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.
For the third year, Orange Plaza Rotary hosted a food packaging event to box meals for hungry families around the world. Working with the organization Rise Against Hunger (fka “Stop Hunger Now”), Rotarians gathered more than 2 dozen community volunteers to assist in the event.
The January 20th event was held in the Orange Public Library community room and attracted even more volunteers as they visited the library! This project is another example of the club’s focus on hands-on service that families can do with their children. Kids as young as five served as “runners” and helped label the completed packages.
More than 11,000 meals were prepared and will be shipped to areas such as the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
The project was funded, in part, by a grant from the Rotary Foundation and Rotary District 5320. Other costs were underwritten from the proceeds of the annual Orange Plaza Car Show.
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!
Sometimes, we just gotta have some fun! So we get our kids and grand-kids together and do something we can all be, eh, good at.
On November 8th, Club Service Chair Sonal hosted a paint night at her HOA clubhouse. After a great potluck meal, we settled down to business. With the guidance of a professional artist (who provided all of the supplies), we all learned how to paint branches, leaves, flowers and fruit of an orange tree. As we expected, the kids had a blast creating their own masterpieces.
If you are looking for a family-friendly way to serve your community, check out our calendar of events!
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.
We gave it our best, we really did. We all headed over to “Fox in a Box” for a fun morning of team building and adventure.
Half of us tried to escape from “the Bunker”, a Cold-War era room where we raced the clock to save the world from nuclear destruction. Alas, that team went kaboom.
Our second team attempted to escape a dark bank vault. The only light available to assess the clues were headlights strapped to their, uh, heads. Sadly, this team ran out of time as well.
Not all was lost, as we gathered for pasta and other goodies at the Spaghetti Factory at the Fullerton Depot. We relived our adventures and laughed a lot.
Thank you to member Sonal for putting this together. We’re ready to do it again!
Orange Plaza Rotary purchased 854 Scholastic books to donate to preschool children enrolled in the Orange Children and Parents Together (OCPT) program at the Handy Child Development Center. OCPT is a local nonprofit focused on early childhood education. OCPT strives to prepare the most vulnerable children in the community for success when they start school. Orange Plaza Rotary members attended the preschool’s Reach Out and Read graduation and helped distribute the books to 448 children. Each child also received a backpack from the Orange Assistance League.
As our Mentor Meals program at El Modena High School concludes year 4, we are so proud of the students we have met along the way. This year, we expanded the program to include small scholarships to two graduating seniors in the program.
Maria Paez Lopez plans to attend Santiago Canyon College before transferring to a four-year university to complete a nursing degree. While at El Modena, Maria served as President of “Pay It Forward”, a club performing random acts of kindness, volunteered at her church and interned at McPherson CARES, mentoring younger students. Maria also used her science skills to assist in a STEM class at Esplanade Elementary.
Maria credits the Collaborative Technology Program and Mentor Meals with developing her self confidence and building leadership skills. We know Maria will achieve her goals!
Bryam Fabela plans to attend Santa Ana College in the fall with the goal of pursuing a career in dentistry. Bryam says:
I have always believed that a smile means a lot because for me it is a sign of gratitude and happiness.
His volunteer activities include working in the El Modena booth at the Orange International Street Fair, assisting with the Spring and Fall Festivals at Prospect Elementary, reading to children in the YMCA after school program.school program and maintaining the on-campus Nature Center. Bryam also participated in the annual food packaging event hosted by Orange Plaza Rotary.
Byram’s time in the program inspired his love for community service. He plans to become a dentist as a career so that he may also volunteer and donate his services in missions to help people in developing countries. Go Byram!