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Club Information (#27802, District 6360)

We meet Wednesdays at 7:00 AM
Elks Lodge (BPOE 541)
601 Riverview Drive
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Map            Background Check
Write to us at:
Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary
PO Box 1552
Benton Harbor. MI 49023-1552
Meeting Presentations and Stories
The club gathered at the new Timothy's restaurant in Union Pier to celebrate the twenty-sixth anniversary of our charter. The food and fellowship was simply terrific. We used the occasion to make Craig Carlson an Honorary Member.
President Patrice Grant enjoys Craig Carlson's remarks after he was notified that he was enrolled as an Honorary Member of Benton Harbor Sunrise. Craig manages the Elks Lodge during our meetings and is the founder of the Ray Carlson Memorial, dedicated to special needs children. His life is an example of Service Above Self. Welcome Craig.
Brian Saxton, president elect, stepped to the podium for an update on the Boys and Girls Club. Everything that the Boys and Girls Club does is data driven, purposeful and intentional.  The children and teens took a survey last week, and their “Club Experience Factor” has risen from 66% in 2014 to 78% in 2016.  The goal is to see this raise on the new survey.
The Club Experience is based on four principals:
  ·  Safe First:  Several improvements include adding more cameras, using Deputy Williams, and earning a $125,000 safety grant
  ·  Having Fun
  ·  Having good adult relationships: which include new staffing and foster grandparents
  ·  Recognize accomplishments which include Club Kid of the Year, Graduations, Admission to College or other successes like Americorp.
Fifty kids were in the summer reading intervention program last summer and ½ of them went up 4 levels
     Besides academic success, the Boys and Girls Club also works with improving character. The club recognizes that the students are dealing with grief and trauma.  They are participating in a Pilot Program called “Be There” which teaches the skills children need to deal with their problems.  The club also is partnering with the local schools to provide wrap around service.  Since this all started, the suspension rates are going down, the grades are going up, and sibling relationships are improving. 
     Last summer there was a 10 week summer reading program in which 528 kids participated.  On average, the students improved ½ grade in 10 weeks.
The teen center includes five retired teachers.  There are 35 kids working on college entry next year. 
     The clubs are also working on healthy lifestyles, and they are including healthy eating with this.  There is a $200,000 grant for food.  Also, the football team comes to the teen center after practice for a hot dinner. There are 15-20 foster grandparents working with the children and teaching leadership and responsibility. There are lock ins at the teen center for basketball, food and fun.  There are 12 mentors who organize this.  Tonight there will be 200 kids at the lock in.
   The club is also working with the teens to help them find employment.  They are teaching soft skills about how to look for a job and how to keep a job.  Junior Achievement works with the kids and there are trips to businesses.  60 kids are now employed, and employers are looking at the club to find new employees. 
   The local club is above the national average in economic benefits:  For every $1 invested in Boys and Girls Club in Benton Harbor, the region gets an economic benefit of $12.64.  Thanks to Dyann Chenault for these notes.
The image shown is from a thank you card from a third grader at MLK in Benton Harbor.  Several members from the Rotary were at MLK this Monday delivering dictionaries to all the third graders. After careful consideration of all the relevant factors, like gender, clothes and facial hair, we decided that the mystery figure was Eddie Marshall.  Don Mitchell, whose daughter teaches one of the 3rd grades, confirmed that the student was drawing Eddie.
Shown on the left is Zera (TM) Food Recycler.  Scott Sichmeller, Sr. Engineering Manager, for Whirlpool's innovation center, said Zera is the latest product which carries the WLABS brand.  This product turns kitchen scraps into fertilizer in a single cycle.  The product was introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2017.  Food scraps make up 20% of the waste that goes into land fills and releases methane into the atmosphere. This product would be especially attractive on both coasts as they have strict limits on activities that increase green house gases. Of course the product connects to the internet for updates and service issues, but it isn't needed for operation. Initial sales on the Indiegogo web ite have been promising.  Retail price is targeted at $1,199.
Brian Saxton and Mike Scheffler attended PETS last weekend.  Thanks for stepping up.  Now the club has a qualified president-elect to take over leadership of the club next year. Expect a survey soon about using the flexibility in the new RI Constitution.
Sarah Stocker announced that she will be using the Red Wagon books to create a library at the Dream Academy. She will need help as this project moves ahead.
Dr. Shelly Walker, superintendent of Benton Harbor Area Schools, returned to Rotary to provide an update. Hull International, STEAM and the Dream academy are schools in the lower 5% and under careful watch by the state.  The next step is a "partnership agreement" with state officials.  Dr. Walker feels prepared for the discussion.  She has been working on seven interventions and keeping track with a scorecard on three dimensions: achievement, behavior and leadership. The school-within-a-school separates out behavior issues for special intervention while allowing other students to progress.  RESA specialist are helping staff with professional development.  She had two requests for Rotary: volunteer for one-to-one mentoring and help with playgrounds and fencing. To volunteer send an email to cleather.nichols@bhas.org.
