Club History, Hans Granholm, 'Mr. Rotary'

Posted by Vi Hughes on Apr 12, 2024
If there is one member in our club who embodies the meaning of Rotary ‘Service Above Self’, it is Hans Granholm. Hans is a Charter member of our club and has been a loyal, reliable, volunteer for fifty years. He has served in almost every club office there is. He has served as club Secretary, Treasurer, Bulletin Editor and Publisher, Foundation Chair, Club President in 1979-80, and was our Website Administrator from 2003 to 2009. He also holds the record for perfect attendance with our club, with forty seven years of perfect attendance. Hans is also a Charter Member of the Paul Harris Society and the Rotary Foundation Bequest Society.
In 1991 Hans served as a Group Study Exchange Team Leader when he took a group of five young business women from our District to visit with Rotary clubs in Sweden and Poland to learn about how their same professions worked in those countries.
Hans was the driving force behind getting our District clubs online by using Clubrunner to keep track of the multitudes of information that our clubs need in order to function. It is a one stop online location for all of our club information- membership records, meeting programs, contact lists, minutes, financial records, photo albums, newsletters, public outreach and much, much more. In 2003 he travelled all over Alberta helping each club set up their Clubrunner Websites. He then continued to be our computer guru and savior on many occasions, helping the less tech savvy among us to cope with this new way of doing things. This one thing alone has probably streamlined many thousands of hours of paperwork for Rotary over the years.
In addition to this he has committed many additional hours to also serving with our Rotary District 536 which originally served all of Alberta and now as District 5370, serves Northern Alberta, North Western Saskatchewan, North Eastern BC, Yukon and the Northwest Territories. He has served as Assistant Governor for five District Governors and as District Governor Advisor in 2011 to 2012 for DG Harry Buddle with whom he travelled all over Alberta visiting our various clubs. He has also served as District Communications and Website Administrator from 2002 to 2011.
Since 2009, he has been the Web Administrator for International Rotary Zones 24 (~ 800 clubs) and 32 (~ 900 clubs) which serve all of Canada, St. Pierre and Miquelon (France), Bermuda and the North Eastern States. Since 2008, he also serves as our Zone Institute Registrar.
As a result of his dedication and countless volunteer hours, Hans has been the recipient of many awards. These include:
A record four time ‘Rotarian of the Year’ recipient for our club in 1991-92, 2001-02, 2002-03 and 2019-20.
Rotary Foundation’s Citation for Meritorious Service in 1994
Rotary District Foundation Award in 1999.
District Governor’s Award in 2004
Rotary International Commitment to Service Award in 2005
Rotary International Governor’s “Service Above Self” Award in 2006 and again in 2009
District Rotarian of the Year in 2008-09
RI Zones 24 and 32 Award Presentation in 2019
Queens Jubilee Medal Presentation in 2023      
Rotary International Zones 24 and 32 Award in 2019
Recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal in 2023 for his service over the years to our Rotary Club, District and Zone.
Hans has been our mentor and memory keeper for fifty years and his dedication, patience and kindness has been an inspiration to us all.
Club History, Hans Granholm, 'Mr. Rotary' Vi Hughes 2024-04-12 06:00:00Z 0

Club History, The Family Germain

Posted by Vi Hughes on Apr 11, 2024
The Germain family has been a mainstay of our club from the beginning. John Germain was instrumental in the founding of our club and also our first Club President. His dedication and commitment to the Object of Rotary ‘Service above Self’ have helped our club to thrive. John’s wife Betty was the mainstay of our associated Rotary Ann group, which did most of the organizing for the many dinners and social functions in the early years. Betty was made an honorary member of our club in 2014.
John and Betty Germain
Their sons Ken and Eric were raised in this Rotary family and both have been long time members as well. Eric joined in 1990 and was Club President 1992-93 and Ken joined in 1999 and was Club President in 2009-10. Eric’s daughter Nicolle joined in 2013 and remained a member until 2019 when she became a busy new mom. There were three generations of Germains in our club during those years, a rare feat for any club.
Three Generations of Rotarians, Eric, John, Nicolle and Ken Germain
Our club has greatly benefitted from their time, talents and commitment. Eric and Ken tag teamed as Hosts for the Rotary Wheel of Fortune game at our weekly meetings over many years. Their seemingly unending font of corny jokes makes many of our meetings enjoyable, but it is their dedication and commitment of time and talents, their involvement in many of the tougher jobs such as membership building, fundraising, organizing social functions, mentoring new members, supporting our youth activities and always being willing to do the many small things it takes to help our club do good things for our community and for the world, that makes this family so special.
The Germain family has always found ways to be an inspiration to others, to challenge other members to improve and above all to have a joyful positive attitude while doing it.
Club History, The Family Germain Vi Hughes 2024-04-11 06:00:00Z 0

Wendy Cooper, Fibre Art

Posted by VI Hughes on Apr 11, 2024
Wendy Cooper with Rotarians Vi Hughes and Ivan Docker
This week we heard from Wendy Cooper President of the Focus on Fibre Art Association. Wendy told us that the association was founded in Edmonton in 1998 to encourage, foster and develop excellence and appreciation of fibre as an art form. She said it is a non-profit assocation which includes individual members and nine member guilds from many different areas of fibre art in the Edmonton region. These include Quilting, Ukrainian Arts, Needlecraft, Rug Hooking, Weaving and Latchet Machine Knitting which also encompass such things as lace making, felting, paper making, tapestry, wearables, doll making and much, much more. They promote these arts by sponsoring workshops throughout theyear featuring well known local, national and international artists, presenting events and providing a showcase for these arts through a biennial juried competition and exhibition of these works of art. They accept submissions from all ages, including youth.
The upcoming competition in 2024 will be the first one since 2020, when COVID restrictions forced them to shut down.  The theme for this competition is ‘Keeping it Local” and there are many different categories that can be entered. The show will take place in August at their Focus on Fibre Art Studio at 10554-110 St. Wendy said that they are supported by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts but also welcome donations to help defray the costs of their workshops and competition. More information on their organization, workshops and upcoming competition can be found on their website
Wendy Cooper, Fibre Art  VI Hughes 2024-04-11 06:00:00Z 0

May Twist,  Rotary Club of Edmonton Strathcona Fun Golf Day

Posted by Eric Germain on Apr 08, 2024
For our May "Meeting With A Twist" we are golfing!
We have booked the MillWoods Golf Course for Tuesday May 28th for twenty golfers for 18 holes of golf.
This is a Fun Golf Day.
If you can ride in a golf cart and can putt, you can play. Inexperienced golfers can take as many or as few shots as they want during the game. The idea is to get Club Members and friends out on the golf course to enjoy a nice spring day and Rotary friendship. Everyone is welcome.
We will have 5 teams of 4 golfers each. Each team will play the Texas Scramble style. That is the team uses the best drive, chip or putt from all four players as their best ball, and the next shot by all team players is from the best ball location.
We will randomly choose the players for each team the morning before we tee off.  Or enter your own team up to four players, so you can golf with friends or other Rotary Club members. Each team will have a Captain who is an experienced golfer. Each team can use as many shots by each player as they like. That takes the pressure off of inexperienced golfers who are out for a Fun Golf Day.
We will meet at the Millwoods Golf Course Club House between 10 AM to 10:30 AM. The first tee time is 11 AM. All golfers should be finished their golf games around 4 PM.
We will have space reserved at the Woodvale restaurant upstairs from the Pro Shop and our regular Rotary meetings, starting at 4 PM for golfers and friends to order food and beverage from the menu as they like and pay individually.
The price per player is our direct cost from the Millwoods Golf Course of $89 per player plus GST.
This includes the green fee, power cart, warm up range basket of golf balls, and a $10/player pro shop credit. Golf club rentals are available at the pro shop.
For further information or to register for our Fun Golf Day please contact:
Eric Germain
tel: 780-991-0417
May Twist,  Rotary Club of Edmonton Strathcona Fun Golf Day  Eric Germain 2024-04-08 06:00:00Z 0

April Twist,  Angkor, The Last Empire of Cambodia

Posted by Ivan Docker on Apr 08, 2024
Our April Meeting with a Twist will take place on:
Thursday, May 2, 2024 at 6:00 p.m.
At the Royal Alberta Museum (9810 103a Ave.)
The feature gallery exhibit when we visit is:
Angkor, The Last Empire of Cambodia
This replaces our last regular meeting on Tuesday, April 30. Thursday,
May 2 was chosen as this is the only day of the week that the Museum stays open until 8:00 p.m.
Admission Price is $21 per person for adults, and $14 for Seniors aged 65 and older.
April Twist,  Angkor, The Last Empire of Cambodia  Ivan Docker 2024-04-08 06:00:00Z 0

Club History, Fellowship Activities

Posted by Vi Hughes on Apr 08, 2024
Fellowship has always been a central part of Rotary. Our founder Paul Harris said in in 1935 in his book, This Rotarian Age, ‘Fellowship is wonderful - it illuminates life’s pathway, spreads good cheer and is worth a high prize’.
Over the years our club has come to be known as ‘The Friendly Club’, as our meetings have always been filled with friendly greetings, corny jokes, kidding around and laughter. Our members have always been there to support and help each other out when needed and everyone pitches in to help with the many fundraising and volunteer projects that we support each year.
Some of the opportunities we have for fellowship include:
The Sergeant at Arms is a part of our meetings that brings laughter and enjoyment as well as helps to keep members in line with proper decorum and also to raise funds for our charities. We all know to make sure to have a few spare loonies or toonies ready. The Sergeant may decide to fine people one dollar for not wearing their Rotary pin, for letting their phone ring during the meeting, or simply for wearing the same color shirt as them. Anything and everything goofy is grounds for a fine. They may have us all participate in a question and answer quiz where the men are asked questions women are more likely to know and the women are asked questions the men are more likely to know. The losing team has to pay up, one dollar each.
The Wheel of Fortune has been a fixture at our meetings for many years. It was donated by Eric Germain and Eric and his brother Ken have been using it ever since as an opportunity to tell corny jokes and give out donated prizes to our members. Prizes are all donated by members and can range from flashlights to wine to books to flowers from their shop. Prior to the current strict gambling legislation, it was also a fundraiser for our charities, as members could purchase tickets for the draw with the funds going to Operation Eyesight.  We now select who gets to turn the wheel based on such things as birthdays, anniversaries or being a guest or speaker at our meeting.
Fireside Meetings for new members were a common way of giving new members a chance to meet with an older member in their home and learn more about the purpose of Rotary and the things that our club takes part in. It also gives them a chance to ask questions informally.
Our Christmas Parties are usually the highlight of the Rotary social calendar. In the early years these were almost solely organized by the wives, our informal Rotary Anns. They give everyone a chance to dress up, bring their significant other and enjoy a purely social evening together. It also gives the spouses a chance to get to know the other members and their spouses better. It nearly always includes a community support project such as collection of clothing or gifts for a local charity and they usually also include musical entertainment of some kind.
The yearly June Turnover Parties are the summer celebration where our members gather to say thank you to the outgoing executive and welcome the incoming executive. It also gives us a chance to present well-earned awards to members who have made outstanding contributions to the running of our club over the past year. It also gives us another occasion to dress up and bring our spouses out to socialize and have fun together.
Our summer fun in most years includes one or two barbecues for members, spouses and friends held at the homes of various club members and quite often a light hearted golf tournament as well. The barbecues usually include a wonderful array of food with the highlight being a whole roasted pig or perfectly cooked beef brisket. They often also included musical entertainment.
Bill Skelly and Hans Granholm enjoying a Summer BBQ Moment
Our golf tournaments can be anything from par three to regular nine hole with a contest of some kind at each hole. These also usually include a barbecue dinner afterwards with prizes that have been donated by members.
John Germain, Lloyd Hilderman, Rose Marie Basaraba, Karen Germain and Doug Mulholland enjoying a Golf Moment
One the things we do for fall and winter fun has included running a Hockey Pool for the hockey fans among us, which creates a lot of fun rivalry and joking around during meetings . Some years we also hosted Saturday Nite Silly Season Dinners, or Who’s Coming to Dinner parties. These are dinners where members sign up to either host or attend a simple dinner in their home for a small number of people, but they are randomly assigned as either host or attendee.  The host does not know who will turn up or what the silly highlite of the evening will be.
Lastly, but definitely not least in the opportunities for fellowship are the many Rotary District and International functions throughout the year. Many of our members have taken the opportunity to enjoy fellowship with Rotarians from our community, country and beyond and have made many long lasting firm friendships along the way. Rotary offers a chance to meet people from all walks of life through attending everything from local Curling Bonspiels to weekend District conferences filled with wonderful speakers, to five-day International Conventions filled with all kinds of colorful fanfare, spectacular speakers and workshops.
Club History, Fellowship Activities Vi Hughes 2024-04-08 06:00:00Z 0

Club History, Orville Sleen, Y2K Ride for Rotary and Polio Plus

Posted by Vi Hughes on Mar 28, 2024
In the spring of 1999, Orville Sleen, a member of our club, decided to join his friend and fellow Rotarian Ken Haverland of Dawson Creek, B.C. to make a cross Canada bicycle ride to raise funds for the Rotary Polio Plus Program. When Ken first suggested it, Orville thought the idea was nuts, two fifty something men undertaking such a challenge, but he soon realized Ken was serious and together they began training and planning their ten thousand plus kilometer cross Canada route.
Their plan was to use Ken’s truck and fifth wheel as a travelling base to be driven by one of them while the other was riding bike. They would take turns riding or driving for a total of about seven hours each day and would pay their own expenses along the way. One of them would start riding while the other drove about twenty-five kilometers ahead, parked the truck and trailer and started riding. They called this hop scotching. They would also co-ordinate to meet with various Rotary clubs along the way.
They started their trip on the Pacific coast in Tok, Alaska on 28 April 2000, passed though the Yukon, into B.C and then on to Alberta. The Dawson Creek club, Ken’s home club, had a dinner and fundraiser for them and made a donation of twenty-five thousand dollars towards their effort.
On reaching Edmonton, more than sixty members and guests of our club gathered for a dinner at the Chateau Edmonton to give him a safety vest, a bike bell and a ten-thousand dollar donation. Barb Craig, our president at the time praised them for their commitment and said that they already had many Rotary clubs along their route supporting them. While in Edmonton they also addressed the Rotary District Conference at the Fantasyland Hotel.
Orville Sleen with Edmonton Strathcona Club members
From Edmonton they continued south towards Calgary and followed the Trans-Canada highway most of the way east, travelling about two hundred seventy kilometers a day, crossing all ten provinces.
One of their more memorable adventures along the way was an incident in northern B.C. between Ft. Nelson and Ft. St. John when Ken was riding hard uphill and noticed a grizzly bear about to cross the road just ahead of him. He stopped and waited for her to cross, but then thought maybe he should wait a while, to be sure she was alone, but sure enough a cub came along and crossed behind her. He waited again and another cub came out of the bush and crossed, then he waited some more and a third and final cub crossed the road to join the mother grizzly and they all ambled off together.
They finished riding together on 21 Jun 2000, in North Sidney, Nova Scotia. Ken took the ferry to Newfoundland and finished riding in St John’s on 24 Jun 2000 when he dipped the wheel in the Atlantic. Orville took the truck and trailer to Halifax and met with the Rotary club there.
Ken Haverland (left) and Orville Sleen (third from right) with members of the St. John’s Newfoundland Rotary club at the end of their ride
They generated a lot of publicity for Polio Plus along the way and their efforts appeared in many local newspapers as a feature article.  Many Rotary clubs along the way used their arrival to organize fundraising events. In total, they travelled just under twelve thousand kilometers across Canada, addressed four district conferences, attended regular meetings with twenty-five different Rotary Clubs. In all they visited with fifty-two different Rotary Clubs across twelve Rotary Districts and managed to raise one hundred twelve thousand dollars for Polio Plus.
Club History, Orville Sleen, Y2K Ride for Rotary and Polio Plus Vi Hughes 2024-03-28 06:00:00Z 0

Club History, Fundraising Projects

Posted by Vi Hughes on Mar 28, 2024
Since it’s beginning one of the main goals of our club has been to raise funds to support both the Rotary Foundation, Rotary International projects and also our local club projects. The types of projects have changed over the years as the interests, technology and abilities of our club have changed. Personal contributions were and still do make up a significant portion of the funds raised.
Rotary Foundation fundraising has always been important to our club as the Rotary funds are then used to support many projects through matching grants that come back to the local clubs. The Rotary Paul Harris Award is given to any Rotarian or non Rotarian who donates more than one thousand US dollars to the Rotary Foundation or the Polio Plus project, and many, many of our club members have won multiple Paul Harris Awards.
In the banner fundraising year of 2020-2021, with a club membership of just under fifty members, our Foundation Chairperson for that year, Bob Sandercock, told us that our club had a total of twenty-five Paul Harris awards to give out along with three major donor awards. All together our club had raised almost thirty thousand dollars for the Rotary Foundation that year with seventy six percent of club members donating. Our club had also passed the mark of raising more than half a million dollars since our inception in 1974.
Since 1985, when Rotary launched it’s Polio Plus Campaign, our club has been involved with fundraising efforts to support this. We have sponsored many different types of fundraisers in support of Polio Plus. Many of these have been social occasions such as pub nights or comedy entertainment nights where a portion or all of the funds raised go towards Polio Plus.
Our most widely known Polio Plus fundraiser took place in the spring of 2000 when one of our club members, Orville Sleen, along with his friend and fellow Rotarian, Ken Haverland, rode their bicycles over ten thousand kilometers across Canada to raise funds for Polio Plus.
Some of the early projects involved selling such things as pre-purchased entertainment coupon books and Rotary cookbooks, where the profit from sales was retained by the club and used to fund our charitable projects.
The Rotary Cookbooks were a Alberta District project in 1987 to raise funds for Polio Plus. The project was spearheaded by Verneil Martin, wife of District 536 Governor Doug Martin. Rotary ladies around Alberta sent in their best recipes, they were then tested and the best ones were selected for the cookbook. Boxes of the published books were then sent to the Rotary Clubs around Alberta for sale. This was a banner fundraiser as it raised over one million dollars for Polio Plus.
Charity Auctions were also a popular way to raise funds with donated items sold to the highest bidder. These funds could be used for projects outside Alberta. More recently our club has provided transportation at local music festivals in return for a donation to our club.
We have also been involved with charity fundraisers regulated by the Alberta Gaming Commission such as sales of K Days Raffle tickets, working Bingos and Casinos. Funds from these are restricted for use in Alberta.
For many years, our Rotary Wheel of Fortune has been a major source of fun at our meetings and also a fundraiser for our charity projects, where meeting attendees could purchase tickets and then turn the wheel, if their number was pulled, to see if they would win a small donated prize. We no longer sell tickets for this as the accounting required is not worth the amount raised each week however we still use the Wheel of Fortune as a source of fun for our meetings by selecting members or guests for sometimes goofy reasons to turn the wheel for chance to win a small donated prize.
Our club Sergeant at Arms has also been a big source of fun and fundraising by using their talents to come up with all kinds of goofy reasons to fine small amounts to club members at meetings. Almost anything is fair game, bad hair, cuteness taxes, having your phone ring during a meeting, singing off tune, not being able to answer goofy quiz questions, and many more. We then pass the pot for members to pay their fines or to donate ‘happy bucks’ if they wish to announce occasions, big and small, that have made them happy.
Ron McCullough spinning the wheel with Ken Germain
In 1990, the members of our club decided to sponsor a Paul Harris Portrait Project, in which a well known local artist and member of our club, Bill Skelly, donated his talents and time to produce a portrait of Paul Harris. It was then sold as lithographic prints at various Rotary functions, conferences and conventions, to raise funds for our club.
In the more recent past, at the suggestion of one of our members Patrick Gibson, we have also made use of the internet for fundraising purposes by getting together with Raffle Box and using their website to help to raise funds for Little Warriors, Meals on Wheels, Dogs with Wings, the Edmonton Food Bank and Wounded Warriors.
Over the years our flagship fundraiser (please forgive the pun) for non-restricted funds has been our Flag Program, which was brought to our club by Bruce Flesher in 2008. It involves a lot of volunteer effort, but each year since then, this program has raised fifteen to twenty thousand dollars for our club.
Club History, Fundraising Projects Vi Hughes 2024-03-28 06:00:00Z 0

March Twist, Muttart Conservatory

Posted by Vi Hughes on Mar 28, 2024
Wednesday evening we gathered at the Muttart Conservatory for a tour of the Pyramids and a breath of spring. We toured the Arid, Temperate and Tropical Pyramids and then moved on to the Display Pyramid. It smelled wonderful with all the spring blooming flowers.  Everyone really enjoyed seeing greenery and blooms of all kinds after our long barren winter.
March Twist, Muttart Conservatory  Vi Hughes 2024-03-28 06:00:00Z 0

Club History, The Strathcona Flag Program

Posted by Vi Hughes on Mar 21, 2024
Our flag program was started by Bruce Flesher in 2008 after he returned from a trip to Houston, Texas to visit with family. While there he visited a Rotary club that was using a Flag program to raise funds for their club. It involved the club members planting flags on the front lawns of people for National Holiday weekends in return for a club donation. He thought that it might work for us here in Edmonton and it turned out he was right! We needed to purchase flags, poles and stakes and organize teams of members to sell, plant and retrieve the flags several times each year.
In the spring of 2009 several club members (Bruce Flesher, Bill Skelly, Ted Griffiths, Larry Sales, Hal Quilliam, Orville Sleen and Rose Marie Basaraba) canvassed the neighbourhoods they lived in and managed to sell over 260 flags. Bruce alone sold more than one hundred in his neighbourhood of Blackburne, so many that he was known to his neighbours as ’The King of Blackburne’.
Bruce Flesher, unknown, Joyce Flesher, Bill Skelly, Loraine Skelly and Hal Quilliam in 2009
Bruce Flesher’s ongoing dedication, hard work and long hours really helped to get this project off the ground and keep it going for many years. The Strathcona Flag Program has been our main fundraiser for projects that are not eligible for Alberta Gaming restricted funds. We now plant about five hundred flags for the Victoria Day weekend, Canada Day weekend and Labour Day weekend each year. This involves almost every able bodied member we have, plus a few family members and friends who have volunteered their time as well.
Club History, The Strathcona Flag Program Vi Hughes 2024-03-21 06:00:00Z 0

Club History, Sponsorship for the Nisku Leduc Rotary Club

Posted by Vi Hughes on Mar 21, 2024
In 1990 several members of our club, Ron McCullough, Morley MacCalder and Peter Jorgensen, helped to establish the Nisku Leduc Rotary Club. The club held their inaugural meeting on 29 Nov 1990 at 7:15 a.m. with nineteen Strathcona Club Rotarians to help them celebrate.
As reported in the 20 Oct 1991 edition of our Strathconian Bulletin:
“November 8th will be a big day for the 27 charter members in the Nisku Rotary Club and for the Strathcona Rotary Club as we celebrate our first new club sponsorship. Congratulations are in order for Ron McCullough and Morley MacCalder who have worked so hard to deliver this baby. The festivities start at 6:00 pm with cocktails at the Nisku Inn, dinner at 7:00 and program and dance to follow that. This is a club project and we expect to see all of you taking part in the festivities. The cost is $30.00 per person and dress is semi-formal. The innkeeper and fresh Rotarian, Leon Algazidas has promised superb eating and with rotary fellowship, this will be an evening you and your companion will not want to miss. Tickets available from both Morley and Ron.”
They held their Charter meeting on 8 Nov 1991 with Armand Gagner as their Charter President.
Club History, Sponsorship for the Nisku Leduc Rotary Club Vi Hughes 2024-03-21 06:00:00Z 0

Dr. Stephan Jansen van Vuuren, Primary Health Care

Posted by Vi Hughes on Mar 21, 2024
This week we heard from Dr. Stephan van Vuuren, a family physician and fellow Rotarian. Stephan told us that there is a shortage of family physicians in Alberta for many reasons, an ageing population combined with an influx of new people has increased demand on the system. This, combined with a shortage of physicians and the fact that many new physicians choose to work part time due to family commitments, means that there are not enough family physicians to serve everyone.
He also told us that a few years ago the government changed the way they pay family physicians and now require much more detailed and specific documentation on the services provided to each patient before they will provide payment. They also frequently send paperwork back and require more information. He said that this has added more hours of work to each day and has resulted in physicians having to cut back on the number of patients thay can see each day so that they also have time to complete the required paperwork. He said that this is especially a burden for physicians with small practices. Stephan said that this pracice has also discouraged many young physicians from going into Family Practice. He also said that the regulations currently require that many small procedures must be done by a doctor when many health professionals are now better educated and could easily be trained to perform these simple procedures.
Stephan told us that the proposed new model would be based on Primary Care Networks of supervising family doctors along with supporting staff such as nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses, dietitians, pharmacists etc. who would work together as a team. Each Network would be paid a set fee per patient per year. The number of allowed Networks in the province would be limited to less than the current number.  He said that many physicians are very skeptical about the possible increase in workoad this would put on them. They are also worried that it may actually require even more time spent on paperwork and less time with their patients. They are also concerned that it may not adequately compensate them for the needs of more complicated or older patients.
He said that the government is currently working out the details of how this will all work and that we should have more information by the fall. He said that the system needs to become more stable in order to reduce the fear that physicians currently have about having more work than they can manage.
We would like to thank Stephan for this very informative and frank discussion of the Primary Care system in Alberta.
Dr. Stephan Jansen van Vuuren, Primary Health Care  Vi Hughes 2024-03-21 06:00:00Z 0

Club History, Local Youth Support Programs

Posted by Vi Hughes on Mar 14, 2024
Over the years our club has been a strong supporter of local youth through sponsorship and mentoring for school clubs, educational scholarships, opportunities for leadership training and the Rotary International Exchange program. Some of these program recipients are selected by the district or Foundation and then are funded by our club, either in total or in conjunction with another club.
Our club has supported the Rotary International Exchange Student Program almost since our club was founded. For almost every second year since our club has either sponsored or received a Rotary International Exchange Student. This program sends carefully chosen grade eleven High School students to live and attend school in another country as the guests of a participating Rotary Club in that area. Our Rotary District currently selects and sends several students each year to Rotary Districts abroad to a Rotary District that they have been paired with. Our club has provided funding for expenses and travel for many outgoing students and accommodations in their homes as well as many social opportunities for the incoming students to get to know Canadians and to learn more about Rotary, Alberta and Canada. This has proven to be a very rich and rewarding experience for many members of our club.
J Percy Page High School Rotary Interact Club where we sponsored and supported a Rotary Interact Club for High School students and supported them in many of their fundraising and volunteer service projects.
WP Wagner High School Rotary Interact Club where we sponsor and support a Rotary Interact Club for High School students in many of their fundraising and volunteer service projects.
Rotary Early Act where our club sponsored and supported a club for elementary school students at Riverbend Elementary School.
Rotary Adventures in Human Rights where our club sponsors a high school student to attend this five day event which is hosted by Rotary in Winnipeg.
Rotary Adventures in Citizenship where our club sponsors a high school student to attend this five day event which is hosted by Rotary in Ottawa.
RYLE, Rotary Youth Leadership Experience where our club sponsors high school student Rotary Interact Club members to attend a weekend at Lake Nakamun Camp near Edmonton where they learn how to be an effective leader.
RYPEN, Rotary Youth Program for Enrichment, a four-day personal development workshop for high school students aged fourteen to eighteen.
Ron Dobbin Memorial Scholarship where each year our club gives a one thousand dollar scholarship towards post-secondary education to a selected Edmonton area high school student who has overcome major challenges in their life.
Harold Kukertz Scholarship where our club awards a scholarship of one thousand dollars towards post -secondary education through the Edmonton Community Foundation to a selected Edmonton High School student.
Club History, Local Youth Support Programs Vi Hughes 2024-03-14 06:00:00Z 0

Lorephil Toledo, Canajan

Posted by Vi Hughes on Mar 14, 2024
Lorephil Toledo with President Elect Loida Lumanlan
This past week we heard an informal talk from Lorephil Toledo, a local business owner and new-comer to Canada. Lorephil told us that she arrived in Canada from the Philippines in 2011 with no money and no English language skills.  She had only her hopes for a better life for herself and her family and a very hard working spirit. She first worked as a restaurant shift supervisor for several years before starting to do house cleaning as well. She found it quite lonely at first as she had no family here and had left her two small children with family in the Philippines to take this opportunity. Several years later, once she had obtained her permanent residency she immediately returned to the Philippines to bring her family here as well.  One day one of her house cleaning customers asked her why she didn’t start her own company as she was so hard working they thought that she would be able to make a success of whatever she did. At first she was scared of the idea, but after much encouragement she decided to go for it. She founded her own house cleaning company, Canajan, in 2016 and incorporated in 2019. Her business is doing well and she now has seventeen employees.
Lorephil said that she sees her success as having a responsibility to give back to others by giving them an opportunity to make a new life for themselves. She does this by helping other people to come here from the Philippines and giving them a hand up. She believes in doing what she can to make other people happy, whether it means taking the extra time to talk with a lonely senior customer or giving encouragement to other new immigrants that they can make a life for themselves here in Canada. She said that if she could do it, coming here with no money and no English, anyone can. Her hope for the future is that she will be able to expand her business to create more jobs that will build dreams for others as well.
Lorephil Toledo, Canajan  Vi Hughes 2024-03-14 06:00:00Z 0

Meeting With a Twist for March

Posted by Rose Marie Basaraba
Meeting With a Twist for March, scheduled for Wednesday, March 27th, 2024, will be a guided Walk Thru the Pyramids at the Muttart Conservatory in the River Valley at 9626 96A Street. The adult only event starts promptly at 7:00 and will treat you to the first real ‘taste of Spring’ with the ‘fresh’ aroma of tulips and narcissus. Tickets are $14.95 each payable at the door. If you arrive early you may wish to purchase your choice of a glass if wine or other beverage to enjoy along the way. This is a highly popular evening. As they require an approximate number of attendees in advance to ensure adequate staffing, please let me know if you plan to attend and I will provide that info to them. Please reply to me by Wednesday. March 20th. (Rose Marie 780-435-5224 or This is a highly popular event but well worthwhile AND proof that “Spring is on the way”.
Meeting With a Twist for March  Rose Marie Basaraba 2024-03-09 07:00:00Z 0

Club History, International Projects

Posted by Vi Hughes on Mar 07, 2024
Since it’s inception our club has been committed to supporting international projects, in particular those that support women and children in need. As required by Rotary International, all of these projects are vetted and done in compliance with their strict reporting guidelines regarding international projects. This means that they are each done in conjunction a local Rotary club to provide oversight and ensure funds are used as intended. Some of the projects we have supported over the years are:
Operation Eyesight where we donate funds to provide eyesight restoring surgery in several under privileged countries. The funds for this are raised by our meeting Sargeant at Arms as ‘fines’ for cuteness and any other wacky thing they can come up with, as well as donations to celebrate special occasions in our individual lives such as anniversaries or children’s and grandchildren’s accomplishments.
Amarok Society Canada, where we provide funding for a school for mothers in the slums of Bangladesh that provides schooling for the mothers and in return they are required to teach the children in their local areas what they have learned.
The Bosnian Refugee Project in Croatia where we provided funding for essential services to Bosnian refugees.
Medical Dental Mission to Ecuador in conjunction with the Edmonton Riverview Rotary Club where we provided funding and volunteer labour to support medical and dental teams that provided knee and hip replacements and children’s dental care.
We have partnered with the Rotary Club of Tomebomba. Ecuador to support several projects including portable dental equipment, a sanitation project and a shelter for girls.
We have supported a children’s school in Belize and offered preschool student support in Bogota, Columbia.
Shelterbox Canada where we provided funding for temporary shelters for people displaced by disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis.
KIVA Microfinance where members of our club provide funds which are in turn given as small business loans to women in third world countries. When the loans are repaid the money is then loaned out again.
New Hope School in South Africa, a joint project with the Rotary Club of Pretoria which we supported thru various means, local donations, global grants and a Go Fund Me Fundraiser to provide funding for students to attend and also for classroom equipment.
Mondesa Youth Opportunities in Swakopmund, Namibia where in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Swakopmund we provide funding for specific students to be able to attend an after-school program for under privileged children in their area.
Eleni Gyra Hospice in Greece for disabled adults in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Ioannina, Greece where we raised and provided funding to purchase and install needed clothes washer, dryer and air conditioning equipment.
Project Amigo Canada, where we provided funding for a student from Colima, Mexico to attend University for one year.
Wheelchairs for the Dominican Republic in conjunction with a Rotary club there, where we collected and shipped wheelchairs and then in conjunction with the local Rotary group we provided volunteers to assemble, fit and maintain them for people in need.
Building Bridges to Prosperity, where we raised and provided funding which then qualified for a District matching grant to help build a footbridge in Rwanda to allow villagers to reach their local schools and health care facilities more easily.
Club History, International Projects Vi Hughes 2024-03-07 07:00:00Z 0

Janet Hancock, Bonnie Blakely, Dr. Daniel De Luca,
Child and Adolescent Services for All

Posted by Vi Hughes on Mar 07, 2024
Dr. Daniel DeLuca, Janet Hancock and Bonnie Blakely
This Tuesday we heard from a team of people from CASA (Child and Adolescent Services for All), a non-profit provider of clinical mental health services for over forty years in the Edmonton area.
Janet Hancock, CASA Board Chair and retired high school principal (Don Knott High School and Lillian Osborne High School) told us that CASA provides free wrap around mental health services for families and children aged three to eighteen in the Edmonton and Sherwood Park area. She also told us that they are planning to expand their services all over Alberta in the near future. Janet said that when she was a school principal she would often see children in crisis and would do her best to get them help, sometimes taking them to the hospital herself and sitting with them there until they got help. One of her proudest accomplishments was being able to set up dedicated classrooms in her schools in conjunction with CASA for children who needed intervention to give them the skills they needed to thrive.  CASA provides the ‘missing middle’ services between the two extremes of basic community support and hospital based crisis services.
Bonnie Blakely, CEO and mother of seven children, two of whom have chronic mental illness has lived experience with trying to get help for children in crisis and beyond. She has personal experience with the effects that this can have on a whole family, so she understands the need for the type of services that CASA provides. Bonnie told us that CASA has all of the mental health professionals you would see in an AHS setting, but they have community donors in addition to Federal and Provincial funding that allows them to provide these services. She said that they have three hundred staff who provided services for almost eight thousand families this past year. They have five locations around Edmonton and classrooms in seven Edmonton schools. They are expanding their school base to twenty classrooms in the near future. Bonnie said that they take clients with and without a referral. Community education is a big part of what they do. People can get to CASA through their family physician or by directly contacting CASA. CASA will then do an assessment to determine which services will help the children and their families to thrive. Bonnie said that they follow their children as long as it takes, they do not close files quickly once they leave their services and also try to maintain support for people beyond the age of eighteen.  They also believe strongly in research. She said that many of their children are on the autism spectrum and because they have a rich database on their clients going back many years it forms a very useful basis for many different types of research. As a result of this they now fund a joint Research Chair with the University of Alberta and have hired Dr Daniel Moreno De Luca, a Clinical Psychiatrist and expert on research in the field of genomic psychiatry as it relates to autism and other neuro psychiatric conditions, as Chair to work with them to study the genetic connections.
Dr. Daniel Moreno De Luca said he is helping CASA to model their services to meet the needs of their children based on his genetic findings. He told us that autism often has a strong genetic basis with one third showing some type of genetic cause. He is working with CASA to identify the causes and find ways to use that genetic information to help these children. Together they are developing research and clinical infrastructure and training professionals to be able to use this information.
Bonnie closed by saying that they are planning to enlarge their support across Alberta for this sliver of the population that mostly remains invisible. They hope to be able to give more people the supports they need to be able to thrive. We would like to thank all three of these excellent speakers for coming to give us more information about their services.
Janet Hancock, Bonnie Blakely, Dr. Daniel De Luca,Child and Adolescent Services for All  Vi Hughes 2024-03-07 07:00:00Z 0

Club History, Local Community Service Projects

Posted by Vi Hughes on Feb 15, 2024
Right from the beginning one of the basic tenets of our club has been to support community projects with an emphasis on helping women and children in need. The projects we have supported have changed over the years as the interests of our club and the needs of the community have changed. Some of the community projects that we have supported over the years are:
ARCH Enterprises, founded by the Edmonton Southside Rotary Club in 1973 and where since 1986 our club has provided board members and helped with fundraising to help them deliver vocational programs for disabled adults in the Edmonton area.
The Old Strathcona Historical Foundation, where we provided both funds and volunteer labour to build and promote neighbourhood meeting places such as the McIntyre Park Band Stand (Gazebo) which was inaugurated in 1980.and the Old Strathcona Caboose Visitor Information Center which opened in 1992.
Habitat for Humanity, where we provided volunteer labour to help build homes for families in need.
Mustard Seed, where we provided volunteer labour to prepare and serve meals to the needy in our community.
Valley Zoo, where we have provided funding for the building and maintenance of animal habitat for the Grevy Zebras.
Fort Edmonton Park, Edmonton District Rotary Project, where we provided funds to help complete the visitor center /train station.
YONA, Youth Orchestra of Northern Alberta, where we provided funds to support the purchase of instruments for children in several inner city schools.
YESS, Youth Empowerment and Support Services,  where we provided funds to purchase furniture for the lobby of their reception center and also towards the purchase of a van to be used to transport clients to appointments and meetings.
Meals on Wheels, where we have provided volunteer labor to prepare and portion meals for their handicapped and/or elderly clients.
Run for the Cure, where we provided funds and volunteer staff for a water station for those who were running to raise funds for Breast Cancer.
Operation Red Nose, where we helped in support of local charities to provide volunteer drivers to transport people home after a night on the town.
Comedy Club drivers, where we provide volunteer drivers for the entertainers who have come to Edmonton to entertain for the annual ATB Financial Edmonton Comedy Festival which raises funds for charity.
WIN (Women in Need) House, where we provided children’s pajamas and Christmas gift boxes of small gifts, personal care items for the women and children staying in their residence.
Inclusion Alberta where members of our club have provided employment opportunities to their clients.
Hope Mission, where we provided volunteer labour to prepare meals for those in need and also collected clothing for the use of their clients.
Coats for Kids where we collected clothing for children in need in our community.
Edmonton Food Bank, where we provided volunteer labour to sort food and pack hampers for those in need.
Ronald McDonald House, where we provided both groceries and prepared meals for families staying at their residential facility for families with children who are receiving care at the Stollery Children’s Hospital.
Pilgrims Hospice Society, where we provided fund to support their services for hospice clients.
Tools for Schools where we collected and donated school supplies and backpacks to an inner city school.
Edmonton Crisis Unit where we collected funds, purchased and wrapped Christmas Gifts and Hampers for Social Services to distribute to several families in need.
Ukrainian Canadian Social Services Edmonton where we donated Christmas gift boxes for new immigrant women from Ukraine.
Club History, Local Community Service Projects Vi Hughes 2024-02-15 07:00:00Z 0

