Program Report – Jodee Nimerichter

 Our fellow Rotarian, Jodee Nimerichter, certainly has a passion for modern dance. She has been the Director of the American Dance Festival since 2012, having worked with ADF several times during the previous 20 years.  She grew up dancing in Colorado, but did not encounter modern dance until she was a young adult and immediately fell in love with it, saying she “was overwhelmed with it”.   Dance is described as a non-verbal art form, and modern dance emerged as an approach different from ballet, with a focus on individual creativity.  Those who rebelled against ballet wanted to have the freedom to have their own voice – to tell stories, to be athletic – lyrical – sad – happy.  The ADF webpage quotes the New York Times saying ADF is “One of the nation’s most important institutions” for dance, and as “The world’s greatest dance festival” by the New York Post.

As the director, she travels around the world to personally see all dance groups that she schedules to come to Durham.  This means that Durham hosts the oldest and largest modern dance festival in the world. Founded 80 years ago, ADF moved to Durham in 1977, thus celebrating 40 years in Durham – What a treasure!

What is the impact on Durham and the world?  This 2017 season includes 71 performances with 30 dance companies at different venues in Durham and also the NC Art Museum, with 9 commissioned works.  The international impact on Durham comes from providing training for dancers and production managers from over 30 countries with 420 international participants.  With a budget of $3.8 million in 2017, ADF has a $500 million impact on the Durham area.  Their funds come from grants, donations, tuition fees, and ticket sales.  ADF has helped establish modern dance festivals in 20 countries. 

With studios on Broad Street, they now provide year round programs and classes.  Also, they have enabled 2,000 school classes to attend a dance performance.  During the festival, three special kids shows are held at DPAC at a reduced price.  Jodee shared a video which highlighted the 40 years of ADF in Durham.
Jodee encouraged us to see one of the ADF programs, and concluded that “art forms like dance may adapt to changing times, but dance will always be with us.”

For more information about the 2017 performances the website is Jodee Nimerichter was introduced by Rory Gillis.

Submitted by Brady Surles

“Celebration & Fair” – June 26

  “End of the Year” Celebration Meeting
12 Noon — 12:30:   Visit the “FAIR”
     Enjoy Appetizers
Enter Door Prizes Drawings

Information about the 5 Categories of Service
— Community Service
— Youth and Education Service
— Vocational Service
— International Service
— Club Service

12:30  “Celebrate” at the Meeting
Light Luncheon with Awards & Installing Officers

Close of Meeting:  Re-Visit Displays
   Enjoy Dessert — Pick Up Door Prizes

New Member – Cara Rousseau

Please introduce yourself and welcome new member Cara Rousseau. Cara was inducted and introduced briefly on May 22. She is shown here with her sponsor Shelly Green.

Cara joined the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau in 2017 as VP, Partnerships & Engagement. In this capacity, she is creating a new partnerships program for DCVB and working with the team to enhance the experience for Durham’s visitors. Prior to DCVB, Cara led digital strategy at Duke University after serving as director of partnership initiatives for the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina. She worked previously at the City of Durham’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. She holds an MBA from the Kenan-Flagler Business School and has an undergraduate degree in economics and political science, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Cara and her husband Nate live and play in Downtown Durham with Raidyn, their Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Rotary Minute – Vandana Dake

Since we’ve started doing Rotary Minutes almost every week I’ve had to stop trying to do a write-up of the Minutes, because it is time consuming and, frankly, my hearing has deteriorated to the point that I don’t trust myself to be accurate.  That’s why I will ask for the electronic version of the presentation from anyone who has not done the “Minute” extemporaneously.

What I will do sometimes for someone who has been in the club for a long time, is provide a link to an earlier Rotary Minute that has more details about the presenter than I can recall.

This was what I tried to do with Past President Vandana Dake when I was preparing this post.  I know she had done one earlier, but I couldn’t find it among the almost 800 posts that have appeared on the website since it was re-built a few years ago. What I did find was post after post with a mention of Vandana but, as impressive as that is, I know it is only a rough and understated measure of what Vandana has meant to this Club and Rotary.

Vandana prefaced her minute with an invocation. She asked us close our eyes and fold our hands and follow her lead in a prayer/chant.  I’m sure most of us had no idea what we were saying, but it felt right.

