27 April 2015 — Sharing Ideas and Stories


If, after enjoying this week’s program, you don’t happen to have a specific comment to add, please remember to “vote” in the poll at the bottom of this page, to indicate your attendance. Thank you!


SUNDAY, MAY 3 — 10:00pm to 4:00pm — SAVE THE DATE — The next ONE MORE ITEM FOOD DRIVE, in support of Valley Food Bank, at Gelson’s in Sherman Oaks.

THURSDAY, MAY 7 — Club Fundraiser via McDonald’s in Encino, 15700 Ventura Blvd., at Haskell. No flyer needed; 20% of all sales from 4pm to 6pm will be generously donated to our Rotary Club by this McDonald’s location.

SUNDAY, MAY 31 — 12:30pm to 2:00pmOur FOURTH SUNDAY — BUT ON THE FIFTH SUNDAY (to avoid Memorial Day weekend) meeting for May! Speaker TBA. We gather in The Fireplace Room at Denny’s, 5525 Sepulveda Boulevard in Sherman Oaks.  (Meeting reminders: Inspiration, open for now; Pledge, Brenda; Four-Way Test, Natalia; Rotary Minute, Brenda; don’t be surprised if someone else ends up with the Pledge…)





This month’s Rotary E-Club E-wareness campaign presents information about organ and tissue donation.  Throughout the month our Club will provide resources gathered by our Club Members.  The information will be helpful to you and to the people you care about. Click here to visit the Campaign page.



What doors can we open?

What doors can we open?








Our Fourth Sunday gathering on April 26 was an uplifting roundtable (it was a rectangle) conversation as we shared stories of coming to a Rotary Club for the first time and discussed ideas for the future. The challenge we shared, moving forward, was to open our minds just a bit more, to create possibilities we hadn’t considered before.  For those members who were traveling and had to miss the meeting, we hope you will add your stories and thoughts in the comments. Visitors to this week’s Program, please feel free to share as well.

We asked: who invited you to a Rotary Club, and why did you join?

Nancy shared that she was the President-Elect of the North Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in the late 1980s, about to start her year as President of the Chamber, and she was a top bank executive. In the North Hollywood community at the time, anyone who was anyone in business was pat of the 80-member Rotary Club of North Hollywood. But it was right at the beginning of when women were allowed into Rotary Clubs at all. She and two other women were invited to the Rotary Club and inducted together. And she shared that the most influential Club Member, early on, invited Nancy to sit next to him at Club Meeting, sending the message that she (and the other women) were to be accepted just as every other Member.

Richard came to a Rotary Club in a different way; he was at Glendale Community College, where he was invited by Rotarian Jewel Price to become a part of the Rotaract Club at GCC. During that time he also was selected as a member of the District 5260 Group Study Exchange team to the Lorraine area of France, including Nancy and Metz, where he had a fantastic cross-cultural experience. When he was then invited by Jewel to join her Rotary Club, it was the logical next step for someone who wants to serve his community. Along with his experiences, the connections led to a good job for his wife Mirna; but the altruistic aspect of Rotary is what keeps Richard involved.

Judy and Roy had a very different experience. Most frequently, and by a large margin, someone joins a Rotary Club after being invited to join by a member of the Club. Judy and Roy knew about Rotary, with close ties to a Rotarian in Idaho and a Rotarian in Indiana. Upon retirement, they wanted to become involved in a community organization with service in mind and good people to work with, and tracked down the former Sherman Oaks Sunset Rotary Club through the District Governor at the time, Jay Saltzman. They visited, enjoyed the experience and the people they were meeting, and stayed.

Sharon and Yoko came to a Rotary Club by invitation…but first to participate in a specific activity. Sharon met Yoko and Mel, who were friends (still are) and fellow Sherman Oaks Chamber members with Sharon’s daughter, at an event related to where Sharon’s daughter then worked. Somehow—not that she ever talks about it, of course—it came out that Sharon is a dancer. This triggered ideas about how to combine Rotary’s focus on polio eradication with Sharon’s background. Dance for the Children, the Club’s long-running polio eradication fundraiser, was born; Sharon was made an Honorary Member of the Club with gratitude for her efforts; she visited as often as she could but a Monday evening Club did not fit her schedule; and when the E-Club was formed it was a perfect fit.

Yoko became involved when she assisted local Rotarians from District 5260 during a visit from a Group Study Exchange Team from her hometown of Yokohama (and nearby) in Japan. She assisted with language for the visitors, gave the local Rotarians a bit more ease of communication, and got to know some fun people. She was also made an Honorary Member, and eventually got the “upgrade” to Rotarian as well. She knew about Rotary for years, it’s a big deal in Japan, but she perceived it as an organization of “old people.” She was happy to learn otherwise.

We then moved to a discussion of what we do, and what we can do, as a Rotary Club, with an emphasis on a very positive version of “What if we…”

First, friend and visitor Jorge told us about the Rotary Club project he has been involved with for many years through Glendale Sunrise Rotary, supporting Estado 39 orphanage in Baja California, Mexico. Whether it is by bringing food and school supplies and clothing to donate—or just spending time with the children to assure them that they have value, and in a couple of cases arrange for much-needed medical help in the United States—the best part of Jorge’s visits to the orphanage with fellow Rotarians Ray Rangwala and Frank Lopez is being swarmed by children excited to see the visitors as they arrive. What could we do to help children?

Reed, put on the spot without warning just as Jorge was, spoke of his fascination with micro-credit following a guest speaker to our Club a couple of months ago. He was moved how a small amount of money by our standards could do so much to change a family’s life somewhere in the world. Can we get involved and help?

Daniele spoke of her interest in face-to-face events where people can learn from each other. Roy mentioned an idea inspired by the “downtown lofts tour” run by the Rotary Club of Downtown Los Angeles, perhaps creating a fundraising, public, educational, and fun docent-hosted tour of historical and cultural sites around the San Fernando Valley. Mel shared the story of a Rotary Club planning session a few years ago in which the theory was proposed that there is no bad idea for our Club, only perhaps ideas we cannot implement yet…only to be challenged by the Club Curmudgeon to show how “murder” would be a good idea for a Rotary Club. And together they did it…came up with an idea (although never implemented…not yet, anyway…!) to use the concept of a murder to have a fun dinner event for the Club.

Before our Fourth Sunday meeting ended, we challenged ourselves to open our minds even a little bit more than Rotarians already do, and to look for what grabs us, what inspires us, what might be a great idea for our Club…and then to bring it to the team and we’ll see how we can use it to help more people in this world, whether right away or when we can in the future. Take up the challenge. What grabs you? Let’s help people, together.


The opinions expressed by guest speakers, or in advertisements that appear on external websites linked to this program, are those of the speaker(s) / websites / advertisers and not necessarily of the Rotary E-Club of The Greater San Fernando Valley or its members. No endorsement is implied. Programs are presented for informational purposes only.


2 responses to 27 April 2015 — Sharing Ideas and Stories

  1. New members and guests bring different perspectives, and it was a good brainstorming session. I have a feeling that we’ll be starting a couple of great new projects soon.

  2. It has been a pleasure to work with such a lively bunch on projects over the past few years. Together, we create opportunities that inspire others to get involved. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves to work on new and exciting projects.

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