Weekly Bulletin of the

Rotary Club of St. Catharines South   

June 29, 2009


Outgoing President Greg McDonald's Address Continued  


In May we held our "Celebrate Niagara" gala and club members attended the District Assembly in Niagara Falls, NY.  The year concluded with the Niagara Hoedown in support of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, and incoming president Paul Monaghan travelling to Manchester, England to attend the 2009 Rotary International Convention.


Our fund raising efforts this year exceeded my expectations.  This was due to the extraordinary efforts of our members who chaired the respective committees and the participation of our club members who truly believe in "Service Above Self". 


Our club ran four fund raising events this year beginning with Ribfest in August.  I want to thank Jason Pollock for organizing the glo-stick sales and the 50/50 draw which raised over $1,100 for our club.  Through the generosity of the Downtown club we have the opportunity to participate in Ribfest again on the Civic holiday weekend with the added bonus of a second 50/50 draw. 


Earlier this month the two Pauls, Monaghan and Massuet, along with Bob MacKay and Laetitia DeWitt represented our club at Bike Trek.  Although we had fewer riders this year, our members once again stepped up with contributions totaling nearly $2,000 which earned our club the District 7090 trophy for the largest amount of donations.  50% of those donations are returned to our club.


What can I say about Bingo?  What an integral part of our club.  What an easy way to make ten to fifteen thousand dollars.  And who do we have to thank for bingo?  Well I guess you could say Ed Telenko for starting this extraordinary fund raiser way back on May 31st, 1971.


But I want to acknowledge the efforts of three Rotarians, your bingo committee co-chairs Don Beard, Sheila Bristo and Jim Hooper.  Thank-you!  And thank you to the members who responded to their request to participate in at least two bingos this year.  For those members who chose not to participate in bingo, I must say that you missed out on the opportunity to spend some quality time with some great people.  I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity during the upcoming year.   


And now to our gala.  Here is an event which in terms of its complexity and scope requires a very special team of individuals to see if through to fruition.  Once again this year we had this team and it was lead by past president June Manning.  June and her committee faced many challenges organizing this year's event. 

Through their commitment and perseverance they made "Celebrate Niagara" another success for our club.  Every detail from the programs and tickets, to the d├ęcor, the dinner, the music and the quality of the auction items was superb.  While our numbers were down from last year, those in attendance gave generously through the live and silent auctions netting our club close to $15,000. 


Unfortunately all good things seem to come to an end at some point and the gala is no exception.   The gala in its current format may have run its course and we now face the challenge of replacing or reconstructing our major fund raising event.


Fund raising is only one part of Rotary and our club.  The other part is how we put those funds to use to add value to people's lives.


This year our club contributed $4,300 to the Rotary Foundation's Permanent Fund.  We also donated $1,000 to the Foundation's $100 million Polio Plus Challenge.  This is the first installment of a three year $3,000 commitment to match the initial $100 million donated by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  As announced earlier this year, the Gates Foundation increased their donation to $350 million.  Rotary International has now challenged the clubs to raise $200 million.


At our June assembly Foundation Director Sheila Bristo recognized members of our club who made $100 donations to the Every Rotarian Every Year program.   


This year's international service projects involved a donation of $1,500 to the Guatemala Literacy Project; $1,000 to Fog Quest; $1,000 to support Rotarian Matt Taylor in providing free dental service in India; and $1,000 to fund Shelter Box #1093 which was deployed to Namibia to shelter flood victims.


Our community service projects involved $1,500 donation to the Rotary Para-transit vehicle, the fourth of a five year commitment; $1,000 to the Canadian Federation of University Women's Gift of Reading Program which saw books go to Kernahan Park Secondary School and FACS Niagara; $500 went to FACS Niagara to send two children to a summer camp; and $200 to Horse Alternative Therapeutic Service which gives handicapped children the opportunity to experience horseback riding on an ongoing basis as part of their therapy.


Our major community service project is the Cardiac Catheterization Lab for the new hospital in partnership with the Maycourt Club and Performance Cars.  I want to acknowledge Rotarian Cathy Henry for her commitment to this project and for honorably representing our club in this endeavor.  Thank you!  I also want to thank those individual members of our club who supported this project by attending the "Take It To Heart Gala" in November and the recent "Niagara Hoedown".  Incoming president Paul Monaghan will be bringing a proposal to the incoming board that our club make ongoing monetary contributions to this project as well.


This year's Howard Etherington Award went to Adolescents Family Support Services of Niagara.  The $2,000 grant included in the award was used to purchase a high quality 3 child Runabout Stroller for use by staff on outings.  Thanks to Ed Telenko and his committee for once again masterfully administering this program dedicated to the memory of a dedicated Rotarian.


Our Youth Services Committee had another busy year sending three high school students to Slap Shot, and sponsoring one university student to attend RYLA.  Thank you Rotarian Tom Shulz. 


During last week's meeting we met four young women and four young men who are this year's Rotary medalists.  These eight individuals are deemed by their peers to have a special gift, the gift of caring about others and the willingness to get involved.  Thank you Rotarian John D'Ambrosio and your team of presenters.


Our crowning achievement in youth services this year has to be the chartering of an Early Act Club at MotherTeresaSchool in St. Catharines, the first Early Act Club in the city.  For those of us who attended the Chartering ceremony on April 29th, this was truly a special event.  District governor Ralph Montessanto was in attendance as was District Youth Services Director Chris Lowes and Superintendent of Education Leanne Forsythe-Selles.  And it all came about due to the efforts of Rotarian Dan Toppari.  It took some time but once again the perseverance of Dan and Vicky Syne form Mother Teresa School won the day. 


Finally I want to acknowledge Rotarians Matt Taylor and Jean Holbert-Leighton for their contribution to this year's youth exchange program.  Those of us present for Karen Ting's presentation to the club at our last assembly witnessed the blossoming of a fine young lady whose confidence and English skills have increased dramatically.  We all look forward to hearing an account of outgoing student Elizabeth Bratton's experiences in Holland at an upcoming meeting.


I feel that this was another positive year for our club.  Our revised committee structure created added focus on membership, the Rotary Foundation and Public Relations.  Paul Monaghan, Sheila Bristo and Cathy Henry all made outstanding contributions in these areas.


The sole area of disappointment for me was membership.  Our club experienced a net decrease of five members this year.  On the positive side we welcomed Najeeb Syed and Ken Smith into our club.  Unfortunately we lost seven members.  Two former members, Ross Elliott and Rich Cavers, were given Honorary Member status in recognition of their long term service to our club and Rotary.  I am confident that the membership program initiated by Paul Monaghan will eventually yield positive results for our club. 


Remember, without Rotarians there would be no Rotary.


Thank you for the honor of being your president.  Each and every one of you helped make it a special year for me.  I also want to pass along my best wishes to incoming president Paul Monaghan and his executive.  Finally, in my new capacity with the club I want to conclude by saying that I need 4 volunteers to help with bingo on Friday July 10th.