Rotary Club of South Bend

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Welcome to our Club!

South Bend

Service Above Self

We meet Wednesdays at 12:00 PM
Century Center
120 S. St. Joseph St.
Suites 1 - 3
South Bend, IN  46601
United States
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Young African Leadership Initiative Fellows
Introduction was provided by a man with a name that includes a “click” who is from the southernmost part of Africa.  YALI was initiated by President Obama in 2010.  Its purpose is to bring together young African leaders in business, civil society, and government with professionals in the US.  There are two basic parts.  1) YALI network – an online community of young leaders that facilitates sharing of ideas and training.  2) YALI regional leadership centers – S. Africa, W. Africa (Senegal), Ghana, and Kenya, which serve to provide opportunity for leaders who cannot come to USA.
The Mandella Washington partnership was launched in 2014 to bring together 1000 outstanding young African leaders annually to the US.  There are 25 in the group joining us today, currently at Notre Dame and headed to D.C.  They were tasked with presenting two different business proposals that would connect South Bend to Africa.
Africa produces 70 million tons of waste every year, and it’s projected to produce 120 million tons by 2025.  This results in massive piles of garbage in public places and leads to air pollution and the risk of contamination and disease.  Young leaders are concerned about not preserving land for future generations and are looking for to spark investment interest from this area to build sustainable recycling centers in Africa.  They propose an online platform on which investors and anyone interested can see the resulting success of their investment.  The young lady from Zimbabwe, Sibussiwe Mashoko presenting this idea added, “For us, it remains our biggest dream”.
The second presenter, a young professional from Ghana, Catherine Morton, discussed the idea of organizing a trade fair here in South Bend at which each of Africa’s 54 countries would be represented.  While producers of products and services in Africa utilize an online market, they recognize the importance of face-to-face contact and how that could be achieved in this forum.  She said, “Africa has something to offer, trade and best practices”.  It could be a good economic booster for South Bend, and would create a gateway to Africa. 
Following the presentation, a Rotarian asked about their biggest surprise since being here.  One of the YALI fellows responded that they had heard how busy/occupied Americans are.  They have all been pleasantly surprised by the warmth and open approach from people in our community.
Fellow Rotarian Heather Goralski introduced Henriette Nyirarukundo Ngenga who  Is a survivor of horrific atrocities against the Tutsi in Rwanda which began in April 1994, but also a walking miracle and author of Carrying Divine.  In May of 2011 she met Kristin Ponce Baker at Granger Community Church who has partnered to write and publish the book.  2014 marked the 20th anniversary of terror of the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda.  One million lives were lost in 100 days.  Henriette’s friends, family, neighbors- were slaughtered.  Henriette’s story opens eyes to those of us who are blessed to live in this free land. Her deeply rooted joy, faith, and gratitude exude to anyone who takes the time to get to know her, and is a contagious gift to anyone who hears her story.
Henriette is now living in South Bend and with her husband and two of her eight children.  She is employed at Notre Dame; and is committed to keeping her promise that if she and her family survived she would tell the world of God’s saving power.  Henriette is hoping that this book will inspire fellow Rwandan’s to return to God and believe.  The title Carrying Divine was inspired by Henrietta’s giving birth to a healthy daughter after surviving the ordeal and named Divine in honor of God’s protection
Gary Hall introduced an angel in our community, Kim Becker, the founder of Hello Gorgeous.  Hello Gorgeous is Kim’s mission in life and her dream that evolved from her passion and talents in the salon business.  Hello Gorgeous provides a complementary make-over for women struggling with cancer.  Kim provides this service to help women who have compromised immune systems to be transformed back into the beautiful women that they are.  Hello Gorgeous is a complete spa experience contained in a 1998 Holiday Rambler and 2013 Monaco Coach.  The vehicle goes to the person’s home, rolls out the red carpet, provides complimentary flowers, and a makeover ensemble. The Hello Gorgeous Monaco Coach was the last vehicle produced before the company closed and the employees pulled out all stops to make Kim’s dream come true.  Hello Gorgeous is a 501C3 and can be contacted at if you would like to donate, volunteer, or nominate a loved one, or attend a fund raiser.  This year there is a .5K Run with a polish buffet scheduled for August.
