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Club Information

Downtown L.A. has a unique array of social challenges – poverty, homelessness, and neighborhood beautification to name a few – that provide so many opportunities for us to be of service. Our club is growing as the community grows. Please join us!

Downtown Los Angeles

Doing Good Downtown Since 1998

1st and 3rd Thursday of each month/ 6:00-7:00pm happy hour/dinner; 7:15-8:15pm meeting
Los Angeles Athletic Club
431 W 7th St
(NE corner of 7th & Olive)
Los Angeles, CA  90014
United States
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Stories
 
Our upcoming meeting on May 18, Thursday at the Los Angeles Athletic Club will be a club assembly for members only.  As we near the end of the Rotary Year 2016-17, we'll take stock of our progress and discuss ideas for the continued future thriving of our club. 
 
Under the Rotary International theme "Rotary Serving Humanity" this year, we have grown and expanded our activities, particularly in serving the Downtown Los Angeles community.  Bring your ideas and don't miss this important meeting to look back on our year with President Aaron! 
 
 
 
 
The Rotary Club of Downtown Los Angeles is proud to have been recognized by District 5280 as a 100% contributing club to the "End Polio Now" campaign for 2016-17. 
 
The eradication of polio is one of Rotary's longest standing and most significant efforts. Along with our partners, we have helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children against polio in 122 countries. We have reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent worldwide and we won't stop until we end the disease for good.
 
Learn more about the campaign and join us in the fight against polio! https://www.endpolio.org/
 
 
Gordon Seyffert has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Public Administration from the University of Missouri, but spent his whole career working for the University in administrative assignments relating to Graduate Studies, International Affairs, and Academic Affairs.  He retired some fifteen years ago, and moved with his wife Marsha from Kansas City, Missouri to Altadena in 2011.
 
His retirement “career" is as a genealogist specializing in Germanic genealogy.  He is the vice president, editor, de facto librarian, web manager and Wednesday staff person for the Immigrant Genealogical Society, of Burbank.  Some years ago he taught himself to read the old German script in which so many genealogical documents are written, and it has been an invaluable skill to have.  He currently takes an active role on the executive committee of the International German Genealogy Partnership (IGGP), of which the IGS and its Pomeranian Special Interest Group are both members.  Through his activities he now counts several new friendships in Germany as a side benefit of his interest.
 
His three adult children are Lindsay Seyffert (film editor), Gus Seyffert (musician) and Maggie McEldowney (arts administrator).  Each of them preceded their parents to Los Angeles, the elder two having attended CalArts.  Maggie trained to be a dancer in New York City, but has recently received a Master’s from USC in Social Entrepreneurship.
 
Gordon is also active in other organizations besides Rotary — he first became a Rotarian in 2011 — and his genealogical society.  He regularly works weekends in the spring and fall on Christmas Tree Lane, which is just one house away from his.  He can be found every Memorial Day helping to decorate some of the almost 700 graves of Union soldiers buried there, in his capacity as a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.  Also as a SUVCW representative, he can be found each May presenting recognition awards to top JROTC cadets at one or more high schools in the western San Gabriel Valley.
 
 
Andrew Ekchian is a Human Resources Analyst for the Los Angeles Unified School District.  He also works in a variety of roles part-time for a medical device corporation called Neurosigma Inc., primarily in business development. He graduated from the USC Marshall School of Business Full-Time Program in 2015.  His goal is to work within human resources or business development for organizations that benefit the greater good as well as provide an opportunity for lifelong accomplishment. 
 
Andrew's daily activities concern analyzing data related to improving teacher performance within the Los Angeles Unified School District.  In addition, he has recruited as well as worked to place teachers within opportune roles for the Los Angeles Unified School District. For Neurosigma Inc., Andrew performs research work, marketing, and represents the organization at the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. 
 
Andrew's interests include martial arts, cars, sports, but most of all politics and history. Although he graduated from the University of Southern California his beloved school is still his undergraduate, UCLA.
 
To our Rotary community and beyond,

With the holiday season upon us, we reflect on the many blessings that grace our lives including our wonderful, vibrant Rotary Club and our dedication to service in downtown Los Angeles and the world beyond. 

With an exciting District Grant made possible in partnership with the City of Los Angeles, an ongoing Global Grant in Kenya providing accessible water, work, and recreational opportunities, and the pending Reverse Global Grant benefiting L.A. Kitchen, our table is set for achieving great things in 2017. We welcome new members to join in our community work with open arms. 

Happy Holidays, everyone!
 
Rotary Club of Downtown Los Angeles 
 
 
 
 

CLEAN WATER FROM ROTARY FOR KENYA

By Lorine Parks, IMAGE Senior Correspondent/Rotary Club of Downey 

(Originally published in Rotary District 5280 December 2016 Newsletter)

 
As every Southern Californian knows, there is nothing more beautiful than rain water.
 
