When 2017-2018 Rotary International President Ian Riseley announced the Presidential Theme for this year of service, he placed special emphasis on the care of our environment, noting the effect that environmental degradation and global climate change have on the world’s most vulnerable populations.
President Risely issued a challenge that each Rotary club could embrace as their own: to plant as many trees as they have as members of their Rotary club.
Recently, Orange Plaza Rotary completed that challenge, planting several trees on the campus of El Modena High School in Orange. Previously, the club had planted trees at Fletcher Elementary School, providing welcome shade to students there.
With 14 trees now growing in the California sun, we are proud that our efforts will benefit students for years1
To learn more about the work of the Rotary Club of Orange Plaza, please join us at one of our Wednesday “happy hour” meetings. Just click here for our calendar of meetings and events.
On Saturday, February 10th, Orange Plaza Rotary members pulled together students and parents at Fletcher Elementary in Orange to plant 8 new trees on school property. The young saplings will provide shade in the area between the school’s hardtop area and the grassy playing fields.
Project leader Joe Colombo negotiated the purchase and delivery of the trees to the work site. Along with member Jason Curtis, Joe directed the volunteers, some as young as 5 years old, as holes were dug for each tree. This project illustrates the club’s focus on community service projects that appeal to families wanting to volunteer their time.
The $1,500 project was funded by the proceeds of the annual Orange Plaza Car Show, which takes place each April.
The Womens Club of Orange was formed in 1915 and by 1922 a lot was purchased for a clubhouse. The building was completed in 1924 and today the clubhouse and gardens retain the charm and character of the early 20th-century era.
The clubhouse quickly became the center of the Orange community with dances, theater, opera, and fashion shows appearing on its small stage. But over the years, the weight and frequency of these events took their toll. Orange Plaza Rotary member Mary Noguera (also a member of the Womens Club) brought the issue to the attention of other Rotarians.
Building and repairing is kind of our thing, so we dispatched a crew to repair and shore up the stage. Working together in close quarters under the footboards, members Joe Colombo, Jason Curtis and John Bouyer, along with volunteer Clint Breads, replaced supporting beams and other damaged wood.
The stage is now ready for many more presentations over the next 95 years!
Even with a new focus on homelessness in Orange County, so many of our fellow citizens struggle to obtain basic necessities. Orange Plaza Rotary has responded by periodically packing “Blessing Bags” filled with hygiene supplies, snacks and water. The one-gallon zip lock bag also includes a pamphlet listing local resources for the homeless.
Members carry a few of these bags in their cars to hand out when they encounter someone in need.
This project is another example of Orange Plaza Rotary’s emphasis on community service projects that volunteers can do with their young children, teaching them empathy and the value of service.
To learn more about us and get involved, visit a meeting!
Our city has a secret. Hiding behind the small town appeal is the fact that Orange is the second largest city in the county! WIth a diverse population and city boundaries that include homeless camps along the Santa Ana River and vast wilderness areas, law enforcement and fire personnel are challenged to provide top-notch services every day.
We are so fortunate to have professional, dedicated fire and police departments in our city. To recognize that Orange Plaza Rotary was pleased to join, once again, with the Rotary Clubs of Orange and Orange North to present the 43rd Annual Police and Fire Awards on April 13th. We are so proud of our “papa club”, Orange, for establishing and maintaining this tradition!
In addition to honoring the uniformed professionals, the annual awards recognize non-uniformed staff and civilian volunteers. But what is truly close to our heart here at Orange Plaza Rotary is the investment in our youth–Orange Police Explorer Post 266 and Orange Fire Explorer Post 547. These programs, co-sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America, provide real-world experience and training to high school youth interest in a life of service.
With the leadership of Orange Plaza Rotarian Teri Snyder, the 3 Rotary Clubs of Orange have expanded the scholarship programs and increased amounts granted to Explorers to continue their public service studies. Orange Plaza Rotary is especially grateful to Post 266 for their hard work every year at the Orange Plaza Car Show. Our donation of $500 is earmarked to offset the expenses of students who might not otherwise be able to afford to participate in the program. We presented this check on July 12th, after a special presentation by two members of Post 266.
For more information about the terrific Explorer programs in Orange, visit the City of Orange website and Police Explorer Post 266.
Orange Plaza Rotary joined together with the organization Threads of Love for a service project making “Lovie Dolls” for babies in natal intensive care. Threads of Love makes and delivers gowns and dolls to 16 Orange County hospitals.
Lovie Dolls are soft and made of fabric. Mom places a completed doll on her own chest, between her breasts so that the doll picks up mama’s scent. When the doll is then placed in bed with the infant, the child is comforted by the doll and the scent.
Our club was very excited to help out with this project, with men, women and children helping to cut and assemble.
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!
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!
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!
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!