Category Archives: Weekly Programs

Habitat for Humanity

Frances Hardy, Director of Resource Development for the San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity was a great ambassador to share the new Rotary International partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Frances has been familiar with Rotary since she was young, being a Rotary Exchange Student in France when she was living in North Carolina. She said she learned a great life lesson from being an exchange student that opened her eyes to see more than just her immediate surroundings.

Frances talked about how Habitat for Humanity is a global housing ministry that partners with local communities worldwide to build homes for members of their community that changes lives. Since 1976, Habitat for Humanity has served more than 134 million people in 70 countries and 50 states in the USA. The San Gabriel Valley chapter covers 31 cities and 400 square miles. Habitat for Humanity does not give homes away, the families who receive homes from them put in at least 500 hours of sweat equity, are currently living in substandard living conditions and pay the mortgage once they move into their Habitat house. Habitat makes sure the mortgage is not more than 30% of their monthly income since research shows that if a family spends more than 30% of their monthly income on housing they are in jeopardy of not being able to put food on the table, pay for medical bills, etc.

So far, there have been zero foreclosures of Habitat for Humanity homes in San Gabriel Valley. The 2019 goals are to double what they are currently doing. So, that means engage 8,000 volunteers and double the number of homes built in 2019. With Habitat’s partnership with Rotary International and hopefully the Arcadia Rotary, they will surely reach that goal!

Women Against Child Trafficking – Mardi Arnold

Mardi reconfirmed that there is trafficking in the San Gabriel Valley and her organization is active making a difference.  One function they perform is to help repatriate rescued kids, back into society.   Another is to educate kids and families about where the risks are that they may not be thinking about.

“We live in La Canada; I’m an attorney” is not a safety net when kids are at risk from the internet, shopping mall or walking home alone.  Marti’s organization partners with other organizations to support a coordinated effort.

One of their partner’s, Journey House supports at-risk kids that have aged out of the Foster system to support them going into and succeeding in college.  A new bill recently passed in Sacramento, created by two Journey House alumni, demands Foster youth be informed by e-mail of all the support services available to them to give them a better chance in college.  currently of the 8000 college eligible Foster Program alums, 1% graduate.

DIGNITY/FREEDOM BACKPACKS were assembled by our members. They were stuffed with useful items for rescued girls (1% of trafficked kids are boys).  Clothes are taken as evidence so the rescued kids have nothing. Our backpacks (we made 50!!) had clothing items of various sizes: flipflops, workout gear (name brands like Nike and Under Armor), and  underwear, a blouse, sports bra, leggings, socks and a t-shirt.  There was also a bag of toiletries, a coloring/journal/activity book, colored pencils, hairbrush, comfort stuffed toy.  We also included some snacks and water.

These backpacks will be distributed to service organizations.

Why the Mayflower Matters

Erica Hahn introduced a stimulating and timely program about the history and challenges for our early Pilgrim settlers, beginning in 1620 with 102 men, women and children establishing a colony at Plymouth.

Erica gave us a history lesson on the Roman Catholic church, the predominant religion in western Europe in the 1600’s.  The church divisions driven by the Calvinist belief in predetermination vs the Armenenisiam view of man’s choice in the matter of salvation, and Martin Luther’s establishment of the Reformation church.

Also a quick trip down memory lane with Henry VIII seeking an annulment of his marriage, which the church could not do, therefore the establishment of Protestantism in western Europe.

Beginning with and following the “discovery” of the new world by Christopher Columbus in 1492, the early efforts to colonize the new world were driven by the quest for riches.  France, Spain, Denmark, Great Britain and others sought gold, beaver pelts, cod, cochineal (a bug used for its red dye) and silver.  Many of the colonial attempts, like Jamestown in 1607, were comprised of only men and the death rate was as high as 50%. They did not want to plant or build the infrastructure needed to sustain a community.

By contrast, the “separatists” from western Europe as they were called lived in Leiden Holland for about 12 years before coming to the new world.  They were not coming to get rich, but to plat, build and create a colony to live in.  The Mayflower arrived in 1620 in Cape Cod, shortly thereafter creating the Mayflower Compact, an agreement among the new settlers.  In 1621 they had the first Thanksgiving Feast, with food including turkeys and deer meat provided partially by the native Indians.

There are as many as 30 million direct descendants of the Pilgrims in the U.S. and many famous ones like Marylyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, Clint Eastwood, President Bush, Hugh Hefner and others like Ashley Smith an Arcadia Rotarian!  Erica says you can check out your history on Family Tree DNA.

Not enough about the Mayflower, check out the book “Mayflower” by Nathaniel Philbrick, a good read.  There are also Mayflower Society’s in many cities.

SIERRA MADRE PACK TRAIN

Our Guest Speaker today was Dr. William “Bill” White who has lived in our community for over forty years. Bill joined the Sierra Madre Medical Group as a partner practicing general medicine in 1963 and a staff member at the Methodist Hospital. He became Chief of Staff there in 1984 and is now retired from practice.  Dr. White has got to be one of the most knowledgeable people around about the Mt. Wilson Trail and its history.

 

Back in 1889 one of the most difficult pack trains was planned for the trip to Mt. Wilson. It would be to transport the first telescope there, a load estimated at 1200 lbs. It turns out that when they received the telescope at the beginning of the trail for packaging in crates it weighed in at 3700 lbs. It was such an arduous journey on the narrow trail that at times where they encountered a sharp angle they had to drill and blast out a rock to widen it before they could proceed. When they were within two miles of the summit a sudden snowstorm dropped a foot of snow and the men had to abandoned their packs and wait a week at the Halfway House, a small wooden cabin built for shelter along the way. They had to wait for the snow to melt before going further. The entire trip took a total of six weeks to deliver the telescope. Dr. White said that is what made Sierra Madre famous and people poured in to the area to book a trip up the mountain to see the telescope.

