Rotary District 5890
Greater Houston Area

Like Us On Facebook

Home Page Stories

Dear District 5890 Rotarians:


As you all know our District is a very strong, active and successful district Making A Difference throughout our local communities and our world.  This is certainly due mostly to the great clubs and thousands of amazing Rotarians we have in our clubs.  But it is certainly also due to the strong leadership we have from the bottom up starting at our club level and ending with our District Governor.   Each year we seek to attract quality applicants for District Governor to continue the success of our District and our clubs.  It is a position I highly recommend.


PDG Sunny Sharma leads this year’s DG Nominating Committee and has asked me to share his message with our district.


“D5890 is actively soliciting good Rotarians who would like to apply for the position of District Governor for D5890 for year 20-2021. Applications for D5890 Governor 20-2021 will be accepted through January 25, 2018 at the office of PDG Sunny Sharma, 20-2021 nominating committee chair, 2040 Johanna Drive, Houston, TX 77055. Please contact our DG Bill Palko or nominating committee chair PDG Sunny Sharma through email as soon as possible if you have any questions.”


If you’ve ever given thought to applying to be District Governor I encourage you to do so.  Or if you know a fellow Rotarian that you believe would be a good District Governor please encourage that Rotarian to apply. 



DG Bill


Dear District 5890 Rotarians,
To say that much has happened since this Rotary year began is an understatement.  It seems that every day brings with it another set of disasters/challenges/problems which impact our daily lives. 
During such trying times, it is important to remember that we are a Rotary family, which means none of us are in this alone. We have friends throughout the district that are ready and willing to help, whether that help be mucking out a home or making a grocery store run for a fellow Rotarian that no longer has a car.   Daily we live the Rotary theme for this year, “Rotary, Making a Difference.”
Not only have we had to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, we’ve learned new terms, such as “mucking out,” “N95 face masks,” and “Tyvek suits.”  And, we’ve learned we had skills we didn’t even know we had, such as how to tear out sheetrock and flooring and how to properly use a sledgehammer.  None of these terms nor skills had been part of our lives before, but they are now.
We have also had to learn (far more than we ever wanted to) about how to prepare for and then deal with all stages of a disaster.  We have come far and learned much.
The four stages of dealing with disasters are mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.   At its simplest, mitigation is thinking about all the “what if’s,” preparedness is preparing for those “what if’s,” response is responding to what ever happened and recovery is the long-term plan to get everyone back to their “new” normal. 
So where are now in District 5890?  The disaster has happened, the response was immediate and now we move into the recovery stage.  Have we learned a lot along the way?  Yes.  Have we stumbled a few times?  Yes.  Are there improvements we should implement?  Yes.
I strongly urge you to read the “District 5890 Disaster Recovery Overview” so that you’ll understand our long-range plan.  Then read the Gulf Coast Disaster Relief Donor Advised Fund Information and the District 5890 Charities Information.  Links to all these documents are below.
We have monies available to help your clubs help others with Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.   We have fellow Rotarians knowledgeable about all stages of disaster recovery.  We have a wealth of information just a click away.  
Remember, we are a Rotary family.  We are here to help you and to help you help others.  We are “Rotary, Making a Difference.”
DG Bill Palko

Rotary Youth Exchange builds peace one young person at a time.

Students learn a new language, discover another culture, and truly become global citizens. Exchanges for students 15 to 19 years old are sponsored by Rotary clubs in more than 100 countries.

What are the benefits?

Exchange students unlock their true potential to:

  • Develop lifelong leadership skills
  • Learn a new language and culture
  • Build lasting friendships with young people from around the world
  • Become a global citizen

How long do exchanges last?

Long-term exchanges last a full academic year, and students attend local schools and live with multiple host families.

Short-term exchanges last from several days to three months and are often structured as camps, tours, or homestays that take place when school is not in session.

What are the costs?

Room and board are provided, as well as any school fees. Each program varies, but students are usually responsible for:

  • Round-trip airfare
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel documents (such as passports and visas)
  • Spending money and any additional travel or tours

How can I apply?

Candidates are 15-19 years old and are leaders in their schools and communities. Contact your local Rotary club to see what exchange opportunities are available and what the application process involves. If you have questions, please Contact Ralph Gonsoulin at 409-659-9855 or by email at to help get you connected to your local Rotary club.

Long-term application:

Short-term application: 

Can I host an exchange student?

Hosting an exchange student can be incredibly rewarding for your family, bringing an international experience directly into your home. Host families provide room and board and share their lives with exchange students, involving them in family, community, and cultural activities. All host families are screened and trained. 

If you’re interested in learning more about being a host family, contact a Rotary club near you.