Jeff Day, Inner City Youth Development Association

Posted by Vi Hughes on Feb 15, 2024
Jeff Day with club member Jim Pedde
This week we welcomed Jeff Day, a member of the leadership team from Inner City High School and Youth Engagement Program. Jeff told us that the Inner City Youth Development Association (ICYDA) was started in 1986 by Dr. Joe Cloutier as a means to help poor inner city youth with their basic needs in the hope that they would be better able to focus on their schooling. Joe started working with street engaged youth who had no stability in their lives and most did not have access to any specific school. To address this problem, in 1993 he started the Inner City High School which ran in the Boyle Street Community League building. In 1994 they moved to their present location near the Royal Alex and are an Alberta Education accredited High School. They serve inner city youth aged fifteen to nineteen and provide wrap around supports such as food, with a hot lunch and after school snack, counselling and help with medical, legal and housing issues to help them to be able to complete their schooling. They provide housing referrals, help with court proceedings, provide medical support, addiction services and suicide prevention services. They try to provide these youth with the tools, resources and attitudes to help stabilize their lives.
Many have come to the city from elsewhere and have no stable place to stay or steady means of support.  Most test at an elementary school level of education and have attended anywhere between ten and twenty-seven different schools in their lives. Of the ‘street’ youth they serve, some live in group homes, many live in unstable/unsafe housing and some are totally homeless. Most of their young people come from indigenous backgrounds. The school and it’s staff are the one stable thing in their lives.
Jeff told us that in an average year they have between one hundred and eighty and three hundred students go through their program. The programming they provide is specially tailored to the needs of these young people, with all of the community supports woven into the program. The school has thirty three staff members, half of whom are teachers and half support staff. They also have an Elder on site to help students who want to learn more about their culture. He said that the cost of their program is about twenty-one thousand dollars per student per year and they do receive government funding towards some of this cost. The government only covers three years of schooling and many of their students need more than three years to complete their schooling. They also provide a twice weekly food bank, daily meals and transportation to school for their students which are not covered by government funding. All of these extra items are supported by donations.
We would like to thank Jeff for taking the time to come and tell us about this very deserving local program.
Jeff Day, Inner City Youth Development Association  Vi Hughes 2024-02-15 07:00:00Z 0

Wheel of Fortune Prize Donations Needed

We are desperately in need of more donations for our Wheel of Fortune. Please bring your donations to the meeting with you and give them to either Ken or Eric Germain. Small, new items such as wine, small gadgets, candy, books and any other small non-perishable items are welcome, in particular something you yourself would be happy to win!
Wheel of Fortune Prize Donations Needed  Vi Hughes 2024-02-07 07:00:00Z 0

Tammy Wiebe, Classification Talk

Posted by Vi Hughes on Feb 07, 2024
Rotary President Elect Loida Lumanlan with Tammy Wiebe
This week we welcomed Tammy Wiebe to tell us a few things about herself. Tammy is the Executive Director of the Valley Zoo Fund Development Society. Her rotary classification is Fund Development. Tammy told us that she came to Rotary through Dennis and Donna Hutton as Dennis has served on the Valley Zoo Fund Development board. She came to know Donna when she approached her about our club sponsoring the zebras. Tammy said she has been a member of our club for one year now.
Tammy told us that she was raised in Red Deer by a single mum in a family of five children and is herself a single mum with three grown children and three grandchildren. She said that she worked for many years in marketing for various large law firms around Alberta. More recently, once her children were grown and gone, she became interested in giving back to the community and volunteered for the Valley Zoo board. She soon realized that she really enjoyed the work there and found that her business background was a valuable addition to their board. Gradually she became President of the board, where she served for two years and started hiring people with more professional backgrounds for the Zoo. A few years later she decided to take a pay cut, leave marketing and become the Executive Director for the Valley Zoo Fund Development Society. She found that it was a steep learning curve working for a charity board but she truly enjoys her work and has not looked back since. She has been at the zoo for twelve years now and said that doing something you are truly passionate about makes all the difference.
Her latest endeavor at the Zoo has been fundraising and building a new wolf habitat that will open later this year.  Another one of her projects has been ‘Pay it Forward for the Planet’, where the zoo subsidizes the cost for classrooms of children from poor areas to visit the Zoo when they make a commitment to take on a conservancy project. The Zoo has now sponsored over eight hundred students under this program.
We would like to thank Tammy for telling us a few things about herself and look forward to getting to know her better in future.
Tammy Wiebe, Classification Talk  Vi Hughes 2024-02-07 07:00:00Z 0

Club History, Strathconian Bulletin

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jan 31, 2024
Our First Bulletin, Jun 1974
One of the requirements of Rotary International was for clubs to have good printed matter- notices, minutes of meetings and newsletters and a practice of preserving these.
All types of newsletters were published by our club since it’s inception in 1974. From simple typed, hand formatted single page mimeographed letters and later photocopied multipage newsletters which were snail mailed to each member, to present day sophisticated electronically formatted bulletins that are e-mailed to each member.
Our editors and publishers are the heroes of these publications. They gathered information (club news, new member write ups, speaker write ups, jokes, logos, pictures), typed it up, did the page layouts (what would we have done without scotch tape!), had it copied, folded, stapled, stuffed into envelopes, addressed, licked stamps and put it in the mailbox for delivery. All of this was no small task, especially prior to e-mail.
Our first newsletter was titled The Tele-Rotary. The name then transitioned to The Rota-Teller and finally the Strathconian, which became the e-Strathconian in 2007. Hans Granholm has been instrumental in seeing that nearly every newsletter got distributed to our members, was instrumental in our shift to electronic formatting and mailing and still has a hand in as the administrator of our ClubRunner website.
Some of the editors over the years were Neil Weir (our first editor), John Barnes, Hans Granholm, Jim Ashton, Len Gierach, Peter deNooy, Ken Germain and since 2016, Vi Hughes. Many other people contributed over the years as well.
We definitely owe a big debt of thanks to all of the dedicated people who made our newsletter possible over the years.
Club History, Strathconian Bulletin Vi Hughes 2024-01-31 07:00:00Z 0

Ben Dela Cruz, Rotary Adventures in Human Rights

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jan 31, 2024
Ben Dela Cruz with club member Vince Campbell
We were pleased to welcome Bienaventurado Dela Cruz to our meeting to tell us about his time in Winnipeg last summer at the week-long Rotary Adventures in Human Rights conference for high school students. Ben told us that Rotary was new to him and he would like to thank us for sponsoring him for this opportunity to meet and get to know other young people with similar interests in Human Rights and activism. He said that each day there was a different field trip or learning experience on various topics. One day they visited the Immigrant and Refugee canter in Winnipeg to learn about the experiences and difficulties faced by newcomers to our country. Another day they visited Human Rights Museum where they learned about the holocaust, the Japanese immigrant experience in Canada and the experiences of indigenous people. He said that many of these resonated with him as he tries to find his own identity in Canada. They also helped out at a free barbecue for three hundred local people by cooking and serving food and talking to the people who came. He said that he learned to do a pretty good job of barbecuing hot dogs. The last day concentrated on learning about how to foster positive peace in the community.
Ben gave us his sincere gratitude and thanks for sponsoring him to attend and said that he learned many new things about the world, met and made many new friends, gained more confidence in himself and learned how he can help to make change happen around him.
Ben Dela Cruz, Rotary Adventures in Human Rights  Vi Hughes 2024-01-31 07:00:00Z 0

Mark Climie-Elliot, Operation Smile

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jan 31, 2024
Mark Climie-Elliot with club member Vince Campbell
This week we heard from Mark Climie-Elliot from Operation Smile Canada. Mark told us that Operation Smile was founded in 1982 by Bill and Kathy Magee with international headquarters currently located in Virginia, USA. Bill is a world recognized plastic surgeon and his wife a nurse and social worker. Mark told us that world-wide one in seven hundred children are born with this condition and that more people die each year from this condition due to lack of surgical care than die from Tuberculosis, Malaria and HIV combined. Cleft lip and palate can cause severe feeding problems in newborns and young children and many simply starve to death without care.
He said that Operation Smile has a worldwide network of teams of medical personnel who work to train local people and build operating rooms and equip hospitals to provide wrap around care for children with cleft lip and palate. They currently operate in thirty-six countries with one hundred and eighty facilities. Many of the hospitals that they use are Rotary sponsored. Their teams consist of about forty-five percent local personnel with the remainder coming from all over the world. These people provide their time and skill free of charge with Operation Smile covering their travel and living expenses. This care covers everything from providing pre-surgical nutrition to surgical care, which may include multiple surgeries over several years, orthodontic work, physical therapy, speech therapy, psychosocial care, family counselling and much more. This care can be ongoing up to the age of eighteen for some. Many of these children and their families also suffer from the social stigma of local superstition as this common deformity is considered to be a curse in many third world countries. This surgery can be life-changing for both the children and their families.
Mark told us that there are currently about five million people with untreated cleft palate with no access to safe surgery in their local area.  He said that just over two million of these are in countries where Operation Smile serves. Operation Smile currently has a ten-year plan to help one million of these. Our donations mean the world to these children and their families. He hopes that our club will consider supporting them. We can also make individual donations through their website at
Mark Climie-Elliot, Operation Smile  Vi Hughes 2024-01-31 07:00:00Z 0

January Twist, Sip and Solve

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jan 31, 2024
One week ago Thursday we met at Telus World of Science to have some fun checking out their Puzzles, Mazes and Games display and have a few drinks as well. Some of them were easy but others were quite challenging. Some people even got lost in one of the mazes for a while. The best part of the evening for some was having to show ID to prove we were over eighteen!
January Twist, Sip and Solve Vi Hughes 2024-01-31 07:00:00Z 0

Laura Brown, Classification Talk

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jan 17, 2024
This week we were pleased to hear from our newest member Laura Brown. Laura told us that she became a Financial Adviser many years ago and worked for CIBC Wood Gundy for ten years as part of a large team in eastern Canada before deciding to set up her own practice here in Edmonton with Edward Jones Financial. She said that she enjoys being able to run her business the way that works best for her. She told us that a big part of that means an emphasis on socially responsible investing. She said that running her own business has been quite a change from working with a large team, but she truly enjoys the challenge of learning what types of investments work best for her clients.
Laura told us that she went through a rough period as a teenager and young woman but came out of it with an entirely new perspective on life and now realizes that sharing her experiences and giving back to the community is something that she needs to be part of her life.
Laura also told us that she is very lucky to have an amazing supportive family in her partner, Guillaume and two young children. She also told us that she has a family connection to Rotary as her mother is a Rotarian, so she knows something of what it means to be a Rotarian. Service and helping others has been part of her life and always will be.
We would like to thank Laura for telling us something about herself and look forward to getting to know her better.
Laura Brown, Classification Talk  Vi Hughes 2024-01-17 07:00:00Z 0

Pints for Polio

Please Note:
The date for this event has changed to Wed., 31 Jan 2024
Pints for Polio Vi Hughes 2024-01-10 07:00:00Z 0

Mondesa Youth Opportunities Updates

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jan 10, 2024
We have recently received updates from Mondesa Youth Opportunies (MYO) on each of the five students that we have sponsored, Frans, Naambo, Romance, Fransina and Tangeni, in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Edmonton Riverview.
MYO is a well-known and intensive after-school education program located in Mondesa Township, Swakopmund, Namibia. It is the flagship project for the Rotary Club of Swakopmund, Namibia.
All five of our students are doing well in their studies. The detailed reports can be seen in our Club Documents section of our Website.
Mondesa Youth Opportunities Updates  Vi Hughes 2024-01-10 07:00:00Z 0

Edmonton Crisis Unit Christmas Donation

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jan 10, 2024
Ben Gomez and Rhonda Smith from our club Community Services Committee approached the Edmonton Crisis Unit and volunteered to provide gifts and hampers to two single parent families with multiple children recommended by them. We asked for cash donations at our Christmas Party and combined these with community funds to collect one thousand dollars. This was then used to purchase and wrap one hundred and twenty Christmas gifts and two hampers that were delivered to Mill Woods Social Services on the Friday before Christmas. They in turn delivered them to the two families. Social Services later told us that both families were greatly appreciative of our donations.
Edmonton Crisis Unit Christmas Donation  Vi Hughes 2024-01-10 07:00:00Z 0

January Meeting with a Twist

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jan 10, 2024
Telus World of Science, Sip and Solve
Adult only Event (18+)
Thursday, Jan 18, open from 6:30 -10:00 pm
We can meet near the entrance around 7:00 pm, but you can arrive later and join us as well.
Cost is $12.95 per person
Entry to the Mazes and Brain Games Exhibit only with over 60 puzzling experiences to solve
Enigma Bar (Cash bar) where you can purchase alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks and snacks
If you wish to attend you may purchase tickets in advance, on-line from the Telus World of Science website, Experiences, Events, Sip and Solve and Select the Jan 18 event.
These events have sold out in the past, so don’t dawdle!
January Meeting with a Twist  Vi Hughes 2024-01-10 07:00:00Z 0

Nelson Sanchez, Prosper Place

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jan 10, 2024
Nelson Sanchez with our club Community Chair Carin Jansen van Vuuren
This week we welcomed Nelson Gomez to tell us about the programs at Prosper Place. Prosper Place is a program of the Canadian Mental Health Association. They have a building in the west end of Edmonton (10455-172 St) with a Café, meeting and program rooms. Members can join at no cost and are welcome to take part in any of the programs offered.
They have a cafe which offers subsidized daily meals to members for four dollars each. They currently have about eight hundred members with about thirty to forty people taking part in daily activities. They are open five days a week and offer programs to encourage skills building, personal growth, socialization, or simply a space to connect with others. Some of their current programs include Adjusting to Life in Canada, Parenting, Anger Management, Anxiety and Depression, Grief and Loss, Balancing Work and Family and many other topics. In addition, they have a small food and clothing bank on site. They offer drop-in professional psychiatric help every Tuesday which is open to the general public. They also sponsor a party for their members once a month with a meal and entertainment provided at a very minimal cost. Their members come from all walks of life and they are tied in to the 211 Help Line, local Hospitals, the Food Bank, Probation Officers, Group homes and many other agencies although referrals are not needed to become a member.
They have a very small number of paid staff and many of their programs are run by volunteer peer members. They receive funding for some programs through Canadian Mental Health but are also a registered Charity and rely on private donations for many of their additional programs. We would like to thank Nelson for his very interesting talk. More information on their programs can be found at
Nelson Sanchez, Prosper Place  Vi Hughes 2024-01-10 07:00:00Z 0

Laura Brown, New Member Induction

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jan 10, 2024
New Member Laura Brown with Membership committee members Stefan Jansen van Vuuren and Sean Murphy
This Tuesday Sean Murphy, from our Membership Committee welcomed Laura Brown as the latest member of our club. Laura’s classification is Financial Adviser.  We would like to warmly welcome Laura to our club and look forward to getting to know her better.
Laura Brown, New Member Induction  Vi Hughes 2024-01-10 07:00:00Z 0

Meeting date canceled 

Due to a volunteer conflict the Feb 20th regular meeting has been cancelled to allow any and all members to volunteer at our casino.
Any questions please contact the organizers. 
Meeting date canceled Hans GRANHOLM 2024-01-07 07:00:00Z 0

Amarok December Update

Posted by Vi Hughes on Dec 20, 2023
We have recently received a letter from Nasima. a mother/teacher with the Amarok Program in Khulna, Bangladesh, whom we have sponsored. You can read her update in the Photo Album section at left.
Amarok December Update  Vi Hughes 2023-12-20 07:00:00Z 0

Meals on Wheels Volunteers

Some members of our club and one friend volunteered on Nov 20 for a morning at Meals on Wheels. We had a great time peeling and chopping veg and portioning meals. 
Meals on Wheels Volunteers Vi Hughes 2023-12-20 07:00:00Z 0

November Twist

Posted by Vi Hughes on Dec 07, 2023
Last week our club Twist meeting involved finding our way out of an Escape Room by solving the clues. We had one group looking for treasure hidden by pirates and another group trying to find their way out of the jungle. Fortunately we could ask for clues or some of us would probably still be there!! We all had a great time trying. You can see more photos from this event in the November Twist Photo Album.  
November Twist Vi Hughes 2023-12-07 07:00:00Z 0
Edmonton Food Bank Volunteers Vi Hughes 2023-12-07 07:00:00Z 0

Club History: Rotary Group Study Exchange Program

Posted by Vi Hughes on Nov 22, 2023
The Group Study Exchange Program was (and still is) a Rotary Foundation educational program that provides funding for the exchange of small teams of (non-Rotarian) young business and professional people between paired districts in different countries. The goals were to enable them to learn about the corresponding businesses and culture of another country for a four to six week study period. Their travel costs were covered by the Foundation and the hosting district/s provided accommodation, meals and arranged business meetings, tours, discussions and cultural events. The sending Rotary districts provided a Rotarian team leader responsible for organizing and leading each team. As can be seen, providing this type of experience requires a very large effort on the part of both the sending and receiving Districts, the District Governors and their committees in terms of logistics and planning. Visiting teams would meet with local people and tour offices and places of business that corresponded to the interests of the team members. In return the other district would send a team to visit our District and we would do the same for them. At the end of the exchange each team was expected to provide a detailed report of their experiences and what they had learned from that experience to their sponsoring District. This Foundation program still exists today with some changes, team members are now all from the same profession and there are some changes to funding.
In the spring of 1991, our District 5360 (Alberta, Northern BC, Northwestern Saskatchewan and NWT) sent a team of five young professional women along with their Rotarian Team Leader, Hans Granholm from our club to a district in southern Sweden. The team was comprised of a constitutional Lawyer from Yellowknife, a Family Medical Doctor from Calgary, an Accountant from Calgary, a Graphic Artist from Spruce Grove and a YMCA Program Director from Edmonton.
The teams were expected to represent Rotary wherever they went so they all wore matching jackets in public. Their red La Fleche Tailor jackets were custom embroidered with the Rotary Wheel. Hans said that they looked quite sharp when travelling together.
The district in Sweden that they visited had recently been assigned by Rotary International to support the redistricting of Rotary clubs in Poland. The fall of the Berlin wall in Nov 1989 had opened up many countries, who at one time prior to WW II had had many active Rotary clubs. The district in Sweden had recently sponsored the opening of two clubs in Warsaw, Poland. Shortly after our Exchange team arrived in Sweden, they were asked if they would like to spend part of their time visiting with these clubs in Poland.  Hans asked the team if they would like to do this and they subsequently spent three weeks in Sweden and two more in Poland.
Rotary would normally provide language training prior to departure but this was not possible due to the timing. Hans could get by in Swedish but not in Polish. As it turned out it was not a problem as almost all they came in contact with in Poland spoke very good English.
They visited clubs and places of business in Malmo, Eslov, the southern coast and Helsingborg as well as a few other areas in Sweden. In Poland they stayed with a very welcoming and wealthy businessman who had armed guards on the grounds of his home in Warsaw and visited with clubs in Warsaw and Krakow, Poland.
Hans said that they were very well treated by their hosts both in Sweden and in Poland. They were especially impressed by the living conditions in Poland being much better than they had expected. He also said that organizing the air travel was tricky as air travel in Europe was restricted due to trouble in the Middle East and they had to spend more time travelling than originally hoped. Overall they had a very informative and memorable time together.
In spring of 1992 another member of our club, Ron McCullough led a team from District 5360 (Alberta, Northern BC, Northwestern Saskatchewan and NWT)  to District 9790 in Victoria, Australia. His team consisted of five men, a Lawyer from Grande Prairie, a Public Utility Public Relations Officer from Calgary, a District Agriculturist and Regional Crop Specialist from Stettler, an Office Manager from Grande Prairie, and a Supervisor of Technical Services for Edmonton Power.
Their tour was seven weeks visiting clubs in the State of Victoria in south-eastern Australia- Melbourne, Albury-Wodonga, Corryong, Bright, Beechworth, Wangaratta and Euroa. They travelled from one area to the next staying in the homes of local Rotarians and visiting many different types of local businesses. These included a utility company, a cheese factory, a law office, cattle and dairy farms, sheep farms, a woolen mill, an oil seed mill, local hospital management and many more. They were given a good overall picture of the local businesses and how they were run, which in some cases was quite different from the way the same business operates in Canada. They became somewhat local celebrities in articles featured in several local newspapers. They also gained contacts and made friends with people they otherwise would never have met.
Ron stated in his final report that they truly appreciated all of the work that went into organizing their travel and time in Australia.  It was a very valuable experience of a lifetime for the young business people who took part in the exchange. 
Club History: Rotary Group Study Exchange Program Vi Hughes 2023-11-22 07:00:00Z 0

Chelsea Leach, Learning to Lead

Posted by Vi Hughes on Nov 22, 2023
Club President Heather deKok with Chelsea Leach
This week we heard from Chelsea Leach whom our club supported to attend the recent Learning to Lead event held in Toronto from Sep 27 to Oct 01. Chelsea was President (for the past three years) of the Vimy Ridge Interact Club.  The attendees came from Rotary International zones 28 and 32, covering Bermuda, Canada, France and the United States. It comprised four days of sessions on many different topics related to leading within Rotary. Attendees could select sessions from a wide variety of topics that were of interest to them personally. They also had many opportunities to meet, talk with and learn from Rotarians with many different points of view.
Chelsea thanked us for supporting this opportunity and gave us a very lively and entertaining talk about the people she met and the many different sessions that she attended. She truly appreciated the wide variety of people she got to talk with and she said that she learned a lot of new ideas on many different aspects of leading a Rotary club.
These included:
Ways to get club members to interact with each other more by having them pull a colored piece of paper as they came in the door to a meeting and then sit at the table to which that color was assigned.
How to bring new people into your club.
New ideas for service projects.
A mentor program for recent college or university grads where they are assigned a Rotarian who has worked in their chosen field for a long time and is willing to give them some advice on the opportunities in that field and some help with job hunting.
Setting realistic goals for your club.
How to start a fund raiser.
How to write grant proposals for projects.
She also learned more about Rotary clubs in other areas. One lady there said that in 2021 she decided to join Rotary and went to several different Rotary clubs in her local area of the eastern US before she found one that would accept women into their club.
In closing she thanked us again and said that it was an amazing experience and being able to go was just phenomenal.
Chelsea Leach, Learning to Lead  Vi Hughes 2023-11-22 07:00:00Z 0

District 5370 AGM

Posted by Vi Hughes on Nov 22, 2023
Several members of our club attended the recent Rotary District 5370 Annual General Meeting. Treasurer Brenda McCullough, Community Chair Ben Gomez, Youth Chair Carin Jansen van Vuuren and President Elect Loida Lumanlan.
Our President Elect Loida Lumanlan accepted an award from DG Brent Collingwood for our club support of the Rotary End Polio Now: Countdown to History Campaign.
District 5370 AGM Vi Hughes 2023-11-22 07:00:00Z 0

WP Wagner Interact Executive Visits our Club

Posted by Vi Hughes on Nov 16, 2023
WP Wagner Interact Executive with Rotary Club of Edmonton Strathcona and Rotary District 5370 Executive
WPW Pres Shafi Iqbal, WPW Treasurer Arman Khunkin, RCES Pres Elect Loida Lumanlan, District 5370 Asst Gov Jeanette Bancarz, District 5370 DG Brent Collingwood, RCES Youth Chairperson Carin Jansen van Vuuren and WPW Marketing Ved Thakar
WP Wagner Interact Executive Visits our Club  Vi Hughes 2023-11-16 07:00:00Z 0
Don't Bottle it Up Vi Hughes 2023-11-16 07:00:00Z 0

Brent Collingwood, Rotary District Governor

Posted by Vi Hughes on Nov 16, 2023
This Tuesday we were honored to hear from our District 5370 Governor Brent Collingwood. Brent talked about the Rotary Vision statement:
TOGETHER we see a world, Where PEOPLE unite and take action, To CREATE, CHANGE across the globe
Which can be shortened to - Together people create change.
He then asked us how does our club reflect the vision and also the theme of the year, ‘Create Hope in the World’?
How would we define our club’s identity?
What are we most proud of and who knows about it?
What is one goal our club can achieve this year?
He then went on to talk about how Rotarians are people of action and how we can make a change in our communities and the world. One of the things Rotary is addressing this year is helping to erase the stigma associated with mental health. He said that we can do this by encouraging those around us to open up and talk about it.
The Rotary ‘Don’t Bottle it Up’ campaign is part of this. He said that we can help by doing four things:
1.Speak up about mental health
2. Speak to family and friends, let them know it’s OK to not be OK and that it’s OK to ask for help.
3. Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of a mental health challenge.
4. Continue to build social connections
He also said that more information on this can be found on the Rotary website
Brent then went on to talk about the Rotary Foundation Annual Fund and the Polio Plus Fund and encouraged all of us to make contributions to these funds and they enable Rotary to support many different causes around the world. In addition for every fifty million the Polio Fund raises, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation adds another one hundred million to this cause.
In closing he said that Rotarians many times create hope in the world just by showing up to help, and told a story of a woman in Thailand who had lost her home and family in the tsunami a few yeas ago and when she spoke to some Rotarians who had just arrived to help them, said that they had already helped by just giving her hope.
He then encouraged us to keep going with helping others, because we haven’t come this far, to only come this far.
Brent Collingwood, Rotary District Governor  Vi Hughes 2023-11-16 07:00:00Z 0

Ben Gomez and Rhonda Smith, October Clothing Drive

Posted by Vi Hughes on Nov 09, 2023
Club members Ben and Rhonda reported that their clothing drive was a big success with about 2585 items collected. Rhonda said that they advertised the drive throughout their neighborhood and each morning they put out a box and by the time they returned in the evening it was full. Our club members also contributed to the drive. The items were then sorted and divided between Hope Mission and Coats for Kids along with a few other smaller charities.
Ben Gomez and Rhonda Smith, October Clothing Drive  Vi Hughes 2023-11-09 07:00:00Z 0

Dr Denise Larsen, Creating Hope in the World

Posted by Vi Hughes on Nov 09, 2023
This week we welcomed Dr Denise Larsen, who is a Professor of Counselling Psychology with the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta and a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association. She is also a co-director of Hope Studies Central along with Dr. Rebecca Hudson Breen. Hope studies Central is a thirty-one-year old research unit at the University of Alberta dedicated to understanding and effectively using hope in education, counselling therapies, and health contexts. Dr Larsen has published over 100 articles and books, has offered invited lectures around the world and works with a team of scholars, professors, graduate and undergraduate students.
Dr. Larsen said that hope is the ability to envision a future in which we wish to participate, but which we are not sure may actually happen. It is something about which we are pessimistic. She said that we all need hope in some form to be able to face a sometimes difficult reality. It has been found to be associated with life satisfaction and even with better grades in academic studies. Hope is one of the most commonly used words in the English language.
Things we hope for are something that are easier for people to talk about than hard goals, but at the same time they are something to keep looking forward to or working towards. Hope can help people find a way to live meaningfully. Hoped for things can be large or small. Hope can be many different things. We may not hope for things we know are not possible such a surviving a terminal disease but still hope for small things such as a visit from a friend.
Hope Studies Central has several different programs that teach others about hope and the use of hope in educational and health care settings. SHARP (Strengths, Hope and Resourcefulness Program) is one of those programs developed for use by teachers for use in grade 2 to 9 classrooms. It was developed to provide sustainable, effective mental health programming in schools. They have found that even very young children can have a pretty good concept of hope in their lives. Some of the activities they use to build hope are having children make collages of pictures showing things that they hope for, writing short messages of hope using sidewalk chalk on the entry sidewalk to their school and writing down the hopes that family members may have for them. All of these things have been found to create and build hope. These things can also serve as a reminder of hope for better times when they are feeling down in the future. In health care settings they have found that fostering hope can help people living with chronic pain and disability find a way to live meaningfully in spite of their difficulties.
We would like to thank Dr. Larsen for her very interesting and enlightening talk on the changes that having hope can make in our lives.
Dr Denise Larsen, Creating Hope in the World  Vi Hughes 2023-11-09 07:00:00Z 0

Ron Dobbin Scholarship Presentation

Posted by Carin Jansen van Vuuren on Nov 02, 2023
Club Youth Committee Chair Carin Jansen van Vuuren presenting the Ron Dobbin Scholarship to Zane Franchuk
Every year the Rotary Club of Edmonton Strathcona gives out $1000 Ron Dobbin Memorial Rotary Scholarships to students who are all-round achievers, have shown leadership qualities by being involved in the life of the school and provided service in the community while overcoming significant challenges. These funds are raised by the club members who place a high value on education. Austin O’Brien student Zane Franchuk received his scholarship on Thursday November 2, 2023 at their Awards Ceremony.
Ron Dobbin Scholarship Presentation  Carin Jansen van Vuuren 2023-11-02 06:00:00Z 0

W.P. Wagner Interact Club Coat Drive for Hope Mission

Posted by Carin Jansen van Vuuren on Oct 31, 2023
The W.P. Wagner High School Interact Club collaborated with our club to collect coats and winter clothes for Hope Mission during the month of October. On Tuesday, October 31 their contribution was picked up. Thanks to all the W.P. Wagner students and faculty.
W.P. Wagner Interact Club Coat Drive for Hope Mission  Carin Jansen van Vuuren 2023-10-31 06:00:00Z 0

October Twist, Dancing at Elite Studios

Posted by Vi Hughes on Oct 26, 2023
Our members enjoyed a night of ballroom and two step dancing with pizza, pasta and refreshments at Elite Studio. For more pictures of this event see the Photo Album below. 
October Twist, Dancing at Elite Studios  Vi Hughes 2023-10-26 06:00:00Z 0

October Coat Drive for Shelters and Kids

This month our club collected coats and other essential winter gear. The drive was led by club members Ben Gomez and Rhonda Smith who do this coat drive every year in October.
October Coat Drive for Shelters and Kids  Vi Hughes 2023-10-26 06:00:00Z 0

Club History, The Old Strathcona Caboose

Posted by Vi Hughes on Oct 26, 2023
Old Strathcona Caboose
Opening Ceremony for the Old Strathcona Caboose
In 1992 our club, under the leadership of President Eric Germain, decided to support the Old Strathcona Foundation in their project to restore a heritage (1949 Model) caboose donated by CP Rail and then install it as a Tourist Information Center in CP Park at Whyte Ave (82 Ave) and 103 St. This was the site of the original CP rail station in Strathcona where the first train into south Edmonton arrived in July of 1891. The caboose was part of their project for the End of Steel Interpretive Center.
Our club made a donation of ten thousand dollars towards this project.  The restored Caboose was unveiled on July 1st 1992. In return our club was granted rights to use the caboose for social events and occasions. We occasionally also supplied volunteers to staff the Travel Information office in the Caboose. The Caboose was later moved and reinstalled in the End of Steel Park on Saskatchewan Drive and Tommy Banks Way (near 104 St.) where it still stands today.
Club History, The Old Strathcona Caboose Vi Hughes 2023-10-26 06:00:00Z 0

G.E.M. and Tanys Munro, Teach Mothers to Teach the World, Amarok Society

Posted by Rose Marie Basaraba on Oct 24, 2023
G.E.M. Munro, along with his wife, Tanys Munro and their four children, established the Amarok Society some twenty years ago and since that time have immersed themselves amongst the poorest of the poor in Bangladesh.  In a society where women are given little or no recognition, the Society has built a system instructing mothers and having them share their knowledge of the basics, English and Math skills.
Each mother committed to teaching English and Math to five children in their own homes. The demand for a desire to learn is the core of this new-found happiness, instructing children and creating hope. As newfound leaders, mothers are now against and thereby eliminating early marriage.
Their attitude of “every child is my child” has led to one notable mother disallowing her daughter’s marriage until she achieved her medical degree. Of note is that medical degrees are given instruction in English only.
Currently extremism is rampant in Bangladesh. Opening doors to the slums are slammed in the face of extremism. Extremists depose education, ignorance distorts the mind. Through eighteen years Rotary has enabled the establishment of thirty schools in Bangladesh, plus four in India. There is a need. Lack of action threatens the world.
The cost to open a school is $100; to operate for one year $10,000. (Gem compared this to the cost of three million of building one IBM Missile.) Once again, the Amarok Society continues to thrive.
G.E.M.’s visit to our Club following several years, was a refreshing reminder that belief and perseverance creates hope and success in the poorest of the poorest.
G.E.M. and Tanys Munro, Teach Mothers to Teach the World, Amarok Society  Rose Marie Basaraba 2023-10-24 06:00:00Z 0

Menasha Nikhanji, Rotary Peace Fellowship Experience

Posted by Rose Marie Basaraba on Oct 17, 2023
Menasha Nikhanji /RCMP/GRC) captivated members with her factual report on her three-month Rotary Peace Fellowship studies in Thailand. One of twenty-one applicants, Menasha, learned about international conflicts, the global impacts, media’s role in the world, trauma and trauma informed approaches. She also learned about toxic stress, impact on the brain, child soldiers of war as well as those who had been trafficked, restorative and retributive justice, truth and reconciliation.
Menasha noted that Media creates an “us/them”, political players then leverage this to gain power by keeping people in their own ‘tribes’ leading to a rise in tribalism. She encouraged Rotary to continue Peace education, pointing out a need for dialogue leading to achieve ‘positive peace’. Creating peace is something we can do in our own backyards, take care of our neighbours, take care of the vulnerable, build bridges with communities that have been disenfranchised. No matter what your station in life, its everyone’s responsibility.
Menasha Nikhanji, Rotary Peace Fellowship Experience  Rose Marie Basaraba 2023-10-17 06:00:00Z 0

Hollywood North, Alan McCullough

Posted by Vi Hughes on Oct 05, 2023
Speaker Alan McCullough
Club President Heather de Kok with the McCullough Family
This week we heard from award-winning writer and executive producer Alan McCullough. Alan is the son of long time Rotarians Ron and Brenda McCullough. Alan has worked in Canadian television for the past twenty years and has a long list of television credits to his name, including drama series, science fiction, kid’s programs, and animation. Alan told us that he first fell in love with theater in high school and at first he pursued an acting career. He trained as an actor both in Edmonton and New York for a total of six years. Alan admitted that he was not a very good actor, and after a few years of trying to make it as an actor he decided that maybe he should look into another film related role. He checked out directing, editing, producing and writing and soon found that he loved writing.
He then enrolled in the Canadian Film Center and transitioned into the film industry.  He said that he was very lucky when he landed a job as a writer that it was with a long running television series, Stargate.. He said that his time with this show was a true gift as it gave him good teachers to learn from and a steady income, which is a rarity in the film industry. Stargate involved producing forty episode a year for several years. Writing also meant he had to get up, get dressed and go somewhere to interact with other people every day.
Alan explained to us that in Canadian television, the writers are the ones who control the production of a show. The lead writer, also known as the ‘show runner’ is the executive producer for the series, and the assigned writer for each separate episode receives credit ae the producer of that episode.  He said that all those producing credits that run by at the beginning of an episode are the writers on that episode. The show runner is in charge of it all, the director plays a smaller role.
He said that when a show goes into production the whole writing team gets together and works out the outlines for each episode. The episodes then get assigned to individual writers to produce a first draft. This is reviewed by the show runner and changes are made to form a second draft.  Any change can affect cost or time it takes to prep, shoot, edit and finalize. The writer must know how to stage a scene to reduce cost and time and is normally on set for the shooting as it can often require last minute rewrites to accommodate unexpected changes. Sometimes the shoot location is bigger or smaller than originally planned for, or even worse, sometimes the lead actor is not available, for whatever reason.
Alan told us that before the rise of streaming television services, a broadcaster would normally order twenty episodes per year of a series. Nowadays that is down to ten, with streaming services usually only ordering six. The streaming services order less as they do not have the need to keep the audience coming back to watch in order to bring in advertising income, they already have their money from the subscribers. He said that the average cost for production of a series in Canada is two to three million dollars per episode. He said that Canadian writers are paid a fee per episode based on the series budget which is usually higher than American writers. American writers may also be paid residuals when or if a series is replayed at a later date. Streaming services do not pay residuals at all. The rise of streaming services has hit the industry hard in Canada and the US, making earning a steady income very precarious, but it has hurt the Americans harder as they also rely on residuals.
 Most recently Alan created and show ran the mystery procedural The Spencer Sisters which is currently airing on CTV, Crave and the CW network. Prior to that he show ran the hit Canadian procedural Private Eyes (GLOBAL/ION) for three seasons, winning the 2020 Golden Screen Award for the most popular Canadian series. He has also written and produced episodes for Rookie, Blue, Reign, Cracked, Lost Girl, Stargate:SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Universe and Sanctuary and has won many awards for his work.  We would like to thank Alan for his very interesting and enlightening talk and wish him well in any of his future endeavors.
Hollywood North, Alan McCullough  Vi Hughes 2023-10-05 06:00:00Z 0

