Why Rotary?
What is your answer to “Why Rotary?” For me, it’s because Rotary gives my life a broader purpose and meaning, even beyond my family. Why Rotary? Because through our service projects and programs, we change the world, one person or one community at a time. One way we do that is through education.
In our district one of the “favorite” club projects is Dictionaries for 3rd Graders. Across the 96,000 square miles of our district, from club to club, we liberally distribute beautifully illustrated dictionaries to third graders in our communities’ elementary schools.  For many children, these dictionaries are the first book they have ever owned themselves. If you have ever been in the classroom and handed out the books, you will have seen the sparkle in the children’s eyes, the look of awe as they begin to turn the pages and seek out words, or have their attention drawn to a picture which in turn leads them to read the definition of the word related to that picture. We see learning in action in those few moments in the classroom.
September is Education and Literacy month for Rotary. The dictionaries we deliver can mean the difference for a child to be interested in reading or not, building a curiosity about words and their meanings and creating a desire to explore and learn that can last the rest of his or her life.  If we can help to instill a desire for learning early in children’s lives, we will have changed their lives forever. If we can ensure that all boys and girls in our communities and around the world have access to learning, we will change their lives and the world forever.
Often, in our country, we take education for granted. Or at least until recently. When the threat of COVID19 shut down our schools to protect our children and their teachers, the job of education shifted back to parents or grandparents, to homeschool their youngsters or, as schools and teachers scrambled to provide alternatives, distance-learning. While teachers are becoming increasingly more innovative, it still requires attention and supervision at home, and for our youngest students, it is not the best way to learn. Parents are being torn in multiple directions trying to cope with working from home while helping their children with school. Distance learning still requires devices – computers or laptops or tablets or phones - and connectivity to the internet. How many families don’t have the devices or connectivity required for all their children to access the education they need? What do they do? How do they cope? How do their children stay on track? How can we support our schools – public and private - and our teachers?
These are real needs that our Rotary clubs can begin to address. Our clubs can provide devices or connectivity or mentorship to our communities’ children.  We need to ask our schools and after-school day-care centers how else we can serve our young people. Perhaps we need to learn more and be role models. Education and learning is not reserved for the young! Of course, there are still many places around the world where young people don’t even have access to schools or books. How can we serve them?
I hope you all read the article last month about the two global scholars from our district – Paige Buell and Elijah Tangenberg – going to Paris and Oxford, respectively - and this month’s article about Global Scholarships and how to get involved. This is education on steroids and a Rotary program of which we can be very proud!
 John F. Kennedy once said “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”  As leaders in our communities – and every one of us in Rotary is a leader - WE need to be continuously learning and expanding our ideas and our perspectives. And we need to bring those ideas forward into action.
I found two new words today: abecedarian and philomath. Are you either one of those?
The District 5190 Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE) program is interested in increasing the number of Low-Income students participating in RYE as Outbound students.  The Dean’s Future Scholar Program  is a joint Washoe County School District/University of Nevada program that works with students who  are in the appropriate demographic.  The Dean’s Future Scholar (DFS) students are from first generation families and have limited resources.  This program identifies students at the end of their fifth-grade year and mentors them starting in the sixth grade and all the way through college.  The program has had a 95+% high school graduation rate for many years. The mentors for the students in middle school and high school are DFS college students.  The upper-class college students mentor the underclass students along with faculty.  By the time DFS students would be ready to become a RYE Outbound student,  the director of DFS, and other DFS leadership know the students quite well.  As a result, the DFS program will be able to identify appropriate students  to apply to become RYE Outbound students.  The DFS students would apply to be RYE students the same as all other applicants.
Once a student is identified as a good candidate for an RYE Exchange, the RYE and the DFS teams will work together to understand any special needs the student might have during an exchange and work to selectively place the student in a setting where they would be most likely to succeed. 
Rotary International   encourages Districts to support low income exchange students. The RYE program fee is $7,500 which includes air travel to and from the host country,  medical insurance, the cost of a visa, the required orientations, and other program related costs. Since the DFS students’ family will not be able to cover the costs, full scholarships will be required that not only cover the $7,500 cost of the program, but also include additional expenses tht are normally covered by the student’s family.  These additional costs cover such items as clothing,  travel and tours while in the host country, etc.  It is estimated that the total cost per DFS student would be in the range of $11,000 – $14,000 depending on their host country.
Before Rotary Youth Exchange and the Dean’s Future Scholar programs can start the process of selecting DFS students we will need to have raised a minimum of $10,000 for the DFS scholarship.  To make a donation, either as a personal donation or a club donation, send a check to Rotary Youth Exchange, P.O. Box 3510, Sparks, NV 89436.  District 5190 Rotary Youth Exchange is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. 
Please e-mail Wyn Spiller ( or Matt Cruse ( if you have signed up or increased your current giving so your 250 points can be credited to you!
ADVERTISING WORKS! Thanks to our little ad in The JOurnal last month we had several people willing to volunteer for our District 5190 Bookkeeper position, working alongside our District Treasurer, Dave Kary.
We are very excited to announce our new Bookkeeper, starting immediately, is Charles (Chuck) Borders, from the Carson City Rotary Club. Prior to retiring, Chuck was a Quickbooks ProAdvisor and handled more than a dozen organizations and their payroll through his company. Chuck is a Past President and former Treasurer of the Carson City Club, and is now excited to step up to serve at the district level.
