News & Notices

News from the club and its members and notices.

Rotary Minute: Ann Evans

Some of you have asked me to talk about my work in Africa;  but today I want to use my Rotary Minute to talk about what it means to me to be a Rotarian.

It was two years ago that Melissa Mills met me at gate 4 of Center Fest.  As she collected my $5 donation to the Arts, she used that opportunity to talk to me about Rotary.  Then she directed me to the Rotary tent where I met Newman. Melissa followed up with a phone call, invited me to a Rotary meeting and on the 24th of October I became a Rotarian.

Since then I’ve attended 3 district meetings, joined the International Grant committee, the Education committee, attended Rotary International in Atlanta, volunteered for one of the events there, volunteered for Center Fest both last year and this year and participated in a walk to end Alzheimers.  Because of Rotarians in this club, I connected with Habitat for Humanity, joined fundraising for The Carolina Theatre, joined the Board of Sister Cities, became the co-treasurer for the Sister Cities Arusha, Tanzania committee and accepted the task of equipping a medical clinic in Arusha and a maternity center that is about to be built.  Since joining Rotary I also became a Paul Harris Fellow, then a Society member and I’ve got my sights on the legacy program.

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Visitor from Arusha

President Seth Jernigan presents two Durham Rotary flags to Mayor Kalishti Bulshay of Arusha Tanzania, one for each Rotary Club in the east African city, one of the Sisters Cities siblings of Durham. The Mayor was introduced by President Elect Brady Surles, who is very active in the Durham Sister Cities Program. The mayor promised to host anyone in the club who wished to visit Arusha.

Rotary Minute: New Member Kim Suarez

I was born and raised in a very small town in Eastern NC and attended Northampton County East High School which led to the opportunity to attend the NC School of Science and Math as I searched for a more dynamic educational endeavor. I attended UNC-Chapel Hill, graduated, and embarked upon a career in the pharmaceutical industry in Atlanta.  I spent some time living in different cities around the country; Pittsburgh, Louisville, Northern New Jersey. Ultimately, I was led to discover my passion for the nonprofit industry when I took on a new role with the American Heart Association managing social events and eventually as the Senior Director of Development in Orlando, FL. I returned to North Carolina a few years ago with my currently 13 year old daughter (Elena), and my 10 year old son (Peyton) to work as the Director of Development at Durham Nativity School. About 8 months ago, I accepted my current position as the Managing Director of Development at Teach For America working to help end educational inequity in Eastern North Carolina. I am really looking forward to being a member of the Rotary Club for many reasons, but I am especially excited to be a part of an organization that will allow and enhance my ability to give back to the community alongside my peers.

Program Report: Renee Fink – What Can the Holocaust Teach Us Today

When I saw the program was to be delivered by a holocaust survivor I wondered how one of those skeletal figures pictured when the death camps were liberated in 1945 could have survived 70 plus years now and still be giving presentations to students and civic clubs.

So, I was a little surprised when I met Ms. Fink who was clearly younger than that by at least a decade or two.  Minutes into her presentation, however, it was apparent why she and possibly a generation or two after her are also genuine holocaust survivors.

My daughter Steph and granddaughter Maddy came to live with me three years ago now. Maddy is now five and has started kindergarten. I cannot imagine the agony we would feel if it ever got so dangerous here that our best option for her safety was to hand her over to an underground railway to deliver her to an unknown family in another country.

For those that were at the meeting, you know that Ms. Fink’s story was told in four videos that were entitled On the Back of a Stranger’s Bicycle: Renee Fink’s Story. Our time constraints being what they are, she stopped at three videos, but there is a fourth and I urge you to watch it too on-line. If you are reading this on the Club’s website, I’m going to embed the first video on the site so that those who couldn’t attend the meeting can see all four of them in sequence. If you just want to watch the fourth you will see links to all four of them by clicking through and watching them on YouTube. Or you can go to the website http://holocaustspeakersbureau.org where you will find a biography of Ms. Fink and a link to the videos.

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New Venue – September 11, 2017

On the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, the Durham Rotary Club had it’s first meeting in it’s new Downtown Venue, the PNC suite at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. President Seth Jernigan, Vice President Shelly Green, Membership Committee Chair Marge Nordstrom and Executive Secretary Sharon Lassiter engineered the move on behalf of the club. Club Photographer-for-Really-Important-Events, Tom Bagby took a few shots of the spanking new facility for posterity.

 

Program Report: District Governor Shafi Parekh

Durham Rotary Past President and Current Assistant District Governor, Susan Ross introduced the new District Governor, Shafi Parekh.  It is unusual to meet one man whose life illustrates both the international nature of Rotary and Rotary’s commitment to service, but DG Shafi certainly fills the bill.

After getting his degree in dairy and food science from the University of Reading in England, Mr. Parekh lived and worked in many places around the world including Cuba, Puerto Rico, Pakistan, Michigan, Texas and California. His Rotary history includes four districts including one in Pakistan, one in Michigan, one in Texas and now the one he leads, district 7710 here in North Carolina.

Of the four districts, he considers this one the best, which is an appropriate political statement, of course, but set the tone for his plans for individual clubs and the district.

For many years Rotary International has been concerned with the demographics of the membership, especially the average age. Goals have been set and the long term national goal is about 35% of membership to be under 40 years old. He talked about starting two clubs himself with very high percentages of under 40 members.

In a mature club like ours with reasonable retention of membership these goals may be difficult to reach but newer blood in the 10% range is attainable. Strategically, the objective is sustaining an active membership and service projects. Governor Parekh suggested several tactical solutions to achieving these goals including grabbing the “low hanging fruit.”  This means seeking out new members who already have knowledge of Rotary and/or a commitment to service. He mentioned transfers, youth exchange beneficiaries, Peace Corps members, and Junior Chamber members who have “aged out” of their clubs.

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