 

A few men built camps to house campers along the trail. One built by Peter Steil called Steil Camp. Mr. Steil owned a drinking establishment in the Pasadena area during the prohibition era and he was frowned upon by many city staff for the alcohol he sold. Another developed a camp named the Strain Camp after A.J. Strain, the builder. Unfortunately to get to the Strain Camp one had to walk through he Steil Camp so Mr. Steil put up a fence to block the trail. When it went to court in Pasadena the judge ruled a $1.00 fine and opened the trail to all people.

 

The telescope was moved years later to Peru, where Harvard was building an observatory and is now at the Boyden Observatory in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

 

What a great historic moment Dr. White shared with us. This is simply fascinating!

 

Thank you Dr. White.

 

(Pat Dolphin)

Practice, Patience and Perseverance

Our speaker today was Bill Ukropina, one of the founders of Coldwell Banker Commercial Advisors. They currently employ thirty-three people who specialize in leasing and selling commercial properties in the greater areas of Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia.

Bill graduated from San Marino High School and Washington State University and has lived in Pasadena with his wife for thirty-two years. He has three boys, Nick who works in manufacturing sales and is in the USC MBA program. His son Grant is a management engineer at McMaster Carr Industrial Supply and is finishing his MBA at USC and Conrad, who graduated from Stanford in June of 2016 and just received his Masters degree there. Conrad was a member of the Stanford Football team and played in the 2016 Rose Bowl Game. He broke six (6) all-time kicking records while at Stanford.

Bill and his wife Lynn-Ann were lead sponsors of a Pasadena Cancer Support Community Event last year and are very involved as volunteers and donors.

Bill mentioned that he always wanted to be a quarterback from the time he was 8 years old. When he was in third grade he went with some friends to a San Marino High School practice and was able to meet Rich Haley, an outstanding quarterback in 1988. Fast forward to Bill’s youngest son Conrad, who was also interested in quarterbacking for his high school, Loyola High School. Conrad tried out for the position with several others and the coach had narrowed his choice down to three candidates, Conrad was one of them. Unfortunately, three days before the season opener Conrad broke his arm in four places during a tackling drill. He was determined to find some other way to stay involved with the team where all of his friends were. So Conrad decided to take up kicking. He was so good at it, his dad, Bill, decided to make a DVD and sent it to eighty (80) college coaches. Some schools responded with an offer of a partial ride, like USC, Princeton, and Yale. Only one responded with a full scholarship from Fresno State, Coach Pete Alamar. Conrad, meanwhile, decided to accept a non-scholarship “walk-on” position at Stanford. His first day there an announcement was made, “we have a new special teams coach, Pete Alamar”. It didn’t take long for Conrad to realize he had made a wise decision. In his first game in his sophomore year, with no experience at the position, Ukropina drilled a 44-yard field goal against UCLA on regional TV.

Conrad received a full scholarship his senior year at Stanford. He learned the art of Practice, Patience, and Perseverance and increased his work out routines, strategy and the patience it takes to win. He made a 42-yard and a 46-yard field goal against USC to win and against Notre Dame he made the game winning Field Goal after the defense tried to ICE him out by calling time outs. Stanford won that game 38-36.

Our thanks to Bill Ukropina for sharing his story and passing on a good lesson of Practice, Patience and Perseverance.

 

(Pat Dolphin)

Raghada Khoury – District Govenor

Following an update and call to action for repair of the Camp Trask Boy Scout Fort by Mike Real (Real Food Marketing) and Keith Brown (KB Construction), President Tony Parrille introduced the service area leaders.
Environmental Service director, Glenn Oyoung introduced plans to partner with the Arboretum sponsoring student tours of the Arboretum.  Arboretum President Richard Schulhof described how influential this can be with some students that have not experienced the outdoors, wildlife, open fields and the extensive variety of plant life at the Arboretum.  More to follow on this project.
Community Service Director, Brent Forsee, Principal AUSD reminded the club that we will continue to recognize both students and teachers of the month.  We will also have two meetings recognizing the Arcadia police and fire department key personnel.
International Service director, Dick Martinez informed the club about the multitude of projects the club has sponsored in Tijuana building houses, helping orphanages and providing wheelchairs to handicapped people.
Membership Chair, Francine Chiu provided an update on membership, noting that we are at 84 members with two pending new members.  Francine reminded the club of the great job our finemaster is doing reminding us all of the purpose and history of Rotary.  The question for next week is what is the definition of Rotary.  A new up-to-date booklet titled Rotary ABCs was published, everyone should have a copy.
New Generations director, Kathy Ellison updated on TLC, RYLA lead by Mike Real and Interact being lead by Jim Ryder at Arcadia Unified School District, all important opportunities for Rotarians to participate and provide leadership in our community.
Vocational Service director, Larry Callaham thanked Brent Forsee for allowing the Arcadia Rotary Club to partner with AUSD on teacher mini grants, student scholarschips, the Dan Stover music competition and the 4-way speech contest, all great programs. Larry reminded everyone of the dinner and program on February 9 at AUSD.
District Governor (DG), Raghada Khoury finally was given the floor and reminded Rotarians of the serious nature and responsibilities of properly maintaining our tax advantaged status as a 501C(3) non profit.
DG Khoury noted that many changes are coming from Rotary International, for example moving the focus from attendance at meetings, to activities sponsored, hours of service and financial contributions into our communities.