July 29, 2020
Back in February, I asked all club members and committee chairs to start planning their projects and to give me their budget proposals so the boards could create the Foundation Budget for the new year.  And boy did they ever!
 
Here's what we have for our new Rotary year.  These are all very exciting and diverse projects so I hope everyone can find their passion and get involved.  Just reach out to the committee chair.
 
Vocational Service – Scholarships
Chair Jan Duranni
 
The club annually gives $6000 for undergraduate scholarships which is divided equally between Rice and U of H. The scholarship committee manages the selection of students and awards these scholarships.
Community Service
Chair Jon Kidwell
 Essi Kwabi:  $5,000 Raising awareness of human trafficking and raising funds for local anti-trafficking organization. 
 
Name: Empower Stand Serve Impact (E.S.S.I.). Human trafficking awareness fundraiser benefiting local anti-human trafficking organizations. Beneficiary may change each year. Last event, Jan 31st, 2020 at the Ballroom at Bayou place.  Included a reception with appetizers, dinner, speech from Rotary district governor, survivor speaker Alicia Kozakiewicz who educated the attendees, followed by a fundraiser activity. Other elements included United Nations ambassador pinning of the beneficiary, vendors during reception, raffles. Over 25 Rotarians were in attendance.
 
Beneficiary was Real Beauty Real Women (RBRW), who fights human trafficking.  Funds are used to locate, save, and rehabilitate survivors, as well as prosecute traffickers.
 
This year's beneficiaries are RBRW, trafficking survivors. Funds are used to locate, save, and rehabilitate survivors, as well as prosecute traffickers. Humanitarian impact is serving justice, promoting peace, and helping eradicate modern slavery. 
 
Rotary club of Baytown sponsored half a table $2,500. Several Rotarians from several other clubs were in attendance and donated during the fundraiser. Several Rotarians helped plan and execute the event.
 
October 2020 or sooner.
 
Terry Ziegler: Easter Seals/Camp Smiles $1,000 (It formerly read Camp for All/Easter Seals)
Rotary Books for The World $4,000
Rotary Foundation Annual Fund Match $5,500 ($50 x the number of club members)
Polio Matching $4,000 (It formerly read Polio & Misc.)
$1,000 to support our Rotary Peace Scholar Rebecca Broussard who is a teacher in the Katy School District teaching a new class of recent immigrants each year. 
 
Gerard Comments:  Scott Rainey’s project for 2020-21 is Polio - therefore funds that go to DG project in past could be allocated in this fashion.
 
Joe Rivers:  The Fulfillment Project (This will be the District Matching Grant Recipient - $4000 + $4000)
 
The Fulfillment Project (TFP), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 2010, exists to increase the power and resources of an impoverished, marginalized society to promote and offer assistance, self-sufficiency, social empowerment, healthy families and communities for all age groups.  The organization stands firm on the premise that everyone has the potential to succeed when offered the right tools and resources to do so and we aspire to be that bridge.
  • An affiliate of The WORD Church
  • Supports Greenspoint, Humble and Northeast Houston
  • Serves a multicultural community of diverse ethnicity, religions, and backgrounds
  • TPF focuses on the following core areas:
  • Social Empowerment
  • Community Development
  • Health Awareness
  • Hunger Relief
 
We partner with The Fulfillment Project for five events each year.
Back-2-School Jamboree
  • Provides backpacks for over 2,400 students.  Connect student and families with community partners and services, including clothing, medical care, dentist, health and fitness, community food bank, and adult education opportunities. 
  • West U Rotarians volunteer at the event and the club provides a financial donation.
  • Event occurs in August.
 
Socktober/Kicks for Kidz
  • Provide shoes for 125 select students throughout the Aldine school district. 
  • West U Rotary provides a financial donation.
  • Event occurs in October.
 
Extreme Thanksgiving
  • Partnering with the Houston Food Bank, the event provides turkeys and complete meals for over 200 families. 
  • West U Rotary collects individual donations to purchase turkeys for the families.  Rotarians volunteer at the event distributing turkeys and food.  This is an excellent opportunity for Rotary families to be involved (community service)!
  • Event occurs in November.
 
