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
ARC Hears from four new members about how we can attract and grow our organization and attract more young members to Rotary.
 

“Where is Rotary going? Rotary is going to lunch.”  So quipped George Bernard Shaw, renowned British playwriter and curmudgeon in 1922, when the Rotary phenomenon was sweeping the United Kingdom.

In his way Shaw got to the root of a problem that persists today. Rotary is well known in many countries now particularly in Latin America, Africa and Asia making it truly international in its outreach and membership. Its efforts to wipe out polio have been reported on in numerous publications.

But in the 21 st century in the country that gave it birth, most young people, if they have any impression of Rotary at all it is as a group of “mature” people who get together once a week to eat lunch and listen to a speaker.

The Allentown Rotary Club has been around for over 100 years. But while it honors that past it recognizes that to thrive it has to attract new younger members that will reflect the changing world.

At their September 28th meeting ARC members and guests got to hear from four of its new members, T. J. Schick, Jason Worley, Lisa Luciano and Kari Ryerson.  This panel of young professionals was moderated by ARC member Ethel Drayton-Craig.  She asked

Back in the 1950s there was a popular television show, based on a long running radio series, called “Mr. District Attorney.”  In the space of a half hour David Brian a jut-jawed actor solved a crime in time for plenty of cigarette commercials.
 
Lehigh County’s District Attorney Jim Martin however is the real thing, without the commercials. The longest serving district attorney in Lehigh County’s history, spoke on September 21st to the Allentown Rotary Club about his job and the tools he uses and the people he works with to bring to justice lawbreakers.   He is pictured here shaking hands after his talk with Attorney Don Wieand (on the right).
 
Serious, but not without a touch of humor, “I don’t need a microphone,” he says in a resonate voice, “its my wife who tells me that,” Martin gave the members a chance to look into his world using the most modern methods to fight crime.
 
Martin currently manages a budget of over 10 million dollars that includes $5 million in grant money and or revenue and supervises more than 80 people.
 
They include attorneys; administrative staff; a victim/witness unit; county detectives; homicide, drug, and auto theft/ insurance fraud tacks forces; The Regional Intelligence and Investigation Center and the Officer David M. Petzold Digital Forensics Laboratory of Lehigh County located on the campus of De Sales University.

The statistics that Martin and his staff have compiled are mind-blowing.  In 2015 and 2016 alone for example
The following is a first person account by Jason Worley of our service project last Saturday.  Jason rode with the Comunity Bike Works (CBW) students while John Hannis set up lunch for the riders at the Rotary Fountain, Hamilton and 7th Streets.  Thanks to both of you for making this event a very special occasion for the CBW students.

"The kids called their CBW biking event last Saturday their  "Rotary Ride."  First we completed our safety check, gearing up with helmets and checking each others bikes. Riding through the city streets, we encountered traffic, construction, and a event for antique cars.  Nevertheless, we rode in a single line on the right hand side with respect for the rules of the road.  As much as we want to pop wheelies along Hamilton Street, we waited until we arrived at our destination, the Rotary Fountain at 7th and Hamilton Streets, downtown Allentown.
 
We circled around the fountain, enjoying a feast of turkey/ ham sandwiches with gatorade to wash it all down.   We finished our victory celebration around Rotary Fountain by taking pictures and popping wheelies to see who can pop their bike up longer and higher. Heading back was easier since we were coasting the downhill streets. Arriving at CBW, we all exchanged fist bumps and slapped hands with appreciation. The CBW students want to see us again.  And I told them to level up their wheelie game.  

To see more photos, click "Read more".  
 
Editor's Note - CBW is having a Spin-a-Thon fundraiser this Saturday.  Lou Bottitta will be riding with the "Friends of Bike Works" Team.  For details or to contribute and support the riders use this link.

Some people still think that human trafficking can’t happen here.  But anyone who attended the Allentown Rotary Club meeting on Friday September 14, quickly learned that it is in the Lehigh Valley and growing.

This message came Tashina Khabbaz of VAST, Valley Against Sex Trafficking. K habbaz is a graduate student currently working toward her M.A. in Education at Lehigh University. She first became interested in She has since served with them for many years.

VAST is a non-profit organization aimed at uniting and empowering individuals in the Lehigh Valley to encourage the eradication of sex trafficking in our region. It has a plan that involves three approaches: awareness, action and aftercare efforts.Human trafficking takes many forms around the world she notes. It is defined by the United Nations, in part, as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer harboring or receipt of persons by means threat of force or other forms of coercion."  It includes "forced labor, sex trafficking, bonded labor, debt bondage among migrant laborers, involuntary, forced child labor and child soldiers.”  

Khabbaz pointed out the network of “johns,” men looking for sex and “pimps” the middleman that exploit the vulnerable young women that are the objects of the sex trafficking. 

