Program Report: Dr. Deborah Tippett – Connecting To the Millennial Generation

Credit Durham native Deborah Tippett with smart use of the cardinal rule of great presentations. Know the audience.

She’s known hers for years. In an outstanding academic career atMeredithCollegeas an award-winning professor, department head, author and teacher-of-the-year, she has no shortage of experience with young people. And she has built on her career in academics as an expert on “Millennials,” the population of more than 100 million people born between 1982 and 2002.

As this week’s featured luncheon speaker, however, Dr. Tippett spoke to an audience composed almost entirely of Baby Boomers (52-69), Gen-X (31-51) and the Silent Generation (70-87). The most prominent and perhaps only Millennial generation representative was visiting guest Emily Stokes, daughter of her Boomer dad, Bill Stokes. Absent Emily, this was an audience most of whom, under guidance from our speaker, recalled their defining generational moment of childhood as the assassination of President Kennedy or evenPearl Harbor. This was a lunch group who not so long ago defined “text” as the material between two covers of a book.

In a presentation entitled “The New Millennials and Rotary,” Dr. Tippett cautioned, first and foremost, that generational studies are broad-brush in nature and not representative of individuals. [Read more…]

Rotary Minutes – Sheridan van Wagenberg

It’s difficult to imagine the always well put together Sheridan in something as informal as  hip waders but she did admit that she was a fly fishing snob only enthusiastic about fly fishing in Jackson Wyoming.  Ditto for oil painting or boating…you can’t do those in a business suit, can you?

But you can’t really be a snob in Durham and Sheridan is a Durham native through and through who attended St. Mary’s Country Day School, Hillside High and UNC where she majored in psychology.  Such a degree leads naturally to a career in banking. In Sheridan’s case that meant  being one of the specialists at NCNB that manage wealthy people’s assets. For the youngsters in the crowd NCNB used to be the big bank headquartered in Charlotte that gobbled up Bank of America and liked that name better.

Like others in the audience, Sheridan left the comfort and status of big banking to strike out on her own. In her case it was to start a photography business that she ran for a number of years. In 2009 she spotted an opening to manage Caring House and found her true calling helping adult cancer patients and their caregivers receiving treatment at the Duke Cancer Institute.  She told the story of how she had dressed in her best business attire for her interview only to be interviewed by Rotarian Bob Yowell in decidedly less formal attire. Bob must have been impressed because not only was she hired, he sponsored her for Rotary about the same time in 2009.  Judging from the picture below from the Caring House website she was not kidding about loving her job.

Sheridan raised two children, Trey who is now 26 and Cabell who is at UNC.  Sheridan recently remarried after being a single mother for many years and traded her maiden name of Townsend for van Wagenberg. Sheridan is part of the current Durham Rotary Board and has chaired the Million Meals effort in recent years. 

Program Report – DPS Chief-of-Staff Dr. Lewis Ferebee

Rotarian David Reese, Director of the East Children’s Children’s Initiative, introduced Dr. Lewis Ferebee, Chief of Staff, Durham Public Schools, by reminding us all that today is the first day of school in Durham County. Thousands of students are in their classrooms even as we sat and got ready to listen to him speak.

Dr. Ferebee started by saying that he stands on the shoulders of many, and that, in the Rotary spirit of Service above Self, he lives by the motto “To whom much is given, much is expected”.

At DPS the focus on literacy is because literacy is the foundation of all learning. Up until third grade students learn to read, after that they read to learn.

Literacy is the main focus of President Stanger’s term, so our Reading Rangers program is intended to play a role in Dr. Ferebee’s search for a community volunteer program. When a student is reading below grade level, engaging community volunteers becomes an important way to teach reading skills as well as a love of reading for life. Studies show that a significant relationship with an adult outside the home can make a huge impact in a young person’s life. Therefore a community group such as Rotary is a great partner. [Read more…]

Rotary Minute: Melissa Mills

Hey, I sympathize with Melissa, who apologized in advance for her tendency to run on.  But when you have done so many things and led such an interesting life how do you explain it in 5 minutes?  Most lives have a thread that runs through them and with Melissa it seems to be an attachment to higher education starting with her birth in the University of Chicago Hospital. I mean when you had three different undergraduate majors, studied six or seven languages, coordinated IT in a major university division, spent time at Harvard, done consulting, gone through Duke Divinity school and become the chairperson of the District’s ethics initiative, that takes a little time to explain. And, even if it hadn’t been delivered so charmingly…you’d still be thinking “Wow!”  Another great Rotary minute.


Fun Fund Raiser – Durham Landmarks

Well, I don’t know if the Q-Shack qualifies as a landmark yet but it and many other Durham institutions helped to create this rendering of the Durham scene. Carver Weaver has a supply donated to provide us a quick and fun fundraiser. Let Carver know you want one and for $5 you have one.

What will you do with yours? You can frame it, of course, and hang it in an office or den.  Anticipating the holiday season you can buy them as gifts for your friends in Raleigh and Chapel Hill (Na, na, na na, na.) Me, I’m going to make mine an art project within my capabilities. I’m going to buy a box of colored markers and pretend it’s a grownup’s coloring book.  Very relaxing. Almost meditation.

Have fun with yours.

Crayons2Calculators – Press Release

Here is the press release distributed to local media with a wrap-up of the Crayons2Calculators campaign. This was a collaboration of several Durham Clubs. Tammi Brooks and Past President Newman Aguiar were part of the leadership team that put the effort together. Last week in her update at the meeting Tammi told a story of a gentleman who pulled all the money out of his wallet in front of the Office Depot. I happened to be there too and his story of how a Rotary scholarship to study abroad in France had changed his life from one of privilege to one of service. A lot of kids in Durham will never have that kind of an opportunity but we can make sure that they have the basic tools like pencils and paper to start them on the path to being literate and productive citizens.  Be sure to scan the list of Community Partners and at the end of the release and consider them for your needs.

 – Webmaster


DURHAM,N.C.- More than 90 Durham-area organizations are expected to contribute in excess of $20,000 in school supplies as part of a record-breaking summer drive byDurhamarea Rotary Clubs and local non-profit Crayons2Calculators to help county schoolchildren begin the new year properly equipped.

As the campaign wraps up, it has already recorded more than $18,600 in crayons, notebooks, glue sticks and other school supplies donated during the month-long, countywide initiative which culminated August 18 with “Fill that Bus!” Durhamresidents filled an entire school bus with supplies. “Fill that Bus!” is a community project coordinated by the fourDurhamarea Rotary Clubs in partnership with Crayons2Calculators.

As the broader campaign to equip school kids properly now winds down, Rotarians continue to work with Crayons2Calculators (C2C) to tally up remaining supplies expected to exceed $20,000 in value.  Rotary International provided $6,000 in cash, which was part of a District Simplified Grant byDurham’s four area Rotary clubs to support the initiative and underscore their enhanced efforts to fight illiteracy. The campaign also yielded an additional $745 in cash donations fromDurhamresidents and organizations.  Students atDukeUniversityare continuing the campaign by collecting supplies in bins located in the student dormitories. [Read more…]