District 5495 Youth Services News

We are pleased to announce that Georgia Bukata has been selected to serve as the District Governor of Interact District 5495 for the 2022-23 year. 
 
She will be a Junior at BASIS Scottsdale, where, as a freshman, she began, and has successfully led a thriving and award-winning Interact club at her school during the pandemic.
 
Georgia excels as a leader in initiating and motivating.  She serves on the Mayor’s Youth Council, as Secretary of the Mental Health Committee on the Governor’s Youth Commission, and has served as both President and Vice President of Scottsdale’s National Charity League. She is a U.S. Soccer Federation grade 8 referee, and serves on the national council to promote equality in the game of golf. 
 
She is also the assistant coach to the junior high boys’ soccer team at her school.  Having volunteered over 500 hours at local philanthropies, for the past two years she has received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award.
 
With wide and varied interests, Georgia is a top scholar who has already been serving as a student researcher with ASU’s SCENE Program, and as a research intern with the Translational Genomics Research Institute’s Center for Rare Childhood Diseases.  She expects to either become a physician or to continue in the field of medical research.
 
Georgia has named Erica Cabato as her Executive Assistant Governor, and has appointed Emily Osuna as her District Secretary.  Both are current Assistant Governors and leaders in the Mohave High Interact Club in Bullhead City.
 
Visionary Rotary clubs, club foundations and individual Rotarians are being sought who are willing to make a one-time Founders Donation to help underwrite a badly-needed new Rotary youth services program in our district for middle school age youth.
 
While contributions of any size are needed, and will be appreciated, those individuals, clubs and club foundations who are willing to make Founders Donations of $2,500 or more to establish this program will have their names inscribed on a permanent Founders Plaque, which will be displayed at Camp Wamatochick in Prescott, where we will be holding our first-ever JR RYLA camp on June 15-18, 2022, for youth in grades 6-8
 
We look forward to a long and happy relationship with this camp, as the home for this exciting new leadership development adventure for middle school and junior high youth.
 
Consider the fact that 17 of our current 101 Interact clubs in our district have middle school and junior high students in them.  Yet, we have had nothing for these youth beyond their clubs, except for their ability to participate in our two annual Interact conferences.  They are too young to be able to go as Rotary Youth Exchange “outbounds,” and they are also too young to be able to attend either of our high school age RYLA weekends at Pinerock or Ponderosa.  They are unable to serve on the Interact District Council or to apply to become Interact Ambassadors to Kenya of Mexico.  It is understandable that they have felt “left out” of any of our “extra-curricular” programs available to high school Interact members.
 
Since no district funds have ever been available to begin new youth services programs, even though the need for a JR RYLA has long been recognized, “the can has continued to be kicked down the road,” year-after-year, and the number of our clubs serving this age group has continued to grow every year. 
 
This year our Interact leadership has decided it is time to “stop kicking the can any further down the road,” and in spite of the lack of existing funds, that NOW is the time these younger Interact youth need to begin to be served with a RYLA designed just for them.  A partnership has been developed with Camp Wamatochick in Prescott, the dates have been reserved and a deposit has been made.  An experienced Rotarian youth leader, Ken Kelley, has agreed to serve as the Chair and Director, and Jeri Robertson, one of our top Faculty Advisors to one of our middle school Interact clubs, was recruited to be Ken’s Assistant Director for this, our district’s first-ever JR RYLA.  They are planning the initial camp to serve 80 youth, with a staff of 35.
 
Founder Donors willing to help us establish this new program can send their contributions, payable to Rotary District 5495 JR RYLA, to PDG Rex Townsend, our Rotary District Treasurer, at P.O. Box 12822, Prescott, AZ 86304.   Individual Founding Donors seeking to use their donation as a tax deduction, can make their check payable to the Rotary District 5495 Foundation, and designate it for the District 5495 JR RYLA.
 
Thank you for considering what you might be able to do to help us make this happen!

Submitted by Dr. Honora Norton, RCSL Public Image Director

The Rotary Club of Sun Lakes (RCSL) held its annual Rotary International Four-Way Test Speech Contest. Six students from six different Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) High Schools competed.  The purpose of the speech is to apply the principles of Rotary International’s (RI) Four Way Test to a current ethical issue.

Students are challenged to identify a topic they feel passionate about and to adopt a point of view from which they will seek to persuade others. It should be something from the speaker’s personal experience or general knowledge.  Each part of the Four-Way Test was addressed during the speech.  

The Four Way Test addresses: Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR to all concerned? Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Judges at the event included: Bret McKeand (RI District 5495 Governor), Dr. Craig Gilbert (CUSD/RCSL member), Frank Narducci (CUSD), Leo Schlueter (CUSD/RCSL member), Larry Horton (RI District 5495 Governor-Elect), Bonnie Snow (RCSL member/Sun Lakes resident); with Bill Schink (RCSL member/Sun Lakes resident) serving as Judging Auditor. 

