March 7, 2023
Lunch Meeting at Piatti's
Week #36 - President Robert Olmstead III
(Rob's Running Amarok!)
Steve Turner stepped up to fill in for President Robert Olmstead III as he will be joining the meeting a little bit late, probably joining the meeting right after Michael Caplan.  Steve rang the bell at 12:00 and welcoming everyone to Rob's 31st meeting of the year.  Steve was very appreciative and impressed that Rob handed off the meeting agenda with everything prepared and ready for him to step in and run the meeting.  He asked Eddie Morlet to lead the pledge. He then asked for wise words for the day from our recovering adventurer, Linda Bigler.  Wisdom leaned from surviving knee surgery: Stay up with your drugs, and start physical therapy the next day.   
Introduction of Visiting Rotarians and Guests
Tom Goode introduced Bob Mutchler, a visiting Rotarian from the Pasport Rotary Club.
Secret Word
The Prez asked for the secret word and Lisa Asperger was selected to share the word with the club. Lis knew that "liberated" was the word.  It was used in reference to the fact that Steve Turner successfully "liberated" Tom King's Rotary pin from the plastic card the securely held the pin and President Rob was unable, under pressure, to remove.
Announcements and Other Fun Stuff
Birthday Wishes 
The stand-in Prez announced that it was Greg Cotta's birthday today.  He is turning 22.  The club was actually listening to Steve and challenged him on the age.  Steve changed it to 23... then changed it again to 33, a number the club figured was closer to reality but may not still be correct, but we went with it anyway. He then pulled out his phone and asked the club to sing happy birthday to him so Steve could send him the clubs warmest birthday wishes.
Birthday Wishes Part II
The stand-in Prez then announced that Al Cady also had a birthday two days ago and he turned 43... 53... 63...  Steve ran out of numbers and Al ran out of patience.  So the club honored Al by not singing to him. 
Poker Tournament
Richard Goore was not present so the Stand-in Prez asked Tom Goode to provide a Poker Tournament Update.   tom thanked all the sponsors and everyone that has worked hard putting the tournament together.  This is our largest fundraiser and it is very important to make sure it is successful.  We only have a couple of weeks left and we need more players.  He repeated the goal he put forth a couple of weeks ago, every member needs to get just one player to sign up.  We only have 110 players at this time,
that is not enough.  We need an additional 50 seats sold within the next week.  Ask a friend or coworker to play.  We are doing a good job posting things on social media but we need to do follow-up phone calls.  People will see it on Facebook and instantly forget about it.  You need to call your friends and get them to sign up.  Please make sure all sponsors sign up their players as soon as possible.  Spectators are welcome.  Volunteers are needed.  Registration for the event will be closed 24 hours prior to the event.  This is an all-hands-on-deck event.  Club members are either playing poker or volunteering with the event.  We are selling tickets for a 50/50 drawing. $25 for one ticket or 5 for $100.  Each member has been given 5 tickets to purchase or sell.  Last year's winner took home about $3,100.  Tom encouraged the members to join him in purchasing $100 of tickets right then and there.  $500 worth of tickets were sold.  You can pick up more tickets from Michael Caplan next week if you have friends and family that would like to support the tournament but can't make it that night.
Off-site Lunch, CA State Library
Our next off-site lunch at the State Library for April 11.  The exact time and duration of the lunch has not been finalized. A sign up sheet will be passed around towards the end of this month. You will not want to miss this opportunity to see the rare documents that few people ever get to see.  Lunch will be provided in library cafeteria.  Guests are welcome to attend.
Dictionary Delivery Update
Bill Hambrick reported that dictionaries were delivered to Dyer Kelly and Aspire schools. He shared a sample of the dictionary with the members at the last meeting.  A picture of the dictionary is on the left.  All of the dictionaries have been handed out so Al will not have to store any this year, making Al a very happy camper. 
Board Meeting Announcement
A board meeting is being held on Wednesday, March 8th and Red Badgers were encouraged to attend to fulfill their board meeting requirement.  Steve noted that if they can't make that meeting there will be another in a month and it may be at Piatti's just prior to the lunch meeting on the second Wednesday of the month.
