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#27802 in District 6360
We are currently meeting at
Secret Garden At The Harbor
2209 W Main, Benton Harbor MI
Wednesdays at 7:00 AM
Zoom can also be used to attend
the meetings virtually.
Please contact us for a meeting link
Write to us at:
Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary
PO Box 1552
Benton Harbor. MI 49023-1552
Meeting Presentations and Stories
What pronouns do you use to describe yourself?  What words do you prefer that others use to refer to you?
"Grammar rules don't change".  Thou and you are two examples of how the meaning of pronouns can shift.
"Dictionaries provide unchanging definitions of words".  However, dictionaries are living documents and words' meanings change all of the time.
"You can't just make up words".  However, we do this all of the time.  For example, what do you call your grandma?  Lots of different families have lots of different words to call their grandmothers.  The words may change over time.
If you aren't sure what pronouns to use to refer to someone, please ask.  Not asking or assuming might be more hurtful than asking and allowing someone to explain and proclaim the words they feel most comfortable with.    If you do make a mistake, acknowledge it.  Using the preferred pronouns shows respect.
This morning Rotary enjoyed a presentation regarding women in history and their contributions to various fields.  Discussion regarding additional women who also made significant contributions followed.
Announcements: We have built and distributed 66 desks to children so far.  Our next build will be April 17th.   A Board meeting will be held this coming Saturday, March 20, at 9 am.
Today the Club enjoyed a presentation to learn more about Michigan's Early Middle College program.  27% of people in Berrien county have a degree.  Participating students apply to the program in 10th grade, take college courses alongside their high school courses in 11th and 12th grade, and attend community college for one year full time after high school.  When they graduate at the end of that fifth year they graduate with an Associates Degree.  All of the coursework that they take while enrolled in this program is free to the students.   The books and fees are covered by the program as well, so that there is no cost to the student.  This program especially benefits students who want to achieve an Associate's degree in one year post high school, first generation college students, students who want to take advantage of the financial benefit this program offers, and students who want an Associate's Degree to begin employment immediately after graduation from the program.  Students must provide their own transportation to and from the college classes in many participating school districts.  Support is provided to the students regarding resume building, interviewing, and successful strategies for being a college student.  Students enrolled in the program participate in High School graduation with their senior class, but are considered ungraduated High School students during the "fifth" year when they are taking full time classes at the community college.  Students are given support to receive scholarships to continue their education, letters of recommendation, as well as help with applications to transfer to university or post "fifth year" programs.  Every school district in our county is participating, with about 48 students enrolled this year.  The fifth year, when students are enrolled full time at the college but still considered undergraduate and high school students, the state pays the school district the per student foundation allowance, so it is financially beneficial for the district as well.  About 80 percent of the students go on to continue their education in a variety of fields.  This Early College Program allows the student to do the prerequisites for other programs.  Students are provided guidance regarding applying when transferring to help them qualify for scholarships, both in state and out of state.  You can learn more about the program at: https://www.berriencte.org/5th-year-emc/
Ms. Mackenzie Kastl provided an update regarding current projects, activities and outreach programs that the Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor has been engaged in recently.  They are observing all COVID safety precautions and working to meet the needs of as many children in the community as possible.  The staff has been reaching out to families to help with needs that have arisen due to COVID and children's issues.  Virtual programming and virtual tours are being offered and are 30 minutes for anyone who would like to learn more about the club.  These tours are guided by the children who participate in Club programs.  For more information about the BH Boys and Girls Club you can reach out to Ms. Mackenzie Kastl at mkastl@bgcbh.org.
Mr. Trent Watford shared with us information regarding the Berrien County Suicide Prevention Coalition.  Their organization has three purposes: Community Awareness, Educational Events, and Prevention Efforts.  You can visit their website at https://www.berriencares.org/  This website provides a variety of resources for training, events, and  support and help for anyone struggling with suicide - themselves or friends or family of those affected.  The BCSPC also offers a "Safe Talk" workshop, which is available to schools, first responders, and individuals who work with children and the public.  
If you or someone you know is contemplating or has been impacted by suicide, here are some 24 hour helplines:

Riverwood Center: 1-800-336-0341  For help with suicidal crisis, emotional distress, substance abuse, family crisis

Lifeline Crisis Chat - provides online emotional support, crisis intervention, and suicide prevention services 24/7. 

