We meet Courtyard by Marriott - Friday at 12:15 PM & Bibi'z Restaurant in Westwood on 2nd Thursday at 6:30 PM
Courtyard by Marriott
100 Chestnut Ridge Road
Montvale , NJ 07645
Posted by George Sherman on May 05, 2013
As the scheduled guest speaker for the May 3 meeting had to cancel at the last minute, Past President and District AG Stuart Gold was gracious enough to step in and use the time to describe for club members the workings of RI’s Council on Legislation.
The Council on Legislation, Rotary's "parliament," meets every three years to deliberate and act upon all proposed enactments and resolutions submitted by clubs, district conferences, the General Council and Conference of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, and the RI Board. The Council itself also makes proposals.
The Council on Legislation is an important part of Rotary's governance process. While the Board of Directors sets policies for Rotary International, the Council is where Rotary clubs have their say in the governance of the association. Every three years, each district sends a representative to the Council, which reviews proposed legislation. Every club and district is entitled to submit legislation to the Council, and some of Rotary’s most important work has resulted from Council action. Women were admitted into Rotary because of the action of the 1989 Council on Legislation, and PolioPlus was born as the result of the 1986 Council.
The Council is comprised of more than 500 representatives from every part of the Rotary world. Voting members include one elected representative of the clubs of each Rotary district. Some nonvoting members include the chair and vice chair of the Council, the RI president, members of the RI Board, and past RI presidents.
Clubs and districts are entitled to submit legislation to the Council on Legislation. There are two types of legislation: enactments, which seek to change the constitutional documents (the RI Constitution, the RI Bylaws, and the Standard Rotary Club Constitution), and resolutions, which do not seek to change the constitutional documents.
During the week of April 21 through April 26, representatives from Rotary’s 532 districts met in downtown Chicago to consider more than 170 enactments and resolutions proposed by Rotary clubs, districts, or the RI Board. In the process they approved a number of measures designed to strengthen Rotary, increase membership, and enhance the organization’s capacity to serve. Among the changes adopted this year were proposals to remove limits on e-clubs, permit satellite clubs, increase per capita dues by $1.00 per year, and to change the name of the fifth Avenue of Service to “Youth Service.”
If you would like to read more about the Council’s deliberations, here is a link to RI’s report on the highlights: http://www.rotary.org/en/MediaAndNews/News/Pages/130430_news_councilwrap.aspx
Posted by George Sherman on Apr 27, 2013
On Friday, April 26, the club was pleased to welcome as our guest speaker, Mr. Chad Melton, CEO of Hackensack University Medical Center at Pascack Valley.
Mr. Melton began his talk by noting that in 36 days, our long-awaited hospital will be open for business. All services begin June 1. There will be no phase in.
Throughout his talk, Mr. Melton emphasized that HUMC-PV is all about patient centered care and service excellence. All 128 beds will be in private rooms. In room computers will allow nurses to spend less time at central stations and more time with patients. Another patient friendly service will allow patients to order meals at any time of day for delivery to their rooms.
In addition to providing comprehensive health care, the facility promises to be a welcome addition to the economy of the Pascack Valley as well. Whereas the old Pascack Valley Hospital had a staff of about 250, HUMC-PV expects to fill nearly 600 positions. Four hundred employees already have been hired. Furthermore, the hospital will become one of the largest taxpayers in the region, paying taxes of roughly $2 million a year to Westwood and Washington Township.
In introducing HUMC-PV to the community, a 30 minute video has been produced by WCTV in Washington Township and uploaded to You Tube. Get a first hand view of the hospital here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fzsjA-7IUc or plan on attending Community Day on Saturday, May 18 between 11:00 and 3:00 for a walk through.
Club members were greatly impressed with all that they heard and eagerly await the June 1 opening.
Posted by George Sherman on Apr 22, 2013
Friday, April 19 was a special day for Park Ridge Rotarians as they celebrated the first Club Picture in 5 years with the induction of their newest member, Mrs. Kelley O’Donnell, Municipal Clerk/Administrator of Park Ridge and a one-time recipient of a Park Ridge Rotary Club Scholarship. Kelley, who is a graduate of Park Ridge High School, now resides with her family in Washington Township. Before becoming Borough Clerk 6 years ago, she served for several years in the Tax Assessor’s Office in Tenafly. President Joeen called upon Peter Wells to say a few words about the meaning of Rotary membership before performing the actual induction ceremony.