Christmas in the Community
  • Provides toys and gifts for 300 families. 
  • West U Rotary’s Annual Christmas Party Toy Drive supports the event.
  • Event occurs in December.
 
Easter Eggstravaganza
  • Provide games for the families, including Easter egg hunt.  Easter baskets are given out to 150 families. 
  • West U Rotarians volunteer at the event and the club provides a financial donation.  This is an excellent opportunity for Rotary families to be involved (community service)!
  • Event occurs in the spring (Easter).
 
 
Carol Gradziel:
1.The Women’s Home ($5000)—This organization is one of the longest standing women’s support organizations in Houston.  They have an 18-month residential program for women that are recovering from substance abuse, mental health issues or incarceration.  In recent years, they have expanded into building low income housing units for women and families, incorporating their Whole Life program into these complexes.  We have supported this organization for over 10 years through various means.  Mostly we have volunteered our time to do career counseling, mock interviews, conducted clothing drives and worked in the thrift shop (which generates almost $1million in operating income).  We also decorated two apartments at Jane Cizik Garden Place, their first housing unit.  These apartments were designated for homeless women, and we received a District 5890 citation for this project.  Recently we have sponsored their awards banquets that occur quarterly to honor graduates of their programs.  And we have been a sponsor of their annual fundraiser (luncheon and fashion show).  Many Rotarians have participated in all these programs over the years
The funds requested are to purchase a sponsorship for their fundraiser and to host at least one awards banquet in the coming year (supply and serve dessert, table decorations, napkins and plates for 100 people).  
2.CCSC Martha’s Way ($2000) The Christian Community Service Center is an organization that serves the inner-city population of Houston and is made of a coalition of over 40 churches.   We have supported this organization for many years, through the efforts of Max Hickerson, former member, and recently Kathy Kokas, Bob Fry (his wife is board chair), and George Adams.  We make our donation to directly fund their program, Martha’s Way.  This is an interesting program that trains domestic workers to organize their business in a more professional manner.  It teaches business skills as well as the actual skills of how to professionally clean a home.  Their graduation packet consists of supplies and tools to start their business upon graduation. 
3.Women’s Resource Center ($1000) This organization is one we have supported for a few years through the efforts of Janice Stooksberry who has served on their board.  Their mission is to train volunteers to go into the community to teach financial literacy to lower income women and teenagers.  Some of our members have been volunteer teachers (Essi Kwabi), and one year we aligned them with the Y to teach their program to Y members living at the outreach apartments.  They have been highly successful with their program in local high schools.  Other club volunteers have been Kathy Kokas, Kimberly Phipps-Nichol, Cecile Schutter, Jane Richardson.  Our donation goes toward operating expenses.
Gerard Comments:  I would like to see any fundraiser table provision be paid for by members attending.  Example, a table is given to the club because of sponsorship - members should be paying for those tickets.
4.  Funding for Weekley Family Y “Club Mid” Afterschool Program for Rotary Year 2020-2021
Club Mid afterschool program at Pershing Middle School (largest HISD middle school) is in its 13th year of operation thanks in part to generous funding from West U Rotary.  That many years ago, the neighborhood of Braes Heights (location of Pershing) was experiencing a problem with middle schoolers milling around the neighborhood because their working parents were unable to pick them up as school was dismissing.  They had no alternative but to let the kids just wait and “hang out”.  Club Mid was developed as an answer to this issue, offering a safe place for kids to remain after school while they participate in constructive and productive activities such as homework help, recreational activities, and mini-classes as they work toward developing the physical, educational, emotional and social skills necessary for academic success.    This year 50 students have participated daily, August through June, requiring a physical location and staff to support the kids.  These students are also welcome to workout at the Y in the afternoons on a supervised basis.  To fully fund this program requires close to $60000 that the Y covers through partnerships like this, a small admission fee per student, and direct Y expensing.  In addition to these 50 kids, there are 45 other Pershing students that attend the Y afterschool through membership, and many of these are subsidized.  There are also about 40 teens that come to the Y before school (Breakfast Club) in lieu of waiting for the Pershing school building to be opened. 
There are many Rotarians that are members or employees of the Y.  The center executive of the Weekley Y (whoever is in that position) has been a contributing member of West U Rotary for at least the past 15 years.  Nineteen Rotarians are members of the Y. Several of our members serve as present or past board members (present:  Carol Gradziel, Brennan Reilly, Ronnie Hallenberger; past:  Kathy Kokas, AJ Karian, Bob Fry).  We all feel a strong commitment to the Y and the community programs that it offers.  Also, for many years, the Y has covered at least two flag zones (used as a team building activity for teens), participated with a team or teams in the golf tournament, and already has purchased a table for our 25th anniversary celebration! 
 
