Category Archives: Service Activities

Matt Barba 2017

Matt Barba’s Best Week Ever

Matt Barba’s boss calls him “Mr. Fixit”.  If it’s broken, he will fix it.  So it was no surprise to his co-workers that Matt spent a lot of his free time over the last 19 years carefully restoring a 1960 Chevrolet Hardtop.

Although he spent years locating the right vintage parts, Matt added enough personal touches that, when it came time to enter his first car show, he decided to enter the Chevy in the “Best Modified ’58 – 66″ class.  There’s tough competition in that class at the Orange Plaza Car Show, and Matt faced competition from 22 other terrific autos at the April 9th event.

IMG_20170413_125711Matt’s two-decade effort paid off, as he beat out everyone to capture Best of Show!  His boss was proud, his co-workers were proud and everyone gave him a big hand when they gathered again the following Thursday.  But this time, the boss was talking up his other achievements. You see, Matt’s co-workers voted him “Orange Firefighter of the Year”, an honor he collected at the 43rd Annual Police and Fire Awards co-sponsored by the three Rotary Clubs of Orange.  Seems that Matt might not have had a lot of free time to build that car, in between going to school and working as a paramedic, a fire/arson investigator, and as advisor to the Fire Explorer post.

Congrats Matt, on your best week ever!

 

Global Scholar Checks In

jfloresIn 2013, Orange Plaza Rotary was proud to sponsor one of the first Global Grant Scholars funded by Rotary District 5320 and The Rotary Foundation.  Joseph Flores studied in Sussex, England, increasing his knowledge in the area of economic and community development.

Recently, Joseph wrote to us with an update and a proposal to work with Rotary clubs in Guatemala, where he currently working for Pomona Impact.  More about Joseph from their website:

Joseph is an investment and development professional who possess a diversity of experience and is currently a Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) Fellow with Pomona Impact.  He previously spent many years managing fixed-income assets for institutional clients and high-net-worth individuals. He subsequently served with the Peace Corps in the Republic of Macedonia in an international development capacity, and his work focused on community and business development.  Joseph holds a Master of Arts in Globalisation and Development from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex, Brighton, UK, and was a Rotary Foundation Global Grant Scholar.  He received professional certification in Impact Investing and Social Enterprise Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS).

We are so happy to see Joseph continue to Do Good in the World!  To learn how you can support the Global Grant Scholar program, visit Rotary.org.

 

Kids Around the World Will Eat Tonight

Kids Around the World 2016Orange Plaza Rotary was grateful to see so many volunteers at our second annual food packaging event.  Working with “Kids Around the World“, we packed 14,040 dehydrated meals for shipment to hungry families. Our volunteers included friends, neighbors, our own children and 40 students from El Modena High School. Many of these students are participants in our “Mentor Meals” program, now in its fourth year.

The project was partially funded by a $1,500 District Grant made possible by donations to The Rotary Foundation Annual Fund.

An awesome day of service!

Treats in the Streets 2016

A Tradition of Treats

The other day, project chair John Bouyer was asked to complete a survey for the City of Orange, describing our experience as a vendor at the annual “Treats in the Streets” fall event.  So, he did some math and figures that this little Rotary club has participated every year for the last 15 years.

Boy, have things changed!  In the early days, we had a photo booth, complete with a haystack set and our club President dressed as a scarecrow. We’d take a Polaroid, shake it a bit, and then put it in a little paper frame to be sold for a buck or two.  One year, we almost made money at that.

Then digital photography came about and we tried to adapt.  But who needs our photos when everyone has a smart phone?

The last few years we’ve been running carnival games and handing out candy.  (Uh, candy was always part of the deal.)  Ring toss, bean bag toss, goldfish toss…if you can toss it, we will host it.

It’s been fun 15 years and we wonder what the next 15 will bring!

 

tom-5

Remembering Tom

We are heartbroken by the sudden loss of our dear friend and Rotarian, Tom Davis, who left us on October 13th.

Orange Plaza was Tom’s last Rotary club, and we know how lucky we are. In nearly 40 years as a Rotarian, Tom Davis left his mark. He was the “tree guy” behind the Rotary Club of Villa Park, procuring the saplings given to grade schoolers in celebration of Arbor Day. Even after transferring to Orange Plaza Rotary, he continued to volunteer at Villa Park events and to stay in touch with good friends there. Tom supported youth programs, working directly with El Modena Interact, and kept us connected to international service, in partnership with the RC of Villa Park. For Tom, Rotary was a family affair and we were thrilled to welcome his daughter Kristen as a member. Tom opened his home to the family of Rotary as well, and we had a wonderful time celebrating the end of summer at his home with our friends. Thanks for the memories, Tom. We love you and will miss you!

A celebration of Tom’s life will be held November 21st at 11am at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Orange, CA.  A lunch reception will be held afterwards.

Rotary Repair Day 2016

Rotary Repair Day

Orange Plaza Rotary has a history of seeking out senior or physically disabled citizens and then doing a little fixin’ around the house.  We have built custom wheelchair ramps, cleared brush and revitalized landscape, repaired floors and plumbing, and even gave one home an entire spring cleaning.

