Rotary Club of Edmonton Strathcona   



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Club Meeting Information
Thanks for visiting our site! The first ClubRunner site in District 5370
Edmonton Strathcona

"The Friendly Club"

We meet In Person
Tuesdays at 12:15 PM
Woodvale Facility and Golf Clubhouse
4540 - 50 Street NW
Edmonton, AB T6L 6B6
(780) 918-1079
(780) 665-7011
Upcoming Events & Volunteer Opportunities
Due to the current COVID restrictions on in-person meetings, our club is using ZOOM to meet from the safety of our own homes. Please join us for these meetings. The first half hour is a social time with the formal meeting beginning at 12:00 noon. We meet on Tuesday every two weeks, starting on Jan 12, from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm. When members have the ZOOM application installed on their device (smart phone, tablet or computer) they can log in to our meetings by clicking on the meeting link that Graham Gilchrist has emailed to all members.
Stories -- click on story title or 'Read More...' to get the rest of the story.
This past week we were pleased to be joined in our ZOOM meeting by some members of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Kona, Hawaii. Some of our members attend this club on the big island during their winter vacations.
Their Past President and current President Elect, Mike Fraser, is a Canadian who moved to Hawaii about twenty years ago. He is a charter member of the Kona Sunrise club, which began in 2009. This club currently has twenty-three members.
Mike said that they have taken part in many different projects both in their local community and abroad over the past twelve years. They raised eighty-five thousand dollars by collecting donations for Shelter Boxes for local people whose homes were damaged by the tsunami caused by the Japanese earthquake a few years ago. They also raised ninety-five thousand dollars which provided running water for schools in Kosovo. Their club is proud to have been an EREY (Every Rotarian Every Year) member for the past ten years. He also said that their club generously supports both Polio Plus and the Peace Initiative. He said that they are the number five top giving club in the State of Hawaii, in spite of their size.
Being a small club has some disadvantages, in that the same people end up doing everything, but they enjoy each other’s company and have done their best to support other clubs as well. They support Interact clubs both in Hawaii and in South Africa, and have a sister club in Nagoya, Japan.
They currently have their meetings both live, with ten people in a local restaurant, and via ZOOM. They meet at seven AM Hawaii time (ten AM our time) and would be happy to have any of our members who are interested join them in their ZOOM meetings. Please email Jim Peddie if you are interested.  
This article was partially prepared using additional information kindly provided by our own Dimitri Papanicolas.
We were pleased to be joined on ZOOM by several members of the Rotary Club of Ioannina, Greece. Their President Kosta Kostis thanked us for the help we have given them in the past supporting some of the work they do in Greece, with ELEPAP, a school for handicapped children, and also with Eleni Gyra, a hospice for autistic adults.
Their Past President Eva Tsinavou spoke to us about the Eleni Gyra Boarding House (EGBH), near Zitsa which is about thirty-two kilometers from Ioannina. It is part of the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Autistic Persons (HSPAP), headquartered in Athens. This is a non-profit, philanthropic society run by volunteer parents. The HSPAP also has other facilities in Greece.
Together with the Rotary Club of Ioannina, we recently supported the repair of the roof, for the Eleni Gyra (EGBH) facility (which is now complete), helped to replace the electrical board and provided a computer for their use.
The EGBH facility (property and building) was donated by a doctor from Zitsa, Greece in memory of his first wife. Presently around twelve severely autistic residents aged from 30 years to over 50, one of whom is also blind, live twenty four hours per day at the boarding house.
The twenty-four staff at EGBH are paid by the Hellenic Government, they are government employees. The government contribution covers 85% of costs that are salaries and the remaining 15% is for operational costs. The latter is not enough to cover all the operational costs and is definitely not enough for maintenance or repairs. The local residents of Zitsa, the village nearby, sometimes help with food and minor financial donations as well.
Eva told us that the boarding house is currently in dire need of new clothes washing machines, as the current ones are very old and are becoming quite unreliable. They currently have eight household type machines, only two of which are still working, and use them to wash about fifty kilos of clothing each day. They have looked into replacing these with a larger commercial type washing machine, which would cost about thirty two hundred euros each.
We then discussed various ways that we could help them with this, as well as other items for this facility. We look forward to working with them in future to find ways to fund this and other projects.
This week, as part of the collaboration between Rotary and Toastmasters, we welcomed Harjeet Panesar from the Millwoods Vocabulaires Toastmasters Club. Harjeet is a Professional Engineer and past colleague of Dmitri from Thurber Engineering.
