Orange Plaza Rotary isn’t always on the go. Sometimes, we take a break from our many service projects and sit down for food and drink with an interesting speaker.
Our Wednesday night meetings at Marie Callender’s are low-key and interactive, allowing us to get to know each other and our guests. In the last month or so, we’ve had a great time with:
Dr. Lynn Marran – The founder of Children in Focus, a nonprofit organization that screens and treats children for functional vision problems that can interfere with learning. Over 30 optometry students have participated in training to detect these problems and more than 400 children have benefited from the program. Dr. Marran volunteers at local schools and shelters through Vision for Life and the Illuminations Foundation to provide eye care for the needy.
Chris Epting – Chris Epting, author of the new book “Teddy Roosevelt in California”. Through firsthand accounts, speeches and rare photographs, author Chris Epting tells the story of a great and profound journey that had a lasting effect on conservation history and the National Park System.
Hope Nelson – This former Rotary Youth Exchange Student spent an incredible year in Emsdetten, Germany sponsored by the Rotary Club of Conroe, TX during 2007-2008. It was one of the most influential years of her life, where she “caught the travel bug”. Upon returning, she attended Texas A&M University and joined the Corps of Cadets, graduating in 2012 with a double major in International Studies and Russian, and earning a commission in the United States Army as a Military Police Officer. Throughout her career, she has spoken at clubs throughout Texas and Missouri about the impact that Rotary Youth Exchange made on her life.
Kristen Davis – Member Kristen Davis did a great job presenting “Let’s Talk Rocks” at the July 11th meeting. We had six kids in the audience, and a couple of them brought rocks to share with Kristen and ask for her professional help in identifying them. A trained geologist, Kristen has a large personal collection of rocks and minerals and takes regular “field trips” to find new specimens. Thanks for the “craft talk” Kristen!
Next up? Rotary District 5320 Governor Ray Sanford. Join us on July 20th!
Orange Plaza Rotary received numerous honors for its work during the 2015-2016 Rotary year. The club was recognized for its activity in all areas of Rotary service, including its international service project partnering with the nonprofit organization “Stop Hunger Now”. For its efforts in organizing a food packaging event that sent more than 40,000 meal servings to Vietnam and the Philippines, Orange Plaza Rotary was honored with the “John Boyd International Service Award” presented by fellow Rotarians of the Rotary Club of Brea on July 11th.
The Rotary Club of Orange Plaza Rotary was recently named “Best Small Club” among the 45 Rotary clubs in District 5320, which includes all of Orange County and parts of southern Los Angeles county. The “Best Club” banner was awarded at the May 2016 District Conference in Newport Beach by then-Governor Kevin Padilla of Placentia.
On behalf of Rotary International President Ravi Ravindran, Governor Padilla also presented the prestigious “Presidential Citation” to Orange Plaza for the Rotary year ending on June 30th. In making the award, Rotary International noted the participation of more than 75% of Orange Plaza members in “hands-on” projects in the community, praised the group’s sponsorship of a student service organization (El Modena High School Interact) and thanked the club for its financial support of The Rotary Foundation, the charitable arm of Rotary International.
Orange Plaza Rotary (widely known as the organizers of the Annual Orange Plaza Car Show) also received the “Quality of Life” Award from the Orange Chamber of Commerce on June 16th. The award, shared with two other Rotary clubs in the city, recognized the club for outstanding service by a nonprofit organization. OPR’s local service projects include quarterly food drives for homeless veterans, design and installation of custom wheelchair ramps for the disabled, and guiding high school students through the signature project, “Mentor Meals”.
The Rotary Club of Orange Plaza plans another busy year of service in the next twelve months, expanding successful programs and adding new community-based projects in the City of Orange.
Orange Plaza Rotary (widely known as the organizers of the Annual Orange Plaza Car Show) received the “Quality of Life” Award from the Orange Chamber of Commerce on June 16th. The award, shared with two other Rotary clubs in the city, recognized the club for outstanding service by a nonprofit organization. Orange Plaza’s local service projects include quarterly food drives for homeless veterans, design and installation of custom wheelchair ramps for the disabled, and guiding high school students through the signature project, “Mentor Meals”.
