COMING TOGETHER TO DO GREAT GOOD – the 2014 RCI Mission to Belize

By Amber Fisher

Having returned 10 days ago from the seventh mission of Resource Centers International (RCI) to provide much needed educational materials for primary school students in Belize, I have had time to reflect upon the enormity of the selfless sharing of talent and resources that underpinned the success of the project, and the potential of what was done to pay big ‘quality of life’ dividends well into the future. Continue reading

News for April 2014

Belize Mission 7 March 14 – 23, 2014

Three Rotarians and one future Rotarian ventured to Belize to set up 13 Resource Centers in schools and also donated educational equipment and materials to set up a Preschool Learning Center in a building being constructed at the Corozal Junior College. The four Ohioans from District 6600 were joined by two Belizeans, almost 100 Belizean educators and the Rotary Club of Orange Walk.

The mission was only made possible through the generosity and dedication of hundreds of Rotarians and non-Rotarians who live and work in Rotary International District 6600. It was truly a global partnership to assist in sending basic education needs to the Pre and Primary schools of Belize.

The Mission Team from left:  Mel Honig, Project Coordinator, Rotary Club of Sylvania; Amber Fisher, Education Professional, President Elect, Rotary Club of Elyria; Tori Fisher, student; Carmen Carillo, Belize Project Coordinator, Corozal Junior College Lecturer; Byron Sanchez, computer expert; Kent Iler, Computer expert and Rotary Club of Elyria; Franco Carillo, student

The Mission Team from left: Mel Honig, Project Coordinator, Rotary Club of Sylvania; Amber Fisher, Education Professional, President Elect, Rotary Club of Elyria; Tori Fisher, student; Carmen Carillo, Belize Project Coordinator, Corozal Junior College Lecturer; Byron Sanchez, computer expert; Kent Iler, Computer expert and Rotary Club of Elyria; Franco Carillo, student

Continue reading

News for March 2014

Interact Club of Northview High School Conducts Book Drive

Email from Esther Kim, Chair, International Committee, Interact Club of Northview High School conducts book drive for RCI.

Feb 13 at 11:29 AM

Hello!

I hope email finds you warm and comfortable in this cold weather!

My name is Esther Kim, a senior at Northview High School. I am a chairperson of the International Committee of the Northview Interact Club and am emailing you to inform you with updates regarding the book drive for Belize.

With all the snow days, along came many cancelations of our committee meetings; but, on Tuesday, we were able to gather and discuss our upcoming project, the book drive!!

Consistent with last year’s title, we have decided to once again call it “Spread the Love,” going along with Valentine’s Day season theme. This drive will be
continuous for two weeks, starting on the 24th of February (Monday) and ending on the 7th of March (Friday).

Our committee members have come forth and volunteered their time in making poster and flyer designs, in order to spread the word as much as possible.

In order to effectively carry this out, we have decided to place boxes in each English classroom for each period, which means we will need a total of 42 boxes. This is one thing we are unsure of–whether we would have enough number of boxes. As of today, I have counted a total of 30 boxes and there sure will be more to come. However, I was wondering if there is a specific type of box we need for this drive. Also, if you do happen to have any boxes to contribute to our drive, would you please lend us a hand?

I have decided to call another meeting with the committee, but not until the end of the drive. There will be, however, unofficial “meetings” during which we will hang posters and flyers around the school.

Thank you so much for your time and support!!
Have a great day,

Esther Kim

Labels placed on boxes

Labels placed on boxes

Preparing the boxes that would be placed in English classrooms

Preparing the boxes that would be placed in English classrooms

Distribution time

Distribution time

Belize Mission Updates

The Belize Mission Team has added another member. Brenton Gongorra, a teacher at Pomona Primary School (Stann Creek District), will be working with us on our mission in Orange Walk District. We met Brenton during Mission 5 when we were working in Stann Creek District. Brenton is passionate about improving educational opportunities for the youth of Belize and we are hopeful that he will help us on future missions to the southeast Districts of Belize.

Students at the Pomona Primary School… behind is their school garden

Students at the Pomona Primary School… behind is their school garden

The Belize container is on its way

After several cancellations due to the weather RCI finally got the container loaded with the help of Tim Ryan Jr., Gary Davis and Mel Honig.

Loading was relatively easy because we palletized as much as possible.

Loading was relatively easy because we palletized as much as possible.

By planning ahead... everything fit neatly in the container.

By planning ahead… everything fit neatly in the container.

Tim and Gary load the last few items by hand.

Tim and Gary load the last few items by hand.

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Our driver (from Belarus) closes and seals the doors. Yes, it snowed the day we loaded, but time was running out and we had a boat to catch. We were very appreciative of the trucking company that made a special effort on our behalf and once again to our broker, BKA, that did an outstanding job.

Donations and Expenditures

Educational Equipment and Materials

Item Donor Expeditor Rotary Club of
Books/VHS Tapes St. Wendelin HS Lindsey Weaver* Fostoria
Shelving Stevens Shipping David Best Sylvania

*Lindsey Weaver is a St Wendelin Senior who is planning to go to Case Western next year studying pre-medicine. She attended a Rotary Club of Fostoria meeting when Mel Honig was the presenter. St Wendelin does not have an Interact Club, so Lindsey took it upon herself to collect a box full of video tapes and about 30 world maps.

Financial

Donor Amount
Your Club’s contribution could be here next month!

Purchases for Belize Mission

Item Supplier Cost
Computer Tool Kit Amazon $41.53

Presentations

  • Rotary Club of Ottawa Glandorf
  • Rotary Club of Bellevue

We have a continual need for computer systems and children’s books. The only thing that is keeping us from doing more is obtaining enough of these two items.

Mel Honig, Newsletter Editor

News for January/February 2014

News from Belize

It is always very gratifying when we get volunteer help in the countries we are working in. The following is a compilation of two emails I received from Byron Sanchez about joining our March Mission Team.

Read your e-mail Mr. Mel I am willing to take that challenge as a computer Technician here in Belize.

