News & Notices

News from the club and its members and notices.

Support Durham Public School Teachers!

2013 RESULTS:  Over 175 local businesses and organizations collected upwards of $60,000 in school supplies donated by the Durham community to support Durham Public School teachers and students. 

Durham area Rotary clubs are partnering with Crayons2Calculators for the third annual ‘“Fill that Bus!” school-supplies drive for Durham Public Schools on Saturday, August 3, 2013.  Last year the supplies drive produced over $30,000 in school supplies for Durham Public School teachers.  This year, our goal is to collect over $50,000 in supplies.

Rotarians and one bus will be located outside Office Depot and Sam’s Club, 4001 Chapel Hill Blvd. (at the corner of Shannon Rd. and Chapel Hill Blvd.) on August 3, and donors are asked to bring school supplies to help fill the bus.  A second bus will be located at the Chick-Fil-A parking lot outside Renaissance Village at 7836 Leonard Drive.


Crayons2Calculators is a Durham non-profit that aims to serve the educational and creative needs of students in the Durham Public School system by providing free school supplies to classroom teachers. Supplies help teachers be more effective and efficient in their quest to educate the next generation.

The Problem

Sixty-two percent of students in the Durham Public Schools qualify for free or reduced price lunch, which means they live at or near the poverty level. Teachers often depend on parents to bring in supplies, but in high poverty schools, parents are struggling to make ends meet and cannot help. Supply budgets have been cut in half in the last 3 years, and teachers simply do not have the tools they need to do their difficult job.  Twenty-three of the thirty elementary schools in Durham have been deemed high-poverty because more than half of the students qualify for free or reduced price lunch.

The C2C Solution

C2C believes education is society’s most important public investment. A first-class education prepares Durham students to be the next generation of active citizens, good parents, and community leaders. To ensure that all Durham students have equal access to educational resources, Crayons2Calculators operates a warehouse that provides school supplies to Durham teachers for free.

How C2C Does It

Through its storefront warehouse and special giveaway events, C2C directs supplies straight to Durham teachers. Teachers are invited to come and  “shop” for supplies. In this way, C2C advocates for strong public schools and makes teachers feel appreciated by showing visible public support. C2C runs two main programs – Monthly Shopping and Giveaway Events. Monthly shoppers are invited to come into the warehouse once a month to pick out approximately $50 worth of supplies. At Giveaway events, teachers from Durham schools are invited once or twice a year to come and choose about $100 of supplies they need for their classes.


  • The Fill that Bus! campaign will accept donations of cash and school supplies from July 1 to August 3.
  • On August 3, a yellow school bus will be located outside Office Depot and Sam’s Club, 4001 Chapel Hill Blvd. (at the corner of Shannon Rd. and Chapel Hill Blvd.) and donors are asked to bring school supplies to help fill the bus.  A second bus will be located at the Chick-Fil-A parking lot outside Renaissance Village at 7836 Leonard Drive.  Volunteers from the four Durham Rotary clubs will be on board the bus to fill it with school supplies as they arrive.
  • In addition, donors may also drop off supplies during normal business hours at any of the collection locations (see, Partners) listed below.
  • Financial donations can also be made at the collection points or online on the Crayons2Calculators web page and click Donate. Checks should be made out to Crayons2Calculators. Financial contributions will be used to purchase additional supplies as needed.
  • Individuals are encouraged to drop off school supplies, and businesses and organizations are encouraged to host their own drives.

10 Most Needed Items

  1. Pencils
  2. Markers
  3. Clipboards
  4. Copy paper
  5. Notebook paper
  6. Crayons (boxes)
  7. Composition books
  8. Staplers
  9. Highlighters
  10. Glue sticks

Other items: Calculators, Colored pencils (boxes), Construction paper, Copy paper – reams, Erasers, Hand Sanitizer, Loose Leaf Paper (packs), Pencil sharpeners, Pens (packs), Post-it notes, Supply boxes, and Tissues.


