On June 22nd 2019, at least sixteen Circle City Rotarians and their friends and family helped to spruce up the gazebo area of Santana Park in preparation for the city’s annual 4th of July festivities.
We arrived at the park ready to work. We painted the grills, and also the picnic tables. The trash cans were also painted, and we removed any and all visible graffiti in and around the area. We were assisted by Mark, city staff personnel who brought us the supplies we needed to do the job. It took about 2 ½ hours of our time since we had so many helping hands. It was a productive morning and we left the area sparkling ready to be enjoyed by Corona residents. Great job everyone!!
At our June 26th meeting, we disbursed our funds collected at our annual Fire and Ice Chili Cook Off and Craft Beer Festival. This is by far the favorite meeting of the year for most of us in Circle City Rotary. Over $22,000 was given away to local non-profits. And all of the books that we collect year round were given to Sue Nichols, the librarian at Rosa Parks elementary school in Eastvale. We can’t wait till next year’s Fire and Ice Festival on Sat. February 29th, leap year, to be bigger and better than ever, so we can give even more away!!
To find out more about our Fire & Ice Chili Cook Off and Craft Beer Festival, please visit our website atwww.circlecitycorona.org.
June 5th our Rotary Club had 2 employee honorees as our guests. They were recognized by fellow Rotarians, Linda Pearson with the Corona Regional Medical Center nominated Pilar Triguero and Jeff Fraser with Master Stream ERP nominated Heidi Juarez. These folks were nominated for their outstanding work at these companies. Bill Steinkirchner owner of Stone Church, also nominated 2 employees who could not join us for our meeting. Well done everyone!
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.
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.
Our speakers for March 6th, were Diane McDonald, Ruth Olson and Jill Wakefield. These women along with fellow Rotarian, Elaine Harris, provide support groups at local Corona schools for adolescent grief and loss. Jill Wakefield spoke about how grieving causes some people to get depressed. And in turn can lead to drinking and drugs to deal with their depression. She helps students to process grief through art. She has her students draw a happy memory, or an object to remember their lost loved one in a happy way. She says boys tend to get angry, and girls turn inward. These sessions help them to cope with their grief. At the end of their therapy sessions, they have a party and everyone is asked to bring their loved ones favorite foods.
Ruth Olson is a counselor and works with Elaine Harris at Santiago High School. She says the kids in the therapy sessions feel connected to each other because they are all experiencing grief. They learn from one another. They try to get the students to focus on the positive. A grieving student tends to miss a lot of school. The number one reason is due to anxiety. Diane McDonald works at Corona Regional Medical Center hospice program. A typical session group are 8-10 students for 8 weeks of therapy. She asks the students at the end of the sessions if they are helped with the counseling. A lot of the kids only come to school on counseling days because they know they will be seeing their friends in therapy. They learn that their depression is part of the process. They know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Diane does a lot of grant writing to get funding for the program. Many thanks to all these women for the invaluable service they provide to our youth who are grieving.
Our speaker on Feb. 13th was none other than fellow Rotarian Chris Miller. Chris is a long time Rotary member and his topic was leaving your legacy. Chris’ family moved to Corona when he was very young. His parents purchased Thomas Miller Mortuary, the longest operating business in the city of Corona. This business began in 1891! His parents began to get involved with volunteering. His father joined the Lions Club and his mom joined the Soroptomist. Chris states he acquired his work ethic from his parents. He also says that his parents were/are excellent examples of what it means to give. When Chris joined Rotary at the ripe old age of 25, he says he used to bring his baby daughter to meetings while his wife went to work. He says he has been blessed with a very successful business and enjoys giving back to the community. Rotarians all want to give back, that’s why we joined the club! Thank you Chris for your many years of caring giving!
On Jan. 30th our guest speakers were Rudy and Karyn Westerville. They came to speak about Rotary World Peace Conference which will take place on Jan. 17-18 2020 at the Ontario Convention Center. There are 6 local Rotary districts, including ours, that put this conference together. Experts are brought in to discuss various problems that are occurring at the local level. They seek solutions to these problems. After the last Peace Conference, a human trafficking network was shut down. Launch Detroit and Atlanta started to help revive those cities. Micro loans were made available to help new entrepreneurs. They also try to find solutions to cyber bullying, domestic violence, gun violence and homelessness. Also to help find solutions to stop illiteracy, to curb alcohol and drug abuse. At the conference attending Rotarians are taught to find solutions to all of these issues. This convention is focused on Peace and in seeking solutions to all these worldwide problems. This convention will be open to the public, you do not need to be a Rotarian to attend. The Solutions to Peace Foundation donated $35k to the Paradise Rotary Club to assist the victims of the Paradise Fire. This was a very interesting and informative topic. Our thanks to fellow Rotarians, the Westervilles.
Ula Gilewska is from Poland and she has been living with member Karen Maldonado and her family since August of 2018. She arrived during the Holy Fire out in the Cleveland National Forest. Ula attends Santiago High School and is currently a junior. She has been on several trips through the Rotary Youth Exchange program. And the Maldonado family has taken her to Las Vegas and several times to the beach. She spent New Year’s Eve in Oceanside with a friend she met through the Youth Exchange. She is enjoying her time here and loves the California beaches. She also says the teachers here in the States are very helpful to the students, more so than in her country. She will be staying here until her time to return home in June.