Everything is fine down here in Alta Vista, Finish my Associates but still paying off the school little by little, still looking for a job, but decide to help you guys with Computer which I love the most.

-Byron

Mission 7 to Belize

Meet the Mission Team

The Mission Team to Belize is set; and it is an all Rotarian Team as the Rotary Club of Elyria has stepped up and provided us with the Professionals we need to get the job done. Also part of the team will be two Belizeans who will also be donating their time and efforts to help provide better education opportunities to the children of Belize. The Mission Team will leave for Belize on March 14, 2014 and return on March 23, 2014.

The Team Members are: Kent Iler and Amber Fisher, both Elyria Rotarians are first time missioners for RCI. Both Kent and Amber have had years of international experience, either living or doing mission work in third world countries. Mel Honig, Sylvania Rotarian will once again go as Mission Coordinator.

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Amber is the Superintendent of the Lorain County Board of Developmental Disabilities that runs the Early Intervention Program for children with developmental delays, a preschool, and a school for students with disabilities who are referred by local school districts. The program also operates vocational and residential programs for adults with developmental disabilities.

Amber is a Director on the Board of the Rotary Club of Elyria. She is the Club President Designate for Rotary Year 2016 – 2017 and also a Paul Harris Fellow.

Victoria, Amber’s daughter, will also be a missioner on the trip. She is in 9
th Grade at the Lake Ridge Academy in North Ridgeville, Ohio. She has an interest in teaching and working with children. During the mission Amber and Victoria will be working with community members on how to obtain the most use out of the equipment we are sending to Belize.

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Kent has only been a Rotarian at the Rotary Club of Elyria for a few years. Kent, graduating in Computer Engineering donates computer support to his church, the First Baptist Church and First Baptist Christian School in Elyria. He also donates computer support for Faith Baptist Community Center in Cleveland, Ohio. FBCC provides free medical services, dental services, pregnancy testing and care, hot meals, clothing, adult and childrens programs and much more for those that need help.

Kent will be very busy during the mission, not only setting up the computers, but also installing the required electricity. He earned his degree in Computer Engineering at Kansas State… moved to Colorado creating websites for the ski resorts. In 1994 he started Iler Networking & Computing, and subsequently moved back to Ohio with his wife and daughter in 1998. Kent has added 5 more children to the family since moving back to Ohio.

The Belize Team consists of Eleanor Carillo and Byron Sanchez and the Rotary Club of Orange Walk.

Eleanor who formerly worked as the Orange Walk District Preschool Education Officer is now teaching at the Corozal Junior College. She has selected the schools that we have worked with in the past in Orange Walk District and with this upcoming mission she once again has chosen the schools we will be working with, six in Corozal District and the remainder in Orange Walk District. Eleanor also accompanies us on all our visits to the schools insuring that each school becomes an active participant in the project.

Byron is from the small community of Alta Vista in Stann Creek District. Their community does not even qualify to have a primary school so they attend school at the neighboring community of Pomona. During Mission 5 we established Resource Centers in each of these communities. Byron helped us to set up computers at Alta Vista and keep them operating. We greatly anticipate his help on this mission as there will be a lot to do in setting up Resource Centers in 15 schools in one week.

Jamaica Mission Opportunities

In fiscal year 2014-2015 two missions are going to Jamaica to set up Resource Centers in 40 or more schools and also to help support the Women’s Centres of Jamaica. To accomplish this, the Rotary Club of Maumee is applying for a Vocational Training Team (VTT) Global Grant. The budget for the mission will be approximately $40,000. The two largest expenses are for transportation of the donated equipment from our warehouse in Findlay to Savanna-La-Mar, Jamaica and the expenses of the VTT.
The VTT Global Grant will pay for all expenses of the team members. Each mission team will be composed of a minimum of a team leader, two computers experts and two preschool education experts. To be eligible to participate team members must have two years experience in their field of expertise.
To date te following team members are committed to going on at least one of the missions:

Team Member Expertise Mission Experience
Mel Honig Team Leader 7 Missions
Justin Kendall Computer Expert 4 Missions
Elana Honig Preschool Education 4 Missions
Stephanie White Outdoor Education Owner; Gopher Adventures

We still need preschool educators and computer professionals to fill out the team. As there are two missions we would like to have 4 educators and 4 Computer Experts. The first mission to Jamaica will be late August 2014. The second mission will probably be early March 2015. If you would like to be a team leader and become more actively involved in Resource Centers International we welcome your interest. RCI needs more Rotarians to work to improve basic education on a day to day basis.

If you would like to be part of the Vocational Training Team please contact Mel Honig at:
gailmel75@yahoo.com
or Do Nguyen at:
nguyenkhacdo@yahoo.com
.

Donations and Expenditures

Educational Equipment and Materials

Item Donor Expeditor Rotary Club of
Books Toledo FOL Margi Levy/Mel Honig Sylvania
Truck load of Books Books-4-Buddies Laneta Goings/John Fedderke Toledo
Books Bucyrus FOL Alan Basinger Bucyrus
Monitors Iler Networking Kent Iler Elyria
Books, computers Oregon/Northwood Pat Bidwell Oregon/Northwood
Books/Games/Toys Brookside HS Interact Club Gina Eschke Avon/Avon Lake
Computers/Inkjets Nemsys Blake Underwood/H. Bolanis Toledo
Computer Andrew Timothy Andrew Timothy Sylvania

Financial

Donor Amount
Juarez Family $1000.00
Home Depot (Toledo) 50.00 (Store Credit)
District Simplified Grant 6000.00
MESA Shipping Grant 1000.00
Rotary Club of Avon/Avon Lake 60.00

Purchases for Belize Mission

Item Supplier Cost
Exercise Flooring (at cost) Sam’s Club $843.96
10 Boxes of Books Toledo Friends of the Library 100.00
Electrical Supplies Home Depot 174.47
Ink Jet Printer Amazon 127.74
Teachers Supplies Dollar Tree 135.00

We have a continual need for computer systems and children’s books. The only thing that is keeping us from doing more is obtaining enough of these two items.