She pointed out that the pimps

Throughout the coming year, we will share information about what your Committees are doing "behind the scenes" - let's start with the newly formed Communications and Public Relations Committee.  Although no meetings have been held yet, lots of hours are invested every week in external and internal club communications,  Here are some highlights:

 Social Media:

   •     Facebook "reach" was up over 500% during the last month - the Romper Day and Allentown Band posts were the big reasons for this jump.  To further extend our impact, we encourage members to "Share" our Allentown Rotary posts on their personal timelines.  "SHARE A SMILE" - it is much more powerful than just a LIKE!   The Facebook stats below show how we are extending our message, "#People of Action" far beyond our Friday meetings and project days!

Thanks to Chris Bauder and Ethel Drayton-Craig for providing  

We filled our Bell Hall meeting room again last Friday as we welcomed three new members to Allentown Rotary!  Our 2 "Next gen" additions are Nancy Wilson-Joseph and Connor Corpora. Grant Fox, husband of Rotarian Jean Fox, joined as an honorary member in recognition of their many years of service to the club. All were welcomed with a hearty round of applause!
 
The presentations last week were from Barb and Lou Bottitta, Don Wieand, and Marci Schick, all of whom  attended the Rotary International Conference in Toronto a few weeks ago (see banner photo of the four at top of SMILE).  
 
Barb led off with an emphasis on the Rotaract members who were very well represented at the RI conference.  Rotaract is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and a young Rotaract woman from Germany was selected to introduce two days of the conference's main tent activities.  Lou and Barb both highlighted the Friendship House, Rotary's enormous arena floor full of projects and fellowships which are supported by Rotary members around the world.  Lou also spoke about WASH, just one of RI's 6 world-wide major initiatives  -  Through water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs, Rotary’s people of action mobilize resources, form partnerships, and invest in infrastructure and training that yield long-term change.
 
Lou shared slides showing that when people have access to clean water and sanitation, waterborne diseases decrease, children stay healthier and attend school more regularly, and mothers can spend less time carrying water and more time helping their families.  Learn more at  https://www.rotary.org/en/our-causes/providing-clean-water
 
Don was up to bat 3rd and hit it out of the park with his talk about Marie-Paule Attema, a Rotary Peace Fellow.  We can't give Don's talk justice in print - please watch this video of Marie-Paul's speech and then formulate your own conclusions.  Don summed up his feelings when he described how brilliantly this Canadian immigrant, Marie-Paul, represents the goals and principles of Rotary.  He then said that he felt like the American dream had moved north of the border and become the "North American Dream."
 
Marci concluded our 4 inspirations with her remarks about the "Next Gen" of Rotary members and what our Strategic plan and guiding principles will do to make RI goals impactful in the Lehigh Valley.  Our Club vision statement was central to her remarks: "To be the strong and vibrant downtown Allentown service club that reflects the values of Rotary International - Service, Fellowship, Diversity, Integrity, and Leadership - while addressing the pressing needs of our local community with a focus on the education of our city youth."  See her talk here.
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.
 
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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.
 
 
 
 
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About Our Club

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Allentown

Service Above Self

Fridays at noon
Bell Hall
612 Hamilton Street
Allentown, PA  18101
United States
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Club Executives & Directors
President
President Elect & Service Projects Co-Chair
Treasurer
Secretary
Immediate Past President & Rotary International Foundation Chair
Membership Chair & Pres-Elect Nominee
Communications/Public Relations Chair
Service Projects Co-Chair
Scholarships, Grants and Fundraising Committee Chair
Program Chair
Badge Board Chair
Director
Director
Smile Editor/ClubRunner Master
Interact Liaison
Allentown Rotary Foundation Chair
 
 
 
Speakers & Networking Events
Neworking Event at HIJinx - Curt Keck
Oct 25, 2018 5:30 PM
Curt is founder of HIJinx Brewing Company
Susan Wild, Congressional Candidate
Oct 26, 2018 12:00 PM
Congressional Candidate for PA 7th District
Tom Brogan
Nov 02, 2018 12:00 PM
Classification Talk
Gary Rohrbach, Dee Eng, Barb and Lou Bottitta
Nov 09, 2018 12:00 PM
Rotary Friendship Exchange (RFE)
TBD
Nov 16, 2018 12:00 PM
TBD
Thanksgiving - No Meeting
Nov 23, 2018
No Meeting
Dr. Nisenbaum, Muhlenberg Prof.of Biology
Nov 30, 2018 12:00 PM
Toxic and Invasive Plants
Lou Bottitta
Dec 07, 2018 12:00 PM
Classification Talk
TBD
Dec 14, 2018 12:00 PM
TBD
Larry Flynn, Musical Director, Dieruff HS
Dec 21, 2018 12:00 PM
Holiday Music - Jazz Ensemble
 
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