KELLY MEYER on TEACHING GARDEN at WVRC on May 13th
PP CHRIS GAYNOR led the Pledge. JOHN O’KEEFE gave the Invocation, which was excellent, but perhaps a bit too long to report with my usual completeness hence, a kind of summary, if I may: The Station, by Robert J. Hastings. Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision, as we span the country by train. Cars, children waving, row upon row of corn, flatlands, city skylines. But uppermost in our minds is the final destination as we arrive, bands will be playing, and we wait. When we reach the station, lo and behold, “When I’m 18, put the last kid through college, get a promotion, whatever, I’ll live happily ever after!” But sooner or later, we find the true joy of life is the trip the station is only a dream. Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” It isn’t the burdens, but the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow they rob us of today. So, stop counting the miles. Go barefoot more often, eat more ice cream, watch more sunsets, laugh more, for life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough. JOHN, thank you good words to live by. And even without Prexy ED there, LENNY was willing to put himself in the hands of P.E. GORDON FELL for the inevitable Placement. Apparently LENNY was so devastated by ED’S absence that he went into mourning, thus earning another temporary hat, which GORDON donned (that means he put it on). This led to God Bless America, which was enjoyed by all.
We did have a Visiting Rotarian present to witness this touching ceremony Alonzo Hill, who is a member of Santa Monica, and spends much of his waking hours with the FBI he has been with us before, of course, and we enjoy each other. PEGGY brought her helper, Jane Mulato, and SUNNY was of course with LENNY. Our Ambassadorial Scholar, MASAKI NAKODA, was introduced by PP MIKE NEWMAN and MASAKI will be our speaker next week! MIKE also introduced Terry de Souza, who will be circularized this week. The underground let P.E. GORDON in on the arrival of PP ERIC LOBERG’S first Grandchild Colin Thomas Karasek, who stretched for 18 inches and weighed in at 6.5 lbs which of course translated to a fine of 65 clams, but payable in dollars. The head table consisted of PP CHRIS GAYNOR, JOHN O’KEEFE, and TOM BARRON, plus the other side of Speaker Kelly Meyer and Program Chair STEVE PETTISE.
We were reminded that the District Assembly will take place next Saturday, the 22nd, at the Carson Community Center. This concludes with a luncheon, and there will be a plethora (that means lots) of interesting subjects offered. All incoming officers and especially new members are invited to attend, since it will help attendees to learn more about Rotary on the Club, District, and International level. We’ll do some carpooling so save the date, please.
WVRC received a nice letter thanking us for our annual contribution of $500. Those of our members who are regular Deliverers include ROZ and DON NELSON, SHIRLEY MORE, and YOE. It’s a most worthwhile service, and certainly deserves our support.
June 26th, Saturday, is the Demotion Party, at the Beach Club. Invitations are in the mail, and all members are billed for $100. Companions are extra, of course, and it’s always an event that sends the current President off in great style, usually with some humor attached. Save the date.
NEVIN SENKAN discussed our just-accepted Application for our joint project with the Rotary Club of Istanbul, which provides $25,000 toward the purchase of badly needed equipment for low-income children to aid in diagnosing hearing problems. This total includes $6,000 from WVRC, $11,500 from R.I., and $7,500 from the Istanbul Club. NEVIN will be back there to oversee the distribution of the money, and we should all take pride in a job Well Done!
Our Rotaract Club is requesting interested members of professions to talk to them about what they do. The Club meets at 6 pm on Wednesday evenings, on campus, and with over forty members, they will be an enthusiastic and interested audience. DWIGHT HEIKKILA will schedule your visit, and he has several signed up now, so give him a call, please. It only seems fair to point out that NOT ONE attorney has yet signed up! C’mon, you-all.
JOHN HEIDT read a lovely Thank You letter from Midshipman 3/c Kelsey Harmon. John presented an engraved world clock to her at the Naval ROTC Awards Service on May 8th, and she noted “when I become a Captain of my own ship, I’ll display the clock on my desk”.
These service awards are always well received HENRIETTA KNAPP-LIAN will be presenting a saber to an Air Force Awardee this Sunday, and Dr. COLBY SMITH will have another saber for the Army recipient yet this spring. We will be awarding a Paul Harris Fellowship to the Fireman of the Year from Station #37 on June 3rd, and we expect to honor a UCLA Police Officer shortly. These awards serve at least two purposes they express, in a tangible way, our support for the extra effort these fine young people deliver, and indicate that the local community is appreciative of their help. It should also be noted that we have provided awards to the Service personnel continuously since 1947.