Hugo Lehman, Charter Member Passes

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of one of our Charter and long-time members, Hugo Lehman, on Oct 2, 2023, at the age of 92.
We send our condolences to his wife Lucie and family. He will be missed. Hugo Lehmann was a charter member of the Rotary Club of Edmonton Strathcona, 1974. Hugo served as a director for two terms and was active in several committees. He was a Paul Harris Fellow +1 and also had perfect attendance for eleven years. Hugo and Lucie were married for a remarkable 66 years. Hugo owned and operated Freeway Autobody for a number of years.
His funeral will take place at Trinity Lutheran Church, 10014-81 Ave on Tuesday, Oct 10 at 11:00 a.m. Club members can leave their tributes and remembrances of Hugo on the website.
Hugo Lehman, Charter Member Passes  Vi Hughes 2023-10-05 06:00:00Z 0

An Inspiring Youth Leadership Seminar

Posted by Ben Gomez on Oct 02, 2023
Over the weekend we attended RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) - a Rotary youth leadership seminar with members of our W.P. Wagner High School Interact Club. Our group consisted of Carin (Youth Chair), Ben Gomez (Youth Committee Member), Rhonda Smith (Community Committee Member) and three students. The seminar was attended by students from various high schools from District 5370 and the respected members of their sponsor Rotary Clubs. Also, in attendance were Rotaract members from various universities.
The seminar had various Rotary club members speaking about what the true meaning of Rotary is; what it means to be a Rotarian (Service about Self); highlighting the seven pillars of Rotary and showing the global reaches of the amazing work we do worldwide and in our local communities. They also had a session on how to plan and execute a project.
There was strong emphasis on how they as our youth of today can make change and with that said gave them the tools on how to approach and implement their ideas with the help of their sponsoring Rotary club and its members to make their visions a reality. It was truly inspiring seeing the collective “want to make change”. The students there were asked to brainstorm their ideas on what areas our communities are in need. Not only did they have an acute knowledge of the real struggles today’s societies are facing but they also had concrete ideas on how they want to make a difference. They were extremely aware of the mental health struggles that our youth of today are facing from bullying, hunger, mental health, and abuse. It was astonishing how driven and determined they were to reach out to different organizations on these issues and do their part. As a Rotarian I felt a sense of pride and humility knowing that we are “in good hands” with these future Rotarians. It reiterated the reason I became a Rotarian. I wanted to work with our youth and help guide them to achieve the core values we as Rotarians live to serve by.
An Inspiring Youth Leadership Seminar  Ben Gomez 2023-10-02 06:00:00Z 0

September Twist, Gateway Bowling

Posted by Vi Hughes on Sep 28, 2023
Members of our club recently enjoyed an evening of ten pin bowling at Gateway Lanes. It was definitely a new way to experience an old sport, with the black lighting and musical background. Everyone enjoyed themselves with plenty of cheering and a little bit of rivalry as well.  
September Twist, Gateway Bowling  Vi Hughes 2023-09-28 06:00:00Z 0

Mondesa Youth Opportunities Project

Posted by Vi Hughes on Sep 28, 2023
MYO Learners, Frans, Naambo, Romance, Fransina and Tangeni
We have recently received letters from the five learners Frans, Naambo, Romance, Fransina and Tangeni that our club has recently sponsored through Mondesa Youth Opportunies (MYO) in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Edmonton Riverview.
MYO is a well-known and intensive after-school education program located in Mondesa Township, Swakopmund, Namibia. It is the flagship project for the Rotary Club of Swakopmund, Namibia.
It has been operating for almost 20 years. Their focus is on learners from disadvantaged backgrounds who deserve better education than they have access to. Thus, learners with potential but little support at home. At MYO, 120 learners ranging from Grade 4 to 8 receive extra instruction in English, Mathematics, Reading, Life Skills, Computers, Sports, and Music.
They cultivate positive thinking and high self-esteem to lay the path for a future generation of forward-thinking Namibian leaders. Their aim is not only to enhance the education of their promising learners but also to guide them into being responsive, confident, and well-rounded individuals.
MYO is a non-profit organization, and their learners participate in their programme free of charge. They rely exclusively on donations from their community and the wider world to sustain their operations.
Their letters are in photo format and can be viewed in the Photo Album below titled MYO Learners.
Mondesa Youth Opportunities Project  Vi Hughes 2023-09-28 06:00:00Z 0

Bruce Uditsky and Donna Barret, Rotary Employment Partnership

Posted by Vi Hughes on Sep 21, 2023
Club member Ken Germain thanking Bruce Uditsky and Donna Barret
This week we welcomed Bruce Uditsky, CEO Emeritus for Inclusion Alberta and his wife Donna Barret our past District Governor (2021-2022) to tell us about the Rotary Employment Partnership with Inclusion Alberta. Bruce told us that Inclusion Alberta is a family based, non-profit federation that has been advocating on behalf of families, children and adults with intellectual disabilities for sixty-five years. In 2000 they partnered with Rotarians, at the behest of Rotarian Wendy McDonald, who was then President of the Edmonton Mayfield Club to start the Rotary District 5360 and District 5370 Partnership to help find employment for adults with intellectual disabilities. She had approached Bruce and said that Rotary would like to get involved with this program. Rotarians often have a lot of connections in the business community and can help to find businesses who are willing to partner with Inclusion Alberta to find employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities.
Bruce told us that once an employer has come forward with an interest in employment, Inclusion Alberta talks to that employer about the suitability of work involved and helps them to find the right fit person for that work. They also work with both the employer and the employee to ensure ongoing stablilty of employment.
People with intellectual disabilities can and do want to work. They provide continuity and reliability for the employer.  Work gives them a sense of purpose and belonging. It prevents isolation, financial vulnerability and exclusion from society.  They can offer an employer less turnover, higher employee satisfaction and increased profits as a result.
Donna spoke to us about the difference this program has made in the quality of life for their son who has found employment through this program. She also spoke about how the staff at Inclusion Alberta have helped both his employers and him to become a better employee.
The Rotary Partnership has provided almost eight hundred jobs in Alberta, with almost four hundred of those in Edmonton. Employers come in all stripes, large and small, from public libraries to pharmacies to construction sites to warehouses.
Bruce asked us to consider talking to people we know to ask them to consider thinking about hiring someone with an intellectual disability. The staff at Inclusion Alberta, Brittany or Abigale, will then talk to the employer about how this might actually work.  Sometimes all it takes is a personal query to get things started.  More information can be found on their website at
Bruce Uditsky and Donna Barret, Rotary Employment Partnership  Vi Hughes 2023-09-21 06:00:00Z 0

Club History, The Old Strathcona Rotary Bandstand

Posted by Vi Hughes
The Original Rotary Bandstand
In 1977, shortly after the beginnings of the Edmonton Strathcona Rotary club, while Henry Neufeld was President, some members suggested that they should do something for the Strathcona neighborhood by building a bandstand similar to one that had existed there around 1910. They could then sponsor bands to play there on holidays and for special occasions. The bandstand was designed by architect Larry Taylor and was intended to be a replica of a band shell that stood near 102 St and 82 Ave. in 1910. Club member Peter Fairbridge was the committee head. The bandstand was a joint venture with the Old Strathcona Foundation, whose mandate was to restore and retain the history of the area, which supplied the land.
The location chosen was a small park next to the Strathcona Library branch near 104 St and 83 Ave that was informally known as Library Park. The bandstand stood in the middle of the park. It was also built to coincide with the 75th anniversary of both Rotary International and the Province of Alberta.  
As the original plans for the bandstand were a little pricey, the project was put on hold and was revived in the fall of 1979, under President Hans Granholm. Over the winter of 79-80, materials supplied by club members were cut and painted at the home of a club member. In the spring of 1980, the bandstand was assembled by club members in place in the park.
The band stand opened in the summer of 1980, under outgoing club President Hans Granholm and special guest Alderman Buck Olson, the bandstand along with a commemorative bronze plaque was presented to the City of Edmonton, followed by a brass band concert by the Old Strathcona Town Band.
It was soon hosting summer brass band concerts which could be heard throughout the neighborhood. The park was renamed in 1981 to McIntyre Park in honor of Wilbur McIntyre, the first Member of Parliament to represent the Strathcona area. With the advent of the Fringe in 1982, which suddenly brought thousands of people to this small park in Strathcona, the bandstand was used constantly.
In 1991, under President Hugh Faulkner and project leader Hans Granholm, our club repainted the bandstand, followed by a very enjoyable champagne lunch.
By the year 2000, the park was in need of refurbishment with changes to drainage and an updated electrical supply. During these changes in 2001, the band stand was moved by the City of Edmonton from the center of the park to the south-east corner. During the move the bronze plaque that had been with the original bandstand disappeared.
Our club attempted to have the city replace the plaque, but they declined, so our club had a replacement plaque made and installed and our bandstand/ gazebo is still standing and in use to this day.
Club History, The Old Strathcona Rotary Bandstand Vi Hughes 2023-09-18 06:00:00Z 0

Club Welcome

Peter Busiku with our club President Elect Loida Lumanlan
We welcomed visiting fellow Rotarian Peter Busiku from the Rotary Club of Kampala Central in Uganda to our meeting on Tuesday. 
Club Welcome Vi Hughes 2023-09-13 06:00:00Z 0

Putting Horse Ranch, August Meeting with a Twist

Posted by Vi Hughes on Sep 06, 2023
A good time was had by all who attended this chance to try out an eighteen hole putting course followed by a BBQ dinner. We had about five foursomes turn out for the day. We also got to see some of the animals that they have rescued and had a look at some of their other facilities for hosting banquets, sleigh rides and horse back riding. Our hostess Liz Poburan, who is the driving force behind the horse rescue group, will be a speaker at one of our upcoming meetings. 
Putting Horse Ranch, August Meeting with a Twist Vi Hughes 2023-09-06 06:00:00Z 0

Club Banner Exchange

Posted by Vi Hughes on Sep 06, 2023
Club President Elect Loida Lumanlan with Visitor Joe Ferreira
This week we exchanged club banners with Joe Ferreira of the Rotary Club of Valongo, Portugal who has been attending our meetings over the summer. 
Club Banner Exchange Vi Hughes 2023-09-06 06:00:00Z 0

Tools for Schools Donation

Posted by Vi Hughes on Aug 23, 2023
Our club donation to Tools for Schools that was organized by Youth Committee member Ben Gomez and Community Committee member Rhonda Smith.
Club President Heather deKok with District Governor Brent Collingwood and Youth Committee member Ben Gomez.
Tools for Schools Donation Vi Hughes 2023-08-23 06:00:00Z 0

Club History, Women in Rotary

Posted by Vi Hughes on Aug 22, 2023
Since the founding of Rotary in 1905, when membership was restricted to men by the Rotary Constitution, there were many appeals by clubs made to allow women to become members. There were also many attempts by the wives of Rotarians to be formally included in the club.
In 1914 at the Rotary Conference in Houston, Texas, two wives, both named Ann, who were helping their husband’s clubs with activities attended. They were acknowledged at this meeting as Rotary ‘Anns’. The name then stuck to all groups of Rotarian wives in North America thereafter.
In 1924 a group of women in England calling themselves the ‘Inner Wheel Club’, composed of ‘wives and womenfolk of Rotarians and past Rotarians’ was organized. It soon spread to ninety eight other countries with over one hundred thousand members but never really caught on in North America. In North America the informal groups of Rotary Anns endured.
A study done by Rotary in 1934 suggested that women were ‘unthinkable’ as Rotarians, as Rotarians were married men whose wives were already busy as homemakers and mothers. It was commonly thought that women would interfere with the fellowship at meetings and were thus to be excluded. In practice though, the ‘womenfolk’ did a large portion of the planning and organization required for the community services that Rotary performed and also did the same for most Rotary social functions.
At the 1950 Rotary Convention in India it was first proposed that the word male be deleted from the constitution. The proposal failed and subsequent proposals by other countries were also withdrawn over the years.
Our club was formed in 1974. Not all clubs in the Edmonton area at that time had a Rotary Ann group, but our club did. It was a tradition started by Betty Germaine, whose husband John Germaine was the first President of our club. They had come from the Red Deer Club and that club also had a very active Rotary Ann group. Betty insisted that our club should have this group as it gave the wives a chance to get together for a lady’s nite, have fun and get to know each other. This in turn made them feel more at ease and happy to come to the more formal social Rotary occasions with their husbands.
These women would get together once a month for a social occasion of some kind that was planned by two people who were chosen at the previous gathering. It was always the president’s wife who was expected to keep the Rotary Ann’s involved. The lady’s nite could be any kind of thing ranging from tea and coffee in someone’s home to attending a movie or the opera, trying out a new restaurant, travelling dinners, sewing, learning yoga or belly dancing. As long as they had fun and enjoyed each other’s friendship. They had a phoning committee that would call to personally invite the others to their gatherings and also offer transportation if needed and they always made a point of including widows of past members in their activities.
This ladies group did a large part of the planning for social occasions for the whole Rotary club such as summer BBQs, formal Christmas parties, the Governor’s visit dinner, children’s Christmas parties, golf tournaments, sleigh rides and on and on. Some prominent members of this group over the years were Betty Germaine, Joyce Flesher, Lillian McCullough, Brenda McCullough, Valerie Solash, Bernadette Raynor and Linda Granholm.  Everyone knew each other well and they formed many lasting friendships between wives and the children of Rotarians that have continued over the years.
It was not until 1978 when a club in Duarte, California whose membership in Rotary International had been terminated for allowing women into their club sued Rotary International for violation of their Civil Rights that things began to change. After almost ten years of grinding it’s way through the courts, the US Supreme Court finally heard the appeal and on the 4 May 1987 they ruled that Rotary could not exclude women from membership on the basis of gender. The Duarte club then got their Charter back from Rotary International. Based on a similar Canadian law, after an appeal by a Rotary club in Quebec, the Rotary International Board of Directors issued a policy statement in Oct 1988 that recognized the rights of Rotary Clubs in Canada to admit female members. This was quite controversial in many clubs but Rotary International had spoken. Our club subsequently voted to officially include women in our club and women Rotarians were warmly welcomed into our club a few years later.
Once women began joining the club itself and especially once a woman became President of the club it became too much to expect them to also keep the Rotary Ann group going and it slowly became less and less active.
1994 Governor’s Newsletter announcing our first Women Club Members, Barb Craig and Diana Parker
In 1994 our club welcomed it’s first women members, Barb Craig and Diana Parker. The next women to join our club were Heather deKok in 2001, Rose Marie Basaraba in 2004, Donna Hutton in 2010 and Carin Jansen vanVuuren in 2014.
All of these women have served as Presidents of our Club, Barb in 1999-2000, Diana in 2004-5, Heather in 2010-11 and again currently in 2023-24, Rose Marie in 2013-14, Donna in 2019-20 and Carin in 2021-22. Another almost thirty year Rotarian is Brenda McCullough who originally joined the Riverview club in 1994 and subsequently joined our club in 2014.
Since 2015 we have had many more women join our club, they now form about fifty percent of our membership, and are integral part of all club activities.
Club History, Women in Rotary Vi Hughes 2023-08-22 06:00:00Z 0

Club History, The Original 'Rules' of Rotary

Posted by Vi Hughes on Aug 22, 2023
Rotary was established in Chicago 1905 by a group of four businessmen led by Paul Harris, a young lawyer, to enable them to help each other out in their various business activities and to also give them an outlet for informal fellowship. The ‘rules’ they set down at the beginning included the following:
Only men were allowed as members.
Membership was by personal invitation only, was reviewed each year and had to be approved by a minimum seventy five percent of the club membership.
Meetings were to be held weekly.
Written records of each meeting were to be kept.
Attendance at meetings was mandatory. If you missed three meetings in a row without a valid excuse you were out.
If you missed a meeting you had to pay a rather stiff fine to the club, and these fines formed a major part of club income for many years.
There was an established list or classification of occupations/trades/professions, of which only one member per occupation, trade or profession was allowed in any club.
Fellowship at meetings was very important. Only first names or nick-names were to be used.
The club was strictly non-sectarian with no restrictions on religion or politics and a broad tolerance of the opinions of others was expected.
Formalities were to be left at the door. Many meetings were filled with song and laughter.
No drinking, cursing, off-colour jokes, stories or songs were allowed in meetings.
Members were expected to promote and patronize each other’s businesses and often helped each other out with advice or guidance. (Vocational Service) Some members realized benefits from this while others did not.
Integrity and honesty in business practices was expected, members could be and were expelled for violation.
All members were expected to take part in Club Service activities in some way.
All members were expected to take part in Community Service activities in some way.
To a large extent these basic tenets are still evident in Rotary today, with some obvious differences due to changing societal norms, however they still inform the spirit of every Rotary club around the world today.
Club History, The Original 'Rules' of Rotary Vi Hughes 2023-08-22 06:00:00Z 0

Heather de Kok, RI Convention in Melbourne, Australia

Posted by Vi Hughes on Aug 16, 2023
This week our Club President, Heather de Kok, gave us a presentation on her time at the Rotary International Convention that was held in May this year in Melbourne, Australia which she attended as a representative of our club. Heather told us there were between fifteen and twenty thousand attendees and that she met Rotarians everywhere she went, even in the Brisbane airport where she changed planes on her way there. She told us that she had booked a small hotel that was only a short trolley ride to the convention area. She said that Rotary had made a deal with the City of Melbourne that made public transport free for all attending Rotarians. She said that she took lots of handheld Canadian flags that she handed out freely, garnering her a large flag waving contingent at the opening Flag ceremony. She said that she felt very proud of the fact that this past year’s RI President, Jennifer Jones, was a Canadian and this meant that everyone at the Opening Flag Ceremony sang the Canadian Anthem. She said that it was a surreal experience.
She told us that two of the speakers at this ceremony were especially good, incoming President Gordon McInally speaking on mental health ( the focus of our upcoming Rotary year ) and our own Jennifer Jones (RI President), who spoke about how she did not want empowerment of women to become the focus of her year as president, but as the year went on and she saw the effect that she was having on women in other countries, she became very proud to be a woman, a wife and also the President of RI.
Heather told us that they had a lot of sessions and workshops on membership building, and that she attended four different ones on this topic. She learned that people join Rotary for a myriad of different reasons, networking, fellowship, making a difference in other people’s lives and many more, but they overwhelmingly stay for the fellowship. She also said that the key to fellowship is to get people involved in club activities where they get to know each other better and this in turn encourages them to come out for more activities. Heather said that we need to be Joyous (the Rotary Theme for this year) and have fun, to look at where we are going, not back at where we have been.
Heather de Kok, RI Convention in Melbourne, Australia  Vi Hughes 2023-08-16 06:00:00Z 0

Amarok July Update from Nasima Begum

As a member of a poor community, poverty is always a challenge to me but I want to overcome all the barriers with my courage, education which we have got from my school. Crises, conflict, sickness and misperceptions are the regular scenarios of the daily life of the slum dwellers. But I do not care about that, rather I want to overcome it and help others to come out of it. Before my schooling, I couldn’t manage things well but now I can manage better. Now I understand the root causes of a conflict, problem and most of the time people’s unawareness is responsible for that. To me economic empowerment by own earning is important for a woman. So, I have been taking advanced tailoring training for 2 months so that I can make a better earning. I want to empower myself and develop my skills. My husband works hard and wants to educate our children. I can see a big change in him. At the start of my school, he did not support my learning and thought women are born for doing the domestic work, looking after children but now he thinks differently and values me as her wife, as a mother-teacher and loves me. You will be happy to know that I gave birth to a new baby. She is a girl and in good health.
In our slum all children are now learning but there are some elderly people who are completely illiterate and cannot even write their names. We have decided to give them some education like how to write names, numbers and counting. Not everybody is interested but many are. But when they try to write something, they hold the pencil strongly and it is difficult to run the pencil. Now I am teaching an elderly woman who lives next door. She came to our slum a year before to live with her elder son’s family.  She cooks and does some domestic work. Sometimes she visits our mother-school and observes our learning. She is hesitant to come inside the classroom. Her name is Rubia Khanam and about 70 years old. I call her Rubi Khala. In Bengali, ‘Khala’ means aunty. She often regrets, if she had an opportunity of learning in her childhood! I have told her not to worry, I would teach her that she can read & write simple things.
Thank you very much for your support of my education and the children I am teaching.
Lovingly yours,
Nasima Begum
Amarok July Update from Nasima Begum  Vi Hughes 2023-08-16 06:00:00Z 0

Pete Desrochers, Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society

Posted by Vi Hughes on Aug 08, 2023
Club President Heather deKok with Pete Desrochers
This week we heard from Pete Desrochers, the President of the Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society (AAMS). Pete began his talk with a unique twist by pretending to take a rather humorous call from the Russian President requesting mediation services. He then proceeded to explain to his caller what mediation is all about.
He told us that mediation is the only non-legal process recognized by the courts. He said that all information provided to a mediator is personal, confidential and privileged and may not be revealed to anyone, even a judge. Once a mediation agreement is signed by the involved parties it is considered legally binding.  He said that about ninety five percent of divorce agreements in the US are now mediated, rather than going through the courts. This saves a lot of time and expense. He said that mediation for all types of disputes has an eighty five percent success rate.
Pete told us that in the past this Society provided both professional training, certification and registration for certified arbitrators and mediators in Alberta as well as having a non-profit arm that provided advice and help for the general public. Recent changes made by the Federal Government required them to separate their training, certification and registry functions out into a new entity, the ADR Institute of Alberta.
This leaves the AAMS as an independent Federal non-profit society to provide information, advice and help to the general public. He said that many people are not aware of the services a mediator can provide outside of the legal system, in particular, the privacy afforded by these services.
Pete said that the avenues for not using lawyers to settle disputes are endless. The AAMS believes that no Albertan should fear conflict. The AAMS can help in settlements of many different kinds of disputes such as divorce, child custody, parenting partnerships, wills and estates, elder care, business and professional disagreements, school, government and indigenous group disputes. as well as many others.
They are rolling out a new Lighthouse Initiative which will see various representatives of their group visiting seniors groups, new immigrant groups, drop in centers and even setting up informal sessions in cafes around Edmonton (to be known as the Resolution Cafe) so that people who could use their services will not fall through the cracks. They are currently looking for support in the form of volunteers and funding to be able to expand these services.
We would like to thank Pete for his very interesting and informative talk. Mediation is something every one of us can use at some point in our lives.
Pete Desrochers, Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society  Vi Hughes 2023-08-08 06:00:00Z 0

July Meeting with a Twist

Posted by Vi Hughes on Aug 01, 2023
Our first Meeting with a Twist took place last week with about twenty attendees. The hot dogs and milkshakes from the Retro diner were delicious and the collection of restored vehicles wowed everyone. The guys were quick to choose their favorites while the gals took their time. Have a look at more pix in our July Meeting with a Twist Picture Album.
July Meeting with a Twist  Vi Hughes 2023-08-01 06:00:00Z 0

It’s a Boy!

Posted by Vi Hughes on Aug 01, 2023
Several years ago our club decided to sponsor the Grevy Zebra exhibit at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. Our Grevy Zebras, mom Zuri and dad Cody are now the proud parents of a new addition to their family, a boy born on Sunday evening, 23 July. Baby was up and walking about twenty minutes after birth.
This picture was taken at noon Tuesday and baby is resting after running around all morning The new addition will be given a name at a later date. These Zebras are part of the Species Survival Plan for endangered species in which the zoo participates.
It’s a Boy!  Vi Hughes 2023-08-01 06:00:00Z 0

Ben Gomez, Classification Talk

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jul 20, 2023
Club President Heather de Kok with new member Ben Gomez
This week we heard from our newest member, Ben Gomez. Ben told us that he is a first generation Canadian whose parents came here from Chile many years ago. He said that they are both his inspiration and the reason he has such a passion for helping others. They came here with only twenty dollars and built a life together through hard work while also finding time for all kinds of charity work.
Ben said that he went to high school in Edmonton and that is where he met his wife Rhonda Smith, who is also a Rotarian and a member of our club. He said that he has worked in several different occupations, first in machining and tooling, where he travelled a lot setting up machine shops, then he started his own construction business and did that for a few years. Currently he and a partner are working with carbon capture technology to develop a device that will attach to diesel engine systems.
Ben told us that both he and Rhonda have a passion for helping others and have taken on many different projects over the years. These included different types of volunteer work and collecting donations themselves for many different charitable groups. Ben said that a day spent without helping others is not worth living. He said that he and Rhonda have done many projects on their own and can appreciate how much better it is to have a team to do it with. That is why he has joined Rotary and is looking forward to the opportunities that Rotary provides to help others. We would like to thank Ben for his very inspiring talk and look forwards to getting to know him better.
Ben Gomez, Classification Talk  Vi Hughes 2023-07-20 06:00:00Z 0

Club History, Beginnings of the Edmonton Strathcona Rotary Club

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jul 11, 2023
Rotary was first founded as a service club in 1905 in Chicago, Illinois by Paul Harris and three friends. They chose the name Rotary because they rotated meeting locations to each other’s offices each week, however within a year the club became so large this became impractical and it became necessary to find a regular meeting place. Rotary soon spread across the US and into Canada. The first club in Canada was founded in Winnipeg in 1910 and the first club in Edmonton was founded in 1916. By 1973 there were six clubs in the immediate Edmonton area.
In August of 1973, Edmonton Rotary District Governor Curly Galbraith asked the South Edmonton Rotary Club to consider sponsoring a new club which would take in south-east Edmonton and Sherwood Park. The proposed territory would run from the North Saskatchewan River south along a western boundary of 75 Street (with a small jog west to 86 Street from the CN tracks to 51 Avenue then back to 75 Street) south to Township Road 51, just north of Beaumont, then east along the township road to an eastern boundary of Range Road 22 (just east of South Cooking Lake) and then north to Highway 16. The northern boundary would be Highway 16 to the river and then follow the river back to 75 Street. The proposed area was applied for and approved in Dec 1973. The first organizing meeting of the new club took place on 13 Feb 1974 at the Regency Hotel (75 St and Argyll Road) with John Germain and Morley MacCalder from the newly proposed club and several members of the Edmonton South Rotary club in attendance.
The proposed new club would need to have twenty-five paid members before they could apply for their formal charter as a Rotary Club. In the following months they signed up new members and chose an Executive. They selected John Germain as their President, John Martin as Vice President, Henry Neufeld as Secretary and John Barnes as Treasurer.  A few months later, on 30 Apr 1974, they sent in their application with the names of the following charter members:
John Germain, John Martin, Henry Neufeld, John Barnes, Morley MacCalder, Archie Clark, Peter Boyle, Bill Bell, Ken Oates, Ernie Christman, Ross Fowler, Doc Helmut Koch, Neil Weir, Helmut Blocher, Ralph Sabirch, Monte Stout, Rome Nicholson, Hugo Lehman, Lawrence Priestman, Clayton Joyce, Clare Amies, Hans Granholm, Father Bert O’Brien, Bill Macklem and Bob Lang. Many of the new members were businessmen who worked in the Old Strathcona and Argyll Road area.
The Charter of the Rotary Club of Edmonton Strathcona was formally approved on 13 Jun 1974 by Bill Carter, the President of Rotary International.
Charter Presentation from Curly Galbraith to John Germain
Charter Night Program Cover
Charter Night Program Inside
 On 19 Sep 1974, the club held a formal dinner at the Regency Hotel for their Charter Night, at which the Past District Governor, Curly Galbraith formally presented the Club Charter to John Germain, the club President. There were Rotarians from fourteen other clubs in attendance, with an especially large contingent from the Red Deer club, in honor of their past president John Germain.
Club meetings were held every Tuesday at noon at the Regency Hotel. These included a buffet lunch with a short business meeting followed by an invited speaker. The club became known as the Friendly Club over the years as these meetings were and still are rife with corny jokes, kidding around and laughter.
Some of the first projects the new club undertook were to provide a massage therapy chair for a sixteen-year old with Muscular Dystrophy, to provide an ambulance for the St John’s Ambulance to be used at sports events, to provide a mini bus for the Parkland Nursing home, to support the Citadel Theatre, to build a bandstand for Strathcona Park and to provide funds and labor in support of the Edmonton Rotary initiative for the newly opened Fort Edmonton Park.
Club History, Beginnings of the Edmonton Strathcona Rotary Club  Vi Hughes 2023-07-11 06:00:00Z 0

Rotary Club of Edmonton Strathcona History Project

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jul 11, 2023
On June 13 of 2024, our club will be fifty years old. Several years ago, under the Presidency of Jim Peddie, our club undertook to collect club historical items and memorabilia to be used to prepare a history of our club and then to pass these items on to the Alberta Archive to become part of their permanent collection. This is the first of twelve installments on the history of our club prepared from those materials.
Rotary Club of Edmonton Strathcona History Project  Vi Hughes 2023-07-11 06:00:00Z 0

Turnover Dinner Presentations

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jun 29, 2023
New Member Induction
We inducted our newest member, Ben Gomez, whose classification is Research and Development Carbon Capture. We would like to welcome Ben to our club and look forward to getting to know him better.  Welcome to our club Ben.
Thanks to Susan and Geoff Buxton
Vince Campbell presented a Paul Harris Fellowship to Susan and Geoff Buxton in honor of their help over the past five years with our Flag Program. Vince plants flags in Blackburn and they pick them up.
Patrick Gibson, Rotarian of the Year
Our Rotarian of the Year is Patrick Gibson, presented for his service over the years to our club as Treasurer and also as our Kiva Co-ordinator. Patrick could not be present today so his honor will be presented at the next regular meeting.
Executive Change Over
Our outgoing President Graham Gilchrist welcomed our new President for the 2023/2024 year, Heather de Kok.
Heather thanked Graham and presented him with the Past President’s pin.
Messages from our Incoming President
Heather welcomed her new executive board, President Elect Loida Lumanlan, Secretary Trina Vandermeer, Membership Stephan Jansen van Vuuren, Community Services Carin Jansen van Vuuren, International Services Norman Leach, Members at Large Vince Campbell and Donna Hutton.  The position of Treasurer is still open.
Heather went on to talk about the Rotary Themes for the upcoming year. The Rotary International Them for this coming year is ‘Create Hope in the World’. Our District focus for the upcoming year is Mental Health which happens to be a topic very near and dear to Heather’s heart. Heather has also chosen a theme for our club this year to be ‘Joy’. Heather said that she loves life, being a Rotarian, a mum and a working woman. She said that if you have joy, you have hope and can then give hope to others.
Heather said that we are going back to weekly meetings for this Rotary year. Fellowship is the core of our club and to encourage this, the last meeting of every month will be a non-traditional social gathering. Each month she will assign a random group of three members to come up with some type of social get-together for the last week of the month, of their own choosing, day, time and place. The goal of these is for us to have the opportunity to have some fun together and get to know each other better. Heather also said that the end of this upcoming year will be the 50th Anniversary of our club (1974 -2024) and we will conclude our year with a big birthday bash. We can  look forwards to a new and vibrant year together.
Turnover Dinner Presentations  Vi Hughes 2023-06-29 06:00:00Z 0

Beaumont Blues and Roots Festival Weekend

Posted by Graham Gilchrist on Jun 19, 2023
Four Rotarians and four friends of Rotary drove 65 km and raised 300.00 for Polio. We shuttled the festival goers going to and from the Beaumont Blues and Roots Festival.
Beaumont Blues and Roots Festival Weekend  Graham Gilchrist 2023-06-19 06:00:00Z 0

Dr. Sharon Ryan, The Sound of Silence

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jun 06, 2023
Dr. Sharon Ryan with Rotarian Donna Hutton
This past Tuesday we were pleased to hear from Dr. Sharon Ryan, who spoke to us about her mother’s palliative care experience both before and during the2020 COVID shutdown. Dr. Ryan is a University Professor of Business of twenty years with a PhD in Applied Management and Decision Making. Sharon told us that in December of 2019 her mother Louise was 91 and appeared to be in good health. She was happy and doing well when one day she told Sharon that her tummy hurt. They had it checked out and unfortunately, after a hospital stay for a biopsy on New Year’s Eve, they found it was pancreatic cancer.  She was given a prognosis of six months to live. Sharon promised her mother that she would be by her side all the way. In January of 2020 she was admitted to palliative care in Foyer Lacombe- Covenant Care Hospice in St. Albert. Louise was a devout Catholic and enjoyed praying and saying the Rosary with Sharon who visited her daily. There were cheerful nurses and many wonderful volunteers who helped with the care of the patients and many different activities, musical interludes and mass to attend every day, if she wished. The medications she was given helped a great deal and she was happy and content with her life there. The food was excellent and her overall experience those first few weeks was great.
On 17 Mar 2020 the COVID State of Emergency was declared and the volunteers and visitors who provided a break from boredom, feeding, comforting and ensuring that the non-medical needs of the residents were met suddenly stopped. The chatter and laughter, activities, musical interludes and daily mass stopped, the hallways became silent. Sharon was no longer allowed to visit her mum. The door was locked. The director came out to tell her that she would never see her mother again until she was actively dying, which was interpreted as being within two hours of death. She told Sharon they would call her when that time came. Sharon could not comprehend how they could determine that. Her mum was in palliative care, had already lived three months into her six month prognosis and could be expected to die at any time. Sharon was allowed to talk to her mum on the phone and through these conversations she could tell that her mum did not fully understand what was going on and was not doing well. The isolation was really affecting her. Her mum was also on morphine which compounded the situation.
Sharon decided that this treatment of dying people was not Canadian. Her mother and the others in similar circumstances were being subjected to isolation that is even prohibited by the UN for treatment of terrorists. Sharon went public with her appeal and the Edmonton Journal published an article which included a visit by her with her mother looking out from behind a window of the Hospice. She contacted her MLA Dale Nally and presented her story and arguments along with those of many others who had contacted her. He then spoke to Jason Kenney who vowed to help them out.  Finally, after three weeks of isolation, Alberta Public Health revised the definition of actively dying to within two weeks of dying, and the doctors then declared that everyone in palliative care was reasonably within two weeks of dying. This then meant that Sharon and other families would now be allowed to visit with their loved ones in person again. Outdoor visits were also to be allowed for all palliative care and continuing care patients. The hallways were once again somewhat filled with the sounds of families visiting their loved ones. Sharon has now written a book about her experience which is to be published soon.
Sharon ended by playing a version of Simon and Garfunkel’s song The Sound of Silence.  We would like to thank Sharon for her very heartfelt and moving presentation.
Dr. Sharon Ryan, The Sound of Silence  Vi Hughes 2023-06-06 06:00:00Z 0

Scout Troop Donation

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jun 06, 2023
Rotarian Trina Vandermeer making presentation to Russel Bridgeman
Our club was happy to present Russel Bridgeman, a representative of the 117 Rosslyn Scout Group with a donation of six thousand dollars towards the purchase of camping equipment for use at their camp at Bonnie Lake.
Scout Troop Donation  Vi Hughes 2023-06-06 06:00:00Z 0

Celina Jensen, Life Changing Lessons

Posted by Vi Hughes on May 25, 2023
Graham Gilchrist, Club President with Celina
Rotarian Carin Jansen van Vuuren with Celina
This Tuesday we were very pleased to welcome back Celina Jensen, our 2019-2020 Rotary Exchange Student from Denmark. Celina told us that when she first came to Edmonton in 2019 she was sixteen and in grade eleven. Now she is twenty and has finished high school, got her driver’s license and attended a year at the Georgia Rotary Student Program in Lawrenceville, Georgia on an ambassadorial scholarship for International Students. She said that through her experiences with Rotary she has learned a few lessons that will stay with her for life. Some of these are:
Dreams can become reality
Don’t wait, take the chance now
Accept that nothing lasts forever
Home is not a place, but a feeling
Celina said that when she first returned home to Denmark from Edmonton she experienced reverse culture shock and it took her a while to adjust to being back in Denmark. She said that she has continued with her knitting, which she first learned in Canada, by starting a knitting club in her High School back in Denmark and more recently one at her College in Georgia. She considers them to be a success because people showed up every week for them.
When she heard about the Georgia Rotary Student Program to promote peace and cultural understanding for young people aged eighteen to twenty-five she decided to apply and was glad to be accepted. She was one of forty-four students from twenty-six different countries.  The program has been offered by the Rotary clubs in Georgia since 1946.  Celina said that she personally had four Rotary Club sponsors, whose meetings she attended and whose volunteer projects she helped out with. She stayed in the college dorm with eleven other girls from the program and became very close with all of them. She really enjoyed college life and the many different activities going on around campus. She also had a host family whom she spent holidays and some weekends with. One goal of the program is to introduce the students to the American way of life and Celina said it did that very well. She said that all the people she met were some of the nicest, kindest people she has ever known. She also said that she had never seen so many guns and American flags before in her life.  She said that she learned a lot about their way of thinking and their opinions about gay people, democrats and mental illness were an eye opener. She also said that she got to experience the southern way of life through country music, rodeos, cowboy boots and many other cultural experiences. She also said she got to do some travelling with short trips to Nashville, Chicago, New Orleans, Washington DC and Florida. She said that as a result of hearing the disparaging way some people talked about their local police she decided to do a ride along with some and learned that they were actually pretty good people who had become police because they wanted to help others.
Through all of her experiences there she learned a few more lessons:
Diversity is a beautiful thing
Talk with everyone despite your differences
We are all amazing, but are not meant to be best friends with everyone
She loves travelling!
We would like to thank Celina for her words of wisdom and we wish her well in whatever future endeavors she undertakes.
Celina Jensen, Life Changing Lessons  Vi Hughes 2023-05-25 06:00:00Z 0

Flag Planting 2023

Posted by Carin Jansen van Vuuren on May 17, 2023
Ben Gomez Planting Flags
Ben Gomez (our newest member) and partner Rhonda Smith (2nd newest member) took over Rose Marie Basaraba’s flag route this year. Here is Ben being very Rotarian like. Way to go guys - jumping in there!
Flag Planting 2023  Carin Jansen van Vuuren 2023-05-17 06:00:00Z 0

Brittany Williams and Abbigale Herbert, Rotary Employment Partnership with Inclusion Alberta