News for December 2013

News from District 6600

The Rotary Club of Maumee will be sponsoring the Global Grant for the next fiscal year’s missions to Jamaica. The Grant will cover two missions when a minimum of 40 preschools in Westmoreland Province will receive resource center equipment. The missions will also provide support to the Women’s Centre in Savanna-La-Mar as well as local libraries and community centers.

The Rotary Club of Savanna-La-Mar (RI District 7020) will have overall operational control of the project. Also participating in the project in Jamaica will be the Rotary Club of Negril. In District 6600, the Rotary Clubs of Elyria, Sylvania and Reynolds Corners are also participating partners with the Rotary Club of Maumee. If you or your organization would like to actively participate in the mission please contact Mel Honig; email: gailmel75@yahoo.com or Do Nguyen: email nguyenkhacdo@yahoo.com; and in Jamaica Dr. Hilda Hibbert; email: hmhibbert@yahoo.com.

Mission 7 to Belize

Mission 7 to Belize is on schedule. Currently all the educational equipment and supplies are being staged at the Findlay warehouse for shipment in late January. Mission dates are March 15 through March 28, 2014 when RCI will be opening at least 14 resource centers in primary schools in the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts of Belize and another center in honor of Father Bob Haas in Bullet Tree Falls, Cayo District.

This is an opportunity to participate in a mission. We need computer experts with electrical skills and early childhood educators to help up make this mission a success. If interested please contact Project Coordinator: Mel Honig; email: gailmel75@yahoo.com.

Donations: Educational Equipment and Materials

Item Donor Expeditor Rotary Club of
Computer Sue Hunt Jim Hunt Elyria
Toys Natasha Romanova Mel Honig Sylvania
Computer Towers Cleveland Construction David Honig Sylvania
RCI Brochures* Longmeier Press Mike Frueh Lima

*Please check out the updated brochure here, printed by the Longmeier Press at no cost to RCI.

We have a continual need for computer systems and children’s books. The only thing that is keeping us from doing more are these two items.

Donations: Monetary

Donor Amount
Rotary Club of Elyria $700.00
Paul Capelle, Rotary Club of Willard 18.00

Presentations

Rotary Clubs of

  • Elyria
  • Willard

News For November 2013

News from Belize

In June of this year the Rotary Club of Galion donated $550 to Resource Centers International to honor the lifelong work of Father Bob Haas. They requested that RCI open a resource center in Father Bob’s name. Soon after this request was made Father Bob became ill and succumbed after a valiant fight. Bullet Tree Falls is just one of the many communities that Father Bob worked in while supporting the school systems of Belize. Araceli Garcia wrote the email below. She is one of the many hearts that Father Bob has touched. Her email is in response to our request to support the founding of a Resource Center in Father Bob’s name.

Father Bob, seated in front taking missioners to Belize; doing good in the world

Father Bob, seated in front taking missioners to Belize; doing good in the world

We'll all miss you Fr. Bob!

We’ll all miss you Fr. Bob!

Email from Araceli Garcia, Teacher, Bullet Tree R.C. School, Cayo District, Belize

Hi Mr. Mel,

It’s a great thing to do especially when it is in memory of Fr. Haas. He has a special place in our hearts here at Bullet Tree R.C. School. We had the pleasure of working with him here and in Ohio. He was a dear friend especially to me. I would be more than honored to work with your team.

Having a resource room for our school has always been a dream. I have some students who will be staying back after classes who are in dear need of assistance especially when it comes to reading. In addition I am held responsible for past students who have obtained scholarships from a friend of mine. I am of the idea of having a brother/sister program. They will assist these children with their reading, math and science. In this way they will be contributing to the development of our children’s education and life. By the way the preschool is next to my classroom. Presently we do not have a room assigned for this new venture.

Of course Mr. Mel I would absolutely welcome such resource center. All in all I will be at your disposal if you need my assistance.

-Araceli Garcia

Jamaica 2014 – 2015

Two missions are planned for Jamaica in fiscal year 2014-15, one is late August and the other in mid winter. The process of planning for a mission involves a great deal of planning and preparation. In Jamaica we have already secured commitments from the Rotary Clubs of Savanna-La-Mar and Negril to support the opening 40 or more resource centers in pre-schools, schools and community centers in the western part of the island of Jamaica. Here in the States we have already been collecting equipment and supplies, and initiated funding and support from the Rotary Clubs of District 6600.

The major issue right now is obtaining a Global Grant to help fund the mission The budget is estimated at $33,000, meaning only approximately $9000 in club money will be needed to fund the two missions. In order to obtain a Global Grant we will need to have a District 6600 Rotary Club step up and sponsor the mission to Jamaica. This is an opportunity for club to take a major role in supporting an International Mission.

Donations and Purchases: Educational Equipment and Materials

Item Donor Expeditor Rotary Club of…
Games & Toys St David’s Church Elana Juarez & Mel Honig Sylvania
Infant Clothing Litza Lee Mel Honig Sylvania
Books Books-4-Buddies Laneta Goings Toledo
Computers Nemsys Blake Underwood Toledo
Books F.O.L. Margie Levy Sylvania

Purchased at auction from Bowling Green City Schools: tables, overhead projectors, video carts, etc

Donations: Monetary

Rotary Club of Fostoria:  $61.09 (Fundraiser at Max & Irma’s)

Presentations

Rotary Clubs of

  • Avon/Avon Lake
  • Norwalk
  • Rotaract Club of Owens Community College, Findlay Campus

The Philadelphia Connection

Elana Honig, who lives in the Philadelphia area, has gone on 4 missions to Belize and one fact finding mission to Honduras. She has tirelessly worked to further the RCI mission. The following two stories are two important ways she has given support to RCI by connecting us with partnering agencies in the Philadelphia area.

The Historic St David’s Episcopal Church Donates to RCI for Third Year

The St. David’s Episcopal Church Fair has the longest running church fair in the nation, 162 years and counting. For the third consecutive year it has donated all unsold games, toys and sporting goods to RCI. Each donation was significant; filling 4 gaylords (4′ x 4′ x 4′ container).

