November 16, 2021
Piatti's Lunch Meeting
Week #18 - President Patrick O’Neil
(Uniting Neighbors from Around the World and Across the Street)
President O’Neil arrived at the meeting just in time to ring the bell and start it at 12:00 p.m. He welcomed everyone to the “Best damn Rotary Club in Arden Arcade… that is the Arden Arcade Rotary Club of Sacramento.”   He then noted that he had enjoyed watching the club mingle over the last 20 minutes.  Sgt. At Arms Cady said “Four Way Test.”  And the Prez acknowledged his fib and asked S.A.A. Cady to lead us in the pledge, which he did. 
The Prez then asked Mike Grace to provide the invocation making it short and sweet... “Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing us to be Rotarians and for the food we are about to eat. Amen.” 
Jed Van Wagner introduced his brother, Norm, AKA Scott and Chuck. 
Bell Ringers
Lisa Asperger is ringing the bell to celebrate her trip to Memphis in search of Elvis Presley at Graceland… he didn’t make an appearance.  They then cruised down the Mississippi River that took them to New Orleans.  She rang the bell and spun the wheel and was awarded 3 tickets for her efforts.
Happy Bucks, Sad Bucks, Just Because Bucks
Bruce Stimson donated $10 because he is celebrating his 44th wedding anniversary on Friday. The wheel awarded Bruce 2 tickets for his donation. 
Jonathan Barker joined the meeting at this time… better late than never.
President Patrick O’Neil donated $10 in honor of the 49er’s impressive upset-of-the-century win over the Rams.  Patrick opted out of spinning the wheel. 
Matt Ross was, $ Unknown, for his daughter making the Optimums All-Star Volleyball Team.  Just when they thought they were done with the volleyball season, they aren’t.  The wheel awarded Matt 2 tickets for his donation. 
Johnathan Barker was, $ Unknown, happy for the addition of a brand new 9-week-old puppy last weekend.  It has been a wild week. The wheel awarded him with 3 tickets.
News, Announcements and Stuff-Like-That
Festival of Lights Parade
Fulton-El Camino RPD is hosting the Festival of Lights Parade, in conjunction with the Fulton Avenue Association Tree Lighting Celebration, on Saturday, December 4th.  The parade starts at 5:00.  Steve Turner suggested that we take the Rotary van and dress it up for the parade while enjoying appropriate libations and food.  He then passed around a sign-up sheet for the event. We will need to meet earlier to decorate the van. The meeting location will be determined and shared.    
Holiday Party
The Prez filled in for the absent Les Gudger and reminded everyone about the Holiday Party to be held on December 10th at 6:00 PM in the Nepenthe Room in Campus Commons.  There will be a White Elephant Gift Exchange.  The Prez placed a limit on this as not to exceed $50… this is higher than in the past and should be further clarified. There will be live music performed by a father/daughter band.  There will be alcohol and some food.  Help is needed.  Please sign up to help in some way and to let us know if you will be attending.
Dark Days
The club will be dark on November 23rd, December 7th and December 28th. We will be meeting on December 21stThe Prez and Steve Turner will be hosting the bar on December 21st so come thirsty and order an Uber.  The secret word is “Uber.”
District Conference
Register by the end of the year to receive discounted registration and accommodation fees for the Spring 2022 District Conference, April 29th through May 1st. It is a great time with fun activities.
Dyer-Kelly Coat Drive
Carroll Cook reported that he purchased 30 more coats bringing the total up to 65 coats.  We usually shoot for 100 coats and have surpassed that the last few years.    The question was asked if he would like to have money or coats and the answer is “yes.”  He would like to have both.  You can have the coats delivered to the school, Dyer-Kelly Elementary School, 3101 Bell Street, Sac. CA 95821.  The Prez noted that he has two coats in his car for Carroll and that Costco has good prices on coats. 
