Small But Mighty – Rotary Club of Pocket/Greenhaven Does What it Can to Help and Inspire the Community
Now in its sixth year, the Rotary Club of Pocket/Greenhaven has been doing what it can to help those at home and abroad with projects such as distributing dictionaries to third graders, launching a high school service club, supporting the Robbie Waters Pocket Greenhaven Library, and even helping to eradicate polio in other countries.
Although their club is small — with currently 14 members — President Keiko Wong says they do the best they can to help. “We are community minded … we try to brainstorm and think what can we do, where would the needs be,” she adds.
Judy Foote — a charter member, past president and current treasurer of the Rotary Club who was recently named Rotarian of the Year for their district — says the club helps meet the education and literacy needs of children in the Pocket area, and she believes by the club being involved in worldwide efforts they can share this information with family friends to make them more aware of what’s going on in other places. “All of a sudden we have a chance to have some concrete information to share with others, and I think it’s a wonderful thing to be able to do that,” she adds.
A number of the Rotary Club’s projects revolve around education and literacy. For instance, one project the Club recently completed on March 7 was the delivery of about 75 dictionaries to third graders at Yav Pem Suab Academy in the Pocket. Wong says this is the third year the Academy’s third graders have received dictionaries. “A lot of times the kids may not even own a book, so this is a wonderful thing for them to have and they get to take it home and it is there’s – we label it and put their name on it,” she explains. “They’re just thrilled to death to receive that.”
Another project of the Club is helping the Friends of the Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library with their book sales. Wong says the next Friends of the Library book sale the Rotary Club will be helping with will be held on March 23.
Foote says the Club helped with book sales early on before the library was built and they were held in the Elks parking lot by helping set up and take down the book sales and sell the books. Now the Club still helps the Friends by working at their large book sales during the year, and helping to keep the book sale storage areas organized. “It’s a wonderful place for us to at least make sure that we have books in the hands of kids,” Foote adds.”
However, the Club also has a number of community efforts throughout the year. For example, on April 21 the Club will hold a Rotary Day fundraiser at the River Cats with a portion of tickets going towards helping to end polio, Wong says. Additionally, Wong says the Club provides a number of tickets to a community youth group to attend who may not normally have the opportunity to attend a River Cats game. Last year the Club sponsored a group of 20 high school students to the game. “It was special for them and special for us to give back to the community,” Wong adds.
And on July 25 from 9:30am to 1:30pm, the Club will hold its 2nd Annual Blood Drive with BloodSource. Wong says a mobile unit will be parked at Pacific Business Centers at 1104 Corporate Way next to Greenhaven and South Land Park. Those interested in donating blood can contact Tracy Wilson at 395-4400 to make an appointment.
Supporting the Future
One local student that has become quite involved with the Rotary Club of Pocket/Greenhaven is Daniel Li, a senior at John F. Kennedy High School. Since his sophomore year, Li has won Rotary’s annual speech contest on the club level — including just winning this year’s contest on March 7, for which he will compete on the district level in Elk Grove on April 2. Last year Li won both the club and district levels and took second place in the regional speech competition.
Additionally, last year Li was selected by the Club to be sponsored for RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award), which Wong says is a week-long leadership/motivation camp usually in the Tahoe area. “They learn all sorts of leadership skills and get in touch with themselves and learn to take it to the next level,” she explains.
Li says the opportunities he has had through the Rotary Club so far have been “pretty exciting” and allowing him to expand his ideas and express himself in a way he does not normally get to. And he says his RYLA experience was “fascinating” as it was the first leadership camp he ever attended. “(RYLA) provided a really great foundation for me for the rest of my life in terms of leadership and communications and just finding out things for myself,” he says.
Through RYLA, Li says he was able to meet those that were involved in Rotary’s Interact Club, which is a service club for high schools. “I was very interested in forming one at JFK to provide the foundation for other Kennedy students,” he says.
After returning home with the idea of an Interact Club and getting support from his school, Li and the Rotary Club of Pocket/Greenhaven charted a new Interact Club at John F. Kennedy High School on February 13.
Currently with 50 members, the Interact Club has been busy with a number of fundraisers, including one that helped raise money for polio vaccinations in countries that cannot afford it, as well as a fundraiser through the international disaster relief charity ShelterBox to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Li — who is president of the Interact Club — says they are working on new fundraisers, including selling bento boxes at JFK in May, as well as holding some car washes and helping out with book sales at the Robbie Waters Pocket Greenhaven Library.
Foote says the Rotary Club is very proud of the Interact Club and the fundraising work they have done so far. “Youth of today, they’re so excited and encouraged and they want to act — they don’t want to sit back and listen, they want to do something,” she says. “They’re the leaders of the world, that’s our future, and I think to be cognizant of the needs of the world and helping people instead of fighting people is going to make a huge impact on our world.”
Li says by being part of the Interact Club he has learned there is a need to help, and if he and his peers band together and unify themselves, they have the power and will to make a change. And he also says being involved with the Rotary Club has made a very good first impression and has plans on joining a local chapter in the future. “It is a club that I will definitely join on the college level, and that’s definitely something I’ll want to be a part of for the rest of my life,” he says.
The Rotary Club of Pocket/Greenhaven meets every Thursday morning from 7:30am-8:30am at Aviator’s Restaurant at the Sacramento Executive Airport. For more information, visit pocketgreenhavenrotary.org, or call Keiko Wong at (916) 718-7400.