Peter reaffirmed how special an organization Rotary is, being both non-political and non-religious, while having strong moral underpinnings. Members participate with no agenda other than to make a positive difference in the lives of others by putting “Service Above Self”. High ethical standards have been part of RI since its inception 108 years ago and have allowed the organization and individual Rotarians to be trusted and respected in widely divergent cultures and societies throughout the world.
Making reference to the monthly Rotarian magazine, Peter made note RI’s Code of Conduct and Avenues of Service in reminding us of what a privilege it is to be a part of this 1.2 million member international organization.
President Joeen and Peter then presented Kelley with her pin and new member materials as the rest of the club enthusiastically welcomed their 40th member.
Posted by George Sherman on Apr 12, 2013
On Thursday evening, April 11, Alicia Sansarricq, Youth Exchange Chairperson for RI District 7490 was introduced to club members and guests. In her talk, Alicia described both the Long Term and Short Term Youth Exchange programs that have been a part of RI since 1929. Every year, 8,000 high school students from around the world ages 15 to 18 participate in exchanges to over 100 countries courtesy of Rotary International. As the world becomes a smaller and smaller place, the value of such exchanges becomes increasingly important. Successful applicants rank in the top 25% of their class, have excellent study habits, are stellar citizens of their community and can become fine ambassadors for their country.
The sponsoring Rotary Club's responsibility is to sign up host families (they do NOT have to be Rotarians), and a budget of $2,000. Rotary encourages each student to reside with three families. This gives the student a better perspective of life in America and gives more families an opportunity to learn about another culture.
Host family responsibilities for a long term student aren't much different from their responsibilities for their own kids: provide a comfortable and nurturing home environment; have the student share a bedroom with not more than one person (must be the same gender); treat the student like one of their own, provide 3 meals a day, emotional support, a place to study and helping the student study if needed; provide transportation to and from all school activities.
It's important to realize that while in the US, the Inbound students are Rotary's kids and Rotary's responsibility. All Club members should participate in entertaining them and making them part of the community. Each student and their parents sign an extensive set of behavior commitments which include the four "D"s: No Drinking, No Driving, No Dating, No Drugs. Each student has a return ticket which can be activated within 24 hours for either a family emergency or unacceptable behavior.
Tonight, the club was fortunate to have as its guests, two of this year’s Youth Exchange students – Emilie Henrard and Mateus Laurino. Emilie, who was born and raised in Belgium, has long wanted to visit the United States. She will be a part of River Dell’s graduating class in June and hopes to pursue a career in medicine. Mateus calls Sao Paolo, Brazil home. Originally housed with a family on Long Island, he was forced to relocate after Super Storm Sandy. Since then, he has been staying in Fair Lawn and will be part of their high school's graduating class.
Both students spoke glowingly of their experiences in the United States and expressed – in excellent English - their great appreciation for this opportunity to learn more about the people and culture of the U.S.
To learn more about Youth Exchange, visit http://www.rotary.org/en/studentsandyouth/youthprograms/rotaryyouthexchange/pages/ridefault.aspx
Posted by George Sherman on Apr 07, 2013
On Friday, April 5, Park Ridge Rotary Club members were happy to welcome to our meeting Teaneck Rotarian Paul Platek, this year’s Annual Giving Chairman for The Rotary Foundation in District 7490. Paul’s presentation was devoted to explaining the importance of giving to The Rotary Foundation, and to describing the manner by which our contributions are put to use.
Contributions to The Rotary Foundation enable Rotarians to carry out humanitarian and educational projects. Donors may direct their gifts to three main funds: the Annual Fund, which supports the Foundation’s humanitarian, educational, and cultural exchange programs worldwide; the Endowment Fund; and the PolioPlus Fund.
The only Annual Fund designation that generates funding for the District Designated Fund is known as SHARE. Over a three year period, the amount of money donated within the District to The Rotary Foundation by the member clubs is calculated. In the fourth year, 50% of the donated money is returned to the District with 80% of that being set aside for District grants. The other 20% of the amount returned is used for Global Grants.
District grants fund smaller, short-term activities that address needs in both the local community and communities worldwide. Each district gets to choose which activities it will fund with these grants.
Global grants support large international activities with sustainable, measurable outcomes in one or more of the six areas of focus: Peace and conflict prevention/resolution; disease prevention and treatment; water and sanitation; maternal and child health; basic education and literacy; economic and community development.
