Welcome to the Rotary Club of Allentown

Are you an established professional who wants to make positive changes in our community and the world? Allentown Rotarians share a passion for community service, action and fellowship.  Joining Allentown Rotary connects you with this diverse group of people enabling you to contribute to our city, develop your leadership skills and make life-long friendships.  Click here for info on Joining Allentown Rotary!
Club News
Editor's Note: this is the written text that Marci Moyer Schick spoke from on Friday night, June 29th, when she accepted the gavel as Allentown Rotary Club's next president.  Even if you were there, it's worth reading again to reinforce Marci's major goals and themes for the coming year.  Marci is a previous Rotary President, having served in the role early in her professional career.  The gavel plaque pictured below is from her tenure as the Liberty Bell Club president, a club which is no longer in existence.
When I tell prospective members about the benefits of being a Rotarian, I talk about four things. The first three easily come to mind.
  • Fellowship and Networking – Rotary was founded by Paul Harris 113 years ago as a way to find fellowship and friendship and to build connections within his community.
  • Service - Soon after, service found a place in Rotary, and as our organization expanded, so did its influence.
  • Global Impact – Today Rotary gives us the chance to be part of something with the power to change the lives of families and communities across the world..
There is a fourth thing I tell potential members, and it has to do with the personal growth that we gain through membership. Our Allentown Club offers exceptional programs, giving us the opportunity to hear new ideas and new information. But that is not the only way that we can “grow” in Rotary.
I became a member almost 30 years ago when I was the same age as many of the young members we are inviting to join our ranks today. I was quickly given the chance to take leadership roles within my Rotary club. The role models and experiences I have had through Rotary have been invaluable. Rotary is still teaching me important lessons in how to make positive change in our changing world.
Our club is very fortunate to have a great group of new members with fresh ideas and energy.
I hope that each one of you will find opportunities for growth and leadership in the Allentown Rotary Club as you put your ideas into action. The officers and board of this club pledge to support you in achieving your goals!
Rotary transforms lives and communities. To continue to transform as a Club, we need to think differently about our role in Rotary, and Rotary’s role in the world.
  • We need to put more emphasis on our public image and the ways we communicate and get our work done, staying current to attract new members and partners to make a difference in our community.
  • We need to focus on larger projects that have a more lasting impact, taking the time to research and consider multi-year commitments.
  • Most important of all, we must all embrace our role as Rotarians to inspire others to join with us in making a difference.
Barry Rassin, our new RI President, chose this year’s theme saying, “Rotary shows us what is possible, inspires us to reach for it, and gives us a path to act — and to Be the Inspiration to our world.” I look forward to a year of working with each one of you to inspire new avenues for friendship, service and lasting impact in our community and the world. 
Rotary's New Vision statement!
Editor's Note: This is the text of the Thank You and recognition message that last year's President, Barb Bottitta, gave at the Change Over Dinner on Friday night, June 29th.  There is also a link to the 6 pages of slides that Barb used for her talk.
Also, an update to the membership goal that Barb discussed Friday night.  We checked ClubRunner after July 1st  and our membership was reported to RI at year end as 65.  We had a successful membership year with 9 new members.  Since 8 members left the club for a variety of reasons, our net gain is 1, the first positive net growth in several years.
2017 - 2018 Highlights
Before I present the gavel to our new President, Marci, I'd like to take a few minutes to look at the progress our club has made in the past year.  I came into the Presidency with several major goals and I'm pleased that we met or surpassed all of them:
  • WE Updated the Strategic Plan for the Club
  • WE Completed & Dedicated the Centennial Fountain
  • WE Implemented the membership, newsletter, website and social media functions of Club Runner
Even in the area of membership, where we did not quite meet our growth goals, we were successful in many other ways. Our extra special recruiting events (esp. The Vault and our visit to Rolf's corporate headquarters) and our creation of new membership categories such as Spouse & "Under 40" resulted in many new, young and energetic members.  Our membership challenges are not unique among Rotary Clubs, so the really good news is that for the first time in 4 years, we did not have a net loss for the year.
I'd like to acknowledge Marci, Kati and Murtaza for the yeoman jobs they did in recruiting and orientation for new members this year.We are certainly have great momentum going into the new year, as evidenced by THREE new member pinnings in one meeting this month.I am optimistic that our efforts to grow the club and energize it with young professionals representing diverse nationalities and ethnicities will pay BIG dividends for the Club in years to come.   