Posted by Vi Hughes on May 09, 2023
This week we heard from Brittany and Abbigale about the partnership that Rotary has made with Inclusion Alberta to help to provide employment opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities.  Inclusion Alberta is a sixty year old family based non-profit federation that advocates on behalf of children and adults with disabilities in Alberta. Inclusion Alberta offers many different types of services for families and individuals with disabilities, one of which is help with finding employment.
Rotary Districts 5360 and 5370 have partnered with Inclusion Alberta to provide Rotary sponsors to help them find employment opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities in our Districts. Brittany and Abbigale were introduced to us by Bob McGinn from the St. Albert Rotary Club. To date this program has been able to provide 761 jobs in Alberta with 349 of those in the Edmonton area. Rotarians often have business connections that could help with their cause and these sponsors will help to make connections with employment opportunities. The hope is that we will be able to help them to provide even more opportunities. Brittany and Abbigale will be keeping in touch with our club in the future in this regard.
Brittany Williams and Abbigale Herbert, Rotary Employment Partnership with Inclusion Alberta  Vi Hughes 2023-05-09 06:00:00Z 0

Dawn Haines, 117 Rosslyn Scouting Group

Posted by Vi Hughes
This week we welcomed Dawn Haines, a leader of the 117 Rosslyn Scouting Group, who came to tell us about their programs. She told us that the mission of scouting is to develop well rounded youth, better prepared for success in the world. She said that leadership skills are the goal they work towards for these boys and girls. Scouting is a fully coed program for children and young people aged five to twenty-six with programs for five different age groups, Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Venturers and Rovers. The Rosslyn Scout Group was formed in 1961 and currently has sixty-two youth from Beavers through to Rovers with twenty-six leaders.
Dawn told us that their group is one of the few in Edmonton to have their own camp facilities, located on Bonnie Lake, near Vilna. She said that camping and outdoor activities are a big part of scouting. This facility is used almost every weekend from spring through fall and many times in the winter for various Scouting activities. She told us that their group uses fundraising to help cover the cost of camping for their boys and girls.  She said that they are currently looking for service opportunities in order to raise funds for the purchase of replacement camping equipment for use at their scout camp and would welcome any service opportunities we might have or know about.
We would like to thank Dawn for taking the time to come and tell us about their group and for their offer of service.
Dawn Haines, 117 Rosslyn Scouting Group  Vi Hughes 2023-05-09 06:00:00Z 0

Volunteer Opportunity at Meals on Wheels

Posted by Vi Hughes on Apr 26, 2023
Our club is looking for volunteers to help out at Meals on Wheels on Wednesday, 14 June from 8 am to 12 noon. Please contact Vince Campbell if you would like to help with this.
Volunteer Opportunity at Meals on Wheels  Vi Hughes 2023-04-26 06:00:00Z 0

Flag Pickup for Route Leaders

Posted by Vi Hughes on Apr 25, 2023
Flag program route leaders will be able to pick up their flags the week of May 16. Please contact Vince at 780-239-3199 to arrange to pick up your flags directly from him.
Flag Pickup for Route Leaders  Vi Hughes 2023-04-25 06:00:00Z 0

Nike Fabiyi, Students First Campaign, MacEwan University

Posted by Vi Hughes on Apr 25, 2023
Rotarian Carin Jansen van Vuuren and Nike Fabiyi, MacEwan University
This past week we heard from Nike Fabiyi, a Development Officer for Grant MacEwan University who gave us some information on their Students First Campaign.
She told us that April 2022 was the fiftieth anniversary of the University which they marked by a variety of fundraising campaigns. She said that they have recently received a one hundred twenty-five million commitment from the Alberta Government to build a new School of Business. The building is expected to be completed in 2027. She also said that as part of this they hope to be able to increase their student body by ten thousand students over the next ten years.
Nike told us that we can help by contributing to the Students First Campaign which provides scholarships, awards and bursaries. Scholarships are given based on academic performance, awards are based on a combination of criteria including volunteerism, leadership and or academic achievements and bursaries are given based on demonstrated financial need. She said that currently only about seven percent of those who apply can be funded. Students who are from underserved populations such as indigenous, disabled or who have child-care needs receive priority for this funding. In the 2021-2022 year they were able to help thirty-six hundred students.
We would like to thank Nike for taking the time to come and tell us about their fundraising programs.
Nike Fabiyi, Students First Campaign, MacEwan University  Vi Hughes 2023-04-25 06:00:00Z 0

Patrick Gibson, April is Microfinance Month, Kiva Loan Program Update

Posted by Vi Hughes on Apr 11, 2023
At Tuesday’s meeting, our club Kiva loan co-ordinator Patrick Gibson, told us that our club currently has about fifteen thousand American dollars out on loan through our Microfinance Program. This program makes small interest free  loans of twenty five dollars or more to owners of small businesses in third world countries who would otherwise not qualify for business loans. They are expected to repay the loans, and once they do, the money is then loaned out again to someone else. He said that he is very proud of how well the small business owners that we have loaned money to in the past have done with repaying their loans and showed us a graph of how well they have done, with very few loans in default.
Patrick Gibson, April is Microfinance Month, Kiva Loan Program Update  Vi Hughes 2023-04-11 06:00:00Z 0

Michael Hrycun, Youth Empowerment and Support Services

Posted by Vi Hughes on Apr 11, 2023
Club President Graham Gilchrist with Michael Hrycun, YESS
This week we heard from Michael Hrycun from Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS). Michael told us that their mission at YESS is to walk beside traumatized youth on their journey towards healing and appropriate community integration. The youth they serve are between the ages of fifteen and twenty four and come from many different types of backgrounds. All have gone through some kind of trauma in their lives, have unstable housing and finding a meal and safe place to sleep at night is a constant worry. Many are still attending school but find it hard to stay present due to lack of sleep and constant worry about everyday survival. Trauma can affect your sense of self, safety and ability to regulate emotions. YESS has three main facilities that provide services to these young people. The Nexus Shelter on Whyte Avenue, the Armoury Resource in Old Strathcona and Supportive Community Housing.
Young people are able to drop in for a quiet place to relax or talk to others, find snacks or a meal, receive help with their school work, finding employment, medical care, transportation to appointments elsewhere, finding housing, help filing taxes and much more. Their counselling services provide help with everyday living skills, harm reduction, how to get out of traumatic situations, how to build healthy relationships and more. The Whyte Avenue facility provides stable housing, meals and support for up to fifteen young people for several months at a time to help them get back on track.  The Old Strathcona location provides a drop-in facility that can handle fifty to sixty people for lunch and provides many different support and counselling services. Their supportive community  housing provides spaces for another fourteen youth on a more permanent basis. Michael told us that they have provided services to seven hundred fifty-nine young people in Edmonton over the past year. Their goal is to help them each to find their own voice, get their own place, finish their education and let them make their own life.
Michael said that providing food, clothing and shelter are basic to everything they do. YESS first began as a youth shelter in Edmonton in Sept 1981 and changed their name to YESS in 2012.  He said that they also collaborate with other groups helping youth in the Edmonton area. About forty percent of their funding comes from government, forty percent from fundraising and the rest from other funding through groups such as the United Way. Our Rotary club has provided funding in the past to purchase furniture and also a bus for the Old Strathcona location. We can get more information on them and making donations at email  They also rely on in-kind donations of food and clothing which can be dropped off at the Bissel Centre on their behalf and they are always looking for volunteers to help with their various programs, so there are many different ways in which we can help.
We would like to thank Michael for his very interesting and inspiring talk.
Michael Hrycun, Youth Empowerment and Support Services  Vi Hughes 2023-04-11 06:00:00Z 0

Visiting MYO (Mondesa Youth Opportunities) in Swakopmund, Namibia

Posted by Carin Jansen van Vuuren on Apr 10, 2023
I am happy to report back on our visit to MYO in February this year when a donation of $8,000 was made. Five thousand dollars was donated by the Rotary Club of Edmonton Strathcona and $3,000 by the Rotary Club of Edmonton Riverview.
MYO is a well-known and intensive after-school education program located in the Mondesa Township in Swakopmund, Namibia. It is the flagship project for the Rotary Club of Swakopmund, Namibia.
It has been operating for almost 20 years. Their focus is on learners from disadvantaged backgrounds who deserve better education that they have access to. Thus, learners with potential but little support at home. At MYO 120 learners ranging from Grade 4 to 8 receive extra instruction in English, Mathematics, Reading, Life Skills, Computers, Sports, and Music.
They cultivate positive thinking and high self-esteem to lay the path for a future generation of forward-thinking Namibian leaders. Their aim is not only to enhance the education of their promising learners but also to guide them into being responsive, confident, and well-rounded individuals.
MYO is a non-profit organization, and their learners participate in their programme free of charge. They rely exclusively on donations from their community and the wider world to sustain their operations.
We have had the opportunity to visit this project in the past as I do tours to Southern Africa and this year we were there on February 28th when we had the opportunity to tour the school, be entertained by the learners with their music and singing and afterwards socialized with local Rotary with a traditional braai (BBQ). The group included amongst other Canadians, seven Rotarians - PDG Judy Harcourt Brown and husband Ron, PDG Tim Schilds and wife Sally, Wayne Kauffman and wife Vivien as well as Stephan Jansen van Vuuren.
Thanks so much to the members for your hard work which enabled the club to make this donation to this worthwhile project.
Attached please find a short video showing you more about the school. Just click on this link.
UNBELIEVABLE UPLIFTING EXPERIENCE!  Visiting MYO (Mondesa Youth Opportunities) in Swakopmund, Namibia  Carin Jansen van Vuuren 2023-04-10 06:00:00Z 0

Kerry Diotte, Getting Involved in Your Community

Posted by Vi Hughes
Club President Graham Gilchrist, speaker Kerry Diotte and club member Richard Karlsson
This week we heard from Kerry Diotte. Kerry spoke to us about becoming involved in our community. He said that he has always admired Rotarians for their commitment to their communities and for finding ways to help others through becoming involved. Kerry has been a journalist for three decades and has also served as an Edmonton city councillor for three years and a Federal Conservative Member of Parliament for Edmonton Griesbach for six years.
Kerry said that he developed an interest for civic issues while covering city issues as a journalist. With the rise of online news he could see that journalism was not what it once was so he started to think about how he could stay involved with his community in other ways. Once he decided that he could make a contribution to his community as a city councillor he had to figure out how to go about doing this. He said that it was not an easy transition and involved getting outside of his comfort zone.
He talked to a lot of people about what it involved, and they all told him the best way was to knock on doors and talk to people. Knocking on doors is difficult, some people are simply not interested. You need to ask people what their concerns are and keep track by writing them down. This gives you a better perspective of your community.  Most of the concerns he encountered involved community safety, money management and using common sense to make decisions. He said that politicians should ask you what you think and what is important to you. He thinks that as a politician you are a servant of the public and should vote for things your constituents want even if you personally not support it. Even people of two very different political stripes can vote the same when they vote as their constituents feel.
When he later decided to run for federal election, he found that becoming a political party nominee is difficult. It involves selling party memberships to people in your constituency by knocking on doors. The constituency he decided to run in had sixty thousand households. In order to do this he spent four hours each day knocking on doors. His team consisted of a few good friends. Each day he sold between one and seven memberships but he kept at it. It was a very hard thing to do. When the day came to count up the results for the nomination he was quite worried about whether they had done enough. Some of his supporters were there but it seemed that the room had filled up with supporters of the other candidates.  He thought that his team had lost, but when the counting was done, he had won the nomination by forty three votes. He then needed to pull together supporters from the other candidates to work towards winning the election.  He knew that the party he was running for had an unpopular leader in his constituency so he emphasised that they were voting for him and not the leader of the party. In the end he won the election and enjoyed serving his constituents as their member of parliament.
Kerry said that as Rotarians, we are often out in the community. As we volunteer in our community we can get to know how they feel about various issues. This may involve stepping out of our comfort zone, but by getting to know the issues, it allows us to be able to make changes in the things we do and in turn to serve our community better.
Kerry Diotte, Getting Involved in Your Community  Vi Hughes 2023-03-28 06:00:00Z 0

Freida Richard, Insolvency 101

Posted by Vi Hughes on Mar 02, 2023
Freida Richard with Rotary Past President Jim Peddie
This Tuesday we were pleased to welcome Freida Richard, a partner at Grant Thornton, to talk to us about the options available to us regarding financial insolvency. She has worked in the financial industry for twenty-nine years and has written a financial column for the Globe and Mail for the past eight years. She and her team at Grant Thornton work with clients to help them understand their options and choose the best one for their personal situation.
Freida began by saying the age group most affected by insolvency has shifted to a younger age group, Millennials aged 27 to 42, since the COVID pandemic. She said this is most likely the result of multiple factors. This age group grew up with using credit over cash and generally do not have enough financial smarts to navigate the much more complicated financial world we have today. They have also been affected by several big downturns in the economy that affected their ability to find and keep well paid steady work, find accommodations that are affordable and deal with the ever more complicated and expensive world around us.
She said that our relationship with debt is a major factor in the increase in the number of insolvencies since 2008. Our comfort level for more debt has increased, partially due to lower interest rates and has resulted in a buffet of credit card options. Some common myths about debt are that it only happens to low-income people, higher income people have higher financial skills, debt results from poor choices, or that having debt means you are lazy. In reality, the top reasons for debt are living beyond your means, relationship breakdowns, gambling or addiction, business failure, medical issues, non-compliance with tax filings and loss of income. Some warning signs to watch for are reliance on pay day loans, being in overdraft every month, and going from one financial crisis to another.
Freida  told us that the first things to do when you become overwhelmed are to consider budget revisions, selling non-essential assets ( this does not include pensions or RRSPs), negotiating with your creditors (only practical if there are three or less), consolidating or transferring your debt to a lower interest loan ( although this can cause issues) and consulting with a not for profit agency such as the Credit Counselling Society to help you negotiate with your creditors.
When these options are not practical there a several federally legislated programs involving the courts available that an insolvency specialist can help with. An Orderly Payment of Debt, a Consumer Proposal and Bankruptcy (the least preferred option). An Orderly Payment of Debt can be obtained through Money Mentors in Alberta. A Consumer Proposal should be prepared by an insolvency specialist and involves a court ordered stay of proceedings to freeze interest and stop collection action. You retain control of your property, it is budget friendly and involves joint proposals from you and your creditors. It presents your creditors with a comparison of what they will get if they agree to this as opposed to what they will get if you declare bankruptcy. The amount you agree to pay on dollars owing in debt must be agreed to by your creditors and the amount owing must be paid within five years Once agreed upon the conditions are legally binding.
The last and most onerous option is Bankruptcy. It is also the most highly regulated option with many specific rules that must be followed. It involves a sale of assets to cover your debts with a list of stipulated assets and amounts that you are allowed to keep. The time frame for payments varies depending on your past history with insolvency and the amount paid depends on your net income and number of people in your household. It also affects your ability to obtain credit for many years to come.
We would like to thank Freida for this very interesting and knowledgeable introduction to insolvency.
Freida Richard, Insolvency 101  Vi Hughes 2023-03-02 07:00:00Z 0

Interact Students Take Part in Anti Racism Summit

Some members of our Rotary Interact club from W.P. Wagner High School took part in organizing an Anti Racism Summit that took place at the Stanley Milner Library on 15 Feb 2023. It involved one hundred fifty junior high students from the W.P. Wagner catchment area. They gathered with students from several other schools to discuss how to deal with various issues, how to challenge stereotypes and deal with stigma. This summit was reported on for the Edmonton Journal by Madeline Smith and the article is publicly available on their website.
Interact Students Take Part in Anti Racism Summit  Vi Hughes 2023-03-02 07:00:00Z 0

QE II Platinum Jubilee Medal Presentation

Posted by Vi Hughes on Feb 16, 2023
Hans Granholm being presented with the medal by Rotary District Assistant Governor Jeanette Bancarz
This past Sunday our club held a Dinner to present the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal to Hans Granholm in honor of his service and commitment to Rotary over the years. Hans is a founding member of our club (since 1974) and has made many, many contributions of time and talent over the years. He is well known in Rotary circles for his kindness and willingness to share his broad knowledge of how Rotary works to get things done. One of his major contributions was introducing our Rotary club to using the ClubRunner website to help streamline administration and give our club an internet presence in 2004. ClubRunner makes keeping track of members, communicating with members, and advertising meetings and social occasions both to our members and the general public quick and relatively easy. It also streamlines many other formerly time consuming and paper intensive administrative jobs and gives our members one central place to find all kinds of information on our club. He also encouraged many other Rotary groups to do the same and has served as a mentor and troubleshooter in this regard for Rotarians from all over Canada and parts of the US for almost twenty years now.  This one thing alone has probably streamlined many thousands of hours of paperwork for Rotary over the years.
Club President Graham Gilchrist with medal recipients, Tamara Larson, Hans Granholm and Norman Leach
Our club also honored two other Rotarians, Norman Leach, who received a QE II Platinum Jubilee Medal for his longstanding contributions to Canadian Military History and Tamara Larson who received a QE II Platinum Jubilee Medal for her work over many years with District Rotary youth programs.
QE II Platinum Jubilee Medal Presentation  Vi Hughes 2023-02-16 07:00:00Z 0

Edmonton Food Bank Volunteers

Posted by Vi Hughes
On 07 Feb some members of our club volunteered with the Edmonton Food Bank to help sort and pack items for distribution. Many thanks to Loida Lumanlan for organizing this and to Donna Hutton, Richard Karlsson and Dennis Hutton for giving generously of their time.
Edmonton Food Bank Volunteers  Vi Hughes 2023-02-16 07:00:00Z 0

Vi Hughes, Using Ancestry for Family History Research

Posted on Jan 31, 2023
Today we heard from Vi Hughes talking about Ancestry and Ancestry DNA and their use in family history research. Vi said that she has used both of these online subscription databases for many years. She talked about cost and then mentioned privacy and how to maintain it for both you and your family. She said that when she compared the cost of a subscription today with what she paid thirty years ago for time consuming, laborious access to only a few records, there is simply no comparison. This is a deal beyond imagining.
Ancestry allows you to build multiple family trees which are easy to navigate through and performs automatic record searches based on the information you have entered. It searches family trees, photos and stories entered by others as well as scanned and digitized government records, church records, immigration records, books, archive materials, local histories, maps and many other types of records. It has viewing software that then allows you to see and scan through the original record page by page and make your own decision on whether the document is relevant to you. You can then attach the document to the relevant person in your tree or save it to a ‘shoebox’ for later evaluation. It also allows you to easily add the information from the document that applies to someone in your tree directly to their profile.
Ancestry allows you to view the information in your tree and the information in each person’s profile in your tree in many different ways. You may view individual profiles, with facts only, or as a written story. You may also see several types of trees which make it easy to see how others are related. It will also generate many different types of both electronic or paper reports. It will also show your family members home locations on a map and add local history information to their story.
You can search their records either independently or using information from your tree. It will also link you automatically to free archive databases or other subscription based websites and then allows that information to be uploaded to your tree. When searching records it uses a system that will find names in records with many different spelling variations based on sound.
It allows you to message other members to ask questions or just to make contact with relatives. Their messaging system requires the user to log in before using and does not reveal contact information. In addition you can download information from your tree to your computer as either a gedcom file or a pdf and you can download any records you find as jpg files. There is also a free Ancestry Academy which has short educational videos and message boards with answers to common questions that will help you to learn more about family research in general and the best practices to follow.
A separate Ancestry DNA membership which gives you access to your DNA test results, ethnicity, basic info about your DNA matches or cousins and a limited family tree known as ThruLines. The testing identifies several thousand segments or ‘chunks’ of unique DNA from you and then matches them with previous results obtained from other people. These chunks are identifiable as to where on each chromosome they are located and can be matched with chunks from other people whose ethnicity is known. In this way, they can tell you what percent of your DNA matches people of certain ethnic backgrounds to show you an ethnic pie chart. It will also display your ethnic background on a world map showing communities where your ancestors came from and giving you a short historical trip through time of how these people came to North America. They can even show you a color coded map, using Chromosome painter software, of where on each of your chromosomes these ethnic chunks are located.
They can also match you with people who share exactly the same ’chunks’ and tell you how many chunks and how much total DNA you share with them. This allows them to say how closely related you are to each of these people. Since Ancestry DNA is North American based, if you have family that goes back a long ways in North America, you will have thousands of matches (relatives who have also had their DNA tested). You can also identify related matches by matching one against the remaining people. This allows you to see how many are related to each of your family lines. Her own match list shows many cousins that she can identify by family tree branch and common ancestor.
It will also build you a tree (called ThruLines) based on the trees that your matches and others have entered and show you how you are related to many of them as well as tell you who the common ancestor is that you share with each of your matches.
She said that once you have an  Ancestry subscription, there are some things to keep in mind. If you have never done any family history in the past, you will find there is a whole new language to learn before you will easily understand things. As with any interest, you need to learn the lingo. Take your time and look things up if you are not sure what something means. Even the words we use to talk about relationships, like first cousin, grand aunt, and great grandfather have different meanings in different cultures. Ancestry uses the North American standard, which is quite specific and can take a while for you to understand if your family uses these terms in a more generic way.
The Ancestry website view that you have and the ease of use will depend on what technology you are using. A computer or tablet signed on to the actual website gives the most complete access to everything. Using an app for tablet or phone will give you a more limited view of things and may be more cumbersome to use.
In Ancestry, start with yourself and work backwards, entering the information you have, taking care to connect people correctly. Ancestry will then start searching its databases for matching information. Check each suggested piece of information or ‘hint’ out carefully before adding it to your tree. Take it slow and be methodical. It is much easier to do it right the first time, than to have to go back and delete or fix relationships later. Use Ancestry Academy to help you out along the way.
In Ancestry DNA you should enter a very simple direct ancestor family tree going back several generations if possible and link it to your DNA results. This way it will be able to connect you with many of your matches and show you who your common ancestors are.
She closed by telling us a few stories from her own experiences and encouraged us to gather up our information and get started on a never ending journey of discovery.
Vi Hughes, Using Ancestry for Family History Research  Vi Hughes 2023-01-31 07:00:00Z 0

Rotary District 5370 Conference 2023, April 20 -23

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jan 17, 2023
We would like to encourage our members to register for and attend our annual district conference which will be held from Thursday to Sunday, 20 to 23 April at Jasper Park Lodge. The conference theme is Respect. There will be special programs for all ages for those wishing to bring children or other family members with them. One of the special programs is a quilting display and sale. Registration and details regarding programs and speakers can be found at
Rotary District 5370 Conference 2023, April 20 -23  Vi Hughes 2023-01-17 07:00:00Z 0

Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal Recipients

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jan 17, 2023
We have recently learned that two members of our club, Hans Granholm and Norman Leach, have been awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal (Alberta) for their significant contributions and achievements as Albertans. We would like to sincerely congratulate them both on this honor.
Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal Recipients  Vi Hughes 2023-01-17 07:00:00Z 0

Rose Marie Basaraba Receives Paul Harris Award

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jan 17, 2023
District Governor John Nicoll presented Rose Marie Basaraba with a Paul Harris Plus Six Award for her contributions to the Rotary Foundation over the past year.
Rose Marie Basaraba Receives Paul Harris Award  Vi Hughes 2023-01-17 07:00:00Z 0

Visit from District Governor John Nicoll

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jan 17, 2023
This past Tuesday our club was honored to hear from our District Governor, John Nicoll. John was introduced by our District assistant Governor Jeanette Bancarz who told us that John is a retired Electrical Engineer. He is a member of the Edmonton North East club. John and his wife Donna have been travelling around Alberta in their motor home, since early summer, to visit all of the various clubs in our District.
John told us that this past summer we were honored to receive a visit from our Rotary International President Jennifer Jones. Her chosen Theme for this Rotary year is Imagine. She chose this theme because if you can not imagine something, you can not build it. The four pillars of her theme for Rotary clubs this year are:
  1. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Our clubs should look like our community with equal opportunity and a place for each member do what they do best.
  2. Comfort and Care. Our clubs should talk to our members, find out what their interests are and where they would like our club to go.
  3. Empowering Girls and Women. Our clubs should strive to find projects that support and empower girls and women to make contributions in non-traditional fields such as but not exclusive to Science, Engineering and Mathematics.
  4. Expand your reach.   Our clubs should try to expand their reach by supporting worldwide projects such as Polio Plus. We can do this by encouraging our club members to join the Polio Plus Society. Other ways are to support International projects such as the fundraising campaign to help Ukrainian refugees.  
John said that we need to continuously try to make our clubs a place of fellowship which present a nice place for people to gather and enjoy other’s company with service projects that are meaningful to our members.  He said that most clubs in Alberta are relatively small with between fifteen to thirty-five members. He said that our district suffered membership losses due to the changes brought about by COVID which necessitated some budgetary adjustments, including a relocation of our District office. Plans are to be able to relocate to a permanent office location at Fort Edmonton Park once renovations are completed on the new entrance building in a few year’s time.
John closed with a video promoting this year’s District Conference with the theme of Respect. He said that they chose the Jasper location in order to support our local tourist economy post COVID by having everyone travel a little in order to attend. He said that in addition to the usual Rotary presentations, his wife Donna, who is an enthusiastic quilter, has organized a short Saturday nite presentation on quilting, along with a quilt display and sale as part of the marketplace.
We would like to thank John for taking the time to visit our club and give us an update on what is happening district wide.
Visit from District Governor John Nicoll  Vi Hughes 2023-01-17 07:00:00Z 0

Christmas Box Presentations to Ukrainian Ladies at UCSS

Posted by Vi Hughes on Dec 18, 2022
On Dec 18 we received a thank you from John Shalewa of Ukrainian Canadian Social Services. Twenty six Ukrainian nationals received gift boxes from Rotary Strathcona at an appreciation evening for all the volunteers that are helping out at the Ukrainian free store on 101 Ave. and 104 St. The ladies were thrilled to receive these gift boxes. The smiles on their faces and the love that came with each gift box, made it so special. All in attendance were also treated to a dinner that was provided by a potluck of delicious food.
Christmas Box Presentations to Ukrainian Ladies at UCSS  Vi Hughes 2022-12-18 07:00:00Z 0

Christmas Box Donation to Ukrainian Canadian Social Services

Posted by Vi Hughes on Dec 14, 2022
Brenda McCullough presented John Shalewa, president of the Ukrainian Canadian Social Services based in Edmonton with Christmas boxes to be distributed by them to needy women who have recently come to Canada from the Ukraine.
Our club would like to thank Trina Van der Meer and her ‘Christmas Elf’ volunteers from Benaiah Guarding who generously volunteered their time and talents helped to put these beautiful boxes together.
John thanked us for the boxes and said that their group has had over seven hundred families visit their offices in the past year. He said that they have been overwhelmed by the support for recent immigrants from the Ukraine that they have received from the Edmonton community in the past year.
Christmas Box Donation to Ukrainian Canadian Social Services  Vi Hughes 2022-12-14 07:00:00Z 0

New Member Induction

Posted on Dec 13, 2022
Our club was pleased to induct another new member at our annual Christmas Party on Dec 13. We would like to welcome Rhona Smith whose classification category is Medical Clinic Manager. Rhona was sponsored by Stephan Jansen van Vuuren.
New Member Induction  Vi Hughes 2022-12-13 07:00:00Z 0
Violet Malbeuf, Hypothermic Half Marathon in Support of YESS  Vi Hughes 2022-12-05 07:00:00Z 0

Carin Jansen van Vuuren, RCES District Award

I was so proud on Saturday Nov 26th at the District Assembly to accept a District Award on behalf of our club for our financial contribution to END POLIO NOW for the previous Rotary year.
Kudus goes out to EVERYONE who donated, to our past Foundation Chair Bob Sandercock who did a tremendous job and Community Chair Trina Vandermeer and Amy Stewart with their Polio Fundraiser Events and their continued encouragement to us as members to donate. Congratulations!
Carin Jansen van Vuuren, RCES District Award  Carin Jansen van Vuuren 2022-11-30 07:00:00Z 0

Eric Solash, Why I Joined and Stay in Rotary

Posted by Vi Hughes on Nov 22, 2022
This week we were entertained by Eric Solash, a long-time Rotarian, with stories of his younger days which helped to explain why he is such a loyal Rotarian now. Eric told us that as a young man he attended the University of New Mexico where he majored in drinking and minored in partying. As a result of his failure to achieve much of substance there he decided to volunteer for the Navy. It would give him a chance to see the world and meet lots of admiring young women, or so he thought at the time. The Navy decided that he would make a good electronics technician, so that is the training he first received. Unfortunately, the locations he got sent to did not bring much chance to meet young women, so he volunteered (again) for a longer stint that would put him in Virginia (lots of beach babes there he thought) for computer training. Again, he was disappointed when he figured out two weeks in that this training was for service in nuclear submarines. Each tour of duty on a submarine was one hundred days long and usually involved spending sixty-two to seventy days underwater. Service on submarines is not considered mandatory and people who served had to volunteer for each tour (which he did multiple times, again).
Upon finishing his tour of duty with the Navy, he returned to University and this time he graduated. He then went to work for several different computer companies based in California as a service tech and trouble shooter for their various installations all over the country. Being single he was able to volunteer for some of the more far flung locations, one of which was Edmonton, where he was sent to fix the Public Library computer system. It was while there that he ‘fell in lust’, as Eric put it, with a good looking librarian, who he ended up falling in love with and marrying. Valerie was an audio visual tech at the time but later went on to become the manager of the downtown branch. His wife was friends with the manager of the Mill Woods branch (Linda Granholm) and when Linda mentioned that a group she volunteered for (ARCH) needed help setting up their computers, Eric again volunteered to help. It was thorough this that he became involved with Rotary, as Linda and her husband Hans were very involved with Strathcona Rotary.
Rotary brought him many more opportunities to volunteer his services to help others. Eric has been involved in the Belize Rotary Literature Project which supplied the curriculum for grades one to twelve for a school system in Belize. He built the two servers which held all of the information needed for the teachers in Belize. Eric has also helped to maintain and upgrade the computer systems at ARCH, a local group that helps adults with disabilities become gainfully employed in the community. A third group that Eric has volunteered for is SEESA where he introduces seniors to the world of computers and how to stay safe in it.
We would like to thank Eric for this brief insight into why he loves Rotary. As anyone can see, it is his love of volunteering and the people and adventures it brings with it that first attracted him and now keeps him in Rotary.
Eric Solash, Why I Joined and Stay in Rotary  Vi Hughes 2022-11-22 07:00:00Z 0

Remembrance Day Gathering

The morning of November 11, twelve members of our club, along with several partners and spouses met at the graves of two of our past members, John and Betty Germain, who both served in the Canadian Army in World War Two. We laid a wreath and observed a short ceremony of remembrance for all those who died fighting for our country. We also remembered all those who served and returned home to fight again only in their memories. 
Remembrance Day Gathering Vi Hughes 2022-11-11 07:00:00Z 0

Meals on Wheels Kitchen

Our club volunteered with meal preparation at Meals on Wheels on Wednesday this week. Everyone who helped out worked hard and had a great time doing it!
Meals on Wheels Kitchen Vince Campbell 2022-11-10 07:00:00Z 0
November Foundation Moment Vi Hughes 2022-11-10 07:00:00Z 0

October Amarok Update

October 2022
Combined Rotary Mothers' School Dhaka, Bangladesh
Dear Members of the Rotary Clubs of Strathcona, Mayfield, Urban Spirits, Whyte Avenue, Grand Prairie and Hinton,
This is our pleasure to share our news and community base social works with you. We are learning and developing ourselves as mother-teachers and social development workers in our neighborhood. We want to do more good work for my community, particularly for the children. We are now giving full support to our micro-school children and our neighbors. This is a very important time for us to recover their losses in education. Now a few mothers of our school have increased their teaching times from 1 hours to 2 hours a day to recover the lessons children missed but some of us work part-time. So, they could not manage extra time but we wish to. The poor families had lost a few valuable assets to buy food during the past pandemic and at present crisis but the situation taught us how to live better with humanity and loving to each other. We were taught in our mother school that humanity is the best creation of God which we proved by our actions and behaviors. We have started getting the benefit of learning in our life. Education has given us acceptance, knowledge, empowerment, humanity, courage to raise our voice against injustice & discrimination in family and in society. And we think, in this journey mothers of our school are the important part to carry out our social development activities. 
Now we will share with you a success story of our mothers, Hasina is a mother of Amarok School. Her husband’s name is Md. Moslem Uddin who works as a day laborer. They have two sons. They came to Dhaka from Barisal for a better livelihood in 2005. Staying in different slums, now they live in Rasulbug slum, East Badda, Dhaka. Moslem Uddin’s income is not stable and regular. So, the family often faced food & other crises in their livelihood. Sometimes children had to go to sleep without having a proper meal, Hasina silently cried, what else could she do until could earn by herself to support the family!  Neighbors often heard quarrelling and shouting between the husband and wife especially when her husband talked about stopping the education of children and engaging them in earning. 
Hasina was admitted in Amarok School for learning and operated a micro-school to teach 5 children including her own.  After a few months of learning in school, she thought about setting a street tea-stall to open in the morning and afternoon for a few hours and shared her idea with her husband. She saved some money as part of the ‘saving-group’ with 8 other friends of Amarok School as an emergency saving. Her husband supported her idea and agreed to assist her after coming back from work. So, she opened her tea shop with inexpensive light snacks like cookies, local slice cake and within a short time her tea shop started running well and her family got back in happiness. Some dishonest people tried to go away without payment after having snacks but Hasina every time caught them by hand as she is educated now and able to monitor payment well. However, during the COVID-19 situation she was bound to close her shop for a long time due to the order of the local government. Hasina’s family again fell down in problem managing food cost and the rent of her house as the COVD situation stayed prolonged. 
Hasina became irregular in Mother School. She was thinking about selling all the materials she bought to operate her tea-stall. One day, Amarok Teacher visited her house and heard about her struggles of livelihood. She advised her to discuss the situation with her friends in school if they could help her. Hasina visited her friends Afsana, Rupa, Shilpi and Nahar. They suggested she take a small loan from a local Cooperative and wait for an improving situation. Rupa and Shilpi, her friends, also agreed to sign as the grantors of the loan. Two months later, the situation started to change. Local government decided to lessen some restrictions informally and some street shops started to open. With the cookeries and tea-stand Hasina opened her tea-staff again but this time she used one-time plastic cups for the customers and placed a dustbin to throw the used cup there. Her thinking & techniques worked well as people found one-time cups as a better option. Hasina didn’t have to buy new kettles & other utensils required. She started paying back the loan from the cooperative and returned to her normal life. Her family starts to get back happiness, now she attends school regularly; education of her children is also going on fully. 
Hasina is grateful to her friends and to her teacher for being with her with their courage and support. She is also grateful to Amarok Society because of educating her and helping her find such great friends. She wants to educate her sons in higher grades and expand her shop. She believes good friends are wealthy and many ways better than money. 
Before our education we did not know many things and did not think about them but now because of our school, reading newspapers, watching television and current situation discussion by the teacher in the class session we can know about the symptoms and prevention of COVID, Dengue and price hike of daily goods. Also, we can know about the world situation like; war between Russia and Ukraine. We think it’s a big political issue. We can see the power practicing attitude by the Russian leader. Because of the war situation we are suffering a lot and our regular market prices are going up day by day. Now cooking oil, rice, wheat, vegetables and grocery items are out of control of our government. This is why we are really passing a bad time to feed ourselves and children. But we are trying our best using the learning from the recent pandemic & food and work crisis. This situation is better because the lockdown has not been imposed. We have learnt humanity, sharing, cooperation and believe we have to solve our problem, no miracle will happen. 
We can clearly remember that we were not like this before. Now we can judge what is right and what is wrong. We can make a clear difference between good vs. bad. Education of our children is the top priority which was not before.
Thank you very much for establishing the mother-school in our slum. 
With love and respect,
Masuma, Afsana, Roji, Shilpi, Tarpina and Surma 
(Mothers of the school)
October Amarok Update Vi Hughes 2022-11-10 07:00:00Z 0

Norman Leach, Broken Arrow, America’s First Lost Nuke

Posted by Vi Hughes on Nov 08, 2022
This past week we were treated to a fascinating true story with many pictures from Norman Leach, a Canadian military historian and author who is also a member of our club. The story took place in 1950 at the start of the cold war. It involved a trial run of the new top secret hi tech (for the times) B36 bomber, a legendary American General, Curtis Lemay, and a ‘Fat Man’ nuclear bomb that belonged to the Atomic Energy Commission.
Th B36 was an amazing piece of machinery for the times. It was three times larger than the next largest airplane, the B29. It was called a ten by ten by ten because it was designed to fly ten thousand kilometers at ten thousand feet altitude and carry ten thousand pounds of ammunition. They originally intended it to be able to fly from Labrador to drop bombs on Germany. It was ordered from Carswell Industries of Fort Worth Texas in 1940 but was not ready until 1948. The plane had several features that made it unique but also created major maintenance headaches and flying hazards. It had six pusher engines in place of puller engines. This gave it more thrust but also meant that it did not do well flying in cold air as the air went straight into the engines without being warmed first. It also had a very thin skin made of aluminum and magnesium which was very light but was also fragile and panels would shake loose on every flight, requiring them to be reattached after every flight. The aircrew also had to be able to make panel repairs as they flew. The cockpit at the front and the aircrew bunks at the back were pressurized, but the remainder of the plane was not. There was a pressurized tube connecting the bunks to the cockpit which the aircrew would use to pull themselves through by cable. The cockpit was designed such that the pilot could control the yoke but not the throttles. He would radio an engineer with instructions to throttle up or down.
The crew for this plane flew out of Carswell Air Force Base in Texas. The airplane required a crew of nine and the Air Force required that each crew member could fly at least three of the nine positions. The crew that flew these missions had to maintain strict secrecy about what they were doing and where they were doing it. One family was ordered to keep getting milk delivered for the airman, even though he was not home to drink it.
General Curtis Lemay was a legendary Second World War General who had come up with many kinds of winning strategies throughout the war. He could fly all nine positions on this plane. He was in charge of the training for the crew of this plane. Part of their training involved making secret training bombing runs over San Francisco, as the street layout somewhat resembled Moscow.  He then decided that this crew needed to have experience handling a nuclear bomb.  The only problem was the air force did not own any nuclear bombs, they were all the property of the Atomic Energy Commission, and there were only thirteen in existence. The bomb was comprised of a fat ball of Uranium surrounded by a casing, with a small hole in the center of the Uranium ball, into which a small plutonium core could be inserted. The outside of the casing had attachments for thirty-two small explosive charges which when detonated would set off an explosion of the plutonium core, if it was present, and then the Uranium would detonate resulting in a nuclear explosion. General Lemay, who was a very resourceful man somehow convinced the Atomic Energy Commission to loan him a bomb, minus the plutonium core. His crew could now practice handling and loading the bomb. The first flight they made, with a crew of fifteen, they planned to fly to New Mexico to pick up the bomb and then to Anchorage Alaska, land and then fly over San Francisco on their way back to Texas. Flying both north and south they would be over Canada, but of course the Canadians were not notified. Their problems began when they were approaching Alaska. Their radio had died, their radar was not working any more and they had lost one engine due to the cold. They hoped to be able to repair things once they landed in Anchorage, but the base commander there refused to let them stay. He gave them a portable radio and radar unit and they left Anchorage with only five engines working.  After a few more hours two more engines had died and the airplane was no longer air worthy, they were over Canada and they had to make a plan to get the crew out, ditch the bomb and the plane. They considered ditching both in the ocean, but they knew there were Soviet ships nearby that would be quick to recover it, and they could not risk having the Soviets find the bomb. They decided to attach the outer charges to the bomb and drop and shatter it in the air over the ocean. It had no Plutonium core so there would be no nuclear explosion. The bomb was dropped and exploded over Queen Charlotte Sound. The air crew then began to abandon the plane. The first four men to parachute out were never found. All but one remaining crew member left the plane and were rescued near Princes Island. One man, Ted Shryer insisted on staying with the plane. The plane was set on a course over the ocean, but somehow he managed to turn the plane around by himself and aim it toward land and head back towards Alaska. Rescue forces were sent out to look for the plane over the ocean but they could find no trace.
One year later the plane was found intact by a fisherman, crashed on a mountainside near Smithers, British Columbia. It had missed landing in the valley by only seventy-five feet. It was only at this point that the Canadian government found out some of what had happened. The location of the crash is now a National Historic Site.
We would like to thank Norman for this amazing story with a glimpse into American and Canadian military history. Norman has also published a book on this story which was published by Red Deer Press. Anyone interested in obtaining a copy can contact him at  
Norman Leach, Broken Arrow, America’s First Lost Nuke  Vi Hughes 2022-11-08 07:00:00Z 0

Loida Lumanlan, Classification Talk

Posted by Rose Marie Basaraba on Oct 25, 2022
At the October 25th luncheon meeting, Loida Lumanlan, shared her life story during her honest and entertaining off-the-cuff Classification Talk.  Evident was her positive personality and her pride in her Filipino Canadian heritage along with her hard work ethic. Through all this she still finds time to smile and enjoy the life she has achieved as a Canadian.
Loida grew up in very poor country where, even as a child, she found ways to earn her own money. Her earliest opportunity at the age of 9 was helping her mother make turon, a popular banana treat rolled in sugar and selling it in the streets. Her mother recognized her talent for sales and realizing the importance of cleanliness, made her an embroidered apron. She then changed her produce to corn which was more lucrative. She was soon invited to professional homes with her wares which were staffed by working nannies which in turn gave her the opportunity to stay and play with the children before returning home. She was only 9, a child herself, so of course she was often late returning home.
Loida arrived in Canada with 3 young children on October 9, 1987, Thanksgiving weekend, a holiday she celebrates fondly every year.
Her first home was short-lived when she and her family were evicted for non-payment of rent.  In 1988 Win House became the first home for her and her family. It was there she found schooling, shelter, and family support and her first employment in housekeeping cleaning as many as 15 – 17 rooms a day. Canada provided a haven of part-time opportunities of which she took advantage. These included a deli role at Food for Less, a trial as a product/food promoter at Costco Strathcona and Sherwood Park. This in turn led to Strathcona IGA in Sherwood Park where she became front end manager responsible for hiring/scheduling of managers and cashiers. Her last role was with Sobeys. Next came an opportunity to ‘swim with the sharks’ in real estate sales with REMAX, Sherwood Park/Strathcona in 2000.  She is recognized for 22 years in the field which she credits to honesty with customers. A testament to this honesty is that she makes a point of discussing with potential customers, their ability to truly afford the monthly payments associated with the purchase. She genuinely cares for her clients. Through her dedication and hard work, she raised her three children who are now accomplished Engineers (2) and a Psychologist with the Provincial Government.
Loida’s father was a very social small-time politician who greeted everyone with an offer of a cup of coffee. In her own way, Loida inherited his personable manner and genuine interest in people, particularly with her REMAX advertising as the ever popular “Mary Poppins under her umbrella on the two-toned blue SUV seen around Edmonton and Sherwood Park. She is an active member of the Filipino Business Association and supports the community league where she resides. We are proud to say Loida has found the time in her busy schedule to contribute to our Club as an active Rotarian.
Loida Lumanlan, Classification Talk Rose Marie Basaraba 2022-10-25 06:00:00Z 0
Polio Plus Society Vi Hughes 2022-10-20 06:00:00Z 0

Chelsea Leach, Canadian Human Rights Museum

Posted by Rose Marie Basaraba on Oct 11, 2022

Chelsea Leech proved herself to be a delightful and knowledgeable speaker in her presentation to the Club on Tuesday, October 11, 2022.

