Saturday, May 13, 2017

SGR Meets ShelterBox

On Friday, May 12, members of SGR  joined with members of Dixie Sunrise Rotary, Red Rock Rotary, Hurricane Valley and Zion Canyon Rotary for an All Clubs Luncheon where a representative from the ShelterBox organization presented the program.

ShelterBox is made up of people who believe in shelter as a human right - because shelter from the chaos of disaster and conflict is vital.  No ifs ... no buts!  When people are plunged into crisis, normality is suspended.  But good, quality shelter can cut through the chaos.  This is why we provide the tools to enable people to rebuild homes and transform their lives.

The ShelterBox organization is impatient to see a world whee no family is left without shelter when disaster strikes.

"We don't believe one size fits all.  We work hard to understand the impact of each emergency and the need this creates within individual communities.  The equipment we provide, whatever shape it takes, gives people the hope and the power to transform their own lives."

All aid provided by ShelterBox is tested and evaluated by talking to, and learning from, the families who use it, fueling innovation an continuous evolution to meet the needs of those in crisis.  For more information, see

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

This Is Why We Do What We Do!

There’s always at least one amazing and memorable highpoint from St. George Rotary Club’s annual 4-way test essay contest readings.  Beyond the award of money to each 1st and 2nd place young winner in three of our four intermediate schools – and $200 each to their classroom teacher – this blog post read by one of the teachers was definitely this year’s highpoint.

“The Rotary Club of St. George sponsors an essay contest for 6th grade students each spring and my students have participated the past 3 years. The first year I had around 30% participation, last year I had around 70%, and this year we have reached my goal of 100%! I appreciate this contest so much because it a) gives my students an opportunity to write a narrative, which we seem to get away from as kids get older; b) gives me precious insight into the lives and thoughts of my students; c) motivates the student to be grateful and mindful of a person who has made a difference in their lives.

Rotarians around the world use the FOUR-WAY TEST to make ethical decisions in business and other aspects of their lives.  So, our writing prompt stems from this four-way test.

*Write about someone who has influenced your life in relationship to one, or more, of the following values:

   Goodwill and friendship
   Beneficial to others

Last year I attended a ceremony where the essay contest winners were honored, and they were able to read their essays at a Rotary luncheon. I was deeply moved. As a matter of fact, I was so embarrassed and overcome with emotion I started weeping when they asked me to say a few words. I was not crying for the winners, however, they are bright and wonderful students. I was crying for the students who struggled just coming up with the name of the subject for their narrative. A few kids honestly could not think of one trusted adult to write 300-400 words about explaining how they exemplified the 4-way test. I would give suggestions, heads would shake, shoulders would slump, heads would hang low.

I have reflected on this experience many times and realized there is great power in the old Indian proverbs that says,“Do not judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins” or shoes, or paws, or flip flops, or work boots, etc. You get my drift. People have hard things.

Kids are so resilient. Sometimes I wonder how they survive to adulthood when having to deal with so much hardship. I see divorce, abusive parents, parents in prison, neglect, kids living with family members, homelessness, ADD, bullying, poor hygiene, poor nutrition, poor sleep habits, adoption, foster care, hopelessness, cutting, depression, DCFS involvement, and the list goes on and on. I sometimes cry for them when I hear of their situations. It just isn’t fair, and it is so tragic.

But, I think, more than anything, hardship helps us appreciate the good when it does come. I appreciate the honor it is to teach the future leaders of this country. Many of the young people are struggling through their lives and making the best of it and I am proud of them. In the end, this year everyone thought of someone to write about for the essay. Just for statistical data, here are the results according to who the kids wrote about:

            Mom = 30                                          Teacher/coach = 7
            Dad = 20                                            Cousin = 4
            Grandparent = 17                              Aunt or uncle = 7     
            Sibling = 12                                       Friend = 26

So, thank you to each and everyone of you who work hard and, in turn, a kid loves and trusts you. The stories are poignant and sweet. Moms, dads, friends, if you do not feel valued, look at this list. More than half of the essays were just from these three groups. Grandparents, you make a difference, you are role models for your grandchildren. Bless you for caring, teaching, and loving children. They need it, they crave it, and most of all, they deserve it.

Bless the Rotary Club of St. George and bless those of you who live the four-way test, even if you didn't know you were.”