Oakland Rotary News

A KinderPrep classroom volunteer's experience

  • All the scholars

  • Bill reading to class

  • Fun on a KinderPrep field trip

Volunteering in an Oakland Rotary  KinderPrep classroom is a life changing experience.  One walks in the door of the classroom and instantly falls in love with the wonderful little scholars.  Assisting the teacher and working with the young stars becomes not a task, but a labor of love. One also develops a close relationship with the teacher, and it’s difficult to think of anything better to do with one’s time.

When students who say they can’t write their name because “I’m scared” or “I can’t”,  and then do it for the first time, it’s priceless.  When a frightened girl from war-torn Yemen is crying in class, but soon is drawing happy faces; when a boy from Vietnam who’s house had burned down arrives speaking no English then writes the numbers 1 to 10 on his own; when scholars first learn words and numbers, there is nothing like it in the world. 

You also develop friendships outside of class with caring people from school administration and staff, Oakland Public Education Fund, SEEDS,  Community Service Officers and others.  Your life, as you knew it, is truly changed forever.

Bill Hogan, KinderPrep classroom vounteer at Garfield Elementary.

#KinderPrepChangesLives

Committee: 

Oakland Rotary’s Saroni-Lena Scholarship Committee selected Meron Benti as a scholarship recipient two years ago. Under our Saroni-Lena program, we distribute scholarship in quarterly allocations and match each scholar with a Rotarian mentor, with regular communications throughout the scholar’s college career. 

Meron is completing her sophomore year at Middlebury College and is featured in the current issue of Middlebury Magazine (Spring 2017).  Meron is an amazing young woman, with a unique background.  Born in Ethiopia to black parents, Meron has albinism, which carries a social stigma (especially in Ethiopia) and impairs her sight.  She spent much of her childhood living with adult siblings in Italy where albinism is better understood and better treatments are available. She moved to Oakland to live with a brother and finished her last 2 years of high school at Oakland Technical High School.

For much of her life, Meron has been seen as being different. How she views herself is another story.  You can read about this amazing young woman at this link: http://sites.middlebury.edu/middmag/2017/05/10/through-the-looking-glass/

23 years of Helping Oakland Youth

On May 25th we celebrated 23 years of H.O.P.E. (Helping Oakland Pupils Excel) at Oakland Rotary #3.  In attendance were a few of our current and past youth and their mentors, all of whom began their mentoring relationships when the youth was in 6th or 7th grade. 

Who have been the mentors in your life?  Perhaps your mentors came from school, a family friend or relative, your parents, an adult in a youth program, a supervisor or colleague. Mentors have your best interest in mind, serve as role models, lend an ear when you need it most, and are your friend.  Consider becoming a H.O.P.E. mentor!  We will try to match you with a youth over the summer, or you can participate on the committee to help plan activities for the students and their mentors.

Orientation for prospective mentors takes place regularly through our partnership with Be a Mentor.  Learn more about how you can make a lasting difference in the life of a youth by contacting H.O.P.E. committee co-chairs Stephanie Casenza at scasenza@dowra.com or 619.985.2105 (cell) or Mike Melone michaelmelone.esq@gmail.com or 510.593.2240. 

On Friday, May 19, 2017,Mary Geong and her intrepid band of volunteers successfully got 180 Oakland public school transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students off their buses, into Children’s Fairyland, fed, and back on the buses. No children were lost or went hungry!  As the pictures attest, the order of the day was smiles all around.

Great thanks go to Fairyland Executive Director (and fellow Rotarian) CJ Hirschfield and her staff, especially Vicky and Cindy. Thanks also goes to Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, whichprovided significant financial support for the bus transportation. We could not do these field trips without their generous support.

Anyone who would like a day in the sun watching happy children should consider volunteering on a KinderPrep field trip nextyear. KinderPrep also provides many other opportunities to volunteer and support these wonderful children.  Contact Peter Sherris at psherris@mac.com.

Committee: 

Oakland’s Three Female Leaders Address Our Club

Our Club moved its meeting to City Hall on April 27, 2017.  More than 120 Rotarians and 45 guests gathered, first enjoying lunch in the beautiful lobby area and then moving into the Council Chambers. Of historic note: the current Oakland City Hall was completed in 1914 and was the first high-rise government building in the United States, and also the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.)

President introduced and thanked Rotarian and City Librarian Gerry Garzonfor organizing the event.  Gerryproceeded to introduce the three speakers:  Honorary Rotarian and Mayor LibbySchaaf, City Administrator Sabrina Landreth and Chief of Police Anne Kirkpatrick. Each spoke about her particular priorities before fielding questions.

Mayor Libby Schaafsaid the budget is on her mind and will be introduced very shortly. There will be numerous opportunities to learn about it at town hall workshops over the next two months.  Information can also be obtained at the website: openbudgetoakland.org.  Her goal is to maintain the current level of service. She spoke of the level of vitality now in Oakland as evidenced by the many construction cranes across the skyline and much building permit activity for 4,500 new housing units.  At the same time, Oakland has challenges including:

  • Crisis in housing affordability, the need for housing at all income levels and solving homelessness issues,
  • Basic infrastructure, for example potholes everywhere caused by the drought, followed by heavy rains(she is starting to name some on her way to work).
  • The need to increase the number of youth who go to college (Oakland Promise is one of her important projects),
  • and the list goes on.

