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Rotary Club of Westchester


Rotary Club of Westchester

Welcome! By Edgar Saenz

FELLOWSHIP AND SERVICE. I belong to a group that betters communities and lives. I belong to a worldwide peace organization. I belong to Rotary. I probably joined Rotary for the wrong reason. I was new to Westchester and wanted to network. I joined and — believe me — I networked. But I stayed in Rotary for the camaraderie, the jocularity. Wednesday is the highlight of my week. Our Westchester Rotary Club lunch program is a chance to get together with my friends and learn from a stimulating program. (Sadly, though, we don’t have secret handshakes or wear funny hats.) During my eight years in the club, I’ve made many dear friends, treasured relationships that would not have happened but for the club. And I am committed to Rotary for the service. Service is at the heart of Rotary and is crystalized in Rotary International’s concise motto: Service Above Self. Our little 63-year-old club makes a difference in our community and in other countries. Members of the Rotary Club of Westchester serve free meals to seniors. We cook and serve dinner to homeless youth in Venice. We read to elementary school children. We tutor inner city school children in math. We award scholarships to high school students.

We host art, music, speech, and dance contests for young people. We fix up a battered woman shelter with needed plumbing and repairs. We help repair the “Westchester, Home to LAX” sign. We clean up Dockweiler Beach. We bring some of the Halloween festivity to children in hospitals and shelters. We paint and clean up a South Central Park. We provide Home Boy Industries with a new pastry machine to help them be self-sufficient. Partnering with Vision to Learn, we provide eye screenings and glasses to underprivileged children in Los Angeles, including the West Side. Overseas, our little club makes potable water available with the creation of water wells in Bangladesh, India, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. We make sure a high school in a poor community of Puerto Rico has a new science lab. We donate soccer balls and sporting equipment to an orphanage in Mexico. BOOK SALE AND HOME MAKEOVER. During the next two weeks, we’re rolling up our sleeves with the book sale and the home makeover. The annual book sale – our 58th — which starts Friday, May 24, offers tens of thousands of used books in good and new condition. The gentle reader will find popular authors such as Robert Ludlum, John Le Carre, and a shadowy writer by the name of Shakespeare. (Please see the info box on the next page.) We’ve got cook books, biographies, children’s books, histories, humor, just about

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any topic to whet and sate your curiosity. All proceeds support our community service projects, including the home makeover. This year we celebrate “Peace through Service.” We believe that peace can be achieved through disease prevention. Rotary had the vision and provides the leadership to end polio. In 1988, there were 125 Polio endemic countries. Today, polio is nearly extinct. In 2012, India experienced the year without a recorded case of polio and was taken off the polio endemic list. Today, there are only three countries. This is one of the most important achievements in history. We also believe that peace comes from clean water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, and from economic development. Rotary actively supports these areas.

A WORLD-WIDE UNDERTAKING. My chapter, the Westchester Club, is one of 34, 297 clubs. I am one of 1,212,000 members across the globe. I will shortly travel to the annual convention in Lisbon to represent our corner of the earth. As Rotary International President Sakuji Tanaka puts it, when we come together for a Rotary convention, “we see, for a few days, the world as it could be. We see people of all colors and cultures come together. We work to build a better world.” I remain in touch with a Rotarian from Nepal who, along with his wife, stayed at our home during the international convention held in Los Angeles a few years ago. I consider this one of the privileges of membership. Maybe you’ve seen a need in our community and wondered how you could help. Maybe you want to use your professional skills to help others — or even learn new skills. Maybe you’re seeking connections with other service-minded professionals here or abroad. I invite to you learn about our club and get involved. Join us at our book sale! Join us at our home makeover! Join us on a Wednesday! Join us in this happy mission!

Edgar Saenz is the president-elect of the Westchester Rotary Club. He can be reached at (310) 417-9900 or at

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may 23, 2013 THE ARGONAUT Special Advertising Section PAGE 17

Rotary Club of Westchester

Westchester’s Largest Book Sale Offers 50,000+ Titles Used Book Sale Runs Friday, May 24 to Saturday, June 1 M ore than 50,000 books will be available at the Rotary Club of Westchester’s 58th Annual Book Sale from Friday, May 24 to Saturday, June 1. The event will be held in the parking lot of the Westchester Village Ralphs at 89th Street and Sepulevda Boulevard in the Westchester Business District. The books are generously donated each year by businesses and residents in Westchester and the surrounding communities. Among the thousands of almost new books are audio tapes, video tapes, CDs and DVDs. Books have been presorted and categorized to ease the search in locating specific kinds of books. Proceeds from the event provide support for a number of programs in the Westchester community, including the Annual Teacher Mini-Grant Program, which provides funds to local teachers so that they can conduct enriching classroom activities for their students that they otherwise could not afford. The Rotary Club of Westchester also provides financial assistance to the Scouts, the YMCA and other youth organizations, as well as scholarship programs at our local schools and many other community, senior citizen and youth activities. The Rotary Club of Westchester also works with the El Sauzal Orphanage in Mexico, providing needy families with

food and clothing. The Club also supports the International Rotary Polio Eradication Program, which hopes to eliminate polio from the earth; and the Polio Corrective Surgeries Program, which sends doctors and other volunteers to Third World countries to perform much-needed surgery on victims of the disease and clean water program in Thailand.

