Welcome to the Rotary Club of Allentown

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Club News
 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.
This was the first event outside of a local Rotary meeting that I've ever attended, and I have to say that I was very impressed with the quality of the presentations and the organization of the whole event.  I hope that the 5 bullet points below and the video links I've provided give you a flavor for the "Rotary experience" we had last Saturday in Reading.  Barb, Marci and I would be happy to share more with you (individually or as a group) in the near future - just ask us.  
  • Michael Caruso was the dynamic lead-off, wake-up speaker for the day.  Michael grabs your attention, moves you upward and onward, inspires you to be better Rotarian.  He has 90 second Rotary "Why Rotary" video on you-tube.  Click here to watch it and then YouTube will suggest several other Caruso videos.
  • There was a Rotary youth conference going on in the hotel conf room next door and it was great to see the energy and enthusiasm of these students.  I especially liked the parade of flags for the outbound and inbound high school students being sponsored by Rotary Clubs across our district.  Over 11 different countries were represented and the students spread out and sat at our tables during lunch to talk about their experiences and their plans. 
In 1910 Allentown’s 19th Street was a runway for first airplane to fly over the Lehigh Valley. In 1928 it was at the center of the decades suburban land boom crowned by the construction of the 19th Street Theater, a  Jazz Age gem that was to put the region on the map.
And then there was the fateful night in 1958 when Lehigh County detectives arrived to confiscate from the theater the scandalous French film “And God Created Woman” that was to make its female star Bridget Bardot a household name. The detectives brought it back once the Lehigh County district attorney had removed the seven “good parts.”
And it is still happening on 19th Street and all over the West End.  On April 27th Damien C. Brown, current president of the West End Alliance, told Allentown Rotarians all about it.
The Alliance is a 501c3 organization dedicated to the development of Allentown’s West End Theater District a neighborhood that is located between 17th and 22nd   Streets and Liberty and Washington Street. In the 1950s Allentown’s Civic Theater, founded in the 1920s as the Civic Little Theater made the 19th Street theater its permanent home.
Brown noted that the Alliance works closely with the local merchants and others to keep the district vibrant. He mentioned two major events, The World Of Food Festival held in September and the St. Patrick’s day Parade that goes through the district that brings attention to the district.
 “It is a way of bringing the community together,” said Brown. There is also a 5K race that attracts both runners and spectators from across the region. The Alliance also publishes a newspaper West End Living, 7,000 copies four times a year. No there are no pictures of Bridget Bardot.      
Currently the Alliance is working on a program to hang decorative lights on the various buildings in the district.   The West End Alliance is now offering grants to neighborhood property owners who are interested in the linear white lighting used for the "Light our Block" effort.  For more information, email Damien. It is yet another way of building excitement.
Allentown Rotary welcomes new member Stephen Patrick McGorry.  He was inducted into our Club at last Friday's meeting.
Stephen is Commercial Lines Account Executive at The Seltzer Group, Emmaus. The Seltzer Group has provided custom insurance plans to individuals and business owners for over 70 years.
A believer in the importance of civic engagement, Stephen is a board member of PennAEYC, a membership organization of early care and education professionals. The group is dedicated to the vision that every child has the equal opportunity to be a successful, responsible, and productive member of society as a result of their early childhood experiences. He has also volunteered with Communities in Schools. He is interested in connecting his background in education with the service opportunities of our club. We've noted a few other skills and interests we'd like to tap! Stephen is fluent in Spanish; he knows a thing or two about sound equipment; and he would like to engage his two little boys Jude and Keane in volunteer activities. Next time you see Stephen, take a few minutes to welcome him to the Allentown Rotary Club!
In the photo on the left, President-Elect Marci Schick is "pinning" Stephen with his official Rotary membership pin.
Allentown Rotary welcomes two new members this month, Katie Walter and Varee Var.
Katie is the Executive Director of SkillsUSA Council. The Council is a coalition of business and industry partners committed to finding, fostering, and producing a world-class workforce through career and technical training in the Greater Lehigh Valley. She is a former member of the Media and West Chester Rotary Clubs, where she appreciated the opportunity to get involved in the local community and to give back. A resident of Quakertown, she looks forward to her involvement with the ARC and to connecting and serving here in the Lehigh Valley! 
Varee recently launched a second career as a vacation specialist with Dream Vacations. For over 13 years, she's held various roles in the behavioral healthcare field as a mental health counselor, case manager and clinical/mobile therapist. Varee has always been passionate about helping individuals and families from diverse backgrounds improve their personal well-being and life satisfaction. She plans to be a regular at our "enlightening meetings," is interested in participating in our international and youth initiatives, and looks forward to helping to bring positive change in our community.
Both women bring a wealth of skills and life experience to enrich our fellowship and our work in the community! Welcome Katie and Varee!
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Service Above Self

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Bell Hall
612 Hamilton Street
Allentown, PA  18101
United States
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June 2018
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