We were pleased to welcome Sally Ashton as the guest speaker for our Valentine’s lunch meeting. Sally is a poet, writer, teacher, and editor of the DMQ Review, an online journal featuring poetry and art. She is currently finishing up a two-year term as Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County. This honorary post was created by the Board of Supervisors in 2008.
The mission of the Poet Laureate is to:
- Elevate poetry in the awareness of Santa Clara County residents and to help celebrate the literary arts;
- Serve as an advocate for poetry, literature, and the arts;
- Lead a community project that makes poetry more accessible; and
- Contribute to Santa Clara County’s poetry and literary legacy.
Sally was appointed to the post of Poet Laureate beginning April 1, 2011, for a two year term expiring March 31, 2013. She is the second poet laureate, following Nils Peterson, Professor Emeritus at San Jose State University.
As part of her presentation, Sally read a number of beautiful poems having to do with love and relationships. She also introduced us to her Poet Laureate Blog, where you can learn more about the poetry scene in Santa Clara County. Continue reading Sally Ashton, Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County
Just a year after hearing from the West Valley – Mission Community College District at our luncheon last April, they are back — in the name of Chad Walsh, who also happens to be a member of the Rotary Club of Saratoga and a candidate for the California State Assembly, facing off against incumbent Paul Fong in two weeks.
Chad talked extensively about the local and statewide California Community College system, and touched briefly on the local bond Measure C, also on the ballot June 5, in support of WVMCCD
As a reminder that our Club’s influence stretches well beyond Campbell & Willow Glen, today’s guest was Pete Constant, the city council member from San Jose’s District One, which stretches mostly northeast of Campbell to the SJ borders with Cupertino and Santa Clara.
After presenting a brief introduction of his career, Councilmember Constant spoke exclusively about San Jose’s annual budget challenges, and shared details about the proposed Measure B Pension Reform, which will appear on the ballot on June 5.
In addition to representing the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority, today’s speaker also has ties to Rotary through Janine Payton and David Keller. But we let her speak anyway!
Andrea Mackenzie is the General Manager of the SCC OSA.
Santa Clara County Open Space Authority is an independent special district – rather than a part of county government – and is governed by an elected board of directors.
Its jurisdiction is all of Santa Clara County with the exception of lands and communities within the boundaries of Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District and the city of Gilroy. The cities of Milpitas, Santa Clara, Campbell, San Jose and Morgan Hill participate in OSA.
The purpose of the Open Space Authority is to preserve key portions of the natural environment in order to balance continuing urban growth. Buying land, acquiring easements, contributing funds to joint conservation efforts, and careful land management are OSA’s major preservation tools.
The Authority was created by the state legislature at the urging of community leaders who saw the importance of maintaining the ecological integrity of the region. A Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) continues to serve as a community liaison.
The Authority is funded primarily through a special benefit assessment. Grants and gifts are another source of revenue.
If you didn’t know that San Jose State University has a racing team, you do now!
SJSU Spartan Racing is the San Jose State University student chapter of the SAE International, formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Students accept the challenge of organizing a team to design, build, amrket and compete three different vehicles; Formula SAE, Mini Baja SAE and Formula Hybrid SAE (Electric). Their goal is to give members a chance to utilize the knowledge attained at SJSU and apply it in the “real world,” giving them the competitive edge when joining the workforce after graduation.
In addition to competing in SAE events, the racing club also works “outside the track” representing their club and supporting other racers in our community. They are the number one performing team in California (#1 in CA, #16 nationally, and 57th out of 481 teams in the World), and are working to help other teams improve their results.
We also heard from the Rotary Club of East Evergreen, which operates Elefante Blanco as a charitable arm of that club’s foundation. Check it out!
Campbell Rotary is committed to learning more about our community! Today for lunch, we heard from the Campbell Adult and Community Education program … which is committed to helping our community learn more about everything!
CACE was represented by adult education director Bob Harper and Rhonda Farber, superintendent of Campbell Union HS District. They also welcomed Joseph Lozano, an adult student of the CACE program.
