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Club News

When Dr. Elizabeth Meade, the 14th president of Cedar Crest College, spoke to Allentown Rotary at its November 16th meeting, she explained how she first recognized the importance of women’s educational institutions.

It was when she was a high school student. Meade was 17 years old and frustrated by what she felt was the male oriented focus of her school. “Everything at the high school seemed devoted to the boys,” she recalled.  Convinced that she wanted a different way for herself after graduation, she decided to attend Bryn Mawr College, a women’s educational institution of long standing in Pennsylvania. She noticed a real difference right away. “This was for me,” she recalls thinking.

Meade took to the academic life and thrived there getting her degree in German language and literature from Bryn Mawr and a M.A. and Phd. In philosophy from Boston College. She came to Cedar Crest as a member of the faculty in 1993 and has served as head of the Department of Humanities, assistant provost in 2011, provost in 2013, and has been interim president since 2017 before being appointed to her current position following her predecessor Carman Twillie Ambar,

This is the news release that we have shared with the media - in this photo, a teacher projects a dictionary page on the wall and explains to the students how to do a search for the word "complicated":
ALLENTOWN, Pa. (November 13, 2018) —The Allentown Rotary Club, a well-established civic organization in the city, continues to invest in their local community and today’s Dictionary Project was yet another example of their commitment to “service above self.”  An annual tradition for over 10 years, volunteers donated dictionaries to all the third graders in the Allentown School District to help improve literacy rates among area children. 
Approximately 20-25 Rotary volunteers spread out across 13 schools including 50 classrooms to personally hand out dictionaries and interact with 1,343 students and teachers.  The distribution of these dictionaries is the culmination of the project, but it requires weeks of planning by Project Co-Chairs John Hannis and Larry Campbell.  

Prior to handing them out at school,
HANDS ACROSS THE SEA: ARC hears about Rotary Friendship Exchange Program
Ever since its founding over 100 years ago Rotary has encouraged the growth of relationships between Rotarians. First it was between communities then states. Today Rotary spreads its fellowship network around the globe.
At ARC’s November 9th meeting the assembled members heard about how Rotarians can meet Rotarians on a person to person basis through the Rotary Friendship Exchange Program. Giving the presentation about the program was Gary Rohrbach and Dee Eng.
The couple have been active members with the Rotary Club of Emmaus and Gary is the Assistant Governor 1 of District 7430.
They have been involved with the exchange program for a number of years both visiting with Rotarians abroad and having guests from overseas stay at their home. “You’re never a tourist on a Rotary exchange,” says Dee Rohrbach, “You become part of a family.”

There are three types of Rotary Exchange Programs. Some are
At its November 2, meeting Allentown Rotary Club members heard new member Tom Brogan give his classification talk. And sitting not far away was his inspiration, his wife and longtime member Judy Barberich Brogan.
It was second marriage for both, several years after their spouses had passed. “Together we have five children and nine grandchildren, ages 14 to 2,” Tom adds.  Judy, a member of ARC since 1994 had felt Tom would enjoy Rotary and he has.
Tom, a former academic began his talk by noting that he had gotten some advice from Judy. “She told me I had 15 minutes to introduce myself, but I must warn you that I have been programmed after 40 years of college teaching to 50-minute classes. Its going to be tight fit but I am willing to try.”
Tom’s roots are in Philadelphia where both his father and grandfather were funeral directors. He recalled hearing how 100 years ago his father then a freshman at Villanova got a call from his father telling him to return home to help during the flu pandemic that killed thousands of people in the city in 1918.
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

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.
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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Service Above Self

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Bell Hall
612 Hamilton Street
Allentown, PA  18101
United States
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Club Executives & Directors
President Elect & Service Projects Co-Chair
Immediate Past President & Rotary International Foundation Chair
Membership Chair & Pres-Elect Nominee
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Badge Board Chair
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Interact Liaison
Allentown Rotary Foundation Chair
Speakers & Networking Events
John Hannis
Dec 14, 2018 12:00 PM
Tax Law Updates
Larry Flynn, Musical Director, Dieruff HS
Dec 21, 2018 12:00 PM
Holiday Music - Jazz Ensemble
Merry Christmas
Dec 28, 2018
Happy New Year
Jan 04, 2019
Interact leaders, advisor, and school principal
Jan 11, 2019 12:00 PM
Dieruff High School Interact Club Charter Presentation
Tentative - Assembly 88 retail store owner
Jan 18, 2019 12:00 PM
Retail success in downtown Allentown (Martin Luther King Jr Day 1/21)
Rachel Farrow, Outreach Educator Turning Point LV
Jan 25, 2019 12:00 PM
Turning Point of Lehigh Valley - Intimate partner violence
Ray O'Connell, Mayor
Feb 01, 2019 12:00 PM
Report on the City
Peter Pettit, Muhlenberg College IJCU
Feb 08, 2019 12:00 PM
Former Rotary Peace Scholar's Experience
December 2018
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