Our own Dave Krieger, past president, went through the new RI Club Constitution. The main difference is the option to vary meeting and attendance to meet the needs of the club and its members.  The club will have an opportunity to adopt the constitution at a future meeting.  Then the hard work begins: deciding how to use the flexibility to make our club better.  Thank you Dave.
Dyann Chenault exhanges flags with Matt Cooper of the Paw Paw Rotary Club.  Matt, an attorney in Paw Paw, learned that protecting service members has been a long tradition, starting with George Washington, followed by Abraham Lincoln and enshrined in US laws.  Matt found that the tradition didn't mean much when he tried to help a national guardsman whose home was foreclosed on while he was serving in Iraq.  His case was initially dismissed but he was able to appeal and finally presented his case to a jury. He won a large settlement for Mr. Hurley of Hartford.  That was not the end of the story. The publicity of the case generated more contacts from people the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act was failing to protect. The law was also amended to make it easier to defend the servicemembers rights. Matt formed a foundation to provide assistance in court and through education, publishing a new judges guide to the law.  He also wrote A Soldiers Home, a book to spread the word about the wrongs done to servicemembers while away serving their country. To learn more or make a donation visit the SCRA Foundation, a 501c(3) public charity, by clicking here..
Chris Takacs, community outreach director for the Michigan Masonic Foundation, has been a mason for twenty-six years.  In 2008 he took on his role as director with state wide responsibility for programs such as Bikes for Books, Safe Schools, community grants and, his main topic today, Michigan Child ID. It only takes ten minutes for Chris to complete a detailed file for each child.  At the end of the process he can produce a CD or USB Drive for the parent or guardian for save keeping.  Having the information can save time if a child is missing.  First responders are prepared to read this data file. The data file adds photos, fingerprints, dental impression and voice recording to all the regular information such as name, date of birth, etc.  The service is provided free of charge. Chris has other Masons at lodges in St. Joseph, Lakeshore and Coloma available to speed up the processing.  He will set up at schools, businesses or churches to make Child ID profiles for the parents. Call Chris at 269.612.7424 to arrange for this free and valuable service.
Smiling faces greeted Rotarian at Hull International Academy in Benton Harbor. Kyra Utroske and Alan Bartlett distributed the books, photo by Alan..
President-nominee Joseph Taylor walked us through the ten elements cited above. There is work to do but the club scores pretty well.
Five classrooms of students at Countryside's Millburg Campus received the first books for 2017. Catherine Ravitch and Bob Elliott distributed the books, Bob Kynast took many wonderful photos like this one.
Dictionaries are also being distributed to third graders in BHAS and area charter schools.
The canoe full of cub scouts is proof of Greg Trezise's success in building up the cub scouts in Benton Harbor. The scouts get together at Lighthouse Ministries on Pipestone every Saturday from 12-1:30 pm for projects, learning and fun. The goal is to help the cubs become good people and good citizens. Most of the Rotary could recite the scout oath about doing one's duty and knew the twelve values in the scout law: trustworthy, loyal, etc. Greg has 17 cubs scouts this year, four will be graduating to the boy scout troop in Stevensville. Cub scouts go up to 5th grade, boy scouts to age 18 years. Watch for news of the pine car derby in March. Greg can always use extra hands, please volunteer.
After the meeting the club's foundation decided to provide a scholarship for one new cub scout.
The directors of this club's foundation elected the following officers for 2107 as follows:
Lee Scherwitz, president
Mike Kinney, vice-president
Alice Ford, secretary
Bob Elliott, treasurer
Also re- appointed as directors of the foundation are Whitney Hadanek, Don Mitchell and Dave Bly.
The board thanked Don Mitchell for his many years of service as our president.  We are please that Don will continue to be part of our board.
Elllen Russel, on left, is shown receiving her club flag from president Patrice Grant.  Ms. Russell is executive director of Tri-County Head Start.  Brian Saxton is her sponsor.  Welcome to Rotary.
Dr. Eric Lester Md. is a retired oncologist. He suggested using an image of DNA's double helix to lead this report. He saw many theories for the causes of cancer during his career but believes the current approach is showing great success.  Cancer is a disease of the DNA, either by mutation or abnormal expression.  This understanding leads to treatment that starts with molecular analysis followed by targeted treatment. He predicts further progress since only 15% of the human genome has been fully understood.
Tara Gillette, marketing specialist for the Area Agency on Aging, Inc., provided and update on this wonderful local resource.  The agency serves Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties form its offices at 2900 Lakeview Ave. in St Joseph. Their INFO-LINE, 800 654-2810, is open M-F, 8 am to 5 pm, helping connect callers to one of 75 agencies serving our community.  They're experts on Medicare coverage questions and disability assistance.  Of course they also have many programs, such as, Senior Net, teaching computer skills for a small fee, Transition Assistance, helping people return home, and MI Choice, providing services for low income individuals with disabilities.  To learn more or volunteer click here.
