December 7th - now how did that happen? Lynda is halfway through her Presidency year, the Christmas Season is coming way too fast and Mt Baldy opens Friday. And what happened to Canada's warmest welcome?

On the positive side we do have ongoing Rotary meetings that entertain and inspire us as did today's meeting. Joining us today was Wilfred and Marietha Louw who are from S. Africa and are Marieze's mom and dad. They were recognized by members for their hospitality and support to the team from our club that travelled there earlier this year on a service project.

President Lynda introduced Marieze as our speaker and program, beginning with a presentation of a cheque for $1000 from our Club for the Roots of Empathy program. Marieze has been teaching ROE for 9 years and has spoken to us before on it but it was refreshing to learn more about the successes and growth of this amazing program. It was founded by Mary Gordon in Canada back in 1996 and has expanded to 10 other countries, receiving serious recognition and awards along the way. It is a volunteer program offered to students from K to grade 8 and is intended to reduce levels of aggression (bullying) by raising social and emotional competence and increasing empathy. Data and research demonstrates that it works and Marieze referenced several awards ROE has garnered this year.  The concept is that a local mother and infant visit the classroom every 3 weeks for a year and the students observe and discuss the babies growth and emotions following a curriculum delivered by a volunteer instructor. One piece of data that Marieze shared was that 84% of students tested in grades 4 and 7 showed significantly higher levels of empathy having participated in ROE.

In our school district, SD 53, the focus is on grades 2 and 5 with 13 classes taught each year for 260 students. 

A very worthy local program for our club to support - they need more instructors and this money donated today will go toward the training of new volunteers.

Well done Marize and thank you!

Remember, no meeting next week at noon in favour of the evening Christmas party that evening, Dec 14th at Campo Marina. Cocktails at 6, dinner at 7 at an all in cost of $40. Sign up on Clubrunner....sounds like at least 10 members of the Oliver club will join us - hope they can sing!

Doug absconded with the 50/50 draw.  Evidently arriving late increases your chances of winning?