Rotary Club of El Cerrito Service Projects
Critical Support to Alzeheimer's
Respite and Older Adults Day Program 2011
We learned from former Mayor Janet Abelson that these two
key programs are short of funding for the coming year. The focus
of the Older Adults Day Program is to provide a place where
local older adults can gather one day a week for learning, dining,
and fellowship.The Alzeheimer's Respite program is similar except the
benefit is attributed to the caregiver who benefits from a few hours off
during the week for self-care or errands.
The non-denominational programs meet in various El Cerrito
churches (who donate the space) and include a variety of activities including
line dancing, computer and language classes. One of the most moving aspects
of the Older Adult Day Program is that the participants in the program
are also volunteers themselves. The adults handle set
up, clean up and teach many of the sessions to their peers.
Above Photo from left: Rotarian Frank Lee,
Jan Duckart co-director, Carol Kehoe co-director, Rotarian Past President
Jane Del Simone and Current EC Rotary Club President Karen Nierlich. Jan
and Carol receive a check for $3000 to the El Cerrito Community Foundation.
The funds will cover half the summer operating budget.
Painting the Bleachers at El Cerrito Vista Park with ECHS
We kicked off Fall by gathering at the El Cerrito Vista Park to sand and
paint the bleachers which had suffered a good deal from sun and heavy
use during the Spring baseball season. As these pictures show we had
plenty of help from our ECHS Interact Club and completed the job in 2-3
hours including a break for lunch. We also scoured the park for trash
and found plenty to collect for our efforts.
Established Sister Interact Club in Nairobi, Kenya/ Hands
On Universe Astronomy Program 2009 - 2011 ongoing
This is a rather complicated endeavor that began when El Cerrito Rotarian
Leeza Barnes met UC Berkeley Astrophysicist Carl Pennypacker. Carl had
been running the Hands On Universe/ Astronomy for Kids program worldwide
for several years and was actively working on introducing the program at
a high school in Nairobi.
We saw an opportunity to help him get the astronomy program started by setting
up a new Interact Club at the school. We assisted Susan Murabana (Carl’s
colleague in Kenya) in joining the Nairobi Rotary Club and then establish
an Interact Club at Kenya High School, a girls boarding school in Nairobi.
It was a bit of a challenge to get Susan into Rotary but our Past President
Jack Freethy contacted a District Governor in the Nairobi area who in turn
coordinated getting Susan introduced to the Nairobi club.
Susan quickly established an Interact Club that has 90 members. Typically,
3 to 6 of our El Cerrito High School Interactors and approximately ten
of the Kenya High Interactors hold joint meetings using audio and video
Internet connections. We have probably spent fifty to one hundred hours
on this project this 2009-10 school year.
This summer Helen Kim (Interact Pres of Ignacio Valley Interact and entering
UC Berkeley in Fall 2010) along with Rebecca Phuong and Assya Reshetikhin
of our El Cerrito Interact Board are working with Carl to develop an astronomy
money spent thus far comes from a grant from the National Science Foundation
for $10K which pays Susan for equipment, tutoring time and incidentals. In
addition, EC Rotarian Gary Buffon donated a new laptop computer to the
Kenya High School Interact so they can go to grammar schools to set up
Hands on Universe modules for those students.
$50K of Medical Equipment for Children's Eye Surgery
in Nepal 2005-2010
the last 3 years, the Rotary Clubs of Albany, Richmond, El Cerrito, Pinole,
and El Sobrante have worked together to raise $25K. Once that goal
was achieved the El Cerrito Rotary applied and received a matching grant
from Rotary International for an additional $25K. The fundraising project
was initiated and coordinated by Tracy Giles of El Cerrito Rotary.
It all started when Tracy and her daughter accompanied Dr. Otis Paul
of Rotavision (a Rotary project that helps prevent blindness in
the developing world) to Kathmandu as volunteers. They helped Dr. Paul by
comforting families waiting to be assessed and prepared for eye surgeries
and observed Dr. Paul training Nepalese opthomologist. While they were there
the director of the hospital asked Tracy if she could raise money in the
U.S. for equipment to treat children for a children's eye hospital.
Dictionaries to Local El Cerrito Schools 2009
Local third-graders were delighted to receive their very own dictionaries
from the Rotary Club of El Cerrito this Fall.
Rotarians delivered the free
dictionaries to all third-grade students at Prospect Sierra School, St.