Gregg Cotta Membership
Tom Goode reported that Gregg Cotta was approved by the Board to be presented to the Club for membership.  If any club member really hates Gregg, this is the time to let us know.  His mother was the immediate Pat District governor of District 5150 and his father is a life-long Rotarian as well.  They own a few almond orchards and a coffee roasting business here in town.   Gregg is looking to be involved and rolling his sleeves up.  Comments, good or bad, can be brought to Tom’s or the Prez’s attention. 
Secret Word
Prez O asked, “By a show of hands, who knows the secret word?”  Jed Van Wagner was the first to raise his hand and utter the word “Eggnog.”  For this he was awarded the opportunity to take a guaranteed 1 ticket or spin the wheel. He spun and won 2 tickets.
Poker Tournament
Tom Goode reported that we have an official date for the Poker Tournament, March 19, 2022, at Von Heusen Motors.  We will not have any partners this year so it is an all-Rotary event.  Richard Goore and Steve Turner are the Co-Chairs for this event.  We need even more volunteers to help this year.  The Prez noted that Linda Biggler looked uncomfortable and he thought she might be concerned that her position as top-dog bar tender was in jeopardy.  He noted that we will need all the help we can get, even if it is from Linda… It was at this point that Linda lit up light a distress flare letting the Prez know that her efforts as bar tender were proven to be very valuable as demonstrated in the tally of the tip jar. Carrol Cook, perennial bar sponsor, threatened to withdraw his sponsorship of the bar if Linda was not behind it.  The Prez, knowing when he has stepped in it, quickly acknowledged Linda’s value and assured her and Carroll that she was never in any danger of losing the bar tending gig she has so dutifully and expertly performed all these many years. 
The club socialized while waiting for lunch to be served.
Guest Speaker - Capital Community Athletics
Uniting Neighbors from Around the World and Across the Street
Ben Fox introduced our guest speakers, Justin Kennedy and Luke Voight.
Ben noted that he is friends with Justin and his family.  Justin and his wife Becca are incredible and they have two kids who are friends with his kids.  He and his wife set out to start this incredible non-profit.    As most of you know, Sacramento is the main destination for settlement refugees from Afghanistan.  Capital Community Athletics focuses on helping integrate the refugee family into American society through sports.  Ben is personally very excited to support this valuable non-profit for the work they do.  They are a growing, young non-profit, looking for more help and money to keep their mission moving forward. 
Luke Voight had a slide presentation for us. He shared that they have been working in the area for the last four years and wanted to share their story.  He and his wife noted that four years ago when he moved into the area that the refugee immigrant families would regularly, every evening, gather in the parks to socialize with each other.   They encouraged their own children to play with the immigrant children.  It was obvious that soccer was the sport that bridged the cultures. Over the course of a few months the fathers asked him if he had ever coached soccer.  He had a lot of coaching experience and he started putting together a soccer team with ten kids the first day.  The next day they had 35 followed by 55 the next. Luke noted that there were quite a number of children ages nine to fifteen.  One coach for 55 kids was not going to work.  
He started asking other coaches and friends for help.    It went from one day to three days at the park.  They started breaking the kids into different age and skill level groups.  Four years later they are still providing soccer for them.  They are primarily Afghanis coming from horrible conditions. Over 10,000 Afghanis families have immigrated to Sacramento.    These families are here with Special Immigrant Visas.  Almost all of the fathers have served as interpreters for the US or NATO forces in Afghanistan.  They are pro US and many are professional people who have given up much in their effort to improve their country and ultimately had to leave it for the safety of their families. 
Their Mission Statement is: Capital Community Athletics uses sports to create a welcoming community and pace of belonging for our neighbors from around the world and across the street as e play, coach, cheer, and volunteer.
Their Vision Statement is:  We strive to build relationships through the shared experience of sports which result in strengthened, united, and thriving communities. 
Sport is the common language that brings people together.    We are called to do unto others as we would have others do unto us.  It is difficult imagining what it would be like to be a refugee and have to leave your country and be settled in the middle of a community that doesn’t speak your language or share your cultural norms. How would you like to have your children treated?