Harjeet spoke to us about Perspective and how we are not truly able to understand other people until we can see things from their perspective, and when we do, it helps to make the world a better place.
He illustrated this point by giving us some examples from his personal experience. Harjeet said that he grew up and received his engineering education in Punjab, India. On graduation his first job was in Dubai. From there he came to Canada. When he arrived in Vancouver, he purchased a calling card, but when he went to pay for the five dollar card, he became upset when he found that the actual cost was sixty five cents more. When he asked why, they told him it was for taxes. He did not understand. In the countries where he had previously lived there was no tax on goods. Once he had been here for a short while he came to appreciate all the benefits that type of tax provided and was more accepting of the tax. His perspective had changed.
He gave another example. When he came to Canada, he had left his wife behind in India. His first job here was the night shift or graveyard shift, at a seven eleven store.  When he told his wife about his job, she made no comment at first. On the second call he made to her she was quite upset and told him that he had to quit his job in the graveyard. I was then that he realized she did not understand the term graveyard as it is used here in Canada to describe the night shift. Once he explained this to her, she was much relieved. Her perspective had changed.
One last example he gave was some sage advice he had received from Dmitri, when he was Harjeet’s manager. Harjeet had been promoted to a managerial position and Dmitri called him in one day and gave him some advice on decision making. He told him that every time he had to make a difficult decision, he should try to imagine how others will see things from their perspective. Harjeet said that that advice has served him well.
In closing, he said that everyone sees things differently. We need to put ourselves in the shoes of others to fully understand their point of view and prevent misunderstandings.
This week we heard from Doreen Slessor, the Executive Director of Dogs with Wings Assistance Dog Society. This is a group that breeds and trains service dogs. These dogs are trained to help people with many different disabilities. They primarily help people with sight impairment, people who are wheelchair bound, people with autism and as facility companion (child abuse center) dogs. The dogs are carefully selected for calm, quiet personalities and then are given basic training to behave well in busy public situations. Once they have been assigned to a specific person, they are given training specific to the needs of that person. They can help to pick up objects, lead people safely though busy places, sleep on top of autistic children who tend to wake up a lot at night, or simply to lie calmly while strangers talk to and touch them. These dogs help relieve the worry and stress of living with a disability for both the disabled person and their family.
It takes two years and about forty thousand dollars to train each dog but their clients pay only one dollar. Not all dogs will meet their strict requirements. They belong to the Canadian Association of Guide and Assistance Dog Schools and their dogs are accredited through internationally recognized Assistance Dogs International which ensures that they can travel internationally and on airplanes without issues. They are based in Edmonton, but also have sites in Grande Prairie and Calgary for training. They supply dogs to people throughout BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. In 2020 they placed twenty dogs and had forty eight puppies brought into the program. Only about sixty percent of the dogs make it through the full training process. If they growl, bark or bite, they fail. They must also be in perfect health. The breed of dog they use most is the Labrador Retriever as they are medium sized, even tempered, are very food motivated, do not get strongly attached to their owners and are relatively easy to care for. All of their dogs live in foster homes while they are in training. They are placed with the client at about two years of age. They work until they are about ten years of age. Dogs with Wings keeps track of their dogs and gives them a senior assessment at age eight to determine how well they are doing. They currently have about one hundred twenty dogs living in the community that are ageing out and will need to be replaced fairly soon. Senior dogs usually stay in their client home after they have been replaced.
Dogs with Wings does not receive government support for their program. They are funded through group and individual donations. They also offer sponsorships where for a donation of ten thousand dollars, the sponsor’s name is displayed on the dog’s harness. We would like to thank Doreen for her very interesting and enlightening presentation.


With the number of members in this club either owning or operating a business, we are getting a very poor interest in this nice little generator of funds for the club.
Are the rates too steep? I don't think so, but if you do, please let us know.
If you have any bright ideas on how to promote this little initiative, please speak up.

Mini Calendar
March 2021
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New Hope School, Pretoria
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