Inside the toy tent, one of many venues at the Fair Packed from front seat to tailgate!

Inside the toy tent, one of many venues at the Fair

Packed from front seat to tailgate!

Packed from front seat to tailgate!

 

The following excerpts from their website help tell a part of the story of the history of the church and its participation in the growth of our country.

Toward the close of the seventeenth century a hardy group of Welsh colonists settled in an area which became known as Radnor. In 1704 a 100-signature petition for Welsh prayer books and a Bible, but more particularly for a Welsh-speaking missionary, was dispatched to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in London. Ten years later, in return for this long-awaited recognition, the settlers “heartily engaged themselves to build a handsome stone church,” to be named after the Patron Saint of Wales. The cornerstone was laid on May 9, 1715.

With the coming of the Revolution in the colonies, a rapidly swelling wave of resentment against the Church of England arose among the patriots of the congregation. A leader of this opposition was Anthony Wayne , later appointed major general of the American forces, who is buried in St. David’s historic churchyard. The church building provided shelter for soldiers of both sides.

St. David’s was represented in 1784 at the first General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States. The incorporation and charter of the church followed in August, 1792. Much-needed new life was breathed into St. David’s in 1820 with the organization of the first church school and arrangements for the first confirmation services, conducted by Bishop William White, who was to become the first Presiding Bishop.

The Old Church dates from 1715, and has been in continual use, with exception of a few years during the Revolutionary war. The Church is the subject of Henry Wordsworth Longfellow’s 1880 poem. St. David’s graveyard has been a peaceful resting place and memorial site for nearly 300 years.

If you would like additional information about this historic church please click on their website: http://www.stdavidschurch.org/.

High School Advanced Programming Student Developing Software for RCI

Advanced programming students (juniors and seniors) from the Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia are designing academic applications for RCI in their advanced programming class. Currently computers are being sent to Belize and Jamaica loaded with business software. What has been sorely lacking are educational programs directed at preschool age children. Under the supervision of their professor, Matt Zippin, the students are resolving this shortcoming by designing educational games that will be downloaded onto computers that are already in Jamaica and Belize and all new ones sent down in the future.

The Germantown Friends School is a private institution, grades K through 12, that prides itself on its ethnic diversity and academic achievement. Founded in 1845 is currently has 861 students and 110 faculty members, 85 of whom are full-time. Thirty one percent (31%) of the student body is of ‘color’, 100% go onto a 4 year college, and in the last two years, 20 students were National Merit Semifinalists (approximately one in eight students taking the test). The Germantown Friends School also supports a nursery/preschool with children attending from infancy through the age of 5.

If you would like additional information about this innovative school please access their website: http://www.germantownfriends.org/

News for October 2013

News from Jamaica

The Staff and students of Savanna La Mar Infant School would like to express their profound gratitude to the Rotary International Community for their generous donation of computers, books, television and educational
toys. These gifts will enable our students to develop to their maximum potential at the early childhood level.
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!
God bless you,

Janet Reynolds – Principal


Dear Mel,

As the new school year approaches we are trying to complete our computer lab. Again we want to thank you and your team for making our dream a reality. Any assistance that is needed from Robert is no problem, just send and tell us when and where. We wish you and the organization all the best, as we continue to look forward to future partnership.

-Shenee

Editor’s note: The above email is in response to a request by RCI asking Robert Swaby (Shenee’s son) for help in setting up computers once school reopened this past month.

Donations: Educational Equipment and Materials

Item Donor Expeditor Rotary Club of
TVs Gabor Dariel Jacobs Sylvania
Books in Spanish Southview HS Lori Ignasiak/Mel Honig Sylvania
Air Conditioners/TVs, VHS tapes, video stands & overhead projectors Lourdes University Rachel Kerlin/Mel Honig Sylvania
Books Books 4 Buddies Laneta Goings/John Fedderke Toledo
Sports Equipment The Believe Center Tanya Duran/Mel Honig Sylvania
Books Fremont Rotary Kathy Stearns Fremont

Donations: Monitary

Donor (Rotary Club of…) Amount
Oregon-Northwood $350.00
North Baltimore $350.00
Reynolds Corners $700.00

Presentations

Presidents’ Councils

  • Areas 11, 12 & 13
  • Areas 14 & 15

Rotary Clubs of…

  • Oregon
  • Fostoria
  • Marion
  • North Baltimore

Partnering with Books 4 Buddies

Below is an email from Laneta Goings, Jefferson Award Winner and Co-founder and President of Books 4 Buddies, to John Fedderke, Rotary Club of Toledo Rotarian. The email updates him on their recent work to improve literacy in Toledo and throughout the world. Please check out their Books-4-Buddies website: books4buddiestoledo.com

John,
As we zigzag across our economically challenged and under-served neighborhoods, Books 4 Buddies, book ambassadors, have been met over and over with excitement from kids to parents to teachers as books are given away. On the faces of kids and adults alike, are smiles, joy, excitement and laughter. Recently, one child said, he was so happy to get our books because the few that were available to him had been read over and over again.
Last year, our inaugural year, thousands of books were given to kids, agencies, kids attending camps, churches and numerous local non-profits. In a spirit of education for global responsibility, several thousand books were given to the Rotarian’s for their International educational initiative.
The partnership between Rotarians and Books 4 Buddies literary campaign is powerful and mutually beneficial as we share resources to support and uplift others.
Once again, within the next few days, thousands of books will be given to the Mel Honig and Rotarian’s for distribution.
On behalf of Books 4 Buddies, we look forward to a long-lasting relationship.

Best regards, Laneta Goings, President/Co-Founder.

 

Learning from Other Countries: The Women’s Centre Of Jamaica Foundation

During RCI’s June mission to Jamaica one of the sites we supported was the Women’s Center on the outskirts of Savanna-La-Mar.  The original concept: ‘The Programme for Adolescent Mothers’ was started in January 1978.  Since then the original site in Kingston has expanded to 7 main Centres and 8 Outreach Stations with the mission to provide academic instruction, counseling, skill training, family planning and parenting skills.  It is now know by the name Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) and operates as a Limited Liability Company.