Bill McCoach, RCSL member/Sun Lakes resident and event chairperson; announced the following placement awards:

·       1st Place—$500:  Gauri Murkoth, Sophomore at Arizona College Prep with topic: 4-Way Test/Social Media

·       2nd Place—$250:  Gowri Biju, Sophomore at Hamilton High School with topic: 4-Way Test/Creator Herbert Taylor

·       Runner-up—$100:  Disha Sankhla, Freshman at Basha High School with topic: 4-Way Test/Relationships

·       Runner-up—$100:  Mikayla Pelt, Sophomore at Chandler High School with topic: 4-Way Test/Friendships

·       Runner-up—$100:  Wonjeaong “Danny” Han, Freshman at Casteel High School with topic: 4-Way Test/History Can be Fun

·       Runner-up—$100:  Grant Stieber, Freshman at Perry High School with topic: 4-Way Test/Housing Crisis

In addition to the 4 Way Test Competition, Rotary Club of Sun Lakes recently presented a $500 check to Chandler/Gilbert Family YMCA.  The donation will be directed towards 10 scholarships to the YMCA’s Safety Around Water Week’s May 2022 Learn How to Swim Program.  Safety Around Water is a program that shows parents, caregivers, and children the importance of water safety skills and provides access to water safety lessons.

Rotarians are People of Action!  Rotary is where neighbors, friends, and problem-solvers share ideas, join leaders, and take action to create lasting change.  
 
Dear District 5495 Rotarians:
 
Please support our Rotary Club-sponsored Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy high school-based Interact Club on their very worthy menstruation donation drive.
 
My name is Jasmine Ackerman and I am the President of the Rotary Interact Club. We are pleased to announce that the club is hosting a donation drive for menstrual products in honor of women's history month (March)! 
 
We are collecting donations through a GoFundMe (linked below) and are hosting an in-person donation drive on Saturday, February 26th from 12pm - 2pm on FALA campus. At the in-person donation drive we will be collecting cash donations and unopened boxes of menstrual products (pads, tampons, menstrual cups, etc.). The GoFundMe will close at the end of the day on the 26th of February.
 
All money donations will be used to purchase menstrual products which will then be donated to various shelters around Flagstaff including Flagstaff Shelter Services, Flagstaff Family Food Center, Kinlani, and Hope Cottage. All of the products will be donated on March 1st, the beginning of women's history month.
 
Some of you may remember this donation drive from last year and what a huge success it was! We raised over $1,000 that was used to purchase menstrual products and then donated around Flagstaff. But the need for these products is still strong and period poverty is on the rise, which is why we are asking for your help once again to raise money for the menstruators of Flagstaff! We also highly encourage posting the GoFundMe on social media, especially on Facebook. Let's spread the word!
 
 
Thank you,
Jasmine Ackerman
President of FALA's Rotary Interact Club

The Rotary Club of Sedona Village and the Verde Valley International School have worked together to form a new club for students in the school.

“Interact” is a service club for youth ages 14-18. The club will benefit from sponsorship by the local Rotary club which will provide support and guidance. This program offers fun, meaningful service activities while providing a chance to develop leadership skills and meet new friends.

Verde Valley School is a co-educational boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12. Founded in 1947 by Hamilton and Barbara Warren the school brings together students from all over the world to live, work and study together on the campus in Sedona, Arizona.

Students are expressing interest in international projects for this Interact Club. The school sponsor is John Sheedy. The Rotary Club representative is Russ Snider. Members of the Rotary Youth Services Committee will also participate in meetings and activities. The Interact Club is being invited to participate in Rotary Club community projects such as the Community Garden.

Pictured above, from left to right are, John Sheedy, school sponsor; Mari Chang, Afsana Nawrozi, Sara Crosby-Hartman, Rotarian; Russ Snider, Rotarian; Natalia Wilson, Patricia Jin.

Rotary volunteers gathered Jan. 12 at American Furniture Warehouse in Glendale to pack a container full of mobility-assistive devices to be sent to Kenya by Crutches 4 Africa.
 
American Furniture Warehouse has been a strong Rotary partner over the past few years and has served as a collection site for mobility devices donated for the Crutches 4 Africa program. A shortage of warehouse space has prompted Rotary to remove the collection in order to free up space for AFW. 
 
The Arizona Crutches 4 Africa program is coordinated by our district's Interact clubs. Each year, a group of Interact members join Crutches 4 Africa and travel to Kenya and/or Mexico to distribute mobility devices collected throughout the year.
 
A large collection of mobility devices was sent in November to partner clubs in Mexico. The remaining items were packed into a container last week and shipped to Crutches 4 Africa in Colorado. David Talbot, founder of Crutches 4 Africa, said the items will be included in a shipment planned to be sent to Kenya in February.
 
Rotarian Ron Williams of the Rotary Club of Prescott led the effort on Jan. 12, assisted by Mr. Talbot and his wife, Candice, and Lauren Lukas of American Furniture Warehouse.
 
Rotarians are asked to NOT donate additional mobility devices at this time to American Furniture Warehouse. The district is looking for a permanent solution to collecting and storing future donations.
 
For additional information on Crutches for Africa, visit www.crutches4africa.org.