Chelsea shared her recent experience in a visit, along with other youth, to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. A personable presenter, Chelsea made us feel as though we were right there with her as she described her experience.

Upon arrival following only 6 hours sleep, her first need for a strong cup of coffee went unfulfilled as the Museum Coffee shop was closed for the Holiday. Her surprise in being greeted by Tamara Larson, Rotary Youth Coordinator, soon erased that experience. Board games brought out the competitive nature of all. As an upstander vs. bystander she felt she had a lot to learn.

Day 2 saw a visit to the Refugee Centre which focused on homework, languages, jobs, and social atmosphere. She particularly noted the extreme politeness of a Somalian refugee family, a mother and 6 children. Hot dogs for the homeless were the menu of the day and although offered more than one hot dog, they all responded with a polite ‘no thank you, one is enough’.

Day 3 focused on the Rwandan genocide, The Holocaust and Surviving Residential Schools. The Holocaust Museum was particularly memorable with haunting music, sounds of broken glass and crying children. She felt that Canada did not come away unscathed as history shows Canada pushing the Jews out of the country and of course, the history of the Residential Schools.

Day 4 brought with it discussion on how to use their talents to change the world, made more emphatic in the words of the song by Buffy Saint Marie. Later in the day they were given free reign of the Winnipeg Zoo and being witness to the polar bear baths.

Day 5 involved a debate about having a grandfather in a Residential School, a last look at the Gallery before running for their buses across the square in a torrential downpour.

Chelsea emphasized that it was a great trip all around and she hopes to return to relearn her experience. She loves to write and her takeaway from the weekend was in learning how to change the world using other people as a reference

Chelsea Leach, Canadian Human Rights Museum Rose Marie Basaraba 2022-10-11 06:00:00Z 0

Rowena Alido, Living a Life that Matters

Posted by Vi Hughes
Carin Jansen van Vuuren with Speaker Rowena Alido
This week we heard an inspiring life story from Rowena Alido, the owner of R3 Cleaning. Rowena told us that in 2003 she left her two small children behind in the Philippines to come to Canada to work as a caregiver in the North-West Territories so that she could support her family in the Philippines. She found that life here was full of twists and turns and many times it was her strong Christian faith that kept her going. She said that she truly feels the need to lead a life where she can make a difference in other people’s lives. After only a short time in Canada, due to problems in her sponsor family, she suddenly found herself without work or a place to stay. She was lucky enough to have a friend who helped her to find work and later, in 2006, to start her own cleaning company.  Through faith, determination and perseverance she has been able to build her company and also to help many newcomers to Canada to work and study, to make a better life for themselves and their families. She also sponsors children to come and study in Canada. She now lives in Sherwood Park, Alberta and her company has contracts across several provinces. They currently employ fifty people. Her cleaning company does both residential and commercial cleaning and more information on their services is available at We would like to thank Rowena for sharing her trials and tribulations with us, it was very inspiring to hear how she has persevered and overcome them through her determination to live a life that matters.
Rowena Alido, Living a Life that Matters  Vi Hughes 2022-09-27 06:00:00Z 0

Graham Gilchrist, Houston Rotary International Convention

Posted by Vi Hughes on Sep 13, 2022
This week our Club President Graham Gilchrist gave us an overview of his experiences at the 2022 Rotary International Convention. Graham began by giving us some idea of the scale of the Houston conference center, saying that it covers five city blocks and is three stories tall. The main level has a conference hall three times bigger than all three halls of our Expo center here in Edmonton and has one hundred small break-out rooms on the second level of the center. He also said that it is the only building in Houston that does not allow people to carry side arms (hidden guns).  Graham said that the temperature change from outside to inside took a little getting used to as the outdoor temp was 102 degrees Fahrenheit and the indoor temp was sixty six degrees Fahrenheit.
The message from our outgoing president, Shekhar Mehta, stated some of his accomplishments during his tenure. These included putting together four peace conferences and an international membership drive which added twenty-five thousand new members in India alone. He also proposed that Rotary should consider changing our organizational structure to become a Federation, as this would allow Rotary in other countries to change their structure to conform more closely to their local cultures.
One of the breakout sessions he attended was on membership building, with a presentation about the Dallas Fort Worth Rotary group on how their membership was impacted by COVID and how they managed to rebuild. Their membership dropped from seven hundred before COVID to two hundred during COVID. They had to change their approach after COVID to include more community involvement to meet and attract a broader demographic of people and have now managed to build their membership up to five hundred.
Lastly, he talked about our new International President Jennifer Jones and some of her goals for the coming year with the forward thinking theme of Imagine Rotary.  She talked about building membership and how we need to be willing to change within to make room for new members with new ways of doing things, then strive to provide what they need to flourish in our clubs by providing the experiences that they seek. We also need to make empowering girls first one of our priorities, as this will in turn empower women within Rotary and our society as a whole.
Overall we got the impression that Rotary is changing with the times, and in order to move forward we need to be willing to change along with it. We would like to thank Graham for this interesting and thought provoking presentation.
Graham Gilchrist, Houston Rotary International Convention Vi Hughes 2022-09-13 06:00:00Z 0

Norman Leach, The Chaos Navigator

Posted by Vi Hughes on Aug 18, 2022
This week we were pleased to hear from one of our club members, Norman Leach, who gave us a very interesting and entertaining introduction into what he has done over the years. Norman told us that some of his clients refer to him as the chaos navigator, as he helps them to develop and implement marketing plans for their businesses.  When he first started developing business plans for people, he often found that they had trouble implementing the plan that he gave them. Marketing includes many different aspects of a business including the product, the price, the place, how to distribute it and promotion, but many people only consider it to be promotion. This is when he will step in as a contractor for them, to help implement the portions of the plan that the client feels they cannot on their own.
Norman told us that his inspiration in life came from his grandfather, who was orphaned as a small child, grew up in an orphanage in Quebec and was turned out to fend for himself at a young age. He then went on to find a homestead in Springside, Saskatchewan, raise a large family and become a very successful farmer. He also helped many of his neighbors with their farm businesses, by acting as an intermediary and translator for them in selling their crops, as he was one of the few people in the area who spoke both English and Ukrainian. Norman said that his grandfather strongly believed that the best way to succeed in life was to get lots of education and as much experience as possible, as those were the two things that other people could not take away from you.
Norman said that he first encountered Rotary when at age seventeen, he became a Rotary Exchange student to Japan. He took this as a challenge to learn as much as he could of the Japanese language and became proficient enough to win a Japanese language competition. He said that he still speaks Japanese fluently, along with several other languages including English, Spanish and French. He told us that he has now worked in thirty-seven countries, on many different types of projects.
He then related an interesting and entertaining story of how he met, pursued and married his wife, Maritza. Many years ago, when he was working in Mexico City as the Alberta Trade Office manager and she was the building manager for their office space, he did not speak Spanish well and used one of his employees as an interpreter to communicate with her. After several months and many meetings with her, his interpreter suggested to him that he should invite her as his guest to a social function. He thought this was absurd as he barely spoke any Spanish. The interpreter then told him outright that this was silly as she spoke English quite well and had only requested an interpreter for their meetings as she was not confident in her interpretation of details. After he recovered from the shock of this information, he decided to ask her out, she accepted, and they ended up being married several years later. He said that this also served as a lesson to him to never assume the people around you do not understand what is being said.
Norman then told us that as he is a private contractor, he can and does work on many other types of things. Shortly after marrying Maritza, she convinced him to turn his passion for collecting Canadian military memorabilia and trivia into a business by writing a book about it. His first book about the role of Canadian troops in the First World War, Battle of Paschendale, was promoted for sale to the Canadian Legion, but turned out to become a Canadian best seller, with over twenty-five thousand copies sold.  It was subsequently made into a movie by Paul Gross, with Norman acting as a consultant.  He has now written thirteen books, four of which have become Canadian best sellers (each with more than ten thousand copies sold). One of his other sidelines is teaching, and he now teaches courses for six colleges and universities across Canada. In addition, he has recently become the historian for St John’s Ambulance. He also said that in 2019, he and his wife Maritza, after much research and planning, bought a travel agency, just prior to the COVID pandemic. Through this they learned that not all plans work out as originally thought, but the business is now starting to take off.  
We would like to thank Norman for this very interesting and entertaining glimpse into the lives of both him and his wife Maritza and look forward to hearing more from him in the future.
Norman Leach, The Chaos Navigator  Vi Hughes 2022-08-18 06:00:00Z 0

Amarok Update, July 2022

July 2022
Combined Rotary Mothers' School
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Dear Members of the Rotary Clubs of Strathcona, Mayfield, Urban Spirits, Whyte Avenue, Grand Prairie and Hinton,
It makes us happy to tell you about how things have been here. We enjoy our learning very well. We are learning with joy and fun and we pass a joyful time in school without any stress and sadness, we feel this time as the best time of the day.
Now we would like to share some stories of our success, struggles and overcoming. This is rainy season in our country which is a perfect time for tree plantation. A group of mothers from our school Soniya, Monju, Josna and Pakhi have planted some vegetables in the free space of the slum and on the land owner’s rooftop, like cucumber, bean, eggplant, green chili and tomato inside containers. Plants grow very fast and easily in monsoon. Our teacher had a session about vegetable cultivation & tree plantation in school. We do not care who will eat the vegetables or won the trees but happy to do the work in the free space of the slum and any rooftops.
Afsana is our young friend, intelligent but she did not get any opportunity for education in her childhood. Her father had died before her birth and she has no brother and sister. Her mother did not get married again thinking about her daughter. They used to live in the village but their livelihood was very difficult there. So, when Afsana was 7, her mother moved to Dhaka for a better livelihood. Her mother rented a room in our slum and started working as a housemaid and Afsana used to go to the landladies’ house with her mother. There days were going well but suddenly her mother died by a heart-attack leaving Afsana only 13. One landlady gave shelter of the girl and arranged her marriage in 2 years with a poor boy considering her safety and security. He was a rickshaw puller. After the marriage Afsana had to faced many new challenges which she did not understand how to overcome. She was illiterate and did not know how to handle such situation. One day Afsana and her husband quarreled with each other. Her husband was very lazy. So, he didn’t go out for work regularly. He wanted Afsana to work as maid and take responsibility to run the family but Afsana couldn’t find a better way. One day a mother of our school Josna going beside their room, listened a sound of crying from the slum house. Josna became curious to know what happened! She entered into the room and saw a young girl was crying sitting on the floor. It was none other but Afsana. Josna sat beside her and asked her about the reasons for crying. Afasan said everything to Josna, after hearing Josna shared with her about our Mother School. Afsana became surprised to know about our mother school and its work. She was very excited to visit us. Josna told her that the next day I will take you to our school; and next day Afsana went to the mothers’ school with Josna and admitted here. There was a fellow water land beside Afsana’s house. Afsana took some seeds from the school for planting vegetables by the
side of the pond. Afsana planted those seeds and had got a lot of vegetable there. Later on, she has cultivated a vegetable garden in the free space of our slum, she grows all seasonal vegetables in her garden and earning money. She shares her vegetables with many of us including Josna. Now she collects more productive seeds from the market for her vegetable garden and finally she has found a way. In that way she turns her life, now she is learning and able to contribute to her family. Now they are a happy family. She is thankful to Amarok friends and Amarok society.  
Did we share with you that our school house is relocated a little far from the old location? Some new mothers have been enrolled and our learning progress has been going fast. You would be happy to know that  10 mothers of our school can write about myself, creative sentences & paragraph with any topic like on fruits, flowers, animals, about our school, and birds. We have started writing “journal” change of the life of individual mother. Once a week we practice it. Sometimes, we draw something and then we write about that. 12 mothers are very good in English, can write long sentences and 8 can write good story in Bengali. We are happy to see our learning progress and proud to remove the word ‘illiterate’ from our life.  
Now we will share about a Micro-school student named Liza and her change in characteristic and life. She is 8 years old and a good girl but little lazy. She loves long sleep. Her father sells nuts going door to door and her mother is a housemaid. When her mother went out to work, she loved to stay idle and sleep, did not help her mother. In an afternoon returning home from work, Liza’s mother saw a group of children were going somewhere with pen, pencil and notebook. Liza’s mother became surprised “this is not a schooltime then where are they going”? She asked them, “Where are you going”? The children said, “in our Micro School”. She said again. “Can I go with you? The children said, yes. Liza’s mother went with them and discussed with the mother-teacher Monira and proposed her to teach Liza. This is how Liza became the student of Minira and now an active girl and learning quickly.
Some of the children are graduated from our micro-school and now in the next grades in High School. Koli is one of them. She is 16 and studying in grade 9. She teaches her siblings. Her mother is a housewife and father is a day laborer. She has 2 younger sisters. She is the eldest among them. Her father is extremely poor, could not buy learning materials for the daughter. Koli collects materials from Amarok Mother School and teaches her sisters. Once her father thought about arranging Koli’s marriage but her mother-teacher Parvin after knowing about it and stopped him. It was not easy to change the mind of her father. Our friends Soniya, Josna, Nazma had several discussions and clarified the potential risk of early motherhood and finally her father changed his mind.
We are grateful to your support for our education    
With love
 Sonia, Popi, Fatema, Josna, Nazma and Parvin
(Mothers of Combined Rotary Mothers' School)
Amarok Update, July 2022 Amarok 2022-08-18 06:00:00Z 0

Ken Germain, Classification Update

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jul 19, 2022
Ken is a long-term member of our club, having joined in 1999 and has served in any different positions within the club over the years. He is probably best known to most of us for his corny jokes. This week he gave us a short talk on what he did for a living for most of his life.  Ken owns and operates two companies, Environmental Disposal Systems and Bullseye Marketing. Ken told us that he started out in retail sales, where he learned the ropes of customer service and how to sell just about anything. He then went on to work in the hazardous waste industry, at a time when WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) was just being introduced to the workplace. This is a system that requires all workplaces to educate their workers in the proper handling and disposal of any hazardous materials they may encounter. It also requires a lot of record keeping to be able to prove this has been done.
Ken soon saw an opportunity to set up his own company helping others identify and properly dispose of hazardous materials in a cost-effective manner, while still having all of the proper paperwork in place. He also realized that there were ways to reduce the cost of disposal by processing the waste to remove the small amount of truly hazardous from the bulk of material that could be recycled or resold. This reduces the cost of hazardous disposal substantially. An example that he gave is a mixture of oil, water and metal shavings. The shavings can be separated out leaving behind the oil and water, which can be easily disposed if they show no signs of other contamination once tested. He also said that often hazardous materials can be removed from large amounts of liquid by the use of special flocculents, leaving only a small amount of flocculent material that needs to be disposed as hazardous waste. He said that there are two ways these materials are disposed of in Alberta, one is by burning, in a special hazardous waste facility, the other is by pumping them into a deep well several kilometers down in the earth.
Ken’s ability to sort out the various types of waste, identify them, properly handle them and then know what to do with them has served him well. His many contacts within the industry also help a great deal. His knowledge of the many different companies in Alberta that process, test and dispose of different types of hazardous waste is quite specialized. He also has a special talent (patience and perseverance) for the reams of paperwork involved in this type of work. This is needed as many companies request a ‘death certificate’ for their waste once it has finally been properly disposed.
We would like to thank Ken for this very interesting glimpse into the world of hazardous waste.
Ken Germain, Classification Update  Vi Hughes 2022-07-19 06:00:00Z 0

21-22 Year End Presentations

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jul 07, 2022
Past President Carin Jansen van Vuuren was presented with our 2021-2022 Banner, ‘Serve to Change Lives’ by incoming President Graham Gilchrist.
Patrick Gibson was presented with the District Club Communications Award by Past President Carin Jansen van Vuuren in recognition of his work publicizing our club through Rafflebox to raise funds for several club projects, with recognition also to our Social Media guru Heather de Kok and our Newsletter Editor Vi Hughes.
21-22 Year End Presentations Vi Hughes 2022-07-07 06:00:00Z 0

Jun 2022 Rotating Wheel Dinner

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jun 21, 2022
Our year end dinner was held at the University Club, with Rick Harcourt as Master of Ceremonies and Donna Hutton assisting.
Presentations were made by Donna Hutton for Honorary Paul Harris Fellowships to Maggie Hegan in honor of her many hours spent keeping track of our five hundred plus Canada Flag customers,
Shane Thiberge (son-in-law of Eric Germain) and
Abinash Saravanan, President of the WP Wagner Interact Club.
Paul Harris Fellows were also presented to
Richard Karlsson,
Amy Stewart and Vi Hughes.  
Richard Karlsson, our Membership Chairperson then inducted three new members into our club,
Tammy Wiebe,
Sean McMurtry and
Maritza Meneses-Leach.
The Rotarian of the Year award was presented to
Vi Hughes in honor of her contributions to the club as content creator and editor for our website and newsletter over the past six years.
 Our President Carin Jansen van Vuuren thanked her executive and team for their enthusiasm and accomplishments over the past year, with a special mention to Bob Sandercock (Foundation Chairperson), Patrick Gibson (for running our Kiva, Rafflebox and Chase the Ace fundraising), Vince Campbell (for his work as our Canada Flag fundraising coordinator) Loida Lumanlan (International Projects) and Trina Van der Meer and her team for their enthusiastic approach to both club social occasions and Polio Plus fundraising. She told us that overall, our club raised over half a million dollars this year.
Finally, our incoming President,
Graham Gilchrist was welcomed
and presented his new executive for the coming year, President Elect Heather deKok, Treasurer Patrick Gibson, Secretary Trina VanderMeer and our two Directors at Large Richard Karlsson and Don Henry.
Jun 2022 Rotating Wheel Dinner  Vi Hughes 2022-06-21 06:00:00Z 0

Patrick Kizeke, Giving Refugees Hope in Uganda

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jun 07, 2022
This week we heard from Patrick Kizeke, a Canadian social worker who came to Canada from the Congo via Uganda many years ago. His family fled the Congo twenty-four years ago when the perpetrators of the Rwanda genocide moved into the Congo and started doing the same thing there as well. Anyone who remotely looked like Tutsi was persecuted, run out of their homes and their towns and villages were destroyed. Patrick’s family was among these people. His family were well educated and prosperous urban dwellers. He remembers when as a child, his school was attacked by gunmen and the children were sent home from school in the middle of the day. While walking home he was met by his mother and grandmother who told him they could not go home, they had to keep walking. He said that they walked for four days until they reached what they thought was a safe place. This turned out not to be true so they moved on to a refugee camp in the neighboring country of Uganda. In Uganda they faced a big language barrier. His family was fluent in several languages, but none of them were spoken in Uganda. His family were now destitute refugees. They were given a machete and a small patch of land to live on, but they knew nothing about farming, or how to build a home from scratch. They managed to live there for two years until his father finally made it out of the Congo, having been able to sell their home. They now had some money and were able to move out of the refugee camp and into Kampala. They lived in Kampala for eight years before finally coming to Canada.
A few years ago Patrick set up the ‘Giving Refugees Hope in Uganda’ foundation, based in Spruce Grove, Alberta with Canadian charitable status, to help refugees living in Uganda, who have gone there to escape violence elsewhere in Africa. They have nine unpaid board members in Canada and two paid staff in Uganda who are supported privately. They support several programs to help these refugees. They provide sponsorships for children to be able to attend school (which must be privately paid for in Uganda) , they help families find housing and they also provide some money for food. They fund a training center for women to learn occupational skills like sewing and hairdressing. They provide water filters for people and also teaching on health issues. They are also in the final stages of building a medical center next to one of the refugee camps. Anyone interested in giving to any of their causes can learn more on their website, or by sending an email to or by phone at 587-709-2061.
Patrick Kizeke, Giving Refugees Hope in Uganda  Vi Hughes 2022-06-07 06:00:00Z 0

Timothy Massawe, Empowering Poor Children Through Education

Posted by Vi Hughes on May 24, 2022
This week we heard from Timothy Massawe, Past President of the Rotary Club of Hai Kilimanjaro, Tanzania about his foundation that works to empower poor children in Tanzania by finding sponsors to support their educational goals. The foundation identifies candidates with academic potential and connects them with Rotarians willing to sponsor their education. He told us that they are not an NGO so that one hundred percent of the money donated goes towards the student’s tuition and school supplies. He also said that sponsors are allowed to visit their sponsor children if they wish. He said that they also try to instill the values of Rotary in the children by encouraging them to give back to others when they graduate. Many of their former sponsored children join Rotary later in life.
The foundation has been operational now for over twelve years and they have quite a few success stories about their students. Lecton, whose family are Masai tribe herdsmen that do not value education for their children, was able to continue his schooling and university education so that he could become a doctor. Neema, who was an orphan, was able to continue her education and is now a nurse. Oscar, whose father could not find work, was able to become a high school teacher. Eva, whose family was also Masai tribe, had been promised in marriage at a young age, was able to avoid marriage, continue her education and is now a pharmacist.
Most of their sponsors are individual Rotarians, some are groups or clubs, most of which are Canadian. One of their sponsors is our incoming RI President. We would like to thank Timothy for his interesting presentation on this sponsorship opportunity.
Timothy Massawe, Empowering Poor Children Through Education  Vi Hughes 2022-05-24 06:00:00Z 0
May 2022 Rotary Moment Vi Hughes 2022-05-13 06:00:00Z 0

Dates to Remember

MAY 24th
Next CLUB meeting Speaker will be Timothy Massawe, Past President Rotary Club of Hai Kilimanjaro Tanzania.
We need 20.
MAY 24th
Board meeting will follow the club meeting
May 27 & 28th
District Conference – Fantasyland Hotel WEM
15 going from our club!
New Members – Club pays!
June 17-18
Last Polio Fundraiser–Beaumont Blues Festival
$65 incl Brisket-on-a-bun
June 21st
Rotating Wheel Dinner
ONLY $50 – at University Club
Dates to Remember Vi Hughes 2022-05-13 06:00:00Z 0

Morton Polson and Scott Wilson, Children’s Autism Services

Posted by Vi Hughes on May 10, 2022
This week we heard from Morton Polson, Communications and Fund Development and Scott Wilson, Family Liaison with Children’s Autism Services of Edmonton about their Respite Lifeline Program. They are a not for profit group and registered charity (with a six percent overhead) that provides many different types of services to families of and children with autism spectrum disorder. This disorder affects about one in sixty-six children with symptoms ranging from mild to very severe. It causes problems with communication, socialization, eating and sleeping. Providing parenting is a 24/7 365 days a year commitment and being able to offer even  a small respite of an hour or two to these parents is a big deal.
They currently provide services for about three hundred local families. Their Respite Lifeline program currently serves one hundred and eighty of these families. Since regular babysitters are not an option for these parents, the Respite Lifeline program provides for a trained person who will look after their children for a few hours so that the parents can go out for dinner, run errands or whatever, without worrying about what is happening at home. Their cost to provide this service is thirty-two dollars per hour or two hundred thousand dollars per year. Recent government austerity has resulted in cuts to their programs and they are currently subsidizing this service.  As they will no longer be able to provide this service, they are now fundraising to try to keep it going. They accept all types of donations and our club has been a donor in the past. We would like to thank both Morton and Scott for their excellent presentation.
Morton Polson and Scott Wilson, Children’s Autism Services  Vi Hughes 2022-05-10 06:00:00Z 0

Kira Eberts and Rehma Khan, RYLE 2022

This week we heard from two organizers of the 2022 Rotary Youth Leadership Experience (RYLE), Kira Eberts, the 2022 Chairperson, and Rehma Khan, the External Chairperson. Kira and Rehma told us that RTLE is a four-day immersive leadership training camp for young people aged 14 to 18 years of age. RYLE will take place this coming weekend, Apr 28 to May 1. The attendees are selected and sponsored by local Rotary clubs. Our club is sponsoring four students this year. The RYLE camp will be held at Camp Nakamun, near Busby, this year. Last year RYLE was held on-line due to COVID restrictions. Most of the attendees are members of their school Rotary Interact club or the University Rotaract club but can also include students nominated by YMCAs, high schools without Interact clubs and other service organizations. Students come from all over Alberta for this event. The RYLE committee also organizes transportation to and from the camp for the students. The RYLE program covers the foundations of communication, goal setting, motivation and introduces them to the pillars of Rotary. It also includes many indoor and outdoor sports-oriented activities and team projects to encourage students to have fun, interact with and learn from each other. Many of the attendees will make long term friendships at this camp. We would like to thank both Kira and Rehma for their very well organized and informative presentation.
Kira Eberts and Rehma Khan, RYLE 2022  Vi Hughes 2022-04-28 06:00:00Z 0

Project Amigo Canada Society Thankyou

We recently received a thankyou from Project Amigo for our most recent donation from Project Amigo Canada Society liason Elly Contreras.
Thank you so much for supporting Karla in her studies! Many of our scholars tell us that when they feel overwhelmed with school or with challenges at home, they think about their sponsors and that helps them to keep moving forward. Your support is so much more than just the financial part.
Thank you for your contribution of $500.00 on 021 Feb 2022 to provide a university sponsorship for Karla Sarahi Carrillo Andres. With your gift, you are changing not just one life but the lives of the student’s family as well. Your generosity assures a better future for all of us because education creates change. Karla Sarahi Carrillo Andres will be able to have a career and change the destiny of an entire family for generations to come.
Education is powerful; our graduates have gone on to become mayors, doctors, teachers, and other professionals. One of our students, who graduated as a doctor and for a period of time oversaw 52 health centers in the State of Colima. Another is the Program Director of our new Quesería Education Center; another whose future would have been cutting bananas at a very low wage is instead the manager of a large banana plantation. During our Volunteer Weeks, you may meet one of these graduate students and hear their success story.
Please note: Sponsorships are not exclusive. All sponsorship funds are pooled to assure that every child and higher education student in our program receives the same benefits whether he/she has a sponsor or not. Some students in our program each year don’t have a sponsor, meaning that other students may have more than one to assure funding is available for the incentive programs and sponsorships of every student.
Thank you again for being part of this life changing program
Project Amigo Canada Society Thankyou  Vi Hughes 2022-03-31 06:00:00Z 0

Pilgrims Hospice Society Donation

Club Vice President Graham Gilchrist presenting our donation of $5,000 to Pilgrim’s Hospice Society representatives Liz Bartlick and Elaine Warick
Pilgrims Hospice Society Donation  Vi Hughes 2022-03-29 06:00:00Z 0

Tammy Wiebe, Valley Zoo Development Society

Posted by Vi Hughes on Mar 29, 2022
Donna Hutton thanking Tammy Wiebe from the Valley Zoo Development Society
This week we heard from Tammy Wiebe on behalf of the Valley Zoo Development Society. Tammy told us that the Valley Zoo Development Society raises fund for many different zoo projects and that they give one hundred percent of donations they raise back to the zoo as they have other zoo related ventures that support their operating costs. She told us that the Valley Zoo plays an important role in the lives of many Alberta children. The zoo reaches over sixty thousand children per year who come to the zoo for registered programs. These numbers do not include regular zoo attendance numbers. The Valley Zoo is the number three attraction in Alberta behind only the Calgary Zoo and the Telus World of Science.
Some of the goals of the Valley Zoo are to promote awareness of conservation, biodiversity and climate change action. All of these will help to improve the lives of animals in the wild. Over the last several years the Zoo had embarked on a development program to improve the animal habitats at the zoo. Just recently the City of Edmonton approved funding for the latest phase of development called Nature’s Backyard. This will provide new habitats for some of the zoo animals that will allow visitors to see them where they normally hang out, in the tree tops, on the ground or underground.
The zoo also has other plans to bring the zoo to more people. One of these is the project they are asking us to support. During COVID the zoo came up with a program to provide remote access for the public via a rentable thirty-minute educational video focused on one or more of the zoo’s inhabitants, followed by an online thirty-minute live question and answer period with a zoo keeper or interpreter who could answer questions about that animal or group of animals. This project is called Pay it Forward for the Planet’. This was such a big success that they would like to expand it to ten different videos on various animals or groups of animals. The one which our club would be sponsoring would be the one on Canadian carnivores. She also told us that they have enlisted Daintre Christianson to be the presenter for this video.  These videos can be rented by anyone for a fee, they even allow groups pay for the video by performing a conservation project such as cleaning up their school yard.   
The zoo also has many other programs which we can donate funds towards, such as research on enrichment programs for the animals in the zoo that can be applied to help manage animals in the wild. These include such things as food, sensory, cognitive, social and habitat enrichment. Visit their website at for more information on the many ways that we can support their efforts to improve the lives of animals both in the zoo and in the wild. We would like to thank Tammy for the very interesting presentation and look forward to being able to support some of their many projects.
Tammy Wiebe, Valley Zoo Development Society  Vi Hughes 2022-03-29 06:00:00Z 0
Bob Sandercock Presents Bottle of Bubbly to Brenda McCullough  Vi Hughes 2022-03-15 06:00:00Z 0

Abinash Saravanan, W.P. Wagner Interact Club Update

Posted by Vi Hughes on Mar 15, 2022
L to R: W.P. Wagner Interact Club, Simar Sidhu (Secretary); Zalak Simar (Vice-President); Abinash Saravanan (President); Carin Jansen van Vuuren (President) and Richard Karlsson (Interact Club Liaison)
This past week we welcomed Abinash Saravanan, the President of the W.P. Wagner High School Rotary Interact Club. He and two other members of the club, Zalak Simar, Vic-President and Simar Sidhu, Secretary were introduced by Richard Karlsson, their Rotary club advisor. Richard told us that Rotary Interact Clubs are for students aged twelve to eighteen. They are self-governing clubs, sponsored by a Rotary club which are expected to support at least two service projects per year with one of these being an international project.  
Abinash began by thanking our club for our support and guidance.  He said that their club currently has about sixty members, thirty of whom are very active. He said that over this past year he has been blown away by their collective talents and abilities.  He told us that in the fall their club decided to clean up the ravine behind their school as a community support project. They called for volunteers to come out on a weekend and managed to pick up over forty kilograms of waste in only a few hours. Their second project was to go to the Edmonton Food Bank on a weekend and help to sort and pack food. They had a very good turn out and had a lot of fun doing it. They then decided to have a fundraiser for charity by their club before Christmas with a Candygram promotion. A Candygram is a small note attached to a candy cane or cookie. The purchaser then writes the name of the person they wish to send it to along with the classroom number and time it can be delivered. The club members then deliver the candygrams to the recipients. Their club set up two teams to help with all of the promotions, poster production, sales and delivery of the candygrams. Overall the project was a great success and they raised seven hundred and seventy dollars for charity. This money will be donated through Rotary to a charity of their club’s choice. They are presently promoting a local project to collect gently used coats for people in need in Edmonton. If any of our members would like to help we can contact Richard for more information.
Abinash said that his first year in Rotary has been very inspiring for him. He said that Rotary gives people who have a passion to help others the ability to do much more than one person alone can do. We would like to thank Abinash for his very eloquent and interesting update on activities of the W.P. Wagner Interact Club.
Abinash Saravanan, W.P. Wagner Interact Club Update  Vi Hughes 2022-03-15 06:00:00Z 0

Paul Harris Fellowship Award to Dr. Sean McMurtry

This past week our club presented Dr. Sean McMurtry with a Paul Harris Fellowship Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to health care in Alberta over many years. The award was presented by our club President Carin Jansen vanVuuren  and our club Foundation Chairperson, Bob Sanderock.
Paul Harris Fellowship Award to Dr. Sean McMurtry  Vi Hughes 2022-03-03 07:00:00Z 0

Dr. Sean McMurtry, Aging Well and Heart Health

Posted by Vi Hughes on Mar 01, 2022
This week we were pleased to welcome back Dr. Sean McMurtry, to talk to us about strategies for aging well. He told us that aging well to most people means being able to do the things you enjoy. Everyone has different values, some of which are not health promoting. There are some things which we have no choice over, such as our age and genetic makeup, but the lifestyle choices we make can also have a big effect on how well we age. The main lifestyle choices that can affect our health are smoking, obesity, alcohol consumption, diet and a distant fifth, chemical exposure.
He said that heart disease is now the number two killer in Canada. It has dropped from the number one position (now held by cancer) as we have come a long way in being able to treat cardiovascular disease. The three major causes of death from heart disease are heart attack, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation.
Heart attacks result when blood vessels in the heart are blocked by plaque that causes them to thin and burst. Risk factors that we can treat for this are high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol in the blood and diabetes. He said that everyone should ‘know their numbers’ for these and have them treated if necessary. That can go a long way towards lowering our risk of disability and death over time.
Heart failure results when the heart enlarges trying to compensate for damage that can be caused by many different things. The disability this causes can also be a big problem.  Some of the causes are uncontrolled high blood pressure, previous heart attack, coronary disease, damage from long term alcohol abuse, cirrhosis and many other things.
Atrial fibrillation occurs when the upper chambers of the heart become enlarged. Some of the causes are high blood pressure, heart failure and alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse over time (more than two drinks per day for women or three per day for men) can cause end organ failure resulting in dementia, heart and liver failure.
Dr. McMurtry said that many of the risk factors can be controlled by lifestyle choices, not smoking, keeping an eye on our blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels and getting treatment for them as needed, eating and drinking in moderation and staying active. The responsibility for aging well falls on us and the decisions we make every day.
Dr. Sean McMurtry, Aging Well and Heart Health  Vi Hughes 2022-03-01 07:00:00Z 0
New Hope School Video Link Vi Hughes 2022-02-28 07:00:00Z 0