For the past five years, The Rotary Club of Downtown Los Angeles has been working to provide a reliable source of clean rainwater to the students at four schools and a medical dispensary at the Osongo Primary School in Migori, Kenya. Up to now the community had gotten water from a nearby creek at the bottom of a small valley.  This water is not clean and in the dry season it is difficult to find. 
                 

Four years ago, the president of the Rotary Club of Downtown Los Angeles, Peter Lattey, received a plea for help from the President of the Rotary Club of Migori, Kenya, which he posted on the club’s Facebook page.  The Migori club was failing and he needed some advice.  After some discussion it was decided that the club should find a service project that would raise their profile in the community. Thus was born this WASH (water and sanitation) project.

Now the power of Rotary clubs, joining forces, is bringing water to schools and a clinic in Kenya.  With Rotary International’s Global Grants of $41,000 in 2013/14 and a $48,000  grant in 2014/15, the project has directly impacted over 1,500 students and hundreds of patients at the clinic. It also affected the families of all the students.  Enrollment jumped.  Absenteeism due to disease fell.. 
 
This part of Kenya gets plenty of rain twice a year, but the groundwater is often of poor quality.  The best solution to the water issue at the schools is to collect rainwater from the iron roofs of the schools and store it in above ground tanks.  Under the grants, schools receive two, 10,000 liter tanks, a hand wash station and a two door, wheelchair accessible
latrine.  
                    
Rotary provides the tanks, the plumbing and any skilled labor.  The community digs the 25 foot deep latrine and provides the bricks for the latrine.  They also provide materials for the base of the tanks and unskilled labor.  This initial project is the result of a year-long collaboration between Peter Lattey and Ben Onam, the past president of Suna Migori Rotary Club. 
 
Ten clubs in District 5280, District 5280, the Slinger Allenton Club, District 9212 in Kenya and the Suna-Migori Club all contributed funds.  The Rotary Club of Downtown Los Angeles contributed $1,690, and LA 5 contributed $1,500.
 
As soon as the tanks were in place, school attendance and enrollment increased, girls were not missing as much school and the students were spending more time in class. At the clinic they will have more water and they will install a shower for the birthing mothers.
 
Now a Past President of Downtown Los Angeles Club, Peter has made several trips to assist with the construction and to audit the completion of the project.
  
“An important benefit of this project, “he says, “is the improvement of the educational opportunities for the girls of Osingo.  By having a clean source of water at the schools, the girls will be having a clean source of water at the schools and the girls will be relieved of the task of walking miles every day to get water. They will instead be able to spend that time in school becoming better educated.” 
  
 “When you educate a girl, you have educated the whole community.” Numerous studies have shown that educating girls and young women is a critical factor in economic and social development.  “This source of clean water will help curb water borne diseases and help eliminate school dropout by girls,” Peter says.  The new toilets will also provide a critical facility for the young women to enable them to attend school during their menses.
 
“After the success of the first Global Grant,” says Peter, “we decided to expand the project into a four phase program with each phase being a project of about 8 schools in a Rotary year.  Phase 3 and 4 will be in 2016/17 and 2017/18  At the end of this time we will have provided clean water and sanitation facilities to over 15,000 students in 28 rural schools and at least two rural clinics in Migori Kenya.” 
 
On August 20, 2016, Rotary Club of Downtown Los Angeles members were given the rare opportunity to tour Skid Row with Los Angeles Police Department Officer Deon Joseph, also known as the “angel cop.” 
 
Officer Joseph has been with the LAPD for nineteen years, with seventeen of those years in the Skid Row community.  His approach goes beyond the typical image of policing and focuses on the development of personal relationships with those he serves.  He has sponsored outreach programs such as mentoring for children, education safety and self-defense seminars for women, and providing hygiene kits along with drug, housing, and job program information.  On a typical day, he is on foot beat, talking to people, providing them with basic needs such as toothpaste, soap, lotion, and information on how to apply for housing vouchers.   
 
Some of the surprising things members learned on the tour were Officer Joseph’s observations on well-meaning donations by the public directly to those living on the streets such as tents, food, and clothes as actually being counterproductive.  He said that tents promote illegal activity as the space becomes “hidden.”  Regarding food, he mentioned that the missions provide enough free meals to serve the population and providing food on the street creates difficulties with drug dealers prevalent all over the area.  Free clothes he warned would end up being sold for drugs.
 
What he sees as the greatest needs in Skid Row are for additional housing, decentralizing homeless services to other parts of the city so Skid Row becomes less concentrated with those who prey on the homeless, and adjustments to some of the laws that most affect the homeless population.
 