The Annual Fund makes it possible for Rotary clubs to transform lives worldwide. Your generous support funds local and international projects that advance The Rotary Foundation’s mission. Learn more by visiting http://www.rotary.org/en/Contribute/Funds/Pages/ridefault.aspx OR http://www.rotary.org/en/grants
Posted by George Sherman on Mar 23, 2013
The evening of March 15 was a festive one as 20 Park Ridge Rotarians and their guests enjoyed a Beefsteak/Shrimp/Fish and Chips Dinner at the Elks Lodge in Westwood. In all nearly 70 friends and family good music, supplied by Moxie Light, good food, provided by Nightingale Catering and an overall good time.
Posted by George Sherman on Mar 10, 2013
Ms. Karen Amy with Park Ridge Club President Joeen Ciannella
On a snowy Friday, March 8, Park Ridge Rotarians heard from Ms. Karen Amy, President of the Dackks Group, a Bergen County, New Jersey, charity dedicated to helping the homeless make the transition to independent living. Based in Ramsey, the organization works collaboratively with social service agencies in the state to identify and house individuals and families ready to make the transition toward self-sufficiency and independent living.
The DACKKs Group was incorporated as a 501©(3) non-profit organization in January 2001. With the support of federal, state, county and foundation grants along with the help of many dedicated volunteers, a dozen housing units have been acquired, rehabilitated, and furnished. As stated in their informational flyer, “Bergen County’s housing costs strain even those with financial resources”. For the county’s estimated 825 homeless adults and children, housing remains out of reach. During the time of the group’s existence, nearly three dozen individuals have been provided with a home. None have returned to the streets.
If you want to play a role in helping the group continue its mission, there are many ways in which you can assist. The DACKKs Group needs volunteers in the Bergen County area. Can you paint, clean, make household repairs? Are you a construction professional willing to donate some of your time and talent to keep properties in top shape or help with emergencies? Plenty of opportunities to help exist. Readers are encouraged to visit www.dackksgroup.org to learn more.
Posted by George Sherman on Mar 01, 2013
On Friday, March 1, Park Ridge Club members learned of ITN North Jersey, an affiliate of the first and only national non-profit senior transportation network. Started in Portland, Maine about 20 years ago, ITN now has 28 affiliates.
Transportation is the common denominator that determines whether an elderly person can remain independent, age in place, maintain their physical and mental health, and have quality of life. It also places a significant burden on the health care system, families, friends, caregivers and employers. The population of those over 60 in New Jersey is now approaching 1.5 million. Of those, about 220,000 live in Bergen County.
ITNAmerica provides thousands of rides daily to seniors and the visually impaired nationwide.
Designed to replicate the freedom and flexibility of private car ownership, ITNNorthJersey plans to use the same proven, prescribed, volunteer-based model now working effectively in affiliates throughout the nation. Their mission is to provide private, safe, affordable, arm-through-arm, door-through-door transportation at any time, day or night, throughout the year. More cost effective than car ownership, ITN North Jersey is determined to keep seniors and communities safe.
Once in place, a person over 65 or one who is visually impaired can register for a nominal annual fee and a per mile charge. Through this program, local employers see less lost work time from adult family members and caregivers, seniors are better able to manage their health care appointments, and local transit programs are complemented without draining taxpayer dollars.
To learn more about this vitally important program visit their website at http://itnnorthjersey.org or see The Road Warrior's column at http://www.northjersey.com/news/170874361_Service_will_give_ride_to__seniors_who__don_t_drive.html?page=all
Posted by George Sherman on Feb 22, 2013
On February 23, 1905, a Chicago lawyer named Paul Harris called three friends to a meeting hoping to establish a group, consisting of business leaders from different vocations, who would work to foster fellowship and goodwill within its membership and the community. Although a name was not settled upon until more members joined the organization, that event proved to be the first Rotary Club meeting.
The second Rotary club was formed in 1908 in San Francisco, California. Others followed in Oakland, CA, Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York City. Rotary became international in 1910 when a club was formed in Winnipeg, Canada.
By 1921 the organization was represented on every continent, and the name Rotary International was adopted in1922.
On Friday, February 22 the Park Ridge Rotary Club celebrated the birth of the world’s first service club and the fact that Rotary International has since grown its member base to approximately 1.2 million men and women in over 35,000 Rotary Clubs spread across 200 countries and geographic regions around the globe.
Our own Park Ridge Club, chartered in 1928, was originally made up of 25 members, prominent throughout the Pascack Valley region for their high standing and many services to the community. Today we have 40 active members including our four most recent inductees Steve Fox, Brittany Vozza, Ryan Cangialosi and Philip Wells, all of whom have strong connections with area we serve.