As we've said many times, growing the membership is everyone's responsibility, and I hope you'll take advantage of the weekly SMILE, the new website, our social media posts and just old fashioned WORD OF MOUTH to share our good news and "People of Action" stories across Allentown and the Lehigh Valley.Rotary International as given us the "People of Action" tools that emphasize verbs like Inspiring, Connecting and Transforming and that, to me, is the present and the future of Allentown Rotary.
In addition to our major goals and completing our usual, annual projects, we added the Tree Planting in Cedar Beach as an effort that could very well become an annual project.  I'd like to acknowledge Gary Rohrbach, Asst Governor and Past Pres of Emmaus Rotary, who is here tonight, for his generous donation of the 65 saplings that we planted. 
Financially, we invested over $146K in the community this past year though the Fountain, Dictionary, Tree planting and other projects. AND we had over 600 volunteers hours committed to Community Building "People of Action" projects. Those Volunteers Hours were through the efforts of the Rotarians in this room and those who were not able to be here with us tonight, SO GIVE YOURSELVES A ROUND OF APPLAUSE!
I'd be remiss if I didn't thank Ken Kirshner and his Program committee for the interesting and educational programs that they arranged for this year's meetings.  I know I regularly received very positive comments about the high quality of our speakers and topics this year, so THANK YOU Ken and your committee members!
Next, I am pleased to announce that at last night's District Meeting, And, for the first time in many years, Allentown Rotary earned The Club Achievement Award from our District.  This award is given to Clubs who developed a Strategic Plan and who achieved other 6 significant projects during the year.  Our goal this past year was to complete at least 5 projects, we actually completed over 30. 
Rotary is not and should not be about rewards and recognition, but this Achievement Award is well deserved and it is recognition from our fellow Rotarians, their Clubs and the District for the turn-around we have started to engineer this past year.  We are becoming a Club that is more Project oriented and more a "People of Action"
Lastly, maybe the most important accomplishment of the year was putting in place a transition for presidents that gives the Club consistency and experienced leadership from one year to the next.  Marci, Don and I worked so well together developing a new Strategic Plan, updating the Constitution and restructuring our committees that I am confident that  the Club is in good hands for the future.  The new "Triumvirate" is Marci, Don and Kati LaBuda and I will work with the 3 of them to give them whatever help and assistance I can to make their years HUGE successes.
Before I turn over the gavel to Marci, I'd like to ask all the past Allentown Rotary Presidents in the room to stand up for a round of applause -- Marci, Don, Kati and I are building on the foundations you put into place during your years as Presidents.
 A lot of people who have achieved success in later life tend to forget how difficult the struggle was.  Roger Mullin did not.  As CEO of Mack Trucks, he had achieved a place in 20th century corporate America that many would envy.  But he wanted to make it easier for others.  And he decided to do it through the Allentown Rotary Club Foundation.
So, in 1988 he created the Roger and Louisa Mullin Scholarship.  “Kids with talent should get what they deserve,” he said.  Since that time ARC has seen to that.  Working with guidance counselors at William Allen, Central Catholic and Dieruff high schools the students are selected on the basis of financial need and community service.
 At its May 18th meeting the club awarded this year’s scholarship to Christina Mitry of Dieruff High School.  Mitry, who came to the the U.S. from Syria with her parents in 2010 will receive $3000 per year for four years, which she plans on spend at Muhlenberg College studying bio-chemistry which she hopes to use toward a degree in medicine.  She is pictured here with some Rotarians from the Allentown Rotary Scholarship Committee.  Below, Judy Lovett Belaires presents the scholarship to Christina.
 She hopes to use that degree to work with children.  She feels in this way she can make a contribution to society.  “Working with children is my passion,” she says.
Although she and her family left their native land before the current unrest struck it many of her family members have been displaced by it.
As she told of a cousin who was in the army but has apparently disappeared, her eyes became tearful.  “Maybe he was captured by ISIS, we just don’t know,” she said with sadness in her voice.  “My major wish is for peace in Syria.”
Another feature of the day is hearing from past recipients of the scholarship. On hand for the event was Derek Reynoso the 2016 scholarship awardee.
An art student from William Allen High School Derek is using his scholarship at the University of West Virginia to study potter making and art. He is now a junior and has sold several of his pieces, has shown his work in Hawaii and is currently getting ready to spend a semester in China.
 Derek’s family are from the Dominican Republic originally. “When I was in middle school and high school I assumed that like the rest of my family when I graduated I would enter the workforce,” he says. “But now I am the first member of my family to go to college,” he says. “It is an incredible feeling.”       

