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.
All you need is a heart and a plan Doo 2017-09-13 04:00:00Z 0
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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.
HOW IS A FOOTBALL LIKE AN ORANGE PEEL? Doo 2017-09-06 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 16, 2017
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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. 
 
 
Captain Neil Young - Sea Scoundrel! 2017-08-16 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 09, 2017
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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!
Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis at Towson High Doo 2017-08-09 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Aug 02, 2017
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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!
Retrain. Reclaim. Renew. Second Chance is Second to NONE! DOO 2017-08-02 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 29, 2017
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Attorney Michelle Mendez enlightened the club on immigration law.  Everyone needs a primer on this topic today. The facts matter.
 
Immigration Facts Doo 2017-07-29 04:00:00Z 0
Club Rotarian of the Year Award Doo 2017-07-29 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on Jul 19, 2017
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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.
 
African Tooth Tamer Doo 2017-07-19 04:00:00Z 0
Early Edition - June 2017 Doo 2017-06-15 04:00:00Z 0
Bangladesh Progress Doo 2017-06-07 04:00:00Z 0
Posted on May 24, 2017
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On May 17th, Towsontowne Rotary's own Neil Young shared stories, along with many pictures of his recent expedition Hiking Hadrian’s Wall.   

 

Hiking Hadrian's Wall Doo 2017-05-24 04:00:00Z 0
Early Edition May 24, 2017 Doo 2017-05-24 04:00:00Z 0
National Best Selling Author to speak at Rotary Club 2017-05-03 04:00:00Z 0
SPEAKEASY 2017 FUNDRAISER Do 2017-04-08 04:00:00Z 0
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
After a year of planning and collaboration, See2Learn,Towsontowne's signature project for 2016-17, will launch on Monday, August 12. The goal is to improve educational outcomes among under-served children.
See2Learn is a concept created by President Nancy Scheinman to build a local component in the club's tradition of coordinating global vision programs. Members have been trained to perform basic vision screenings for the pre-schoolers in YMCA Head Start centers in Baltimore County and City. That means as many as 2,100 children will be assessed this fall. Partners will provide followup, including prescription eyeglasses at no cost and other ophthalmic services. A literary advocate will read to the children before and after their turn, and each child will take home a new book. For some of them, it will be the only book they own. 
Conclusive studies show young children often don't know their vision is impaired because they assume everyone sees like they do. As a result, their chances for learning diminish. What's more, each state establishes mandates for school vision services, and Maryland ranks near the bottom. 
See2Learn Project partners are the Y in Central Maryland, United Way of Central Maryland, Rotary District 7620 (a $6,000 matching grant), Maryland Society for Sight, the Ivy Bookstore, Weinberg Foundation, and Rotary clubs of Hunt Valley, Towson, and Pikesville. 
Towsontowne's other vision initiatives include one in Mumbai, where more than 60,000 children were screened and assisted with followup, and a new "Program to Reduce Corneal Blindness" in Bangladesh, where damaged or diseased corneas are common and limit upward mobility in one of the world's poorest nations. 
 
 
See2Learn is signature project for 2016-17 Jo Martin 2016-09-06 00:00:00Z 0

Reporter: Jack with help from Sharon

2 Local Programs Focus on Turning Around the Past

 
 

Attorney Amethyst Spivak, deputy executive director of The Samaritan Women, spoke about the group's long-term residential program for survivors of domestic sex trafficking. "Our healing and restoration program is spirit-filled and trauma-informed. That means we incorporate the best of what we understand about the healing of trauma, while leaving ourselves open to the works of God," she said. The undisclosed rural location of the Transitional Program provides safety and stability and is followed by the Restorative Program in Baltimore that focuses on self-discovery, spiritual growth, relationships, academic and vocational skills-building. Information is available at www.thesamaritanwomen.org. 

 

Lindsey Bishop, program coordinator for the Mayor's Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs, explained the complex mandate of Baltimore RISE. The initiative helps the 5,000 immigrants and refugees in Baltimore improve English proficiency, learn career skills or augment those already earned, find employment, and navigate the cultural and economic changes they face. Lindsey said 16 percent of the city's population is foreign born. 

