Launched in 2011, Rotary Family Health Days (RFHD) is now active in a half-dozen countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.  This program is led by Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention in partnership with the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, the U.S. Mission – including the Centers for Disease Control, USAID and the health service delivery expertise of their implementing partners – and Ministries of Health.   Media partners promote Rotary Family Health Days in each of the countries.  In each country, Rotarians work alongside thousands of volunteers to help in various ways.

Becky Blanton is a writer, photographer and former journalist who found herself homeless, but bounced back to tell her story and inspire others.  Ms. Blanton had planned on living in her van for a year and see the country with her cat and dog.  When depression set in and her freelance job ended, her camping trip turned into homelessness.  In her talk, she describes her experience of becoming one of America's working homeless.

First and Foremost, I wish to thank the members of the Rotary eClub of Southwest USA for their support of the Float promoting Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation in the annual Tournament of Roses, Rose Parade.  This is the fourth consecutive year the Float has received your support!

2017 Rotary Rose Parade Float

As hopefully most of you watched the Rose Parade last year, you are aware that our Float won the Princess Trophy for the most beautiful float under 35 feet.

The Rotary Foundation transforms your gifts into changed lives that are close to home and around the world.  For more than 100 years, your Foundation has spent 3 billion USD on service projects.  The PolioPlus and Annual Fund-SHARE contributions go to solve problems with solutions proposed by fellow Rotarians from more than 35,000 Rotary Clubs.  Mary Beth Growney Selene states, “Once I was introduced to The Rotary Foundation, I felt good.  I wasn’t until I really understood our Rotary Foundation and its many nuances that I became committed to our Rotary Foundation.”

Our meeting this week will be the first online of the Rotary year and will be a joint meeting with our sister eClub in the District, the Rotary E-Club of Arizona.  District Governor Nancy Van Pelt will be sharing her thoughts for Rotary District 5495.

DG Nancy believes that the magic of Rotary is our capacity to bring together individuals with common interests and shared values, offering them a way to pool their talents and resources to benefit a greater good.  She places great value on capacity-building and leadership development.  Her visit is your opportunity to see Nancy’s commitment to using her vocational skills to support Rotary International and the Clubs in Rotary District 5495.

As many of us are aware, ReCSWUSA has had a large turnover in members since we were first chartered in April 2004.  While we do a good job introducing our new members to the Club, we do a poor job introducing our current members to each other.  Throughout this Rotary year, President Don Griffing has talked about member engagement.  It is difficult to engage with someone who you do not know.  This fireside chat program is an attempt to change that.

We are taught to try to live life without regret.  But why?  Using her own tattoo as an example, Kathryn Schulz makes a powerful and moving case for embracing our regrets.

William Ury, author of Getting to Yes, offers an elegant, simple – not easy – way to create agreement in even the most difficult situations -- from family conflict to, perhaps, the Middle East.

Shivani Siroya is the founder of Tala Mobile, a Santa Monica, California, US, which makes micro-loans in Kenya, Tanzania, and the Philippines.  Tala developed an app that would-be borrowers download onto their cell phones.  The app uses a person's routine habits to identify behaviors that are more meaningful than traditional credit scoring for loan repayment.

Rotarian Bouba Hamadou shows how Rotary Clubs can come together on any of the six areas of focus in his home are on Malam Petel in Extreme-Nord, Cameroon.

Rotary eClub of the Southwest USA member, Linnaya Graf, shares some of her vocational knowledge and research on the importance of basic education and literacy.

The Computer-Assisted Literacy Solution (CALS) is a program that helps children and adults with varying skill levels build fluency in the foundation skills of reading and math.  Individualized training streams and a focus on motivational principles improves self-esteem and confidence to deliver impressive results.  The program can be accessed anywhere using a computer with high speed/broadband access to the internet.

In his February 2017 program Sam Brown described the initial stages of his project to have volunteers knit squares that would be part of afghans.  In the current program he describes the process of assembling the afghans and distributing them to students in Mexico who are being sponsored by Project Amigo,

What value can we can through transformative change?  Relevance, growth, greater global impact, and more are possible if we have the courage to change.  RIPE Barry Rassin touched on this at the 2017 Rotary International Assembly in his remarks to the 2017/18 District Governors.

Sherry Turkle studies how technology is shaping our modern relationships: with others, with ourselves, with it.  She has observed that we use online personas to redefine human connection and communication.  

In 2003, a Rotary Youth Exchange student sat next to Brittany Arthur in class at her suburban school in Australia, and changed her life forever.  Inspired to study abroad, Arthur graduated from universities in Australia, Germany, and Japan.  She received a scholarship from the Japanese Ministry of Education and was a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar in Germany.  Today, Arthur provides businesses with the tools and talent they need to expand into international markets.

The mission of the Learning Technologies Media Lab is to inspire and create opportunities for global collaboration in addressing humanity's most pressing educational, social, and environmental issues by designing and evaluating innovative technology-mediated solutions for learners, educators, researchers, and organizations worldwide.


Storytelling is a way that our society and cultures educate and share values with others in a way that entertains and can be preserved for the future.  It has been a while since we have had a short story as our program.  Leopard is a short story by Wells Tower about an eleven-year-old boy and his day off from school.

Seth Godin argues the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past: tribes.  Founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change.  He urges us to do so.

President Don has prepared a short video to give some of his background, concerns for the Club, the goals for the coming year.