Posted by District Governor Irene Kelly (Eden Prairie AM)

Don Draayer (Excelsior) answered my literacy question and inspired me to allocate District Governor dedicated funds to educational projects that combat literacy and highlight STEM study. Each year our district sets aside $10,000 for a project selected by the District Governor. With my passion for education and youth development, I’m excited to apply the DG allotment to projects that support youth, reduce the achievement gap and promote peace.

Community and Economic Development, Rotary International's October theme, can show up in a number of ways. Developing youth is one of them. Your club can engage in these projects while supporting development in your community.

The literacy project:
Retired Superintendent Don Draayer has committed a $10,000 personal challenge grant. Don and Dr. Sylvia Sekhon, pediatrician, in partnership with REACH OUT and READ MN, train MN Health Clinic doctors to add an “education piece” to visits with preschoolers. They can impact brain development by encouraging parents to read to and with their children. At the end of each visit, the child is gifted an age-, language-, and culturally appropriate book. For more info, contact Don at

The STEM project:
Mark Boyd (Buffalo) is a retired astronomer. He authored and received a grant to place telescopes, that will be loaned, in the Great River Regional Library. This expands traditional library offerings, assigns focus to STEM study, and supports hands-on learning. Mark’s dream is to partner with other 5950 clubs to place telescopes for loan in as many libraries in 5950 as possible. You can reach Mark at

My thanks to Don and Mark for “cooking up” these two amazing Be the Inspiration recipes! I’m excited to see community and economic development at work in 5950.

Be sure to share your projects, fund raisers, quest for partners with Cheri Ashfeld so we can help clubs connect with each other. Criteria: 100 words maximum with an action picture/logo to go with it!

In Rotary Service,
DG Irene