At the annual meeting of the club on December 21, 2016 the following Rotarians were unanimously elected to offices for 2017-2018 club year as follows:
Brian Saxton, president
Joseph Taylor, president-elect
Mike Scheffler, president-nominee
Dyann Chenault, secretary
Debbie Goforth, treasurer
Dan Utroske, chair of club admin committee
Alan Bartlett, chair of service projects committee
Mike Scheffler, chair of new generations committee
Farai Rakunda, chair of membership committee
Kyra Utroske, chair of public image committee
Eddie Marshall, chair of fundraising and foundation committee
Thank you to all those who volunteered to serve Rotary and our community.
Ellen Russell, program services administrator, from Tri-County Head Start returned to update Rotary.  Head Start, located in the McCord School, serves 330 three and four year old children who meet family income guidelines.  Head Start also provides family support and works hard to build relationships.  Because the Head Start parents are often in crises and are working hard to provide shelter and food, they often don’t have time to read to their children.  As a result, these children usually have a vocabulary of 2500 to 3000 words, where children whose parents read to them have 7000 word vocabularies.  Only 48% of the children in Berrien County are ready to read.  The children love to be read to and talked with. Please consider volunteering to read to these students.
Read Aloud 15 Minutes needs volunteers to read in the classrooms. Their goal is to have someone in every classroom every day for 15 minutes.  They are asking you to come in when you can.  It can be sporadically or each week or each day.  It can be up to 15 minutes, or even longer.  You can bring a book or read one from the class library. The optimal time to come is from 9:00 to 10:45 or 1:55 to 3:45.  You can show up during these times whenever you have 15 minutes free.  Head Start is located in the McCord School, 465 McCord St., on the corner of Britain.  If you are further out, you can also go to the Spinks Corner Head Start on the corner of Park and Napier. If you have questions, call Ellen at 605-1606.
Rob Cleveland, president of Cornerstone Alliance, returned to Rotary to announce the strategic plan for 2017-2021.  The new goals are to recruit 10 new businesses, assist the expansion of 15 businesses, add $100 million in sales and help 50 new small business startups. There are plenty of building sites available but Rob thinks that success will require an available manufacturing building of approximately 75,000 square feet.  He cited statistics that 94% of companies went to sites with existing buildings.
Tara Harazinova has taken over the reins from Joanne Johnson at the disability network.  There are two offices serving 8 counties in southwest Michigan.  The main work is proving information and connected people with the correct agency.  Tara reminded us that 75% of disabilities are not visible, such as depression or autism.  Cindy Camp was also on hand to talk about Ramp Up, a program to find volunteers to help provide ramp for those in need.  To learn more, volunteer or donate, click here.
Dr. Patricia Quattrin returned to Rotary with exciting news.  But before the news she recounted a few essential facts about the organization: a focus on middle school girls, educating the entire person, building confidence, strength of character and critical thinking.  The school is ungraded, providing individualize learning based on students needs. The academy accepts 4-6 graders and completes 8th grade. There is a very small charge to the parents.  The school is under the direction of a 501(c)3 organization. The news is that the school will be moving to a new facility made possible by a donation from AEP. The donation was 15 modular buildings and $25,000 to reconfigure them.  There will be space for three classrooms, office, and kitchen. The new building will allow them to serve 45 students, up from the 15 enrolled now. Dr. Patricia estimates a need for $200,000 to complete the new facility.  They have a site at Pearl and Catalpa, just around the corner from their current location at St. John's.  To learn more, donate or volunteer, click here.
The club made up sixteen baskets for families in Benton Harbor.  This year we brought the baskets to the food - a much improved process. The baskets had liners from Patrice, table runners from Kyra and cooking instructions. Bob Gifford was master organization with everyone involved.  The baskets were completed by donations from members and community partners.
We gathered at 165 E. Main Street in Benton Harbor for an evening of fellowship and Christmas song.  Thanks to Jim Schueneman and Dyann Chenault for leading the music, along with Bob and Mary leading the twelve days of Christmas. A large pile of gifts fo the Wonderland Toy store were also collected. Well done Mike and Cindy Kinney for all the arrangements. Photos by Cindy.
Club Information

Welcome to our Website!

Benton Harbor-Sunrise

Service Above Self

We meet Wednesdays at 7:00 AM
Elks Lodge (BPOE 541)
601 Riverview Dr.
For mail: PO Box 1552
Benton Harbor, MI  49022-1552
United States
District Site
Venue Map
Tech Tigers
Apr 26, 2017
First Robotics
Emma Kinnard
May 03, 2017
Community Gardens
Bob McFeeter
May 17, 2017
Harbor Shores


Pam Pappas - September 5

Mike Scheffler - September 8

Bob Elliott - September 30


Lee Scherwitz - Oct 9

Larry Culby - Oct 14

Lorraine Day - Oct 14

Kevin Geiser - Oct 14

Sarah Stocker - Oct 20


Brian Tutton - Nov 22
Rotary membership gives men and women an opportunity to forge new friendships and share the rewards of helping others through volunteer service.