Fire and Ice Update: Check Disbursement Time! | Corona, CA

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 at

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

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

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

Guest Speakers: Diane McDonald, Ruth Olson and Jill Wakefield | Corona, CA

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.

To find out more about our guest speakers, please visit our website at

Guest Speaker: Kevin Fleming | Corona, CA

Our speaker for Feb. 27th was Dr. Kevin Fleming. His topic was Redefining the Goal: The Changing Climate of Education, Career Readiness, and Economic Development. Dr. Fleming is the Vice President of Norco College. Norco College has been in existence for 28 years. It is no longer a satellite of Riverside Community College. They service about 15,000 students a year. There seems to be a disconnect between formal education and being employable. At Norco College, they believe that work experience, combined with industry credentials, give the students a competitive edge. There are 15 career clusters in the state of California. Norco College offers courses for 10 of these clusters. Norco College also partners with Corona-Norco Unified School District, by providing college credits for students enrolled in their courses while attending the local high schools. There is also a huge savings in first attending Norco College, then transferring to a either a Cal State, UC, or a private institution. Norco College plans on offering a 4 year degree in the near future. Thank you to Dr. Fleming for a very enthusiastic talk.

To find out more about our guest speakers, please visit our website at

Guest Speaker: Kathy Wright | Corona, CA

Kathy Wright was the Circle City Rotary guest speaker on Wed. Dec. 12th.   Kathy is the President of the Friends of the Corona Public Library.  The Friends organization is a non-profit dedicated to supporting our Library in providing the best programs, services, materials and experience for library visitors. Friends membership, the BookShop, and Adopt-a-Book all make this possible.  We have a very active Friends group. The Friends believe that the strength of a library lies not only in its collection of books and materials but also in its programs and services.  Here are some numbers from the Friends contribution to our library from 1993-2017:  $5,537,466 total value of contributions to the Library.  250,775 Friends volunteer hours for the Library valued at $4,082,105 based on an Independent Sector website.  60 average number of active volunteers.  $1,018,838 value of books given to the Library for the Library Collection, based on a value provided by the Library.  $481,460 the value of major gifts given to the Library.  The Friends volunteers are involved by either serving on the Board, or by working in the BookShop.  The BookShop is one of the BEST used book stores around.  It’s vast collection of items is well known throughout the Inland Empire.  They receive many donations from outlying cities, not only from folks living in Corona. It was a very informative talk, and we all got to learn a lot about this very dedicated group.

To find out more about Circle City Rotary Club guest speakers, please visit our website at

Guest Speaker: Russ March | Corona, CA

At our last meeting our speaker was Russ March, principal at Victress Bower School for Exceptional Children.  Russ is very passionate about his students and his project.  It is called the Mobility Project.  Russ works at a school where most of  the students are mobility challenged.  The students have several pieces of equipment each that take up a lot of space in a very limited classroom. What this project is about, is to install lift systems in the ceiling of each of the classrooms.  It is vitally important for these students to be upright, so their circulatory, digestive, and respiratory systems can function properly.  The students are unable to assist the staff in getting into their equipment.  The ceiling lift systems are typically safer to use than any other type.  They are very expensive.  Russ started the project 2 years ago when the school used $15,000 of their General Fund budget to install a lift system in their Mobility/Sensory Room.  The students go there to experience sound, smell, tactile and visual stimulation which calms them.  Russ is looking to team up with other local non-profits in the area, such as Rotary clubs. With this monetary help, his dream of putting ceiling lifts in all the classrooms can be realized.  We were all inspired with Russ’ vision.

 To find out more about Circle City Rotary Club guest speakers, please visit our website at

Guest Speaker: Ross Newhan | Corona, CA

Last week’s speaker was Ross Newhan.  Ross is a fellow Rotarian in the Corona Rotary group.  He is a retired sports writer for the Los Angeles Times. He had a long career there for 35 years.  Ross regaled us with stories of legendary baseball figures, that he covered while writing for the LA Dodgers and LA/Anaheim Angels baseball teams.  He also said that he got on Tommy Lasorda’s nerves quite a few times.  Ross also wrote about several Olympic games and several Triple Crowns.  He says he only had one job his entire career and that he was very lucky. He has always had a passion for the written word. He was the sports editor for his high school paper.  He didn’t have a clue what to do in life when he graduated from high school.  He started to write for a local newspaper in Long Beach. He began writing there and kept getting bigger and bigger assignments. He enrolled in Long Beach State, in case “this journalism thing” didn’t work out. When the Angels team formed, Ross was assigned to write for the team.  He got to meet former President Dwight Eisenhower at the Angels spring training camp in Palm Springs.  He ended up interviewing him.  Ross has too many favorite players to be able to pick only one.  In 2001 he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in the writer’s wing.  He currently writes a blog called, Newhan on Baseball.  We all laughed with Ross that this “ journalism thing” ended up being a great thing after all. Thank you Ross for sharing your interesting career with us.

To find out more about Circle City Rotary Club guest speakers, please visit our website at

Circle City Rotary- Service Project October 2018 | Corona, CA

Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 8th and 9th,  6 CCR Rotarians participated in the SACK Foundation Conference.  We were asked by Shirley, to please come to Crossroads Church in Corona where the conference is held and to interact with the 4th grade students that attended.  On Monday, Danny M.  Karen M. and myself participated.  We played Go Fish card game, a game called, Let’s Go Fishing, and we brought beads and string so the students could make day bracelets.  There was also a coloring station.  But the absolute biggest hit of the day was Danny’s puppy,  Adria, which is a therapy dog in training.  The children really enjoyed hearing Danny explain to them how she trains the puppy, and of course they got to pet her as well.  Adria was a real trooper that day and got lots of training in patience.  Tuesday, Gordy, Mark A. and Ray V. attended the conference. They had a great time engaging with the children.

To find out more about Circle City Rotary Club service projects, please visit our website at