Wow!! And we’re off …

Under the District 5330 theme for 2014-2015, “Service with Passion” every member of The Rotary Club of Palm Springs has been encouraged to work hard to achieve this goal while at the same time, to do their part to “Light Up Rotary” as charged by Rotary International President Gary C.K. Huang. Every member has been charged to stay true to the principles of Rotary while also remembering our club’s core values of fun, strong fellowship and impactful and sustainable service. These values have made us the great club that we are today and will continue to be our guiding light as seek to “Light Up” the new members of the club and shine even brighter than before.

While not Rotary specific, on a personal level it was especially meaningful to me to receive the 2014 Presidential Call To Service Lifetime Achievement Award. The President’s Call To Service Award provides national recognition for demonstrating a commitment to volunteerism. Having my community, friends, family and my alma matar congratulate me on this recognition will always be something that I cherish and remember.

The first meeting of this Rotary year was at a new venue. Since the restaurant search was the first task for this year, it is great to see that members have responded favorably to the decision. All attendees were presented with this year’s Rotary theme pin – “Light Up Rotary”.

The Club Assembly provided our attendees with a good look at what will be a very exciting 2014-2015 Rotary year. At the Club Assembly, the District’s focus on education, and Rotary’s emphasis on fellowship and fun was shared. Our local emphasis will include these important components of success, as well as a strong commitment to community service. A handout was distributed that describes the various committees and responsibilities that will make this year a success and a serve as a great reference guide.

The following goals were presented for this year:

**We will implement “Vocational Minutes” throughout the year, affording members the opportunity to share their background with fellow Rotarians. And we will continue with successful “Change the Clock, Change the Batteries” program.

**Informative and interesting guest speakers are planned, and suggestions from all members is solicited. Interact, EarlyAct, PRYDE, and RYLA will be supported. And of course the club will host the incredible Angel View Prom.

**Our club will maintain: an accurate club roster, photography at our meetings and events, increase membership, maintain a positive public image, include a spiritual thought in our meetings, provide sunshine to our members by recognizing birthdays and sending cards in times of sickness, have a Thanksgiving gathering, a Holiday Auction and Christmas Luncheon, Light Up Rotary Day, Past Presidents’ Recognition, and the Demotion Dinner.

**There will be a membership kickoff event that will be held later this summer. During this year the goal is to increase our membership with more like-minded professionals who want fellowship, networking and to positively impact our communities.

**The goal is to earn Every Rotarian Every Year, donating an average of $200 per person. Our club’s Paul Harris Fellows (signifying contribution to the Foundation of a minimum of $1,000) include four past district governors, 39 past presidents, 173 all-time members, 29 active members, 12 benefactors, 3 Bequest Society members, and 3 major donors. Our total membership donations as of May, 2014, stands at an incredible $586,036.20!

**Our club will continue to support international service and vocational service hosting a job shadow day for students.

Some of our achievements as “we are off” include:

**Three new members were inducted in July. Mentors have been established for each new member in addition to their sponsor.

**Turnout has been excellent.

**The latest Coins for Kids Committee donation was to purchase 80 school “uniform” T-shirts for Cahuilla Elementary School. These are for those students whose parents cannot afford to purchase these shirts.

**“Souper Wednesday,” was on the third Wednesday with members bringing canned goods or non-perishable foods to the Club meeting. The food is collected and given to “Well in the Desert” to help feed needy families in the Valley.

**Our club is helping to support the Palm Springs Public Library’s July school supply drive, which will benefit the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center.

**There has been encouragement at meetings for members to be sustaining members of the Rotary Foundation. A $100 annual gift, the benchmark for the initiative, comes out to roughly $2 a week. What can The Rotary Foundation do with your $2 a week ($100 annual gift)?

* Provide three cataract surgeries in India
* Buy 15 packets of teaching materials for a school in Costa Rica
* Feed a family in India or Pakistan for six months
* Bring clean water to 600 school kids in Africa

**This month we had excellent speakers. One guest was a 2010 Palm Springs High School graduate. He is a shining example of how our Rotary Club Foundation scholarships can make a huge difference in one’s life. Coming from an environment of gangs and personal tragedies, he dedicated himself to furthering his education. Our club foundation’s scholarships assisted him in being able to afford to attend two years at College of the Desert, where he excelled as a running back on the Roadrunners’ football team. He was then offered an athletic scholarship at the University of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he will be a senior this year, majoring in criminal justice. Our club foundation presented him with a $1,000 scholarship, which will be used to assist with his housing, meals, and books.

**Also the other scholarship recipients were highlighted for club members that are receiving club foundation scholarships. Included is a student who will be entering University of California Berkeley this fall, and a student who is entering his junior year at University of California Irvine.

Being President of the Rotary Club of Palm Springs is a such a great experience and opportunity to be of service.