Jerome's Catholic School, St. John's Catholic School, Tehiyah Day School and
The books were supplied at wholesale cost by the Dictionary
Project, a national non-profit organization which has previously provided
dictionaries for all local public schools.
Hands For Kenya 2008-2009
the past 3 years under the leadership of Candy Pierce, Stan Smalley and
now Jim Campbell, Rotary District 5160 has been a
staunch supporter of the prosthetic hand project called LN4 which
was started in District 5110.
Our two Districts have worked very closely
to raise funds and supply these hands to areas of the world where
there is a dire need due to civil war and land mines. LN4 means "for Ellen" as
the project was created in memory of Ernie Meadows' daughter Ellen.
The hand works on a simple mechanical basis whereby the
user uses the remaining hand to open and close the fingers of the artificial
hand. By this means
he/she is able to grasp objects and do normal activities
such as write and use a fork. The hands are manufactured in California
on a non-profit basis and the cost of each hand is $50.
Every year for the past 3 years El Cerrito Rotary
has supported the program. This year we are very pleased to make a
donation of $10,000.00, half of which came from a benefactor of the
EC Rotary Club Mr.Marshall Merriam. This will allow 200 needy persons in
Kenya and other parts of Africa to obtain a hand.
For further details on the hands for landmind
victims in Kenya project visit www.LN-4.org
Donations to STAND - Stand Against Domestic Violence
year we donated welcome packages...welcome buckets really...to a Contra
Costa program for women and their children.
The program known as STAND helps women anywhere in the US who need
to flee their home because of a violent partner or spouse.
When they arrive they receive housing at a secret location for
their safety and peace of mind. Generally, they move into an apartment
with other women and children from the program. Since they are starting
basic stuff for
their home and their personal use.
Creating the buckets full of cleaning supplies for the
new apartments was
coordinated by Tracy Giles. Many Rotary Members and Interact
Members helped fill the buckets, which to our surprise took mere minutes.
El Cerrito Rotarians included
Ilhami Karaca, Jack Freethy, Karen Nierlich, Kathleen
Hunt, Gary Aguiar...then the buckets
were delivered by Mark Figone.
School's New Instruments are 'Band Aid' from Rotary Club
West County Times Article:
OUR NEIGHBORS: CHRIS TREADWAY 2006
THE POPULARITY ENJOYED by the music program at Portola
Middle School in El Cerrito has its downside. The program is in high demand, with 151 students
attending classes, but that takes a toll on the school's stock of aging, deteriorating
All of the decades-old instruments were lent out at
the beginning of the year, said Tiffany Carrico, who is in her third year teaching music at Portola,
so if any broke, as the old instruments frequently do, they would end up in
the shop for repairs. In the meantime, there were no replacements for students
to continue practicing. The situation was bad enough that two students had
to share the school's lone baritone saxophone, and the high cost of new instruments
was far beyond the school's budget.
"There was a real need," music parent Gary Aguiar said. "They
were scrimping and having cupcake sales to try and buy one instrument." Aguiar,
fortunately, was in a position to help. As the current president of the Rotary
Club of El Cerrito, he was charged with coming up with a community service
project for the year, and this seemed to fit the bill.
"I was a little worried because I had to present it to the board, and
it was funny how many said they had been through the music program" either
as parents or students, Aguiar said. "They were very enthusiastic."
As a result, the program now has 15 new instruments: four flutes, four clarinets,
four trumpets, two alto saxophones and, perhaps the most prized of all, one
It couldn't have been better news for the program. "It was a big surprise," said
the energetic Carrico, who teaches the beginning, intermediate, symphonic
and jazz bands. "It's a wonderful thing."
The Rotary donation went even further because Dick Akright,
the owner of A&G Music Products in Oakland, arranged to sell the instruments at cost.
As a result, the Rotary Club's $9,000 donation bought twice as many instruments
as it would have otherwise.
For Carrico, who was writing applications for grants
from national organizations in the effort to bolster the program, the donation is as good as an early
visit by Santa Claus. And she is particularly happy that the funding is coming
from a local source. "It seems like the whole community is coming together
to help the kids out," she said.
The club also helped the program fund students' trip to a music competition.
The instruments are here in time for Portola's annual
winter concert on Thursday, a show that the Rotary chapter
plans to attend. And the music program, in turn, will pay tribute to
its benefactor by performing at the Rotary chapter's annual pancake breakfast
benefit March 18. Portola music program supporters will be helping the
Rotary sell tickets to the event. (note: these events took place in Dec