Representative Authors •A  rthur C. Clarke • Robert Crais • Jeffry Deaver • Arthur Conan Doyle • Stephen King • Dean Koontz

• • • • • • •

Representative Subjects

Robert Ludlum Nora Roberts Salman Rushdie Carl Sagan H.G. Wells John Le Carre William Shakespeare

• • • • • • • •

Animals Art Biography Children Cook books History Humor Mystery

• • • • • • •

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Rotary’s youth leadership training event:

Communication, Cooperation, Compassion & Creativity Think outside the box? There is no box, at least not for high school age participants completing Rotary’s leadership training program for young people, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA). Some 217 high school participants from Rotary’s District 5280 attended this year’s event, on a recent April weekend at the Alpine Camp and Conference Center in the San Bernardino Mountains. “Honestly, I was awestruck,” says Westchester Rotary Club member Lisa Margulies, who volunteered to be one of the adult counselors. “I had heard about how wonderful the RYLA experience was but I never understood it until now. I do not think enough is known in the community about what exactly

RYLA is and why it would be important for our high school students to participate in this very special weekend.” RYLA emphasizes leadership, citizenship, and personal growth, and aims to demonstrate Rotary’s respect and concern for youth provide an effective training experience for selected youth and potential leaders, encourage leadership of youth by youth, and recognize publicly young people rendering service to their communities. RYLA leadership principles include the 4 C’s of leadership: Communication, Cooperation, Compassion, and Creativity. The myriad of RYLA experiential exercises include a Trust Fall, where individuals fall back and are caught

April weekend at the Alpine Camp Center in the San Bernardino Mountains for Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

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by their team members. The Mine Field, in which each participant takes turns being blindfolded and coached by another team member through an obstacle course, inculcates team building. Trust and communication are taken to a new level, as the concept of working alongside one another to achieve goals is made vividly real. “This training alone would be enough reason for community business persons to want to join Rotary Clubs and invest time into creating the next generation of leaders to take our communities to the next level. What I gained from literally watching the faces of kids arriving on Friday to be transformed by Sunday has inspired me to be even more committed in my personal and professional life. The RYLA weekend provides touchstone moments for teens to have in their permanent repertoire of skill sets.” Rotarians Elyse Rothstein and Joe Harding have co-chaired the event for 15 years. Rothstein exclaims, “We drive up on Friday morning and as soon as we arrive, everybody is regrouped to meet, eat, and spend time with people they don’t know. This forces them out of their comfort zone so everyone

meets new people. After the last event, a wonderful message arrived from a participant: “Thank you for the time that you put into making RYLA happen, for teaching us about leadership, for making us believe in ourselves, for giving us the opportunity to experience something so incredible and lifechanging. . . . I’m so glad that I attended RYLA. I can honestly say that it was one of the most memorable experiences ever. Everything was absolutely great from the food to the people to the activities to the teams to the guest speakers to the programs”. Students interested in participating can contact Christa Haggai-Ramey, New Generations Youth director, at (310) 988-2420.

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Rotary Club of Westchester

Westchester Rotary Foundation: A Legacy of Community Giving


service includes Safe Place for Youth, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, Westchester Enriched Science Magnet’s Interact Club, St. Bernard High School’s Interact Club, Rotaract at LMU, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), Interact Leadership Program, Little League Baseball Softball, Westchester YMCA’s Youth and Government Program, and Youth Exchange. In recognition and in thanks to its benefactors, the Foundation provides the following Memorial Scholarships -- Westchester Zetner Scholarships, Earl Smith Four-Way Test Scholarship, K. Palomo, Madera Leadership, Judy Young First Generation Scholarship, Jim Hill Memorial Scholarship, and Jim Bunch Scholarship. Additional community recognition provided by Westchester Rotary Foundation includes Courageous Citizens Award Program, Citizen of the Year, Teacher Eddy Awards, Firefighter of the Year,

ounded in 1988 to provide an enduring endowment for Westchester community and beyond, the Westchester Rotary Foundation provides community service, encourages high vocational and educational standards for our youth, and builds international goodwill and peace. There’s barely enough room to print the long list of projects and organizations supported by Westchester Rotary Foundation: Halloween Town Fair (Westchester BID), LAX Food Pantry, Fourth of July/Memorial Day/ Veterans Day Programs, Airport Marina Counseling Services and its Jet to Jetty 5k/10k run/walk, LAPD Pacific Area Boosters, Senior Citizens Holiday Luncheon, Home Makeover Project, Westchester Family YMCA, Home Boy Industries, senior citizens, and the Polio Corrective Surgery Project. Support for youth, arts, scholars, and

