Club Stories
 
It's hard to argue with the truth! Tonee Lawson, a Graduate of Towson University, gave an inspiring presentation about TheBeOrg (TheBeOrg.com) a student led program to help other young people become good citizens and teach them the meaning of  community engagement and reaching out, while growing and prospering themselves.
 
TheBeOrg identifies important issues that impose limitations on young people, and make a commitment to try to decrease the impact on that group of individuals.  Some of the causes TheBeOrg is behind are really important! For example, food scarcity is an issue that haunts our communities in terrible ways, whether in food deserts (inability to purchase fresh foods easily, in stores in ones own community), or poor eating habits because some people don't know how to cook fresh foods.
 
TheBeOrg is behind one such food related initiative: 1 in 6 people in Maryland do not have enough money to buy food. It has been proven time and again that hungry children perform at lower academic levels, have behavior and emotional problems, and are more likely to drop out of school. This continues the cycle of socieconomic challenges. The poverty cycle begins with food insecurity. TheBeOrg has a campaign called the #HashtagLunchBag to try to break the hunger and poverty cycle by providing meals for families in need.
Knock Knock!
Who's there?
Play
Play who?
Play Fresh with Derrick Battle who knows how to play, work, teach and make things happen in a great way for the kids of Baltimore, and teach them how to be "green" on and off the field!
So, how is a football like an orange peel?
Intriguing, tough, desireable, and you always want more.  And educational in its intricacy... especially when the word alone elicits a whole new world of thinking.
And that is how it is being used as part of a PlayFresh! an environmental awareness think fast exercise created by Derrick Battle and his partners to incorporate his two passions to do something positive with young people in Baltimore City. Derrick is a charming, energetic bright young man who joined our Rotary meeting on September 12 and almost immediately began to toss several footballs to the members. Deborah De La Reguera had “orange peel” written on hers. Howard had batteries on his, and someone else had aluminum cans. Derrick asked each person what they could do with them item they found written on their football.
Our own president Neil Young has led a very colorful life, especially with his wife, Nancy.  He bravely shared his salty story - all the way back to the 1600's!!  They say the apple does not fall far from the tree, and apparently some of his ancestors had "quite the personality."  We'll leave some of the details to your imagination.  Even in the "old" days, there was a bit of tension in the family line (though not in his own outstanding marriage)... but his Great Grandmother, Abigail, was married at a young age to one Orra Bolton whom she divorced... fortunately, because then she married John Young, Neil’s step-great grandfather.  
 
His grandfather, born in 1848, was in a movie, but died soon after.  His mother was born in 1908 and was a fashion artist.  His father studied at Johns Hopkins.  Two of his cousins were Roughriders.  Lots of diverse talent in the family to say the least.
 
When Neil was younger, he was rebellious and a lousy student (his words, not the authors!).  To soothe his soul, he became a deck hand on a ship that went to South America. The only way to get home was to keep working on the ship without pay!! He tried to go to college when he got back, but hated it.  He obviously loved the sea, so, with his mom's encouragement to become an official sailor, off he went to the Navy.  On his last hitch he was sent to the state of Washington. 
 
While in that State and wandering about, he was smitten by a young teacher - who became the love of his life. He did not know her name at the time - but he knew he was going to fall in love with her.  Though he was also thinking about signing up for the Navy again, Ms. Nancy said "au contraire" - which means: NO!  They married within 3 months of meeting each other.  He went to Franklin Marshall College with Nancy’s encouragement and became a history major.  To his surprise, he was a great student, and became a candidate for a Fulbright Scholarship.  However, his father passed away, and he had to pay off his student loan. He had a full scholarship given to him in his last year so he could pay the $6,000 tuition.
 
After college he went to work for Monumental Life where he was job measurement analyst - "how many paper clips did you use today sir?"  He hated the job, and when someone sold him an insurance policy he decided to give that a try.  He is still doing it 45 years later.  He became partners with two other men.  The partnership lasted ten years when they split up.  He went on to become a successful businessman in his own firm which has been very successful in financial planning and insurance.
 
He became involved with a program, People to People in 1994 and worked with Sharon D. on trips going to Russia.  That program shut down a few years ago.  They had won a ten million dollar grant from the State Department for this project. 
 