Financial Advisor Steve Fox is Senior Vice-President with Morgan Stanley in Pearl River and is currently Co-President of the Montvale Chamber of Commerce. Brittany Vozza is the grand-daughter of a former Park Ridge Rotarian. She currently serves as an account manager at the 60 year old Vozza Insurance Agency in Park Ridge. Ryan Cangialosi is a long-time Park Ridge resident who received his Masters Degree from Pace University in 2011. He is now an associate with Lenox Consulting, a communications consulting firm in Hoboken. Philip Wells, son of Past President Peter Wells and grandson of Past RI Director and Past District Governor Ray Wells, is now working as an intern architect at the Peter Wells Architectural Firm.
Collectively, these four new members are sure to add much to the proud traditions of the Park Ridge Club and to RI in the years ahead.
Posted by George Sherman on Feb 16, 2013
Park Ridge Rotarians and their guests celebrated a special Early Valentine’s Day Dinner at the Old ’76 House in Tappan, NY Wednesday, February 13 by welcoming two new members into the club. Inducted that evening were Ms. Brittany Vozza and Mr. Ryan Cangialosi, both of whom have strong connections to Park Ridge. Club President Joeen Ciannella called upon Past District Governor Art Scialla to carry out the installation. In his remarks PDG Art spoke eloquently of the history, mission and opportunities associated with Rotary International which, on February 23, will be celebrating its 108th birthday. He encouraged Brittany and Ryan to take to heart the motto of Service above Self as they begin their membership in the club.
Brittany, who was accompanied by her parents and sister, is the grand-daughter of a former Park Ridge Rotarian. She currently serves as an account manager at the 60 year old Vozza Insurance Agency in Park Ridge. Ryan, whose parents also joined in the evening’s events, is a long-time Park Ridge resident who received his Masters Degree from Pace University in 2011. He is now an associate with Lenox Consulting, a communications consulting firm in Hoboken.
Club members were thrilled to welcome Brittany and Ryan into the club and wish them well in the years ahead.
Posted by George Sherman on Feb 04, 2013
Club members were delighted to welcome several dignitaries from the District to their February 1st meeting at The Courtyard: PDG Art Scialla, Polio Plus Chair, Dr. Jim Cole, and Charlotte Bennett Schoen, the District's Chairperson for Peace and Conflict Resolution .
Past President Fay Logan called upon Charlotte to speak about the 2013 Peace Initiative Project for the district's Interact Clubs. The project will provide all Interact Clubs with the 2012 film THE LADY. The DVD provides a moving account of Aung Sang Suu Kyi, the Nobel Prize winner from Myanmar (Burma), who has struggled for over 20 years to bring a peaceful end to the military dictatorship ruling her country. After viewing the video, students will be encouraged to organize a May 2013 peace event, featuring works of art, drama, writing, or photography which will compare Burma's emerging democracy to our own and demonstrate the courage, and bravery of Suu Kyi who accomplished so much while under house arrest in Myanmar for 15 of the last 21 years. It is hoped that this initiative will provide a meaningful way of "Using Our Liberty to Promote Burma's" as Interact celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year.
The podium was then turned over to PDG Art Scialla who joined us today to invite club members to attend the 100th birthday celebration of the Paterson Rotary Club. Since its own chartering in 1913, the Paterson Club has been responsible for chartering 18 new Rotary Clubs. Even though Park Ridge is not one of those clubs, PDG Art hoped that many of us might attend and be part of this momentous occasion. He explained why in a talk that proved to be much more meaningful than a simple invitation. For the next several minutes, Art reminisced about how big a role the Park Ridge Club had played in helping him bring so many signature programs into the District during his year as governor.
In that eventful Rotary year of 1986-7, Governor Art had laid out a menu of projects he wanted to develop and the Park Ridge Club supported every one. Under the chairmanship of our own Roger Anderson, the District's single Park Ridge H.S. Interact Club was expanded to more than a dozen other communities. Under the chairmanship of Don Terrace, Governor Art started the District's RYLA program. A most important highlight of the year was the decison by Governor Art to make our District part of the wonderful program of the "Gift of Life". During Rotary year 1985-6 the District's first Gift of Life child had been hosted by then Club President Don Terrace's family. Working closely with Bob Balentine and District chair Jeff Wells, the year saw the increased emphasis on the Youth Exchange program with eighteen outbound students and eighteen in bound students involved.
