For those that are unfamiliar with the Ronald McDonald House of Charlottesville, their “primary mission… is to provide lodging for the families of pediatric patients while the children are receiving medical treatment at the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital. The House offers an affordable, calm, comfortable haven – a home away from home – for its guests. For exhausted parents, who are already stressed by the illness of their child, it is a place where families can relax, eat together, and find support from other parents who are in similar situations.” We thank them for everything that they do.
We hold to our belief that it requires action, time, and energy to build a stronger, more vibrant community. Community has many scales and our collective actions create a ripple effect. Last week Charles had a full schedule of events and he was reminded of the value each of us plays in serving our community. He attended his regular Tuesday morning Rotary Club of Rockingham County meeting which focused on Polio vaccinations around the world. This terrible disease is very close to eradication but simultaneously on the brink of another worldwide outbreak. The work of Rotarians to raise awareness, money, and to take action has made a significant difference with now only two countries in the world reporting wild Polio cases. As an aside, there has been a minor outbreak in a small community in New York, but it is not reported as a wild outbreak. These cases in New York remind everyone of the critical importance of vaccinations.
After Rotary, Charles headed South to Mary Baldwin University to talk sustainability with business majors. The first class he participated in consisted of freshman students who were eager to discuss and learn how an architect applies sustainability to their work. The excellent conversation and questions showed these students have deep desires to understand the impacts business has on the environment how they can be a part of creating a better future for everyone. The second class was a small group of students who have a primary focus and deep understanding of sustainability in business. The conversation was focused on how to build a sustainable business using the three principles of sustainability; people, planet, and profit.
Charles hit the road after meeting with the MBU students and went directly to Eastern Mennonite School for a second day of teaching Sketch Up and floor plan creation to high school students. The class is tasked with designing a 900 square foot house with 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom as a tool to learn this software and create three dimensional spaces.
To round out his day of service, Charles participated in a spirit night that he helped organize at Harmony Square Dairy Queen. Named “Pints for Polio” this twist on a traditional fundraiser is an annual event that raises Polio awareness in a family0friendly environment.
Not all of our days can be this jam-packed with community service, but is not lost on us how it takes many hands and willing hearts to intentionally build a better, stronger, more vibrant community.
It was a busy weekend for Rockingham Rotary Club and Eastern Mennonite School’s Interact Club as they teamed up to pick up trash along Rt. 42 in Rockingham County. As a sponsor and liaison between these two clubs, Charles helps these clubs collaborate on projects. This clean up effort happens twice a year and and is necessary for keeping our community clean. The sunshine and cheerful volunteers made this weekend’s cleanup extra special!
The work of Rotary is known around the world for putting service above self. This organization’s main work is to eradicate Polio worldwide, to build friendships through service to the community, and to make the world a better place. Charles says that seeing the energy and enthusiasm of the Interact members inspires him to do more service for the community. If you want to be involved in serving your community or have a potential service project, feel free to reach out to Charles to learn more about the power of Rotary or learn more here and here.
Later into the weekend, we were thrilled to join the 10th Anniversary celebration of the Scholars Latino Initiative. This organization goes beyond an after-school program or mentor pairing system or college preparation group. SLI is a family that supports each other to help fulfill dreams, break down barriers, share frustrations, and achieve goals. Their mission reads “Scholars Latino Initiative supports Latino/a/x high school students with college access through rigorous academic challenge, leadership development, scholarships, and supportive mentorships.”
The celebration last night was filled with fun and friends as well as incredible Latino inspired foods. There were celebrations of past successes and reunions of old friends. Lua Project played a fusion of Appalachian and Latino music and the medleys were magical.
The important work being done through SLI is critical for our community. We all need to come together to help one another and those that are the most marginalized need systems in place like SLI to find their full potential.
Congratulations on 10 years, we look forward to the next decade.
Everyone who works closely with Charles knows of his heart for serving others and his mission to build a better community. His leadership and efforts were officially recognized by Rotary as he was the recipient of the 110% Award in 2022. This special designation is given to an individual who grows the mission of Rotary, carries out responsibilities exceptionally, and makes significant leadership contributions. He intentionally looks for ways to put #servicebeforeself and shares his intentions with others. He points out that his work is just a small part of what Rotary does for the community and a small part of what the Rotary Club of Rockingham County does in the community.
Whether volunteering with fellow Rotarians or tackling pro-bono architecture projects, Charles is making a lasting impact in our community and we are so proud of him. His efforts are a small piece of the puzzle in creating a stronger, better community and he inspires many of us to do the same. As he says, the power of Rotary is the people you volunteer with and the difference you can make when you all come together.
Service to my community is my why. It has shaped our business mission statement and it drives my decisions. How can I do the most good for others often allows me to decide what committee to give time to and what non-profit to support. The one organization that does it better than any other, the one that allows me to serve your community and mine and serve those around the world, is Rotary International. So I want to invite you to come to learn more about Rotary on June 7th from 5 pm – 7 pm at Beyond Restaurant.
Service to your community, with Rotary, starts with weekly meetings to build deep friendships while learning more about the community. Each week we have speakers join us to talk about a topic, often are area non-profit, that is also doing good. These weekly meetings are important to build the community among members so when it comes time to do a service project, such as hosting the Harrisonburg Soap Box Derby, we join together not just as Rotarians, but as friends.
I am proud to be a Rotarian and would be proud to invite you to our meeting to learn more. If our weekly Tuesday morning breakfast club is not the right fit for your schedule there are other incredible groups. We often join forces in the valley and team up with other Rotary Clubs to have an even bigger impact.
Our club has helped support some amazing efforts across the valley and around the world. From the Harrisonburg Soap Box Derby to PurMadi to supporting First Step to picking up trash along Rt 42, we work hard together to do good.
When the war started Rotarians immediately sprung into action and started feeding people. The train workers did not leave their posts for a full month as they volunteered to help evacuate and Rotarians provided hot meals to the workers. They also were delivering food and heaters to bomb shelters. They had to use small vans because large trucks could not navigate the broken roads. In Kyiv, they worked hard to distribute medicine and supplies to the elderly that could not leave their homes. Many Rotarians started taking in pets that were left behind to the point where their homes appeared to be small zoos. They also worked to set up shelters in schools for those displaced, setting up sleeping and eating areas. Rotarians also started setting up water filter systems as the public water distribution systems are destroyed and wells are contaminated.
The Rotary Clubs in Ukraine have added members since the war started as they continue to recruit others that want to put #serviceaboveself. Their Rotary Club committee members meet daily to be able to have a rapid response to needs. The clubs are purchasing medical vehicles, generators, and fire trucks using Rotary Grant funds.
There are 62 Rotary clubs in Ukraine and membership is growing.
You can sponsor a family relocating to the USA HERE.