Spokane North Notes
A weekly bulletin of the Spokane-North Rotary Club
June 8, 2015
Editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
Photos: Lenore Romney and Eric Johnson
Program Coordinator: Jim Minkler
Fund raiser sets records
          Club President Jon Heideman shared the good news – while totals are being finalized, Jon said “somewhere near $20,000” – probably a club record -- was raised to support the year-long projects at Holmes Elementary.
More than 100 people attended the June 4 Hawaiian Night fund raiser at The Backyard, participating in raffles, a “heads or tails game,” silent and oral auctions and a concluding “call for the cause.”  Those events supplemented generous corporate gifts.
Bruce Ellwein’s band entertained on the beautiful late spring evening and emcee/auctioneer Terry Fossum did a superb job gently reminding party-goers that “this is for the kids.”  Terry, a former Spokane North member, now belongs to Valley Rotary, while wife Michelle is a director in our club.  Holmes Principal Stephanie Lundberg used a slide show to help tell the group how the money is used.
Much credit for the successful fund raiser goes to Jodi Harland, the chief coordinator, Lenore Romney and Steve Boharski, plus about half of the 30-member club, which actively assisted in preparations and handling the crowd at the party.  It was a great team effort!
Calendar time:  As the current Rotary year ends June 30, here is the schedule:
            June 15: Regular lunch meeting with presentation of two $1,500 Saling Scholarships and a talk by former member Superior Court Judge Greg Sypolt.  It’s the last luncheon of the year and a great turnout would be a fitting conclusion.
            June 22: No luncheon meeting.  Year-end celebration and installation of new (and returning) President Lenore Romney and other club officers and directors.  The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the home of Art and Robin Rudd, 1604 W. Fairway Drive (near the Spokane Country Club).  Sign up June 15 or via e-mail with Lenore.  Art, by the way, is a 46-year member of Spokane-North.
            June 29 and July 6: Club summer break; no meetings scheduled.
          From Spokane to Uganda: Club 21 and Spokane-North have combined to donate $5,000 for improvements to a restroom site at the Cabana School in Kisubi, Uganda.
          Ira Amstadter of Club 21 made the presentation to Sister Bernadette M. Nannyonjo – a.k.a. “Sister Bernie.”  She is our club’s George M Kuroiwa honorary member for this Rotary year.  Sister Bernie requested $4,500 from Rotary for the school’s “potty project,” to finish the facility with sanitary surroundings.  Amstadter, a new assistant District 5080 governor, noted that he lived in Africa for several years and “$5,000 goes a long way in Uganda.”  Sister Bernie did a presentation for the club earlier this year.  Club 21 donated $3,000 and Spokane-North, $2,000.
Exchange student: Ally Egger, grand-daughter of former (and hopefully returning) member Chris Lynch, who is headed for a Rotary exchange student term in Spain, attended the June 8 meeting, and displayed wood craft items she has made.
Rotary Day: Thanks to club members who prepared displays and staffed the club table at the May 30 Rotary Day at Riverfront Park.  Handing out chap-stick tubes and information about club activities, especially at Holmes Elementary, were Jon Heideman, Lenore Romney, Chuck Rehberg, Brad Stark and Jim Minkler.  All area Rotary Clubs had tables near, appropriately, the Rotary Fountain at the park entrance.
A key Holmes partner in West Central
          The West Central Community Center tries to reach nearly everyone in its area with outreach programs. 
          There are summer day camps for kids, outdoor teen leadership programs and a family “Neighborhood Day” was held June 5.
          On June 8 Kim Ferraro, West Central’s executive director, discussed the challenges of a neighborhood some still call “felony flats,” and the possibilities of turning negative situations into positives.
          “I hope this is the last job I ever have, because I love it -- and I’m tired,” Ferraro told the club.
          A Montana native, she worked for several non-profit agencies in the Los Angeles area.  But when Ferraro adopted a boy from Guatemala, she said she didn’t want to raise him in L.A. and wanted to return closer to her native roots.
          So Ferraro moved to Spokane and has been West Central director since October 2011, following the legendary 31-year tenure of Don Higgins.
          The community center, at 1603 N. Belt, opened in 1980, uses the slogan “there’s a place for you here.”   
          Just a few blocks from Holmes Elementary, the center shares the challenges of what Ferraro calls “a low-income, crime-ridden neighborhood.”  So it started “Project Pride” to combat some of the blight in the area and has organized a West Central Neighborhood Coalition, now 80 members strong, to help identify and deal with problem spots.
          By design the center serves residents in the West Central, Emerson-Garfield and Riverside (Peaceful Valley) neighborhoods.  “But anyone can walk in,” Ferraro said.
          Noting that some 13,000 people in West Central need medical care, the center’s “Women, Infants and Children” health program this year re-opened as a Unified Health Center, Ferraro said.
           She said West Central “has the highest rate of teen pregnancies in the county and state, has a high mortality rate and a too-high rate of teenage mothers who smoke,” among other health challenges.
           Ferraro said the center has opened its gym to teens “to stay off the streets, and has enrolled 70 youngsters in before and after-school programs, creating a safe place for kids.”
           The center works with SFCC on a computer lab, in part to help improve job-ready skills and to help find work for area residents, she said.
           And Ferraro was happy to accept Police Chief Frank Straub’s offer of locating an officer and a detective at the center as part of his neighborhood policing initiative.
           So life goes on for what Ferraro diplomatically says is “a neighborhood with a lot of stressors,” something club members are well aware of through the outreach to Holmes.