When our Club approved the grant funds for for the Luis Ramos playground project, we specifically selected a piece of equipment called a Supernova (pictured below).   A number of Rotary members commented at the time that they thought it was an appropriate gift from Rotary because the Supernova rotates and in that sense, it is similar to the Rotary logo. Here is a brief history of the logo and its many implied meanings:

Back in 1905, an engraver and Chicago Rotarian, Montague Bear, designed a simple Rotary wagon wheel, showing movement and dust. It was meant to represent civilization, movement and service work in action. Over time, many Rotary clubs adopted the wheel in one form or another.

At the 1929 Rotary International Convention, it was determined that blue and gold would be the official colors of the organization, so the wheel was designed with these colors. Some time later, Rotarian engineers pointed out that a gear could not be effective just turning freely on a shaft, so a keyway was added to signify the wheel was a "worker and not an idler."

            Rotary logos across the decades

The keyway in the center of the hub is of great significance, because it represents the individual Rotarian member, who is the key factor in every club. Quality members are the keys, needed for the hub to engage with the shaft and turn, putting the energy into motion and creating the power for the gears to do productive and meaningful work.

The Rotary wheel stands for much more than a service club symbol or logo. It represents caring and sharing, friendship and love, plus a commitment with a "you can count on me" attitude. It portrays an "I give more than I take" culture, shining a light of hope on the despair found in many in dark corners of the world.  Rotary is helping to make the world a better place to live, one friendship at a time.

For more photos of the Ramos playground and a copy of the "just in case" notes prepared, but not presented, for the Ramos dedication, click "Read More":

When he came to America in the 1830s one thing that impressed French social philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville was the habit of Americans when creating an organization, from a volunteer fire company to a chess club, to elect officers and establish by laws.  He saw it as a strength of the still young nation’s democracy.
In keeping with that tradition on Friday, May 4, the members of the Allentown Rotary Club gathered  to hold their annual meeting. Presiding over the meeting was current president Barb Bottitta and incoming president Marcella “Marci” Schick.  
After the lunch a vote for three candidates to serve on the board of directors for three-year terms ending in 2021 was held.  Those selected were Dave Hornung (elected for a 2nd consecutive term), Lou Bottitta and John Hannis.
Our president led off the meeting by highlighting some of the club's successes this year:
  • implemented the Club Runner system and got the software up and "running" (excuse the pun) to improve the club's operational and information sharing functions.
  • used Club Runner to develop the Smile e-newletter which is sent weekly to members and "friends" helping them feel better connected to each other and  the club.  This tool has also led to more Social Media activity by club members, promoting the club's activities and events on Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • switched the Club's website, www.AllentownRotary.org, to the Club Runner format which integrates the website calendar and stories with the weekly Smile updates. 
  • as of the May 4th meeting date, inducted 6 new members, taking ARC membership to 65.  That's a net increase YTD for the club  of 1 after accounting for membership terminations.  More importantly, it represents an injection of new and fresh points of view and activism.  Marci noted that although we are a far cry from our peak memberships in the low one hundreds many years ago, we now have  much larger and more inclusive volunteer and service participation.
Hi fellow Rotarians, lots of good news in this week's Smile, so I will keep my remarks brief:
Thanks to everyone who attended last week's Annual Meeting and participated in voting and the energy of our successes so far this year.  Whether you were in attendance or not, I ask that you read Frank Whelan's excellent summary of the meeting.  He even wove the  French social philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville into his write-up
Lots of Smiling Faces - They belong to our ARC volunteers who were cheering the participants at last week's MS Walk.  Thanks for being there!  L to R they are:  John Hannis, Mar Hausler, Carol Obando DerStine, Kati LaBuda and Marci Moyer Schick.
We have not one, but 3 new member applications for you this week.  Kudos to the membership committee and to the sponsors of these excellent candidates.
RFE - At last week's meeting we referenced the couples from Sweden who were visiting our District as part of the Rotary Friendship Exchange (RFE). 
  We hope to have a program on RFE in the coming months so that we can learn more about how Rotary "builds peace" by promoting international fellowship.  Here's a photo of the flags from the 5 visiting Swedish Rotary clubs.  Click on the photo to enlarge it.
Vault - We have 70 confirmed for Thursday night at the Vault - will I see you there?  There's still room for just a few more.  Know someone who would like to be part of opening week for the Vault AND possibly join ARC?  Bring them along! 
Training - Several of us are attending the District training classes at DeSales University this Sat morning.  We will share our learnings with you next week. 
Lastly, Happy Mothers Day to all our Rotarian Moms and to all the other Moms (Friends of Rotary) who may be reading this.
Stay Connected
About Our Club

Allentown Rotary Means Business!


Service Above Self

Fridays at noon
Bell Hall
612 Hamilton Street
Allentown, PA  18101
United States
District Site
Venue Map
August 2018
Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Rotary Intl Foundation Chair
Membership Chair & Pres-Elect Nominee
Smile Editor/ClubRunner Master
Immediate Past President
Service Projects Co-Chair
Service Projects Co-Chair
Communications/Public Relations Chair
Scholarships, Grants and Fundraising Committee Chair
Badge Board Chair
Program Chair
Upcoming Events


Change your community with us by volunteering on a local project.


We work with groups and organizations of all sizes to accomplish even more.


Discover and celebrate diverse perspectives with a global organization.