Mr. Harper reviewed the history of Adult Education in America and presented statistics highlighting the importance of these programs in the past and through modern day. In fact, literacy and reading competence is the leading indicator of criminal recidivism in the adult prison population. Seniors attending classes tend to maintain high-level mental functions and tend to be healthier and more active then those who do not. Job training across the workforce is another continuing need in our nation
Locally, the adult education program was assimilated into the District in 2009, and Bob joined the staff in 2010. One of out four adults in Santa Clara County do not have a high school diploma, and many struggle as English language learners. CACE has more than 100 classes in multiple locations, including high school credit recovery classes and a small collection of senior lifestyle classes. In particular, CACE tries to work with students — and their immigrant parents — to increase their literacy before they leave high school.
Rotarians are so committed to our community that it becomes almost impossible to keep track of it all. To learn about one such treasure, we welcomed Lori Gaskin, president of the West Valley College, the closer campus of the West Valley Mission Community College District. Lori is also a member of the Saratoga Rotary Club.
Lori reviewed the three-tiers of higher education in California, the University of California’s 10 campuses, the 23 campuses in the California State University system, and the 112 Community Colleges across the state. The Mission for the Community Colleges is to provide transfer preparation, career and technical education, and foundation skills for students in California. 55% of CSU grads and 30% of UC grads began higher education in the Community College system.
West Valley College began instruction in 1964 at a location in Campbell. In June, WVC will be returning to Campbell with a satellite campus at the Campbell Community Center. The college also offers nearly 100 online courses.
Lori emphasized that the Community College enrolls the “Top 100%” of student, who include high schoolers graduating at the top of their class, the educationally disenfranchised, redirected applicants from UCs and CSUs, economically disadvantaged, single parents, returning veterans, students with no family support, and many with no English skills. WVC also runs a “Middle College” program for students who want to complete high school. The College bestows 800 degrees annually, and transfers 700 students each year to other colleges (the most transfer to UCLA).
Today we welcomed Neil Collins, the Executive Director of the Campbell Chamber of Commerce.
Neil assumed the Executive Director position at the beginning of 2010. Prior to coming to the Chamber, he had been the President of the Downtown Campbell Business Association. He has previously owned and operated Trailsloggers Outdoor Discovery Gear located in Downtown Campbell. Neil is responsible for all day-to-day operations and long term growth of the Chamber.
And, YES …. the Rotary Club of Campbell is a member business of the Chamber, and we encourage Rotarians to take advantage of our membership benefits.
After giving a shortened version of their presentation to the Campbell City Council a few weeks ago, FIRST5 of Santa Clara County inspired Campbell Mayor Jason Baker to invite them to Rotary to present a more thorough introduction to FIRST5.
FIRST5′s Policy Director Tyson Jue and Theresa Alvarado shared more about the impact the organization has locally, including a video that highlights the Bay Area FIRST5s.
Tyson presented statistics for preschool participation, children’s health care insurance, and kindergarten readiness in our local area.
The team also distributed the Summer 2010 edition of “Take5,” the organization’s quarterly newsletter. FIRST5 also produces w more-frequent email newsletter, Our Children’s Voice, to which anyone can subscribe.
Today, we heard from Chris Wilder, the executive director of the VMC Foundation, which supports the charitable health programs of the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.
Saving Our Public Hospital with Social Media
Chris introduced the valuable role that Valley Medical Center plays in the overall quality of life in our area, and then explained how the Foundation supports programs for children and low-income families.
He also told a story of saving VMC with foundation video and his weblog The Wilder Side of Health.”
He talked about using video to share the mission of the Foundation, and demonstrated links to a video about an earthquake survivor who appreciated VMC. he also talked about the recent “Give a Booster Shot” campaign.
And Mike also presented his plan to promote the current Measure A campaign, which will support the first-of-its-kind child health insurance system in Santa Clara Valley; A Vote for Kids.
This is not the first time we’ve discussed Valley Medical Center at our weekly luncheons. In fact, we heard from Denise Carr earlier this year.
This is also not the first time we’ve heard about social media, so your Rotary Club is now officially ensconced in the 21st Century!