The EarlyAct Club at St. Peter’s Catholic School in Columbia had an active holiday season and is planning projects in January and February, too. For details, see this recent posting on the Rotary District 7770 website. The club was established by Rotary clubs in the Columbia area earlier this school year. EarlyAct is a service organization for elementary students ages 5 to 13. It develops character and leadership skills closely linked to the ideals of Rotary International.
Capital Rotary Club members adopted a Columbia-area family and provided gifts for the holiday season (shown in photo) as part of the 2019 Midlands Families Helping Families Christmas program, a Palmetto Project and WIS-TV initiative. Rotarians had the option of purchasing gifts or making a monetary donation. For 27 years, Families Helping Families has helped ease the holiday burden for thousands, ensuring that more neighbors may share in the joys of Christmas. The program had a goal of serving 3,500 families and senior citizens this year. Recipients are referred by local social service organizations and schools.
Capital Rotary past president Blake Dubose (standing at right in back row) and his team of club members delivered new paperback dictionaries to third-grade students at Gadsden Elementary recently. For 15 years Capital Rotary has donated the free books to 12 Richland District One grade schools as part of the Dictionary Project – an effort begun by a non-profit organization in Charleston in 1995 to help young people become good writers, active readers, creative thinkers and resourceful learners. Locally, the Rotarians have given out more than 14,000 dictionaries over the years, while a number of other clubs in South Carolina and throughout the country also are Dictionary Project sponsors. One of Rotary International’s worldwide goals is improving basic education and literacy for adults and young people.
For 37 years The Cooperative Ministry has been working hard for the “working poor” of the Midlands – those with low-wage jobs who are sometimes unable to meet basic living expenses. Scott Vaughan, the non-profit’s community awareness director (pictured with Rotarian Neda Beal), was Capital Rotary’s Oct. 9 guest speaker. He said local churches founded and still support the mission of focusing on short-term crisis assistance while build long-term self-sufficiency. The Cooperative Ministry helped 12,380 people in 2018 including rent or utility assistance for 531 households. Vaughan said the ministry’s “hand up but not handout” aid also was comprised of (1) food assistance – 6,025 people served; (2) free clothing for 6,259 clients; (3) free tax return preparation – 8,362 people served; (4) insurance counseling for 807 people; (5) car donations – six clients got vehicles for work transportation; and (6) working with five local firms for job placement. The ministry provides Christian counseling and financial education classes as well. Nearly 500 volunteers donated over 11,000 hours of time last year, along with support from more than 1,300 individual donors. Vaughan is a University of Georgia graduate who completed a three-year executive program at Emory University. He joined The Cooperative Ministry in 2017 after careers in journalism, marketing and in faith-based consulting for 5,000 congregations throughout North America.
Stephen West takes part in Capital Rotary’s summer blood drive held July 24 in downtown Columbia. The drive collected 42 units of blood from 38 donors, including six first-time donors. Red Cross officials said the effort potentially saved 126 lives, and its success is especially welcome because of high blood demand and lagging donations in the summer. Over the past dozen years Capital Rotary’s annual drive has collected 624 units of blood, helping to save the lives of more than 1,800 people.
Claire Davis, currently majoring in computer engineering at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, was an honored guest at Capital Rotary’s June 19 breakfast meeting. Davis (in photo with Rotarian Darren Foy) is a Ben Lippen graduate who received a $10,000 scholarship from the club in 2018. She plans to enter a three-semester work/study apprenticeship program with a business in Boston, MA. Capital Rotary helps support higher-education opportunities for local high school students through scholarships based on a combination of academic performance, extracurricular activities and economic need. Foy is scholarship committee chairman.
Scholarship recipients Reagan Smith (left in photo) and Kate Chalfant (right) are welcomed to Capital Rotary’s June 12 meeting by Darren Foy, chair of the club’s scholarship committee. Smith, a recent Dreher High graduate, is bound for The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City to major in chemical engineering. Chalfant is a rising junior at the University of South Carolina, majoring in public relations with a minor in theatre. Capital Rotary has been supporting the educational aspirations of local high school graduates for more than 20 years. Its $20,000 scholarships ($5,000 per year, renewable for four years) are based on a combination of academic performance, extracurricular activity and economic need.
Capital Rotary president Philip Flynn (center in photo) congratulates Jimmy Gibbs (left) and Bud Foy for earning Paul Harris Fellow Plus-Four honors recognizing their continued contributions to The Rotary Foundation, the international service club’s charitable arm that supports programs for world understanding and peace. Gibbs and Foy have each made an initial $1,000 donation to the fund, followed by four additional gifts of $1,000. Gibbs, an insurance broker, is a past president and past assistant district governor who joined Capital Rotary in September 1995. Foy, a retired dentist, joined the club in March 2015 and was a member of the Rotary Club of Monterey, CA for 24 years before relocating to South Carolina.
Capital Rotarians have given a helping hand to a local family and to a local charity as part of the club’s commitment to community service, according to president Philip Flynn. The family assistance helped Tameika and Jerome Smith and their six children relocate after being displaced from Allen Benedict Court in January due to dangerous gas leaks. The Smiths had to leave their possessions behind and were in temporary housing until moving into a new apartment in May. Club members donated time, money and household items – including furniture, kitchenware, bedding and clothing – so the Smiths could get back on their feet and set up house again. Flynn said Mrs. Smith (at new home’s door in photo) wanted to convey how much the family appreciates Capital Rotary’s support and contributions. He told the club that Mrs. Smith said: “Everything you did is a blessing!” Help for the local charity came as a result of the club’s touring Columbia’s Ronald McDonald House on May 29. The facility needs new signage to better mark its location. Capital Rotarians have raised over $1,000 toward a goal of $1,200 for this purchase. Flynn said he’s confident the goal will be met. “We know the Ronald McDonald House provides a tremendous resource for families needing lodging, food and fellowship while their children receive the healthcare they need,” Flynn added.
Columbia’s Capital Rotary has been named “Club of the Year” in District 7770, which is comprised of 80 clubs and about 5,000 Rotarians in 25 eastern counties of the state. Proudly displaying the new “Club of the Year” banner on Aug. 3 are (from left to right in photo) sergeant-at-arms Jack Williamson, president Philip Flynn, Assistant District Gov. Eric Davis and Blake DuBose, immediate past president. Chartered over 30 years ago, Capital Rotary presently has about 60 members and holds weekly breakfast meetings at the Palmetto Club downtown. Club service activities include (1) awarding continuing four-year college scholarships to local high school graduates; (2) donating paperback dictionaries to third-graders in Richland County District One elementary schools; (3) taking part in the Meals on Wheels program to deliver hot dinners to home-bound clients in Richland County; (4) volunteering at Harvest Hope Food Bank’s Columbia site; (5) sponsoring a Red Cross blood drive each summer; and (6) providing holiday gifts for a local family as part of the Midlands Families Helping Families Christmas program. Club members also financially support district and Rotary International projects that promote peace, human development and world understanding.