Dear District 5890:
It is Mine and Debbie’s honor and privilege to serve as your District Governor and First Lady for 2017-2018. 
During the previous 2+ years leading up to now, I’ve visited many clubs and met many Rotarians.  I’ve witnessed firsthand your passion for Serving Humanity.  I’m in awe of and inspired by all that you do.  I am thankful to be a member of our great Rotary District.  A District referred to during PETS training this past February by Rotary International Vice President Jennifer Jones as a “Kick Ass” District.  Yes, Jennifer, we are.  And we’re proud of it too!
Our 2017-18 Theme is “Rotary Making A Difference.”  We’re going to “Make A Difference” by emphasizing Membership Growth, Engagement and Retention.  We will work especially hard on attracting young and diverse new members without leaving behind new members with a little more “seasoning.”  We will engage our new members and re-engage those veteran members that may feel left by the wayside.  For engagement and participation are the secrets to retention.  And retention is the key to membership growth.  We’re going to “Make A Difference” doubling down on our Foundation Giving by hosting a Million Dollar Dinner held on January 27, 2018 with RI President Ian Riseley as our Keynote Speaker.   And we’re going to bolster our PR/PI Campaign using the new slogan “People of Action” to make sure everyone in our community knows we are Rotarians and that what we do is “Making A Difference” in people’s lives.  
I look forward to working with you in these areas of opportunity for our District and in “Making A Difference” in our communities through Rotary Service.  If my leadership team or I can be of any assistance to you or your club, please do not hesitate to call upon us.  We exist to assist you!              
DG Bill and Debbie
One of District Governor Bill Palko's goals was to try to have District 5890's District Grant application approved by July 31, 2017. As a reminder, clubs who are part of the District Grant application can only be reimbursed from funds that are spent after the approval date. Consequently, clubs with approved District Grants are now free to spend their funds as outlined in their District Grant Application.
July 24, 2017 is one of the earliest, if not the earliest, district Grant Application approval dates since District 5890 began using the new District Grant model during the 2010-11 year. The District Rotary Foundation Committee wants to think all of the clubs that participated in the process. We look forward to hearing about the projects as the club's complete them.
A copy of the application can be found on the District Rotary Foundation Committee website: Hint: That site can be found up above this article under the webpage banner.
Clubs are reminded that the projects must be completed, and a final report form filed no later than April 30, 2018.
The completed applications for the 2018-2019 Rotary Foundation Global Grant cholarhip should be returned to Bill Barmore by October 20, 2017 at P. O. Box 34824, Houston, Texas 77234, or by e-mail at  Bill may also be contacted at his office at 713-209-2800..  A link to the documents may be found at .
April 26, 2016 - April 29, 2018
Hyatt Regency Riverwalk
123 Losoya St.
San Antonio, Texas 78205
To register for a room please go to:
Cancellation Policy:
Full Refund if submitted in writing by March 15, 2018
25% cancellation fee if submitted in writing by March 30, 2018
50% cancellation fee if submitted in writing by April 15, 2018
No refund if cancelled after April 15, 2018