Paraphrasing the mission of the WCJF, this program tries to mitigate the problems of teen pregnancy with support for the teen parents (both mother and father) through continued education, counseling and sanctuary for mother and child.  The end aim is to have young parents become responsible and productive members of society and insure the safety and well being of their child.

The Rotary Club of Savanna-La-Mar has asked us to provide support to the WCJF, especially the mothers who don’t have the resources to cloth their infants.  The picture below was taken when I visited the Women’s Centre in June.

Everything is clean and neat but what are lacking are objects for the children to see and feel.  RCI will be collecting infant toys and clothing so that these children can progress in a stimulating environment: more later!

Everything is clean and neat but what are lacking are objects for the children to see and feel. RCI will be collecting infant toys and clothing so that these children can progress in a stimulating environment: more later!

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Robert Swaby helping set up some of the equipment donated to the Women’s Centre.

Robert Swaby helping set up some of the equipment donated to the Women’s Centre.

News for August/September 2013

News from Jamaica

This is a dream come through, for years we have prayed for York Hill ECI to be blessed with computers. Thanks to you for taking up this challenge to give computers, especially to the early childhood institutions. The staff of this institution expresses our gratitude for the gift of five computers, tables, chairs and other goodies. We promise to use them to enhance and motivate the students in the school and those in the wider community. Keep up the good work, God bless you.

Staff members: Rosetta Drummond, Joan Beadle, Feonia Bentley and Pauline Bennett

The Sterling ECI would like to express their profound gratitude to the Rotary International community for the valuable gifts donated to us. These gifts will be of great assistance to the school. We will be able to expand and build on our students’ development with these resources, in such a way that they will enjoy. The courtesies extended are highly appreciated and well look forward to your continued support.

Yours Truly,
Angela Williams-Dookie -(Principal)

News from Belize

Good day Mr. Mel,
I am happy hearing from you again. Well feel free to contact me when you come back to Belize in December. I will to assist you Mr. Mel. Right now the resource center is closed but as soon school opens, it will be in used again and the school children will have good use of it. Once more I am happy with the resource center you granted to our school.

Roberto Bobadillo – Village Chairman (Trinidad)

Making the Most of Each RCI Computer Donation

When RCI gets donated computers we go through a process that insures that each one sent is in working order at its final destination. We wipe the hard drive and then load it with business software and music. We check out each computer before it leaves our warehouse and at its final destination. For the past several months we have been trying to obtain free educational software to load onto each computer to better serve the communities we are supporting.

Can you help?
We need an individual, or a group to write a learning software package for children from age 2 to 8. This could be a great project for a class or an individual looking for a Masters project in early education. We will load all of our computers with the software the donated computers can be used to greatest advantage. Please contact Mel Honig; gailmel75@yahoo.com if interested in this project.

Donations

Item Donor Expeditor Rotary Club
Wood for shelving University of Toledo Terri Miller/David Best Sylvania
Computers SSOE Glen Blohm/Andrew Timothy Sylvania
Computer & Printer Jim Hunt Jim Hunt Elyria Noon
Tables & Chairs Lourdes University Rachel Kerlin/David Best Sylvania
Books Bucyrus Friends of Library Alan Basinger Bucyrus
Television Jerry Peacock Jerry Peacock Waterville
Books Toledo Friends of Library Marcy Levy/Mel Honig Sylvania
Computers Jeff Normand Chris Vogel Perrysburg

Funding Donations

Donor Amount
Rotary Club of Archbold $200.00
Oak Harbor 350.00
Bellevue 350.00
Perrysburg 1000.00
Sylvania 500.00
Private Individuals
Juarez Family $500.00

Purchases

Item Vendor Amount
Books Friends of the Library $140.00

Presentations

Presidents’ Councils

  • Metropolitan Toledo
  • Area 5 & 6

Rotary Clubs of

  • Bucyrus
  • Reynolds Corners
  • Oak Harbor
  • Sylvania

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Mel Honig, Project Coordinator, gave a presentation at the Rotary Club of Bucyrus in early August. Trying to get as many Rotarians involved as possible presentations are not only given to Rotary Clubs, but also Interact Clubs and Presidents Councils. On the screen is shown a picture of our team and Orange Walk Rotarians during our last mission to Belize in December 2012. For our next mission we will return to Orange Walk to continue the work we started last year.


The Year Ahead

Originally it was planned to have two missions in fiscal year 2013-2014; one in December (Belize) and a second in March (Jamaica). This has been scaled back to one in March because we cannot get enough computers or children’s books to fulfill the goals of each mission. Thus the December mission has been moved to March, with RCI planning to do two missions to Jamaica in fiscal year 2014-2015; one in September 2014 and a second during winter 2015.

Our need for computers and books is never ending and significant. To help meet the need for books we will be contacting the Interact Clubs of District 6600 and asking them to conduct drives to obtain educational books, games, toys, VHS tapes and sporting equipment. The Interact Clubs of Brookside (Avon/Avon Lake) Northview and Southview (Sylvania) and Edison High Schools (Milan) have conducted drives in the past and these have been most helpful in having educational materials sent to the schools and communities of Belize and Jamaica.

 

Shown are some of the items collected by the Edison High School Interact Club last spring.  We need continued support from Interact Clubs to meet our goals.

Shown are some of the items collected by the Edison High School Interact Club last spring. We need continued support from Interact Clubs to meet our goals.

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Computers continue to be a commodity that we need. If you know of a source where we can obtain computers we will gladly pick them up. There is also a great need to develop an

Educational software package, something that is extremely expensive to purchase. We have been looking for an individual, or institution willing to develop a basic educational software package(s) for preschoolers up to grade 3.

We need the continued help of District Rotarians to help fill these important needs. If you know of the possibility of available computers or know someone who can help develop a software package please contact the RCI Project Coordinator, Mel Honig: gailmel75@yahoo.com or phone 419.843.4459.

Our budget, along with additional information about the work of RCI can be found at our website:
http://resourcecentersinternational.org/
.