All in all, the Park Ridge Club has played an important role through the years in making the District what it is today. PDG Art, as a member of the Paterson Club and long-time friend of the Park Ridge Club, is hopeful that many of our club members will help celebrate the Paterson Club's 100th birthday between 7:00 and midnight at the Westmount County Club, 728 Rifle Camp Road, Woodland Park on Friday, March 1.
Posted by George Sherman on Jan 29, 2013
The Park Ridge Rotary Club recently completed distribution of nearly 400 dictionaries to third graders in Park Ridge, Montvale, and Woodcliff Lake Schools. Since 2007, the club has worked in conjunction with The Dictionary Project, a nation-wide 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, that seeks "to assist all students in becoming good writers, active readers, creative thinkers, and resourceful learners by providing them with their own personal dictionary." With the support of local sponsors and volunteers, the national organization has provided over 18 million students with their own dictionaries since 1992.
Over the last several weeks, members Michelle Albergo, Vlad Zherenovsky, Steve Fox, George Sherman and Stuart Gold delivered dictionaries to appreciative youngsters at Eastbrook, West Ridge, Memorial, Dorchester and Our Lady of Mercy Schools. Explaining Rotary's mission of putting "Service Above Self", the Rotarians urged youngsters to work hard and to commit themselves to doing all that they could to help others in need.
Posted by George Sherman on Jan 19, 2013
Sheila McGraw, Director of the Pascack Food Pantry since 1987 and fellow volunteer June Taber were guests of the club at The Courtyard on Friday, January 18. Ms. McGraw was quick to attribute the longevity of the Food Center, which actually began in 1982, to the widespread community support that has been given throughout the years of its existence.
First proposed 41 years ago to local clergy by former borough clerk and welfare director, Ann Krouse, the Center today provides for the supplementary food needs of over 90 client families. All during that time the Pascack Reformed Church has provided space for the pantry at its facility on Pascack Road in Park Ridge.
Clients are frequently referred as a result of being in temporary need, while others, such as those on fixed incomes are served for the long term. According to Ms. McGraw, times of greatest need tend to be during the summer months, though pantry shelves don't stay filled for any great length of time at any time of year.
Those who are interested in the eligibility requirements for becoming a client of the Pascack Food Center can call 201-573-9083 and leave a message and call-back number. For those interested in donating, suggested products include canned goods, pasta and pasta sauce, peanut butter, jelly, snacks, coffee, tea, large bottles of juice, tuna and canned meats, rice,beans, cleaning products, paper products, laundry products and personal items.
The Pascack Food Center is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, all volunteer organization. Monetary donations are much appreciated as they can be used to provide those things that are not typically donated to the pantry such as fresh produce and meats.
In closing, Ms. McGraw expressed her gratitude not only for having the opportunity to tell the story of the Food Center , but also for the support given to the pantry by so many residents for so many years.
Posted by George Sherman on Jan 11, 2013
At Thursday night's club meeting at the Cherry Brook Restaurant and Bar at the River Vale Country Club on January 10, Vice President Bob Bustard called upon Dick Beattie, chairman of the club's RYLA selection committee, to introduce the evening's program. After summarizing the club's long history with RYLA in District 7490, Dick proceeded to introduce Senior Counselors Katie Zoch and Steve Gelber who brought with them a DVD showing some of the highlights of the 2012 RYLA experience at Indian Head camp in Honesdale, Pennsylvania.
R.Y.L.A. stands for Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. Each year local Rotary Clubs seek outstanding High School Juniors to represent their communities at this all-expense paid six-day conference focusing on leadership, team-building, professional development and community service. The RYLA Program objectives are:
- to demonstrate Rotary's respect and concern for youth.
- to provide an effective training experience for selected youth and potential leaders.
- to encourage leadership of youth by youth.
- to recognize publicly young people who are rendering service to their communities.
An official project of Rotary International since 1960, the RYLA idea was brought to the attention of District 7490 by Dave Ledgerwood of the Park Ridge Club in 1986. Club President Don Terrace and rest of the club promoted the District's participation in RYLA and launched it on its path to success within Bergen, Passaic and Hudson counties.
RYLA 7490 takes place under the direction of Rotarians and a Senior Rotary Advisor. The Counselor Staff is made up of college students and young professional volunteers (ranging in age from 19-30) who must be RYLA 7490 Alumni themselves. Their firsthand knowledge of the program provides added insight to the students’ experience. Each year new alumni are hired to serve and invest into the future of RYLA.