Passing of Long Time Member Bill Skelly

It is with great sadness that we note the passing of long time member Bill Skelly on February 19th. He was in the Palliative Care unit at the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre.
We send our deepest condolences to his wife  Lorraine and the rest of his family. 
Bill joined Rotary in 1986 and was President of our club in 1989-90. Twice he received the Rotarian of the Year Award, in 1988-89 and again in 1995-96. In 2016 Bill became an Honorary Member of our club.
Many of us will remember the lovely soap stone carvings he made.
Passing of Long Time Member Bill Skelly Vi Hughes 2022-02-28 07:00:00Z 0
Wear Your Pin 2022-02-17 07:00:00Z 0

Punch Jackson, Men’s Sheds

Posted by Vi Hughes on Feb 15, 2022
This past Tuesday we were glad to welcome Punch Jackson to talk to us about Men’s Sheds. Men’s Sheds is an organization that began in Australia when a few men decided to get together to talk, drink coffee, swap stories and create things. The space was usually someone’s tool shed, but could also be a warehouse space, truck bay, coffee shop or meeting room. It is a space where men can get to know each other through a shared project such as woodworking, metal work, doing tech repairs, rebuilding things, learning to cook, carving, refinishing furniture, fixing things or just tinkering. It was a way for men to make new friends and have something interesting to do in their week.
Loneliness and boredom can often set in and finding a way out can be difficult. Men can often find themselves adrift after they retire or become unemployed, become separated or widowed, downsized their home and now have no workspace, or their wife just wants them out from underfoot.  This gives them a place to go, things to do and people to do them with. Men are often reluctant to talk to each other face to face but will talk shoulder to shoulder with other men while doing something else with their hands. Some groups also bring in speakers to talk about topics of interest. The men who come to Men’s Sheds come from all walks of life, old and young, professionals and tradesmen. The younger men help the older men with technology and the older men help the younger men with things like how to use woodworking tools.
Man’s Sheds has now spread to many different countries with about twenty-five hundred groups in all. We have around forty groups in Canada, with around nine groups in Alberta. Each group has it’s own focus with many different types of meeting places. Finding a suitable meeting place and sponsors to cover the cost of rent and maintenance for the meeting place is the most difficult issue for most groups. Rural areas seem to have less trouble with this than urban groups. Finding men who are willing to help to set up a group can also be a challenge.
Some of the projects that Men’s Sheds have undertaken are things like building a gazebo and planter boxes for a senior’s residence, making wooden toys for a day care, refurbishing bicycles for children or making benches for a local park. The benefits that the men receive are a sense of purpose, learning new skills, a chance to be creative, a chance to give back to their community. They also learn health by stealth, as many men’s groups talk about men’s health.
Rotary was a key to getting Men’s Sheds started in many places in Australia. Rotarians can help by letting them know of spaces that may be available for them to use, or by helping to get funding or sponsorships for groups.  We can get more information on their website, by email at, on twitter @mensshedsyeg, on Facebook at Edmonton Men’s Sheds or by phone at 780-717-6710.
Punch Jackson, Men’s Sheds  Vi Hughes 2022-02-15 07:00:00Z 0

Ivan Docker, Kona Sunrise Club Service Project

Posted by Ivan Docker
Last Tuesday I volunteered with the Rotary Club of Kona Sunrise for their monthly Meet and Eat program. We arrive at 4:30 p.m. at Kona’s Intermediate (Junior High) school. We bag up groceries, mainly donated by Costco and local produce farms, and these are handed out, along with containers of hot meals, to families as they drive by. This Tuesday, the cost of the hot meals was funded by the larger Rotary Club of Kona, and the meals were prepared and packaged by a large resort hotel. The cars start rolling by at about 6:00 p.m. There are many needy families, and anywhere from 100 to 200 cars come each Tuesday. The Rotary Club of Kona Sunrise volunteers on the first Tuesday of each month (and have been doing this for 3 years now), and other organizations volunteer on the other Tuesdays. We had about 10 volunteers, including spouses of Rotarians, help out this week.
In the photo are my two Rotary buddies Dennis Rast (a retired principal from San Diego, and also a past president of their club) and Mike Fraser on the right, who is currently club president. Mike and his wife Bev (also in the club) are Canadians who came to Kona many years ago from Invermere, B.C.
Ivan Docker, Kona Sunrise Club Service Project  Ivan Docker 2022-02-04 07:00:00Z 0

Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Action

Posted by Vi Hughes
The week of Jan 31 is World Interfaith Harmony Week, and in recognition of that we heard from Len Gierach, Netta Phillet, Guy Blood and Karen Gail from the Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Action (EICEA). They told us that their group began twenty-five years ago with the goal of bringing people of all faiths in Edmonton together through education. Their membership is a coalition of thirteen+ religious groups, including Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, Hindu, Zoroastrian and Indigenous faiths. Their goal is to show people that we can find ways to keep our own faith while using it to help us unite with people of other faiths by offering peace and understanding through education. We need to recognize that everyone has a right to their own faith. They said that sometimes what we perceive as religious issues are really more about money and power.  We need to be more committed to peace, justice and compassion in our personal lives. They also said that we can help to break down differences by sharing our culture with others. Each of us connects with the divine in our own way.
They presented an excellent short documentary by film maker Eric Spoeth entitled ‘Building Bridges’, which hilites the roots of interfaith conversations and efforts in Edmonton. This documentary can also be viewed online at
We would like to thank them for this very interesting and thought-provoking presentation.
Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Action  Vi Hughes 2022-02-01 07:00:00Z 0

Foundation Fundraiser Gala

Posted by Bob Sandercock
Wednesday, 23 Feb from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mountain Time. Pre Gala reception starts at 5:15 p.m.
Celebrate the work of Rotarians with the 43 Districts in Rotary Zones 28 and 32. Funds raised will go to support the Rotary Foundation. Speakers District Governor Donna Barret and other District leaders. Entertainment provided by Ariana Whitlow.
Organise your own group of friends and join us with the ZOOM link provided on registration.
Consider joining the Gala and invite others to join you for a wonderful social evening.
Your guests can also be non Rotarians such as family, friends or neighbours.
The event fee for the evening is $120 US per person (about $148 Canadian)
You will get a tax receipt for about $126 Canadian so you will get about $63 back from revenue Canada on your next years taxes.
The evening can be a dinner, wine and cheese, potlatch, skip the dishes, pizza, take out or any other form you wish. Formal or informal. The venue can be your house, a restaurant or any other meeting place. Just have a wonderful social evening with people you may seldom see. It can be like the Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner socials that we used to have.
Go to for details.
Foundation Fundraiser Gala  Bob Sandercock 2022-01-20 07:00:00Z 0

Cindy Rivers, LGBTQ+ Inclusion and Diversity- Gender and Sexuality

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jan 18, 2022
This past Tuesday we heard from Cindy Rivers, a local trans advocate and actor, who spoke to us and answered our questions about the updated terminology and how to better ally ourselves with the community in general. Her very interesting, informal presentation set us at ease immediately and there were many questions people had which she was happy to answer.
Cindy started with explaining that gender is what your innate sense of self is.  This may not always align with your physical appearance or biological parts. It may be what we think of as masculine, feminine or neither.  It is also not always linked to your sexuality, which is who you are emotionally attracted to. They are two very different things.  Looks do not always translate into sexual orientation.
She explained that people in the trans community are almost always very happy to share what their preferred pronouns (he, she, his, her) for use in general speech are and we should not be afraid to ask.  We can also avoid issues by using gender neutral language as much as possible.
She also explained the meaning of the LGBTQ2SIAAP ‘alphabet’ that is often used.  The meanings are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans sexual, Queer or Questioning (not sure ) , 2S Two Spirited, Intersex (born with body parts of both) , Asexual (not attracted to either) , Agender (neither female or male) , and Pansexual. The terms Cis and Trans are also often used. Cis meaning ‘on the same side’ and Trans meaning ‘on the other side’. She said that people can be born with all kinds of combinations of body parts and the gender they are raised as by their parents does not always align with who they feel they are once they grow up.
Cindy said that people in this community are often confronted with threats to their personal safety, and that the better they present themselves to others the safer they are. The use of gender specific public washrooms can be a problem which is best dealt with by the inclusion of gender-neutral individual washrooms, just like you have at home. She said that people should use the washroom they are most comfortable with.
We would like to thank Cindy for her very open and interesting talk. She has hopefully made us more aware of the issues surrounding this community and has given us some ideas on how improve inclusion for people in this community.  
Cindy Rivers, LGBTQ+ Inclusion and Diversity- Gender and Sexuality  Vi Hughes 2022-01-18 07:00:00Z 0

New Hope School continues to equip Learners

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jan 04, 2022
This past Tuesday, President Carin, who has recently returned from South Africa, gave us an update on New Hope School which we have supported several times over the past six years. This was a joint international project with the Rotary Club of Pretoria. We have supported them through local donations, a global grant and a GoFundMe Fundraiser.
Patrick Gibson presenting our donation to the school with PDG Linda Robertson & previous principal Dawie Harmse
She told us that this school for children with disabilities has a mission to help each learner to develop their unique, individual skills to be able to function to the best of their abilities as an adult in their communities. Our funding was aimed at helping the students, especially young women, to have a way to support themselves as adults.
As a result of our gifts the school has been able to equip and develop new programs in the Technical Occupational Phase, a Hair and Nail Salon, a computer skills room, a new sewing machine and most recently a laser cutter.  The school has partnered with a nail academy to offer a diploma program. Students can take a diploma course during high school so that when they exit grade 12, they are employable.
They also have a partnership with the Ekurhuleni Artisans and Skills Training Center to equip students with essential skills in a workshop environment. The laser cutter has enabled them to train all levels of students to take part in the line production process from designing and cutting through to finishing of the final product.
Carin van Vuuren getting to see the laser scanner in action
The school presently has 417 learners from preschool through to grade 12. They have a staff of educators, psychologists, physio and occupation therapists, speech therapists, classroom facilitators, a nurse, a social worker and a counsellor. They offer three streams of learning, Academic main stream, Vocational skills and Life skills. More recently they have been receiving an increased number of students with more severe disabilities, so their challenges are increasing. This means that they find they need more staff, a larger emphasis on vocational and life skills training. More assistants per room in turn necessitates larger rooms.  There is a limited social safety net for young adults with disabilities in South Africa and so learning a vocational skill to be able to function in society becomes a case of life and death for many of these students.
All in all, things are going well with the school. They are blessed with a wonderful dedicated staff.
They would like to once again express their heartfelt thanks to all the members of the Rotary Club of Strathcona and all of the other clubs in surrounding areas who donated so generously to the school over the past six years.  They wish us all the best in 2022.
New Hope School continues to equip Learners  Vi Hughes 2022-01-04 07:00:00Z 0

Eleni Gyra Hospice Update

Posted on Jan 04, 2022
The delivery of the washer, dryer and AC equipment whose purchase we supported took place on 18 Dec 2021.
Members of RC Ioannina, Vasili Papayanis, President Kosta Kontis and Nikos Liolios delivering the washer, dryer and AC equipment at “Eleni Gyra” Hospice on December 18, 2021.
President Kosta beside the washer, dryer and AC equipment.
Eleni Gyra Hospice Update  Vi Hughes 2022-01-04 07:00:00Z 0

Incoming Executive for the 2022-2023 Year

The three positions that were up for nominations were President Elect, Secretary and Director at Large. These positions were filled by Heather de Kok as President Elect, Trina Vandermeer as Secretary and Don Henry as Director at Large. We would like to thank these people for stepping up to help keep our club running smoothly.
Incoming Executive for the 2022-2023 Year  Vi Hughes 2021-12-20 07:00:00Z 0

Dec 2021 Wings Donations

Posted by Audrey Martyn
This year the Strathcona Rotary did the Wings Christmas Project collecting gift boxes of personal items for women and pj's for children. We collected 75 gift boxes and 100 pj's for Wings - we met our target and Rhonda from Wings was thrilled with our donation. Thank you to all the Rotarians who took part and to Arch Enterprises who teamed up with us again this year with a generous donation.
Dec 2021 Wings Donations  Audrey Martyn 2021-12-14 07:00:00Z 0

Daniel Schieman, Wings of Providence  

Posted on Dec 14, 2021
The speaker at this year’s Christmas Dinner was Daniel Schieman, the Community Engagement Officer from the Wings of Providence Shelter for women with children who have experienced family violence. Daniel gave a short presentation in which he told us how they provide shelter and support along with quality trauma informed programs for both women and children. He said that this past year has been a challenging one for them due to the effects of the COVID pandemic, with them seeing larger numbers of women and children in need. He then went on to tell us about the debut of their Wingman Campaign, which is designed for men who stand up and oppose family violence. He told us that they really appreciate incredible people like us who have been supporting them for a long time. They could not do it without us. He then went on to say that they would like to thank us for this year’s donations and wish us all a very merry Christmas.
Daniel Schieman, Wings of Providence    Vi Hughes 2021-12-14 07:00:00Z 0

Sad News on the Passing of Betty Germain

Posted by Carin Jansen van Vuuren
It’s with great sadness I have to inform you of the passing of Betty Germain, honorary member & wife of Charter President Johnny Germain as well as father to club members Ken and Eric Germain.
Message from the Germain family:
'Sad news. Our Mom, Betty Germain passed away peacefully this morning, in her sleep. The past few months especially saw her flame diminish. Her spark will stay with us forever. She was 95 1/2 years old. The Germain family will advise you of funeral arrangements.
Love to all. Carolyn, Allen, Ken, Eric and Denise.’
Our deepest condolences to the Germain family. We will always remember Betty as a lady with a lot of spunk, always smiling, always positive. It has been a privilege to know her and to learn from her. What an example to aspire to.
Sad News on the Passing of Betty Germain  Carin Jansen van Vuuren 2021-12-05 07:00:00Z 0

Upcoming Summer 2022 Visit from Jennifer Jones, RI President Elect 2022-23

We have news of great upcoming events that will occur late June into July 2022. Our Rotary International President-Elect Jennifer Jones 2022-23, with her husband Nick will be travelling across Canada stopping off at 13 hubs. Jennifer is the first woman ever to become the President of Rotary International! And she is Canadian! Jennifer Jones has demonstrated exceptional leadership in her personal, professional, and Rotary life.
We have had four meetings with Jennifer and her Cross Canada Tour Team to determine her vision, purpose and what she hopes to accomplish with the tour. Her mission is to showcase to the world that Canadian Rotarians are People of Action!
To date, I have met with present and future Governors to share some ideas for July 9, which is Jennifer’s arrival for a day in Edmonton. I was thrilled at the synergy and the many ideas that we will discussed and will follow up on.
I have invited a group of Rotarians to form a core committee that will put into action a program inviting our family of Rotary to demonstrate that we really are People of Action. The plan is to extend an invitation to Rotarians in our District to gather your ideas and examples of doing good in our communities.
As one of the chairs of the hubs, direction to us has been very clear that there are no borders for this tour and this is not a District event but a Canadian Rotary event with one of the hub stops in Edmonton. We are the only province to have two hub stops. Calgary will be hosting the RI 2025 Convention so Jennifer will be making a stop there as well. Calgary hub stop will involve the Calgary Stampede so the competition is on for us to make her stop in Edmonton over the top.
I hope you will embrace this exciting opportunity and be part of the Jennifer Jones Cross Canada Tour on July 9, 2022. Mark your calendars!
Warm Rotary regards,
Betty L Screpnek, Director
The Rotary Foundation Canada
Chair, TRFC Program Committee
Upcoming Summer 2022 Visit from Jennifer Jones, RI President Elect 2022-23  Betty Screpnek 2021-12-02 07:00:00Z 0

Hope Mission Donation

Posted by Audrey Martyn on Dec 01, 2021
Rose Marie and Audrey delivering the Rotary Club’s donation of 14 large garbage bags of: socks, underwear, shirts and pants, for men and women to the Hope Mission south side depot . We were met by Lauren Reid, Community Relations and left our donation with them Dec 1, 2021. Special thanks to all the staff and clients at Arch Enterprises for their generous donation to our donation to the Hope Mission.
Thank you to all those who dropped off donations.
Hope Mission Donation Audrey Martyn 2021-12-01 07:00:00Z 0

Harald Kukertz Scholarship Awarded

Our Student Scholarship this year has been awarded to Alleya Bourne, a member of the University of Alberta Rotaract club at the U of A. She is studying for a Bachelors degree in Neuroscience with the goal of becoming a naturopath.
Harald Kukertz Scholarship Awarded  Vi Hughes 2021-11-17 07:00:00Z 0

Dec 14, Annual Meeting and Christmas Party

Our Annual Meeting will be held on Tuesday 14 Dec at 12 noon.
This will then be followed by a Christmas Dinner and Party at 1:00 pm at the Woodvale Facility
Please register for this online as usual.
Dec 14, Annual Meeting and Christmas Party  Vi Hughes 2021-11-17 07:00:00Z 0

Chase the Ace Winner

We would like to congratulate Rose Marie Basaraba who was the winner of our latest Chase the Ace fundraiser for our Community Foundation which is used to fund our Student Scholarship program. 
Chase the Ace Winner Vi Hughes 2021-11-17 07:00:00Z 0

Step Up to the Plate Special Speaker, Paul Brandt

Nov 22, Rotary Club of Edmonton Downtown
We would like to extend an invitation to all Edmonton area Rotarians to attend the Rotary Club of Edmonton (Downtown)’s annual Step Up To The Plate Luncheon at noon on Monday, November 22.
This year’s key note speaker will be country music star Paul Brandt, chair of the provincial government’s task force on human trafficking. The primary beneficiary of the funds raised will be the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation ICEASES).
There are both in person (at the Chateau Lacombe Hotel) and on-line options
Tickets are $75 which will earn a $30 tax receipt. Get tickets at:
If you can’t attend, you can also support this worthwhile cause by purchasing tickets on our wine tree at .
Or by bidding on one of the attractive items in the online auction at
Step Up to the Plate Special Speaker, Paul Brandt  Jim Saunderson 2021-11-17 07:00:00Z 0

2022 Flag Program, Early Bird Special

Our Price for 2022 Flags is changing to $60 per year.
From now until December 31 you can pay for the 2022 flag year and the cost will be just $50.00.
Starting January 1 the cost will be $60.00.
2022 Flag Program, Early Bird Special  Vi Hughes 2021-11-17 07:00:00Z 0

November is Foundation Month

Posted by Bob Sandercock
The Foundation is Rotary's fund raising charitable arm to" Do Good in the World".
Donations can be to the Annual Fund, Polio Plus Fund, endowment fund, bequest fund or as a benefactor.
Your donation to the funds will be given a tax receipt so you will get a reduction on your taxes by the government.
The focus areas of the foundation are:
1. Promoting peace and conflict resolution.
2. Fighting disease
3. Providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene
4. Supporting education
5. Growing local economies
6. Supporting the environment
The aim of the foundation is to have "Every Rotarian Every Year" donate at least $25 US toward the above areas of focus. That is only about $1 per day Canadian $ for one month or 10 cents per day for a year.
Please research the Foundation by going to My Rotary web site.
There is extensive information there.
Means of donating:
1. Rotary Direct which is an automatic donation via credit card monthly, quarterly or annually.
2. Phone direct at toll free 1 866 976-8279 to The Rotary Foundation Canada
3. By mailing a cheque to the foundation or the foundation chair
4. On line at
Donations will be credited to your account and a Paul Harris recognition will be given to you for every $1,000 US
that you donate over one or several years.
Don't put it off or I will be contacting you every month!!!
Our club is one of the highest contributors per member to the Foundation. Lets keep that up this Rotary year also.
Thank you in advance for all your generosity to Rotary.
Bob Sandercock
November is Foundation Month  Bob Sandercock 2021-11-17 07:00:00Z 0
1924 Rotary Cartoon Ken Germaine 2021-11-06 06:00:00Z 0

Oct Update, Amarok Mothers School, Dhaka

Dear Members of the Rotary Clubs of Strathcona, Mayfield, Urban Spirits, Whyte Avenue, Grand Prairie and Hinton,
We hope you all are well. We are not very good as our life is going through many challenges after the covid crisis.
The season is changing, children are suffering in fever & cough. As still very few less than 3% people are infection by covid, we always advised people to go a doctor if the sickness is longer. However, we have a common problem for children in our slum like ‘pneumonia’ in every year. Often the local doctors prescribe antibiotic which is very much harmful for the growth of human body especially for children and we strongly suggest not to take antibiotic rather wait or take other precautions to cure from the cough and fever. Actually, we have learnt about the bad impact of ‘antibiotic’ from our teacher which she learnt from Gem Munro sir who came from Canada. In our slum and country people do not know about it. We know and share with other people of the slums about the good bacteria and bad, how it damages the natural immunity.
Our friend Rubi has been sick for couple of days. She has a different case caught by Dengue fever. Doctor gave some medicine for treatment of dengue. After taking medicine she feels well now. She told us, “2 years before I had caught by typhoid very badly. I was very sick and nobody was there to take care of me. Even I couldn’t take the medicine properly following the doctor’s prescription because that time I was illiterate. A neighbor who lived little far from my house helped me to understand the doctor’s advice. But now my friends around me, supporting me and I can take care of myself easily. Nowadays, I help other in their needs”. Rubi added that she is confident now and believes she can do many things on her own. Our education has given us such courage and all mothers of our school is like Rubi.
Another common disease in our country is ‘diabetic’. In our communities many people are suffering in diabetics even some of our mothers, their husbands and family members are suffering in this disease. Even many people do not know about their disease as they do not test their blood sugar. When they feel weak, health break they do test and very scared to know about it. In our school our teacher arranged a drama session to give us the massage of diabetic. We performed in the drama and other community observed our drama and got many messages about diabetic. Drama and role-play are always a good way to say something to others keeping their full interest till the end. But when we discuss or say something people loss interest in a few minutes. People enjoy, understand the messages well, enter into their heart when the presentations are interactive like drama or through images. We also aware people to take less carbohydrates although rice is our main food. 
Our session covered;
  • What is diabetic and why it attacks?
  • Types of diabetics
  • Symptoms of the disease
  • What should do and shouldn’t for a diabetic patient
  • Perfect food chart for a diabetic patient and such
Baby Begum and Molina of our friends in school were very attentive and interested in the session because they are suffering in diabetic. After getting information they keep control of foods, do exercise, eating more vegetables and do regular walking. A diabetic patient needs periodic checkup of blood sugar and by any reason if the sugar level goes high or very low should go to doctor for medicine. Our teacher also provides us the name and address of a government specialized diabetics hospital where we can meet specialized diabetic doctors and do blood test with very little cost as a token. We are grateful to her for the information. More interesting our friends Baby Begum and Molina are leading the team to share the message in the slums around that people become aware about ‘diabetics’.
We shared before about the days of Shorifa, now her baby is 8 months and she is giving him a compact meal with crashed rice, lentils and vegetable which she has learnt in ‘child food & nutrition training’ in Amarok School. She told us “When I play with him and talk to him. It seems to me that he understands my words. He is healthy and not suffering in any major disease as I take care of him very well because now, I know how to take care and feed at this age. After joining in Mother School there are lots of changes in my life and I am a happy person. But when I was new in school, I had many wrong believes about child development but after receiving many sessions now I am fully aware about child development and nutrition”. She is attending in school regularly with her little baby. We all love her baby very much. Our school is running well. Last week Shorifa conducted a session in our classroom on “caring newborn baby”. She smiled and conducted the session with confidently from her own experience.
Mina is enjoying her responsibility as the Librarian of Amarok library and focusing her goal to develop reading habit among children. She can see community people & children like to read story books more. If she can develop a large number readers including children, we will successful.
Now many of our friends do small street and mobile selling for earning as we all want economic empowerment. Fully depending on husband’s income is not safe and respectful, almost all mothers are experienced of that. We have realized the need of savings during the covid lockdown and joblessness.  Our friend Jhinuk has started to sell inexpensive cloths, with her little savings. She went to ‘Islampur’ a wholesale market to buy cheaper ladies wear and child readymade dress with help of Rumi. Sheuli is very good at sewing work. Sometimes she buys old dresses and modify size. Jhinuk shared her initiative with her and got the business idea. After that she collected cloths and sells them by feet for 2 hours every day walking around. She also has started to go door to door for selling. Her husband is very happy as her earnings afoords the family to eat better and could save some to meet the future crisis. Her husnad sometimes goes with her and carries the goods. We want to change our lives by education, by educating all children of our slum and being independent in earnings.
We are not only learning in our school but also doing good for our community. Our friend Parul has a small deposit in a Cooperative which is in Satarkul a little far from our place. She goes there once in a month for deposit her saving. One day she examined her deposit book with the office ledger and became surprised to see the balance as they did not put entry all the amount. Immidiately she raised her voice and asked for a checking. The staff wanted to do it later but she said, “it has to be now, in front of me”. After the checking the errors found in the office ledger and possibly the corruption was done by the corrector intentionally. But the in-charge instantly corrected her book adding the amount she should get. Next day in our school she told us her story confidently and we all inspired. It happened to many of our lives when we were illiterate but now does not happen now.
With our love and respect to you,
Rubi, Sheuli, Baby, Jhinuk, Molina and Mina
(Mothers of Combined Rotary Mothers’ School, Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Oct Update, Amarok Mothers School, Dhaka Vi Hughes 2021-11-06 06:00:00Z 0

Monica Robson, Pilgrims Hospice

This past week we heard from Monica Robson, the Executive Director of the Pilgrim’s Hospice Society. The hospice was founded in Edmonton in 1994 by Dr. Helen Hays and Marion Boyd. They offer hospice services including a Day Program, Grief Support for both individuals and groups to adults, teens, children and families. They also have the new twelve bed Harold Roozen Family Hospice Center, a residential hospice which opened this year. They are a registered charity that is ninety seven percent funded by donations. Their day program is supported by Alberta Health Services, which comprises three percent of their overall funding. They are governed by a Board of Directors. In addition to their professional staff they rely on trained volunteers for many different functions. They also have five physicians working with them who work in the facility as well as doing home visits. All of their programs are free to participants. They are located in west Edmonton near 148 St and 98 Ave.

Monica told us that most people would prefer to die at home, but in Alberta about sixty percent of people die in hospital. Most people need some level of 24/7 care in their final days and this is very hard to provide at home. A hospice which sits between home and hospital care can provide a residential atmosphere while still providing the nursing and health care aide support needed. She said that they rely on the same criteria as AHS for admissions, but they are not part of the AHS hub system. They keep their own waiting list, take direct referrals and make their own decisions on admissions.  She said that quality of life should also include death.  Families need room to grieve and they do their best to assist this. They firmly believe in the principle that no one dies alone. She then showed us a video of the new hospice facility through the eyes of a family with a family member who was a resident of the facility.  We would like to thank Monica for her very interesting and moving presentation.

Monica Robson, Pilgrims Hospice  Vira Hughes 2021-11-02 06:00:00Z 0

WP Wagner Interact Club Day of Service

Posted by Richard Karlsson on Oct 17, 2021
Background for the Joint Service Week:
Rotary International is partnering with our friends at Kiwanis International, Lions Clubs International, and Optimist International to increase our collective impact through community service.
Celebrate Community was a weeklong service event taking place 10-16 October. During this time, Rotary, Rotaract, Kiwanis, Lions, and Optimist clubs were encouraged to collaborate with one another to complete a service project that benefits the community.
We chose to collaborate with our Interact club at WP Wagner High School. We were very curious about our young partners, since we have not been able to see them during the pandemic. This gave us a wonderful opportunity to “interact” with the students in a relaxed and cooperative way.
The mission was a cleanup in the sports field in front of the school and the ravine behind the school. We met at the greenhouses at WP Wagner in the morning. The event lasted just short of three hours. There was intense activity, and the group almost filled the refuse container at the school.
7 Rotarians attended (+1 grandson who worked hard as a human scale for weighing the collected bags). They were:
Vincent Campbell
Patrick Gibson
Carin Jansen van Vuuren
Stephan Jansen van Vuuren
Richard Karlsson
Jim Peddie
Amy Stewart
We were very impressed with the 12 interact members that attended. They are mature, friendly, and intelligent. We had lovely weather & it was interesting and fun talking with the students while we were working.
A big thank you to the president of WP Wagner Interact Club, Abinash Saravanan. This was a very nice format; we should do it again next year!
WP Wagner Interact Club Day of Service Richard Karlsson 2021-10-17 06:00:00Z 0

Oct Foundation Moment

Please make your donation online at Rotary Foundation Canada or send cheque by mail to Bob Sandercock at 120 Twin Brooks Cove, Edmonton, T6J 6T1
Oct Foundation Moment  Bob Sandercock 2021-10-12 06:00:00Z 0

Calen Paine, Wise Warrior Gym

Posted by Trina Vandermeer on Oct 05, 2021
In the Self-Defence Industry, there is a standard that states you may not recognize the best trained people because you never see them coming. They don’t flaunt their skills/talent/training, they just DO it.
This is the standard Wise Warrior Gym Founder/Owner/Director, Calen Paine, not only practices in his personal humble style, but the standard to which he leads and challenges his students to attain and maintain.
With 26 years in the Self-Defence industry, Paine, a 50 something, braided mohawk sporting, wiry, part-time musician, brings his quick wit, a wealth of knowledge, and experience to all his classes and students.  Whether they come from a career-based learning (Law Enforcement/Security/EMS/Social Services or a needs-based learning (students being bullied/persons being stalked); or the general public who want a 2-for-1 (physical fitness and Personal Safety) Program—wrapped up into one, time-saving package.
Asked how he got involved with training, Paine, with his usual self-deprecating humour laughed, “…I was a skinny kid, tired of being picked on….I wanted to meet girls…It was just my thing.” And over the years, his thing became a passion, and his passion became a career.  “Let’s face it, Self-Defence can be a “dark” subject—nobody likes to consider the need for it, so I wanted to make it “light”—take away some of the things that intimidate people about training and make it accessible for everyone.” A gong, music, the occasional personal serenade by Paine are regular Training techniques at the Wise Warrior Gym which focuses not only on the physical but also on the mental processes useful to self-protection and in many cases, personal growth.
“The best part of my job now is watching the development in others—seeing them reach their goals, whether it a new skill that helps their confidence, or tactical thinking that helps them feel safe in their surroundings, or them (the student) bringing real-life, on the job situations they didn’t know how to handle, or maybe weren’t successful with, and working it through so they can try something new the next time they face the situation. It’s just a great feeling.”
Paine doesn’t believe self-defence is just for kids or athletes. His brand of Jiu-Jitsu based martial arts, incorporates a number of other practices which has resulted in a fluid teaching style which allows him to, when needed, tailor the program to the needs of the student based on their age, fitness level, training purpose, and commitment level.
Located at 12832-141St, Wise Warrior Gym serves the Edmonton community with classes for those age five to 75, including the “SAFE” Program (Situational Awareness For Everyone/Everyday/Everywhere) which he is offering the three-session “Hard Target: Intro to Self-Defence”  through October and November to Rotary Club members for an Introductory price of $125 vs the usual $175 price. The program which focuses on awareness, pro-active planning vs reactive response, and some basic de-escalation techniques is a good place to start your self-defence/fitness routine in a Training center where Safety Procedures—including all Co-Vid protocols and Social Distancing are in place.  For those with some basic training and looking for something a bit more challenging,  personal one-on-one sessions, Weapons Training and Retention, and group training sessions are all available upon request.
You’ll need a comfy pair of pants and t-shirt, indoor shoes or clean socks as street shoes are not permitted, and the expectation of learning something new to attend, BUT, leave your ego at home as everyone attending class is there to learn and connect with others with the same purpose.
For more information or to register for the Rotary Club Special, Calen can be reached directly at 780-667-9911.
Calen Paine, Wise Warrior Gym  Trina Vandermeer 2021-10-05 06:00:00Z 0

Bob Sandercock, Sep Foundation Update

Posted by Bob Sandercock on Oct 01, 2021
So far five members have donated to the foundation this Rotary year.
The club donations since chartering now stand at $498,922 US so we have $1,078 US to go to go over the top of $1/2 million US in donations.
I have a nice bottle of bubbly for the member who puts us over the top! November is Foundation month but any time is donation time. Whether it is $25 US or greater any donation will count toward the bottle of bubbly.  Also I have in my budget over $200 to celebrate at an in person meeting with a glass of bubbly for everyone.
The executive has again passed a resolution to match up to 200 recognition points to members who have never contributed or did not contribute last year.
Just let me know when you contribute and the amount, the exchange rate is 1.27 this month.
The easiest way to contribute is to phone RI toll free at 1-866-976-8279. Other methods are to mail in, use rotary direct payments, benefactor donations, bequests, or give your donation to me made out to The Rotary Foundation Canada and I will process it.
By Phone:           1-866-976-8279
Rotary Direct:
By cheque:         The Rotary Foundation (Canada)
                                c/o 911600
                                PO Box 4090 Stn A
                                Toronto, ON, M5W 0E9
To me:                  120 Twin Brooks Cove
                                Edmonton, T6J 6T1
Donations are to be in Canadian dollars and you will receive a Canadian tax receipt for your donation.
Bob Sandercock, Sep Foundation Update  Bob Sandercock 2021-10-01 06:00:00Z 0

Attention, ALL Members

In person meetings have been put on hold. Our Club is once again meeting by ZOOM every two weeks. A link to the ZOOM meeting will be emailed by Graham Gilchrist to all members and invited meeting attendees. 
Attention, ALL Members Vi Hughes 2021-09-28 06:00:00Z 0

Alan Nursall, Telus World of Science

Posted by Vi Hughes
This past week we heard from Alan Nursall, President and CEO of Telus World of Science. Alan thanked us for the sensory back packs and read a note that he had recently received from a mother who had recently visited the Telus World of Science with her nine year old son. She said that the backpack had really helped him to be able to enjoy their visit to the Science Centre.
Alan told us that the Science Centre opened in Edmonton in 1984 and that when he came to it in 2014 they were thinking about how to update it to best serve the City. The plan that was decided upon was called the Aurora Project, which was an ambitious multi year program to completely update the facility. At that time they asked the city for twelve million dollars and since then they have raised forty one million dollars towards the renovation.  This renovation which began in 2016 is almost complete now. They plan to be done in early 2022. The Science Centre space has been expanded to twenty thousand sq ft. housed in the new Cardinal building and includes many new or reimagined galleries including CuriousCITY (for children eight and under), The Science Garage (with hands on experiments), The Nature Exchange, The Health Zone in the Allard Family Gallery, a reimagined S.P.A.C.E. Gallery and a new Arctic Exhibit in the Newell Gallery. The renovations also included a completely renovated state of the art Zeidler Dome.
Alan told us that the Telus World of Science is the second largest ticketed admissions facility in Alberta after the Calgary Zoo. In 2019 (pre COVID) they had 560,000 ticketed admissions. They also have about 90,000 students visit per year and have recently put 30,000 students through online school programs and 1,000 students through online summer programs. Their hope is to be able to inspire young people to become thinkers and creators. They also take part in many projects that bring science to the general public around the province such as the dark sky event that takes place in Jasper every fall.
We would like to thank Alan for his very interesting presentation and look forward to being able to work with them in some small way again in  the future.
Alan Nursall, Telus World of Science  Vi Hughes 2021-09-21 06:00:00Z 0

Bernd Reuscher Memoriam

Posted by Rose Marie Basaraba
The Rotary Club of Edmonton Strathcona mourns the loss of our member of 31 years following a major brain aneurism. Bernd Reuscher was a staunch supporter of the Paul Harris Fund who shared his physical support at meetings and special events.  As guest speaker at our July 27th Rotary meeting he shared some of his personal connection with Germany and Canada as well as his International ventures. During his presentation to our Club based on his personal experience with COVID and loss of business, Bernd quoted a phrase used in Germany following the recent major flooding in Lipsieg: “The end is near: actually, it is just the beginning” prior to describing changes in his own life which resulted in poor health, depression and bankruptcy. Sadly, his personal commitment to change his own life based on having a ‘second chance’ ended with his passing exactly three weeks after his presentation (he did not share these thoughts with his family). Bernd’s intelligence, thoughtful and kind demeanor will be missed.
Bernd Reuscher Memoriam  Rose Marie Basaraba 2021-09-14 06:00:00Z 0

Membership Event- 11 Sep 2021

Posted by Richard Karlsson
  • Membership chair (Richard Karlsson) welcomed everyone to the event
  • New members were finally properly introduced to the club:
    • Norman Leach (in the company of wife Maritza)
    • Amy Stewart
  • Prospective members were introduced:
    • Kim Schmidt & husband Peter (guests of Heather de Kok, introduced by Carin Jansen van Vuuren)
    • Rhonda Smith in the company of partner Ben Gomez (introduced by Stephan Jansen van Vuuren)
    • Candace Cole (introduced by Amy Stewart)
    • Jacquie Riske in the company of husband Ken (introduced by Ken Germain)
  • Information of the objectives of Rotary were given as information to new & prospective members
  • Assistant District Governor (District 5370) Jeanette Bancarz (in the company of husband Marc Hanatschek) was our honored guest and gave the club the best wishes from the district.
  • The Paul Harris Fellowship Award was given to Ellen Weber.
  • Committee Reports:
    • Foundation (Bob Sandercock)
    • International (Patrick Gibson for Loida Lumanlan)
    • Youth (Brenda McCullough)
    • Flag Program (Vince Campbell)
    • Community (Carin Jansen van Vuuren for Trina Vandermeer)
  • An outstanding brisket was served, and the rest of the evening was a successful social event.
Membership committee
Richard Karlsson
Stephan Jansen van Vuuren
Membership Event- 11 Sep 2021 Richard Karlsson 2021-09-13 06:00:00Z 0
Sep Foundation Moment Vi Hughes 2021-09-13 06:00:00Z 0