This year’s budget represents one mission and partial costs related to the two missions we are planning for Jamaica in fiscal year 2014-2015.

Budget: 2013-2014

Expenses*
Shipping $7,000.00
Transportation in Belize 1,000.00
Books and VHS Tapes 600.00
Flooring 800.00
Tables & misc furniture 300.00
Televisions & VHS machines 100.00
Games and toys 200.00
Upgrading centers 500.00
Computers 2,000.00
Program maintenance (Supplies/gasoline for MESA Truck) 600.00
Expense Total $13,100.00*
Funding Sources
District 6600 Rotary Clubs $7,000.00
District Grant 4,000.00
Private Donations 2,000.00
MESA (Shipping Donation) 1,000.00
Funding Total $14,000.00**

*Includes costs for Jamaica missions

News for July 2013

News from Jamaica

The following email expresses the sentiments and words passed onto me by the Principals of all the schools and centers we supported.

Dear Mel,

We the staff of Sterling ECI want to take this opportunity to say a BIG THANK YOU for your timely and well needed donation of six computers.

We assure you that we will use them to enhance the learning process of the children here and we are sure that they will make learning enjoyable.

May God continue to richly enhance you and the staff of Resource Centers International as we look forward to your continued support.

Sincerely yours

Verol McNeil

C/o Sterling ECI

Please read Suzanne Saunders’ Report at the end of the Mission story on the condition of preschool education in Jamaica.

Donations of Equipment and Supplies

Item Donor Facilitator
Computers Electronic Concepts & Engineering Bill Hoyt
Shelving, Tables, TVs, VCRs, Video Carts, Overhead Projectors,Chairs University of Toledo Terri Miller

Monetary Donations & Grants

District Governor Robert Vincent Rotary Club of Bowling Green
Heinrich Family Foundation Rotary Club of St Marys*
District Simplified GrantDistrict 6600 $3000.00

*This is the third year in a row that the Heinrich Family Foundation has generously donated funds in support of the RCI mission.

Purchases

Item Vendor Cost
Tables, TVs, VCRs, Shelving Hopewell School At Auction – $135.00

MISSION 1, JAMAICA

In Pictures

This past week Resource Center International completed its first mission to Jamaica. The original plan was to provide educational equipment to 15 schools, but by the time the mission concluded we supported 20 schools, one community center, a Women’s Center with plans to support a Resource Center. Please follow the photo gallery below as the story of Mission 1 unfolds.

Jul.13 Newsletter_html_1a3c9237

The container arrives….

Jul.13 Newsletter_html_m5bbd2813The Rotary Club of Savanna-La-Mar weekly meeting coincided with the night the container arrived. Everyone pitched in to help unload the items that were not palletized. Once the loose articles were unloaded we used a fork lift to get out the remainder of the load. Everything arrived without any damage. Now… how many clubs would have a container unloading as their Rotary meeting??? Magnificent support from the ‘Sav Club’!

Jul.13 Newsletter_html_m52cd6b8dWorking into the night to get the job done: Everything was stored at RAD Industries, owned by President Elect Robbie Robinson. Robbie and President Dionne Meyler- Reid also opened their houses to the mission team when appropriate accommodations could not be found.

Jul.13 Newsletter_html_489f40a9All the schools were called the night the container was unloaded and the following morning (amid much chaos) 20 of the 23 sites picked up their allocation of computers, books, tables, chairs, games and toys.

Jul.13 Newsletter_html_m5f6a3bfcFrom the left is Hilda Hibbert, first year Rotarian and Project Coordinator for the Rotary Club of Savanna-La-Mar; Mel Honig, Project Coordinator for District 6600 and Shenee Swaby, Owner of the Elite Prep School

Jul.13 Newsletter_html_5078ca44Computer expert Elvis Shuneh, Owens Community College student, brings computers to life at the Savanna-La-Mar Infant school.

Jul.13 Newsletter_html_m53ead369Suzanne Saunders, our Preschool Education expert was the Pied Piper of our team. Ms Saunders is earning her second Masters Degree; this one in early childhood education at the Lourdes University.

Jul.13 Newsletter_html_71722172Dan, on left, is the second computer expert on the team and a recent graduate of Owens Community College. Of the 100 computers sent down 98 of them were in working order. Usually the failure rate is 10% and because we had more computers than we thought we were able to help more schools and sites than originally planned.

Jul.13 Newsletter_html_121293f9After our Mission computer engineers went home we still had several more sites to complete and Shenee Swaby lent us her son, Robert (a computer expert) to complete the job. Here he is working at one of the seven Women’s Centers in Jamaica where young mothers can continue their education while their infants are cared for at the facility.

Jul.13 Newsletter_html_ma81403cRotary group picture taken during a going away party for our computer experts at the home of Robbie Robinson…. Dan brought his son Andre along (3rd from left) to share in the learning experience.

Jul.13 Newsletter_html_708462acThe Rotary Club of Savanna-La-Mar normally meets on Tuesday evening at the Commingle Hotel

Jul.13 Newsletter_html_7150c16bExchanging gifts before the return of the lastl two members of the RCI Mission Team

Schools and Centers Supported

SCHOOL PRINCIPAL # STUDENTS
2-5 YEARS OLD
FARQUHARSON ECI* VALERIE LAWRENCE 64
BROUGHTON INFANT** MARVA DAVIS-CLARKE 40
LITTLE LONDON METHODIST BARBARA MEYLER 77
YORK HILL ECI ROSETTA DRUMMOD 62
GORDON’S ECI KEISHA GORDON 84
FROME PREPARATORY*** NICHOLAS WATSON 20
STERLING ECI ANGELLA WILLIAMS DOOKIE 160
CAMP SAVANNAH ECI STEDFORD BENNETT 206
ELITE PREPARATORY SHENEE SWABY 40
KEW PARK INFANT ROSEMARIE DOLLY 30
GALLOWAY ECI NORMA FENTON 127
WATER WORKS ECI EILEEN PENNYCOOKE 40
PETERSFIELD INFANT SUSAN HAMMOND 170
BASTARD****CEDAR WALK ECI UNA VANRIEL 60
TORRINGTON ECI PAULETTE BRAITHWAITE 160
PARADISE PREPARATORY EULINE STREET 100
SAVANNA-LA-MAR INFANT PAULETTE COOTE 400+
LOVING CARE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY KEMAR CHREISTIE 200+
CARING HEARTS ECI CHRISTINE HASTINGS 53
NEW HORIZON PREPARATORY VENET DIXON 120
20 SCHOOLS AND OVER 2200 STUDENTS SERVED
CENTERS
WOMEN’S CENTER PAULETTE HERON VARIES
WESTMORELAND CENTER A MCINTOSH VARIES
SAVANNA-LA-MAR CENTER***** VARIES