All were reminded of the dire situation in the neighborhood when Officer Joseph was unable to conduct the full tour as there had been an outbreak of the synthetic drug “spice” in the neighborhood the day before where 50 people were hospitalized and the air was still contaminated a day later.  Member Brenda McCabe, a recent transplant to Los Angeles commented: “I learned that homelessness is a result of a complex relation between drugs and crime and victims.  I was appalled that this is happening literally in our backyard.”  President-elect Louise Oliver, who has for many years served on the board of the Shelter Partnership, offered her reflections on how to combat the homelessness issue: “....no simple solutions, but we need to keep the focus and pressure on.” 
 
To learn more about Officer Joseph and his work, visit his website: http://www.deonjoseph.org/  
 
 
 
Thanks to all who joined us on May 15 for our Incredible LA Arts District Tour!
 
A big thank you to our generous sponsors Century Housing, Loftway Realty, Downtown News, and hospitality host Resident. And to our Rotaractors and Mama Hill's youth who were amazing volunteers!  Due to your generosity, we are able to help those in need locally and throughout the world. Thank you for helping us be of service!
 
 
 

 

Come tour a selection of the most unique and eclectic lofts, artist studios, and other amazing places that define the Arts District!

The Rotary Club of Downtown Los Angeles is holding its third annual INCREDIBLE L.A. LOFTS TOUR on Sunday, May 15, 2016 from 1-6pm to benefit its local and international service projects.

This self-guided tour will take you through the vibrant Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles. Ticket holders will get special food and drink discounts at Resident and can sample the many restaurants and cafes in the neighborhood.

Tickets are $30

Limited Free Parking

Details and tickets available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/incredible-la-arts-district-tour-tickets-24236843050

 

Our Generous Sponsors

Century Housing, Loftway Realty, and Downtown News

 

Presented by

Rotary Club of Downtown Los Angeles

Angel City Rotaract Club

 

For more information, contact Aaron Weiner at aaron@rotarydtla.org

 

View the video featuring highlights of last years tour here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXaPALiu-H4

 

 

 

 
 
The Rotary Club of Downtown Los Angeles is holding a school supplies drive to help local homeless children.  Throughout the month of February, Rotary DTLA will collect items for the children of School on Wheels enrolled in their tutoring and educational programs.
 
Please consider donating one or more of the items listed below.  NEW ITEMS only! 
*Starred items are especially needed.
 
*Backpacks (especially teenager size)
*Pencil sharpeners
*School Binders (2” or larger)
*3-ring ruled paper (college or wide-rule)
 
Additional wish list items: highlighters, school uniforms or uniform certificates, crayons, markers, colored pencils, pens, erasers, homework folders, flash cards (multiply & divide), USB flash drives, laptops (2009 & newer), mini staplers, mechanical pencils, scientific calculators (preferably solar), graphing calculators, book covers, subject dividers, arts & crafts materials, dictionaries, gift certificates & vouchers for backpacks, books, and supplies, academic planners
 
 
           
 
At the District 5280 Rotary Foundation Celebration held on November 14, the Rotary Club of Downtown Los Angeles was one of four clubs recognized as a 100% $100 per capita club for 2014-15, for member contributions to the Rotary Foundation.
 
We are grateful to the Rotary Foundation for matching grant funding of our Migori Kenya water project, and funding the two global scholars we sponsored in 2014-15.
 

The Rotary Foundation transforms your gifts into projects that change lives both close to home and around the world. As the charitable arm of Rotary, the Foundation taps into a global network of Rotarians who invest their time, money, and expertise into , such as and . Foundation empower Rotarians to approach challenges such as poverty, illiteracy, and malnutrition with sustainable solutions that leave a lasting impact.

Strong , a stellar , and a unique mean that we make the very most of your contribution. and become a part of Rotary’s life-changing work! 

Learn more about the Foundation at https://www.rotary.org/myrotary/en/rotary-foundation. 

 

 
The Rotary Club of Downtown Los Angeles recently joined forces with Angel City Rotaract and local Interactors to tend to Mama Hill’s garden on a sunny Saturday morning in Watts.  Head gardener, Past President Peter Lattey, gave volunteers a crash course in Gardening 101, and within hours a new set of vegetables were beautifully  planted for the coming season. 
 
Our club continues to support Mama Hill’s Help with garden replanting and ongoing additional projects.  We are proud sponsors of several of Mama Hill’s youth at past Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) weekends, and they have been dedicated volunteers at our spring Incredible LA Lofts Tour fundraiser.  With the Crenshaw-Watts Rotary Club, we are developing plans to sponsor them to become certified as home care helpers to provide both employment opportunities as well as serve needy seniors in the area.
 
To learn more about Mama Hill’s Help visit http://mamahillshelp.org/, or better yet, come join us at our next service opportunity! 
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