North Notes
Spokane North Rotary Club Bulletin
December 19, 2016
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!
          Happy Holidays: Club President Nancy Hanson wished season’s greetings to all at the Dec. 19 luncheon.  She offered special thanks to Sandy Fink for coordinating the club’s gift collection and distribution to needy families at Holmes Elementary.  And the club thanked and presented a gift card to Lincoln Center staffer extraordinare Ken Holeman for his weekly efforts at banner-hanging and audio-visual support, but especially his terrific decorations in the Monroe Ballroom for the club’s holiday luncheon.
          Holiday break: No luncheon meetings are scheduled Dec. 26 or Jan. 2.  The next club meeting is Jan. 9.
          Think spring: District 5080 Assistant Gov. John Guarisco, a member of Spokane East Rotary, encouraged members to attend the District Conference, May 12-14, in Nakusp, British Columbia. Speakers will include a commercial pilot who was a Rotary exchange student, a Rhodes scholar, and a speaker on the “End Polio Now” program.  An “apple pie competition,” local area tours, golf and nearby hot springs all are available to attendees and guests.
Mentors and meals make a big difference
          When asked a few years ago how many students could benefit from having adult mentors, then-Holmes Elementary School Principal Steve Barnes replied: “All 400 of them.”
          Continuing the mission and message of mentoring, Anthony Carollo on Dec. 19 stressed the life-changing possibilities – for the students and the mentors.
          Carollo, a pastor licensed through Mount Spokane Church, is executive director of the Greater Spokane Association of Evangelicals.  His new role follows a 26-year career in title insurance and escrow. In 2004 he founded Stewart Title of Spokane and served as company president until 2014.
          Much of his mentoring message at the club’s final calendar-year luncheon involved Carollo’s own experiences with a 5th grader at Stevens Elementary, located at Mission and Napa.
          The 5th grade boy, whom he called “Jordan” (a pseudonym), is among the 480 of about 500 students at Stevens described by Carollo as “food insecure.”
          That means, like most students at Holmes Elementary, being on free or reduced-price lunch programs and not sure if their families will have meals on the weekends and non-school days.  That’s especially difficult during the two-week holiday break.
          He recommends the 2nd Harvest Food Bank’s “Bite2Go” program, which provides “a good mix of healthy, kid-friendly, easy-to-open, single-serving, non-perishable food items to cover four meals and three snacks over a weekend.”
          “Jordan” lives with an aunt and an 18-year-old cousin.  The boy’s “bio-dad” is imprisoned and mom moved to Post Falls, Carollo said.
          The boy “is big for his age and is a playground bully who is in the school detention room about once a week,” he said, adding that the boy reads at just 44 percent of his grade level standard.
          Carollo said Spokane County has some 16,000 single-parent homes with kids and 8,000 “at-risk kids with nothing to eat over the weekends.”  He said one student told him weekend food is hidden in the dirty laundry, “because if dad finds it, he will
eat it all.”
          So Carollo has asked area churches to help these families and their kids find meals and mentors.  He said 31 of 100 area churches contacted thus far have agreed to partner in the effort.
          “The GSAE serves as a facilitator which takes the message out to churches,” Carollo said.  He recently visited similar agencies in Phoenix to share best-practice methods to combat the problems.
          “The foster care system is overwhelmed,” Carollo said, citing the high number of “red files for difficult kids.”  He said it is interesting that these kids “have files on everything they did in their lives.”  He related his own instance of shoplifting an open pack of gum from a Safeway when he was just 4 years old.  “We all have a red file,” Carollo said.
          He added that the agency encourages mentoring contacts over multiple years and he shared a chart showing the positive results of mentoring in the students’ school attendance, reading, math and behavior.
The bulletin producers:
Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
Photo: Eric Johnson
Program coordinator: Brad Stark