Mustafa Fadel, a native of Darfour, Sudan, explained he studied physics and computer science at a missionary university there. Because of the extreme danger of the political situation in his home, he immigrated to northern Africa initially but came to America with no housing or work prospects. Through Baltimore RISE, he is able to be a professional in information technology and support himself rather than staying in warehouse or other service jobs. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
August 24 Meeting Highlights  Jo Martin 2016-08-30 00:00:00Z 0

The great thing about Rotary is the variety of members' talents and interests. We work as a team all year, but members vote in secret for the "Member of the Year". His or her name is revealed by the outgoing president at the last meeting of the fiscal year. The president also has the option of selecting one or more recipients of the "Service Above Self Award'. 

"Member of the Year" Frank Dudek    
In addition to being chair of Community Service, Frank (right) attended the three Rotary Leadership Institute sessions, loaned his muscles (and pickup) for our float in the Towson July 4 parade, and kept us on track with volunteer opportunities at Helping Up Mission, Manor Care and other ongoing projects.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
"Service Above Self Award" Stephanie Bigwood
Stephanie's attention to detail and sleepless nights with spreadsheets gave Towsontowne a long-overdue structure for balancing our Foundation's finances. Her determination to account for every penny spent and received during the April fundraiser set the books straight and created a template for years to come. 
Year-End Recognitions Jo Martin 2016-08-14 00:00:00Z 0
It's been a busy summer for Towsontowne, but the only bad news is that the annual picnic was canceled because of the triple-digit heat index. Thanks to Jane, Le, Richard, Meena and Howard for serving as reporters. The following is a synopsis of the good news.
Summer News Roundup Jo Martin 2016-08-14 00:00:00Z 0

Our rising Rotary star, Global Scholar news and a new Interact Club

Tonya announced that Towson University student Kathleen McAdam (right), will represent the Towson Rotaract Club at the North American Rotaractors Conference in July. Kathleen is the founding president of the Towson club. Tonya also noted that Towson High School soon will have an Interact Club. 
Towsontowne will host a Global Grant Scholar beginning in July. Dr. Shinya Miura will pursue a Master of Public Health degree from the Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Club members who will take the lead in making him feel welcome are Deborah, Neil, Madeleine and Frank. 
It's great to welcome Mahmood and Chris Coleman back from the international conference in Bangladesh!
 
April 13 Meeting Notes 2016-04-19 00:00:00Z 0
 
It's a wrap! Thanks to the valiant members who showed up at President George's home Saturday to put the finishing touches (paper and tape) on the MANY boxes collected over the last six months. "Be A Gift to the World" is the theme of Saturday's Bull & Oyster Roast, and it certainly will be festive. (Note: The bottles on the counter did not contain alcoholic beverages, although they probably should have.)
 
 
How many presidents does it take to wrap "A Gift to the World"? Jo Martin 2016-04-19 00:00:00Z 0

 

Sylvia Harris received a $3,000 scholarship from Towsontowne to support her studies in international economics and development at Johns Hopkins. She is exploring successful programs and their possibilities for implementation in her native Sudan. Sylvia spoke to the club about her life in South Sudan, the civil strife and the help she received from the Rotary Club in Juda. She also detailed her experiences with the "Confident Children-Out of Conflict" program providing education and skills training to young children. The project also has a shelter for 30-40 girls. President George Brown presented the scholarship on behalf of the club. (Photo of Sylvia and President George Brown by Betsy Good.)
Club supports Hopkins scholar from Sudan 2016-04-04 00:00:00Z 0
#10   New this year -- "Ticket to Pick It" chances to win one of 100 gift cards for local goodies
#9     More than 50 Silent Auction items ranging from pretty reasonable to "Let me check with my wife."
#8     A winner-take-all wheelbarrow filled with enough alcoholic beverages to open your own bar. (You can't keep the wheelbarrow.)
#7     The Jumbo Raffle for a chance to win a max $5,000 with the club getting an equal amount. Get them at sharonbregel@mris.com
#6     Back by popular demand, the "Take a Shot at a Diamond" thanks to Coleman Jewelers
#5     Wheels of chance to win odds and ends, like cash
#4     Amazing food with complimentary beer and wine
#3     Dancing with a DJ and a set by the band "School of Rock"
#2     A Magic Trick -- If you're a business owner, your $65 ticket is only $17.50 for every client you bring! (charitable tax deduction=$30; client entertainment tax deduction=$17.50) ka-CHING! you're down to $17.50.
AND
#1 All proceeds go to Towsontowne Rotary's local service projects, including the new See2Learn vision screenings for area children!    
Top 10 reasons to support our fundraiser 2016-03-21 00:00:00Z 0
District clubs, individuals, members make impossible dream a reality
Towsontowne members Chris  (left) and Mahmood traveled to Bangladesh in April to speak at an international eye bank conference and help launch the club's "Project to Reduce Corneal Blindness in Bangladesh". The initiative took three years of planning and raised funds from clubs in District 7620, India and Bangladesh; matching Rotary grants; individuals and nonprofits. Mahmood is the volunteer project director and liaison while Chris is one of several members who presented the project at meetings throughout the District to generate support. Fundraising will continue as the program is implemented. Funds support training for volunteer medical students, upgrades to the tissue bank system in the country and in-service updates for ophthalmologists who will transplant the healthy corneas for patients. The 30-minute surgeries are more than 90 percent successful. The project will be self-sustaining and can be replicated in other low-income nations, thus fulfilling Rotary International priorities to improve health and support economic development. Members of the International Committee who worked on the project, in addition to Chris and Mahmood, include co-chairs Le and Season, Bob K., Nancy, Howard, Stephanie, Rob B., Rob K., Annette and Jo.
 