Bell Ringers 
                  Happy Bucks 
                                     Sad Bucks
Al Cady, Bell Ringer
Al was pleased to ring the bell for two reasons, 1st, his birthday which he would rather forget. 2nd, he will receive his first Social Security check on April 12th.  He is very jazzed about that! 3rd in appreciation for all the truckers he passed on I5 at Dunsmuir.  They were not having a good day but Al was...  When asked how he managed to make it past the closure Al just claimed to be special and drives a truck that looks like he works for the FBI... also the magnetic emergency light that he placed on top the the truck may have helped (this is an unconfirmed rumor, feel free to spread it around.) 
Duane Oliveira, Happy Bucks
Duane was happy to contribute $20, not for the Cal's men's basketball team as it has only won three games this year, but for his other alma mater, UCLA that beat Rob's Arizona's team to win the conference by four games.  Stand-in Prez asked how much that should cost Rob.  Duane felt that Rob should match the $20.  The Stand-in Prez, feeling the power of his position, took Duane's suggestion as a motion and asked for a second, which was provided by Tom Goode.  An amendment to the motion to
increase the amount from $20 to $250 was offered.  Fortunately for President Rob, it was not seconded and the original motion was voted upon and passed by the members.  
Tom Goode, Happy Bucks
Tom was happy to contribute Happy Bucks because he just returned from Kauai after spending a week there with his wife and baby, Mackenzie.  It was cold and windy, not exactly the picturesque Kauai weather but they still enjoyed it.  He also was happy to learn that his dear friend Eddie Morlet was inducted into the club and he heard Eddie cried... "what a loser!"  The secret word is loser. The Stand-in Prez was a stand-up guy and threatened to have Tom escorted from the building stating it is OK for a grown man
to cry... especially tears of joy.  Tom quickly changed gears saying that "Eddie is one of the best people he knows and is so happy for the club."... fine averted!
President Rob Return
President Rob arrived fresh from a meeting at a prison.  He was not allowed to leave the meeting until the meeting was over and so... he was actually held against his will in the confines of a prison.  I am told that does not make him a felon and it will not appear on his record. The Prez was informed of the motion, second, amendment and vote to include him in the Happy Buck event instigated by club member Duane Oliveira.  President Rob agreed that his Alma mater choked and for that he was willing to pay $20 along with Tom Goode and Matt Ross and, of course, Duane.
Guest Speaker
Gem Munro, Creative Director Amarok Society

The Prez introduced Gem Munro, Creative Director for Amarok Society.  He has devoted his life and career to improving educational opportunities for the disadvantaged throughout the Canada and abroad.  Gem lives in Canada and is in town on business and is pleased to be able to speak with our club during his stay in Sacramento. Amarok is a registered Canadian charity that provides educational programs to the poor in Bangladesh.  Gem is a bestselling author and artist.  His new book And Where the Wind Spun Them follows the epic adventures of a resourceful girl and
her courageous little brother as they struggle by wit and grit to overcome the perils and extrema disadvantages of their lives.  Proceeds of the sales of the book helps fund the Amarok Society. 
The following is from their website and very closely resembles the presentation.
In 2005, Dr. Tanyss and Gem Munro packed up their 4 children and moved from Vancouver, Canada to Dhaka, Bangladesh. Bangladesh has the poorest of the poor the worst of the worst. They’d been invited by an international organization to make improvements to the country’s education system. They have the worst educational system in the world. But as they worked within the existing school system, they noticed thousands of children who weren’t in school at all. It turns out the biggest threat to education in the developing world isn’t a deficient school system; it’s that even those deficient schools are out of reach for millions of children. So, they tried to help in the most obvious way: by opening their own free schools for children.  But teaching 60 children at a time, in a world where 250 million of the world’s 650 million children are growing up illiterate – well, it was like trying to drain the ocean with a spoon. 

A chronic global challenge needed an innovative approach: teach mothers to teach others. The first school for mothers opened in January of 2006. We're after the poorest urban children. The world they're growing up in is a dangerous one; chaotic, unpredictable, and precarious. Reaching these boys and girls will never be as simple as sitting them down in front of a desk: sustainability starts with stabilizing the slum they wake up in every morning. So, it's not just that a mother can always reach her child, even when conventional schools can't. It's that a mother can transform the world her child is growing up in. If you teach a mother, she invests that learning back into her community. She'll use her empowerment to stand up for women's rights, children's rights, peace, and equality. She'll use her success to improve life for everyone in the slum.  The women are required to teach at least five children what they learn in school in a very structured environment.  The women find this to bring meaning and fulfillment to their lives. They move from pessimism and despair to optimism and hope.