Durham Technical Community College – 1637 Lawson Street, Durham, NC 27703

Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University – 2001 Campus Drive, Durham, NC, 27705

Alliance Architecture – 204 Rigsbee Avenue, Durham, NC 27701

Fidelity Bank – 3016 Shannon Road, Durham, NC 27707

Cleggs Termite & Pest Control – 2401 Reichard St., Durham, NC 27705

The Kitchen Specialist – 3407 University Drive, Durham, NC 27707

Durham Chamber of Commerce – 300 W. Morgan Street, Suite 1400, Durham, NC 27701

Durham Magazine – 714 Ninth St. Suite 207-A, Durham, NC 27705

Hedrick, Murray, Bryson, Kennett & Mauch – 3511 Shannon Road, Suite 200, Durham, NC 27707

Croasdaile Village – 2600 Croasdaile Farm Pkwy, Durham, NC  27705

1520 Magnolia Apartments – 1101 Exchange Place, Durham, NC 27713

Ward & Smith

501 Realty – 4-B Consultant Place, Durham, NC 27707

American Red Cross – 4737 University Drive, Durham, NC  27707

Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau – 101 E Morgan St, Durham, NC 27701

Duke Corporate Education – 310 Blackwell Street, Durham, NC 27701

McPherson, Rocomora, Nicholson & Nordgren – 3211 Shannon Road, Suite 620, Durham, NC 27707

City of Durham

  • 101 City Hall Plaza, Durham, NC 27701 – City Manager’s Office
  • 807 E. Main Street, Bldg. 2, Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 – Department of Community Development
  • 302 East Pettigrew St., Suite 190, Durham, NC 27701 – Office of Economic and Workforce Development

Joe’s Diner – 2100 Angier Avenue, Durham, NC 27703

Durham Police Department

  • 921 Holloway Street, Durham, NC
  • 5285 North Roxboro Road, Durham, NC
  • #8 Consultant Place, Durham, NC
  • 3022-B Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC
  • 516 Rigsbee Avenue, Durham, NC
  • 505 W. Chapel Hill St., Durham, N.C. 27701

PSNC Energy

Hutchings & Hutchings – 3620 Shannon Road, Suite 200, Durham, NC 27707

Investors Trust Company – 121 N. Columbia St, Chapel Hill, NC 27514


  • 218 Morgan St., Durham, NC
  • 2119 Chapel Hill Rd., Durham, NC

Independent Weekly

Durham Public Schools

Museum of Life & Science – 433 Murray Avenue, Durham, NC 27704

Cardinal State Bank, A Division of Yadkin Valley Bank

  • 115 E Carver St, Durham, NC 27701
  • 3400 Westgate Dr, Durham, NC 27707
  • 405 Main St, Creedmoor, NC 27522
  • 237 South Churton St, Hillsborough, NC 27278

Walker, Lambe, Rhudy, Costley & Gill – 240 Leigh Farm Road, Suite 100, Durham NC 27707

+Community Affordable Housing Equity Corporation – 7700 Falls of Neuse Road, Suite 200, Raleigh, NC 27615

Eaton Corporation – 8609 Six Forks Road  Raleigh, NC 27615

Watts Baptist Church – 800 Watts Street Durham, NC 27701

Duke University’s Office of Durham and Regional Affairs – 700 W. Main Street, Durham, NC 27701

Morgan Creek Capital Management – 301 West Barbee Chapel Road, Suite 200, Chapel Hill, NC 27517

State Employees Credit Union

  • 504 S. Duke Street, Durham, NC
  • 3808 Guess Rd., Durham, NC
  • 3810 Ben Franklin Blvd., Durham, NC

Roadmark Corporation – 320 Muldee Street, Durham, NC 27703

+Healing Waters, Healing Hands – 5019 Timberly Drive, Durham, NC 27707

+Umstead Pines at Willowhaven Country Club – 253 Country Club Drive, Durham, NC 27712