If any of the newer members of the Club where thinking after it that “this has got to be an interesting woman,” you would get no disagreement for those who have gotten to know her over the years.

Many of us have met the parents she mentioned who live in Vandana’s native India, but are frequent visitors and attend our meetings. She mentioned her education and her path to America and the architectural firm she runs with her husband John in Downtown Durham.  We also are aware of her deep commitment to Rotary and Rotary’s peace mission and her devotion to the Peace Fellows program, the International Committee and the Rotary Foundation.

Folks who have known her for a long time may have also noticed that recently she has let her hair grow out and that she has a leaner look.  She explained that she was preparing for an adventure/pilgrimage to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to recover from profound disappointment, shared by many, to the results of the November elections.

I’m sure all her friends in Rotary hope that she achieves the summit, but even more, pray she returns to Durham and Rotary safely.

At the end of Vandana’s minute she was presented by President BC and Foundation Chair Andy Esser with an award given to all Rotarians that host Peace Scholars. It read:

The Award is an expression of grateful acknowledgement by the Rotary Foundation and states as follows:

The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International


                 Vandana Dake

                       of Alliance Architecture

          For Continuing GENEROSITY to the Rotary Foundation

         For COMMITMENT that strengthens This Foundation

                     For Dedication to our international humanitarian and educational mission

                                                                                   By Bart Cleary 4/1/17

                                                                                    Host Area Coordinator

Books on Break – 2017

Books on Break 2017: 3 days, 435 Students, and 4,350 Books

Thank you to the many volunteers, partners, and Book Harvest for making our 4th year of Books on Break a huge success!

From May 8-10, the entire student body at YE Smith Elementary School—435 students—each selected 10 books at no cost, to keep and enjoy.  The Rotary Club of Durham, partnering with Book Harvest, set up a pop-up bookstore in the media center and assisted students in selecting their books.  Books on Break seeks to develop students’ love of reading and to stave off summer reading loss.  Book Harvest provides the books and Rotary provides the personal shoppers to help the select meaningful and appropriate books for their reading level.  This year 56 people volunteered to assist in this annual event, contributing 149 hours! Rotary was assisted by other groups: the Nasher Museum of Art, Duke Corporate Education, and the Durham County Library sent volunteers to help with the 3-day event.

“Reading put the world in MY hands” was this year’s theme.  One student was keenly interested in putting other worlds in his hands as well, because he greatly desired a book on space.  His desire became a mission for several volunteers, who scoured through books to help him find something.  Lo and behold, the student was presented a book entitled “Space” and he was thrilled.  It was a highlight for the volunteers as well. See is picture in the slides below and some of the other happy shoppers.

This project is an offshoot of our Reading Ranger program, where Rotary manages volunteers for the school year who come and read with struggling students.  The Ranger relationship, the close work with the school administration and staff, the Rotary leadership and volunteers, and Book Harvest all combine to make this ongoing project smooth and successful.  One volunteer, whose grandchild has been at YE Smith for the last 3 years, told volunteers that her granddaughter is proud of her growing library.  She now has 30 books in her personal library, a testament of the impact the program has on these students.

Submitted by Mimi O’Brien with an assist from Todd Taylor


“Service Above Self” – Volunteer Recognition

On June 5, we recognize these members for Projects in March – May
Student Video Conference to India                Tom Bagby,  Michael Tharp
Books on Break                                            Michael Tharp,  Jenny Levine
RYLA                                                              Chris Hyland                               

Previous Recognitions, 2016 – 2017:
Projects in July — Aug
Fill That Bus                                     Michelle Young, Marge Nordstrom
EDCI Summer Camps                    David Durack,  Harvey Sellner,  Ellen Cassill
Projects in Sept — Nov
Centerfest                                          Lisa Miles
End Alzheimer’s Walk                    Doug Koenig
CART Challenge Days                     Marie Baker
End Polio Walk                                  Geraud Staton
Salvation Army Bell Ringing          Mal White, John Cross, Patrice Nelson
Projects in Dec – Feb
MLK Meal Packing                           Carver Weaver
Alzheimer’s Caregivers Lunch        Nancy Gordon, Emily Page, Nancy Marks
MLK Meal Packing                            Carver Weaver
Salvation Army Bell Ringing           Peter Jacobi