Members head to Bangladesh to launch cornea transplant initiative Jo Martin 2016-03-15 00:00:00Z 0
March 16 meeting notes
Seth Hammer, reporter
The Club recorded a greeting to participants at the international eye bank conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh at the end of the month. Mahmood and Chris C. will attend and deliver our message. They also will take part in the launch of Towsontowne's "Project to Reduce Corneal Blindness in Bangladesh". 
Bev is chair of the annual Towson July 4 Parade and suggested the club participate with either a float or members walking with a banner. The float idea would use the "Be a Gift to the World" theme by recycling the gift boxes decorations at the April 23 Bull & Oyster Roast fundraiser.
Linda received Paul Harris recognition for her financial support of the Rotary Foundation. Congratulations! 
Bob K. updated the status of mental health services for children supported by the club in Nepal after last year's earthquakes. A six-session program has been developed and local teachers will soon receive training.
Speaker: Anna Connors, a freshman at Park School talked about her participation in a student-led coalition studying changes in the Arctic permafrost. This is the eighth year of a 30-year evaluation of ice melts, their relationship to climate change and the broad effects on the ecosystem, including polar bears and lichen. Anna hopes to raise $1,600, which is half of her costs to travel to the Arctic.
 
Meeting Updates Jo 2016-03-15 00:00:00Z 0
What is it like taking a large team to Africa?  It has probably been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. In mid February, I began leading Rotary members from all over the East Coast of the United States through Ghana. I’ve tried to give the team a warm Ghanaian welcome like I’ve received on my earlier trips. A large trip is a real blessing because each person sees Ghana and our work in a different way.
Saving lives in Ghana 2015-05-01 00:00:00Z 0
For years, Angalia Bianca had slept in abandoned buildings throughout Chicago. She stole. She did drugs. She spent time in and out of jail for forgery, theft, trespassing, and possession of narcotics. But after she landed in prison for the seventh time, something changed -- Bianca knew she wanted a better life. She just didn’t know how to make it happen.
Finding Safe Haven 2015-05-01 00:00:00Z 0
Music has been an important part of leading an ordinary life for students at the Music School for Children With Disabilities in Honor of Paul Harris in Lublin, Poland. Founded by Rotary members, the school serves 20 students with various disabilities, including Down syndrome, autism, and visual impairments. The Rotary Club of Lublin-Centrum-Maria Curie-Sklodowska has provided funding with help from Rotary Foundation Matching Grants and the Henryk Wieniawski Musical Society, which houses the school.
 
Helping people with disabilities make their own music 2015-05-01 00:00:00Z 0
Throughout India and around the world, Rotary clubs are celebrating a major milestone: India has gone three years without a new case of polio. The last reported case was a two-year-old girl in West Bengal on 13 January 2011. To mark this historic triumph, Rotary clubs illuminated landmarks and iconic structures throughout the country with four simple but powerful words, "India is polio free."
 
India celebrates three years without polio 2014-02-26 00:00:00Z 0
 
 
 
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