*ECI: Early Childhood Institute… a stand-alone school for children 3 to 5

**INFANT: Infant schools are located with Primary Schools

***PREPARATORY: These schools charge tuition and may be ECI or Primary

****BASTARD IS A TREE FOUND IN JAMAICA

*****There were some books, computers, games, toys, and tables still available after everything was distributed. The Rotary Club of Savanna-La-Mar is planning to support the local resource center, but a final decision on how has not yet been made.

Education in Jamaica

By Suzanne Saunders*

A tattered composition notebook dangles for a young child’s hand as the teacher instructs the children to line up for morning devotion. The children file in one after another in their clean pressed uniforms. As I look around this seemingly “shack” of a classroom, I breathe in the scent of the wood tables and floors and notice the almost bare walls, short of a few handmade posters. I watch in astonishment as the children respectfully address their teacher with, “Yes, Miss Swaby” as they single-file walk out of the open-door classroom to their meeting space in the front yard.

Jul.13 Newsletter_html_m6bef7b59Preschoolers learn in traditional style classrooms. Student/teacher ratios vary from school to school.

This place looks nothing like the schools I am familiar with. There isn’t a big gymnasium or cafeteria for the students to hang out in. In fact, most of the classrooms are exposed to the elements with open windows and doors to let the breeze flow in and out. I can’t imagine students can learn in a crowded, loud, almost resource-less classroom. I’ve never seen so many classrooms confined to one building, being separated by only a few chalk boards to act as partitions. It seems near impossible to imagine any form of learning can take place in an environment like this.

I begin to pity these poor children and teachers for their lack of resources and assume that their students must not be proficient in their studies or compare to the academic levels of American children. Suddenly, a tall, lean sixth grader walks out holding a slip of white paper, a smile beaming from one side of his face to the other. “Miss Swaby, look!” he says as he hands her the paper. “Good job!!” she says as she reads the print before her. Upon questioning I find out that this student has received a perfect score on his GSAT tests for Language Arts, Science, and Math and was one point shy of perfect on his Social Studies test. I, then again in my ignorant mind, decide that the test he must have taken cannot possibly be at the level in which our American students are testing at. I asked for a sample of the test to compare my already “known” information. To my surprise, the test is more involved than what our students are exposed to. There are a hundred questions per section to be completed, all at a higher grade level than the student is currently at. I ask why much of the test is at a higher grade level than what the students are at. A teacher, fluent in answering this question, responds with,

“Our belief is that not only do we want our students to be performing at grade level, but we also want them to raise the bar higher for themselves. We want them to take ownership over their education and realize that every conscious decision they make in regards to their education can affect them for their entire lifetime. You see, every child here who has taken the GSAT took the test in hopes to score high enough to get into the high school of their choice. It’s a rewarding and also humbling experience because the children learn what it means to work hard for something and reap the benefits or not put the effort into something and see the outcome as well.”

At this point, I realize, I need to really begin to look at the learning that is taking place and understand that it doesn’t take fancy materials for teachers, who are passionate about teaching, to make learning occur.

Jul.13 Newsletter_html_m7aa5e29cPencil, paper and a dedicated teacher are all that is needed for students to excel.

The most interesting revelation I had during my trip to Jamaica was to finally understand that it does not take the use of hundreds of materials for learning to take place. The teachers of Jamaica have a passion for learning and are able to have their students achieve greatness by simply taking time to work individually with them. I know that as a teacher myself, I always say, “oh, I don’t have time to do that or I don’t want to teach to the test.” It is incredible to see that I have been kidding myself all along. I thought I needed the next best thing or latest gadget to teach my students. The reality of it is that I just needed my brain and the understanding that fundamentals and memory learning can be the building blocks to academic success. The children were more than excited to see new faces in their school and were more than grateful for their computers and resources, many of which, we would consider “old or tarnished.” Seeing how few resources the teachers and students have has made me more determined to collect and send more supplies to them. It is incredible to think of what they could do with the resources we take for granted.

I also learned that success truly can stem from a dedicated and enriching educational background. Whether, the student wants to be a doctor or a coffee farmer, the regimented schedule and problem solving skills students are exposed while in school, set them up for success in their adult lives. The children of Jamaica, I’m sure, don’t always want to wake up bright and early in the morning to go to school. However, they know that school is their “way out” and their chance to make a difference and find upward mobility. It was amazing to see how much the teachers do with how little they have. Students who are in grade 1 were performing learning tasks that we would consider appropriate for third graders. Knowing that teachers can make learning happen with very little resources has once again, fueled my fire for education and encouraged me to realize that it doesn’t always take a fancy cruise-liner to make it across the ocean, sometimes a sailboat can make it, if the wind fills up its sails and the water guides it to its destination. Someone once told me that everyone has a little magic in them; it just sometimes takes an enriching experience to find it. Well, truth be told, I found my magic…in the back of a muggy, loud, worn-down classroom, in the heart of Jamaica.

*Suzanne Saunders came on this Mission to experience the education received by children attending preschool in Jamaica where preschool is universal, free and over 60% of the children attend prior to entering Primary School.

