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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
When Paul Harris died he did not want any flowers.  In stead, he asked for donations to the Rotary Foundation. A total of $1.3 million was donated, building the foundation to an operational level.
The growth has continued.  This has allowed Rotary to expand the breadth and depth of its philanthropy.  For example the foundation made 915 grants for 2014-2015, with $123.4 million for polio eradication and $68.7 million for the other areas of focus.  See graphic below from The Rotarian, November 2016 edition.

Princella Tobias, founder and editor of the Benton Spirit Newspaper came to talk about the Benton Harbor History Class she teaches and the Benton Harbor History Calendar she has produced.  The 2016 Calendar was on each table for us to take.
Do you know the history of Benton Harbor?  Do you know the founders?  Do you know any of the famous people whose roots are in Benton Harbor? Princella has found that most of the young people know nothing about their roots here in Benton Harbor.  She created this class and calendar to educate, instill pride, showcase and inspire our young people.  She started the class at the Benton Harbor Public Library as a summer program.  She could see the transformation of the young people.  Three essays from her graduates were read.  These students were very excited that they learned good things about Benton Harbor and not just the negative things.  They also were excited that they were able to learn people skills and life skills and how to do public speaking.  They were given a purpose and hope for their future. 
The 2017 calendar will be even more important and will educate our children even further. You can learn more by contacting Princella through her newspaper, click here.

Alan Bartlett has posted four photos albums from our recent events.  Check out these wonderful shots.
For pumpkin decorating click here.
For face painting click here.
For other pumpkin festival photos click here.
For Bed Race photos click here.
The albums are also on the lower right of our home page.

The Great Bed Race is won or lost during the games refereed by Whitney, Mike, Pam, Beth and Larry (not Farai, Sorry!). This was just one aspect of a great event, won again by Wightman Associates.  Lakeland and Home was most creative, Lakeland Building Service won best team spirit.  Wightman also lead in donations, with $1,200.
The Pumpkin Festival was busy with pumpkin decorating and carving, plant and bake sale, and over 500 pumpkins circulating the tank waiting for the final drawing.
Great work by all the Rotarians that did all the big and little things that made these events successful.  All the proceeds, net of expenses, will go for our programs to benefit the youth of Benton Harbor.
Stay tuned for an update that includes photos by Alan Bartlett.

Our new layout with a large tent near the starting line worked out well, especially for a couple of brief rain falls. Turn was down but we will still help fund our Books for Kids program with the proceeds.  Thanks to our hosts: Harbor Shores and Renaissance Athletic Club, all our runners, walkers, sponsors, prize and food donors, workers - both Rotarians and friends of Rotary.

The Boys and Girls Club, with funds provided by a club grant, combined with the Renaissance Athletic Club, the Y, and the City of Benton Harbor, to provide basic swimming instruction.  In a report provided by Brian Saxton, the students reported impressive growth in comfort with the water and learning to swim.  We hope several of this new swimmers will become new sailors next summer.

Imani, a student at Dream Academy, enjoyed the experience of a weekend of RYLA camp.  The leadership exercises were fun and challenging. She even canoed for the first time.  Imani plans to attend the next RYLA camp in the spring.

Bob Kynast, the club's fundraising chairman, provided a preview of the Pumpkin Run on September 17.  Bob used the club's video review to remind members why we need to work on this event (see below).  All the details are at the event website, click here.

Tyler Cook was inducted into membership of Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary by Dyann Chenault. Tyler is a third generation Rotarian, lives in Cassopolis with his wife and child, teaches school at River School in Sodus and will be the faculty advisor for their new Interact club. Janet Drews is Tyler's sponsor.

Jasmina started her presentation with facts about Germany.  It has 16 states, a population of 82 million and uses the Euro for its currency. Schwerin is the capital of her state and the home of the Sherweriner Schlosse, a castle perched on an island.  See below.
Jasmina said the park/castle was one of her favorite places to go.  She attends a gymnasium (high school), which is for college preparation.  She plans to study international event planning.  She speaks French and English and plans to add Spanish.  Her family has hosted an exchange student from Argentina and her sister was an exchange student in France.  America was her dream destination.
Her goals for her exchange year is to have three different hosts, attend a big football game, go skiing and make friends at school and RYE events. Lee Scherwitz presented her a birthday card. She turns 16 on September 1, 2016.

