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Club President Dave Hanson and Literacy Award Chair Alan Ruvelson awarded the 3rd Annual WSP/MH Rotary Club Literacy Award on June 13, 2018, to John Ashby, manager of the Adult Education Team at Neighborhood House.  The award is given to recognize an individual, program or activity that promotes or improves literacy in West St. Paul or Mendota Heights. Through its Adult Education program, Neighborhood House offers instruction to students of all backgrounds and literacy levels from beginning literacy through college readiness and career training.  In addition to the literacy of reading and writing English, classes include elements of financial, graphic, digital and mathematical literacy.  Many of their students are residents of West St. Paul.
As manager of the Adult Education program, John not only ensures his students are receiving a well-rounded holistic literacy instruction, but he also works to improve the capacity of instructors and volunteers within the Adult Education program.  Overseeing 12 staff and 45 volunteers, he provides the staff with supportive instruction and classes to develop innovative ways to build literacy in the classroom. He also teaches the Neighborhood House GED Math class, working with students one-on-one and steps in to cover classes at all levels when teachers are absent.  He stays late to meet with evening staff and students, attends graduations and celebrations for students, and while some teachers see students come and go, John knows where they are going. 
As a testament to John's outstanding efforts in Adult Education at Neighborhood House, for the last 3 years, the Minnesota Literacy Council has selected students from Neighborhood House for its Outstanding Learner Award, which recognizes learners who have made an impact on adult literacy efforts in communities throughout Minnesota and contributed unique, innovative or creative perspectives to their programs.  These students are a direct reflection on John's dedication and living out his commitment to literacy. 
The West St. Paul/Mendota Heights Rotary Club congratulates John Ashby and proudly awards him with the 2018 West. St. Paul/Mendota Heights Rotary Club Literacy Award.
The Cottage Grove Inclusive Playground is a reality!  Thanks in part to our $21,000 matching Rotary District 5960 Grant, the Inclusive Playground, which is a playground that benefits children (and adults) of all ages, abilities and mobilities can include two zip lines which come with chairs so that anyone can enjoy them, even if they can't stand up or can't hold a handle. 
Many thanks to our Rotary partners who also donated to our project: Stillwater Sunrise, Roseville, Lakeville, Prior Lake, New Brighton/Mounds View, and Chisago Lakes.  We received the District Grant check at our meeting on April 5, shown here being given by District Grant Board member Dayle Quigley.
We then barely let the funds hit the bank, when we turned around that night and gave a $21,000 check to the Cottage Grove City Council. 
We put our money into action on July 27, 2017 as we helped with the construction of the equipment.
Here is the zip line that our $21,000 purchased for the playground:
A playground that used to look like this: 
Now looks like this:
What a great success story! Check out all the photos in the Inclusive Playground photo album. Go visit Woodridge Park in Cottage Grove and bring your kids!
We hold a fundraiser in September each year called Moonstruck, during which golfers enjoy a nice plated dinner at Southview Country Club, bid on silent auction items, buy raffle tickets to try to win fabulous bottles of wine and then go into the darkness  of night and swing at glow in the dark golf balls to hurl them toward an unseeable destination that they hope involves a pin and a cup.  One of the Moonstruck beneficiaries was Can Do Canines and a portion of the proceeds were used to buy Comet. Comet, after he is trained, will be given away to just the right family.  Comet will become a service dog and Can Do Canines will make sure that he has the right skills to meet the needs of his new owner.  The owner might have epilepsy or autism.  The owner might be in a wheelchair or have a condition that limits the ability to get out in this world and become part of it.  Comet will be there to make life more meaningful for that one special person.  Each year we feature a different non-profit as the beneficiary of a portion of our fundraiser. Because of last year's event, we bought Comet.  He will make a difference in someone's life.  Here is Comet all grown up - he's almost ready to start his service career.
Why should you come visit our Rotary Club and consider becoming one of our friends?  Not only do we give back to the community through our community service activities and financial donations to local and global causes, we also have interesting speakers each week, including St. Paul Pioneer Press Columnist Ruben Rosario (shown below), MN State Trooper Chris Erickson, Ret. Lt. Col. David Fulton, who spoke to us from Germany via Skype and State Rep. Rick Hanson.
We offer a nice buffet breakfast every Wed. from 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. and then listen to interesting, diverse, and quality speakers each week from 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.  We promptly adjourn at 8:30 so that everyone can get off to work or play.  We appreciate and value our Club members and respect their time and commitment to Rotary.  We do so by providing great community service events, quality meetings and fantastic friendships.  Come join us and check it out!  The first breakfast is on us!
Here's one of things we were able to help accomplish with our $29,000 contribution to Heartline Maternity Center in Haiti. Our contributions purchased certain mechanical items that will allow the Maternity Center to expand and complete a major renovation of its facility so that it can serve a larger population with better equipment. Before and After:
For more photos, check out the Heartline Photo Album.
Our motto at the West St. Paul/Mendota Heights Rotary Club is: "Have fun while making a difference."  Here are some of the awesome activities in which we are involved...
We conduct the annual inventory at Neighbor's Inc.'s food shelf, a local non-profit in South St. Paul that provides food, clothing and resources to needy families in northern Dakota County.
We prepare and serve meals at Loaves & Fishes at St. Matthew's on the west side of St. Paul.  As you can see from the faces of the people we serve, that's the reason we love what we do. 
 Some of our volunteers:  Colleen Watson, Sue Albrecht, Nancy Desmond and Johanna Mohwinkel
We serve Free Root Beer Floats at West St. Paul City Hall during its annual Open House as part of West St. Paul Days.
We pick up trash on our Adopted portion of Delaware Ave. in WSP.
We host a free Ethics Day class for juniors and seniors at Henry Sibley High School to teach them how to make the right responsible, ethical and moral decisions that they face today and that they will face tomorrow.  Here is a photo from the last graduating class.
Feel free to join us at any of our community service activities by clicking on the events page and finding out when our next activity is taking place. Then, show up and we will put you to "work."
Club Information


West St. Paul-Mendota Hei

Service Above Self

We meet Wednesdays at 7:30 AM
Southview Country Club
239 E. Mendota Rd.
West St. Paul, MN  55118
United States of America
District Site
Venue Map


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