Guest Speakers: Maykala Sullivan and Brian Young | Corona, CA

At our June 19th meeting, we had two speakers. First speaker was Maykala Sullivan, who is fellow Rotarian Don Garling’s granddaughter. Maykala attends Santiago High School and she wrote an award-winning 4 Way speech which she read to our club. Her speech was about bringing awareness to mental health issues in teens. Mental health is at an all-time high in the U.S. Anxiety, depression and stress are the three growing issues in our society. Maykala is advocating for a course in mindfulness to be taught in schools. Mindfulness can and does improve the lives of people who suffer from mental issues. Congratulations Maykala, for your very informative and award winning speech. And thank you for shedding some much needed light on this topic.

Our second speaker was fellow Rotarian Brian Young. Brian is the Corona City Fire Chief. Brian shared with us about a new initiative that Corona Fire is working on. It has to do with the Corona Fire Department working with other local agencies concerning the wildlife interface. The city of Corona abuts with 12 miles of the Cleveland National Forest. The new non-profit formed is The Fire Safe Council. Local Home Owners Associations are invited to join the council. There are currently 87 HOAs that share a border with the CNF. Brian also talked about steps we can take as homeowners to protect against wildlife fire. He also discussed the new fire department app called Pulse Point. This app lets you know where and when an emergency is unfolding in our city. Any time the Fire department is called out, it shows up on Pulse Point. Thank you Brian, for all you do in keeping residents safe. And for sharing this important information with our club.

To find out more about our guest speakers, please visit our website at www.circlecitycorona.org.

Guest Speakers: Dr. Antonio Gonzalez, Patrick Chao, Eric Lee and Kristian Johnson | Corona, CA

Our June 12th speakers were the STEM(science, technology, engineering and math) teachers of Corona High School. Dr. Antonio Gonzalez is the principal of Corona High. He introduced the following teachers, Patrick Chao, Eric Lee, and Kristian Johnson. Patrick is STEM coordinator and the computer/science teacher for the program. This is the first year that Corona High School has a computer program. It’s being funded by Amazon. They had an executive from Amazon come to the school to talk to the students about coding. Eric is teaching engineering. This is the oldest program being offered in the STEM academy. They bought the rights to teach PLTW- Project Lead The Way, which teaches engineering students to become tomorrow’s problem solvers. They revamp the curriculum every 3 years so it’s always up to date. Kristian teaches math, aerospace engineering and robotics. They also teach biomedical science, all sorts of fields. The curriculum changes every year. Healthcare careers is another pathway they teach. Like nursing and how to be a first responder. There are also automotive careers. The auto shop has been completely updated so it will be a new shop for when the students return to school. There is an aviation program. Corona High has more FAA approved flight simulators than most schools and some colleges. A lot of these students receive scholarships upon graduation so they can continue in the field they wish to study. PLTW tracks the students to see where they go to college and into what field of study. This was very interesting to learn about all the exciting subjects being taught at Corona High School. You could see the passion these teachers, along with their principal, have about their profession.

To find out more about our guest speakers, please visit our website at www.circlecitycorona.org.

Guest Speaker: Ula Gilewska | Corona, CA

The speaker for June 5th meeting was our Rotary Youth Exchange student, Ula Gilewska. Ula arrived from Poland to the U.S. last August during the Holy Fire here in Corona. Rotarian Karen Maldonado and her family are her host family. Laura Seltzer, (myself) is her Rotary mentor. Ula has five siblings back home, all girls except for one brother. Her parents are doctors and Ula applied for the student exchange program through the local Rotary club in her town.

She has had a very fun filled time here in California. She absolutely loves the beaches here. The Maldonados have taken her to Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Dana Point. She has been to San Diego, Coronado area, and to Santa Barbara. She says in Poland there are no beaches, only the Black Sea. She is attending Santiago High School in Corona as a junior. She joined the track and field team. She attended the Homecoming Dance and the Prom as well. The Rotary Youth Exchange has various weekend outings for all the inbound students. Ula has been to Ventura, Big Bear, San Diego, a camp in the Hollywood Hills and to RYLA. She has made many friends from various countries through this program.

On June 16, Ula, along with several of her fellow exchange students, will be boarding a train that will take her cross country to the East Coast. They will make several stops along the way, and visit at least 7 states. They have a very packed agenda. She is looking forward to this trip. Ula has enjoyed her stay here with the Maldonados and is grateful for all the monetary support Circle City Rotary has given her throughout her visit here. She returns home to Poland in mid July, but has expressed a desire to return to California someday. We will miss her, she is a very sweet and delightful young lady.

