Director's Newsletter February, 2022 


Zone Leadership Team 21-22 

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June 4-8, 2022
RI Convention, Houston, Texas
June 5, 2022
Rotary Roundup
Houston Beyond Borders event
September 1-6, 2022
Cruise to Bermuda "Life Below Water" Symposium
September 21-24
Learning to Lead
Rotary International Governor Training
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Rotary International Zones 28 & 32 is a four country, two language, community of Rotarians in Bermuda, Canada, France and the United States spanning eight time zones.
Articles for the newsletter are due by the 20th of every month for the next newsletter. February is a short month and anything after the 20th will not be published. Early submissions are appreciated.
Please Note
Most stories have an introductory paragraph, and then a "Read More" link to finish off the story.
News from the Zones

February Message from the Director

In February we will celebrate Rotary’s 117th birthday, an incredible milestone!  From the very first service project, a comfort station on the streets of Chicago, to being on the brink of eradicating Polio from the face of the earth, we have a rich history, and we have each Served to Change Lives.

On February 23 in Zone 28 and 32 we will celebrate this milestone by having a party that you won’t want to miss.  Let’s celebrate our Rotary Foundation so that we can continue to do good in the world. Click here to participate and see you there!

February is Peace and Conflict Prevention/ Resolution month in Rotary. As members in Rotary, we do not wait for a specific month to put a focus on peace. Everyday, the projects and initiatives we support address the inequities of poverty, access to education and health care. We initiate and drive sustainable service projects that help to create and provide a better chance of building a peaceful society. 

Mother Teresa once said, “Peace begins with a smile”.  Very simple. When you smile your whole face lights up! – (sometimes hard to see behind our masks) – a smile is infectious; it encourages positive thinking and makes us physically feel better as well.  It’s also a universal language, a way to instantly connect to show understanding, acceptance, and happiness.

Peace begins with each of us.

“When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.” ~ Anne Frank 

February also marks the month that our District Governors Elect will attend the virtual International Assembly and Imagine Rotary.  Many districts will begin to hold training for incoming officers and club presidents.  I look forward to being with many of you either virtually or in person.

Until then, be well and be safe.


The Kessler Report – February 2022

The excitement is in the air as PETS season is upon us.  At this time every year, I so look forward to the PETS (President Elect Training Seminar) events that occur all throughout our two Zones during February and March.  It is at these events we are able to provide training, bring forward new ideas and from my perspective most importantly get our incoming leadership excited about the journey they are about to take.
For me personally, it was at my first multi–District PETS that I was able to truly see and feel the magnitude of our organization.  For the PETS that attract hundreds of attendees, the feeling when you enter the room is palpable.  We are able to bring in our best and brightest presenters and discussion leaders.  We are able to showcase the amazing works of our Clubs and Districts so others can replicate or glean information from them.  There are so many ideas that are brought back to our clubs all generated by this one annual event.
I have heard it said before that for many, the year they served as their Club President was one, if not the best year of their Rotary Career.  The responsibility of a Club President is extremely significant as they can elect to do little and hope their Club looks the same on the other end or they can embrace the role and work with their members to bring their club forward and build on what is hoped to be a solid platform.
As District and Zone leaders it is on us to help build excitement for PETS as we know what happens when Presidents Elect and Assistant Governors attend and not only “show up” but show up with an open mind.  We know what happens at these events, many of us have experienced PETS multiple times and can agree this one event can have a huge impact on a Club’s coming year.
For the repeat President who makes the statement, “I have been there already and do not need to go again” I implore you to take the time to share with them what they are going to receive if they attend this year.  Every year new ideas come forward, new speakers present but more than anything with every new year comes a new opportunity for these repeat Presidents to collaborate with other Presidents Elect and bring forward what works in their club and hear what works in other clubs.
While I wish all the coming events were in person this looks to be hopefully the last year that some will be online.  Regardless of the format the information is invaluable, and I know when our leaders attend with open minds our organization will only be better not only in the coming year and for years to come. Either online or in person, I look forward to seeing you at PETS in the coming months.

We're doing it again!


Participants or Members?

Declining membership is perhaps one of the biggest topics of Rotary discussions in North America.  This ongoing loss of members is hurting the good work that we do.  We must take the time and ask ourselves whether our clubs have participants or members.  Clubs with active and engaged members are a key to Rotary’s success.   
When reviewing clubs that are growing in membership as well as retaining their members, we find these clubs tend to have the same traits, regardless of the type of club they are. Those traits include having a strong leadership chain, stating clear goals that include a growth plan, being active in their community, strongly promote the Rotary brand, and intentionally engaging their members in service. 

Why Is It Important For Rotary to Be More Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive?