The youngster pictured is riding a tricycle that he can "peddle" with his arms. He's a special need child and received the bike from the Ray Carlson Memorial. This is just one of the success stories told by Craig Carlson, founder and chairman, of the organization.  Craig started life with his feet on backwards.  His father and mother sacrificed so much to correct Craig's feet.  It took 7 years of surgery and therapy before he took his first step.  Along the way the Elks offered to help.  The Carlson's were too proud to accept the help but Mr. Carlson eventually became an Elk.  Craig was working at the Elks when his father died in 1991 and he decided to start the Ray Carlson Memorial to honor his father and the sacrifices he make for his special needs child.  Now the Memorial raises funds for special needs children in Berrien County, those with juvenile diabetes, arthritis, cancer, or hearing, speech or physical impairments.  The organization covers all its administrative costs so that 100% of funds raised or donated go to help special needs children, like the tricycle, a service dog, a special car seat.  Eight volunteers and 200 local sponsors power the organization. This year they will spend $42,000 helping children.
Plans are being finalized for a special needs park, filled with equipment such that every child will be find fun and enjoy an appropriate apparatus. The estimated cost is $210,000.  Stay tuned.  To learn more or make a donation click here.

Patrice Grant, on left, club president, proudly displays the banner from Rotary Club of Parchim Germany.  Jasmina, our club's exchange student, displays our club banner.  Parchim is about 60 miles east of Hamburg.  We'll hear more from Jasmina in the future.

Shown, from left, Tanieka, Larkin, Lou, Addie, Alyssa, Annie and Grace, representatives of the four Interact clubs that participated in this year's trip to the Dominican Republic.  A total of thirty-five students went on the trip.  The initial impression was a joyous place, filled with music and signs of faith.  The people and the place were upbeat and colorful. Each student provided a water filter to a family in the village - setting it up and teaching how to use it.  Local Rotaractors helped with translation.  They also helped construct a latrine - a block and cement affair involving lots of work.  Finally they assisted in a mobile medical unit that provided services to locals. They had plenty of time to meet and play with children, passing out forty bags of clothes, shoes and toys. The kids were very happy. A day at the beach and life at the compound made the trip fun as well as satisfying for the work the team accomplished.  Many found new facebook friends when they got home.

Rotarians have had a busy summer so far.  Pictured at left is the expanded chicken coop at Countryside, thanks to great teamwork by Rotary and Countryside.  Well done, everyone!  And on a rainy Saturday morning the Rotary's Centennial Park at Chicago and Linden was refreshed and repaired for the season.  Thanks to the AKA sorority for their ongoing clean up and care of the park.

Aicha Camara is our club's first outbound Youth Exchange student. She expects to pursue a career in robotics and thought Japan would be an excellent country to explore her ideas. She was selected by a club in Yokohama. The city has 3.7 million residents and is only 30 minutes from Tokyo. She made several comments in Japanese during her presentation and will learn more on her arrival.  She will attend St. Joseph High School, an all girls private school. After her presentation Alice Ford, on behalf of our club's foundation, presented Aicha a grant to cover her obligations to the host district.  The grant consisted of contributions from individuals, the club and foundation challenge.  Her flight is August 8th. Bon Voyage Aicha.
You can keep up with the adventure by checking our her blog located here.


Sunrise Rotary's Garage Sale to End Polio Now raised $1,800, which grows to $5,400 when the Gates Foundation 2-for-1 match is included.  That's enough to immunize 9,000 children! Thanks to Alice Ford for all her great work to plan, price, organize and sell for polio eradication.  Also thanks to all the Rotarians and friends who offered items for sale and worked in the heat to End Polio Now.

Bill Smith, district governor for 2016-2017, fully embraces Rotary's new president's theme: Rotary Serving Humanity. In the spirit of that theme the district is providing a self-teaching kit for Hands-Free CPR to each club. The governor also told his personal story of growth in Rotary.  It was all about responding to requests to join and to accept new positions of responsibility - so ASK people to join and to serve the community. He recommends attending the leadership institute and annual convention in Atlanta.  In the board meeting afterward he stressed new member orientation, citing Jackson-noon as an excellent example.