To find out more about our guest speakers, please visit our website at www.circlecitycorona.org.

Guest Speaker: John and Kathleen Saville | Corona, CA

Our speakers for May 29th was our fellow Rotarian John Saville and his wife Kathleen. John is a retired pastor and now spends part of his retirement traveling to various states during the summer months to be a temporary chaplain. Upon retiring, John read a book that he highly recommends to everyone, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by American surgeon, Dr. Atul Gawande. The book addresses end-of-life care, hospice care, and also contains Dr. Gawande’s reflections and personal stories. John and his wife went to Alaska in summer of 2018. They stayed at the John Thomas Center for Senior Leadership. This center is focused on promoting healthy senior living in everything they do. They view elders not as patients or care objects but as respected senior leaders and role models in the community. They provide space for privacy, and community spaces for social interactions and group activities. John was their summer chaplain, and he told us how active everyone in this special community truly is.

John says there are three great ways to live out your life. Connect, Create and Contribute and that is exactly what this place inspires in all who live there. Kathleen ran the coffee talk hour. The topic of conversations were about the residents themselves, what was their first job, what was their favorite Christmas. The center was built and is funded by the Lowell Thomas Foundation. Both John and Kathleen had a wonderful time in Alaska, lots of fishing and hiking was done when they were not interacting with the seniors at the center. Thank you John and Kathleen, for caring and sharing your story.

To find out more about our guest speakers, please visit our website at www.circlecitycorona.org.

Guest Speaker: Karen Speigel | Corona, CA

On May 22, Riverside County Supervisor, the Honorable Karen Spiegel, was our guest speaker today. This is the first time in 22 years that a woman has been elected to the board. There is a lot of diversity on this board, and it is comprised of five districts. Supervisor Spiegel’s District 2, covers 5 municipalities. They are Corona, Norco, Jurupa Valley, Eastvale and a portion of the city of Riverside. This is a non-partisan seat. She has retained some of past Supervisor John Taglione’s staff. She is allowing her chief of staff to select her staffers. She personally knows a lot of the people who have applied for various positions and prefers to not appear to be picking favorites. As soon as she was sworn in, her staff took away her paper calendar and now she strictly uses her phone’s calendar. She has about a  $2 million dollar budget. Karen has chosen not to open an office in Corona, because she rather give that money away to be used within the community.

There are four unincorporated areas in Riverside County. There are 22,000 Riverside county employees. Currently the county is in $22 million dollars of debt. County health care centers have contributed to this deficit and the county jails are another factor. Karen is working her best along with her fellow board members to mitigate some of these issues. She would also like to secure more funding for completing the 91 freeway expansion. The county also needs new voting machines and the state will help to defray some of the costs. It was a very informative talk and we thank Supervisor Spiegel for her service.

To find out more about our guest speakers, please visit our website at www.circlecitycorona.org.

Guest Speaker: Don Williamson | Corona, CA

Today, May 15th, our speaker was Don Williamson. Don is the founder of the non-profit Corona History Association. Don came to speak to  us very passionately about the first cemetery in Corona called Corona Sunnyslope Cemetery and about the Potter’s Field that is also there.

The city of Corona was established in 1886. The founding fathers realized the town needed a cemetery and Sunny Slopes was established on Rimpau. A lot of prominent Coronans are buried there. The Potter’s Field was used for indigent families, for persons with unknown identities and for some of the Chinese who lived on the outskirts of town. The last people to be buried in Potter’s Field was in 1940. There are no records of the people who are buried there. For many years the upkeep of Potter’s Field was done by volunteers. When the cemetery was sold to new owners, all of the volunteer upkeep was curtailed. Don is very upset that the new owners have razed all but two of the crosses that were in Potter’s Field and have sold the land to another organization for their burial needs. It is illegal to bury people where there is already an existing grave site. Don has talked to numerous government entities and multiple lawsuits have ensued against the current owners.

There are still living relatives of the people that are buried in Potter’s Field. Don is trying to undue this injustice that has been done to them and the city at large. Thank you Don, for caring and for your very passionate mission in trying to correct this travesty.

To find out more about our guest speakers, please visit our website at www.circlecitycorona.org.

