News for August/September 2014

Updates

After a quiet summer there have been lots of developments in the last few weeks:

  • The Rotary Clubs of Sandusky and Huron will both be co-sponsoring a mission to Belize in the first quarter of 2015… probably early February. The Rotary Club of Sandusky will be making application for a District Grant.
  • The Global Vocation Training Team Grant for two missions to Jamaica is ready to be forwarded for approval. The first mission is planned for March 2015 and the second for August 2015.
  • The Interact Clubs of Northview and Southview High Schools have agreed to conduct Book, game, VHS tape, toy drives.
  • The following needs have been identified… can you please help fulfill them:
    • Additional funding to purchase needed equipment and supplies
    • Computers
    • Children’s books, games, toys, puzzles and VHS tapes
    • Tables, televisions and VCR machines
    • Infant clothing and stimulation items

Social Mobility

By Mel Honig, Newsletter Editor

Introduction : Recently I gave a presentation to the Rotary Club of Sylvania. This was the third time presenting to the club so this time it was not specifically about Resource Centers International (RCI) but the process of starting and then refining the project. There is one story I did not tell because it, by itself, is almost a whole presentation… but I feel it is an important story that needs telling.

Mexico, 1996 : Our family was in Mexico visiting our daughter who was living in Cuernavaca at the time. We all met in Acapulco (Aca) and hearing of a quaint seaside village some 50 or so miles southeast of Aca, we decided to go there for a day or two and camp on the beach (a common practice in some areas of Mexico). What made the village even more unique was that escaped slaves from the north (Independent Texas and the USA) settled in the area.

That night 2 couples from Mexico City also camped by us on the beach. We got into conversation (they spoke excellent English as do many upper class Mexicans): and I can still quote the young man because his words were said with such assuredness: ‘Once you are born into poverty you are destined to die in poverty… never rising above your station’
. I accepted his words as fact, basically believing in the difficulty of bettering yourself in a developing or third world country.

Paraguay, 1997 : The family was on the move again, this time visiting our exchange students in Brazil and Paraguay. When we got to Violeta’s city Colonel Oviedo, Paraguay in the middle of the main street was a big sign ‘Welcome Home Violeta’. There were other signs we took note of… like ‘Mendoza for Governor’ but they were not near as impressive as Violeta’s. Yes, Violeta’s father was running for Governor of the State of Caaguazú. It was a great week that we spent in Violeta’s home town and the two days in Asuncion.

We asked Armando (Violeta’s Father) about his childhood because he took us to the tenant farm where he was born and raised. He now owns it and many other farms in the area. He is a lawyer and has many brothers and sisters… all doctors, lawyers, engineers and successful businessmen. His father was a tenant farmer sharing his meager earnings with the landowner. I asked Armando how all his siblings became successful. He answered and I paraphrase: ‘I had a very mean mother. She made us all study and work very hard at our academics’.

Just the year before I was told that upward mobility was not possible… Is Armando Mendoza’s family an exception to the rule or is success possible even though you are ‘born into poverty’.

Ecuador, 2006 : On the move again… but only Gail and I for this visit, as we spent time with four of our former exchange students and their families. This time we were in Brazil, Peru, Chile and lastly Ecuador to visit with Juanito Montalvo in his home town of Portoviejo. It was almost a déjà vu experience; meeting with his father, Juan and mother Mayra and talking about their life experiences.

Juan is a brain surgeon and his wife is a pediatric surgeon. Mayra, President of her Rotary Club when we visited, has her own hospital. It is located in a building of a fellow Rotarian. All the equipment and supplies in the hospital have been donated. Mayra does not draw a salary but performs operations on children whose families are too poor to pay for the care she gives, correcting birth deformities and broken bones. There is no charge to her patients or their families. Juan cannot afford to that altruistic. Someone in the family has to make money!

Juan and Mayra met at University, both of them struggling students because their parents were poor and were unable to help them financially. They were working hard to make ends meet while raising large families.

Today Juan’s and Mayra’s siblings are all doctors, lawyers, engineers and successful businessmen. I asked them why they were all successful considering that they were raised poor. I have a feeling you already know the answer… yes, they both had very determined mothers who made all their children work hard and excel at school.

Why RCI : because there is a way out of poverty. If born into it you can rise above your station. The answer is discipline, education and a strong supportive family. Our mission is not only to provide the materials that go into resource centers… but to also install a feeling of pride and enthusiasm for learning not only in the students, but also their teachers, parents and communities.

Donations

Educational Equipment and Materials

Item Donor Expeditor Rotary Club of
Toys and games Gail Odneal Sylvania
Infant clothes & Toys Lynne Lohner Gail Odneal Sylvania
Chairs Lourdes University Rachel Kerlin/David Best Sylvania
Games, Toys, Puzzles Natasha Romanova Mel Honig Sylvania
Computers N2Y David Clark Huron

Monetary

Chris Vogel (Perrysburg Rotary) – $200.00

Presentations

Rotary Clubs of

  • Sylvania
  • Port Clinton