Next week: We are DARK for our regular Thursday noon meeting, due to the Casino Night event on Saturday, March 7. It should be a festive night, complete with pirate wear!
President John Cottle opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance, and John Porter led us in a rousing rendition of God Bless America.
Visiting Rotarians and Guests: Bill Aims, from the Lafayette Club; Barry Wise, past Mendocino Rotarian (’96-’04) and Past President (’00); Annie Liner; and today’s speaker Chris Skyhawk; LaDonna McDonald, who is NOT a visiting Rotarian! And Sue McKinney, visiting from Oakland Sunrise.
Dean is celebrating his birthday this week.
- Bruce is happy that it’s his 43rd wedding anniversary; they met 47 years ago…
- Dean is happy that Parlin Forks is donating a picnic table, and North Coast Brewing Co is donating $100 for Casino Night!
- Jeffry is verrrryyy happy that his 8th and 9th grandchildren were born at 4am today! Congrats!!
- Pete is happy that Casino Night raffle prizes are so abundant! Also, he’s happy to have celebrated his 42nd wedding anniversary 2 days ago.
- LaDonna is happy that she’s here and Rick’s in Hawaii!
- John P. is happy that he and Janis celebrated their 30th anniversary the week of Feb 17.
- Susan is happy she had 7.5 weeks in Africa, the best vacation of her life!!
- Lindsay is happy to report that she also had a great vacation, in Amsterdam!
- John C. is happy for great attendance today. He’s also happy for great participation for Casino Night.
Wilma will be back soon. Jerry had a second surgery, and is now back in MCDH, and may be going home tomorrow. Chatter is home and feeling better. Julie M will be having knee surgery soon at Stanford. Keep her in your thoughts!
Soroptimist’s Bingo Bash is this Saturday; it’s sold out, and we’re helping with volunteer services.
Next Saturday night, March 7, is our major fundraiser, Casino Night. We still need donations of money or wine for $25 for the “Cork Pull” event. Guests pay $20 for a cork, and at the end of the event, they get a bottle of wine valued at least $25.
Our annual Golf Tournament will be August 22 — Kira says mark your calendars now!!
Youth Services at Mendocino High School is looking forward to its Leadership conference at the end of March. Some MHS students will volunteer at Casino Night. Donna also has a few dictionaries for sale….
The Rotary Foundation is meeting on Monday, 3/2/15, at noon at the Mendocino Hotel.
We will be reinstating the $5 fine for missed meetings. This is to encourage attendance and/or make-up meetings, and to raise money for the Club’s administrative fund.
Harold played Finemaster before introducing today’s speaker, Chris Skyhawk from the Mendocino Coast Children’s Fund (MCCF), and we learned the following facts:
- MCCF serves the school districts of Fort Bragg, Mendocino, Pt. Arena, and Manchester.
- MCCF has provided emergency funds to 20 schools within these 4 districts.
- The average cost to a family to take a sick child out of town for medical services is about $1200 (includes lost wages, hotel expenses, etc.).
- 65% of school children in the Fort Bragg school district qualify for reduced and free school lunches.
- A week’s scholarship to Camp Mendocino (between Fort Bragg and Willits on the Skunk Railroad) has been given to 42 kids in the last year.
- MCCF provided 315 sleeping bags to kids and their families in 2014.
Chris Skyhawk is a 20-year member of our community, and has been active in Albion FD, and now is working with Mendocino Coast Children’s Fund. Chris is serving as MCCF’s Community Coordinator. He has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from NY. He has 3 kids, one of whom is grown and lives on the east coast, and 2 6-year-old girls in 1st grade.
He met Annie Liner of MCCF about a year ago at a League of Women Voters event (where the community can meet and mingle with local elected officials), and she asked him if he’d like to work for MCCF. He started full time in August. A generous donation has allowed MCCF to have this paid staff position.
About 24% of children in CA are living below the poverty level. Adjusted for cost of living, CA in #1 in the country for high poverty levels. We are the 3rd poorest county in the state, for the number of children living in poverty.
The effects of poverty on children are many and have long-term impacts. MCCF attempts to overcome these neurological shortcomings by showing acts of kindness. The childhood rates of poverty in CA have not gotten better with the economic recovery.
MCCF has two kinds of programs. First are what they call “urgency programs:” food assistance, sleeping bags, shoes, winter coats, things that are immediate in need. Second, they have a wide array of “enrichment programs:: Camp Mendocino, Nature Day Camps, the AVID program in FBUSD (college prep program), and more. A new program is the Trash-a-thon: 7th graders will be going around picking up trash in Mendocino, to fund their class trip.
Chris is trying to find places where connections need to be made, and to build bridges between groups that are working to do good in the community. MCCF is building community through their many partnerships. MCCF does not give money directly to families; the partner organizations make recommendations to MCCF, and the Board determines what they are able to fund.
Annie Liner added they are very glad to have Chris on staff, and wanted to clarify that 100% of the donations they receive go to the children. The paid staff position is paid for by a trust left by a long-time supporter who passed away, and left a trust for capacity building and a paid staff position.
Most of their received donations have historically been in the form of cash or goods. Hopefully in the near future, they’ll be able to have a volunteer coordinator who can solicit service groups to help with service projects (moving a large donation from here to there, painting a room, and other needs), so that people can donate time as well.
MCCF is working toward establishing a mentor program for children who are growing up in challenging environments. Thank you, Chris, for the informative program!
Today’s Raffle Winner: Gary (again!) — because we did not have the deck of cards this week, Prez Cottle gave $25 to Gary, who in turn gave it to Harold for buying a bottle of wine for a Casino Night raffle prize. 🙂