Our October 1st project at Park Royale combined all of our talents and interests.  For this senior resident, we tore down and repaired the rickety stairs, adding fresh indoor/outdoor carpeting to the treads.  The team also cleaned up all areas around the mobile home, trimming palm trees and pulling weeds.  The project was spearheaded by Community Service Chair Jason Curtis and we were joined by Past District Governor Kevin Padilla and his wife Lorraine, who is a member of the Rotary eClub of the West.

A rewarding project!

Back to Broadway for Elwyn California!

The ladies of Orange Plaza Rotary filled one of 18 sold out tables at the 3rd Annual Fall Fling, benefiting the work programs of Elwyn California.  Elwyn provides vocational training and job placement for persons with disabilities.

The Rotary Club of Orange Plaza has been a longtime supporter of Elwyn, participating annually the Elwyn Bowl-a-Thon fundraiser.  That event is now retired, but the “Fall Fling” is a rapidly growing and hilarious event that will add fun and funds to Elwyn’s programs.

In addition to sponsoring a table at the event, Orange Plaza Rotarians provided two gift baskets for sale in the silent auction.  And our resident theatrical ham, PDG Rae, served as one of the “models” in the “Backstage to Broadway” event, strutting around the room to the Chicago tune, “All That Jazz”.

Save the date for next year’s event (September 23, 2017) when Elwyn’s cast will be Rockin’ the 50s!

Member Jason Curtis prepares to deliver collected food to Veterans First of Santa Ana.

Rotarians and Residents Join Together for the Homeless

Recently, a well-known local charity, Mary’s Kitchen, suffered a tragic fire in their kitchen. Mary’s Kitchen feeds as many as 1,000 homeless persons in Orange County, operating six days a week.

During their recent, quarterly, food drive Albertson’s grocery, Orange Plaza Rotarians received a $100 bill from an anonymous donor who requested that it be delivered to Mary’s Kitchen.  (More than 800 lbs of food items were collected on September 17th for homeless veterans served by Veterans First of Santa Ana.)

The following Wednesday, club members unanimously voted to boost the Mary’s Kitchen donation to $500 from club funds.

The Rotary Club of Orange Plaza wishes Mary’s Kitchen a speedy recovery as they continue their outstanding work!

New Literacy Projects in the Works

AF LiteracyOrange Plaza Rotary recently approved a full slate of service projects for the 2016-2017 Rotary year, including two projects aimed at improving basic literacy in our community.  “Read to Me” is a returning project proposed by member Teri Snyder.  Club members and volunteers will assemble packages with new books, literacy resources and a “Read to Me” onesie for distribution to families of babies born in our local hospitals.

Plans are also underway to establish a “Little Free Library” program in Orange.  At the suggestion of Immediate Past President Tracey Curtis, the club will build and distribute small birdhouse-like libraries to volunteer stewards in our neighborhoods.  We are excited to add this new project!

We are also looking forward to joining students in our Mentor Meals Program for another morning of volunteering at ThinkTogether, cleaning donated, gently used books for distribution to local schoolchildren.

We love doing good.  Do you?  Join us!


“Basic Education and Literacy” is one of the six “Areas of Focus” of The Rotary Foundation, which celebrates its centennial year in 2016.  Learn more at Rotary.org.

And This Little Piggy Conquered Polio

Once upon a time, a little Rotary club joined with 20 other volunteers to build a home on the outskirts of Tijuana.  At the end of a rewarding day, the volunteers caravanned back to the international border and waited in line for approval to cross into the USA.  The volunteers told jokes and stories and communicated with the car of friends behind them by waving, making faces and other amusing gestures.

But the group was distracted by 1) the urgent need of a certain member to find a nearby restroom, and 2) the many fine wares being hawked by dozens of Mexican vendors along the route to the border.  So, the certain member was dispatched with a Mexican guide to find relief, only to return with the announcement that he had located the perfect souvenir of the group’s experience:  Rotunda, the Polio Pig.

Much haggling ensued before Rotunda was purchased, but when the transaction was concluded, Rotunda was immediately delivered to the club treasurer, traveling in the car directly behind the SUV filled with generous pig-loving Rotarians.  Dolores’ expression when receiving this gift was not glee, exactly, but more of a look of astonishment and woe.  Nonetheless, Rotunda occupied a place of honor in her office for many years and occasionally attended a Rotary meeting, car show or other special event.

Alas, little piggies do not live forever and the time came to slaughter Rotunda for market.  With all the pomp and circumstance we can muster, Orange Plaza Rotary threw Rotunda a going-away soiree on August 17th.  As you can tell by the photos, Rotunda enjoyed the proceedings immensely, even after we performed surgery to extract over $98 dollars from her posterior.  Although Rotunda did not survive the surgery, her sacrifice will change the lives of children around the world who receive vaccinations through Rotary’s campaign to End Polio Now.  With only three countries left on the list of “endemic” regions, Rotary and its partners are truly “this close” to eradicating polio from the face of the earth.  The polio campaign is just one of the programs of The Rotary Foundation, which celebrates its 100th year of service this year.  Want to know how you too can change the world?  Join us!