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.
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!
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 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.
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!