Crossfit Durham – 410 West Geer Street, Durham, NC 27701

Wooden Orthodontics – 3925 North Duke Street, Suite 121, Durham, NC 27704

Colony Park Animal Hospital – 3102 Sandy Creek Drive, Durham, NC 27705

PS International – 1414 Raleigh Rd Suite 205, Chapel Hill, NC 27517

Rick’s Diner – 3710 Shannon Road , Durham, NC 27707

Brent Blaylock, DDS – 3206 Old Chapel Hill Road, Durham, NC 27707

Michael Richter, DDS – 3001 Academy Rd, Durham, NC 27707

Empower Personal Training – 3211 Shannon Road #105, Durham, NC 27707

James A. Hoke, DDS – 3709 University Drive, Durham, NC 27707

Office Depot #122 – 4001 Chapel Hill Blvd, Durham, NC 27707

Durham Convention Center – 301 West Morgan Street, Durham, NC 27701

Wells Fargo Advisors – 3100 Tower Blvd, University Tower, Suite 1500, Durham, NC  27707

Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership – 110 Swift Avenue, Durham, NC 27705

Triangle Orthopaedics Associates

  • 4004 Ben Franklin Blvd., Durham, NC 27704
  • 120 William Penn Plaza, Durham, NC 27704

Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC – 1830 Chapel Hill Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC 27517

Smith Breeden – 280 South Mangum Street, Suite 301, Durham, NC 27701

Durham Mother’s Club

+Piper’s Deli – 3219 Old Chapel Hill Rd, Durham, NC 27707

Hollow Rock Swim and Racquet Club – 5100 Erwin Road  Durham, NC 27707

+Sheer Bliss – 4015 University Drive, Suite F, Durham, NC 27707

Not Just Paper – 1010 W. Main Street, Durham, N C 27701

Gymboree Play & Music – 3515 Witherspoon Blvd., Durham, NC 27707

Parker & Otis – 112 S Duke St, Durham, NC 27701

Cozy – 770 Ninth Street, Durham, NC 27705

Locopops – 2604 Hillsborough Road, Durham, NC 27705

First Presbyterian Church – 305 E Main St, Durham, NC 27701

Durham Arts Council – 120 Morris Street  Durham, NC 27701

+Kramden Institute, Inc. – 4915 Prospectus Drive, Suite J, Durham, NC 27713

+The Play House Toy Store – 702 Ninth Street, Durham, NC 27705

Elmo’s Diner – 776 9th Street, Durham, NC 27705

Durham Regional Association of REALTORS – 4236 University Drive, Durham, NC 27707

Merrill Lynch – Southcourt Building, 3211 Shannon Road, Suite 200, Durham, NC 27707

Guglhupf Cafe, Bakery & Patisserie – 2706 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd., Durham, NC 27707

The Forest at Duke – 2701 Pickett Road., Durham, NC 27705

Liquidia Technologies – Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

Bella Trio Day Spa – 5826 Fayetteville Road, Suites 103 110, Durham, NC 27713

Duke Energy – 4412 Hillsborough Rd  Durham, NC 27705

East Durham Children’s Initiative – 107 N. Driver St., 3rd Floor, Durham, NC 27703

Emerald Pond  – 205 Emerald Pond Ln, Durham, NC 27705

First Citizen’s Bank

Jewish Community Center – 1937 W Cornwallis Rd  Durham, NC 27705

North Carolina Central University

Pulley, Watson, King & Lischer, PA – 905 W Main St  Durham, NC 27701

Salon 105 – 2305 Orangewood Dr, Durham, NC 27705

Southcourt Building – 3211 Shannon Road, Suite 220, Durham, NC 27707

Trinity Properties – 2723 Campus Walk Ave, Durham, NC 27705

Crossfit RTP –  4909 S. Alston Ave, Durham, NC 27713

Burt’s Bees – 201 W. Pettigrew St., Durham, NC 27701

Family Care, PA – 1413 Carpenter Fletcher Road, Durham NC 27713

Metabolon – Suite 400  617 Davis Dr, Durham, NC 27713

Southpoint Pediatric Dentistry – 249 E NC Hwy 54, Suite 300, Durham, NC 27713

Activedge Fitness – 4221 Garrett Rd., Suite 1-2, Durham, NC 27707

Durham Literacy Center – 1905 Chapel Hill Road  Durham, NC 27707

Urban Durham Realty – 401 Foster Street  Durham, NC 27701

Carolina Theatre – 309 W Morgan St  Durham, NC 27701

Hope Valley Bottle Shop – 4711 Hope Valley Rd, Suite 4E, Durham, NC 27707

The Preserve at Jordan Lake Golf Club – 840 The Preserve Trail, Chapel Hill, NC 27517

