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Join Date:
  • Josie Caliendo
    June 7, 2017
    3 years
  • Lori Michelutti
    June 7, 2017
    3 years
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If you would like to find out more about our Rotary Club, please E-mail: daviding.dhd@sympatico.ca

Toronto-Forest Hill

Service Above Self

We meet“1st Thursdays” 12pm - 1:30pm
Amica on The Avenue Road
1066 Avenue Road
Toronto, ON M5N 0A3
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Home Page Stories
On a chilly evening on November 15 in the Scarborough Bluffs there were plenty of warm hearts supporting several great charitable causes inside James and Chako's home. Over 70 members and friends of Rotary attended the annual fundraising party for Youthlink, Backpack project for school children of St. Lucia, supporting Father Portelli in the poorest regions of the Amazons in Peru, and the SOK (support our kids) project for the children affected by the great Tsunami in Japan. Youthlink which helps to house, and educate vulnerable children in the city brought their Tyler McGill Band to entertain guests and friends and provided great music to a receptive crowd. 
One of the many successful students Sidra Jafri from Youthlink wrote and recited a poem to the delight of everyone.
The highlight of the evening was the surprise award presentation to Chako Setoyama, the hostess of the evening by Ms. Takako Ito, Council General of Japan. Chako was recognised for her kindness, generosity and leadership in many charitable projects particularly the SOK.
On a sunny day on October 15, members of the Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill donated and planted 6 Sakura Trees in the garden of the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. Sakura trees' blossoms symbolise clouds due to their nature of blooming en mass. The transience of the blossoms, the exquisite beauty and volatility has often associated with grace and karma. The existence of Sakura trees in the garden of the children's hospital helps to soothe their pain and suffering. The tree planting project is part of the Support Our Kids (SOK) project spearheaded by Club members James Matsumoto and Chako Setoyama. 
From left to right: Rotarian Lori, Bob, Marvin, Sonam, Sid, Julia Haningsberg, CEO of Holland Bloorview, James, Chako, Miss Ito, Consul General of Japan, Josie, Denis and Jim.
Youthlink is a registered charitable organisation dedicated to helping vulnerable and sometimes abused young people who are homeless and needed a place to stay and to recuperate. The Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill decided to partner with Youthlink donated $14,000 to create an environment for the young people to learn and to get back on their feet. On August 22, 2019, 14 members and guests attended the inauguration of the Youthlink library. The beautiful plaque at the door entrance recognises our contribution towards helping the young people to stay indoors in a relaxed environment to learn and enrich themselves and become independent.
Inside the library are desks with computers and Wifi to help research and learn life skills classes conducted by Youthlink. 
The environment is made comfortable to facilitate learning where there are many bookshelves full of reading material to encourage reading and learning.  Funding of this project was made possible by the Bingo revenue the Rotary club earned through participation of Bingo assignments. 
District Governor Mary Lou Harrison visited our Club and took the occasion to induct new member Tenzin Palkey. Tenzin who was introduced to the Club by Past President Sonam Choeden is a health care professional with accounting back ground.
Governor Harrison spoke to members about Rotary values and its vision: a world where people unite and take action to create sustainable changes. She urges all Rotarians to support the Rotary Foundation by giving $US100 per year, to support Rotary's meaningful projects for the benefits of the peoples of the world.
On May 16, 9 members from the Club visited Centre for Immigrants and Community Service where Moy Wong Tam the executive director gave a brief overview of CICS. At a past club meeting she delivered an in depth presentation of all that CICS offers in serving the community. CICS started 50 years ago by a small group of volunteers to assist newly arrived immigrants. Over the years CICS has expanded and grown with many locations now serving about 20,000 people in a variety of capacities and 20 plus different languages are offered.
  • Services: children and youth, early years, employment support, family and seniors, language training.
  • Goals: to assist and encourage newcomers to participate/contribute to important areas of Canadian society and to empower them in settling, accepting and adapting through diverse and innovative services.
  • Focus: welcoming immigrants and helping them to adjust and work through the many challenges faced with daily living in a new and strange environment...language, housing, culture, employment etc.
  • An extensive wide range of programs, activities and clubs are offered for all ages...pre-natal, post-natal, seniors, youth, recreation, nutrition, sports etc.