As the DVD slide show progressed, the 4 RYLAteers from Park Ridge H.S. and the 2 from Pascack Hills commented on the impact the program had had on them. Each RYLAteer obviously experienced the program in a very personal way. One could not help but be struck by the intensity of their enthusiasm for the week that they had spent with over 100 other young people from throughout the District.
Many thanks to Dick Beattie for arranging this program and to the club's members and friends for helping to fund this outstanding investment in our youth.
Posted by George Sherman on Jan 06, 2013
As there was no outside speaker scheduled for our January 4 meeting, Vice-President Bob Bustard pre-arranged to have brief talks given by 3 of our members.
First to speak was one of our newest members, Steve Fox. Asked to present a short autobiography, Steve talked of being Co-President of the Montvale Chamber of Commerce for several years and spoke briefly about his role as a financial advisor since 1989, currently serving as Senior Vice-President and Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley in Pearl River. Active in the community of Montvale since moving there 13 years ago, Steve lives with his wife and two teen-age children. Among his many interests are his extensive volunteer work with the Chamber and the Montvale Recreation programs as well as skiing whenever time permits.
Next to the podium was Jan Doornbosch who gave a moving and inspirational account of his efforts on behalf of Newtown, Connecticut over the past couple of weeks. Upon hearing of the tragedy that occurred in the school there on December 14, Jan felt compelled to do SOMETHING. Recognizing the possibilities his International Bulb Company provided, he contacted a selectwoman in Newtown to discuss the feasibility of creating a memorial garden for the community. On December 19 bulbs for the garden were delivered and on December 22 Jan and over 100 volunteers descended on Newtown to plant TEN THOUSAND BULBS on a hillside overlooking a sports field used regularly by the children of the town. Since then, Jan has received countless e-mails from residents there thanking him for his thoughtfulness and generosity. Jan's initiative and determination is not only a wonderful inspiration to us, but also an action that will long be appreciated by the people of Newtown as these 10,000 flowers come into bloom each spring.
Our final speaker of the day was our own "Mr. Rotary", Stuart Gold, who shared with us one of his other passions - Action Comics, and specifically today - the history of Superman. In his talk, Stu presented us with fascinating details about the two young Cleveland high school students, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster who first came up with the idea for the character and described Superman's evolution since his first appearance in 1938. Over the next several minutes, we fondly reminisced and learned much about the adventures of one of our greatest fictional heroes. Given Stu's huge collection of adventure comics, we can look forward to more stories of characters we have long enjoyed.
Posted by George Sherman on Dec 10, 2012
On Friday, December 7, Park Ridge Rotarians welcomed as their guest speaker Ms. Lynn Buckingham, Community Outreach Coordinator for Rebuilding Together Bergen County. In her talk, Ms. Buckingham described the mission of the organization and its most recent activities.
Rebuilding Together is a national non-profit with over 200 affiliates, four of which are in New Jersey. Nationally, the organization seeks to assist low-income homeowners by making home modifications and repairs at no cost to those in need. Locally, over 400 volunteers worked on projects this past year that assisted three non-profit facilities and 18 individuals. Since becoming a Rebuilding Together affiliate in 1998, two hundred fifteen projects in forty-five Bergen County towns have been completed. The group's signature event, National Rebuilding Day, occurs on the last Saturday of April. On National Rebuilding Day, volunteers join local affiliate leaders to repair and restore houses and nonprofit facilities, revitalizing entire communities and making a lasting impression on the families who are served.
The devastation brought about by Superstorm Sandy made the mission of Rebuilding Together especially apropos this year. Volunteers including employees of local and national corporate sponsors, members of faith-based or civic groups and organizations, as well as individuals from the community are encouraged to become involved. If you are skilled, semi-skilled, or interested in being a general volunteer please fill out a Volunteer Registration Form on the RTBC website (http://www.rebuildingtogetherbergen.org) and be as specific as possible regarding your skills and interests. Your service is sure to be appreciated.
Posted by George Sherman on Dec 01, 2012
On Friday,November 30, Park Ridge Club members were privileged to welcome District Governor Bonnie Sirower who was making the Governor's Annual Visit. District Secretary Pat La Rocco, in her formal introduction, highlighted the governor's extensive resume, both within Rotary and beyond. Perhaps it may best be summarized by noting that she was named recipient of the prestigious Rotary International Service Above Self Award earlier this year. Rotary's highest honor for an individual Rotarian, the award recognizes Rotarians who have rendered exemplary humanitarian service with an emphasis on personal volunteer efforts.
