News & Notices

News from the club and its members and notices.

Program Report: Renee Hodges: Saving Bobby

When Renee Hodges impulsively invited her 28-year-old nephew Bobby to stay in her family’s Durham home, they knew he was struggling with an opiod addiction that began years earlier when a physician prescribed medications for his chronic back pain. What she discovered, as the anticipated two-week’s stay stretched into 16 months, was the extent of Bobby’s addiction and the toll it was taking on his mental health. She hadn’t realized, given her family history of alcoholism, the predisposition to addiction that she and Bobby shared. Renee also discovered, much to her horror, the true extent of opiod addiction in our country and the dearth of resources available for rehabilitation and recovery that are available.

In her best-selling book “Saving Bobby: Heroes and Heroin in One Small Community,” Renee describes her experiences with “a disease that’s not a parenting problem, it’s not a character flaw, nor something to be ashamed of” but is still stigmatized as such. “When Bobby came to live with us, there was virtually no awareness, nothing in the media, about the abuse of commonly prescribed pain medications such as OxyContin,” she explains. “Heroin and opiods work on the human brain in the same way, but “Oxy” is somehow acceptable in the American mainstream.” Sadly, many addicts turn to heroin because it’s cheaper and easier to get than prescription medications, and laws have tightened on physicians over-prescribing opiates for their patients – some suffering no more discomfort than having had wisdom teeth removed.

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Rotary Minute: Marcy Lowe

Let me tell you the story of Play Pump. Picture a merry-go-round—the round platform that children push and then jump on while it spins. This merry-go-round is hooked up to a water pump. This was a project in Sub-Saharan Africa, where clean water is scarce, and children are plentiful. So every time the children spin the merry-go-round, the pump is activated, water fills an elevated tower nearby, and now the village has clean water.

Brilliant, right? Donors flocked to it. Money poured in. They started building PlayPumps all over. Two years later, the merry go-rounds are rusty, broken, they won’t turn. PlayPumps are abandoned. No one had asked the villagers, Do you want this? Will you use it? Will you maintain it?

And that’s how a really cool project failed.

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4 ACES

Wow.

The service project undertaken by two of the new member teams, the screening of the movie Resilience, The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope, was impressive on so many levels it’s hard to know where to start.

Let’s try by picturing a young kid huddled on the floor in a corner while his mom and her current boyfriend fight in the next room. They start pushing each other and he finally leaves the house slamming the door behind him.

The kind of anxiety this generates in a child has effects that can last a lifetime. There are other stressors, of course, including direct violence, sexual abuse and the absence of a nurturing adult in a child’s life.

The movie tells the story of how researchers in several fields started connecting the dots which led to a huge study and a testing instrument called the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Questionnaire that identifies childhood experiences of abuse and neglect with ten direct questions. Each “yes” is an “ACE” in their shorthand.

There is a good explanation of this on a website called Good Therapy.  The study posits that childhood trauma and stress early in life, apart from potentially impairing social, emotional, and cognitive development, indicates a higher risk of developing health problems in adulthood.

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Program Report: District Governor Donna Peffley

One of the duties of a District Governor is to visit each club in the district and deliver her (or his) message about goals and a pep talk. Now, several months into her term, Donna Peffley got around to us after being delayed once to accommodate another program. However, that may have turned out to be a good thing.

With only a handful to go she has had a lot of practice and delivered a polished and entertaining program. It may have been truncated a little because we also had several PHF awards to make and three inductions of new members, which had to impress her. In fact, she cheerfully participated in the inductions for a reason that will be clear shortly.

If you’ve sat through a number of these presentations, you know that there are some recurring themes. One is to provide an annual reminder of the scope and vision of Rotary especially as it is seen by the Rotary International President. The theme of the current RI President, Barry Rassin is “Be the Inspiration.” IR President Barry is from the Bahamas and the symbol he selected for the Rotary year consists of blue waves on a backdrop of a sunrise suggesting a heart.  DG Donna, promised a quiz on this and the tests were passed out early allowing us to fill in as we went along.

Most of this is readily available on the Rotary International website with the biggest numbers being 1.2 million Rotarians worldwide and over 35,000 clubs. What DG Donna wanted to focus on was what she called a BHAG, or Big Hairy Audacious Goal.  Indeed, it is. As of 6/30/2018, or the end of her predecessor’s term there were 1963 Rotarians in our district. Her goal for the end of her term is 2020.

This might not sound like a BHAG but, she reminded us that in most of the developed world membership is declining, a problem that has already inspired many changes in recent years. Her quiz illustrated one of these in a depiction of the organization of Rotary as an upside-down Triangle with club members driving the agenda rather than the other way around.

It should be noted that our club, with over 200 active members, is by far the largest in the district. Of the 46 clubs only 3 others even break 100.  They range from 10 to ours and average about 42. We have also grown steadily over the years. The dynamics, however, are that recruiting new members is not always the key to growth. Retaining members is what often makes the difference.  Some losses are out of our control…people change jobs, they move, they die, and some are just not meant to be Rotarians.

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Paul Harris Fellows 2 -15 -18

It was a big day for Paul Harris Recognitions. Foundation Committee Chair Andy Esser awarded Fellowships to Indira Everett, Steven Day and Arthur Rogers. Past President Arthur took the podium and talk about what the Foundation had meant to him.

Special recognition was also given to Past President Kay Gresham for many years of contributions to the Foundation. Kay took took the microphone.  Kay has been a cheerleader for the Foundation and often introduces it to new members during orientations. 

Phail Wynn Scholarship – Bill Ingram

Past President Bill Ingram who succeeded Phail Wynn as President of Durham Tech, announced a scholarship in Phail Wynn’s name to the club. Information about the scholarship can be found at this link.

More information about Phail and his achievements can be found here.