Our request for funding from the 2020-2021 budget is $10,000.00.  The plan for the money is as stated above (to be used to fund the Club Mid program), and we typically request funds to be paid in March.
Gerard Comments:  I would like YMCA to be the 2021 Golf Recipient.  This would allow us to gain flag customers, increase club membership and reduce our expenses to the foundation.
 
Craig Friou:
Rice All Stars
Rice students led basketball for children with special needs
About 50-100
Kids with special needs.  Physical fitness, inclusion, and quality of life.
Note, although we can help out.  Historically it has just been a financial donation
$800.00 due approximately 12/31/2020
 
Gerard Comments:  Note that this project was renamed in Excel to Rice All Stars
 
 

Christine MacMillan: Houston Angels and Melissa McGrath
Proposal for funds and human energy for the Houston Angels nonprofit organization.
Amount: $5000
Houston Angels is a local chapter of a growing, nationwide nonprofit organization called National Angels. Our collective mission is to wrap community around children in foster care, as well as their caretakers, by offering consistent support through intentional giving, relationship building, and mentorship.
 Children are removed from their homes and placed in foster care due to neglect, abandonment, or because they are the victim of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. When children are removed from the home, they are confused and upset, and they need temporary protection and nurturing that a foster family can provide. In the foster care system, children move homes an average of 7 times within only 2 years. This is usually because foster parents are unsupported or overwhelmed.
Through our programs and services, we hope to end the cycle of instability, support foster parents on their journey, and ensure these children always feel loved, safe, and hopeful for the future.
 
OUR PROGRAMS
Love Box
We created the Love Box program to walk alongside children in the foster care system, as well as their caretakers, by offering consistent support through intentional giving, relationship building, and mentorship. The Love Box program provides foster families with community and holistic support so that they can continue to do the important and meaningful work of being a foster parent. As a Love Box group, volunteers will be matched with local foster families based on compatibility and scope of needs. These volunteers will show up for our families on a monthly basis and provide a “Love Box” filled with daily essentials and gifts, as well as build meaningful relationships with them and their children – this leads to parents feeling supported and children gaining a sense of belonging and self-confidence.
 
We tell our volunteers to think of themselves as the "fun" auntie and uncle that visit once a month and bring love, encouragement, and motivation. You will be surprised how a simple act of kindness such as telling a child you believe in them or that they'll grow up to do great things one day can change a child's perspective and life path. You can make a positive impact on a child's life. Boxes should include:
  • Handwritten note encouraging the child (ex: "We're proud of you!", "You're doing such a great job!")
  • For the kids: books, favorite snacks, interest-based items, clothes, etc.
  • For the family: household supplies, pantry items, gas cards, gift cards, etc.
(This program requires a one-year commitment.)
 
Rotary and the Love Box Program: West U Rotary 2019 involvement with the Love Box Program included supporting a family of 4 girls and two parents during the Christmas Holiday. Two Rotarians wrapped gifts for the girls and hosted the Houston Angel staff for lunch and brainstorming for future projects.
2020 Hopeful Projects: A Grandmother is currently raising 7 of her grandchildren through the Kindship Foster Program. There is a need to support her monthly by providing some household essentials and stopping by monthly to check on grandma and the kids. I would like to begin by focusing our attention on them and have the flexibility to support other families during a spring and fall special giving.
 