Fairfield – Durham, NC 27713

NC Division of Medical Assistance

Nanataco – 2512 University Dr  Durham, NC 27707

Durham Sam’s Club – 4005 Chapel Hill Blvd.  |  Durham, NC 27707

Wine Authorities – 2501 University Dr  Durham, NC 27707

Durham Rescue Mission – 507 E Knox St  Durham, NC 27701

Durham Bulls – 409 Blackwell St  Durham, NC 27701

Respite Café – 115 N. Duke St. #1A, Durham, NC 27701

Curves – 1829 MLK Jr. Parkway, Durham, NC 27707

M Andrew Design – 4905 Pine Cone Dr., Durham, NC 27707

PORCH Durham – Durham, NC

Ladies Who Love Books – Durham, NC

Bobby Mallik Endodontist – 3719 University Dr  Durham, NC 27707

Center for Functional and Aesthetic Facial Surgery – 5501 Fortune’s Ridge Dr., Durham, NC 27713

Chapel Hill Periodontics and Implants – 150 Providence Road, Chapel Hill, NC

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates

  • 2823 N Duke St  Durham, NC 27704
  • 501 Eastowne Dr., Chapel Hill, NC

Ellis List, DDS – 1014 Lamond Ave  Durham, NC 27701

James Eaker, DDS – 4208 S Alston Ave  Durham, NC 27713

Julie Witte, DDS – 922 Broad St, Durham, NC 27705

William Argensinger, DDS – 1212 Broad St, Durham, NC

Ed Clemons, DDS – 5011 Southpark Dr, Durham, NC 27713

Pedro Santiago Orthodontics – 3115 Academy Road, Durham, NC 27707

Kevin Matthews, DDS – 4210 N Roxboro St, Durham, NC 27704

Alicia Ramos, DDS – 1515 N Carolina 54  Durham, NC 27707

Catherine Ray, DMD – 2514 University Dr., Durham, NC 27707

Triangle Implant Center – 5318 N Carolina 55 #106, Durham, NC 27713

Smith Orthodontics – 2919 Colony Rd  Durham, NC 27705

Renaissance Family Dentistry – 5832 Fayetteville St #101  Durham, NC 27713

Carolina Periodontics and Implants – 3505 University Drive, Durham, NC 27707

Durham Prosthodontics – 3709 University Dr., Durham, NC 27707

Ticon Properties – 5836 Fayetteville Rd., Suite 201, Durham, NC 27713

Blenheim Woods Neighborhood – Chapel Hill, NC

Lonesource – 114 Mackenan Dr  Cary, NC 27511

St. John’s Episcopal Church – 830 Durham Rd, Wake Forest, NC 27587

Granite Falls Recreation – 56 Pinewood Rd  Granite Falls, NC 28630

Wake Forest Methodist Church – 905 S Main St  Wake Forest, NC 27587

Drug Safety Alliance – 5003 S Miami Blvd #500  Durham, NC 27703

Anderson-Wrightwood Neighborhood – Durham, NC

Carolina Preserve at Amberly – 107 Arvind Oaks Cir  Cary, NC 27519

Duke Forest Neighborhood – Durham, NC

Hair by Design – 2617 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd  Durham, NC 27707

Hewlett-Packard – Raleigh office

Hollow Rock Swim and Racquet Club – 5100 Erwin Rd  Durham, NC 27707

Leadership Forum, Inc. – 5826 Fayetteville Road, Suite 211, Durham, NC 27713

Neal, Bradsher & Taylor CPAs – 3721 University Dr  Durham, NC 27707

Roughton, Nickelson, DeLuca Architects – 3608 University Drive, Suite 204, Durham, NC 27707