Lynn Todman, chairman of the board opened the presentation with her person story of how her grandfather left a share cropping family at 13 to pursue an education.  He found success and instilled in Mrs' Todman's family the importance of education.  This inspired her to lend her support to this program. Alloyd Blackmon, executive director, continued the presentation. The Benton Harbor Promise launched in 2011 with a mission to help all students in the greater Benton Harbor area achieve a post-secondary education. The Benton Harbor Promise realizes that every student regardless of financial means should have the opportunity to earn post-secondary credentials. The program provides full tuition and mandatory fees at any accredited community college or Career Technical school in Michigan where the student is accepted. The program has enrolled a total of 600 students but struggled initially with poor attendance and grades. The program worked with Lake Michigan College to provide "wrap-around-services" that included tutoring and transportation.  Now the grades and graduation rates are at the national average, 70% are going on for four year degrees.  For more information or make a donation click here.

New Rotary International president John Germ offers this wonderful pick-up line in the latest issue of The Rotarian magazine:
"I think you have the skills, the talent, and the character to make our community better, and I want you to join me in doing that."
The magazine also offers proof that Rotarians are happier and healthier because of their service.

The Belgium flag will welcome home Victoria Majois from her Rotary Youth Exchange year ending in July.  Victoria had praise for her Lakeshore host family and Lakeshore High School where she was graduated this year. The highlights of her trip were: being part of the track team (sports are by village in Europe), Niagara Falls, spring break in Florida with her host family and a trip out west.  Her biggest take-away from RYE: you can be happy in more than one place.

Yes, that's beer you see in the picture for this story.  Noel Dolan told Rotary how innovation takes place at Whirlpool.  She works in the "garage", a silicon valley like atmosphere with ping pong, foosball and collaboration happen among sixty professionals in a separate building. She used the Vessi Fermenter and Dispenser* as an example to describe the process. It starts with SPARK teams the generate product ideas and pitch them to management.  A successful idea can win a $20,000 prize for the winning team.  The garage then goes to work to create concept designs.  In the case of Vessi, the idea was put out on Indiegogo funding site to test initial market reaction. They sold 120 units in just a few weeks. Now they are working on the market and distribution channels.
*Vessi is an 8 gallon vat with temperate and pressure controls designed to make and dispense beer in a single unit about the size of a dishwasher. The dispenser shown in the photo is part of the unit.

Dave Krieger is shown after receiving an award for outstanding leadership during his presidency.  Dyann Chenault presented the award in place of incoming president Patrice Grant who had broken her ankle - ouch!.  The other new officers for 2016-2017 are Joseph Taylor, president nominee and Dan Utroske, chair of the club administration committee.  Dave presented a review of the year and thanked all the fellow officers for making his year special and  successful.

From left are Bob Kynast and his new member Eddie Marshall, and Fern Hollingshead and her new member Debbie Goforth.  Eddie has lived in Benton Harbor for 40 years and served as a city commissioner for 12 years. His wife Rose was in attendance for the induction. Debbie has had a career in customer service and now works at 5th/3rd on Napier Ave.  She has two grown children with husband Dave.  Welcome to Rotary! Patrice Grant, president-elect performed the induction ceremony.

Our own Dyann Chenault has attended the Rotary Leadership Institute recently and talked about Vocational Service, one of Rotary's five areas of service.  When Rotary was founded the business climate was dog-eat-dog and cutthroat competition.  Paul Harris thought a cooperative effort of non-competing businesses was better approach. This lead to rotating meetings at each business;  hence the name Rotary. The early objects of Rotary included promotion of business interests of its members. The Four Way Test made ethics a top priority of Rotary.  Club activities in Vocational Service include things like Group Study Exchange, support of Junior Achievement, and career mentoring. But we seem to have lost the promotion of business of members.  Who better to do business with than a Rotarian?  Not for discounts but for ethic business partners.  Jim Schueneman suggested we add "I am ... I do..." to our meetings.

The Benton Harbor Parks Conservancy placed a new sign at City Center Park.  The sign faces Main St. and shows Rotary as the adopting partner.

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
Oct 26, 2016
Juliet Cunningham
Junior Achievement
Nov 02, 2016
Denise Arend
Sucicide Prevention
Nov 09, 2016
Dr Shelly Walker BHAS Superintendent
State of School System


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.