STEVE PETTISE introduced our Speaker, Kelly Meyer. Teaching Garden is a program conceived by Kelly and the principal of a local elementary school, and is designed to make an impact on the alarming obesity challenges we are facing. Kelly was assisted by her technician, Melanie, who operated a visual support, and the man who introduced her to STEVE, Ken was also present.
Kelly began by reminding us that our motto, Service Above Self, is what continues to make a difference in the good works we are involved in worldwide. She first showed a portion of the video put together by Ken, which was lovely, but not easy to hear. It did give us a feel for what Teaching Garden is all about, however. She pointed out that when you learn something, you immediately are able to give it away thus you become a teacher yourself. Then she made a shocking statement for the first time since 1820, our children are looking at a future where they will not live as long as their parents! This is what the future of obesity produces, promoting, as it does, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke the leading killers of adults. Cancer has now been found to result from obesity its tentacles continue to reach out.
70% of healthcare costs today goes toward treatment of lifestyle diseases, while heredity takes the remaining 30%. Obesity is caused by poor nutrition, lack of physical activity and drug addiction, and all of these are treatable, of course. Kelly attended the actual congressional session when the President spoke about health care reform. It was a very moving session, and she vowed then to do something to improve the health care situation. As she phrased it, we should not be talking over a bucket, but working toward turning the faucet off.
From this came the Foundation that oversees the Teaching Garden. Their intent is to make the program comprehensive, affordable, and sustainable. They began with students in a highly productive elementary school, one where free and reduced-cost lunch is served, for instance. It is not a compulsory program, but it welcomes students who are appreciative of efforts to help them make fundamental changes in their lives. A Teaching Garden is welcome anywhere, as long as it is supported by education about nutrition and the message about the need for physical activity is being delivered.
The first step is to build the Planting Boxes. These will be where the actual garden is planted, and they are simple rectangles that can be placed anywhere. They have found that the Veterans Coalition, which is composed of returned veterans, is willing and quite helpful in this building process. These veterans, many of whom have Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, are learning to farm organically. They not only build the boxes, but they help in planting the kids love them, they learn who veterans are, and it’s a win-win process all around.
After building the boxes, putting in the gravel and soil, the next, vital step is providing curriculum. They are helped here by an organization called Growing Great, which has been doing this for the past ten years. These people come in before the boxes are built, and train the teachers, so they in turn can show the students that the combination of soil, water, and sun produces editable food. We, as adults, already know this but you will be surprised that many of these youngsters really don’t know what a fresh tangerine, or tomato, even tastes like! She gave a touching example of a young girl who very hesitantly took a bite and the smile that appeared on her face when she realized how really good it was.
Their next garden was sponsored by AARP. They have a website that is quite helpful. After all is in place, and the garden is ‘growing’, they then have a big school assembly. This takes place on the blacktop at the Forum, and three schools were represented. Derek Fisher of the Lakers came by to talk to the kids he lives near the Forum, where they gathered. Gabrielle Reese, who is a professional volleyball player, led the exercises. “Gabby says jump on one leg, Gabby says jump on the other leg, Gabby say jump to the right, Gabby says jump to the left” and the kids were really into it. In another example they used Skype to teach the kids the dances. Kelly herself appeared in one of the videos, and they do get a lot of participation.
The idea here is to get them moving. In today’s world, when parents are often afraid to have their kids walk to school, the lure of video games is a tough opponent. They also had a famous lady chef talk to the kids, and teach them something about cooking. Some of these kids, for instance know what French fries are, but what is a potato? They know about ketchup but a tomato is news to them. Today, 15% of people nationwide are obese, and in some states, the figure is OVER 50%! 1/3rd of our children are on their way to obesity. The Milliken Institute figures that as much as ONE TRILLION dollars is the true annual cost of obesity in the U.S.
Many of our kids today live in what you could call a Food Desert where there are no stores that sell fresh food, period. Thus the intent of Teaching Garden is to raise awareness, to show what choices are out there.
Kelly Meyer, you said your goal was to start ONE THOUSAND Teaching Gardens by 2011, and you certainly made a good case for the need for them. Thank you. You can reach her, by the way, at the Global Leadership Council of the Natural Resources Defense Council, (310) 457-3664 , or firstname.lastname@example.org
A bottle of Sterling Chardonnay was raffled off and MARIE ROLF won! This wine is described as the wine President ED will be drinking during the District Conference... which he intends to conceal in a SEAN MCMILLAN type coffee container. This in turn led to the Thought For The Day: To have a fine idea is nothing special. But to develop the idea well and make something great of it, that is the hardest part. That is Art! Antonin Dvorak, the Czech composer.