They started in Cardinal Oaks Park and now they are in many different parks.  He is always amazed at the number of parks we have.  He lived in Africa for a time and there were no parks available.  They now have over 150 kids and some adults.    Something is going on every day of the week.    They have a wait list of over 50 kids.   The Afghanistan community value this program and think it is very good for their kids.  They are looking for additional coaches to volunteer one or two times a week for the children. 
Their Under 16 boys team won a tournament they recently played in Davis.  Almost all of the older kids have some level of PTSD.  It is important for these kids to have a trained soccer coach available to help them navigate the emotional highs and lows of the game as well as the skills needed. 
In the beginning it was easier to connect with the boys and the fathers than the girls and the mothers.  Most of the women didn’t speak English wen they arrived.  The men did and they had an easier time.    His wife started an after-school program called the Welcome Club.  It is now in several schools.  Culturally, it is not as acceptable to have girls play sports.  That changed when an 18-year-old girl asked them when they were going to start a girls’ team.   He asked her what her father thought of the idea and the father said it would be fine if they were the ones to coach the team.  The was how they started their girl’s program and now have U14 and U19 girl’s teams.  This has been particularly challenging.  Most have never played any kind of sports. Many of the girls have to be coached as to how to run let alone kick balls.  The girls won their last game of the season and one would have thought they had won a tournament; they were so excited.
Luke told the story of a father that was not entirely supportive of his daughter playing sports.  She would not always make the practices or games.  Fortunately, she was at the last game of the year and so was her father.  She made a great goal, kicking the ball from a distance.  The father became so excited he ran onto the field during the game and picked her up and hugged her while the referee was trying to figure out what to do.  After the game the father thanked the coach expressing what a great thing it was for his daughter and family. 
The girls enjoy running and will meet and running different parks in the area.  They have made shirts that read United We Run and on the back they have it listed in their four languages.  This helps them feel at home in their new country.
Sports not only helps the kids but the adults too.  One father that was playing Futsal with the other men and coaches noted that this was the first time in three years he felt like a neighbor and not like a refugee.
Soccer is not the only sport.  Cricket is played by the Afghanis too.  Coach Caleb grew up in Trinidad playing Cricket.   He noted that there were people playing Cricket and he has organized one older and one younger boys’ team.  They just recently played a game against a Folsom team. 
Outings with the boys have had a great impact on them.  Taking them to see the redwoods and the ocean for the first time impacts the boys as well as the coaches.  They are a lot of fun.
Every year they partner with World Relief and sponsor a soccer tournament in West Sacramento at an indoor facility.    It is a great time for the community to gather together.    This year it is being held on December 4th.  This year they will also have the first girl’s tournament.  They are looking for sponsors for this program.  They are also looking for soccer and cricket coaches.  Fans and mentors are also needed to connect with the kids and parents. They also need help finding fields on which to practice as they are new to the league and have to compete for playing fields.  Donations are always welcomed.  You can contact them at or (916) 235-3510.
Steve Turner asked a question regarding how they transported their teams.  He noted that they have a 13-passenger van but could use more help.  Steve suggested that there may be a way for us to help them with our Rotary van.
Bruce Stimson asked if they were familiar with First Tee of Sacramento.  They were not.  Bruce explained the concept of teaching core values of life and life skills through golf through their program.  Bruce offered to share more about their program. 
Prez O’Neil thanked Luke and Justin for their inspiring presentation.
Opportunity Drawing
President Patrick O’Neil pulled Norm, Jed’s Brother (Scott) ticket, as he is not a member, he drew on behalf of Jed and picked the Jack of Clubs.  Norm then selected an envelope which contained a Piatti’s gift card.
President Patrick O’Neil rang the bell at 12:57 P.M. closing the meeting.
Respectfully (more or less) submitted by,
Mike Grace
Luke Voight
Guest Speaker
Justin Kennedy
Assistant Guest Speaker
Lisa Asperger
World Traveler & Bell Ringer
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Russell Hampton
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