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Police Officer of the Year, Read to Me Literacy Program, and art, essay, speech and music scholarships. Internationally, the Foundation supports Ambassadorial Scholars, Youth Exchange Programs (including annually hosting a New Zealand Exchange Student, Polio Corrective Surgery, Sri Lanka Shelters, World Disaster Relief and International Water Project) and the Rotary Club of Westchester’s annual trips to El Sauzal Orphanage in Mexico, delivering food, clothing and Christmas presents for the children. As a qualified, non-profit charitable organization, Westchester Rotary Foundation offers both community and club members a permanent vehicle to receive tax deductible contributions, and initiates and funds worthwhile projects on a year-round basis. It allows a broader base for contributions and a permanent method for receiving and disbursing funds. Gifts from various estates, donor programs, businesses, and foundations and fundraising programs allow the Foundation to increase annual expenditures and establish its endowment fund that will meet future needs. The following are welcome: gifts of money, appreciated assets, charitable gift annuities, charitable trusts, life insurance, and gifts by bequest

in wills or trusts. Please make your checks payable to Westchester Rotary Foundation and mail to: Westchester Rotary Foundation, P.O. Box 91543, Los Angeles, CA 90009. For more information, request a brochure by contacting Cozette Vergari at; or call (310) 410-4014.

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According to research, some 80% of all learning during a child’s first 12 years is obtained through vision. About 15% of all students in Los Angeles elementary schools have undetected vision problems. Created to address this specific issue, Vision to Learn (visiontolearn. org ) deploys mobile eye clinic visits to schools to provide free eye exams to elementary school students in lowincome communities. Since launching less than a year ago, Vision to Learn has visited 105 schools, examined 7,968 students, and provided 5,443 children with free eyeglasses. Vision impairment is a long-ignored problem, especially for students in low-income communities. Vision to Learn is among the many services supported by the Westchester Rotary Foundation. For more information, visit www.





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Rotary Club of Westchester

What is Rotary?


any people ask, “What is Rotary?” They think of Rotarians as people who meet every Wednesday for lunch, assess themselves fines for getting a new car or a new job and wear those funny little wheel pin on their lapels.

And while all of that is true, Rotary is so much more. Founded in 1905 in Chicago, Rotary is now the world’s largest service organization with more than 1 million members in more than 160 countries across the globe. Internationally, Rotarians build wells in

poor countries where villagers have no access to water. Rotarians provide educational and technical support to those trying to establish businesses in Third World countries. But perhaps Rotary’s biggest and most important quest is the eradication of polio. During its 20-year polio eradication campaign, Rotarians have raised millions of dollars and traveled the globe delivering the polio vaccine to tiny villages in Africa and Southeast Asia. Rotarian doctors have volunteered their own time, talent and funds to travel to India, Africa, and elsewhere, conducting polio corrective surgeries enabling children afflicted with polio to walk again.

Right here in Westchester, Rotarians are making a difference in their community, conducting as many as 80 different community service projects every year. Thanks to the members of the Rotary Club of Westchester, hundreds of local students benefit from Teacher Mini Grants, which provide funds for teachers to conduct field trips, purchase important classroom supplies and equipment, and establish innovative educational activities. Thanks to the members of the Rotary Club of Westchester, some of the areas most disadvantaged children can participate in a “shopping spree” to buy new school clothes each fall. For some, it is the only new clothes they receive all year.

Local Rotarians also participate in a wide range of international student exchange programs to promote cultural awareness and educational opportunities and numerous literacy programs that provide library books to local schools and encourage children to develop a love of reading. So, the next time you see that funny little wheel pin on someone’s lapel, remember that Rotarians make a difference right here in Westchester every day. For more information about Rotary or how you can help Rotarians in a local community service project, please call club President Cindy Williams at (310) 568-1024.

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Rotary Club of Westchester

High school youth provide Rotary Service through Interact Clubs “There’s a common misperception that teenagers are lazy, unmotivated, and self-centered. I disagree,” says Terri Rubio of Food Pantry LAX. Terry is the Food Pantry liaison with Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnets Interact Club, at Westchester High School. “When I engaged the Interact students in a discussion about hunger and food insecurity in their community, they organized a food drive at school to collect high-protein, non-perishable items. Their donations will feed many families in our community.” As Terry explains, the club now focuses on raising the three most important protein sources provided by the Food Pantry LAX: Boxes of cereal, cans of tuna fish, and jars of peanut butter. As one of the most significant and fastest-growing programs of Rotary service, Interact has become a worldwide phenomenon, involving 200,000 students from more than 10,700 clubs in 109 countries. Interact is Rotary International’s service club for young people ages 12-18; self-governing and self-supported clubs sponsored by individual Rotary clubs, which provide guidance. The Rotary Club of Westchester is the proud sponsor of the Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnets Interact Club. Each year, Interact clubs complete at least two community service projects. While the Westchester club’s primary project is the food pantry drive, other projects include campus cleanups, school volunteer events, and construction of a hydroponics greenhouse system on the school’s campus. Last