Rotary District Conference Service Projects for Veterans in San Antonio

Our District 5890 has a tradition of doing a service project to benefit the local community where our conference is held, and DG Bill Palko has selected two outstanding District Conference Service Projects that will benefiting military patients in San Antonio.
Service Projects Contacts:  Charlie and Tommie Buscemi - Email: or 713-598-7129 (Cellular). If you or your Rotary club are contributing funds for the labyrinth , please send Charlie an email so he can keep DG Bill Palko updated about clubs and Rotarians making contributions so they can be announced during our conference.
(Photo of the Audie L. Murphy Memorial VA Hospital, San Antonio)
  • Veteran Project #1 (Click here for details):  Build a therapeutic labyrinth to help military patients with “Traumatic Brain Injury” at the Polytrauma Transitional Rehabilitation Program (PTRP), an off-site 12-room transitioning facility in San Antonio.
  • Cost:  $20,000  This will be built in the front of the facility (click here).  This therapy project has been on the “wish list” of the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, but could not be built due to a lack of funding.  They said this would be “an impactful donation of great value as it would be long-lasting” due to the fact that the PTRP facility helps military patients live independently while still receiving therapy to learn the skills needed to successfully reintegrate back into the community after their multiple injuries. 
  • Purpose of Project:  Walking a labyrinth is a type of moving meditation for patients at the facility which can clear their mind for facing life’s challenges.  The spiritual benefits of walking a labyrinth include sensory awakening, reconnecting with self, sense of destination, restoration, and safety.  A “Rotary District 5890” recognition plaque will be placed near the labyrinth. 
  • How can you or your Rotary club help?  Make a contribution by issuing a check payable to:   District 5890 Charities, Inc., c/o Jackie Barmore, 3525 Preston Ave., Pasadena, TX 77505.
  • Veteran Project #2:  “Comfort Item Gift Bags” for the military patients at the Audie L. Murphy Memorial VA Hospital in San Antonio.
  • Items needed:  Socks, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, body wash (no bar soap), mouthwash (must be alcohol free), underwear (various sizes of briefs/boxers are needed). 
  • Visit this VA Hospital during our District Conference:  On Friday, April 27th, a group of thirty-five District 5890 Rotarians will be transported via vans to this VA hospital for an opportunity to visit patients, plus deliver much need comfort items that we’ll pack into bags.  Gift bags will be given to the patients, plus we leave additional bags that the hospital staff will distribute to patients.
  • How your club can help:  Collect items, and bring them to our District Conference Registration Desk in the hotel when you arrive in San Antonio.  We’ll collect the items and pack them into bags which we’ll take to the hospital on Friday, April 27th.
  • Service Projects Contacts:  Charlie and Tommie Buscemi - Email: or 713-598-7129 (Cellular). If you or your Rotary club are contributing funds for the labyrinth, please send Charlie an email so he can keep DG Bill Palko updated about clubs and Rotarians making contributions so they can be announced during our conference.
At the 2017 Interact District Conference at Sealy High School, Rotarian Ron Fitzwater was presented with the "Interact District 5890 Service Above Self" Award by District 5890 Interact Committee Co-Chair, Charlie Buscemi. 
Ron has served as the Interact Adviser at the Alvin High School Interact Club for years, plus he has served as the District 5890 Four-Way Test Essay Contest Scholarship Committee Chair, and as an District 5890 Area Membership Chair.  His commitment to serving his community, school, family and Rotary is outstanding.
The award was given to Ron with sincere appreciation and great respect for his years of dedication to strengthening the foundations of goodwill, peace, and fellowship through service with Interactors in his community, and beyond.  For years, he has unselfishly given his time, energy, and talent to further the principles and ideals of Rotary, plus the importance of Rotary's Four-Way Test and Service Above Self, in the hearts and minds of our world's future community leaders.
District 5890 and 5910 Rotarians and families with specific needs arising from the widespread flooding may contact Wayne Beaumier (281-923-4085 / / Rotary Club of Cypress-Fairbanks) for disaster aid assistance. You also may phone 311 to report damage and/or ask for assistance, as well as the Southwest TX Flood Cleanup Hotline (1-800-451-1954) for help cleaning up homes or property only. The Southwest TX Flood Cleanup Hotline will share your information with local agencies, community leaders, and volunteer relief agencies but cannot guarantee assistance or timing.  Medical emergencies should be reported to 911. For any other kind of help, please dial 211 for the menu of statewide services available, including benefits and help evacuating property.
Rotary District 5890 Global Scholar Anja Nikolova completed exams for her first year at Yale University last week and began the second year of her scholarship in September. A condition of her Yale studies is that she must complete an internship between her two years of studies and she returned to the U.S. on June 7 from her family home in Skopje, Macedonia to begin work with the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition(CPLC) in Washington. CPLC is a World Bank and International Finance Corporation led intitiative focusing on climate change. Before returning to the U.S.  she attended the Carbon Expo workshop in Cologne, Germany.

At CPLC Anja worked directly with companies such as BP, Shell, IKEA, Royal DSM and Unilever and the governments of Canada, India, France. The insights she produced helped these companies to design and implement their carbon pricing strategy as a business driver and towards achieving their environmental goals. 

Over the summer, Tandem Language Café, the program Anja co-founded, received investment capital and is expanding - they are currently hiring 4 new staff and partnering with Yale’s numerous departments - it’s very exciting, and has become her entrepreneurial experiment! They also launched their website:


District 5890 shares sponsorship of Anja's second scholarship year with Rotary Districts 5930 (Texas), 5840 (Texas), 5770 (Oklahoma), and 7980 (New Haven). Her first year Rotary Global Scholarship was funded by our District 5890.
The Rotarian Magazine has agreeed to conduct a Q and A with Anja for publication this coming winter.

Congratulations to Galleria Rotarians on their $5000 award for school uniforms to Houston’s Lee High School, which inspired Lee’s journalism students to showcase the Rotary commitment to education and literacy. Budding Lee journalists Juliette Acevedo and Augustin Cantero’s article was published by The River Oaks Examiner Newspaper, as well as in their high school paper, web site, and on Twitter, according to journalism instructor and yearbook advisor David Fanucchi. Noting that the new uniforms will feature Rotary's logo on the sleeve, the youthful literati wrote . . . 

Over the past six or seven years Bill Davis has enjoyed the privilege of working with five extraordinary young women who have been responsible for creating  TWENTY Rotary water, sanitation, education and health projects around the world with a value of $1,009,000.   These projects took place in El Salvador, Bolivia, Uganda, Kenya, Brazil, Afghanistan, Botswana, Peru and Ghana.  In addition six scholarships were funded for studies towards Master’s Degrees in Nepal, Brazil, Chile, Austria, Yale University and Scotland.
January 2018
Upcoming Events