Gem shared a video of one of the schools. The video showed a woman who had been enrolled for only six months reading aloud and sharing her knowledge with her children.  They not only teach reading but they teach English, social studies, math, science, health hygiene and nutrition.  They also teach conflict resolution.  One of the unintended outcomes of this program is the development of a cohesive community within the slum. The students become the leadership within the slum.  
Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the world.  Think of what it would look like to place 230,000,000 people in one third of the state of California.  You could take the population of the entire world and put them in the USA and still it would not be as densely populated at Bangladesh.  This is why it is important to teach birth control.
The world is becoming more and more urbanized, and so is poverty. Our approach to international education needs to adapt. So, that's where we go: into the megacities of the developing world. Into the poorest slums we can find. We don't spend money on bricks and mortar - there's no room to build anything, anyway. Instead, we rent rooms right in the slums, where the mothers live. The result doesn't look like a school - there aren't even chairs - but it's the beating heart of education for an entire community. The conventional approach to education is to build schools for children. But for 250 million children around the world, there are circumstances preventing such schools from being accessible. Commonly:
  • They need money and can’t choose school over a job;
  • They have uneducated parents who don’t understand the value of education; 
  • They can't afford compulsory tutoring. In the countries in which we work, you can't even get into grade 2 without a tutor helping you through grade 1 exams.
  • Their parents believe education is only appropriate for boys;
  • Their parents think post-pubescent girls shouldn’t be at school. Walking to and from school can be dangerous;
Being married as a child precludes a girl's further participation in education;
Poverty decides: parents can’t afford school supplies.  In Bangladesh, marriage involves the payment of a dowry. That's a sum of money that the bride's family must pay to the groom's. But there’s a catch: the older the bride is, the larger the dowry.  For the poorest families, this tradition creates an imperative to marry their daughters off as young as 10 years old.

Khadija attended one of our schools, so she knew about the serious damage caused by child marriage.  But what could she do? Her own daughter was 12, and her husband was already making arrangements for marriage. They were too poor to wait even another year - by then, the dowry would be too high.  So Khadija did the most dangerous thing she'd ever done. She declared that she would never pay a dowry.  She went to the groom’s parents and told them their son could only marry her daughter when she was an adult. A woman who rises against tradition in order to protect her daughter is truly taking her life in her hands. But there was no violence. No death threat. No acid attack. There was only an answer – first from her husband and then from the groom’s parents: “Okay.”

Khadija’s stand has inspired all the women in our schools to start a dowry strike. Not only for their own children, but for all children in their neighbourhoods. The impact is phenomenal. In the communities where we operate, child marriage has now been eradicated.
Amarok Society has formed close relationships with Rotary Clubs throughout the world as well as within Bangladesh.  They have many Rotarians serve on their board. Education is the best defense against the extreamism that is attempting to take over Bangladesh and make it even poorer that it is today.  
The Prez thanked Gem for the very impresive presentation.
Future Events
  • March 14th, 2023: Clay Nutting, Owner Canon East & Franquette Restaurants
  • ***We have held several Off-Site Lunches at Canon.***
  • March 21st, 2023: Kelli Sequest & Alex Byrne, Sacramento County-Department of Waste Management & Recycling
  • March 25th, 2023: Poker Tournament, Niello BMW
  • March 28th, 2023: DARK, Week after the Poker Tournament
  • April 4th, 2023: Jeannine Sparks, RYE Rotary 5180 District Chair
  • April 11th, 2023: ***OFF SITE LUNCH***, CA State Library/Historical Documents Tour
  • May 9th, 2023: Annual Rotary Scholarship Lunch, Del Paso Country Club
  • May 16th, 2023: Kirsten DuBray, Regional Director of Philanthropy, American River College
President Robert Olmstead III thanked everyone for coming and rang the club bell closing the meeting at 1:13 p.m.
Respectfully (more or less) submitted by,
Mike Grace
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