    At the end of the visit Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill donated $3,000 to support of CICS's continuous community work.

It was an evening of fun, good food and great fellowship marking a fundraising event for the Club.  Thanks to the generosity of James and Chako for opening their beautiful home for the event. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of Paul Harris Fellowship to Bob Rae for his humanitarian work for the aboriginal people of Canada and his recent work in helping the Rohingya refugees in Myanmar. After DG Mary Lou Harrison and Past President Michael LLoyd's presentation, Bob spoke about his gratitude in receiving the PHF and his support for Rotary's good work around the world. 
As November 16th also falls on DG Mary Lou's birthday,  event chair Sonam and VP Josie took the opportunity to celebrate the occasion with DG. Two birthday cases were donated allowing all 60 plus members, families and guests to share the cakes together.
On September 20 9 members attended a delicious luncheon hosted by Youthlink, a charitable non-profit organisation dedicated to helping troubled youth who are of LBGTQ, abused and or generally need assistance for them to get back on their feet and starting new lives. Youthlink, transformed from The Big Sister Association of Metropolitan Toronto has over 100 years of history providing financial assistance to continue their studies while out of the regular school system. It provides counselling, outreach programs and a co-op residence for Scarborough youth. Executive director Janice Hayes showed our members the new Youthlink building layout for 51 long term and 10 temporary beds for drop in youth.
Our Club after listening to the moving stories voted to donate $5,000 to assist funding to equip the new building.
James, Chako, Mel, Marvin, Sonam, David, Lori, Michael and Milo approved the donation to Youthlink
President Marvin Graf and Treasurer David Ing presented a check of $5,000 to Fundraising Director Evan Back
Eight (8) special children who suffered from loss of relatives from the tsunami disaster in Japan in 2013 came to Toronto in SOK program sponsored by Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill and members James Matsumoto and Chako Setoyama. They arrived on August 10, joined the summer camp and participated in home stay program where they stayed with host families. The children varied in age between 13 and 17 really really enjoyed Toronto and Canada during their stay. They departed Toronto on August 21 after expressing their feelings and thanking the hosting families and supporters at the farewell party on August 20 at Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC).
Special thanks to Ms. Josie Caliendo who hosted 13 year old Ms. Hanami.
It was a beautiful evening attended by 30+ Rotarians and friends where party and celebration atmosphere permeated the Marriott Courtyard party room. An evening of Christmas ambience with drinks, turkey dinner, piano playing and Christmas carols. Honorary member Sid Ikeda and wife Marie are also on the list of attendants. A lot of hard work by many dedicated Rotarians in the successful execution of the combined event. Sonam, Minerva, Milo, President Michael, Kathryn and several others have been key in the success of the evening.  
As it is a tradition for the nomination of executives for the coming year at yearend, successful candidates for Rotary year 2018 - 2019 are as follows: 
President - Lorenzo Rudolph Francis
Vice President - Josie Caliendo
Secretary - Eva Chaves
Treasurer - Marvin Graf
Past President Sonam Choeden received her much deserved Paul Harris Fellow for her leadership, dedication and generosity to the Rotary Foundation.
Sid Ikeda playing his famous harmonica in harmony with Christmas songs sung by Melisa Lawrence.
Marie Ikeda, Sid Ikeda, Helen Ing, Russ Bayko and Tina Bayko
Sonam Choeden received her much deserved Paul Harris Fellow recognition.
Its was an evening of fun, fellowship, dancing, good food, new wine and good time for all. Congratulations to the organizing committee for pulling a complete success. Pictures below only capture some of the fine moments:
The success was mostly through the efforts of the organizing committee who successfully solicited support from many organizations. Following is the list of monetary as well as donations in kind for door prizes and silent auctions:
Sonam Choeden-Member
Christine Coverdale-TD Waterhouse
Phil Crawford-Morley Bedford Funeral Services
Marvin Graf-Member
Living Life On The Avenue
James Matsumoto-Member
Chako Setoyama-Member
Theresa Tosh-TD Wealth
Generous Contributors ($50.00 plus)
Beauty-Full Spa-Bianca
Beddington-Yonge St
Salvatore Brancaccio
Café Diplomatico-College St
Canadian Tire-Lawrence Square
CIBC-Eglinton Ave W (Girish)
Delmanor Retirement
Dentistry On Dufferin-Dr. Castiglione
Fortino Foods-Lawrence Square
Home Hardware-Dufferin St
Lady York Foods-Dufferin St
Sheila Ostroff
Paisano Restaurant-York Mills Road
TD Wealth

The Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill launched another humanitarian project in St. Lucia. Rotarians from the Rotary Club collect funds from members. families and friends to purchase 87 backpacks stuffed with school supplies delivered to eager hands of the school children. The project was the brain child of Rotarian Milo Vassallo who witnessed first hand the joy of helping school children of St. Lucia. In the picture from left is Milo Vassallo, Past President Sonam Choeden, ...., Cheryl Francis Council General of St. Lucia.

Guest Speaker Capt. Cheng Xu with former Rotary District Governor-David Ing on Remembrance day
Brief Bio - Guest speaker
I chose the Canadian Infantry Corps because I believed that the best way to repay the debt that I owe to this country is through the most physical forms of labour possible. That value is achieved when it is exchanged through sweat, tears, and blood. In my eyes, there is little fate nobler than placing one’s and only mortal body between the beloved home and war’s desolation.
Capt. Cheng Xu
Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada
Veterans' Luncheon - 2016

Club Birthday Party

Our Rotary club's 64th Birthday Party, held at a local condo party room on October 20th, was a fun event filled with fellowship and great food.  President Sonam Choeden gave a very gracious and welcoming speech to the club that set the tone for the evening. She also recalled the club's long history and highlighted the simple start 64 years ago. The first official meeting of the Club was held on Thursday, November 6, 1952 at Benny's Restaurant. Past Presidents Rod and Kathy Verduyn reflected on how the club's founding members probably had no idea that many years later that we would be meeting to celebrate their initiative and the valuable work of the club during the intervening years. ("Who would have thought ...")
There was an abundance of delicious food, thanks to the culinary skills of Tanveer, the generous donation of James and the contributions of Chako, Dianne and Sonam. Rod was our official photographer for the group photo. Maybe we should "Photoshop him into the picture".
There was ample time for fellowship with lots of space to mingle and see what everyone has been up to. This also turned out to be an "all ages" event since we got to meet Kaven and Christina's son who enjoyed the kid-friendly food. 
The only thing missing was a concrete ping pong table.
~Paul Ferri
Forest Hill Rotary outdoor ping pong tables at Cross Lake First Nation
Kids and adults playing Ping Pong in the First Nations Community of Cross Lake in Northern Manitoba. The tables, plus ping pong bats, balls and T-shirts were given to the youth of Cross Lake as a concrete expression of our Club’s friendship and support for them.

New website - Out Door Ping Pong Table

Please join me to congratulate Kaven for doing an excellent job to develop a website for our  out door pin pong table project.
Nature & Nurture

With help from a Rotary Foundation global grant, a group of women in rural Costa Rica are using ecotourism to enrich their families' futures.

Statement from Rotary International

Statement from Rotary InternationalAt Rotary, we have no tolerance for racism. Promoting respect, celebrating diversity, demanding ethical leadership, and working tirelessly to advance peace are central tenets of our work.We have

Watch: Italian clubs aim to protect hospital workers responding to COVID-19

Rotary clubs in districts across Italy worked together to procure state-of-the-art equipment needed to combat the deadly coronavirus disease for 26 hospitals around the country.