Today’s speaker is also a visiting Rotarian!
Lisa Huening has launched “The Shifting Path” to help family caregivers navigate challenges of elder care. In addition to being a member of the Saratoga Rotary Club, she is on the board of the Saratoga Senior Center, and is the founder/owner of The Shifting Path.
California has long been one of the younger states (on average), but our elder community is growing rapidly. By 2035, California will be home to more than 8.4 million senior citizens. Lisa asserts our state’s health care system is too fragmented and confusing for our elder population to manage without significant help from family members, which extends the stress of managing health care to another generation.
Taking Care of Yourself
Lisa presented the following key considerations for making sure you,
Health – “Put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others.” She encourages people to develop a strategic plan that includes limits and meeting for all of the family members. You also need to take time for yourself every day to recharge.
Support System – “A strong individual is someone who asks for help.” Ask family, neighbors, and friends for support with simple tasks that relieve your stress. Consider connecting with local churches, government agencies, caregiver support groups, and other service providers. Also be aware of family dynamics, and consdider a care manager to navigate conflicts and find other resources.
Organization – The more organized you can be, the more time you’ll have to enjoy your loved-ones. Documents are heard to keep track of, including birth certificate, health care directives, care waivers, contact details, insurance cards, etc. Home safety is also dependent on good organization!
Fianancial Plan – Discussing parental finances can be very tricky, but it critical to understanding what services can be brought into your situation. Its also common for only one parent to know the financial details. Consider a certified financial planner as a starting point, and look into long-term care insurance.
Today’s lunch featured guest speaker Brian Schmaedick, Principal of Rosemary School. Brian thanked the club for its consistent support of the school, one of the most impacted and disadvantaged in our area. He was especially grateful to the Rotarians who participated in Read Across America on March 3, reading Dr. Seuss books to first and second graders.
Brian recalled attending Rotary meetings with his father in Eugene, Oregon, beginning in 1978. He began his career in business management and real estate, but a stint in the Peace Corps introduced him to public service and social services. After many years in the education field, he is in his second year as Principal at Rosemary.
Some facts from Brian about Rosemary School:
Rosemary is one of most improved elementary schools in Santa Clara County over the past few years. The school’s API score has risen from 675 to 835 since 2006. (California schools get a “quality” rating for an API over 800.) But the school is still not where the administration would like it to be.
Under Brian’s leadership and that of his predecessor, Rosemary has developed a model collaboration program for teachers as well as innovative intervention programs that serve over 200 students reading below grade level. These students spend one hour each day in targeted instruction. Rosemary is currently being considered for recognition as a California Distinguished School, but it is “a paradox in many ways.”
Over 50 families with kindergarden-age students within the school’s boundaries choose a school other than Rosemary. This amounts to around 250 kids per year who leave the Rosemary neighborhood to go to school. While Rosemary likely could not accommodate all of those students, the school would traditionally have a waiting list.
Rosemary staff and teachers are, to paraphrase Jim Stockdale, confronting the most brutal facts of their current reality:
Despite great wealth and resources surrounding the school, the student population is in great need. Low-income students, like those at Rosemary, face a number of obstacles in their education, a situation that Brian says “should make us uncomfortable as a society”:
While dealing with students suffering from “learned helplessness”, Rosemary’s leadership remains “absolutely committed to the success of every child.” The staff has established a wellness committee, and the school is currently partnering with outside nonprofits to augment their instructional programming and extracurricular activities to keep kids in school and off the streets:
How can Rotarians help? According to Brian, the first step is not to oversimplify public school problems in the context of budgets and API scores. A 980 API school is not much different from an 835. They also need financial support that the school district simply can’t provide:
Brian’s final missive to our club: “We don’t give up. We don’t use excuses. But we don’t hide from them.” We’re proud to continue our support of Brian and Rosemary School as they serve our neediest children.
Although he’s an established Realtor in our community, Campbell Rotarian Rod Hibner actually addressed us today about one of his community service projects. Rod and his wife have been an active donors and supporters of the Hunger Project for more than ten years.
The Hunger Project aims to empower women and men to end their own hunger, focusing primarily in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
The project is less about providing direct hunger alleviation with shelters and food shipments, and more about enterprise development and enrichment. They have identified three critical elements to their success:
The Hunger Project has also collaborated with Rotary International and other local clubs in various projects, including restoring clean water services to the Jaldu earthquake epicenter in Ethiopia. Rod tells us that Rotary and The Hunger Project are continuing to investigate new projects, including international grant support and local club partnerships.
After sharing the dismal statistics for local graduation rates and statewide educational spending — including the disappearance of performing arts funding — Louis proposed performing arts as an inspirational tool that can be used to keep kids in school and to motivate them to succeed.
“Performing Arts educations is not about the manufacture of artists. Performing Arts education is about inspiration … unleashing that natural creativity that all of us have.”
In addition, every child who shows at an audition plays. The learning experience and the benefits articulated elsewhere are made stronger when more people participate. Everyone benefits and grows in the performing arts, regardless of their starting position of experience. Audacity also teaches technical theater skills and backstage activities.
As an example of a recent program, Louis shared the “Shakespeare News Network,” produced by school children in Milpitas.
Louis also is also hosting a special webpage with more links and information tailored for his presentation: Rotary.AudacityPerformingArts.com
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