Veteran's Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, Chat is also available, or you can send a text message to 838255


District Governor, Nathan Triplett, joined our club via Zoom.  He had three things to discuss: Rotary International (RI), District 6360  and Local clubs.

The president of RI this year is Holger Knaack.  He has four “opportunities” this year for us.  1:  New club models (check out this month’s district newsletter.) He wants all clubs to operate in an effective way for them.  2:  Set aside at least 1 meeting a year for strategic planning.  As we rotate presidents from year to year, this makes continuity available.  3: Select members carefully to make sure we have inclusion, and this sets up success to target recruitment of folks who want to be Rotarians to make sure they are committed to being involved in serving our community.  4:  Keep our promise to children to eradicate polio.  Be sure to attend the Polio RI Zoom meeting Oct. 6 about polio.

The district’s goals are a net positive membership at the end of June and each member donating $100 per year.  

Rotary needs diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels, RI, district and club. We are innovative and adaptive.  This has been proven by our ability to revamp our meetings with no notice.  He reminded s that we really won’t have “normal”, but we can have a new, better, normal.

During the question period, it was noted that the District is matching donations to RI Foundation again this year.  If interested, contact Kathy Gallagher.  More info is in the district newsletter.  


Sunrise Rotary Club of Benton Harbor

Minutes for Dec. 16, 2020


The meeting was brought to order at 7:15 AM via Zoom.  

The slate of officers was presented and more nominees was asked for.

Having no more presented, a motion was presented by Lee Scherwitz, seconded by Dave Bly to elect the following for the 2021 Rotary year:

President:  Julie Webb

President Elect:  Felicia Smith

President Nominee:  Dyann Chenault

Past President:  Farai Rukunda

Secretary:  Jesse Tennison

Treasurer:  Michael Mason


Vote was taken by hand signals and oral Aye.  Motion passed unanimously.


The following will also be on the board:

Service:  Mike Kinney

Bookkeeper:  Brian Saxton

Membership:  Cindy Kinney

Youth Services:  Larry Jackson

Fundraisers:  Eddie Marshall

Administration:  Dan Utroske

Public Image:  Kyra Utroske and Heidi Anderson


Other chair positions will be:

Rotary Foundation:  Jim Smith

Club Foundation:  Dave Bly

Attendance Secretary:  Whitney Hadanek

Programs:  Alice Ford

Club Grants Dave Krieger

Bulletin and Club Runner:  Janet Drews


The club continued its long tradition of bell ringing to raise funds for the Salvation Army on December 12. Teams of two were at each door at Walmart throughout the day. People were generous with their money and their thanks.  As always, members enjoyed interacting with the public and kept warm while singing holiday songs and greeting others.

The guest speaker was Eddie Marshall, founder of Toys for the Needy.  

His philosophy is, “The Gift of learning is an everlasting gift.”  He is very concerned about the children in our community as the connections to school are electronic and not all the kids have good internet connection or any internet connection and some kids don’t learn well electronically.  He is also concerned that single working parents have a hard time keeping track of their children when there is not school.

In 1956, when Eddie was a child, his mother had his baby sister at Christmastime.  Since she knew she would be in the hospital, she entrusted all of the Christmas money to a cousin who used it for himself.  As a result Eddie and his siblings had no presents that year.  It was traumatic for him and he doesn’t want any child to go through what happened to him.  All children need a present for Christmas.

He founded Toys for the Needy in 1996.  He had been soliciting money and toys for kids for Christmas, and realized he needed to get, applied for and received a 501C3 Nonprofit status in 2014.  He has a list of families and is always on the look out for more children who, without his help, may not have a Christmas present.

He is looking for toys, but cash, and gift cards are better, to use as gifts.  He is very grateful for the help our club has given him. 