Dare to Dream: Our Dare to Dream program is an opportunity to mentor aged-out or at-risk-to-age-out foster youth (ranging from 15-23 years old). The heart of this program is to give foster youth a second chance. Many of the youth we will recruit are living in emergency shelters or are homeless. Many are victims of years of abuse and neglect and may have trouble forming healthy relationships with adults and peers. They are often ill-prepared to suddenly live independently and they need the wisdom and encouragement that mentors can provide. There are ten milestones that the mentor and at-risk youth meet together, including things like getting a driver’s license, creating a resume, applying for a job, and learning to cook. Our mentors will be advocates, coaches, teachers, guides, role models, valued friends, available resources, cheerful critics, and career enthusiasts. (We require that mentors be a minimum of six years older than the mentee. This program requires a one-year commitment; however, it is our hope that these relationships will last a lifetime.)
 West U Rotary Club is not planning to get involved with the Dare the Dream Program due to our heavy involvement in the Hay Center, but it is an option for anyone who is interested.
 
Follow our new social media pages: @houstonangels_nonprofit (Instagram) and facebook.com/houstonangelstx (Facebook). Here we will be providing updated information about our programs and services that are coming to the Houston area, as well as our fundraising progress. 
 
Gerard Comments:  Christine has been extremely active in our club and is deeply passionate about Houston Angels.  She has personally donated and had corporate match funding.
 
John Collier:
 
Subject: Proposed Model toward support of the University of Houston College of Medicine Medical Students
Global health will be an important part of the UH College of Medicine curriculum. Students will participate in opportunities to work with diverse populations, both locally and globally, to gain knowledge and experience to prepare them for primary care practice with individuals and communities from various racial and cultural backgrounds.
Funding for these opportunities will not be included in tuition and fee scholarships. Therefore, students would greatly benefit from funding for travel and expenses to participate in national and international clinical learning experiences.
A gift of $1000 from West U Rotary Club would support one medical student participating in these medical education experiences.
To show gratitude and share their experience, each medical student receiving the West U Rotary Scholarship could attend meetings when invited to share their experience and progress toward their medical degree.
Moving forward, annual scholarships of $1K each to cover travel and expenses for additional medical students participating in national and international clinical learning experiences would be greatly appreciated and, if funded, students would follow the pattern described above of visiting Rotary clubs, when invited, to share the impact of the scholarship and stories of their progress.
Gerard Comments:  This is a new funding request


David Lefevre:  Lamar Future Farmers of America (FFA)
For many years West U Rotary Club has supported the hard-working students of Lamar High School FFA, which is making a positive difference in the lives of Lamar FFA students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.
 
Lamar FFA students raise all kinds of livestock and show them at numerous livestock shows, including the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. In April Lamar FFA puts on its own livestock show and auction at which the students show and auction off their animals. The proceeds of the auction go to a scholarship fund for the participating students.
 
For a spotlight story on one FFA student who was benefitted by Rotary participation in FFA, see the attached article.
Typically, the project will benefit between 2 and 10 Lamar High School FFA students, depending on how many animals the Club bids on and how many add-ons (cash gifts) the Club makes. The scholarship amounts have ranged between $100 and $1000 per student.
There is usually one primary project champion, and in addition over the years there have been 1 to 2 other Rotarians that participate in the livestock auction activities. For the 2020-21 Rotary year, David LeFevre will recruit an additional project champion.
 
Katy Rotary Club has a similar FFA project that benefits Katy High School FFA students.
Budget line item = $2,000. Total expenditure will be approx. $3,500
The total expenditure is more than the budget line item because the animals we buy at the auction are “sold” back to club members as thank-you gifts for their extra-budgetary donations. We usually collect around $1,500 additional in club member donations. We are requesting an increase in the budget line item because tiny scholarships are nice, but we would like to be able to make a more meaningful impact.
 
