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April 9, 2018  


Acting President Del VandeKerk called the meeting to order at 12:30 PM and assured the audience that the meeting would be much more organized and professional than the amateur comedy hour produced by Acting President Tim Farris at last week's meeting. Unfortunately, Acting President Del then immediately broke his promise by telling a joke involving RCOB member Nathan Twining, his pregnant wife and a golf bag.


There is an upcoming Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, RYLA, Leadership Camp, May 24-27 in Washington State.  This is open to friends and family of Rotarians, who are between the ages of 18-30. Please Click Here  for more information. These leadership camps are life changing for many.  Contact Monty McAllister or Sandee if you have a candidate.  We have one remaining spot.
Major awards nominations are being accepted by the Executive Committee for: the Will J. Griswold Club Service Award; the David C. Morse Sr. Community Service Award; the Michael K. Mischaikow International Service Award and the Karen W. Morse Vocational Service Award. They will be presented at our regular meeting June 25th. Turn in nominations to Executive Committee members President TeriDel Vandekerk, President-Elect Sandy McIntire and VP Cathy Buckley.  Details are available by Clicking Here.
There will be a Board of Directors meeting this Thursday at 4:30 at the Dorothy Haggen Bldg. 3rd floor.
VP Cathy Buckley announced that she would be e-mailing club members soon about the Rotary Ski Trip next winter.
Ann Jones has a relative who is interested in attending Georgia Tech and asked if anyone knew anything about the school. John Stewart's helpful response: β€œIt's in Georgia.”, yet another lapse in Acting President Del's assurance about the tenor of this meeting.
Guests of Rotarians:  
Scott Hume introduced Nathan Conant with Blue Kayak Marketing
Dominique Zervas brought Dean Fearing with Kulshan Community Land Trust

Tim Fisher and Rich Bowers introduced Reid Parker, Land Steward at the Stimpson Family Nature Reserve, who reported that an old bridge on the nature trail in the Reserve needed to be replaced. With the increasing number of visitors to the Reserve each year, it is important to keep all facilities structurally sound. Therefore, a RCOB work party is planned for Saturday, May 5, 9AM – 1 PM at the park trail head, to install a new bridge. A continental breakfast will be available for volunteers 8:15 – 9:00 AM. Sign up sheets were available at each table.

Tim then presented a check for $2,000 from The Rotary Club of Bellingham to the Whatcom County Parks toward the project.


Program Chairperson Cathy Buckley introduced Janie Penble, Outreach Coordinator, and Holly Miller, Development Director, of Interfaith Coalition to discuss their newly started Family Promise Program to help homeless families in our community. 

There are approximately 2.5 million homeless people in the United States. In Bellingham, 1 in 26 students (about one per classroom) are homeless. The high school graduation rate for homeless students is 53%, compared to 80% overall. 

Interfaith Coalition was founded in 1981 to recruit local health providers to provide free health care to members of our community who had no other access to health care. This program eventually evolved into the current Unity Care NW Medical Center. Interfaith has since focused on helping the homeless in our area. It owns 10 houses, which provides transitional housing for families and assists them in finding permanent homes. Interfaith also provides donated books to homeless families.

In order to be able to assist more homeless families,  Interfaith launched its Family Promise Program just last week. This is a nationwide program with over 200 sites which was started 32 years ago. The local Program recruits local religious congregations who agree to host homeless families in their facility for one week per year. The families are transported to the facility by the Program Van, which seats 15, so 14 is the maximum number of people served at a time. The families are provided with a hot dinner, a warm, dry place to sleep, a hot breakfast, and food for lunch. After breakfast, the families are transported to the Program's Day Center, from which children are transported to school, staying in the same school even though they move to a different congregation each week. The parents spend the day looking for work and permanent housing with Program staff assistance, using the Day Center address as their legal address. Local congregations which don't house families provide volunteers to cook and serve the meals.

The speakers emphasized that the Family Promise Program is the only one that does not split up families. Each family must include a child under 18 years old and no family member can be engaged in substance abuse or have a felony conviction. The Program is cost effective (no need to build expensive facilities) and is successful: 75% of families secure permanent housing after 9 weeks in the Program.

During the Q and A that followed, Joe Coons told us about an excellent book describing the problem of homelessness in America: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond.

Roland Trenouth presented the Interfaith representatives with a Service Fund Check from the Rotary Club of Bellingham.

To close, President Del thanked all who helped with today's program and meeting... and, mercifully, did not tell another joke.

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Editor:  Yvonne Cartwright
Reporter: Steve Ban
Invocation:  Nathan Twining
Greeter:  Rich Bowers
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AV:  Jim Cunningham
Minister of Fun:  Debbie Ahl
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Music:  Don Anderson
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