News for June 2013

News From Belize

Silver Creek formerly opened their new computer center this May. During Mission 3, March 2011, Village Chairman Andres Coh told us of his plans to build onto the library a separate addition that was to be their computer center. During Mission three we donated several computers to the community that were placed in the library. The computer center was soon established in their Primary School waiting the construction of the library addition. Congratulations Silver Creek on meeting your goals. Below is a poem written by the Standard I students at the Primary School on proper use of the Computer Lab

C ome to class with clean hands;
O perate equipment carefully;
M anage your time wisely;
P ractice typing at home;
U se inside voices;
T ouch the keyboard lightly;
E at and drink outside the lab;
R emember to ask before printing.

L earn something new each class;
A lways do your best;
B e helpful to your classmates.

Ribbon cutting ceremony at the Computer Lab…  Pictured from left to right is  Principal, Geraldo Baltazar; Committee Secretary, Marvin Coc; Alcalde, Juan Choc and Village Chairman, Andres Coh;  Not pictured but instrumental in setting up the lab is Peace Corps Volunteer Meredith Casper of Akron, Ohio.

Ribbon cutting ceremony at the Computer Lab… Pictured from left to right is
Principal, Geraldo Baltazar; Committee Secretary, Marvin Coc; Alcalde, Juan Choc and Village Chairman, Andres Coh; Not pictured but instrumental in setting up the lab is Peace Corps Volunteer Meredith Casper of Akron, Ohio.

Donations of Equipment and Supplies

Item Donor Facilitator Rotary Club of
Computers Robbin Syrek Robbin Syrek Maumee
Books, Tapes & Games Brookline Labrador Retriever Rescue Elana Honig
Computers Rudolph Libbe Randy DeLuca Toledo
Computers Signature Bank Alison Frye Perrysburg
Books Willard Library Renee Steinmetz Willard*
Books David Walker Sylvania

*3 boxes of books were donated by the Rotary Club of Willard during the book drive at District Conference.  Many other Rotarians made donations (8 boxes in all) and we at RCI greatly appreciate your generosity.

Monetary Donations

MESA Container Shipment Donation $1000.00
MESA Vocational Technical Support $1000.00**
Owens CC Vocational Technical Support 600.00**

** To defray expenses of IT Mission Personnel

Purchases

Friends of the Library 11 Boxes of Books and Video Tapes $110.00

Presentations

District Conference
Rotary Club of Loudonville

Meet the Jamaica Mission Team

The Mission Computer Engineers

june132Dan McCormick is an old RCI pro and is now going on his fourth Mission, the first three to Belize. Dan graduated Summa Cum Laude this May from Owens Community College with a 4.0 GPA. Additionally Dan was the recipient of the Outstanding Student Award, not only for his academic success, but also for his selfless service to the local and world community. He earned an Associate Degree in System Security and Information Assurance. Dan, a father of three, is taking his son eldest son Andre with him to Jamaica. Andre asked to go and Dan felt this would be a great experience for him.

 

june133Elvis Shuneh immigrated to the United States from the Cameroon four years ago with his brother and sister, joining their mother already living in the U.S. Coming here already competent in pc hardware operation, he enrolled in Owens Community College to further his computer skills in Networking and System Security. He has had computer I.T. positions in the Toledo area working for Owens Community College, the Toledo Fair Housing Center and numerous banks carrying out PC/Server Deployment.

The Mission Preschool Educator

Suzanne M. Saunders from Bowling Green, Ohio has always had a passion for learning and sharing knowledge and wanted, from early childhood to be a teacher. While in high school she attended a program known as the Teaching Professions Program where she received the Outstanding Student Award. While in High School she received the Prudential Spirit Award for her dedication to volunteer work. After graduation, Suzanne went to Lourdes University for her undergraduate in Middle Education, Union University online for her first Master’s in Education and returned to Lourdes University for her second Master’s in Teaching and Curriculum.

In early 2003, Suzanne worked with her aunt and a close friend to develop the 501 (c) 3 organization known as The Harambee Project where they sponsored children affected by the AIDS epidemic in Nairobi, Kenya. The sponsorships allowed children to attend school. In 2009, Suzanne worked with a local agency known for serving individuals with Developmental Disabilities, to develop a grant funded training center that served local Toledo teens and young adults with services including job coaching, job placement, financial aid assistance, school entrance assistance, GED tutoring, etc.

Suzanne’s job experience expands from staff training manager to tool & die maker. She likes to consider herself a “Swiss Army Knife.” Suzanne’s biggest goal is make a difference, one person at a time.

Loading the Container: Destination Jamaica

Almost everything is palletized making loading more efficient, compact and with limited or no damage at unloading.

Almost everything is palletized making loading more efficient, compact and with limited or no damage at unloading.

A standard sized container is 40’ long by 8’ wide by 94” high and we use every square inch as shipping is our biggest expense.  Loose items are stacked on top!

A standard sized container is 40’ long by 8’ wide by 94” high and we use every square inch as shipping is our biggest expense. Loose items are stacked on top!

Morisey (Owens Community College student volunteer) is stacking a chair as we continue to load until there is no more available room.

Morisey (Owens Community College student volunteer) is stacking a chair as we continue to load until there is no more available room.

The Loading team from left to right:  Owens CC volunteers Morisey and Pascal Hessou (first and third from left): Rotary Club of Sylvania volunteers Mike Tansey, Baron Black, Bill Miller, and Rotary Club of Baltimore volunteer Gary Davis and his friend Tim.  Not pictured… Mel Honig (Rotary Club of Sylvania and photographer).  This was first time loading for Morisey, but everyone else has helped on more than one occasion.

The Loading team from left to right: Owens CC volunteers Morisey and Pascal Hessou (first and third from left): Rotary Club of Sylvania volunteers Mike Tansey, Baron Black, Bill Miller, and Rotary Club of Baltimore volunteer Gary Davis and his friend Tim. Not pictured… Mel Honig (Rotary Club of Sylvania and photographer). This was first time loading for Morisey, but everyone else has helped on more than one occasion.

Look for our next Newsletter which will highlight our first Mission to Westmoreland Province, Jamaica.  We will be working ‘hand in hand’ with the Rotary Club of Savanna-La-Mar, and their project coordinator Hilda Hibbert.