Self-Help Credit Union – 301 W Main St  Durham, NC 27701

Tammy Reichert – Durham, NC

Teresa’s on Main – 1105 W Main St  Durham, NC 27701

The Nature Conservancy – NC Field Office

Trinity Park Neighborhood – Durham, NC

Tuscaloosa-Lakewood Neighborhood – Durham, NC

Watts Street Baptist Church – 800 Watts St  Durham, NC 27701

Watts-Hillandale Neighborhood – Durham, NC

Junior League of Durham and Orange Counties – 900 South Duke Street, Durham, NC 27707

Original Q Shack – 2510 University Drive, Durham, NC 27707

Bull City Burger and Brewery – 107 E Parrish St  Durham, NC 27701

Duke Homestead State Historic Site – 2828 Duke Homestead Rd, Durham, NC 27705

Clarion Content – 407-A North Mangum Street, Durham, NC 27701

Cat Hospital of Durham – 5319 New Hope Commons Dr. #102b  Durham, NC 27707

Boy Scouts of America,  Occoneechee Council,  Mawat ( Durham) District

Duke University Development

Stay and Play Snack Cafe – 405A East Chapel Hill Street, Durham, NC

Canon Solutions America

Hana Hobbs – 2900 Croasdaile Dr, Durham, NC 27705

FHI 360 – 2224 East NC Highway 54 Durham, NC 27713

Bean Traders Inc – 105 W Nc 54 Hwy #249, Durham, NC

Children’s Campus –  7317 Fayetteville St, Durham, NC

Fitness World – 105 W Nc Highway 54 #271, Durham, NC 27713

Rise – 8200 Renaissance Pkwy, Durham, NC 27713

Hummingbird Bakery – 721 Broad St  Durham, NC 27705

Duke Pediatric Dentistry – 2711 N Duke St  Durham, NC 27704

Duke University Stores

Lofts at Lakeview – 2616 Erwin Rd  Durham, NC 27705

Belmont Apartments – 1000 McQueen Drive, Durham, North Carolina

Team Apartments – Holly Hill and Erwin Square


For more information:

Visit the Crayons2Calculators website. Follow us on Facebook at

Call or email Joyce McKinney – Assistant Governor, Durham area Rotary Clubs; Phone: 919-308-2176; E-mail

Click here to download the campaign flyer.

About Rotary International

Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. There are 1.2 million Rotary members in 34,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Rotary clubs have been serving communities worldwide for more than a century.

Southwest Durham Rotary Club – Meets Thursdays at Hope Valley Country Club – 12:30 PM

Durham Rotary Club – Meets Mondays at the Durham Convention Center – 12:30 PM

North Durham Rotary Club – Meets Tuesdays at Parizade Cafe – 12:30 PM

Durham Sunrise Rotary Club – Meets Thursdays at the Millennium Hotel – 7:00 AM

About Crayons2Calculators

Crayons2Calculators (C2C) is a non-profit organization founded in 2006 to serve the educational and creative needs of Durham students. C2C believes that a first-class education prepares students to be the next generation of active citizens, good parents, and community leaders. To ensure that all Durham students have equal access to educational resources, Crayons2Calculators operates a warehouse store that provides school supplies to Durham teachers for free.

Rotary Minute: Bob Yowell

BobYowellIf you want to really appreciate how big a number a thousand is, stuff and lick a thousand envelopes. Dr. Robert K. Yowell, gave us a lot of numbers in his Rotary Minute, but there was one that I kept thinking about. He’s delivered over 5,000 babies. For someone who has never witnessed the birth of even a kitten, that was impressive.

But even a number that large doesn’t totally capture the breadth of the accomplishment. I may not have ever witnessed a birth but I’ve been exposed enough to what precedes them and what follows to have an appreciation for the task. Take any 5,000 births and you’ll get a percentage that require an heroic effort on everyone’s part; some end up tragically, some are early, some are late, some have experienced parents, some parents are children themselves. My bet is that Bob had the mechanics of delivery down before the first hundred births, but I can’t imagine how much that broader experience of dealing with all those raging hormones over the years benefited each successive generation of mothers that came to him.