Governor Bonnie began her presentation reminding members of the difference an individual can make. Superstorm Sandy has provided repeated evidence of that. In what was undoubtedly the most devastating natural disaster to have befallen the New York metropolitan area in our lifetime, the compassion and support offered by individuals from around the world has be overwhelming. Their generosity has so far contributed over $200,000 to the 6 Rotary Districts most affected by the storm.
Two local Rotarians, District Governor Nominee Calisto Bertin and our own Peter Wells, the District's Disaster Relief Chairman were singled out by Governor Bonnie for special praise. Through their efforts 4 nearby warehouses were set up as staging areas for the collection of goods and over 220 volunteers were brought together. Over the last 4 weeks, the warehouses have been filled and emptied 5 times!
Space here does not permit adequate coverage of this incredible story. Readers can learn all the
details by reading Governor Bonnie's November Newsletter at http://www.crsadmin.com/gen/Accounts/50049/Eml/8295f5ab-02b0-4a60-a155-290ad1a05702.pdf
Especially close to home has been the plight of the residents of Moonachie and Little Ferry. Moonachie's Club President has reported that 160 families have been displaced from their homes. In the coming weeks, Rotarian Jay Fowler from the Ridgewood AM Club will be coordinating rebuilding efforts there as well as in Jersey City and Hoboken.
In closing, Governor Bonnie encouraged members to continue to grow as a club by reaching out to former members and young people while also expanding our own personal horizons by becoming involved in Rotary fellowships and with more District activities including the upcoming District Conference in Mystic, CN. The Park Ridge Rotary Club has long held a highly respected position in the District, one with which the governor has been pleased to have been closely associated.
Posted by George Sherman on Nov 17, 2012
On Friday, November 16, our own Peter Wells, Coordinator of Relief Efforts for District 7490 gave club members a first-hand account of the latest work being carried out by the District on behalf of the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
To date, Peter and 145 volunteers have taken in 32 truck or car loads and have delivered 14 very full van or SUV loads to our area, to the Jersey Shoreline and to the east coast of New York. They have filled, and then emptied the 4,000 square foot warehouse/sorting center in Paramus 3 times! Using 10 vans and 2 trucks, they have even passed along 20 TONS of used clothing to Goodwill, the Salvation Army and the Vietnam Vets Association. In addition, over $40,000 has come into the District in monetary donations.
At this point, the first phase of the relief effort has been completed. Any further shipments will be re-routed to Eatontown or to Far Rockaway. Our District will begin Phase II under the direction of Ridgewood AM Rotarian Jay Fowler. That effort will involve the restoration and rebuilding of sites that were damaged and is expected to begin sometime after Thanksgiving.
Still needed are cash donations and gift cards for stores such as Lowe's, Home Depot, Walmart and Target, so that displaced residents can buy food, supplies, etc. to rebuild. You are asked to send donations to the Rotary District 7490 Walter D. Head Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, c/o Calisto Bertin, Bertin Engineering, 66 Glen Avenue, Glen Rock, NJ 07452, USA.
Peter thanked everyone for their cooperation, donations and support through this first phase.
President Joeen Ciannella expressed the pride we all feel in Peter's indefatigable efforts and thanked him for a job well done.
Posted by George Sherman on Oct 26, 2012
Friday, October 26 was a very special day for Park Ridge Rotarians as they inducted two new members - Steve Fox, Co-President of the Montvale Chamber of Commerce, and Philip Wells, the son of club member Peter Wells and the grandson of Past District Governor and former RI Director Ray Wells.
President Joeen Ciannella called upon Peter Wells to formally install the two. In his comments, Peter reminded all present that Rotary International starts with individual Rotarians at the club level. He encouraged Steve and Phil to choose one of RI's Five Areas of Focus as a starting point and commit to it. Reminiscing about his own early years as a young Rotarian, he called to mind the admonition of one of his mentors to "never say 'no' when the club president or other elected Rotary leader asks you to do something".
Peter went on to speak of the myriad of opportunities present in the world of Rotary. One of the great privileges of Rotary is fellowship and the mutual confidence which it inspires. Within our own District 7490, one can network with over 1300 members, all committed to a similar ideal of putting "Service Above Self".
In closing, Peter urged Phil and Steve to accept the challenge of staying true to the Four Way Test while working through Rotary to make the world a better place.
