create mistrust or fear by implying that another group is threatening our safety. When that happens, fear or anxiety makes us want to withdraw into our own group and not care for others. Hormones are released that are detrimental to long-term health. But generally speaking, most people will be kind and compassionate to other people.”
For years, Peggy Callahan has told stories that are hard to hear. A documentary producer covering social justice issues, she’s also a co-founder of two nonprofits working to help people who are enslaved or caught in human trafficking. But perhaps paradoxically, her difficult work brings her happiness, and, thanks to neuroscience research, she understands why. “When you do an act of good, you get a neurotransmitter ‘drop’ in your brain that makes you happy,” she says. And there’s a multiplier effect: “Someone who witnesses that act also experiences that, and remembering that act makes it happen all over again.” She wondered how she could leverage that.
The result was Anonymous Good, a virtual community and website where people post stories or photos of acts of kindness they’ve carried out, observed, or received. For each act posted, website sponsors make a donation to feed the hungry, free people who are enslaved, plant a tree for cleaner air, or dig a well for clean water.
“One act of good is much more than simply one act of good,” says Callahan. “It’s part of a much bigger force.”
Like Prabhu and Callahan, P.J. Maddox – a member of the Rotary Club of Dunn Loring-Merrifield, Va. – has felt the joy of tackling issues that seem too big to face. Rotary projects she has supported include funding a nurse-led clinic in war-ravaged rural Nicaragua. She has also mentored and made a Youth Exchange trip possible for a student otherwise unable to participate because of hardships at home.
“Some problems are so complicated and huge, it could be easy to say, ‘Why bother?’” Maddox says. “But in addition to Rotary’s power of collective talents to make something happen, I realized that the outcome of these projects wouldn’t have been what they were if I wasn’t there. I realized that a single human being can change the world.”
As the sun sets around the globe – as students in India head back home on the school bus, as pupils in Ecuador close their books for the day, and as people in many places are well-fed, free, and happy – the world looks a little different. Because one individual extended a hand, there are people newly ready to change the world tomorrow.