President Jackie introduced Professor of Chemistry at St. Mary’s College, Dr. Toni Barsitis, as our program speaker.  Dr Barsitis is part of an inter-disciplinary team that developed P.A.D. and was granted the first patent for St. Mary’s College.  P.A.D. stands for Paper Analytical Devices.  These paper devices were designed and developed to provide screening to qualify the purity of pharmaceutical products. Pharmaceutical purity is a serious global issue; in developed countries compromised pharmaceuticals represent about 15% while in underdeveloped countries compromised pharmaceuticals can represent an astounding 50% to 80%.  So there was a need to develop a low cost, quick and accurate screening method to detect counterfeit pills and medications.  The P.A.D. protocol was developed by St. Mary’s, Notre Dame Undergraduates and some Trinity students.  St. Mary’s owns the patent of P.A.D. and was just awarded a second patent in January for developing an enhancement to P.A.D. utilizing a “vessel” that Dr. Barsitis termed “a glow stick” concept.  Notre Dame is working on the licensing and the P.A.D. product is going to be produced by a local start-up company.  Dr. Barsitis also related her team’s experience in Nepal and how they used P.A.D. to expose massive irregularities in medications.  The P.A.D. team is currently working on applications to test water and air quality, while other features used could include food quality. 
David Matthews introduced the Executive Director of the South Bend Symphony, SBSO, Agnieszka Rakhmatullaev as the Club’s program speaker.  Agnieszka brought the Club up to date on the structure, programs music, and the new Director search for our regional renowned Symphony.  She is happy that SBSO is supported by our major area universities and contributes over one million dollars to our local economy.  There is also an Endowment Fund to help offset many of the expenses along with a generous community support.  It is very unusual for a regional symphony to have two performing venues; South Bend’s Morris Performing Arts Center for the Symphony and Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center for the Chamber Series.  The SBSO has a core of 71 professional musicians that is augmented by other professionals to perform in over 40 concerts a year ranging from or related to Educational Concerts for elementary students. IUSB and other local community and school choirs are often a strong addition to the symphony programs.  In addition members of the SBSO put on free concerts for PreK-12 students and a Donald Dake Academy Annual week long Chamber Music camp for high school students.  The members of the SBSO draw from local, regional, and national musicians.  The search for the new Music Director has attracted not only national but an international group of candidates.  Five candidates have been chosen from the 170 applicants by the Search Committee to compete for the Concert Director’s position. Agnieszka encourages everyone to be a part of the SBSO by being involved at the Board level, becoming a donor, subscriber, or sponsor and/or by attending a performance.  She also reminded us that the concerts are rebroadcast again this year on WAUS and WNDU.
Elizabeth Dunn introduced Daryl Heller, Director of IUSB’s Civil Rights Heritage Center Building.  Dr. Heller gave a brief history of South Bend's Natatorium and the role it played in racial segregation and the reason why it is an appropriate facility for the Civil Rights Heritage Center [CHRH].  IIUSB took an interest in the “Nat” as a site for its study of Civil Rights movement in Michiana.  It is a multi faceted which serves as an extension of the IUSB campus for classes in history, literature, art, music and social justice.  It also serves as a museum emphasizing the African Americans, Latin Community, and the LGBTQ Community in Michiana.  It is venue for meeting spaces and for free public events.  Included in the public events are opportunities for education in order to understand the world, culture to provide new ways of seeing the world and encourages activism to engage the world. Current topics and issues concern the Hate Crime Legislation, the Educational need of South Bend and the relationship of the Community and law enforcement. Through both its campus component and its extension component, the CRHC is committed to Scholarship in Action and unique to an academic center.