Thank you, Chuck, and welcome to our District 5190 Leadership Team.
My friend Tom had been a Rotarian, but after losing some mobility, although he could still drive, he dropped out of the club.  I stayed in touch with him and one day he called to ask if he could come by my house to visit and ask me some questions.  This was all pre COVID. As he sat down, he told me about catching polio at age 7 and how he just barely avoided going into an iron lung.  He was separated from his family, given excruciating physical therapy and had extremely hot towels laid on his legs for hours at a time.  He went on to lead a successful life, but the post-polio syndrome was catching up with him.  He wanted to be brought up to date about Rotary’s continuing effort to eradicate a disease that was all too personal to him. 
I was able to tell him of the success we had been having and that we were very close to having an African polio free continent.  That we were down to two remaining countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan which were considered endemic.  I related that we are still inoculating 450 million children in 50 different countries to keep the rest of the world safe from this dreaded disease.  After visiting a bit more, he brought out his checkbook and wrote me a check for $500.  I thanked him and told him that with the Gates Foundation match his $500 would now be $1500.
When I presented it to our club secretary, he confirmed that since he still had a Rotary membership number it would count towards his Paul Harris Fellow, so we were able to present to him his PHF plus 6.  He was very pleased.  We are all together making an impact.  Along with his donation we were able to raise the 50 million dollars to max out the Gates Foundation match worldwide.
In January we had several folks from our district go on a National Immunization Day to India.  What an exciting opportunity for them to participate on a hands-on basis and see a part of the world where we are still wholly committed to keeping polio from spreading.  Grace Nichols, Reno, Mindy Tsu, Reno Midtown, Patty and John Jansen, Tahoe Incline and Lauren Edwards, Cameron Park all paid their own way to have this experience. 
They along with myself are available to tell our stories.  Have your club contact me and I’ll arrange for one of us to speak about our ongoing efforts to eliminate polio from the face of the earth.
PDG Dave Bianchi
The Rotary Club of Carson City Brings STEM to Families
The Rotary Club of Carson City offers a $5000 grant each year to provide funding for a school, department or teacher to implement an innovative project. Empire Elementary School was awarded the funds for the 2019-20 school year after reviewing more than a dozen applications. Empire Elementary School wanted to generate excitement and exposure for STEM throughout the school and community by allowing students, teachers, families and community members to explore STEM together in a fun and educational way.
According to Adrienne Wiggins, STEM Coach at Empire Elementary School, “We know the importance of STEM education for all students, but we know it is even more important for our population,” Wiggins continues. “Of the 500 students here, 75 percent are minorities with 225 that are English Language Learners. We are also a Title 1 School, and 100 percent of our students receive free breakfast and lunch. This means our students are already at a disadvantage.”
With the award of this grant, Empire was able to provide quarterly Family STEM Nights. Funds were used to provide dinner for families as well as to purchase supplies for hands-on activities.  With an average of over 300 participants, these nights were a huge success. One parent commented, “This makes me want to go back to school!” after attending the Family STEM nights.  Each quarter centered around a common theme such as: engineering, physical science, earth and space science, and life science. These nights helped build a strong home-to-school connection by providing education activities, bringing in community partners and allowing students to showcase their STEM projects during these key events.
 According to Wiggins, “We needed to involve our families in the learning process to build a greater understanding of the type of learning that occurs at school. By providing these nights, we were able to educate and empower our families as we provided them with the knowledge and the tools necessary to support learning at home.”
These nights also made a difference on students’ academic success, which is the ultimate goal. Empire saw a 9% increase in the number of students proficient. In addition, almost 40% of their students made more than the expected growth in both reading and math, according to the state MAP (Measuring Academic Progress) assessment, showing they are closing the achievement gap.
“We couldn’t have done it without the support of the Rotary Club of Carson City,” explained Wiggins. “Thank you for your commitment to education!”
Check out this amazing fundraiser! It's a good time to be out in the fresh air. Email to get signed up!
District 5190 Now Has a Podcast!
Tune in, on your time, to get all the district news.
Episodes are archived on the District website. You can also subscribe to the show on your favorite listening app (Spotify, Google Play, Apple Podcasts), or check out each episode when it's posted to all the District social media platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook).
You'll hear all kinds of great things on the show and experience the District in a whole new way.
Click here for the July episode, featuring DG Berta's welcome message.
Happy listening!
Connect with District 5190 on Social Media
Want to stay up to date on all the happenings? Follow the District on social media. The District has profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Be sure to follow/like on the platforms you follow, so you'll get all the District updates in your feed. The District Public Image Committee will be featuring no only District news, but also outstanding Rotarians and community partners; successful fundraisers; tips on best practices, membership retention/attraction ideas; and more.
Our goal is to make the information coming from the District timely, relevant and valuable to every member of District 5190.
If you have content you'd like shared, click here for the submission form.
Distance Learning is Here!
COVID-19 has changed the world. Rotary is uniquely suited to create solutions during trying times. Knowing creativity thrives in constraint, District 5190 is bringing you more distance learning opportunities to stay on top of best practices, procedures for each executive club role, and much more.
Click here for more training resources and folks to reach out to if you need help or have any questions.
Russell Hampton
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