If you can send a check or gift cards, his address is 

Toys for the Needy

PO Box 8831

Benton Harbor, MI49023

On Wednesday, November 25 Sunrise Rotary members Cindy KinneyMike KinneyEddie MarshallAnn OdenKyra Utroske, and Julie Webb were joined by Lakeshore Rotarian Sally Ernst and three ladies from Head Start in setting up and stuffing Thanksgiving baskets for 20 Head Start families in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
Cindy and Heidi Anderson worked early to keep Rotarians safe by shopping for and gathering donations, including 14-16 lb turkeys, all provided by BH Sunrise Rotarian members. We are thankful to Ann who did a quick grocery run Wednesday morning when it was realized we had run short on a couple food items and Bob Gifford came in to add extra cans of vegetables for the families.
We are grateful for the 20 beautiful table runners sewn and donated by Sally – she has done this for at least 5 years for us - donations of candles, paper plates and napkins from JoAnn Fabrics and puzzles from Domino’s Pizza were included in each basket.
The hope of all Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotarians is that these families felt cared for and very full after their Thanksgiving feasts!
An informative program regarding December Holidays was presented this morning, with many members participating as presenters of  the information.  We learned more about the significance and traditions of celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.    If you celebrate any holidays during this season, we wish you and those you love much joy and peace.
Today we reflected on a video clip about resilience.  The speaker suggested to consider life in smaller chunks of time, be grateful, have a positive attitude, accept things you cannot change but focus on what you can change, and find time to be creative.  We also discussed how important it is to have a support system when going through something difficult.  Even meeting online, just knowing others care and are with you is helpful.  Exercise.  Keep a journal.  Begin anew with a fresh start everyday.  One kind act for someone else can pick you up, too.  Always look on the bright side of life. 
Several members of the Club have been reading "Find Your Why" by Simon Sinek. For next week's meeting, our "homework" is to reflect on why we joined Rotary and be prepared to share our reasons with the Club.  Have a great week!
This morning we contemplated information from a clip from "Face the Nation" presented by Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America.  She is concerned that projections indicate there is an anticipated 50% decrease in commodities available to feed families in the coming year and yet it is also projected that there will be at the same time a 50% increase in demand for those same commodities.   There are systemic problems that cause food insecurity.  While conflicting views were espoused, the conversation concluded with concern that we need to understand the "why" reasons for the issues that exist as barriers before we can address the problems effectively.  Many resources were discussed that currently exist in our community - cooking classes that also provide free crock pots, gardening programs, farm to table programs, nutrition and wellness programs, and poverty simulation programs for those who have never experienced poverty and don't understand the systemic and daily challenges that one faces in that situation.  It was suggested that rather than create new programs ourselves, it might be more useful for our community if a list could be complied of the programs that do exist in our community so that they could be better promoted to benefit everyone who may be in need of assistance.
Susan Dietrich-Reed is the Director of Music for the Citadel Dance and Music Center, located in Benton Harbor.  This morning she shared information with us regarding recent fundraising efforts, the music lessons provided to children in the area (which she explained are provided by highly credential musicians), the scholarship program that is offered for music lessons for children as the classes and lessons are private pay,  and the Art Hop.  Precautions with the pandemic include that all instructors wear masks at all times and also have a plastic shield to seperate them from the students during lessons.  The Art Hop is an event that is free that offers community members an opportunity to visit many galleries and music and art related businesses in Benton Harbor.  If you are interested in dance or music lessons, you can contact the Citadel Music and Dance Center at (269) 925-1099 and https://citadeldmc.org/index.php.
Today our club enjoyed a Ted Talk from Steven Petrow, a writer also known as "The Civilist".   He offered that civility as we once knew it is declining - civility meaning decorum, formal politeness and polite behavior.  He pointed out that "New Speak", as defined by George Orwell in the book 1984, is when we try to change what people think by the way we use the words we do and how we use language.  Language can be labeling and demonizing, and words and expressions can be disrespectful and triggering.  He suggested that we should stop using these trigger words - words that are inflammatory and set people off.   For example, he shared that John McCain, as a politician, often had to debate others and their ideas and beliefs, but at his passing both friends and political adversaries noted that when he had to debate others he never made personal attacks.  He engaged civilly, with respect for the person even if he disagreed with their beliefs or ideas.  As a club, we discussed how important this is, to consider our words and our "labels" and generalizations as we interact with others, especially in regard to our current political climate.  We discussed how this is important for us to do as Rotarians in our community and how civility applies to our own Four Way Test: of the things we think, say and do: 