Jeff Breiler introduced the principals of the Upper Room Recovery Community as our program speakers.  The Upper Room has been housed at the First United Methodist Church since 1984 and is one of the areas most successful recovery programs for men suffering from addiction to drugs and alcohol.  Steve Toepp, Public Service Chair, began the program with a video presentation that explained the mission of the Upper Room along with testimonials about their experience  with the 12 Step Program and the time to process their sobriety and their relationships.  Rev. Mary Hubbard is the Senior Pastor at the Church and is very involved with the Upper Room, both as a spiritual advisor and the board members.  She stated she has witnessed lives transformed and families restored because  the men have adhered to the standard of he program.  Richard Fox, Director of the Upper Room since 2014, reported that the 29 men in recovery have a safe and secure environment to live in.  A social and support network  are available 24 hours a day plus individuals support services for its residents.  To learn more about how Upper Room helps people who truly want to change and move toward more productive and independent lives go to their website;
Hugh Johnson introduced Pat Maggley, Founder of Heros Camp as our program speaker.  Pat gave an inspiring account of his mission in life rescuing boys and teens and nurturing them into young men.  Pat used his outstanding basketball talent and his commitment to Biblical Ethics and God to attract and engage these fatherless young people by also providing them with life’s necessities; food, clothing, shoes and whatever they need.  He and his wife started this ministry 28 years ago with a handful of boys and parlayed their rich family lives and commitment to this program to save these boys from a life of poverty and/or crime.  Last year his wife cooked and served 25,000 meals.  Hero’s Camp is now in the process of building a new gym that will also include a cafeteria and dormitory.  Pat introduced Heros Camp Executive Director, Patrick, [PJ] Perri, Aaron’s brother, to share his vision and how the Camp is the most effective outreach program is South Bend.   Hero’s Camp is a “never give up forever program” that stays with these boys like a father throughout their lives. This was an uplifting program that introduced the Club to the mission of Heros Camp. Pictured L to R are Pat Maggley, PJ Perri, and Bryson Sareen.
John Pinter introduced our District Rotary Youth Exchange Representative, Willow Crisovan, as our program speaker.  Willow, a Junior at Adams High School, kicked off her presentation with the selection process of Rotary International for the Exchange Program.  This included setting up a blog and keeping a journal of her experiences.   Willow was selected to go to Temuco, Chile where she lived with her host family just as her host brother left fot his Rotary Exchange in Pennsylvania.  She attended a semi-private high school where the students wore uniforms and the teachers rotated between the classrooms. Willow made many friends both at school and among the other International Rotary Exchange students from Europe and the US.  Willow took advantage of the in-country trips and especially enjoyed Easter Island. She also enjoyed visiting Temuco’s malls and markets with her new family and friends.  Willow described her experience as a journey in self discovery and maturity with a new appreciation of Rotary both locally and globally. In addition to her fluency in Spanish her year in Chile gave her greater insight and empathy for international visitors.  Willow, thank you for being such an outstanding representative for our Club.
John Pinter introduced our District Rotary Youth Exchange Representative, Willow Crisovan, as our program speaker.  Willow, a Junior at Adams High School, kicked off her presentation with the selection process of Rotary International for the Exchange Program.  This included setting up a blog and keeping a journal of her experiences.   Willow was selected to go to Temuco, Chile where she lived with her host family just as her host brother left fot his Rotary Exchange in Pennsylvania.  She attended a semi-private high school where the students wore uniforms and the teachers rotated between the classrooms. Willow made many friends both at school and among the other International Rotary Exchange students from Europe and the US.  Willow took advantage of the in-country trips and especially enjoyed Easter Island. She also enjoyed visiting Temuco’s malls and markets with her new family and friends.  Willow described her experience as a journey in self discovery and maturity with a new appreciation of Rotary both locally and globally. In addition to her fluency in Spanish her year in Chile gave her greater insight and empathy for international visitors. Willow was a terrific representative for our Rotary Club, we are most proud of her.