Bob shared some other numbers too that prove that point. But not all his accomplishments are purely medical. He met a beautiful nurse named Barbara in medical school at Duke that he is still married to. He served in the Navy on a ship that was part of the blockade of Cuba (how old is this guy?)  He ran in both the Marine Corps and Boston Marathons, played 18 holes of golf with Perry Como (old). Bob fathered 4 children, one who tragically died at three and a half years old. The other three are successful in their own rights.

Although he did his under-graduate work at UNC Bob’s blood is now true Duke Blue and his name is on walls all over the Duke Campus and Medical Center. Among them, the Yowell family holds seven Duke Degrees.

One number that he didn’t mention was what he has contributed to the Rotary Foundation. I don’t know what it is but I know that it’s beyond the level that you merely get a pin.

So, with all these accomplishments, what does Bob bring for “Show and Tell?”  A Captain Marvel comic book published during World War II. Our Captain Marvel fan created an award winning slogan for a Captain Marvel bond sales campaign, beating out 25,000 other contestants, all of whom, we presume, are also still trailing him in number of deliveries. Marvel

Program Report: Paula Alexander – Director of Sustainable Business at Burt’s Bee’s

burts bees webIt’s a big buzzword in corporate America.  But at Burt’s, they’re busy as bees making sure that “corporate sustainability” means much more than words smooth as honey.

Launched in a Maine schoolhouse, lured by incentives to Durham in the 1990’s and powered by a great idea, Burt’s Bees has turned itself into a retail powerhouse by keeping the focus not only on great natural products and the bottom line, but on the environment and the community.

Paula Alexander, director of sustainable business, took center stage at the Monday lunch to tell Rotarians how Burt’s Bees is embedding the principles of “people, planet and profit” into the fabric of a corporate culture that sounds unique.  And they’re apparently having a lot of fun doing it.

Internally, it’s know as “bee-havior.”  Its aim, Alexander said, is to carry out what Burt’s calls “The Greater Good Business Model.”

Employees “swarm” on projects.  They’re “pollinating” the company’s message through activities that include traditional volunteerism, charitable giving, home energy efficiency, and personal wellness programs for employees.

But then the list gets more interesting:  Urban gardening.  Supporting Planet Earth celebrations.  Sustainable agriculture at the local, national and international levels.  There is even a program to promote the honeybee industry.  That’s because honey bees pollinate one third of our nutritious fruits and vegetables, including favorites like peaches, strawberries, and pumpkins. “We believe,” Alexander said, “that nature needs a champion.”

Like any savvy business in touch with the increased expectations of an informed public, Burt’s works with partners including, among others, Green Plus, NCSU, Earthreal, Resourcesful Communities and the Pollinator Partnership.

It views its people as intellectual resources.  Employees brainstorm and strategize through individual “culture teams” dedicated to specific subject, including educating its own workforce.  “Our employees are some of our best brand ambassadors,” she said.

Burt’s Bees is also an active corporate giver – not surprising in a developed world that now expects any  successful corporation to support host communities that partially contribute to their success.  Alexander said the company will likely disburse more than $300,000 in grants this year.  Over time, Burt’s expects to make its giving more strategic, as it continues to develop a set of giving principles aligned with sustainable agriculture.

This week’s correspondent has long toiled in the area of sustainability with large corporations – on the in-house team and as paid consultant.  Burt’s Bees means business.

As they might say at Burt’s, a lot of local Rotarians are now “bee-lievers,” and we are grateful to Rob Everett for making the introduction.

(Submitted by Mark Lazenby)

Editors Note: Ms. Alexander brought to two videos to share with the Club. The second one was produced by WNCN and Melanie Sanders. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and could not show the second video. So here it is. See Paula in a hairnet!

Rotary Minute: Patrice Nelson

Patrice Nelson webI was more fortunate that many to hear Patrice Nelson’s story before Monday’s meeting in another classic Durham Rotary way when I spent an hour with her ringing the bells for the Salvation Army last December in front of the new WalMart. We had the first shift of the day which was slow enough that we had a really nice conversation. Two things struck me about her in that hour. One was that Patrice, who we all know is the Executive Director of Urban Ministries of Durham, was even there. One of her responsibilities for Urban Ministries is raising money and, in fact, she had an UM fundraiser later that day. But here she was raising money for a competitor, the Salvation Army. However that’s my corporate think, and not the way those truly committed to helping others think about their comrades in helping the less fortunate.  My second impression was of her warmth and a determination sweetened with a touch of vulnerability.

