Celebrating our
        Rotarians at work
              Paul Harris Society Members: 302

Changing the life of a child

We call them our Peter Pan children. They’re lost little urchins who run the streets of Patulul, their dirty clothes and faces conveying hunger -- not just for food, but for any sign of love and attention. When Maria Pacheco visits this community, they all run to her, calling her name because they know she brings with her something special in their forgotten lives. The Wakami Center, which was built in Patulul by Rotarians, is the center of everything that is positive in their lives.
There are two special children in Patulul, Paolo and Tino. They are the children of gang members and their home is filled with trash, drugs and neglect. Other children’s parents exclude Paolo and Tino from activities at the center because of the behavior of their parents. But Paolo and Tino carry with them a deep hunger for something better than they’ve been given and they refuse to be shunned. They are always at the Wakami Center, always the first in line for activities, always anticipating treats and learning.
Through Rotary, we built a computer room at the Center. That room produces magic for these children. Now when they run to the Wakami Center they still say hello to Maria, but they quickly run to the computers. Recently little Tino came up to Maria with five Quetzales (about $.01) and said, “I’m going to buy time on the computers.” The light in his eyes made all we’ve done there worthwhile.
                                Yours in Rotary service,
                                                               DG Bob
(Note: Meet Maria Pacheco and hear her keynote message at the District Conference.)

With local clubs' support, Pathways 4 Youth opens in St. Cloud

The next phase of Pathways 4 Youth is underway. Training volunteer mentors is center stage as the Youth Opportunity Center begins serving homeless youth ages 16-23 in the St. Cloud area. 
“We are excited, building our team of trained volunteers to meet the needs of more homeless young people in the St. Cloud area. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer mentor, our staff are eager to share the opportunity with you,” said Lisa Jacobson, executive director of Pathways 4 Youth and HOPE 4 Youth. 
The center offers youth access to case managers, a food pantry, an evening meal, a clothing closet, laundry and showers, a mailing address, lockers, employment and education information and health/wellness resources. 
As of May 16, the center is scheduled to be open each Wednesday to all local youth experiencing homelessness. Mentor training will eventually have 30-50 volunteers ready so the center can be open from 2-7 p.m. Monday-Friday. Pathways staffers look forward to the kind of successes seen at HOPE 4 Youth, our partner in Anoka. 
“In the five years that we have been open at our Anoka location, HOPE 4 Youth has generated many success stories. One is Jenaa, a homeless mother of two young children when she came to HOPE 4 Youth. She worked hard and passed her nursing boards last month. The future for Jenna and her children is now bright as she went from the title of homeless to LPN," Jacobson said.
Pathways 4 Youth sponsors are the Rotary Club of St. Cloud, Granite Rotary Club, the Great River Rotary Club and the St. Cloud Rotaract Club.

My experience as an exchange student

Hello, my name is Paco Tebar Gomez and I’m an exchange student from Spain attending Edina High School for my junior year. My school in Spain has 200 students; Edina has over 3,000!
In Spain, I live in a climate similar to San Diego, so December’s Christmas lights and snow was incredible. January was still beautiful. February came and the lakes were still frozen! In March I got a little bit tired of snow. Now (April), I’ve seen enough. This completely different environment is what makes it special. I’m seeing things I’ve never seen before.
When my mom first told me about being an exchange student, I thought, “I’m good here with my friends and relatives. Why would I want to go somewhere else?” But she explained to me how amazing this year would be. And look where I’m at today. And all this is thanks to Rotary.
I discovered something this year. Being out of your comfort zone is where all the magic is going to happen. Meeting so many people and becoming a wiser person is thanks to all the obstacles in your path. I encourage others to take that step.
I thank the Edina Morningside Rotary Club and the Edina Noon Club, along with my host family, Tom and Catherine Gump. And how could I forget my host brother, Andrew? They are now my second family. Thanks to them and Rotary, I’ve had many amazing experiences that I’ll never forget.

New Twin Cities Rotary EcoClub secures provisional status

The new Twin Cities Rotary EcoClub had its first official meeting on May 2. This is a great opportunity for service and connection with a focus on protecting the environment. Our outreach is to young adults -- and young thinkers of all ages.  This will be a non-traditional, theme-based Rotary club, with a lower cost and fewer meetings that focus on fellowship, service, and environmental sustainability.
For more information, including upcoming meetings and events, go to Or download and share the flyer.  Who are the people in your network of family, friends, and associates who would benefit from membership in the EcoClub? Take a moment and forward this information to them.
Fifteen prospective members attended the May 2 meeting, and an additional 12 have said they plan to attend future meetings. The club will meet the first and third Tuesday of every month from 6:30-7:45 p.m. The regular meeting location is TBD, but will be in the Minneapolis/Golden Valley/St. Louis Park area. It’s a great opportunity for anyone who would benefit from leadership development, fellowship and networking, volunteerism and service. I am excited about the prospects for the club.

