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Karen’s Korner, Vol. 5: Why Service Matters

We all know that as Rotarians, our motto is “Service Above Self”, but what does that really mean and why? Here is my take:

Growing up, my parents did not instill the concept of doing service. They were too busy raising four children and keeping up with work, house maintenance, and taxiing us all over the place. My first real experience with service was in college, when my sorority (yes, I was a Greek, but that is another story) visited the elderly and the disabled. It was hard for me to meet others who could not walk or speak, but I walked away feeling more “whole” for the experience in a way I could not put into words.

As an attorney, I am bound by the rules of ethics to provide pro bono time to indigent clients each year as a way of giving back. As I mediate and do not go to court, my service hours have been spent managing major projects for the County Bar Association and the Superior Court Family Division. While the countless hours I spent on those projects benefitted many in our community, it was not the hands-on service I longed for. Having healthy skin and reduce wrinkles is a concern of both women and men, but this is not so easy to achieve, since age, skin care or simply the daily expressions that we have when laughing, crying or frowning. Frown eventually cause frown lines.

So I joined Rotary, where I could be in service to others directly. There is satisfaction in serving. It is immediate help to others, it provides a path for Rotarians to become closer and build the bonds of friendship, and it directly impacts the community in ways that other service opportunities cannot. It brings us together.

Service for me is about connecting our community and building bonds with others, not out of a sense of pity but a genuine, heartfelt desire for inclusion – to demonstrate that we all belong, that we all are deserving of love and compassion, and we all are entitled to love and care in no matter what shape or form it comes.

Whether we are serving the homeless, reading to children at a local school, loading backpacks for underserved kids, cleaning up parks, or sponsoring our high school students in Interact and other projects, we bring a sense of love, care, and commitment to everything we do. We show others that they matter and that we are all the same.

Being of service is an act of love towards others and to ourselves; it completes us. Because what we give comes back to us in ways we never could have imagined.

Yours in service,

Karen’s Korner, Vol. 3

From time to time, our President Karen Russell will write an article or missive to keep you up to date on what we are up to… or other random thoughts.

I have had two members come to me in the past few weeks to ask if they should continue as club members because their jobs keep them from coming to weekly club lunches. They said they do not feel like active members if they cannot come to lunch. That got me thinking…

What does it mean to be an “active” member of Campbell Rotary?

First of all, it is not just about coming to lunch. Yes, that is part of it, but not all. Lots of things happen at lunch — club announcements, happy/sad dollars, and the marble draw, as well as a great lineup of speakers.

Not being at lunch really does make a member feel disconnected and out of the loop. So I have been thinking of ways to make lunch come to those who cannot come to it. Here are a few ideas I have and I need help implementing them:

  1. Send all club announcements via ClubRunner so all members have them. These include upcoming events and sign ups as well as service opportunities.
  2. Offer online signups for all club events.
  3. Live stream meetings so remote members can watch during lunch hours.
  4. Post videos of weekly speakers on our website and social media.
  5. Put the Happy/Sad shares in a summary and send that out via ClubRunner so all members know what is happening in people’s lives.

But again, coming to lunch is only part of the Rotary experience. At Campbell Rotary, we ask that members participate in two activities a month — that can include lunch, as well as a club board/committee meeting, social event, or service project.

Rotary is also letting board members know about the things that matter to you. It is caring about your club and participating in the way that best works for you. We have members who cannot come to lunch, and they are significant contributors to the club and the Rotary Community Corps. They support the club “behind the scenes.”

All members matter, and not just because of the “numbers”. Rotarians are generous of spirit, active in their communities, and leaders in their professions and professional organizations. They believe in the good in the world and in making the world better for others. Rotarians act with integrity in their daily lives.

Being a Rotarian is about sharing a spirit of service and of taking action to make our community better. It is about developing relationships and friendships within the club, and living the principles of the Four-Way Test.

When the two members who came to me with their concerns heard this response, I’m happy to report they decided to stay. You see, they discovered they are active members after all.

Yours in service,

Picnic in the Park

Join the Rotary Club of Campbell on October 3rd for our annual outdoor lunch at John D. Morgan Park. We’ll meet at the picnic tables by the ball fields on the Rincon Avenue side of the park. As usual, lunch will be catered by the kitchen at Uplift Family Services.

We hope to see you there! As always, stay tuned to our website and Facebook page for more details about our meetings, projects, and socials. If you like good people and giving back, you should think about Rotary.

FYI: Our lunch on Tuesday, October 17th, will be at the Morgan Autism Center, 950 St. Elizabeth Dr., San José (between Meridian and Leigh), when our club will be recognized for our support of their work.

Backpack Drive with Uplift Family Services

For the eighth consecutive year, Campbell Rotarians volunteered to assemble backpacks for local students with the help of Uplift Family Services. More than 450 backpacks were filled with school supplies following our weekly lunch. This service event was highlighted by a story in the Campbell Reporter.

Our club is honored to play even a small part in improving outcomes for at risk youth. If you’d like to learn more and join us for one of our volunteer opportunities, send an email to Community Service Committee Chair Bob Carlson.

Relay for Life 2016

John Shannon and Jerry Cummings prep the breakfast tent

John Shannon and Jerry Cummings prep the breakfast tent

Last Saturday, our club provided delicious scrambled eggs, sausage, and pastries for cancer survivors and their caretakers at Campbell’s annual Relay for Life, sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Special thanks go to Bob Siudzinsky for organizing our group and to Jimmy Zien and his crew from the Home Church for setting up, taking down, storing the goods, and cooking the eggs. (City Manager and Rotarian Mark Linder was the chef on site for the yummy sausages.)

Also pitching in from our club were Carol Hoffman, Kit Whitney, Jerry Cummings, Bob Carlson, Peter Allen, Bill Ellington, Mike Anderson, and the unstoppable Bill Highley. Former Campbell Rotarian Janine Payton escaped just long enough from Colorado to take a lap in the relay. And speaking of escapes, John Shannon was “arrested and held in jail” until a nice lady posted his “bail.”

All part of the FUNdraising!