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.
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.
Orange Plaza Rotary members and special guests gathered for the last Elwyn California Bowl-a-Thon on April 9th. Elwyn is shifting their fundraising efforts to other events, such as the “Pinot and Palettes” event on June 26th and the 3rd Annual Fall Fling, set for September 24th.
Our club has sponsored bowling teams for more than 10 straight years, often including students from our Interact Club at El Modena High School, RYLA students, and other special guests. Over the years, we have claimed the “Rotary Challenge” trophy several times, in a tough category of competitors from the Rotary Clubs of Huntington Beach, Anaheim Hills, Fountain Valley and Long Beach.
We will miss this opportunity for fun inter-club rivalry and fundraising with our friends. However, we will continue to support Elwyn and their mission to provide vocational training and job placement for persons with disabilities.
The rekenrek, or arithmetic rack, supports the natural development of number sense in children. Smaller versions consist of two rows of 10 beads in two colors. Students to make mental images of numbers, using 5 and 10 as anchors for counting, adding and subtracting. On March 23rd, Orange Plaza Rotary assembled 100 rekenrek, one for every kindergarten student at Fletcher Elementary in Orange.
Orange Plaza recently began a partnership with the school to provide supplies, services and programs that aren’t in the school budget. Miss Carmen, one of the kindergarten teachers at the school, brought the idea to Rotary and participate in assembling the rekenrek. Local parents joined in as well, with several children assisting.
Every few years, Orange Plaza Rotary is approached by a health care provider or family member of a wheelchair-bound local resident. After checking out the home, city ordinances and local rules of the HOA or mobile home park, we get to work!
Our third wheelchair ramp was built over the weekend of February 6th, with community volunteers (and kids!) assisting. Our ramps our built from scratch to the exact specifications of the installation location. We cut and assemble the wood pieces, including railings, at the home of a Rotarian and then travel to the recipient’s home to install. Finish painting is done on-site and pictures are taken of our handiwork.
We hope to expand this project in the future to bring independence and mobility to more people in our community.
Sixty million people are displaced by armed conflict or persecution, and 90 percent of armed-conflict casualties are civilians, half of them children. Through service projects, fellowships, and other Rotary-sponsored campaigns, members train adults and young leaders to prevent and mediate conflict, and aid refugees who have fled dangerous areas. Members also pursue projects to address the underlying structural causes of conflict, including poverty, inequality, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources.
Learn more about Rotary’s dedication to peace through service:
Three members of Orange Plaza Rotary and two students from the El Modena High School Interact Club were among the hundreds of attendees at the Rotary Presidential Peace Conference held January 15th and 16th at the Ontario Convention Center. The Conference was the first of 5 Presidential Conferences to be held this Rotary year, but the only one focusing on peace and conflict resolution. It was also the only conference to be held in North America.
Organized by the six Rotary Districts of Southern California and Nevada, the event drew high profile speakers, including actress and activist Sharon Stone, who addressed the crowd on Friday afternoon. Breakout sessions for Rotarians highlighted the many areas where conflict resolution techniques are vitally needed, including schools, businesses and communities around the world. The sessions were lead by Rotarians and leaders from dozens of nonprofit organizations which partner with Rotary to build peace.
On Saturday, nearly 400 high school students from numerous Rotary-sponsored Interact clubs attended a separate conference focusing on peace and conflict resolution issues in their own lives. In addition to discussion sessions, Interactors joined together in service, packing more than 17,000 meal packages for the organization Stop Hunger Now.
The Orange Plaza team returned home with new ideas for introducing conflict resolution techniques in our community and local schools. Both Rotary and Interact look forward to working closely together in the future.
In January, Rotarians observe “Vocational Service Month”. Vocational Service is one of the Four Avenues of Service that Rotarians travel, including Community Service, International Service and Club Service. Vocational Service calls on every Rotarian to work with integrity and contribute their expertise to the problems and needs of society. Of course, this object of Rotary applies to every service project, whether at home or internationally.