Charles Dixon gave his Three Minute Talk.  Charlie was sponsored by Debie Coble and is the Vice President of Industrial Services for Goodwill Industries of Michiana.  Charlie is a Mishawaka native and graduate of Penn High School.  He met his wife Susan in high school and they are the proud parents of an adult daughter and a son and have two grandsons. Charlie has had a varied professional career ranging from being a Pastor to working for the Troyer Group.  He enjoys construction and wood working for a hobby.  Charlie encouraged everyone to visit and tour his program at Goodwill. 
Past President Amy Hill introduced Lauren Smyth as our Program Speaker .Lauren is the Director of Development for our local Ronald McDonald House Charities.  She began her presentation with a video production of testimonials by families that have been served by the current Ronald McDonald rooms located within Memorial Hospital.  The rooms are open to all families who have children admitted to Memorial and provide overnight accommodations for up to three families plus food, laundry and shower services free of charge.  Once the child is registered the family has address to these services for as long as they are needed.  4,900 families were served in 2015 by the McDonald Rooms which are staffed by volunteers. 
With Memorial Children’s Hospital opening up in March 2017 the current Room will expand to a true Ronald McDonald Housed located in the Skyway Building.  The new House will have 20 bedrooms with private bathrooms, a kitchen with three work stations in addition to the laundry, children’s play area and private meeting facilities.  This set up will allow entire families to be accommodated while their child is being treated.  The new facility will be dedicated on Volunteer’s Day 2017 and a public open house the following Saturday to show the impact it will have on our community and beyond. Donations are still needed to make up the $500,000 to complete the project.  Details can be found on
Gene Bruce introduced David Stefanic as our program speaker.  David is a professor of Russian History and the main thrust of his presentation was how Vladimir Putin’s Russia has inserted itself into the power vacuum created by the current U.S. Administration.  The Russians do not respect weakness in anything and once that is detected they will fill the void like they are doing in Syria, South America, and Central America.  Dr. Stefanic declared that the United States must be vigilant and wary of the false news or social media which is Putin’s strategy of disinformation used to sway elections in U.S. and Germany.  He expressed his concerns that Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and gas could lead to economic blackmail if the E. U. attempts to thwart Russian’s “manifest destiny” of world domination.  He cautioned that the U.S. must be cognizant of the composition of the various alliances around the world and to formulate its foreign and military policies accordingly.
James Summers introduced the staff of the South Bend Education Foundation; Executive Director Susan Warner, Mentor Coordinator Teresa Gilbride and Amy Beyer.  The focus of the presentation was on Our Caring Community unites for Education which targets societal dysfunction and its effects on educational success of the students.
The program is funded by the SBCSC and is supported by partners from the business and academic sectors of South Bend.  The key to their goals is a mentoring program that is in sync with Character Education 11 Principles.  This includes developing common norms, empathy, as well as strong academics so that the whole student is encouraged and nurtured by the school’s community.  At Marshall School this is implemented by the Gold Dot program which ensures that each student has a caring teacher to help cope with serious issues.  
John Seidl introduced Notre Dame Men’s Basketball Coach, Mike Brey, as our program speaker.   Coach Brey in in his 17th season as ND’s head coach and is looking forward to Saturdays game. 
This year’s team has three returning starters plus experienced Junior and Senior players. Coach Brey is pleased with his programs progression and growth in both his players and coaching staff.  He is looking forward to the ACC Challenge as this year’s field in deep as it has ever been. However, it will be tough this year to match the past two years of back to back Elite Eight. 
Coach Brey is also encouraged by his team’s health and great frame of mind and is proud that eight of twelve of his scholarship guys are in the Mendoza School of Business.  He also thought that this year may be good for the transfer student athlete as the choices from the high school players are limited because of their lack of academic skills.  His coaching staff has three former players that also had successful coaching careers and he credits them for keeping him energized. 