City Administrator Sabrina Landrethreferred to herself as the “chief bureaucrat”. She spoke briefly of the major crises city leaders have gone through recently, including two major fires resulting in loss of life and displaced tenants. In addition, the Police Department scandal resulted inleadership instability until the recent arrival of Chief Kirkpatrick. Ms. Landreth saidher challenge is maintaining employee morale and finding the best people for each job. In her focus on staffing, she indicated a new Chief Information Officer is now on board, recruitment is underway for a new Public Works Director and a Planning & Building Director. Soon recruitment will begin for a new Fire Chief.  Sensing that Rotarians can get things done, she encouraged everyone in Oakland “to get involved”.

Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, with 35 years of policing experience, indicated it is difficult to be a police officer in America today. She made it clear she will not tolerate inappropriate behavior. She described the department’s new approach with the publicas: “We want to love you, we want to serve you, and we want you to love us back.” A recent study concluded that the ideal size for OPD is 925 sworn officers.  Currently there are 794 officers, with no increase in the upcoming budget.  

On a cloudy and , thankfully, dry Tuesday  693 transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students were bussed to the Oakland Zoo.  Thirty five Oakland Rotary volunteers guided the students into the zoo, some accompanied the classes to the various Zoo venues and the rest helped set up and distribute lunch.

KinderPrep’s goal is to make our TK field trips the easiest ones the teachers will ever do.  We organized and pay for everything including zoo entrance, transportation and student lunches.  Oakland Zoo staff are incredibly helpful and accommodating.  As the pictures attest, a great time was had by all.

Committee: 

An Evening of Song, Magic and Celebration

This year’s Rotary gala, at the Rotunda on April 8, was filled with elegance, song, magic and emotion.

We enjoyed the upbeat tunes of Rick Baskin and friends, as well as impromptu duets from warblers supreme John Protopappas and Kim Cohn. We heard about our Club’s impact from former HOPE mentee Diane Garcia and saw a powerful video about Oakland 3’s service prepared by Rotarian filmmaker Chris Faber. Magician Dennis Kyriakos’s tricks had us scratching our heads. In addition to all the fun, we raised significant funds for future Oakland Rotary service projects.

Thank you to all who supported the event!  You can watch Chris Faber's fantastic video below:

Continuing a long-standing and celebrated tradition of introducing some of the most compelling young artists on the international music scene, Maestro Morgan has invited the winner of the 2015 James Toland Vocal Arts Competition, based in the Bay Area, for their Symphony debut.

To sign up for the Symphony, the Pre-Event, or both please go to http://www.oaklandsymphony.org/rotary/

Pre-Event Get-Together

Ozumo is $35 per person, which includes food, one drink, taxes and tips.

The Event

Phenomenal young pianist Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner returns following his triumphant debut last season on Notes from Mexico.

We roll out the first in a new series exploring dazzling lost Romantic works. Danish composer Victor Bendix’s Third Symphony (1895) features unusually rich harmonic textures, beautiful string interludes and majestic winds.

Conductor Leopold Stokowski’s orchestration of Bach’s monumental Toccata and Fugue in D minor—which has one of the most recognizable opening themes in all music—helped spark a mid-20th century flood of interest in Bach’s sublime works, and its being featured in Disney’s 1940 Fantasia brought it to the attention of millions.

This evening out will include:

Finger food provided by Ozumo; beverages poured on no-host basis discount seats in upper balcony and rear orchestra

Mount Whitney Hike 2015 Or Alternative Location
Friday, October 9, 2015 (4 Spots still available) 
(elevation 14,508’)

Hosted by Oakland Rotary’s
High Adventure Committee
Contact Mark Rosen (mrosen@info-gate.com

Overview

Oakland Rotary’s High Adventure Committee has obtained a permit to hike to the summit of Mt. Whitney on Friday October 9th.  It is a one-day permit that requires that we complete the hike in the permitted area within 24-Hours (midnight to midnight).  

Mt. Whitney is located in California’s Eastern Sierras , about 100 miles (driving) South of Mammoth Lakes and just West of the town of Lone Pine.  From Oakland, it is approximately a 6-7 hour drive.  The permit is for 10people.  Mark Rosen and Tom Limon will co-lead the hike. 

It is imperative that all participants of this "climb" do adequate training and be comfortable hiking in snow.

If weather conditions do not look favorable 4 days prior to October 9th an alternative location will be designated. A possible alternative will be in Yosemite.

Please Contact

Mark Rosen for more information

What a Fantastic Evening of Fun, Friendship, and Socializing!

It definitely was an evening of fun, laughter, and socializing. 
A very special thanks  to our sponsors, guests, and volunteers who made our fundraiser spectacular. 
Although we don't have the final figure in we know that it will nicely support the endeavors of the Oakland Rotary #3 Committees.

James Martin, our photographer, has posted our pictures, as well as provided a link if you want to get them printed. He receives nothing from the printing, just providing the service.

http://www.remaininlight.com/main/032815/

Below is a sample of our attendees. 
Dare they Ring the Bell??