Guest Speakers: Katie Moore & Kevin Royse | Corona, CA

On Wed. May 8th, our guest speakers were Katie Moore and Kevin Royse from the ABC Hopes Foundation.  The foundation is a nonprofit 501c (3) organization that was started in 2013.  Katie’s brother, Christopher, was born with Down’s Syndrome.  His family began the foundation all because of Christopher.  What the ABC stands for in their name.  Their mission is to empower individuals with intellectual disabilities to contribute to society in a positive manner by giving them job opportunities that develop their social, physical, and educational skills.  They accomplish this mission by having participants of their program operate a produce stand at local farmer’s markets, the one here in Corona and Anaheim, and by participating in their fitness program that they partner with the local cross-fit gym. And by members going to various community events and fundraisers. ABC Hopes host fundraisers throughout various times of the year.  In their fitness program, they like the whole family to participate if possible.  Christopher was also present at the talk where he very happily passed out brochures and a bottle of hand sanitizers.  What a great foundation this family has started that will help so many individuals all because of their love for Christopher. Thank you so much for sharing with us about your wonderful organization.

To find out more about our guest speakers, please visit our website at www.circlecitycorona.org.

Guest Speaker: Sue Nichols | Corona, CA

Wed. April 24th our speaker was Sue Nichols from Rosa Parks Elementary School in Eastvale. This is the school where we donate all our signed books each week. Sue is the school’s librarian.

She truly appreciates all of our book donations because she says she has zero budget to purchase new books. Rosa Parks Elementary School is the largest school in the CNUSD. The library contains 52% books that are fiction and 48% that are nonfiction. It is a very large library. Sue has great support from her family. Her late brother built her a castle in a corner of the library for story time and the students can actually sit up in the turrets. Sue also keeps live creatures in her library. She currently has tiger salamanders and crawdads. She shares a lot of her interesting personal collections in the library. Her school is very culturally diverse, so Sue likes to do different themes and talks a lot about the multiple cultures. We could tell that Sue loves her job because of the enthusiasm she shared with us in speaking about her library. We thought her library was extremely cool. It also seems like a mini hands-on museum as well. What lucky children who attend that school and get to enjoy Sue and that very awesome library! Thank you Sue, so happy our donated books are being loved and used at your school.

To find out more about our guest speakers, please visit our website at www.circlecitycorona.org.

Guest Speaker: Jane Moore | Corona, CA

This past Wed on April 17th our speaker was Jane Moore from Pencils and Dreams. Pencils and Dreams is a fundraising partner with vetted organizations and schools that improve educational options for children in Tanzania. Jane visited Tanzania with her family in 2005. She went to see the country and the wildlife in person, not just on a documentary, but she fell in love with the people. Jane was an educator for 40 years, and she was overwhelmed by the children’s desire to learn. When she returned home from her trip, she had a dream about building schools for the children they had met. And over the past 9 years that is exactly what this organization has been doing. And it is all done through donations. Presently they are partnering with two incredible schools, these schools are having a tremendous impact on the students. These students will be the future leaders of Tanzania. Pencils and Dreams has a goal of giving each school $10,000 every year. And Jane knows they will reach it thanks to the generosity of all the donors. Thank you Jane for your generous heart, and vision we enjoyed your talk today.

To find out more about our guest speakers, please visit our website at www.circlecitycorona.org.

Guest Speaker: Cyndi Monroe | Corona, CA

Our Rotary speaker for Wed. April 3rd. was Cyndi Monroe. Cyndi is the founder and director of CATS, Christian Arts Theatre, group. She started the theatre 20 years ago. She says she had no clue on how to start a new business, but she was able to recruit people to help her start the theatre company. It’s a nonprofit organization for children. They offer all sorts of classes besides theatre arts. The theatre is a magnet for all types of kids. Besides acting classes, they teach make-up, set design and how to make costumes. Not all the kids that join necessarily wish to perform. And those that do, need to audition for the roles. Cyndi says valuable life lessons are being learned. Not everyone that auditions gets a part. The kids learn that we don’t always get what we want. Parents of the students build the sets for the plays. There are a lot of team building activities. In the past 20 years they have had 20,000 kids go through their program. Less than 1% are still performing, but most grow up to be amazing human beings. Thank you Cyndi for coming and speaking to our club about your wonderful theatre company.

To find out more about our guest speakers, please visit our website at www.circlecitycorona.org.