Once pins and membership materials had been presented, Past Rotary Director and PDG Ray Wells was asked to address the club. In welcoming both men, he spoke of the special joy he felt in welcoming his grandson Phil into Rotary. That sentiment can be easily understood for it is a rare occasion when three generations of Rotarians can share the satisfaction of knowing that they have made a real difference through Rotary.
Posted by George Sherman on Oct 12, 2012
The Park Ridge Club's featured speaker for the evening of October 11 was Past District Governor Joe Laureni, Rotary International's Representative to the United Nations. Since 1945, RI and the UN have had a history of working together, sharing similar visions in their efforts to make the world a better place. In his talk, Joe reviewed the history of that relationship and described the responsibilities of his position.
In 1942, Rotary clubs from 21 nations organized a conference in London to develop a vision for advancing education, science, and culture after World War II. That event was a precursor to UNESCO. In 1945, 49 Rotarians went to San Francisco to help draft the UN Charter. Rotary and the UN have been close partners ever since, a relationship that’s apparent through PolioPlus and work with UN agencies.
As RI's Representative to the United Nations this year, Joe works with a team of 4 other Rotarians. In their position, these representatives increase awareness and recognition of Rotary's programs, policies, and activities within the global community. They meet regularly with officers and staff to discuss parallel concerns and potential areas for cooperation and gather information about the programs and developments within other NGOs.
Joe reported that he is very excited about this year's Rotary Day at the UN being held on November 3. Each year at Rotary UN Day, more than 1300 Rotarians including many Rotary International Directors, Foundation Trustees, past Senior Leaders, and guests come together at UN Headquarters in New York. Rotary Day at the United Nations also includes a special program for youth interested in humanitarian service. Youth have the opportunity to hear about a model UN program, the Shelter Box project, some projects that Interact Clubs are working on, an overview of the UN and much more.This 2012 event has now sold out and promises to be a very inspirational and motivational experience. If you weren't able to go this year, try to go in 2013. It's a day that will vividly reinforce the importance of Rotary's work throughout the world.
Posted by George Sherman on Sep 29, 2012
On Friday, September 28, Park Ridge Rotary Club members were pleased to welcome John Fugazzie as their guest speaker. Less than two years ago, John decided that he was not about to let his unemployment status get the best of him, and so began his cost-free, peer-led volunteer support and networking group in the River Edge Public Library. Since that time, the organization, known as Neighbors helping Neighbors USA, Inc., has experienced remarkable success in carrying out its mission of helping unemployed and under-employed local residents get back to work. By sharing job search techniques, professional career development resources, and personal referrals, members provide compassionate, nonjudgmental support and camaraderie to one another through what is often the most financially difficult time in their lives.
The basic premise of the organization is based on the book and movie “Pay It Forward” — acting without the expectation of being paid back, but with the hope that the recipient pays the favor forward by helping someone else.
Membership is open to anyone who is actively looking for work and/or would like to re-invigorate their job search. This includes those in career transition, recent grads, laid off workers, unemployed or underemployed professionals, persons re-entering the job market and retirees looking for volunteer work. At weekly meetings run by volunteer facilitators, group members help each other find positions by offering techniques and suggestions to improve their job search through personal and professional networking. Resources available at local library meeting sites offer much useful research material.
In a few short months, Neighbors helping Neighbors has expanded into 28 communities in northern New Jersey and has received national attention. If you would like to find out more about the work of this much needed organization, visit their website at www.nhnusa.org or contact its founder and president, John R. Fugazzie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by George Sherman on Sep 22, 2012
On Friday, September 21, Park Ridge Rotary Club members were especially pleased to welcome home Dan Wessberg who had been serving in Afghanistan since the beginning of the year. Dan is the husband of Nancy Swales' daughter, Geri. For many years Dan and Bill Swales had engaged in friendly bantering regarding the relative merits of the U.S. Air Force vs. the U.S. Marine Corps. Friday, Dan brought with him a very special tribute to his father-in-law.
The framed certificate from the United States Marine Corps 3d Marine Aircraft Wing (FWD), presented to the Park Ridge Rotary Club in memory of Col. Willis Swales reads:
This certifies that the accompanying United States flag was flown over the battleground of 3d Marine Aircraft Wing(Forward) at Camp Leatherneck in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan guarded by United States Marines, Sailors, and Multi-National Coalition Forces during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM on the 17th day of August 2012.Club President Joeen Ciannella was most appreciative in accepting the flag and the certificate from Dan. We are all so grateful for Dan's service, his safe return and his thoughtfulness in honoring his father-in-law and our highly respected fellow Rotarian in this way.