Posted by Charles Rehberg on Oct 07, 2019
North Notes
Spokane North Rotary Club Bulletin
October 7, 2019
Rotary calendar:
            Oct. 14: Rotary Connects: The Backyard Public House , 1811W. Broadway; starts at 4:30 p.m.
            Oct. 19: Rotary Serves: “Big Build,” at 2nd Harvest, 8:30 a.m.
            Oct. 21: Luncheon at Nectar in Kendall Yards, Darin Duty from Generation Live.
            Oct. 28: No meeting.
            Nov. 4: Luncheon at Nectar in Kendall Yards, program TBA.
            Nov. 11: No Rotary Connect, Veterans Day Holiday.
            Holiday thoughts:  While we consider Halloween treats and Thanksgiving meals, keep in mind our Rotary Club’s “$40 for 40” gift program.  Tags for needy kids from Holmes Elementary will be ready for selection at the Nov. 18 luncheon.  Gift returns are due Dec. 16.
Castlegar club leads programs in Honduras
            With the mounting list of challenges, one Rotary Club’s program in District 5080 is helping needy families in Honduras.
            The Castlegar Sunrise Rotary Club has made its mission “to improve education, health and economic opportunity to enable some in Honduras to live more productive lives.”
            The program is “H.E.L.P. Honduras.” The program’s president, Mike Balahura, described the program at the Oct. 7 luncheon.  HELP is an acronym for Health, Education and Literacy Program in Honduras, a country of 9.3 million in Central America.
            Mike is a retired school principal now working as a curriculum consultant to the University of British Columbia’s Department of Education.
            One of the remarkable aspects of the program is the funding.  Starting with just $3,000, the club matched monies with other clubs, the district and Rotary International global grants.  The multiples totaled to $122,000 (U.S.), Balahura said.
            The setting in Tegucigalpa and other Honduras towns is challenging, Mike said.  “It’s an incredibly violent country,” he said.  Gangs are rampant and poverty is widespread.
Most families with any wealth enroll students in private school, he said. To enroll in public school, students must first have uniforms, books, book bags and all of the stationery items.  Rotary funding provides most of those needs, plus extensive mentoring and tutoring.
            Balahura said several of the children are the first in their families to attend formal schooling.
            He said that with the school supplies and comprehensive tutoring and mentoring the HELP students have soared from 51 percent to 98 percent success in elementaries and 36 percent to 96 percent in secondary schools.
            Health clinics have been started in unused buildings and with micro-funding from Rotary a number of shoe-string entrepreneurs have opened businesses, rather than scavaging items from dumps and dumpsters.
            Balahura said the program even attracted a visit from Barry Rassin, the 2018-19 RI President.
            Mike admits that problems persist in Honduras. The HELP-ers seem heavily tilted toward women and girls in the pictures he shared.  Of the male side, he said, “they just do their own thing.”
But, for now, the gangs have generally left the programs alone. And Rotary has made a positive difference.
The bulletin producers:
            Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
            Photos: Lenore Romney