Janet Evelyn gave her Three Minute Talk.  Janet hails from Nevis and is a citizen of St. Kitts-Nevis.  She is one of twelve children and is a cousin of actress Cecily Tyson.  Janet is the proud mother of her daughter Jana, who is the reason Dr. Evelyn is in the Midwest.  When her daughter was at Purdue, Dr. Evelyn became the Dean of Business at Ivy Tech in Muncie.  Janet came to South Bend in March of 2014 is currently the Campus President at Ivy Tech, South Bend.  She is happy to call South Bend her home and has purchased her first house. She thanked her sponsor, Steve Watts. She looks forward to being involved in Rotary’s community service.
Gene Bruce introduced Notre Dame’s Women’s basketball Head Coach, Muffet McGraw as our program speaker.  Muffet brought the Club up to speed on the 2016-2017 Season and is thrilled that she has five All Americans on the team.  She shared some of her insights on coaching such as playing a tough schedule to expose the team’s weaknesses prior to the playoffs.  She also said that her team practices with the men players which helps them to hone their skills and as a side, should prepare them for marriage.  Muffet is ignoring the team’s pre-season ranking of #1 and is concentrating on developing these star players into a cohesive team by giving each three things to concentrate on. She also has her women devote 10 hours a semester to community service so that they maintain their perspective on life and also appreciate what Notre Dame has to offer. On a personal level, Coach McGraw defines herself as competitive and driven t win and excel at the game; to look good and dominate each game.
Geoff Spiess, Mishawaka’s director of HR, delivered the proclamation to the employees being honored, congratulating them for overcoming the obstacles that were before them to reach productive employment.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg offered the proclamation to the employers being honored at the luncheon, commending them for helping commerce prosper while standing up for workplace equality. Their pioneering expands the scope of our workforce.
Rotarian Maria Kaczmarek read the names of the honorees who were greeted with applause as they posed for photographs.
Rotarian Debie Coble introduced our speaker for the 28th Annual Disability Awareness Luncheon: Anne Drake (as well as her guide and companion, Driver). Anne Drake is a South Bend native, one of seven children (and the only girl), and a graduate of John Adams high school. While she initially planned on attending college after high school, being a single mother compelled her to put those plans on hold. Instead she entered the business world.
Anne held several jobs over the years. In her early 40’s, while she was working as an Inventory Analyst in Niles, she received the diagnosis that would change her life. After a routine visit to the eye doctor, she was asked to come back to see another doctor that same day. Even immediate laser surgery could not save the vision in her right eye. Two years later, her left eye lost its sight as well. She was completely blind.
As Anne tells it, she felt grateful to have two years to adjust to being “a blind girl,” but right when she got her second diagnosis her company also went bankrupt and she was out of the job. Anne found herself in a tight spot. Luckily fate wasn’t done with her. While walking her son’s dog, she passed another walker and her dog got into a tussle with theirs. When she talked to the woman later to apologize (and find out if she needed to pay any medical bills), they started chatting. The other dog’s owner was Kim, a vocational therapy counselor who specialized in helping the blind.
Kim got Anne started on vocational rehab, but it was tough going. Anne had to learn how to do everything from cooking to putting on make-up in the morning all over again. She also learned to read Braille. When the first job she was offered after losing her sight was a job as a dishwasher, she elected to finally go to college.
Getting her degree was difficult; Anne described wanting to quit nearly every day. It was hard to accept help, to need people all the time for everything. Things turned around in her second year of her undergraduate degree, when she got Tabitha, her first guide dog. With Tabitha’s help, Anne felt there was nothing she couldn’t do. With Tabitha’s help, Anne found herself.
Anne finished her undergraduate degree and decided to pursue a Masters in social work. Now she is a social worker at IU, helping students with different abilities adjust to college life. She even got a second Masters in criminal justice (and is considering a 3rd). Anne loves her new career and is very thankful that she has found her true calling. “If your dog ever bites someone,” she advises, “you go talk to that person.”