In recounting her journey growing up in a middle class black family in D.C. she used the metaphor of a rope bridge strung over a chasm where winds or others making the crossing can make it a white knuckle experience. Those of us old enough to remember, know these were difficult but important times in the slow march to a more inclusive society. One of her first steps in that journey was the National Cathedral School for Girls where she discovered her calling “to make cities better.” That journey took her to MIT (“the math was so advanced it didn’t have numbers”) where she studied urban and community development, to Kansas City for many years and then to Philadelphia where she entered the seminary and was eventually ordained a minister with a mission at the prestigious Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church to reach out to smaller congregations in community development.

When a fire in her townhome destroyed much of what she had, it was natural for her to come here and live with her daughter. Philadelphia’s loss was our gain.

Writing In the Durham Public Schools

MichelTharpWebEditor’s Note: Below is Michel Tharp’s brief presentation to the Club about writing programs in the Durham Public Schools in response to some concern after David Robbins program that Durham’s situation might be similar to what David discovered in Richmond several years ago and led to the founding of Podium in Richmond.

Three weeks ago, we had an inspiring presentation by David Robbins from Richmond. Virginia.  He described a very impressive writing program he has organized through The Podium Foundation. This foundation has done a remarkable job of promoting writing in the public schools.  His foundation serves as wonderful model for private groups to create useful and effective organizations that can make helpful and significant contributions to help improve public schools.

Several times in his presentation, Mr. Robbins mentioned that Durham Public Schools might have many of the same problems that Richmond schools have. While there are many similarities (poverty, low performing populations, high drop out rates among minority males, etc), the one area he focused on is his talk was the fact that Richmond schools did not offer any writing classes and that no school had a newspaper or literary journals.  I was immediately horrified that many people in this room listening to his talk might think that this was also true for Durham Public Schools.   As a 14 year teacher in Durham Public Schools, I know that this is NOT true and I feel that it is absolutely necessary for me to make sure that every one here knows this is not the case.

For the past 10-12 year, all DPS schools have worked with  philosophy called “Writing Across the Curriculum” – this program emphasizes writing in every course – English, history, science, math, arts, health, etc –across the entire curriculum. There are training sessions, in-service workshops and continual support for teachers to incorporate writing in their classrooms.  I’ll admit that even though, I personally felt very comfortable and confident teaching writing, as a mathematics teacher, I did have some trouble justify the time that students spent writing how they would solve an equation instead of just going ahead and solving it. But that’s not the point – the point is that district policy places a high emphasis on student writing

Knowing the things that were happening at my school, I decided to check out the other traditional high schools.  Every one of our schools has a school newspaper as well as a student created yearbook.  Many of the newspapers have ongoing connections with “The independent” and “The Voice.  In addition to the writing that is an integral part of ALL English classes, the district curriculum offers courses in Journalism (Riverside offers 5 different levels of Journalism) as well as courses in Creative writing and Critical writing and even “writing through literature”.  At least three of the high schools have had professional writer come in to work with their students this year.  Hillside’s “Book Club” invites members to bring in and read their own poetry.  Other schools have Creative Writing Clubs and Slam “spoken” poetry club.

For the past 5 or 6 years, DSA has produced a Literary Journal entitled “Portraits in Ink” which last year won a “Superior” rating from the National Council for Teacher of English.  That journal looks just like the ones we saw from Richmond with short stories, poems, essays, commentaries, drawing and other art work.

In Durham, developing writing skill starts long before high school.  As a Reading Ranger, I am lucking that I get to spend an entire morning each week with Ms. Jones’s first grade class. Every week, we work on a writing project. It might be a narrative – “My first day at school”, a critique “My favorite part of the book was..”, opinion “I think we should have more or less recess” or personal feelings” My treasure chest would have …”.  In all this writing, these first graders are encourage to expand and develop their ideas and include more and more details – at least 5 or 6 sentences with 6 words or more. As a reward they get to draw picture about their writing and read them to the other students.  The halls of Y E Smith are full of hundreds of other writings samples from this and other classes.