  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Our guest speaker today was Ms. Kat Boyer, Director of the Benton Harbor Public Library.   Ms. Boyer spoke regarding challenges, successes and lessons learned from providing services and working to best meet the needs of the community during the global pandemic while implementing health and safety restrictions.   In addition to providing library materials through curbside service, the library also provides electronic books and audio books directly to your personal devices.  Ms. Boyer is a resource person for our region to help with setting up and using the ebooks and audio book service, and is happy to help community members navigate the apps required to set up this service.  The library staff also assists the community by answering informational questions that people telephone the library to ask, as well as referring those who call to needed community resources.   Ms. Boyer and the library staff miss the daily interactions with the people who use the library, especially the children.   She encourages anyone from the community who needs assistance, resources or information to please reach out the the library.  They appreciate the opportunity to help others and our community.  
You can find the library website here: https://www.bentonharborlibrary.com/ and their phone number is 269-926-6139.
This morning we engaged in a discussion regarding the importance of connections - human connection with each other - in response to a Ted Talk we watched together.  The Ted Talk was presented by a researcher who wanted to determine what factors contributed to longevity.  The top factor that she determined impacted longevity was human connection, relationships, and "having a village" - having strong relationships with friends and/or family who will support you and be there for you no matter what.  We, as a club, also considered the importance of the interactions we also have using technology and what we can do to create more authentic interactions: turning on your camera in a Zoom meeting or online class, looking at the camera to make better eye contact instead of looking at the screen so that others see eye contact from you, and even waving and saying hello to bank tellers or others we interact with in a safe way, physically distanced, during this pandemic, to stimulate the brain for those authentic connections, more than what a text or chat box provides.
If you missed the meeting or would like to watch the Ted Talk, you can find it here:
For further consideration and reflection, NASA astronauts will share a talk this evening at 8 pm regarding their experiences and the importance of staying connected with others while in space.   You can access that resource using this link:  https://www.storytellersproject.com
If you are interested in membership or would like to attend one of our meetings, please contact us for the Zoom meeting link.  We'd love to have you join us.
Have a great week!  See you next Wednesday at 7 am on Zoom!
The club's Foundation recently awarded grants to eight local non-profit organizations.  All the grant funds are to benefit the youth of Benton Harbor and may not be used for operational expenses. The awards went to Benton Harbor Public Library, Readiness Center, Junior Achievement, Toys for the Needy, Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor, Water Street Glassworks, Benton Harbor Girls Association and Citadel Dance & Music Center. These were dollar-for-dollar challenge grants so please donate to help the organizations meet the challenge and have success on their projects. 
Why not join our Rotary Meeting on Wednesdays at 7:15 am?
As participants you may call in or join by video. For video you only need to install the app on your phone, tablet or computer. There is no charge to use the app and participate in the meetings!
If you don’t want to use the app there is also a list of numbers at the bottom of this invitation that you can use to dial into the meeting. Sorry, none of them are toll free numbers, but it does avoid installing the app. If you choose that route you can skip down to the meeting details, note the Meeting ID, dial in and follow the directions.
For those that want to use their smartphone, tablet or computer I’m including a couple of YouTube links to help. Give yourself about 10 minutes before the meeting to set it up on the fly. Click on the Join Zoom Meeting below and the site will prompt you to install the app and start up. You will need to give the app permission to access your audio, video access is optional. You do not have to enter any personal information to join the meeting, but entering your name will help everyone see who is on and identify who is speaking. This video is the easiest way to get going on any of your devices. Join a Meeting
Participants using cell phones and tablets can follow the above paragraph pretty easily. Laptops with built-in microphones and webcams can as well. If you are using a desktop PC or a laptop with external webcams or microphones you may want to setup the application and test prior to the meeting. This video does a little more in-depth explanation regarding setup and testing. How to Join a Zoom Meeting as a Participant.
Email info@bhsunriserotary.org for an invitation to our Zoom meetings.
The club board of directors appointed the following club members to serve as directors of the club's foundation for 2020.
Alice Ford
Dave Bly
Marcy Hamilton
Melvin Burton
Mike Kinney
Larry Jackson
Pam Pappas
James Gendernalik
These members met to elect officers as follows:
President, Dave Bly
Vice President, James Gendernalik
Treasurer, Mike Kinney
Secretary, Marcy Hamilton
They also set a challenge grant cycle for April.
Stay tuned for grant awards.

The Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Foundation set a deadline of April 8, 2020 for grant applications. The Foundation is looking for projects which focus on the youth of Benton Harbor and target literacy, numeracy, leadership development, or personal development. The grants will usually be for $500 but the the grant amount is based a combination of the project details and available funds.

To download the grant application click here.  You will also find it www.bhsunriserotary.org, just click the Grants/Foundation button on the menu bar and select 2020 Grant Application.

There are just a few rules to follow: 1) Organizations that have received grants in the past may only apply if their project is complete and the grant report has been submitted, and 2) organizations are limited to one application per cycle.

Our own club's Lee Scherwitz did a TED talk on Polyglots.  Polyglots are people who learn many languages.  The focus of the TED talk was how to learn a language. First, start speaking from day one.  Learn simple phrases like how are you?  Where is the bathroom?  Please and Thank you. 

Polyglots have one thing in common.  It is not how to learn.  Everyone has their own unique way to learn.  And everyone has some activity that gives them joy. So, second,  So use that joy.  For example, listen to an audio book in the language you want to learn.  Find unexpected time to dedicate to your plan.  And use that method.

Third, create a system/plan that includes that method every day. And stick to it.

This leads us to the fourth step:  be patient with yourself.  Set reasonable goals.  Take your learning into your own hands.  Be sure to track your learning so you can actually see results. 

To review the Ted Talk by Lydia Machova click here.

Emma Kinnard, right, with Dyann Chenault after a presentation to the club.  Emma is a retired classroom assistant from Benton Harbor Area Schools.  She also owns Emma's Horticultural and Floral Creations, and she is the director and founder of Fresh Start Children's Garden.  Although Emma has not had previous experience in Rotary, our club has helped her with Fresh Start. She is involved in a lot of community activities including gardening, landscaping and sitting on some City of Benton Harbor Boards.  Emma wants to join  Rotary so she can "be involved in giving back in any area possible." Cindy Kinney  is her sponsor. Emma, Welcome to Rotary.
Our own Lee Scherwitz lived in Germany for 14 years, and he has made many trips back since then.  He lived in Germany when the Berlin Wall came down.
  The Berlin wall was built around and through the middle of Berlin after WWII.  It separated West Berlin from the rest of Berlin and all of East Germany. As the wall was being built, people ran, jumped, tunneled, and went in air balloons to escape before it was too late.   It was very difficult as the families, relatives, and friends were split up, there was not enough food, the people lost their joy and happiness, and except for the buildings close to the wall, the city was never reconstructed after the war. The analogy was going from color to a dingy, dark world. To go from Frankfort to Berlin, normally a 4-hour drive, would take a day and a half because of the check points. This presentation was a very emotional one because of these memories.
  In November of 1989, East Berlin got their freedom back and the wall was opened up.  People were chinking away at it, and when doorways were opened, painters painted the “door frames.” Lee’s daughter really wanted to go to Berlin after the New Year’s Eve celebration, so they went.  Freedom!! The joy in the streets was palpable.  Chink, chink, chink could be heard everywhere as people were taking down the wall and keeping pieces as part of living a piece of history.  Lee and his family joined in.  At the end of the day, Lee’s hands were bleeding from hammering and removing a part of the wall.  Prayers, anger, and a lot of emotion were there that day.  Freedom!  People’s eyes went from dull to sparkling.
Club Information
About Our Rotary Club
Benton Harbor-Sunrise

Service Above Self

We meet In Person
Wednesdays at 7:00 AM
<b>Secret Garden
209 West Main Street
For mail: PO Box 1552
Benton Harbor, MI 49022-1552
United States of America
(269) 921-1005

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Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Public Relations
Immediate Past President
Youth Services
Club Administration
Service Projects
The Rotary Foundation

Emma Kinnard - March 3

Felicia Smith - March 7

Michael Mason - March 15

Jim Smith - March 27


Alice Ford - April 5

Jim Bentham - April 15

Bob Kynast - April 19

Dave Krieger - April 19

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