Your TRF dollars make a difference -- globally and locally

This Rotary year the Global Grants Committee approved eight global grants involving 22 District 5950 clubs. Two examples of how your TRF dollars are used worldwide include:
  • A humanitarian project provides potable water to 6,600 individuals, and safe sanitation facilities to 2,200 people in 20 communities in western Honduras.
  • Training and empowering the local community improves health care services to women and children during pregnancy, birth, infancy and early childhood in Bukoba, Tanzania.
District 5950 leveraged these 22 clubs’ $165,796 contribution 7.7 times for total project funding of $1,275,011. For more information contact Mary Kurth, Global Grants Committee Chair, at
The District Grants Committee spent $192,538 in District Designated Funds on 45 projects -- 11 small international projects and 34 local projects -- totaling $430,914. Some of these included:
  • Gaylord contributed two play pieces to a large playground at the new elementary school.
  • Buffalo worked with senior volunteers of the Erv Schmidt Toy Shop to create wooden toys for children. The grant financed new saws and equipment so volunteers could dedicate all their time making toys rather than repairing equipment.
  • North Minneapolis and St. Louis Park Noon co-sponsored a Non-Rotary Partner Matching Grant. Working with the Nature Conservancy and Great River Greening, volunteers will plant 22,000 trees. Twenty-six clubs contributed to this project.
  • Brooklyn Park is participating in a Non-Rotary Partner Matching Grant with KPMG LLP, a world leading professional services firm. Their reading program in Title I schools (those with a high number of children from low-income families) helps ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.
  • St. Michael-Albertville is providing water fountains in the St. Michael parks where there currently are none.
  • Edina Morningside added to a Maple Grove project. Women refugees arrive in Uganda from war-torn countries with no means to earn a living for their children and themselves. Maple Grove provided a container filled with knitting and sewing supplies; Edina Morningside financed construction of a building where the women work.
For more information contact Carol Cline-Hedblom, District Grants Chair, at

Final hours to register for District Conference!

Register here by 10 a.m. on MONDAY, MAY 14!
District Conference on May 21 at the Guthrie will be the Rotary event that everyone talks about for years!
District Conference is your chance to experience three great speakers, a celebration of each club's favorite project, music, a video and a flying PDG!  It is a do-not-miss event. In addition to the amazing keynotes and musical acts, we have breakout sessions you can attend that culminate, if you dare, in YOU being on stage at the Guthrie!!  

Nakivale Rotaract Club serves refugees in Uganda

When refugees leave their home country, they often run with nothing. They arrive at places like Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda, often with only the clothes they were wearing. At Nakivale, their first point of entry is the Reception Center – a place they could stay for weeks, lacking access to the other services the camp offers.
The Nakivale Rotaract Club had an idea to help these newly arrived refugees feel a little more comfortable and dignified. Knowing firsthand that the first few days or weeks of being a refugee can be especially traumatic, their idea was simple: more clothes! With the help of American Refugee Committee, Nakivale Rotaractors distribute extra clothes to new arrivals.
Nakivale Rotaract Club is not your typical club; it’s made up of young refugees who want to give back. It chartered in June 2017 thanks to sponsorship by the Rotary Clubs of Roseville and Kitwatule, Uganda, and support from American Refuge Committee (ARC). Nakivale Rotaract Club is the very first Rotary entity in a refugee camp. They are pioneers with abundant ideas and a desire to take action.
Join Nakivale Rotaractors! Travel to Uganda from June 16-23 for World Refugee Day and help launch their “Year of Action”. Give towards a day of action and empower these refugee youth to be active community leaders. Learn more by contacting Amanda Ottman at, or by going to

What does it take to be a ShelterBox volunteer?

The May Rotarian magazine features the “final exam” of ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) training. The article reveals the high standards and tough conditions that SRTs must endure to qualify for the team. Fortunately, it is easier to join the ShelterBox team here in D5950. If you like the ShelterBox story and mission, we have options.
Be a speaker:  Rotarians have been incredibly supportive of ShelterBox. But how and what we deliver has changed. (Did you know that less than 7% of the families we helped in 2017 received a ShelterBox?). We want every club to know what’s new.
Work with young people:  Fundraising with youth has been crazy successful! ShelterBox has developed a series of fun, engaging activities for Interactors, student groups and others that explore ShelterBox, while teaching valuable skills. Can you hear the laughter?
Engage young professionals:  One of Rotary’s strategic focus areas is to offer training to early career professionals. On May 23 we will present “High Stakes Leadership,” a workshop that ties the skills needed by SRTs to navigating professional life. Learn more as you help us facilitate!
Quick Links:
Contact me at 612-801-7821 or
Read the Rotarian Magazine article
Request a spot at “High Stakes Leadership” 
Learn about the 2018 Mississippi River canoe expedition to support ShelterBox 

Upcoming Events
2018 Rotary REVUE - District Conference
May 21, 2018
9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Rotary International Convention
Jun 23, 2018 – Jun 28, 2018
Meet and Greet at Mill Street - RI Covention in Toronto
Jun 24, 2018
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Russell Hampton
National Awards Services Inc.
Rotary International District 5950
PO Box 2158  
Minneapolis, MN 55337-2158
For further information, please email
Carol MacDonald, Executive Director 
Cheri Ashfeld, Newsletter Editor