Orange Plaza Rotary provided two $500 scholarships to students graduating from the Collaborative Technology Program at El Modena High School. The students were active in the Mentor Meals program co-hosted by Orange Plaza Rotary, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and El Modena Alumni. Congratulations to Odaliz Gonzalez and Velta Mansfield. They will be continuing school at Santiago Canyon College in the fall. Great Job!
The club also presented a $1,000 Scholarship to Sabrina Tsai, the outgoing President of the Interact Club at El Modena, sponsored by Orange Plaza Rotary Club. Sabrina worked tirelessly this past year with our club doing many volunteering functions. A well deserved winner. Sabrina also received a sizable scholarship from the U.S. Marine Corp. Sabrina will be continuing her education at SD State, in San Diego. She makes our club proud.
We were so happy to support the City of Orange to renovate the historic Hart Park bandshell. Orange Plaza Rotary bought one of the 140 bricks that helped to fund the renovation. We partied in the park on June 6th to celebrate the completed bandshell.
We had fun welcoming guests and trying out the great craft beers at Old Orange Brewery Co. during our May 25th mixer and social. Past District Governor Jim Paddock visited us to recognize Rae Shirer for contributing more than $7,000 to The Rotary Foundation. We then inducted Mary Noguera into our club and celebrated with a round of great brews. What did PDG Jim have? Why, the “Cussin’ Jim” IPA, of course.
So this happened…
The members of Orange Plaza Rotary attended the Saturday luncheon at the annual Rotary 5320 District Conference and then hung around for District awards afterward. Oh, how we cheered as our friends in San Clemente Sunrise and Anaheim Hills captured the flag for best project in Community, Youth and International Service! We patted ourselves on the back when we received a Public Image citation and a well-earned Presidential Citation but, truth be told, we were just a wee bit disappointed.
Yes, our motto is “Service Above Self”, but if we are honest with ourselves, we have a competitive spirit running through our tight-knit group. We headed out into the afternoon sunshine, vowing to do better next year.
And then the sun went down, and the lights came up, and dinner was served. We danced, we ate, and we drank. Just a little. Not enough to miss our big moment when Governor Padilla announced Orange Plaza Rotary as the best small club in Rotary District 5320!
After the shock wore off, we got a good night’s sleep. Now we’re ready to do it all again.
‘Cause yeah, we are a little club, but kind of a big deal.
A week after the interesting presentation by our city’s Police and Fire Explorers, we welcomed four students from El Modena High School who participated this year in our Rotary-sponsored youth programs.
El Modena Interact President Sabrina Tsai, filled us in on the activities of our busy on-campus club. Interactors volunteered often at the Discovery Center in Santa Ana, assisting with special fun and educational events for children. The club has also participated in the “Scouting for Food” drive and members even attended the Rotary International Presidential Peace Conference in January.
Sabrina was joined by Marci Sanchez and Karina Zapoteco, who are juniors at El Mo. Marci and Karina will continue as board members of Interact next year.
We also heard from Bryam Fabela and Anthony Ortiz, students in the Collaborative Technology Program. They shared their experiences as participants in “Mentor Meals”, our joint project with CTP. Bryam and Anthony felt that they had received real-world advice that would help them in the future.
Four of these students also attended the Rotary Youth Leadership camp in Idyllwild. The April weekend was filled with meeting new friends, dancing, singing and poetry. But the highlight was the day-long “Boojum” ropes challenge course. Bryam, Anthony, Karina and Marci were happy that they able to challenge themselves while also learning valuable teamwork skills.
This meeting was a highlight of our year–the future is in good hands!
During this month observing Rotary Youth Service programs, we invite participants in our sponsored programs to visit us and share their experiences with us. We were happy to welcome members of the City of Orange Police and Fire Explorer posts on May 4th, with their advisors–professionals in our City departments.
Ha! That headline caught your eye! Once again, the arborists at the City of Orange asked for our assistance in planting new trees in residential areas. With a large number of cub scouts in attendance, we were treated to an educational talk by Randy Largent, Tree Services Coordinator for the City of Orange.
Then we got to work! We were joined by our mini-Rotarians Tiffany Jo and Sofia, who enthusiastically constructed berms around the new trees. Member Tom Davis was especially helpful, as he was previously very involved in a tree program at the Rotary Club of Villa Park. A fun morning!