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…]

District 7710 Ethics Committee

Interested in character development and promoting ethical behavior?
Melissa Mills has been appointed to chair the District 7710 Luther H. Hodges, Sr. Ethics Committee and is looking for lots of participation from District Rotarians.  The committee had its first meeting on Saturday, August 11th.  We are planning a Saturday morning district-wide ethics seminar for November.  In October, the committee will meet again for a fun training seminar on Emotions & Character Development.  Please let Melissa know if you would like to join –

Program Report – Casey Steinbacher – Chamber 2.0

Past President Mary Ann Black introduced Casey Steinbacher, President of the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, who filled us in why the Chamber is not the same organization that it was five, much less, ten years ago.

Casey has twenty plus years experience doing Chamber work.  She was lured to Durham from North Palm Beach in 2007.  Prior to that, she had been in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  She has three daughters but her favorite topic of conversation is her four grandchildren.  She said if she had a Powerpoint, we would have been subjected to picture after picture of the most fill in the blank (beautiful, cutest, sweetest, adorable, above average—actually these are my words but you could read her mind) grandchildren in the world.  According to the Chamber website, if she won the lottery she would move all her children to Durham.

Casey noted that the Chamber is the largest business organization in Durham County with a simple focus: to advance economic development in Durham, and to provide essential services to its members. She recognized and thanked many members of Durham Rotary who play significant roles in the Chamber.  She pointed out that after the 2008 recession (and Durham businesses have mixed opinions about whether that business downturn has ended) a “new normal” emerged as a business model.  She said Durham, in general, has been rather successful in growing businesses—roughly $3.6 billion in investments and 11,000 jobs have come about in the last four years, much of it funded by initiatives started in the Chamber’s Vision 3D campaign.  [Read more…]