fulness and respect for others, understanding the value of individual responsibility and hard work, and advancing international understanding and goodwill. Interact students also undergo experiential workshop leadership training, at the New Generations Youth Conference each Nick Davis, president of Interact Gates Millennium Scholarship winner and Club at Westchester Enriched past president of Westchester Enriched October, and at Science Magnets Science Magnets Interact Club, Nabil Afifi the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards each April. Through October, Interact Club members crethese training events, the youthful ated a special Halloween party for a attendees achieve their personal best, battered women’s shelter, providing discover their inner leader, and learn families and children with treats to how to be team leaders in their personenjoy a memorable party. al life, family and community lives. As projects are completed, Last year’s president, Nabil Afifi, Interactors develop a network of left the club a lasting legacy by being friendships with local and overseas awarded a Gates Millennium scholarclubs and learn the importance of ship for inspiring so many youth. Now developing leadership skills and personal integrity, demonstrating help- a Business-Economics major at UCLA


Rotary Improves Communities and Saves Lives

(and Posse Scholar, South Central Scholar, and VIP Scholar), Afifi writes about his Interact experience, “I was able to develop my leadership skills, learn to speak in front of a group of people, and learn how to delegate. Through Interact/ Rotary, I was able to connect to my community, serve my community, and grow in it.” Nick Davis, WESM Interact Club’s current president, has enrolled more than 50 club members, with the support of long-time faculty advisor Alan Sacks. They meet the first and third Friday of each month. Rotary Club of Westchester has a legacy and a deep commitment to creating and affecting lasting change in our community’s youth. If your high school student is interested in creating an Interact Club at his/her high school, please contact Christa Haggai Ramey, New Generations Youth director, at (310) 988-2420. To participate in the ongoing food pantry donation, please contact Lisa Margulies at (310) 9957695.

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PAGE 22 THE ARGONAUT Special Advertising Section may 23, 2013

Salute Rotary Club of Westchester ’s 63rd year of Service in the community

Rotary Club of Westchester

Home Makeover B

ehind every home, there is a story, and the story of Karen Ricks and her family is both uplifting and heartbreaking. For many years, Karen and Tim Ricks and their three children were intimately involved in the Westchester community. From Boy Scouts and Knights of Columbus to Westchester Lariats and Visitation School, the Ricks family could be found helping others. Then, tragedy struck. A year and a half ago, while attending a family reunion, Tim suffered a massive heart attack and died. The money from a small insurance policy has run out, and Karen, a homemaker for more than a decade, now finds herself with two daughters in college and a son ready to graduate from high school, but without a full-time job. Finding it harder and harder to make ends meet, Karen has not been able to complete the myriad home improvement projects Tim would normally handle, and her family’s home is suffering. Although their bond as a family has not wavered during this time of uncertainty, their

home on West 82nd Street has suffered, and from paint and flooring to landscaping, the Ricks’ home is desperately in need of some real TLC. From May 30 through June 2, the Ricks will be treated to Mammoth Mountain vacation, while volunteers from the Rotary Club of Westchester, and throughout the community, roll up their sleeves and paint and landscape their home. Thanks to major contributions from the William H. Hannon Foundation, the Drollinger Family Charitable Foundation, the Westchester Woman’s Club, the Westchester Rotary Foundation and many, many others, the Ricks will enjoy new paint, new flooring, new landscaping and plenty of additional surprises! Work on the home at 6638 W. 82nd Street, in Westchester (just west of Emerson) will begin at 9 a.m. on each day and continue during daylight hours until the afternoon of Sunday, June 2, when the Ricks will return to their “new” home.

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“We are hopeful this project will inspire others like it in our community,” said Rotary President Cindy Williams. “In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we often fail to realize how fortunate we all are, so it will be a privilege to help Karen and her family make their home warm, comfortable and livable again.”

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Those interested in making a taxdeductible contribution to the project can make checks payable to: Westchester Rotary Foundation, P.O. Box 91543, Los Angeles, CA 90009. Those interested in volunteering should contact Warren Bobrow at (310) 6704175 or

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Thanking the

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TO MAKE A GIFT to the Westchester Rotary Foundation, please call Cozette Vergari (310) 410-4014

PAGE 24 THE ARGONAUT Special Advertising Section may 23, 2013

Rotary 2013  

Rotary Club of Westchester