Ellen Weber, Paul Harris Fellow Presentation

Posted by Bob Sandercock on Sep 11, 2021
The Rotary Foundation was set up over 100 years ago to raise money for the many international and community projects that the various worldwide Rotary clubs sponsor each year. The donations are divided into district grants which each club has access to, global grants for larger projects and disaster response grants. Global grants are for support of fighting diseases, providing clean water-sanitation and hygiene, education, women and child welfare, promoting peace, growing local economies and protecting the environment.
Our club has raised almost half a million US$ for the foundation since being chartered. Last year we raised over $27,000 US for the annual and polio plus funds with 75% of our members donating $25 US or more to the foundation. Of charitable organizations, ours (Rotary) has received the highest 4 star rating from the Charity Navigator for 13 straight years. There are several ways of donating and I will outline them in the club bulletin in the future. You can also look up all the information on the Foundation by going to the My Rotary Foundation web site.
Paul Harris Fellow recognitions are given out to members who have contributed $1,000 US or more and to persons who the club or other members feel have contributed to the well being of Rotary. Last year 27 Paul Harris Fellow were given out plus 3 major donor recognitions.
It is with pleasure that we give a Paul Harris Fellow to our past member Ellen Weber for all the work she had done for the club.
Ellen Weber, Paul Harris Fellow Presentation Bob Sandercock 2021-09-11 06:00:00Z 0

New Member Welcome BBQ

Posted by Vi Hughes on Sep 11, 2021
This Saturday we held a BBQ at the home of Carin and Stephan Jansen van Vuuren to welcome our new members to Rotary.
See the photo album below for more pictures from this event. 
Our very generous hosts opened their home and large outdoor patio and served us smoked brisket with a large helping of hospitality. The word was that Stephan got up at 3 am! to start smoking the brisket, which was perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious!
The program from Richard Karlsson, our Membership Chairperson and Carin, our President gave a short introduction to Rotary and what it represents for our new members. It also included a Paul Harris Fellowship presentation to Ellen Weber, our past Membership Chairperson.
Everyone who attended had a wonderful time visiting with each other while knoshing on snacks and warming themselves around the three fires (two propane and one bonfire). The cloudy weather held off and we ended the evening with an almost clear sky.
A good time was had by all who attended and we would like to extend a very big thankyou to our very gracious hosts, Stephan and Carin.
New Member Welcome BBQ  Vi Hughes 2021-09-11 06:00:00Z 0

Terry Vaughn, What’s the Buzz about Bees

Posted by Vi Hughes on Sep 07, 2021
This past week we were pleased to welcome Terry Vaughn, a local business woman (The Humble Bee) and bee keeper. Terry brought along a live observation hive that was buzzing with bees and gave a very engaging presentation on the lives of bees and their importance in the environment.
Terry, who is a former schoolteacher, and her husband Jeff, started bee keeping in 2016 after her husband was diagnosed with arthritis and found he could not tolerate many different kinds of foods, including nearly all sugars, with the exception of natural maple syrup and honey. Switching up his diet made a huge difference in his life, so he and Terry decided to go into the bee keeping business, both to supply their household with enough honey for their needs and as a profitable business. They now have twenty-six hives. Terry said that it was a very steep learning curve and they are still learning. Terry also shares her knowledge of bees by giving talks to local schoolchildren and other groups. They  make and sell honey (two thousand pounds this year) and bees wax products such as wax coated food wrappers and bees wax candles.
Terry says that bees are like babies, they take a lot of care and attention. In our climate they need hives made of material that can resist the extreme cold and keep the bees warm and dry thoughout the year. The bees need to keep their hive at a constant thirty five degrees in all weather and they also need to control the humidity in their hive in order to stay healthy. The outside of the each bee hive is painted in a different colour so the bees can find their way home. The only colour not used is red, as bees cannot see this colour.
The yearly cycle of a beehive starts in the spring when the queen bee can lay up to three thousand eggs a day. The eggs take twenty-one days to become adult bees. The worker bees (girl bees) do all the work in the hive from cleaning out empty cells to feeding and cleaning the queen, gathering nectar (honey) and pollen, making new cells, feeding the young and helping to maintain the constant temperature and humidity in the hive by fanning their wings. The drones (boy bees) only purpose is to fertilize the queen. The drones are killed off before winter as they are not needed again until spring. Queen bees live three to five years, worker bees only forty-five days in spring and summer and up to one hundred days in winter. By fall the queen is laying very few eggs and the hive is preparing for winter by filling and capping cells with honey and pollen to keep them over winter. The hive is still buzzing all winter long as the bees still raise a small number of young to replace those who die. They also need to go outside once in a while to do their business, as they will not go inside the hive. They will fly a short distance from the hive just long enough to do their business on warm winter days. The main threats to a hive are mites, moisture, humidity and starvation, especially in April before the flowers come into bloom. It is important for bee keepers to leave their hives with enough honey to last through the end of April.
Bees are the main pollinators of most of our native plants and agricultural crops. Bees will forage up to six kilometers out from their hive. They look for nectar and pollen from all kinds of plants, so no bee keeper can truly say their honey is only from one plant. They also need a clean safe source of water for drinking year round. Bees are an essential part of our ecosystem and we need to support them in every way we can. We would like to thank Terry for her very interesting and entertaining presentation.
Terry Vaughn, What’s the Buzz about Bees  Vi Hughes 2021-09-07 06:00:00Z 0

Sep 21 Project Amigo Update

Posted on Sep 06, 2021
Hello, good morning, dear members of the Rotary Club of Edmonton Strathcona, I introduce myself, my name is Lety and I am part of Project Amigo.
I am getting in touch with you to inform you that unfortunately your goddaughter from Project Amigo, Yosselin Méndez Ramírez, is leaving the scholarship program, since she did not manage to be accepted at the University of Colima where she took the admission exam, she did not remain in the career in the which did the paperwork, which was Architecture and since it was not, she was insisting both at the University of Colima and at the Technological University of Colima, both schools are the only public schools that offer the Architecture degree, but it was not accepted either, so decides to study in a private school, which is called Vizcaya University, Yosselin is aware that Project Amigo cannot support her to study in private schools, she is determined to study in this private university and to pay for the expenses, she will work and her parents will also they will be helping to cover expenses.
Yosselin will contact you shortly to thank you for all the time you have been supporting her with her generous sponsorship.
Thank you for the trust placed in Project Amigo, thank you for helping to change the lives of children and young people.
For any clarification, please direct your questions to Mr. Kirk Dretzka, General Manager and Mr. Jorge Torres, Director of Student Services.
I bid you farewell with gratitude and respect.
Lety Valle
Dear Rotary Club Edmonton Strathcona sponsors!
Hello, dear sponsors, how are you?
It is a pleasure for me to be able to greet you through this letter, but I also feel sad since I will stop being a fellow at Proyecto Amigo, due to complications that I had at the school I wanted to enter since I was not accepted, that is why I decided that I am going to study Architecture at another school that does not qualify for the Proyecto Amigo scholarship.
I assure you that even if I no longer continue in the Scholarship Program, I will always continue to strive to achieve my goals and be able to finish a professional career, just as I have always told you.
During this time that I was a fellow at Proyecto Amigo I felt very good, I learned many things and was always supported, I met great people and always learned from them, I keep many good things and many experiences.
I thank you with all my heart and I will always be grateful for all the support you gave me during these 3 years, I feel very happy to have shared so many things with you, but above all for knowing that there are people like you with a good heart and very generous who they are always ready to support others. My family and I are very grateful to you for all the financial support you gave me for my school expenses, as I told you at the beginning, even if I do not continue with the scholarship, I will always strive to meet my goals and be able to finish a professional career and be a great professional.
I say goodbye to you, wishing you have an excellent day, that you always have good health and that you are always very lucky in the work you do every day, I will always remember you and carry you on my mind and in my heart. My family and I send you a big hug.
Thank you for everything, I will be eternally grateful, I love you.
With much affection, love and gratitude,
Yosselin Méndez Ramírez.
Sep 21 Project Amigo Update  Vi Hughes 2021-09-06 06:00:00Z 0

Bernd Reuscher’s passing

Our dear friend and fellow Rotarian Bernd Reuscher passed away August 17th from a devastating stroke.
Our deepest condolences go out to his wife Wendy, his children, and the rest of the family.
The Club was blessed to have Bernd as our speaker on July 27th when we returned to in-person meetings. Bernd was a ​Rotarian for almost 21 years and his extraordinary skills to create goodwill and better friendships, even over the Atlantic, stands as a testament of the exceptional person he was. He will be ​missed, but never forgotten.
The Funeral Service for Bernd Reuscher will take place on Monday, Aug 30th.
To respect everyone's comfort level and given the evolving nature of the COVID pandemic and restrictions on both gatherings and travel, they are providing two options for attendance (in person and by live stream).
The family is asking you to RSVP how you will be joining them by using this LINK
Bernd Reuscher’s passing 2021-08-26 06:00:00Z 0
Rotary Foundation Moment Vi Hughes 2021-08-25 06:00:00Z 0

Norman Leach, New Member Induction

Posted on Aug 24, 2021
Our Newest Member
This Tuesday, Past Pres Stephan Jansen van Vuuren inducted Norman Leach as our newest club member with the classification of Marketing Consultant.
He reminded all that Rotary is not just another club. It's a way of life. He told Norman he was elected to membership because we felt he would fit into this way of life. Always remember Rotary's two official mottoes: “Service Above Self “and “One Profits Most Who Serves Best.”
Every member is expected to perform his share of club and community service, and the committees of our club will afford him opportunities to give service. For the rest of this Rotary year, Norman will be serving on the International committee.
In closing Stephan said “Lastly, but by no means least, is our ideal of friendship. As you expect to receive, so give. May you be stimulated by the friendship you find here and may we in return know you to be an added source of strength to our club. Rotary is like everything else - you get out of it what you put into it.”
We would like to welcome Norman to our club and look forward to getting to know him better.
Norman Leach, New Member Induction  2021-08-24 06:00:00Z 0

Graham Gilchrist, Classification Talk

This Tuesday we were pleased to hear a very interesting talk from our long-time member Graham Gilchrist. Graham told us that that he first became interested in Rotary in 2002 when he went to Indonesia on a Rotary Group Study Exchange. After returning to Canada he joined Rotary in Vegreville, and then continued with Rotary once he moved to Edmonton. Graham told us that he has been a licensed Agrologist for more than thirty years and currently holds two licenses, one in Alberta and the other in British Columbia. When he left public service, about five years ago, he started his own consulting company, focused on the corporate side of agrology. Four years ago he started doing forensic agrology, working as an independent expert witness in cases involving disputes concerning agriculturally related cases. He now also holds a private investigator license which allows him to testify in court in these types of cases.
He then went on to talk about some of the many interesting public cases he has been involved with over the past few years. He has been asked to certify that fields qualify for inclusion in the carbon credit market or to determine how many acres have been damaged for insurance or remuneration purposes. He has also been asked to determine whether the cattle included in an estate still exist, whether a crop has been harvested last fall or more recently and is often asked for evaluations on farming corporations, land or labour (seeding, fertilizing, combining) used to determine settlements between two opposing parties. He also does costing out calculations for valuations of carbon credits, supply chain systems, and costing out of expenses used to set prices for products. In some cases he advises on the division of labour, which types of decisions are best made by the corporate board, and which should be made by the corporate manager. He has also done water flow trending for the Milk River in order to inform how Canada can fulfill it’s commitment to the international water commission. Graham said that he often finds he can give people solutions to problems they never even knew they had!
We would like to thank Graham for this very interesting glimpse into his work and can see that he is a good representative for the principles of Rotary.
Graham Gilchrist, Classification Talk  Vi Hughes 2021-08-24 06:00:00Z 0
No Advance Registration or Payment Required for Meetings  Vi Hughes 2021-08-05 06:00:00Z 0

Bob Sandercock, RCES Final Foundation Report for 2020-2021 Year

Posted by Bob Sandercock
Our club’s total donations since being chartered stand at $496,848 US.
We will easily surpass the half million $ mark in the 2021-2022 year.
I will give a prize to the member who puts it over the top.
I can get that information from RI.
Also I will have an open bar with members getting one drink ticket for a bubbly wine to celebrate.
Our total donations this past year were $27,309 US.
That comprised of $18,043 US for the Annual fund.
and $9,286 US for the Polio Plus fund.
36 members donated which is 75% of our members which is short of my lofty goal of 100%.
29 members were Every Rotarian Every Year ($25 US or more).
27 were sustaining members ($100 US or more).
The average donation was $535 US per member.
We had 27 Paul Harris Fellows presented.
Also there were two new Major donors recognized ($10,000 US or more).
And one Major donor level 2 recognized ($20,000 US or more).
I will try to present all of the recognitions at in person meetings.
I would like to thank all our members for being so generous in such a difficult year.
Contacting each member is so much better in person than on the phone.
However I did enjoy all of the phone calls.
Bob Sandercock, RCES Final Foundation Report for 2020-2021 Year  Bob Sandercock 2021-08-05 06:00:00Z 0

Bernd Reuscher, Living Through Trying Times

Posted by Rose Marie Basaraba on Jul 27, 2021
Bernd engaged the attention of fellow members and guests with a partial review of his life as a child escaping East Germany with his family through the underground tunnels of Berlin in 1946 to completion of his Engineering degree in 1994. Through the years he has continued to promote relations between Canada, Alberta and the Republic of Germany along with fellow Rotarians, Fritz Koenig and Hugo Lehmann.
In his presentation which he referenced to a newspaper article “The end is near, actually this is just the beginning” he focused on a personal experience that reflected on being allowed another chance in life, much as the Germans who survived two major floods and rebuilt their communities and their lives.
In late January, 2020, with no direct flight from Hong Kong, he was forced to take a flight home from Singapore in less than admirable conditions. After arriving home he began experiencing respiratory problems which resulted in his being admitted to the Royal Alexandra Hospital from the end of May to the end of June when he was discharged after determining he did not have COVID.  His recovery meant that he was unable to monitor his business and was forced to sell his assets: keeping afloat was a nightmare. This situation brought on a severe depression and referral to a Psychiatrist which eventually lead to a personal testament to his ability to overcome procrastination in completing those ‘personal duties’ ie. Wills, etc.
Recalling his involvement in assisting provinces in Germany to rebuild following devastating flooding and loss of lives (more recently Leipzig), he determined he now had been given a second chance to rebuild his life as well. His determination is built in the belief that there is always a new beginning: fear and worry or makes us stronger. People come together to help one another in a show of solidarity: being there for one another. COVID affected everyone: adversity is a part of life’s plan; suffering is optional. Bernd recommends the following for a more satisfying life:
Switch off the TV: it provides an endless embodiment of bad news.
Be selective with the people: surround yourself with positive people.
Music: Enjoy favorite music: it is an absolute healer
Be in Nature: nature is therapeutic
Start treating yourself: small things in life are a big deal.
Thank you, Bernd, for this very sobering and therapeutic presentation.
Bernd Reuscher, Living Through Trying Times  Rose Marie Basaraba 2021-07-27 06:00:00Z 0

Trina VanderMeer, Community Service Committee Update

Posted by Trina Vandermeer on Jul 26, 2021
A busy time for the Community Services chaired by Trina VanderMeer
A Walk to Remember took place June 29th in the INEW Indigenous Park, a subsection of Queen Elizabeth Park, which combined both a ParticiPACTION Grant from the Federal Government with the Diversity Focus implemented by Rotary at both the District and International levels.
The walk saw 16 participants review North American history from the Indigenous perspective through a blanket ceremony and Smudge presented by a representative of the ISKEW healing center. Cree Subs provided soup and Bannock for the event which had 13 of the 16 attendees indicate they enjoyed the experience, and 4 attendees ask if another such event could be held with time for a Q and A session, and the suggestion of possibly a Sweat Lodge experience be included. This is currently being looked into as an educational opportunity to be arranged privately, so if you’re interested, please let Trina know.
The second priority Phase 2 and 3 of the “Accessibility Back Pack Program.”
This joint effort between Rotary Club of Edmonton Strathcona (RCES) and Variety Children’s Charity, saw the “building” of 30 backpacks at Wise Warrior Gym by two AMAZING teams of Rotary members—The Tuesday night team was led by Vince and Vi, who had MOST of the entire team’s focus completed before everyone showed up…which allowed for some face-to-face friendship!
The Wednesday night team took longer—TWO Presidents on site, Jim Peddie and Carin Jansen van Vuuren - what do you expect — they broke or broke-in new member Amy Stewart who had some difficulty keeping track of her squeaky toys!
Thank you to both Loida, and Rose Marie—who were quite disappointed the work were completed too quickly for them to feel like they worked hard!
Then Phase 3 of this project kicked off with President Van Vuuren and Community lead Vandermeer dropping of 10 completed back packs at the Edmonton Co-op in Hawkstone to District Manager Kris and Store Manager Karl, for Distribution to their 5 local stores. Training for these folks is slated for July 28th via Zoom.
Ninety-minutes later, Jansen van Vuuren, Peddie, and Vandermeer, met up with Variety Children’s Charity representative Carole Alvarez-Cornell, and presented the Telus World of Science Center with two backpacks.
The team of Telus, including CEO Alan Nursall and a representative from each department, took our team to the new children’s imagination center, where they promptly started playing with all the Sensory-based toys supplied, while OUR team played in the Airplane. Jim said Sir Richard Branson reached the edge of space & Jeff Bezos successfully completed a historic space launch. Now two Rotarians are on their way - one small step for Rotary!
Watch out for Alan Nursall and his team to visit a future club meeting and update RCES on the $40m renovation the Telus World of Science Center is currently undergoing over the next year and offer funding opportunities for our two groups to work together on.
In the meantime, if you have any suggestions on where you think we should put the Sensory Backpacks, let Trina know. She is currently working on supplying them to the Edmonton Zoo and West Edmonton Mall and waiting for contact info from members regarding Ronald McDonald House and Stollery Children’s Hospital.
Trina VanderMeer, Community Service Committee Update  Trina Vandermeer 2021-07-26 06:00:00Z 0
Pradeep Das, Space Race Global News Interview  Vi Hughes 2021-07-20 06:00:00Z 0

Rotary End Polio Now! Virtual Run September 11 - 19, 2021

JOIN a Rotary Days of Service Project

Participate in a 5K & 10K Fun Run or Walk to raise funds to ERADICATE POLIO

Fellow Members - Our CLUB has registered a TEAM!
Sign up and complete your virtual 5K or 10K walk or run anytime between September 11th and 19th, 2021.
Together we can End Polio Now!
Interested? Contact Past President Jim Peddie at

Rotarians, Rotaractors, Interactors and others are encouraged to sign up to complete their virtual 5K or 10K walk or run anytime between September 11th and 19th, 2021.
Together we can End Polio Now!
Rotary End Polio Now! Virtual Run September 11 - 19, 2021  Vi Hughes 2021-07-08 06:00:00Z 0

Amarok Dhaka, Bangladesh Women’s School Jul 21 Update

Dear Members of the Rotary Clubs of Strathcona, Mayfield, Urban Spirits, Whyte Avenue, Grand Prairie and Hinton
We hope everything in going well in Canada. Here we are doing well with our family and Amarok Friends. The children of our neighborhood are also doing very well. This is rainy season in Bangladesh and flooding is a common problem for our communities. This year rain falls heavily throughout the month and when it rains another disaster comes to our life, dirty water blocks on the road for days. Toilet lids submerged and dirty things mix up with water surrounded by our houses, pathways and all around. It became difficult for us to keep open our school as dirty water overflows and enters into our living rooms & schoolroom. Children like to play in water and often get sick. Our daily life become painful but this is our life and we have to survive in such situation. Rain has another positive effect to our lives, farmers in the village plant paddy, vegetables and jute in their field and rain water brings fortunes for them. However, a continuous rainfall creates flooding and washes out all their crops and put them into debt to maintain their livelihood. In our school we often argue about the effect of rain in our life and it’s hard to come to a conclusion with this debate!
Now other news of our school, our friend Shorifa has given birth a baby who is boy. We shared about her in our last latter. She had lots of struggles during the pregnancy during the covid situation but now she is happy with her baby. She was on maternity leave for a few months, now she has started to join and teaching children in her little school. Mothers of our school visited her house to know about her health, to make her happy during her absence in school but we visited mostly individually, fewer cases in smaller groups to ensure the social distancing. Sofia lives in a tiny room; we know going together in a large group during covid with be a violation of health rule.
Another mother of our school Jhinuk is doing very well in learning. When we do group work, she sits with the weaker mothers who need support in English. Jhinuk is very good in English and we are proud of her. In these days we are practicing about 6 seasons. You know there are 6 seasons in our country and each season has its own characteristics. Madam divides us into 6 groups and tells each team to talk about the season in English or do role play to express the character of the season. It takes few days to complete the session. I belong a member of spring team. We acted about that season and other enjoyed it and understood the characteristics of the season nicely. In such way, we all talked and acted on six seasons. This is an interesting method of learning and our teacher follows such many techniques to teach us. Most importantly we learn teaching methods from our school and follow when we teach children in our micro-schools.     
Ranu our friend is also doing very well. For last few months the financial condition of her family was not going well because her husband lost his job as an effect of covid lockdown and now does irregular odd jobs. So, it became difficult for her husband to run the family all alone. Ranu shared with us and asked for support. One of our friends in school Rokeya connected her with a private clinic and Ranu has found a part-time job in that hospital as an assistant. Her job there is to carry doctors’ file from the patients to the doctors’ cabin, office and again placed the files to the patients’ bed. She could not do the job if she were not educated and good in English. The money that she earns from the work now is the main source of income of their family. She is very much thankful to Rokeya and to Amarok School. In the evening Ranu teaches children in her micro-school and becomes more euthanistic in learning English.  
The Performances of Sheuli’s neighborhood school is very good. Children are attentive and keen to learn. Sometimes her son helps her teaching the children as he has developed and reached to the upper grade. In her little school, Rubel is a brilliant boy. He achieves first passion in his class in school. Rubel teaches her little brother and a cousin in the evening time at home. Rubel’s father is a hawker and sells vegetables going door to door. He helps his father to keep accounts of daily selling & income. His father is proud of Rubel and wants to take him to the upper level of education.
Monoara’s granddaughter Shamia likes to read story books. So, she takes books from the school library. There are different types of books, she takes books on fish, fruits, and flowers and storybooks for sharing with some of her little friends in the community. Sometimes they also come with her and ask for books to take home. Our school-library has created a learning environment and developing reading habit of some children and elderly people of the slums around. Children are very happy to read new books as they enjoy reading and could learn about new things.
We feel filled with love for others. Thank you for coming into our lives from the Canada to help us to improve our world so much here.
Yours Lovingly
Monuara, Sheuli, Ranu, Rubi and Shorifa
(Mothers of Combined Rotary School)
Amarok Dhaka, Bangladesh Women’s School Jul 21 Update  Vi Hughes 2021-07-08 06:00:00Z 0

Participaction Walk to Remember the Future

Posted by Trina Vandermeer
Members of the Edmonton Strathcona Rotary Club and guests rolled two activities into one for their June 29th event, when they Participacted in the second of four planned summer walks and then attended a Blanket Teaching under the trees at the INIW Indigenous Artwalk located within Queen Elizabeth Park.
Sixteen members and guests strolled the parkway and then met in a sharing circle where they shared a meal of soup and bannock provided by Indigenous operated company Cree Subs delivered personally by owner Kyle Peacock.
Following the meal, a Smudge and Blanket Teaching was led by Michelle Nieviadomy of ISKWEW Health and Wellness, where members and guests were able to experience Canadian/Turtle Island history through the traditional Oral style and perspective of our First Nations peoples.
Members and guests were invited to participate by asking questions and sharing some of their own perceptions of the relationship between the two Nations, and the challenges faced by both.
Rotary Members Richard and Loida share a meal of soup and bannock provided by Cree Subs during Tuesday’s Participaction/Blanket Teaching event.
Ivan Docker, in bright orange shirt—a nod of support to our Indigenous Peoples at Tuesday’s event.
Beef Barley soup and Bannock “made from Kokum’s recipe” was provided by Cree Subs owner Kyle Peacock, and was “ a real surprise at how good soup was on a HOT day!” according to incoming President Carin Jansen van Vuuren
Newest club member, Amy Stewart, sharing soup and shade with outgoing club president Jim Peddie who referred to the event as “ very, very interesting and something we should be doing more of”.
Past President Donna Hutton, just back from knee surgery, chats with Ivan Docker prior to the Smudge and Blanket Teaching.
Speaker Michelle Nieviadomy of ISKWEW Healing and Wellness presented a condensed version of a Blanket Training at INEW Park located within Queen Elizabeth Park.
Event organizer and Community Chair, Trina Vandermeer joined outgoing President Jim Peddie in thanking speaker Michelle Nieviadomy of ISKWEW Health and Wellness during Tuesday’s PARTICIPACTION/Indigenous Blanket Teaching combined event.  The PARTICIPACTION walk fulfills the $250 grant requirement obtained by Membership lead Richard Karlsson and Trina Vandermeer, from PARTICIPACTION Canada, and the Blanket Teaching is part of the new “Indigenous Relations” learning identified by District Rotary and recently requested within the Community Portfolio by Trina Vandermeer.
Participaction Walk to Remember the Future  Trina Vandermeer 2021-06-29 06:00:00Z 0

Project Amigo Scholar Thanks

Dear Rotary Club Edmonton Strathcona sponsors!
Hello dear godparents, how are you?
I hope you are very well, especially your health, I hope you are having an excellent day, I send you this letter that I wrote with much affection, love and gratitude to you, because I want to thank you once more for all the effort they make every day to continue supporting me with my studies and thus be able to fulfill one of my greatest goals, which is to finish a professional career.
It is a pleasure for me to greet you once again and through this letter to be able to share a little more of my life, first of all I want to thank you for the pantry that was given to us this month in Proyecto Amigo, it is serving us a lot to me and my family, since they are things that we need every day in our house. I also want to thank you for the money, with which you supported me this month for my school expenses, because although we are in online classes there are things that we have to pay for such as the internet, since it is the way in which we communicate with our teachers to continue studying.
I tell you that my last semester of high school is about to finish, I am very happy to have finished, but at the same time a little nervous since I am waiting for my results to enter the university, and although I studied a lot for the entrance exam I do not leave to worry, I just hope I can enter the faculty of architecture.
This month has been very good for me, but at the same time very difficult, full of many new things, I had to prepare for my entrance exam and this past Thursday I presented it, on the other hand I am doing very well at school, it is very tired and sometimes difficult but I'm trying hard to get good grades.
In this vacation I want to do many things, I will prepare more for when I enter classes, I will continue to exercise and I want to spend more time with my family, especially with my grandparents, since I have not visited them for a long time.
And how have you and your families been? What have they done during this time? I hope you are very well and that you have had a nice month.
I say goodbye to you, wishing you have an excellent day, a beautiful month, that you have good luck in the work you do every day, but above all, that you are full of good health.
With much affection, love and gratitude,
Yosselin Mendez Ramirez,
Project Amigo Scholar
Project Amigo Scholar Thanks  Vi Hughes 2021-06-29 06:00:00Z 0

Jun 2021 Turnover Meeting

This past Tuesday we had a virtual Turnover ‘Dinner’ on ZOOM where we heard from our current President Jim Peddie who thanked all of the members in our club who have helped to make this such a successful year, in spite of the fundraising and volunteer work difficulties resulting from the COVID pandemic.
In particular he thanked:
‘Three Amigos’- Audrey, Rose Marie and Maggi for their efforts raising donations for Basically Babies, Hope Mission and twice for Wings
Audrey in person for single handedly raising funds for the hospice in Greece,
Trina and Richard for obtaining a grant to supply Variety backpacks with sensory toys and books to various outlets
Trina for hosting a Polio Plus event
Patrick for getting us together with Raffle Box and helping to raise funds for Little Warriors, Meals on Wheels, Dogs with Wings, the Edmonton Food Bank and the currently underway fundraiser for Wounded Warriors.
Jim chose two people as Rotarians of the Year:
Patrick Gibson for doing such a phenomenal job with fundraising which has helped both our club and also the district with new ideas for ways to raise funds.
Audrey Martyn, for being a great community resource in knowing where the needs are, for keeping him organized and on track and for her upbeat and positive approach.
Bob Sandercock then told us that our club had a total of twenty-five Paul Harris awards to give out this year along with three major donor awards. All together our club raised almost thirty thousand dollars for the Rotary Foundation this year with seventy six percent of club members donating.
Carin Jansen van Vuuren, our incoming President then spoke about her vision for the coming year and said that Jim would be a tough act to follow. She said that our theme this year is ‘Serve to Change Lives’ and that we would be trying to organize a Rotary Day of Service that would also include our two Interac clubs.  She then introduced us to her incoming executive and board members and noted that they represent fifty percent of our total club members.
We were then treated to a very entertaining and musical hour with Tracie Gray and Matt Day of GrayDay Events and it was a great way to end the evening.
Here is the link to the recording of the meeting:
Jun 2021 Turnover Meeting Vi Hughes 2021-06-22 06:00:00Z 0

Participaction Walk

On Sunday, 6 Jun we hosted a walk at Laurier Park for our club members and their families as part of our participation in the Participaction program. Richard Karlsson also organized a game of Kubb (a gothic Swedish lawn game) and the winners received walking poles to use along the way. It was a beautiful sunny day, everyone enjoyed a chance to get together in a safe and responsible way and a great time was had by all who attended.
Participaction Walk  Vi Hughes 2021-06-06 06:00:00Z 0

Link to recorded ZOOM Meeting for 01 Jun 2021

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jun 01, 2021
Here is the internet link to the recorded Rotary meeting held on 01 Jun 2021 which included the introduction of two new members, Amy Stewart and Gail Martin, a TED Talk on whether self-interest should motivate service in Rotary by Patrick Galvin and a thank you to our club from the WP Wagner Interac club attendees to the recent Rotary Youth Leadership Experience workshop.
Link to recorded ZOOM Meeting for 01 Jun 2021  Vi Hughes 2021-06-01 06:00:00Z 0

Amy Stewart, New Member Introduction

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jun 01, 2021
This week our club welcomed Amy Stewart as a potential new member. Amy is being sponsored by Treena VanderMeer. Amy is an Alberta native who grew up in Sherwood Park and now lives in Edmonton, She works as a Real Estate Agent. Amy attended NAIT, taking the Radio and TV Arts program. Amy later attended the U of A where she obtained a BA in Psychology and Sociology.  She also has a DOOLA certification. Some time ago, Amy spent some time working as a volunteer in Tanzania and the experience opened her eyes to the plight of many people around the world. Since then, she has been involved with several different service groups and has a few service projects that are near and dear to her heart. She says that she believes in putting people before profit in her business dealings and to above all be kind. We would like to welcome Amy to our club and look forward to getting to know her better.
Amy Stewart, New Member Introduction  Vi Hughes 2021-06-01 06:00:00Z 0

Gail Martin, New Member Introduction

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jun 01, 2021
This week our club welcomed Gail Martin as a potential new member. Gail is being sponsored by Treena VanderMeer. Gail is an Alberta native who grew up on a small farm in the Horse Hills area just north of Edmonton, which is now part of the Raven Crest Golf and Country Club. She works as a Property Manager handling commercial rentals. She originally trained and worked as a paralegal but changed professions when she realized that she really missed the social interactions with other people. Gail is also very interested in family history and told us a few stories about some of her ancestors and their experiences in coming with nothing to make a new life in a strange land. She said that she truly believes that the world is able to look after everyone. She looks forward to being able to help make this world a better place through Rotary. We would like to welcome Gail to our club and look forward to getting to know her better.
Gail Martin, New Member Introduction  Vi Hughes 2021-06-01 06:00:00Z 0

Patrick Galvin, TEDxMcMinnville Talk

This week we watched an excellent TED Talk by Patrick Galvin entitled ‘Should Self Interest Motivate Service’. This talk was presented on 26 Feb 2020. In this talk Patrick Galvin, a former membership officer of the Portland Rotary Club presented some insightful ideas on how to present the goals of Rotary, so that we can appeal to a younger generation of potential members. He suggested that the past appeal to people’s sense of altruism, may not be the best way to attract people in today’s much busier world where every adult family member needs to hold down a job, just to make ends meet. In the past Rotary relied on people volunteering their time in to help others because it was good for the world in general, but maybe we need to shift this view to appeal more to the physical and mental benefits that service engenders in those who volunteer.
This talk can be found at:
Patrick Galvin, TEDxMcMinnville Talk  2021-06-01 06:00:00Z 0

Rotary Youth Leadership Experience, RYLE Thankyou

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jun 01, 2021
This week we were pleased to hear from Ekjot Brar, Vice President and Jasmine Virk, co-President of the WP Wagner High School Interac club about their experience attending this two day training workshop. Five students from WP Wagner club attended. They both thanked us for the chance to meet other Rotary youth and for the opportunity to learn more about Rotary. They said that the sessions helped open their minds to the opportunities and possibilities that they may not have otherwise considered when it comes to the things that are possible when people work together towards a common goal. The creative approaches that they gained will help them when considering the projects their club chooses in the future.  
Rotary Youth Leadership Experience, RYLE Thankyou  Vi Hughes 2021-06-01 06:00:00Z 0

Natasha Larson, Adventures in Citizenship

Posted by Vi Hughes on May 18, 2021
This week we heard from Natasha Larson, a senior student from WP Wagner High School and co- President of the Rotary Interac Club at WP Wagner.  Natasha told us that due to COVID restrictions this year, the one week event hosted by the Rotary Club of Ottawa was a virtual event. The week included many different speakers, many of whom were previous Rotary AIC program participants, on all kinds of topics related to Citizenship. She said that prior to the event she received a package which included a T-shirt, pin and mug. The event topics included two days with various speakers on Canadian government, one day on Indigenous issues, one day on Citizenship and one day on a variety of topics.  They were also given a choice of several topics for one talk, and the topic she chose was climate change. 
Some of the government speakers and topics covered were the Right Honourable Joe Clark talking about how Rotary fit into his life, Senator Joe Day speaking about the role of the Senate, former Prime Minister Paul Martin talking about his role on government, past Speaker of the House of Commons, who talked his role in government, and a past Page in the House of Commons, talking about her duties in the House of Commons.  Natasha said that one of the sessions she enjoyed the most was the chance to get to know a war veteran who spoke about her experiences, and the discussion session that followed. The fourth day was focused on Indigenous issues and the final day was focused on Citizenship, including a citizenship judge who spoke about how she came into her job and what it involved. Overall, they were given a lot to think about when considering career options for the future. Natasha said that politics, legislation and parliament were things that she had never really considered as a career and the week learning more about them as very enlightening.  She thanked us for the opportunity to take part in this program and said that she had made some new friends across Canada in Rotary as a result.
Natasha Larson, Adventures in Citizenship  Vi Hughes 2021-05-18 06:00:00Z 0

Richard J Davidson, PhD, TED Talk

This week we watched an excellent TED Talk entitled How Mindfulness Changes the Emotional Life of our Brains. This talk was presented in San Francisco on 12 Dec 2019. In this talk Dr. Davidson presents some very good strategies on how we can train our minds by using mindfulness to give us focus, connect us with others more, give us better insight into ourselves and finally to give us a sense of purpose.
This talk can be found at
Richard J Davidson, PhD, TED Talk  Vi Hughes 2021-05-04 06:00:00Z 0
ARCH Enterprises Update Vi Hughes 2021-04-25 06:00:00Z 0

Kwame Damon Mason, Soul on Ice

This Tuesday we were pleased to hear from Kwame Damon Mason, the director, producer and writer of the 2015 documentary Soul on Ice: Past, Present and Future. In this film he tells the history, contributions and stories of black athletes in hockey. Kame talked to us about his background and how he came to be interested in this project. He said that he had always been a hockey fan, but as a young man growing up in Ontario he considered hockey to be mostly a white boy sport. It was not until fourteen years later, while working as a radio host in Edmonton, when he worked and became friends with a former hockey player, Georges Laraque that he really became interested in hockey again. He was becoming unhappy with his work as a radio host and a close family member encouraged him to follow his interests, whatever they may be.
Around 2011, he started gathering information about black players in hockey and was surprised to find that there had been a black hockey league in Canada. He knew that he wanted to make a documentary film so he set about finding people to interview. One of the first people he interviewed was Herb Carnegie, who played pro hockey in Quebec in the 1940’s and 50’s. He was lucky in this regard as Herb was 93 when he interviewed him and passed away only a few weeks later. He also interviewed his friend Georges Laraque, and along with these and many other interviews of younger players, his documentary began to take shape. He found that sometimes he had trouble because some older players did not want to talk about their experiences at all because they had been so traumatic. He did his best to present their stories in an unbiased manner. Many of these players went through adversity, but their love of the game was what mattered most, and he did his best to portray this. He was learning as he went along and finally in 2015 his film premiered at the Edmonton Film Festival, where it won the Viewers Choice Award. It has since been shown many, many times in many different places, including just recently on SportsNet. He thinks that his film has helped people to be able to talk about the issues that existed, but not in a bad way, it is all in how you approach it. Currently Kwame is doing some consulting for the NHL and also does hockey related Pod Casts. His film can be viewed online at (password: mason) and you can find his podcasts at
Kwame Damon Mason, Soul on Ice  Vi Hughes 2021-04-20 06:00:00Z 0