As we welcome in the new year, lets evaluate our progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).  The way we design projects and include people of all backgrounds, reflecting the communities in which we live will speak louder than words and will be an attraction for more members.  Having a diverse membership and an environment that appreciates and respects differences, helps Rotary Clubs be relevant in and connected to their communities.  The more diverse Rotary becomes, the better positioned it will be to delivery on our vision and mission providing peace and progress both in our own communities and around the world. 
It is important to differentiate the nuances between diversity and inclusion.

There’s a New Club in Town: Rotary Club of Cochrane EarlyAct

In my role as the D5360 District Governor, I’m always delighted to be able to welcome new members and the formation of new Rotary Clubs. This was especially so, when, on December 14th I attended our newest club, the Rotary Club of Cochrane EarlyAct club, at Glenbow Elementary School in Cochrane, Alberta. It is made up of students in Grade Four, who will decide on which projects to embark on and may then encourage all students from the school to take part in.
The club was formed in October of this year and has already completed their first project. This was to make Christmas cards for residents at both Bethany and Big Hill Lodge, situated in our community. Supported by staff at the school, the sixteen EarlyAct leaders and other students, produced 175 cards, in total. Instead of writing in them, the students had the wonderful idea of leaving them blank and putting them into bundles of five, wrapped in ribbon, so that the residents could then use them as they pleased.
I was there to accept the cards, which were beautifully hand-made from mostly recycled materials, and to present the students with their official Rotary pins. The EarlyAct club already has plans for projects in the coming year.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership led by national governments with six partners – 
  • the World Health Organization (WHO), 
  • Rotary International,
  • the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 
  • the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi,
  • the Vaccine Alliance.
The GPEI only goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.

Dreaming of Local and Global Positive Peace!

When my husband Brian and I first discussed our Rotary Legacy, the Promoting Peace Area of Focus came to mind immediately. We agreed that without conflict prevention or resolution, many of the projects and programs that Rotary has around the world would be at risk or withdrawn completely. Every day we see and hear about the ongoing cases of war, human trafficking, racial atrocities, modern slavery and child abuse. One of the challenges that are faced to end polio has been ongoing conflict.
2021 Ride To End Polio--The Results
The Indoor Ride to End Polio included 25 teams with approximately 250 participants. The highest Indoor Ride fundraiser award goes to Calgary West, where 34 clubs helped raise more than $91,000. Second place went to Stoughton, WI who raised more than $27,000. In total, the Indoor Ride, including all sites, raised a record $505,642 (all figures quoted with the Gates Match).
The Ride to End Polio in Tucson saw 100 cyclists registered, which is close to the norm for our ride. Considering we skipped a year and concerns over COVID, this is a great result. Riders came from 12 states and at least one rider rode in every distance.
The 2021 Ride to End Polio raised a total of $2,996,868 including all donations from all sources. This is the 12th year Rotary has participated in El Tour de Tucson, and over that time, our cyclists have raised $56,296,868.

Thank you to every cyclist who rode Indoors or in Tucson. To friends and family who came out and supported their rides with contributions and moral support. But in the end, let's all remember why we ride.
Making Good Use of Funds from TRF to do Good in the World
D6400 (Michigan and Ontario) and its clubs continue to be heavily involved in global grants, with six in draft stage, one awaiting authorization, four submitted and 34 active grants. The total value of all these grants is $7,121,287, clearly showing the power of the Rotary Foundation and the importance of partnerships, in doing good in the world. In fact, the projects range over 19 different countries. 
A wonderful example is the “St. Xavier Fosu Dental Center” in Ghana. This project, valued at just under $100,000, was the dream of IPDG Noel Jackson, aka, Captain Rotary.  The project was funded with support from D6380, D6400, the Rotary Clubs of Trenton and Grosse-Pointe Sunrise in D6400, an anonymous donor and the Howey Family Foundation. The clinic will benefit a service area of over 200,000 people.  Not included in the grant, but important for the success of the project, were significant donations of dental equipment; and the commitment of the dental staff and hospital administration in Ghana to ensure sustainability.
The Rotary Club of St. Joseph & Benton Harbor (D6360 in Michigan) are working on a grain milling project in Uganda after receiving a $3,000 district grant from TRF. For a total of $9,000, the club purchased two grain mills and a utility vehicle for use by food-production cooperatives developed as part of a peacebuilding, conflict prevention/resolution and food security project. Members of local agricultural cooperatives work together tilling, tending, and harvesting crops, and then deciding how to distribute the harvest. Local officials and Rotarians provide training.