Rotarian Steve Goldberg introduced our speaker.  Lynn Coleman is the Democratic candidate for 2nd District Congress.  After graduating from Washington High School, Lynn went to work for AM General, hired on the same day as his mother.  They worked in the factory together building army trucks.  When he was sidelined by a back injury, Lynn went back to school taking classes at IUSB.  Lynn joined the South Bend Police Department where he served for 23 years, in patrol, gang crimes, founded the juvenile division, and eventually worked his way up to Assistant Chief of Police. 
Upon his retirement from the Police Department, Lynn was asked by Mayor Steve Luecke to join his staff, where he worked for 12 years representing South Bend throughout the state.  One and a half years ago, Lynn was hired by Memorial Hospital to head up their efforts to work with the community to help reduce violent crime. In the last several years, Lynn has been involved with countless agencies with a focus on youth issues, such as mentoring and Special Olympics.  Lynn grew up on the far west side of South Bend.  He and his wife Myrtie have one son. 
Although he never anticipated it, Lynn is grateful for the opportunity to run for Congress.  He said, “I’m not a politician, I’m a server”.  If elected, his goal every day will be to provide help, representation, and advocacy, equally, for everyone in the district.  He believes this opportunity is a calling, and that “heart affiliation” is more important than party affiliation, and he hopes to build that reputation among his colleagues, if elected.  He cited education (equal and affordable opportunities), jobs & employment (discouraging businesses from moving jobs overseas), and veterans’ issues as his primary interests.
She grew up in Mishawaka and attended Penn High School, where she graduated as valedictorian of her class.  She worked  just as hard at IUSB when she was selected as the Marketing/Advertising Student of the Year as a Junior. 
This Rotarian was a self-proclaimed tom boy--engaging in many sports alongside her brother.  Her dad owned his own small plastering business.  Her mother was a stay-at-home home—and is still alive at 95.  She met her husband on the golf course. With a 10 handicap she’s not yet beat his gross score on 18 holes.  9—yes.  At least not yet. 
She is very passionate about dogs and describes herself as a dog fanatic.  She enjoys volunteering for Homeward Bound Animal Welfare group and has a sheltie, Chloe, 11 years (from a shelter).  Chloe is her 4th sheltie. 
She started in the media business on the air, doing news anchoring on the radio at the age of 17.  She became a DJ and after working a few years in South Bend, she moved to Tampa in order to DJ at the biggest country music station in the state.  She has served on the Board of the National Assn. of Broadcasters, and was the first female president of the Indiana Broadcasters Assn. in 2004.  After nearly 40 years in the broadcasting industry, she made the switch to Print earlier this year to run the South Bend Tribune.
She joined Rotary in July, 1994, sponsored by her friend, Christine Pochert.  She has rung bells, worked on the west side playground project, and helped refurbish Kids Kingdom.  She was on the Board 6 years, and served as President 2007-2008.
Our Rotarian of the Month – Sally Brown.
If you tell your boss you were late because you had a flat tire, the very next morning you will have a flat tire.   Author Unknown
The LEGACY SOCIETY RECEPTION will be held at the LaSalle Grille on Wednesday, October 26th from 5:00-7:00pm. Rotary members who have pledged or paid $10,000 or more will soon be receiving their invitations. Also, members who have left The SB Rotary Foundation in their Will or as a beneficiary of their IRA or Life Insurance policy for at least $10,000 will be included in our Legacy Society membership and will be receiving an invitation. Please RSVP to the Rotary Office (233-1516).
Past President Jackie Hilderbrandt
Jul 26, 2017
Club Mega Chair Presentation
Troy Clay
Aug 02, 2017
Pokagon Band's Goals & Investment Enterprise in South Bend
Billy Lerman
Aug 16, 2017
Steel as an Advocation: Winter Olympic USA Hockey Team
Kris Krouse, Executive Director
Aug 23, 2017
Shirley Heinze Land Trust