Rotary Foundation Update

Due to COVID, world-wide donations to the Rotary Foundation are unfortunately very much down.
As a result, the district grants were $3200 this year but will only be $2000 next year and the Global grants will also be reduced. Scholarships have also had to be reduced by $50.
Our club has exceeded the Annual Fund donations and almost matched the Polio Plus donations of last year.
However, we have only about 60% of our members donating to either, this year.
I would like to encourage each member to donate at least $25 US which is about $32 C to the foundation.
As mentioned previously, the club will match new donations up to 50% for those who have never donated, up to 500 recognition points and up to 200 recognition points for those who have not contributed for over two years.
If you wish, you can send donations to me made out to “The Rotary Foundation Canada” and I will fill out the required paperwork and submit it for you.
Bob Sandercock
120 Twin Brooks Cove
T6J 6T1
780 469-5571
Rotary Foundation Update Bob Sandercock 2021-04-14 06:00:00Z 0

Judy Mill, Grandmothers of Alberta for a New Generation

Posted by Vi Hughes on Apr 08, 2021
This week we heard from Judy Mill, a retired university professor of nursing who has spent a large part of her life working with and advocating for people in the HIV/AIDS community, both here at home and abroad.
She is currently trying to put together a media presentation that would tell the stories of three different advocacy groups that work in this area. The first group is GANG (Grandmothers of Alberta for a New Generation), which raises funds locally for the Stephen Lewis Foundation that supports health and human rights in relation to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in fifteen different countries in sub Saharan Africa. GANG has been operating for fifteen years in Alberta and has raised over one million dollars for the Stephen Lewis Foundation. The second group is CANAC (Canadian Nurses in HIV/AIDS Care) which is a specialized group of the Canadian Nurses Association, and the third group is HIV Edmonton. They are working on bringing the professionals from all three organisations together to a promote their common cause.
The video will tell the stories of what they do in relation to the AIDS pandemic and how their efforts have been impacted by the COVID pandemic. These groups provide such things as medical support, housing, food, help with grant applications and many other types of help for individuals and families affected by this disease. It will help with public education and to build public awareness of these three organisations and what they do.
Judy Mill, Grandmothers of Alberta for a New Generation  Vi Hughes 2021-04-08 06:00:00Z 0

Easter Dinner for Wings

Posted by Vi Hughes
This Easter our club put together Easter Dinner boxes for the families in first stage housing at Wings. Our club provided twenty boxes of food, eight bags of clothing, socks and assorted makeup and jewelry. We would especially like to thank Audrey for organizing it all and Rose Marie and Maggi for helping shop and pack the boxes, as well as Arch Enterprises for donating the empty boxes and eight bags of clothing.
Each box contained a ham, mustard, potatoes, carrots, apples, cucumber, tomatoes, pasta and pasta sauce, fruit cups and cookies, buns, coffee and tea, apple juice, snacks and napkins. We also included a bag of assorted makeup and jewellery as well as a makeup bag and a pair of socks.
Rhonda from Wings picked up the boxes and said that they were thrilled with the donation. She said that they provide housing for the families, but the families supply their own food, and with the pandemic strain on their incomes, many families also need food, so our donation was greatly appreciated.
Easter Dinner for Wings  Vi Hughes 2021-04-02 06:00:00Z 0

Entertainment Day with Matt Day and Tracie Gray

Posted by Vi Hughes on Mar 23, 2021
This ZOOM meeting was a blast, with entertainment provided by Matthew Day and Tracie Gray. It was really nice to be able to have a different focus for our meeting this time. Matthew and Tracie entertained us with their musical and public speaking talents. They both have a different focus in their daily lives, Matthew works at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital using the power of music to help stoke patients, brain injury patients and people with other types of mental health issues. The methods he uses, such as cognitive stimulating games and things like musical bingo help people with all types of injuries to recover some of their memories. He says that is also gives people hope for the future. He has also developed a program called EASE (Enrichment Activities for Seniors Everywhere) that he uses to bring entertainment and enrichment to many different groups of seniors. Tracie Gray is a professional emcee with movie, TV and stage credits. She is a stand up comedian and public speaker who does customized presentations, corporate team building and morale boosting presentations for all types of groups. We truly enjoyed our time with them and hope to be able to do it again some time.
You can find more information about them and the entertainment they offer at for music and speaking, for virtual team morale boosting and for entertainment for seniors.
Entertainment Day with Matt Day and Tracie Gray  Vi Hughes 2021-03-23 06:00:00Z 0

Christi McTaggart, ABC Headstart Society

On Tuesday we heard from Christi McTaggart who is a manager of stake holder development at ABC Headstart in Edmonton. Christi said that they offer the largest early pre school early development program in Edmonton. The currently operate out of five different sites and sixteen classrooms located in Delwood, Mill Woods, Afton, Westmount and Newton. They offer both half day and full day programs for children with many different kinds of problems that cause language and learning delays. They currently work with about five hundred children per year. Eighty five percent of their children come from low income families, representing sixty four different countries and speak forty six different languages. She said that ABC Headstart began in the 1960’s in the United States and came to Edmonton in the 1980’s. They employ teams of professionals to work with the children and their families. Their program considers the parent or guardian as part of their team and offers workshops for the families of the children.  They also try to support the families within their own communities.
Their headquarters is located in the Gerry Forbes Center, which is home to many other non-profit organizations and has common warehouse facilities which they can use. They are a registered charity and have a budget of about eight million dollars per year. They employ ten people in their offices and about one hundred professionals such as teachers, early childhood assistants, social workers, speech specialists etc. In normal times they also have many volunteers that help with various aspects of their program. Their program is very similar to that offered by the Edmonton Public and Catholic School systems, both of which have been shut down due to COVID. This means that demand for their services is now higher than ever. Some of their programs have very long wait lists.
One of their current campaigns is the Pre School Toolbox Campaign which creates packages of supplies such as books, paper, crayons, glue sticks, markers, tape and other supplies for the children to use either at school or at home in these COVID times. Christi said that monetary donations allow them to buy these items in bulk. They are also in need of volunteers to assemble and deliver these items to the various locations around the city. We would like to thank Christi for her presentation and look forward to possibly supporting their group in the future.
Christi McTaggart, ABC Headstart Society  Vi Hughes 2021-03-09 07:00:00Z 0

Mike Fraser, Kona Rotary Sunrise Club

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.  
Mike Fraser, Kona Rotary Sunrise Club  Vi Hughes 2021-02-23 07:00:00Z 0

Kosta Kostis and Eva Tsinavou, Rotary Club of Ioannina, Greece

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.
Kosta Kostis and Eva Tsinavou, Rotary Club of Ioannina, Greece  Vi Hughes 2021-02-09 07:00:00Z 0

Harjeet Panesar, Perspectives

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jan 26, 2021
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.
Harjeet Panesar, Perspectives  Vi Hughes 2021-01-26 07:00:00Z 0

Doreen Slessor, Dogs with Wings

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jan 12, 2021
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.
Doreen Slessor, Dogs with Wings  Vi Hughes 2021-01-12 07:00:00Z 0

Simon Cusack and Matthew Broussard, Raffle Box

We were pleased to hear from Raffle Box founder Matthew Broussard and IT and Sales VP, Simon Cusack. They have helped us to organize and run two of our online fifty-fifty fundraising events. Raffle Box provides an online platform that allows small groups to more easily fundraise using a fifty-fifty raffle. They were inspired to start doing this when they saw how much funding can be raised this way by very large groups like the Calgary Stampede or the Edmonton Oilers. They are a Calgary based tech company with a small staff of twelve enthusiastic people. They are Alberta and Maritimes based for now but are planning to expand nation-wide by next year. They have found that the COVID pandemic has forced a shift to online fundraising for a lot of groups. They are currently running three hundred raffles per month and raising about four million dollars per month in total. They are licensed by the gaming commissions in the provinces where they run raffles. They help their customers by handling the technical end of things, providing an online platform where their customers can share links as well as doing marketing and advertising or them. Customers pay a fee based on a percentage of the funds raised.
Their customers range from minor and junior hockey teams to volunteer fire departments to rotary groups to the United Way. Keeping up with all the varying regulations in different locations where their raffles are run is a challenge. They work with government agencies in trying to unify the regulations from province to province. They hope that in future things will become more uniform so that groups across the country will be able to raise funds on a more level playing field. We would like to thank both Matthew and Simon for their presentation. This company has been a great help to us in fundraising for several charities and we look forward to using them again in the future.
Simon Cusack and Matthew Broussard, Raffle Box  Vi Hughes 2020-12-22 07:00:00Z 0

Shannon Stewart, Basically Babies

This week our speaker was Shannon Stewart, the founder and Board Chair of Basically Babies. Shannon told us that this locally based charity has been operating for twenty-seven years in Edmonton and has just expanded to Calgary as well. She said that their goal is to help families with babies that are living in extreme poverty by providing a complete package of baby clothing and supplies designed to last for two years. The layette package includes one hundred and ten items based on a carefully thought out complied list that will provide items for use in spring, summer, fall and winter from newborn to two years of age. Basically Babies partners with other agencies that provide life skills training and the families that they help are recommended to them by these agencies based on their family situation. They also work with social agencies dealing with addictions, refugees, indigenous people, women’s shelters, homeless people, and people with disabilities. These are usually people or families living in extreme poverty, often with other complicating circumstances such as unemployment, low education, language difficulties, and sometimes mental or physical handicaps. Their partner agency picks up and delivers the layette to the family or person in need.
Basically Babies accepts donations of new and gently used items and volunteers clean, sort, iron and prepare the baskets using the compiled list. She said that about ninety percent of their items are gently used. They also accept monetary donations and use these to purchase any missing items for their baskets. Their hope is that by supplying these basic supplies they can help these families to focus their resources on other things. They maintain a warehouse that normally has about four hundred part time volunteers that help out over the year. They usually handle an inventory of one hundred thousand baby items over one year. Their operations protocols have been modified to deal with the pandemic restrictions. They now have a curbside donation set up and their inventory has dropped to three thousand items. Shannon also described some of their management principles and how they plan for contingencies. They recently had a donation trailer stolen, but they did have insurance and are hoping to be able to replace it soon.  Their protocols for handling clothing items has changed to ensure the safety, protection and prevention of infection for their staff, volunteers and customers. Their three major fundraisers for the year have also been cancelled. Most of their funding comes from grass roots donations with about twenty to thirty percent from grants. They can use donations both monetary and in kind and were happy that we helped them out this past year
Shannon Stewart, Basically Babies  Vi Hughes 2020-12-15 07:00:00Z 0

Mike Drak, Retirement Lessons from a Pandemic

Mike is a retirement lifestyle planner and author of several books about retirement. His latest publication is “Victory Lap Retirement’. Mike said that with the advent of COVID on our lifestyles, a lot of people are getting a taste of what retirement can bring if there is little planning involved. People are isolated, bored and generally unhappy.
Mike believes that retirement should not be something we just save money for, it should be a time when we transition from our working life into a new life of our own making, where we can do things that we truly love. A time when you get the freedom to do whatever interests you. A time for adventure, a time to help others, a time to get outside your comfort zone. A happy retirement takes planning and work. We need to have savings, so that we can afford the retirement that we would like. Financial security is a cornerstone. But in addition, we also need to be physically fit, healthy and have enough interests to keep us busy full time. Exercise, eating right and having interests outside of our work are things that we need to start early on if we want to be able to enjoy our retirement. Relationships are important as well, we need to ensure that we are on the same page with our partners before retirement. People who are unhappy in retirement usually have only one or two pursuits that interest them. Happy retirees have at least three or four pursuits.
We need to remember that retirement is often thirty years of your life. Sleeping in, golfing and travel can fill some time but we need more than that to keep us busy fulltime. Time slows, days blur together and some people even take to drinking. Having lots of money is not a panacea. People need a sense of purpose. Some people look for something they enjoy doing that can also earn them an income, others volunteer doing work they love. Whatever you choose, it should be challenging, involve some social interaction and give you a sense of fulfillment.
Retirement can last almost as long as your working life, it should be a time to reconnect with ourselves, our family and others. It should be your victory lap that lasts for the second half of your life.
Mike Drak, Retirement Lessons from a Pandemic  Vi Hughes 2020-12-02 07:00:00Z 0

Tim Schilds, Rotary Foundation Month

Posted by Vi Hughes on Nov 24, 2020
This week we heard from Tim Schilds, our Rotary District Foundation Chair. Time lives in Dawson Creek and made his presentation to us on Zoom.  Tim said that the Foundation is how we can get to be part of a premium community that can help us to do whatever needs to be done, both in our own community and around the world. Our Rotary Foundation was voted the number one of the tem best charities by Charity Navigator as ninety two percent of the funds donated go towards programs.
There are several fund choices within the Foundation that e can contribute towards. The Annual Fund provides micro loans to small businesses in other countries. The areas of focus are peace building, disease prevention, water sanitation and hygiene, maternal and child services, basic education and community economic development. About fifty percent of all funds go towards disease prevention. He said that next year they will be adding one more category for environment.
Global Grants help to support large long term projects like the school in South Africa that our club supports. The programs must have measurable and sustainable outcomes, they must align with the Rotary areas of focus and a common assessment is required. Sustainability is of particular importance, local people must be involved so that whatever is provided can be maintained locally.
District Grants are another category. These include local efforts such as our support of the Be Brave Ranch, or the Dawson Creek club partnering with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to provide books to children in small, isolated communities. They also provide scholarships that we give out. The goals are the projects must be small and short term, less than two years. They can be local or international and they are awarded yearly. They must adhere to stewardship guidelines and must demonstrate cultural sensitivity.
The Annual Fund Share program will invest whatever you contribute for three years, before the money starts to come back out. Fifty percent of the mone goes towards local districts to be used for District Grants. The remainder is used for Global Grants.
Our club’s average donation per member last year was one hundred and thirty dollars. Each time we make a donation to an eligible fund we gain points that are applicable towards a Paul Harris Fellowship. Once we have given one thousand dollars (American) we are awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship. We can also donate our points to other people.
The End Polio Now Campaign is also an important part of our Rotary giving. In 1985, when it began there were one hundred countries in the world where polio was endemic. Now, thanks to our efforts and those of others, there are only two countries left with endemic Polio. Afghanistan and Pakistan had one hundred thirty five cases last year. We are almost there in eradicating this terrible disease, we must keep on giving until it is gone completely. In our present COVID times, an added benefit of the Polio eradication effort has been that we have raised awareness of viral diseases worldwide, and we have trained people all over the world who are able to give vaccinations.
Rotary makes giving easy, through the MyRotary website. You have many different options to choose from. Please consider giving.
Tim Schilds, Rotary Foundation Month  Vi Hughes 2020-11-24 07:00:00Z 0

Norman Leach, Canada on the Home Front WWI

Posted by Vi Hughes on Nov 03, 2020
This past Tuesday we were pleased to hear another very interesting talk from Norman Leach. This time he spoke about the impact that World War I made on the lives of Canadians on the home front. Canada sent almost ten percent of it’s population, six hundred thousand men and women to fight in the war, and about ten percent of those died fighting. This was a very big contribution for a small country like Canada.
The popular song ‘How ya gonna keep them down on the farm, after they’ve seen Paree’, was an apt description of the changes the war made to the lives of these people, and once they returned home, Canada changed forever.  These mostly young men and women were overseas for up to five years. They had lived and fought in both small rural regions and the big cities of England, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Egypt and many other countries. The armed forces had a policy of sending their troops to live in local billets set up in local homes, barns or public buildings that were located in relatively safe regions at least five kilometers back from the front. They would be sent to the front to fight for one week then return to their billets for one week on a rotation basis. They were also given two weeks off each year to go back to London, Paris or another safe large center of their choice. These mostly rural Canadian farm boys got to see some very exotic places and many very different ways of life from what they had previously known.
Combine this with the technological advances that the war brought and the subsequent applications to everyday life, such as tractors and other heavy duty equipment for use on the farm and in industry, which meant that two people could now do the work it took twelve to do in the past and the impact on daily life in Canada was immense. Prior to the war farm families often had eight or more children as their labor was needed to get all the chores done. Smaller farm families now became viable. Trains became more efficient with the introduction of better engines, meaning transportation of people and goods became cheaper. People began moving into towns and cities for more industrialized mechanized jobs. Another technological advance from the war was the use of the airplane and after the war it helped to open up the country, with many of the wartime pilots becoming well known bush pilots, in the distant North.
The war also had a big impact on the roles of women in society. The absence of so many men for almost five years, meant that women had to become more independent and they were encouraged to take on work that would normally have been a man’s domain. Many women also served overseas. Most of these were nurses, who were given the status of officers to keep them from fraternizing with the enlisted men. They got a taste of having more independence, of making their own decisions and earning their own money. They did not want to give this up when the war ended. Women’s suffrage got a large boost from this.
The war also changed our financial ways of life forever as Canada introduced an Income Tax after the war to help to pay for the immense debt the country had incurred. This also resulted in the loss of the concept of ‘Noblesse Oblige’. This concept that ‘From whom great things are given, great things are expected’, where the more affluent in society were expected to make financial and other contributions to the country as a whole. During the war, the Eaton family gave up their mansion to the war department and lived in a small apartment throughout the rest of the war. They also made large financial contributions and paid for the salaries of many soldiers. These types of things all ended once income tax, came in.  
Lastly, the war changed the opinions of the British about the abilities of Canadian servicemen. At the beginning of the war they envisioned Canadians as fill-ins for units when they lost men. By the end of the war Canadian units were fighting side by side under their own leadership with the British. A Canadian officer Major General John Elmsley even commanded the British troops in Siberia near the end of the war. Canada was now considered to be a full and equal partner in the war effort.
Thus the war had resulted in permanent changes that would change our way of life forever.
We would like to thank Norman for this very interesting and informative talk and the renewed respect it gives us for the many thousands who have served our country as well as the many unexpected life changing impacts that this service has had on our country.
Norman Leach, Canada on the Home Front WWI  Vi Hughes 2020-11-03 07:00:00Z 0

Polio Plus Event Thanks

Posted by Jim Peddie on Oct 23, 2020
Congratulations to Trina Vandermeer and Benaiah Guarding Ltd for hosting a great Polio Plus event at MKT on Friday.
I want to express my and the club's appreciation for hosting a great event. Trina and her team put in a lot of hard work to make this an outstanding event. Trina also had many non-Rotarians there to introduce them to the Strathcona Rotary club. She had several retailers showing what their companies do and supplying prizes.
We were also live on Zoom thanks to Graham Gilchrist and Judith Pinto and Vince Campbell joined us. We also had Constable "pat me down” Heather de Kok making sure we raised money and providing frisking services as required, along with posting it on social media.
Thanks to all who attended and once again thanks to Trina and her team for making it possible.
Polio Plus Event Thanks  Jim Peddie 2020-10-23 06:00:00Z 0

Jim Ferguson, District Governor’s Message

This Tuesday we were glad to hear from our new District 5370 Governor, Jim Ferguson. Jim has been a Rotarian since 2005. He currently lives in Stony Plain, but due to the nature of his work, has been a member of E-Club of Canada since 2012. This means that he is also a bit of a techie and his presentation to our club on Zoom was done in the traditional e-club fashion of a pre-recorded video.
Jim presented the Rotary priorities for this year, in keeping with the Rotary International President Holger Knack’s theme of Rotary Opens Opportunities.
He encouraged strategic planning based on what we would like our club to look like five years from now. This includes increasing our impact in our community and expanding our reach by bringing in younger members. We can partially do this by increasing our Rotaract to Rotary crossover rate, which is currently only about five percent. Enhancing member participation through a variety of community volunteer, fundraising and social group activities and by increasing our ability to adapt to a changing world.
He said that the challenges of this year have forced Rotary to expand into areas that we may never have gone otherwise. He also asked us to keep in mind that our local Rotary districts have partnered with Inclusion Alberta to provide employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.
Jim commended our club on it’s wide variety of activities, fundraising opportunities and community support, and in particular how well we have adapted to the shift towards the use of technology in fundraising, hosting of meetings and other activities on-line The current restrictions on group meetings have forced each of us to think outside the box and come up with solutions to ensure that Rotary can continue to open opportunities for all.
Jim Ferguson, District Governor’s Message  Vi Hughes 2020-10-20 06:00:00Z 0
Maxwell de Kok receives Shelterbox award Heather de Kok 2020-10-09 06:00:00Z 0
District 5370 award 2020-10-09 06:00:00Z 0

COVID-19 Ventillator. Local development

Posted by Pradeep Dass on Oct 09, 2020
Pradeep is working on a unique ventilator to be provided to governments in the quest to support Covid -19 patients.  He advises that the prototype will be made public on May 6 and has shared the specifications with us. As well I have attached the presentation regarding the ventilator for all of us to see.  As a former ICU nurse and Instructor, I truly see the value of an artificial intelligence component which would monitor and manage a patient's ventilatory status without human intervention... Way to go Pradeep... We are all amazed at what you do!!!!
Below is the information Pradeep shared with me and now you...  The reference to the pages relates to the attached presentation.
Basic design attached refer page 6/7. It is a simple operator proof design and yet the most sophisticated ventilator available in the market if it goes to the market at all. It uses aerospace components and none of the medical components used by others.
The 1st prototype video will be out on May 6th for the world to see.  I hope I make it by this time.
A video of our first prototype will be out on or before May 6th.   Additional features included.
Just some extra information why our Ventilator will be very unique compared to even the largest manufacturers of ventilators in the world.
  1. It can be adapted to feed one and 20 + patients. Independently controlled for each patient.
  2. Medical personnel does not need to be close to the patient once hooked up as it can be operated remotely once hooked up.
  3. Screens are made large for quick visual and controls with remotely operated systems too.
  4. Specialists can dial in to the ventilator from anywhere in the world and operate it if required while supported by general hospital medical personnel at location.
  5. It can be hooked up in the hospital or in any field area set up to treat as it has its own oxygen and mixture device too. Assembled in module formats as required.
  6. Can be hooked up on the patient’s bed so that unhooking the ventilator while moving the patient may be avoided.
  7. Build in AI where you don’t need a highly trained nurse or respiratory specialist or a trained doctor as it will synchronize with the patient and make recommendations or continue to operate as required manually. Aerospace and Space Technology implemented. “Operator proof” is the plan by introducing AI features in the system. You enter data from around the world and see recommendations in real time for specific patients.
  8. Aerospace, Space and some Oil & Gas equipment parts are mainly used in the entire system with oxygen cleaned and certified as we will not run out of standard ventilator parts used by others.
Will go to certification by any interested manufacturer under Covid-19 expedited certifications initially if all goes well.
“There is many a slip between the cup and the sip” but we are learning quickly and used various medical consultants from the US and UK.
COVID-19 Ventillator. Local development Pradeep Dass 2020-10-09 06:00:00Z 0

Dr. Sean McMurtry and Berth Barberree, Canadian Centre for Men and Families

Posted by Vi Hughes on Oct 07, 2020
This past Tuesday our speakers were Dr. Sean McMurtry and Beth Barberree from the Canadian Centre for Men and Families. The Canadian Centre for Men and Families is a national charity based in Ontario.
They first spoke to us last year when they told the story of their hopes and dreams for a local presence to our Rotary club. Sean and Beth both thanked us for our donation and said that with our help and that of many others, they have been able to organize and set up several programs in Edmonton to meet the needs of men and their families when families break down. Over the past year they have become much more organized and are now able to offer several programs based on what they have heard from the men they help. These men have told them that they need to feel heard, with no judgement, to be offered facilitated solutions that give them a better path forward, and all to be done with empathy and respect.
The programs that they currently offer are ones that were not available from other groups in our community. They now have a website ( and a Facebook and Instagram presence to help let people know what they offer. Their programs include a thirteen week family abuse Recovery Program, a Men’s Peer Support Group, and a Legal Resources Program. These programs are designed to prevent feelings of isolation and stigma and to help prevent the acute mental health crises that can result.
They would especially like to thank rotarians Graham Gilchrist, Donna Hutton, Jim Pedde and Gord Sheppard (of Expert Training Solutions) for their help and advice. Over the past year, their programs have been able to give men a place to go where people listen and understand. They are now hearing that social services are recommending their programs to people in need. They now have a full-time program director and are building their trained volunteer base so that they can expand their services. Their top three goals for the next year are to increase their outreach, diversify their fundraising and implement organizational strategies to improve and stay on track with their goals. They aim to be professional and offer a high quality of service to their clients.
As Sean and Beth both said, when you help men and their families when families break down, you help the entire community.
Dr. Sean McMurtry and Berth Barberree, Canadian Centre for Men and Families  Vi Hughes 2020-10-07 06:00:00Z 0

Basically Babies Donation

Posted by Rose Marie Basaraba on Oct 07, 2020
Thanks to the generosity of Club members, President, Jim Peddie, along with Rose Marie Basaraba, delivered an SUV filled with bags and baskets of baby clothes, blankets and accessories to Basically Babies on September 30th.
This local charitable organization provides layettes to newborn babies whose families are in financial need. On behalf of Basically Babies, Chelsea, their representative, expressed her gratitude to Club members who donated the items during the month of September. Our substantial donation was transferred into a trailer outside the facility. Due to COVID restrictions, tours of the facility are cancelled. 
This was yet another proud example of RCES serving the community. (Thank you to Audrey Martyn for storage and organization of donated items prior to delivery).
Basically Babies Donation  Rose Marie Basaraba 2020-10-07 06:00:00Z 0

Basically Babies Donation Deadline

Posted by Rose Marie Basaraba on Sep 18, 2020
Please be reminded that the deadline for donations to "Basically Babies" fundraiser is September 22, or the day of our face to face meeting at the University Club, formerly Faculty Club.

We are collecting clothing items for 0-24 months  to make up layettes for families  lacking the financial resources  to provide for their babies.  The baskets are designed so thst family members feel a great deal of personal worth and dignity as they enter parenthood.  We plan to make one layette for a boy and one for a girl.

These layettes provide the basic necessities for the first 24 months of life.  Please purchase items from the list below and you can bring them to the meeting on September 22 at the University Club.

Questions call Rose Marie (780) 951-5224 or Audrey 780-722-4262.

ITEMS NEEDED:: socks, shoes, slippers, bibs, towels, receiving blankets, blankets, snowsuits, hats, mitts, sweaters, jackets dresses, pants shirts , tops, storybooks, stuffed toys (small and new).  clothing can be new or gentally used.

Basically Babies Donation Deadline Rose Marie Basaraba 2020-09-18 06:00:00Z 0

Jordan Schwann, 2020 Economic Update

Posted by Vi Hughes on Sep 17, 2020
This Tuesday we heard on ZOOM from Jordan Schwann, a Portfolio Manager with Newport Wealth. Newport has been in business for twenty years and has about three billion dollars in assets under management. About thirty percent of their client base is in Alberta.
Jordan first talked about the effect of the COVID pandemic on our economy. COVID is a world-wide pandemic with significant numbers of infections and deaths which have had and will continue to have a significant effect on economies around the world. He said that there is no way we can go back to normal until we have a vaccine. Vaccine development is ongoing in many companies and countries around the world. There are presently nine companies with a vaccine in final approval Stage 3 trials. Hopefully, several of these will be available sometime next year.
The economic effects of this pandemic have been the sharpest and deepest global recession since the Great Depression. Real GDP growth was already slowing in 2019, but the pandemic effects of business shutdowns pushed it down even further. Central banks and governments have provided monetary stimulus and have cut interest rates to help to compensate. This has resulted in massive purchases of bonds, securities, ETFs and hi yield bonds. Globally governments have spent ten trillion US dollars. Our economy in North America lost about ten-years-worth of job gains in the first few months of the pandemic.  Jordan said that only about fifty percent of those jobs have been regained so far. Fortunately, consumer spending has held up really well throughout, which shows that government transfer payments for low income individuals are working. Unfortunately, one area that is not doing well is small businesses, which are still down about twenty percent. Very large corporations are doing fine finding funds as they can issue bonds, but some large companies in hard hit sectors such as travel, energy and real estate are going bankrupt, if they did not have enough cash flow to cover their debt.
Financial markets sold off quickly at the beginning of the pandemic but rebounded as soon as the central banks stepped in. At the moment the market is showing some unusual trends. The S&P 500 is currently dominated by the values of just six stocks, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google and Microsoft. They currently make up twenty five percent of the entire value of the S&P 500. These companies are attracting a lot of interest right now, but investors should be sure that they are purchasing good companies at a good price as well. Some market corrections are most likely coming. Governments are using low interest rates to support markets, and this is bad news for the bond market. This means people are putting their money into the stock market. Average investors need to think about how to generate income in this environment as low interest rates are here to stay for a while. Some factors to consider are the speed of vaccine development and the correlated economic recovery, the current social and political unrest, inflation rates and levels of pre-existing debt. He said that a broad diversification of investments is the best approach to deal with all of these things.
Jordan Schwann, 2020 Economic Update  Vi Hughes 2020-09-17 06:00:00Z 0
Celina's YEX presentation Celina Jensen 2020-08-15 06:00:00Z 0 Celina
Little Warriors playground Jim Peddie 2020-08-11 06:00:00Z 0 little warriors

History in the Making

Posted by Hans GRANHOLM on Aug 07, 2020
Congratulations to Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland (Ontario, Canada) member Jennifer Jones - who will become the first female Rotary International President in the organization's 115-year history in 2022-23!!
Jennifer Jones, Rotary Foundation Trustee 2019-23
Jennifer Jones is the president and CEO of Media Street Productions Inc., an award-winning television production company in Windsor. Jones has served Rotary in many roles, including as RI vice president in 2016-17. She is co-chair of the End Polio Now: Make History Today campaign to raise $150 million. She has been a leader in cultivating experiential fundraising opportunities such as Rotary’s Polio Golf Day with Jack Nicklaus in Jupiter, Florida, USA, which raised over $5.25 million for polio eradication.
Jones has been recognized with many awards, including the Service Above Self Award and the Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service, the YMCA Peace Medallion, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and she was the first Canadian to receive Wayne State University’s Peacemaker of the Year Award.
Jones and her husband, Nick Krayacich, are members of the Arch Klumph Society and the Paul Harris Society and charter members of the Bequest Society.
History in the Making Hans GRANHOLM 2020-08-07 06:00:00Z 0 Jones

Carin Jansen van Vuuren, Classification Talk

Posted by Vi Hughes on Jul 23, 2020
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This Tuesday we heard from Carin Jansen van Vuuren. Carin has been a member of our club for six years, but in some ways she has been a Rotarian all of her life.  Carin was born in South Africa and grew up in Pietersburg in a Rotarian family. Carin’s father was an active Rotarian, and a Past District Governor (PDG) in South Africa, all of his life and Carin was encouraged to take part in many different Rotarian causes and activities from the time she was a child.  
Carin attended University in South Africa and obtained an honors degree in Political Science and Administration. She then went on to work in the office of the Minister of Constitutional Development in South Africa. When at dept of constitutional development we were tasked to negotiate the new constitution for SA. While there she had the privilege of meeting many well-respected people of the 1980’s in the government of South Africa.  In 1988 she married Stephan and in 1990 they decided to come to Canada. Stephan had been offered a position in Eston, Saskatchewan. At first, they had not planned on staying in one place for long, planning to travel around and see North America, both US and Canada. Carin said that stepping off the plane, for the first time, in minus twenty weather, in Saskatoon, was quite a shock.
They then moved on to Two Hills in Alberta. As Carin was not allowed to work here, she kept herself busy around Stephan’s office and with community activities. They soon decided to invest in a local newspaper and Carin learned how to do layout and printing. She would get Stephan to help out as well in the evenings. In 1995 they became Canadian citizens with dual South African citizenship.
Carin loved organizing and administrative work. For several years they organized a South African music festival that took place in Canmore each summer and had a lot of fun doing this. In 2000, Stephan and Carin started organizing yearly tours for people to South Africa. These trips include tours of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. She still does these tours and has made met many wonderful people and made a lot of new friends doing this. In 2008, Carin started a property management company, focused on single family housing. It was quite a challenge for Carin to become familiar with home maintenance and dealing with all of the various trades involved.
On 15 Jul 2014 Carin became a member of our Rotary Club. Her father came for her induction. She said that he gave her one piece of good advice. He said, ”Be a Rotarian, don’t just wear a badge.” We know that Carin has followed this advice in every way and has been a wonderful asset to our club ever since. This sage advice is something that we all should strive to follow.
Carin Jansen van Vuuren, Classification Talk  Vi Hughes 2020-07-23 06:00:00Z 0

Amarok Update Jul 2020

Posted by Amarok on Jul 20, 2020
COVID-19 has reached a new height of infections as of mid-July, penetrating every slum in which we operate. The healthcare system is woefully underequipped to deal with or track an outbreak of this magnitude. The best calculation we can get on COVID’s impact is through the grave diggers who, by mid-June, were burying 10 times the number of people on a daily basis as pre-COVID-19.
But the immediate impact on the physical health of people is only part of the story.
The lockdown has caused severe economic hardship – in particular for our families living in the slums. Just imagine being confined to stay in a hut barely larger than the bed you lay on. There is no television or internet and you’ve never been able to afford a phone or even a radio.
After two months of such confinement, domestic violence and mental health are serious issues. So is constant hunger, and even starvation, as there is no way for most to make money to buy food.
All of the Amarok mothers have shared the importance of regular hand-washing and social distancing with their community, like Helena below. Though, short of growing a pair of wings, there’s little a person in these communities can do to avoid close interaction with others in shared spaces.
All of the Amarok mothers have shared the importance of regular hand-washing and social distancing with their community, like Helena below. Though, short of growing a pair of wings, there’s little a person in these communities can do to avoid close interaction with others in shared spaces.
Many of the Amarok mothers have helped the very poorest families register for the government’s sporadic handouts of rice and occasional onions or potatoes. And, despite most of our mothers and families not having enough food, to date no one has died of starvation. When a neighboring family is absolutely desperate, others come together and provide gifts of rice, lentils, onions, etc. The tone of these neighborhoods has been coloured by the Amarok mothers.
Quarterly Highlights
In mid-April, Asma’s husband, jobless since the lockdown, left the shack and never came back. 28 year old Asma and her 2 little girls, 8 and 4, had to manage on their own, in the face of starvation.
As a mother attending an Amarok school, Asma had become resourceful and had learned to sew. But people were not interested in new dresses these days with the lockdown. But Asma had an idea. With the last of her small savings, she went to the market and bought small pieces of patterned material. Out of these she made attractive masks for both adults and children.  She is now earning almost $1/day in a time when others are jobless.
This has allowed Asma to buy enough food for herself and the girls with some left to help those in greatest need. She gives masks for free to some of the poorest children. And like all the other Amarok mothers, she keeps in communication with the 5 neighborhood children she’s been teaching and their families throughout this stressful time.
The Rotary Partners of Amarok in Bangladesh include the Rotary Club of Shaikat Cox’s Bazar, Cox’s Bazar City and Inner Wheel Cox’s Bazar. They  have all provided food assistance to the mothers of Cox’s Bazar during the pandemic.
Our other partner, the Rotary Club of Midtown Dhaka, is also planning to provide a food package soon. Through generous support from Canadians and Americans, Amarok has also been able to provide food packages to all mothers of the 23 schools and is a wonderful demonstration of the heart-to-heart connection around the world.
My name is Sujon. I’m 13. I have 2 older brothers and 2 younger brothers. We live in one small room with my parents. Me and my brothers share 1 bed. Since I was 11 I’ve been working but I did not like the work and the days were very long. I had to lift heavy things from morning ‘til night.
One evening on my way home from work, I met another boy who lived nearby. He told me about an Amarok mini-school that was teaching him to read and write. We asked the mother who was teaching the 5 children if I could join. She met my parents and they said yes. I was so happy. This has let me enroll in the government school too because I don’t need to hire a tutor –my mother-teacher helps me. I am teaching my other brothers what I am learning.
When COVID hit our slum, my government school and my mini-school were closed down, my dad lost his job and my brothers were paid less for the same work. We fell behind in our rent by 3 months and every night I was hungry.
Then my mother-teacher told me the corner store needed a boy to work 3 hours every morning. I went with my dad to meet the shop owner. The man thought I would not be able to do it. But he gave me some tests of reading labels, weighing and calculating price of vegetables. I could do it and he immediately hired me. Now, every day I work in the shop in the mornings, do my own studying in the afternoon and teach my brothers in the evening. The owner loves me very much and I am so proud to help my family.
12 year old Shahinur has attended a neighbour-mother’s mini-school for the past 3 years. Now,  she can read almost anything. When lockdown came to her slum she could see how desperate, scared and alone everyone felt. The children were crying, Adults were arguing. She saw how sad people were. And her own parents were desperate. The landlord was threatening them with eviction for nonpayment of rent for 3 months, and they were hungry.
Shahinur, wearing green below, decided she would do something about this. At first, she talked to people she saw about the importance of frequent hand-washing. But then she had an idea to make a bigger difference:
  • She went to the landlord and asked if she could tutor his 2 daughters in exchange for rent. He agreed.
  • Next, she decided that every day she would read tales from her mini-school book of stories to groups of little children.
  • With older children she teaches them new games – and always carries extra masks (from Amarok) to give to others.
  • She talks to other girls her age about things that matter to them.
  • She reads the newspaper to older people.
Shahinur is making a very big difference to the well-being of others by connecting with them and helping them. She’s not feeling so very little anymore  - she knows she’s making a big difference.
With the number of new cases still peaking, it’s likely that the families in the slums of Bangladesh and Pakistan are in for several more months of the COVID-19 lockdown. We can count on our Amarok mothers to continue the leadership role they’ve assumed, but mass starvation looms with a continuation of this situation.
We will be launching Facebook campaigns starting mid-July to raise money to buy rice and lentils for the thousand families we work most closely with.
If you’re a member of a Rotary club, other service club or connected to another group of concerned people and are interested in receiving an online-update about what’s happening with the mothers, children and families we serve in the slums of Bangladesh and Pakistan, please be in touch with us at
Amarok Update Jul 2020 Amarok 2020-07-20 06:00:00Z 0