Yes, DPS is faced with many challenging problems and the school system could definitely use the kind of help and support that a Podium Foundation type organization could provide in many different arenas including reading, writing, science, math and other aspects of student growth and development.  But we all need to know that writing and literacy is not dead and forgotten in Durham Public schools but that it is an important dynamic and integral part of the entire Durham Public school system.

Submitted by Michel Tharp

Program Report: The Last Moderate Muslim – Sam Wazan

SamWazanWebFull disclosure: most Rotarians in our club know that I am an American Jew married to a Catholic Palestinian.  My mother-in-law’s father was killed when she was eight by a bomb blast in an Israeli market. No person I know from the Middle East (and of course I know more than most) didn’t carry a story to the US with them of violence,  sorrow, displacement, and a deep-seated desire for peace.

So it is less than ironic that it was my turn to write the minutes for our speaker for the day, Sam Wazan, author of “The Last Moderate Muslim”. It is a shame our announcements gave Mr. Wazan such a short time to speak, because how can one summarize neatly the path for peace in the Middle East, or for that matter anywhere?

I hesitate to even try to condense his story for you here, because these are stories I know personally: I only remind you that in reading the words “slaughter”, “massacre” or “rape” that they are more than letters on your screen; they are the deepest tragedies human beings can bear. And so Mr. Wazan implored that perhaps all he could do was allow us to see the conflicts through the eyes of those who have lived it, and beg an end to our apathy.

Sam sought out to do four things in his short talk: give us a new lens to see the violence through, share the root causes of conflict, how he believes you can achieve peace where there is a culture of religious violence, and to implore us to do things differently because the United States “inadvertently fuels the fire.”  Here he made reference to changes we can make such as boycotting non-profit organizations which are intent on making their enemy, ours. “The camp that I subscribe to is upholding humanity above all differences in pursuit of peace.”

Raised in a Muslim school, Sam recalls his first identifications for himself: that he was a Sunni Muslim, and that Jews and Americans should die. By the age of ten and a half Sam’s life was torn apart by the Lebanese Civil War, so he was exposed to horrible conditions: snipers, religious massacres and constant bombing. For fifteen years there was no power, water or phones. He witnessed Christians murdered, first systematically tortured to cause as much suffering as possible, and this continued back and forth between the two faiths. By 1982 the country was invaded by the Israelis, and now even trying to buy gasoline he had to maneuver past Christians, Israelis and the PLO, his heroes, who shot at his car, stole his gasoline, and stole his faith in them as well.

He remembers the Israeli army allowing the Christian militants to surround the Palestinian camps (here I believe he is referring to the Sabra and Shatila massacres, which Jean Genet wrote about, but I am certain there were more than just these that he means), and the Muslim militants retaliating against the Christians, the leaflets from the Israelis stating that any males 16-60 years of age would be considered enemies of the State of Israel and their “future was undetermined”. So in the end, he believes Peace can only come if it starts free from ancient grudges, because the damage to the people of the region, especially on their psyches and those of their children is so great, that the starting point must be one of respect. Where each side listens to the other with the intention of finding value in what the other has said.

And so Sam Wazan travels and speaks to Jews, Muslims and Christians, imploring that we forget who is right or wrong, and mostly that we are not cavalier about where our money, support or votes go, and to make certain that these things match what is actually happening on the ground in the Middle East, not just rhetoric for the status quo.

I believe all of us who listened to Mr. Wazan’s story wished we could have heard more. Much of what he said was unbearable to hear, but should be heard for the very reasons he states: our lives, our economy, all that globalization depends on peace in these regions. Or we will all suffer the consequences.

Submitted by Deirdre Haj

Editor’s note: Sam Wazan’s novel, The Last Moderate Muslim can be purchased on Amazon. There is a link on this page to his “author page” as well with some biographical info.  The book is available in paperback as well as for the Amazon Kindle. On the Barnes and Noble site, the book is available at this link as a NookBook