Table sponsorship - $1,000 (all of which becomes credit that can be used to bid on animals at the auction for the kids’ scholarship fund)
Program sponsorship - $600 (promotion of West U Rotary Club and the Rotary Youth Exchange Program)
The remainder of funds - $400 + proceeds of meat “sales” (added to table sponsorship amount and given as scholarships by buying animals at the FFA auction)
 
The FFA auction is not so much a community service event as it is a social event that benefits Lamar FFA students.
 
Stacy Brevard:
Rotary Youth Exchange/Kids – Due to the worldwide Covid Pandemic, there will not be any exchange students, incoming or outgoing.
 
International Service
Lucy Gebhart: Engineers Without Borders $4,000
 
The Kimaut, Kenya Water Project will provide safe drinking water to the community of Kimaut, Kenya.  Currently, the 5000 residents of the community depend on several natural springs and shallow wells during the wet season.  During the dry season, the community is restricted to using only two natural springs.  Water contamination is high and time/distance to fetch water exceed world health standards.  The amount of water available during the dry season does not meet minimum standards for the quantity of water needed.  Community survey responses indicate water sourcing as the highest priority needs for the community.  Health and safety concerns were also noted as consequences of the lack of a reliable water source.  Current plans involve drilling a borehole as an additional source of water; rehabilitation of existing sources; education on water, sanitation, and hygiene; and safe handling of water during fetching, transportation, and home storage.
 
Assessment trips to establish community needs, gather baseline data and assess potential solutions were conducted in 2018 and 2019.  Alternatives analysis was done in 2018 to identify the best alternative with a borehole utilizing a solar-powered pump being identified as the best alternative.  It also established that a single alternative was to go to sufficiently address community needs.  A multiple solution, multiple phase approaches is planned to address the problem with the first phase concentrating on borehole and associated infrastructure paired with WASH education.
 
The 2019 assessment trip presented the alternatives analysis and confirmed the community’s preferred alternative (borehole).   Design work on the borehole, storage, pumping, and WASH education planning was started in 2019 and is ongoing along with design for the rehabilitation of the natural springs.
 
How many people benefited from the project? 5000 to benefit
 Beneficiaries will be the members of the Kimaut, Kenya community.  They will have cleaner, more available, and more reliable water.  Water fetch cycle times should improve.  Water will be supplied to a medical clinic and maternity ward.  The community should have a better understanding of public health impacts of cleaner water, basic sanitation, and basic hygiene.  Educational outcomes should improve for children, particularly female students.  The primary humanitarian need addressed is water access. To date, approximately 10 Rotarians have participated in some manner.  We anticipate that number to at least double as the project progresses.
 
 We are currently working with the Beaumont, TX, and a Nairobi, Kenya Rotary Club to secure a global grant.  We anticipate that several District 5910 and 5890 Rotary Clubs will need to participate in the program to secure the necessary funding via the matching formula of the global grant.
 
Two Rotary members participated with the cooperating organization in assessment trips, Three Nairobi Rotarians have been involved in grant and assessment activities,  Three Beaumont Rotarians have been involved in grant activities, and One Houston Rotarian has provided input to the planning process.  The two Rotary members, who are also members of the cooperating organization have contributed financially to assessment trips as have the Nairobi Rotarians.
The Central Houston Professional Chapter of Engineers Without Borders is involved as a cooperating organization.  This organization has been involved in community selection, community assessment, data gathering, alternatives analysis, funding of assessment trips, funding outside of global grant requested funds, project planning, grant planning and preparation, and other project activities.  A local NGO, Brighter Communities Worldwide (BCW, based in Ireland) has an office in Londiani, Kenya, near the Kimaut Community.  They have extensive experience in local community development, including education in WASH and small construction projects.  EWB Houston and BCW have an MOU for working together on this project.
Request for 2020-2021 funding? $4000
As soon as grant funds are available, a drilling contract will be initiated.  Plans are for drilling to be done in 2020 if possible.
 
 
 
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