Bakersfield East Rotary participates in many community service projects. One of those projects is the Jamison Center located in Bakersfield California. This agency, supported by Kern County Human Services, provides temporary housing and care for children from neglectful and abusive home environments. They are housed, fed and able to live at the center until a qualified family member can take them home. This agency has saved many children throughout the years. The good work done by this agency is heart-touching.

Bakersfield East Rotary has done several maintenance and improvement projects at the Center. We, like most Rotary clubs in the area, have always donated clothing and other necessities to the center for the children’s personal use. We have repaired barbeque pits, stuccoed walls and painted several areas that were in disrepair. The tremendous staff has always appreciated our service projects. 

Staff at Jamison Center recommended that fifty-nine exterior lights be updated or replaced.  These lights had been on the building for over twenty years. The lenses had yellowed and each year the lights gave less illumination and were becoming a safety issue. Pricing the equipment required for the project was the first step. Fifty nine exterior lights would not be cheap. Once priced the cost was a lot higher than expected. The labor alone would be over eight thousand dollars! The total was twelve thousand dollars. Our community service budget simply could not afford this, so we approached the local Rotary Clubs to help split the cost. We were hoping to reduce the cost per club to three thousand dollars.

Rotary Club of Bakersfield North was contacted first and the North members had several good ideas to reduce the costs. They suggested Rotarians remove the existing lenses instead of the high priced electricians. They got excited about the project as much as we were.

Two days later, Rotary President David Dobbs said an electrician he uses would donate the labor for free! Wow, that just saved Rotary eight thousand dollars! The next day he called again and a member of his group would donate the lights. This project went from twelve thousand dollars to three thousand. Between the two groups it would cost fifteen hundred dollars apiece. I stopped looking for more Rotary groups. Bakersfield north had come through in a huge way.

We scheduled the project for January 15, 2022. The day of the removal of the lenses we had eleven volunteers show up and this group of businessmen completed the task in one hour. All the lenses were removed and the light area was cleaned. The following Tuesday, Mark Boren and his crew from Express Electric installed the new lights successfully. The new LED lights gave more illumination than the old. After six months of planning the job was done.

I can’t thank everybody enough. Rotary of Bakersfield North Rotary members Xavier Chavez, Marvin Fuller, David Dobbs club president and Scott Tobias were key in saving Kern County Rotary’s ten thousand dollars and completed a much-needed improvement for the children at the Jamison Center.  Thanks to Mark Boren and Express Electric for donating his time and staffs labor, the biggest donation of the project. Thank-you Mark. Bakersfield East Rotary members Tom Burch, Ross Seratta, Susan Gill, John Wilson, Cullen Chambers and club president Michele Brown, we knew we could count on you. Marvin Fuller, owner of M&S Security, Thank-you for donating the lights and helping remove the old.

Rotary with its motto of “Service of Above Self” and promotion of partnership with other Rotary Clubs is a powerful tool in the betterment in the community.

Article by David Sullivan Rotary Club of Bakersfield East