Empowering Girls Initiative and Vocational Service

As I write this it is still Vocational Service month in the Rotary world.  Vocational Service is often called the lost avenue of service; however, it is intrinsic in the object of Rotary.
Some suggestions in RI’s “Introduction to Vocational Service” guide include using your skills and expertise to serve community.  You can do this by helping young people to achieve their careen goals and/or guide and encourage others in their professional development. There are many opportunities in our local communities to use our skills with a focus to also fulfill RI President Shekhar’s initiative for clubs and districts to engage in service to Empower Girls.
There is a great Canadian non-profit She Connects ( that pairs mentors with girls in grades 11 and 12.   You can also inquire at various organizations like your local YM/YWCA, Boys and Girls Club or your school district for Empowering Girls programs looking for volunteer partners.

Hearing Loss – The Silent Epidemic

My wife Monique has a Zoom Presentation – “Hearing Loss – The Silent Epidemic”. She has spoken to over 200 Rotary Clubs. This includes over 100 Zoom and 100 in person presentations to clubs in the US, Canada, Australia and Scotland. Monique has also spoken in person to over 185 other community organizations and employee groups about Hearing Loss. Monique and I are also Rotarians. We are between clubs as our club closed, but are looking at joining a Passport Club in our area.

Multi-District PolioPlus Event, Oct. 29, 2021

Our Empire Multi-District PolioPlus event on Friday, October 29, 2021, began with Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh reading a proclamation from the City Hall steps about the importance of Rotary to New York State and to the eradication of Polio in the world.  Rotary International President Elect Jennifer Jones then took the lectern to speak about our progress towards that goal. 
On the steps of City Hall:  DG Bruce McConnalee from 7190, DG Janet Tenreiro from 7120, Jennifer Jones, DG Evan Kurtz from 7170, and DG Dana Jerrard from 7150.
Later in the evening, Jennifer spoke about Polio “by the numbers” and cited the various statistics (updated) that The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the CDC, WHO, and RI have been using and RI’s role in improving those statistics.  To round off the evening, the 4 District Governors of the Empire Multi-District presented Jennifer with a BIG CHECK ($155,000.00) that represented the combined dollars from each District’s DDF and Commitments to PolioPlus.
On stage at the PolioPlus Dinner:  Jennifer Jones, Dana Jerrard, Bruce McConnalee, Evan Kurtz, and Janet Tenreiro.

Polio - Where Are We Today?

Pakistan 2020-total 84            2021 - YTD 1 Jan 27th will be one year of no Polio in Pakistan!
Afghanistan 2020-total 56     2021 - YTD 4 (40% of the 5 cases of Polio were from one family)
The final 2021 totals may not be known until February 2022 but the numbers of WPV1 and cVDPV2 cases have been reduced in both the endemic countries and the numbers are accurate. Nigeria has had a high incidence of cVDPV2 cases.
Positive ES samples are important but only to direct where responses are required.

Branchburg Rotary’s ASHA PROJECT

No matter how modern we become, the natural bleeding process (menstruation) in women is still considered taboo in Nepal; many students miss their school during this time.  This taboo has resulted in, as well as women dying from exposure because they are forced to remain outdoors.

Nepal conducts Reusable Pad project in rural communities

The Asha Project, in collaboration with the Rotaract Club of Damak in Nepal, conducted a training class on menstruation hygiene and distributed reusable sanitary pads free of charge to the community. Women groups were trained on how to make environmentally friendly sanitary pads. This project will allow the Nepali women to make their own pads. Many local students are not able to purchase sanitary pads and miss school during their period. 
The major goal of these projects was to break the myth that women are untouchable during their period and provide knowledge about menstruation and make them mentally, physically, and economically strong. 
Thank you, Sapana Kandangwa (Limboo), President of the Damak Rotaract Club, Rotary District 3292 -Nepal) for coordinating these projects in various parts of rural Nepal. Also, thanks to Rotaract club members for their dedication and service to the needy people of Nepal. 

New Custom License Plate for NYS Rotarians

 A new custom Rotary license plate will soon be available for New York State Rotarians! The new custom plate will feature the Rotary logo and our motto, "Service Above Self."
District 7120 Governor Janet Tenreiro along with District 7040 Area Governor Michael Griffin are taking point on this project, which has the support of all nine district governors in New York State. The new plate will take the place of Rotary's current custom plate in New York, which uses the old logo and has no motto.
In order for New York State to move ahead on printing the new plates, we need to get at least 200 New York State Rotarians to express interest in ordering the new custom license plate. (As on 19 January 2022, we currently need about 35 more sign-ups.)

Foundation Gala 2022


Rotary Roundup


From the Editor's Desk

The Zone newsletter for June 1, 2022 will be the last one that I will put together. After four years, it is time to move on to something different in Rotary. Incoming Director Drew Kessler has some exciting ideas for future communication in the Zone. If you have any ideas or suggestions, by all means contact him at