 
It's true people have interesting visions, and people make their vision's a reality to be sure. People also have ups and downs and have to pull themselves up and face a few challenges along the way.
But Mark Foster and Antonio Johnson from Second Chance are NOT YOUR AVERAGE "Oh, i have a cool idea." and "wow, that was close, guess i won't do that again" kind of people.  These amazing men are Life Changers, Life Savers, Life Makers and Visionaries, with every capital letter earned and then some. 
 
Mark Foster is the director and founder of Second Chance, a 501 (c)(3) non profit that is in the business of changing lives through second chances. Second Chance gives people, and materials a second chance... and they help the environment along the way.   Mark created Second Chance in 2001, to better organize access to reclaimed materials.  He noticed other "waste" in our communities too - wasted people without opportunities.  His need and what he saw opened his eyes to much more potential for doing something really important, and critical for the city.  Mark now runs a 150 person company that saves people and the planet.
 
Second Chance employs individuals facing employment barriers and trains them in "green collar jobs."  They do everything from deconstruction to retail service in the company store.  The company store by the way is bigger than THREE ( 3) Home Depots. Second chance reclaims and re-sells unused materials and accept donations of materials and furnishings from anywhere.  Through all of their programs they employ 150 people who are returning citizens; people who have been incarcerated for some part of their lives.  For some of these individuals, the job at Second Chance might be their first job.
 
Mark was joined at the Rotary meeting with his colleague Antonio Johnson. Antonio is a Second Chance success story, and a heck of a nice guy.... even though he made me cry. Glad i got to hug him during healthy hug time! Antonio is from the inner city and like many young people in our city today, at the age of 13, he was attracted to a life of crime. The money was good and it was hard to resist.  His story is not unique.  Antonio was shot several times by the age of 17, and even so, he continued to run with the same people, and finally got caught and spent nearly 10 years in prison.  He is a smart young man, and was lucky to have a good counselor who recognized that in him. After getting out of prison and working a so-so job, he heard about Second Chance. though skeptical because of his limited skills, he was told that what he needed was a willingness to learn.   That was EXACTLY what he wanted - to learn.  Antonio was hired in 2008 as a warehouse man. This was followed by several promotions across different parts of the company, including as cashier managing the money.  He is now the customer service manager. And, as he described the next stage of his life, he started to cry, and so did I. He announced to our club that he is also starting his own moving company. Second Chance took a chance on him and gave him the confidence and training to use his natural skills.  He is going to be great and use his own second chance to the very very best.  It is so clear that places like Second Chance opened the door to success for him. He has helped others, and he has created his own success as well. We need 1,000 more programs like Second Chance, to help people either before they need a second chance. or after. This is one answer that is a no brainer. Where are the Marks and Antonios? We could all be one of them any day, so let's keep up our work, as they do theirs. Thank you both!
That's Harry Potter and the Philosophers' Stone, for those of you who have NOT yet taken Towson High School teacher Bill Buick's Latin class yet!  But if you hear Mr. Buick speak about the Litini's and the history of Latin, it won't be long before you will be debating in Latin, and winning rhetoric arguments, or naming a new species! Bill's knowledge of Latin is astounding enough. His passion is enough to win over even the most reticent of students. And what is most compelling is his brilliant ability to integrate Latin with all of the other disciplines not just at the school, but beyond school into the potential career spectrum for his students - such as law. The Towson students lucky enough to be in his class are learning how to argue case law - in Latin!
He shared notebooks of the student's work, from drawings to calligraphy to maps, to demonstrate their mastery of the Latin language  - and it spanned astronomy, law, art, biology and more.
 
The Rotarian's got their own lesson this morning, in the history of the language and its beauty, which left most of us thirsting, just this once, for maybe one day back in high school.  just one though, in Mr. Buick's Latin class!
Attorney Michelle Mendez enlightened the club on immigration law.  Everyone needs a primer on this topic today. The facts matter.
 
Keith Schmidt, DDS sets out to do good across the globe. Keith is our soothsayer in Maryland, but he is also a toothslayer....and a beloved one at that. Not only are his Baltimore patients loyal right down to their roots, but now Dr. Keith has loyal followers all over the world.
 
 
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Service Above Self

We meet Wednesdays at 7:15 AM
Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel
903 Dulaney Valley Rd.
Towson, MD  21204
United States
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