Rotary Monthly Theme for April: Maternal and Child Health

As I travel the district, and I have now visited all 72 Rotary Clubs in our district, I’m impressed by each club’s dedication to our youth. We have been working to eradicate Polio for about 30 years on a stage when 350,000 children a year in 1988 were being crippled or dying from Polio. Now it is but a handful. And yet our work is not yet done. So please continue to contribute funds to the Polio Plus.  Consider this look back at our work to date: Historic Moments: PolioPlus turns 30.

We all greatly value our children, and for some, our grandchildren. It makes us proud as we relish the next generation. We work to make our place better primarily for the children of tomorrow. Maternal and Child Health is one of six areas of focus. 

Rotary's members improve access to essential medical services for mothers and their children. These efforts are aimed at reducing the number of children under age five who die each year because of malnutrition, inadequate health care, and poor sanitation – a figure that is currently estimated at 7 million.

According to another estimate, more than 80 percent of maternal deaths can be prevented with access to reproductive health services and trained health care workers. Our members provide education, immunizations, birthing kits, and mobile health clinics to support these causes. Women are taught how to prevent mother-to-infant HIV transmission, how to breast-feed, and how to protect themselves and their children from disease.

Here are some helpful Links:

Join Rotary and help save mothers and children.
Give now to support maternal and child health.

Website link:

I encourage your club to invite organizations that support Maternal and Child Health to present programs at your meetings.


Each year every district provides training for young people on the topics of leadership, diversity, public speaking, team building, and more. Our district has such a program and it takes place this month. Two hundred and forty or so high school students will experience the inspiring and transforming RYLA weekend from Thursday April 19th to Sunday the 22nd in Ojai.  Each student is sponsored by a Rotary Club at an approximate cost of $400.  If you have not attended a RYLA closing ceremony, you should. It will change your life as you witness the transformation of these students into amazing leaders of whom we can all be proud! Check it out at:

Emerging Leader Summit

A new event has been in the work for almost 3 years will take place on Saturday June 2nd at Santa Barbara City College. It is an exciting program that promises to share ideas on attracting and retaining emerging leaders (Young Professionals). This program will ask each Rotary and Rotaract Club to send two club members, either the Club President Elect or Club President Nominee and a member 45 or younger. Details and a flyer will be forth coming shortly.

Awards and District Governor Transitions

An annual event will take place on Saturday June 16th for lunch at the Marriott in Buellton (a.k.a. Santa Ynez Valley). It promises to celebrate the rich traditions of our amazing clubs. I ask that each club collect its accomplishments supporting our communities and submit them to the link that has been already been sent. 

I want to personally thank all 3,327 members fo your steadfast work as Rotarians, and in my case support for me as your humbled District Governor. I love and respect each one of you! Please come and join us on that special day.

Foundation Fiesta (Gala)

Each year, we celebrate our Rotary Foundation. This year we have scheduled this event on Friday May 4th. It will feature a Mexican buffet, music, and a Polio story of inspiration worthy of the price of admission, travel, and your time. We will honor Major Donors and those that have contributed to the Rotary Foundation, a foundation through which we do good in our own communities and the world. There will be a special award you surely won't want to miss, but you’ll just have to attend to witness it!  Following is a flyer on this special event.  You can register here: Foundation Fiesta Gala.  Please come.

Rotaract Club of California Lutheran University

This past month the Rotary Clubs of Westlake Village were on hand as supporters and sponsors of the Rotaract Club of California Lutheran University. On hand were Club President Michael McGlashen and Lee Ginsburg, and Past District Governor Nick Frankle and many others. It was the second of two new Rotaract Clubs; these are exciting times. I ask you to visit your local Rotaract Clubs and invite them to attend your club. Joint projects and participation are vital to our success and organizational future. Rotaract clubs do in themselves plan and organize great projects of which we can all be proud.

10,000 Wheel Chairs

The small but mighty Rotary Club of Conejo Valley has given out 10,000 wheel chairs and making a difference. It is but one of the many, many great projects our clubs make happen! As your District Governor, Rotarian, and citizen, I’m proud of you and proud to say I am a Rotarian. That can also be said of the clubs I visited in March - Oxnard Sunrise, Bakersfield, and the other 69 Rotary Clubs earlier this Rotary Year.

Local Chamber of Commerce Mixers

I recently visited the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and found several attendees interested in Rotary. They had heard of Rotary, but admitted they knew little about our great organization. Four of those are interested in community service an expressed interest in visiting a local Rotary Club. Last Tuesday one of the four visited the San Luis Obispo Daybreak Club. It happened to be the day they hand out grants to local non-profits. Each non-profit had a representative speak for a few minutes about their community connections. 

Community Giving San Luis Obispo Daybreak

Congratulations to the recipients of SLO Daybreak Rotary's 2017-18 Community Grant Awards, including First Tee of the Central Coast, Central Coast Autism Spectrum Center, French Hospital/Hearst Cancer Resource Center, HomeShare of SLO, Literacy for Life, YMCA, Restorative Partners, Pregnancy & Parenting Support of SLO, New Life K-9's and SLO Noor Foundation. We are pleased and proud to help further your important work in our community! These types of community contributions and grants are what make Rotary so special!

District 5240 Donation for Hurricane Harvey Relief

I recently received the following report from Houston Rotarian Richard Willingham on the donation our district made to the Hurricane Harvey relief effort:

"The monies provided by District 5240 are being distributed to two families to rebuild.  The 501c3 overseeing the process is Avenue Community Development Corp.  As best I can tell this is a very well run agency working closely with local city, governmental, and other charitable organizations to see that monies are properly distributed and utilized.  
District 5240’s moneys are going to two families in equal amounts for basic reconstruction.  The young woman in blue is living in  a family home that has been handed down for two generations and now, in the words of the Avenue CDC construction supervisor “it was mucked out and gutted immediately after Harvey and is now essentially nothing more than 2x4’s.  She would not have been able to go back to this home if it were not for this money.”.  With Avenue CDC’s help in contracting and supervision he says it will again become a livable home.  The young lady has two sub-teen twin boys and when she met us burst out crying.  The other family is just as deserving.
I must congratulate University Area Rotary Club President Cindy and the other club members in getting the money to this organization.  I think they hit 5240’s objective in donating right on target.
You will be receiving a more detailed discussion, additional information and pictures from the club as well as information on a follow-up after construction is complete.

Ventura Children's Shopping Spree

Christine and I were invited by Club President Ellyn Dembowski to participate in the Ventura club's annual children's shopping spree which was rescheduled due to the December fires last year.  This event was organized by Rob Van Nieuwburg who has been organizing it for 29 years!  (I've participated in a similar event in San Luis Obispo hosted by San Luis Obispo DeTolosa and the San Luis Obispo Rotaract.)  There were 69 children who were immersed in love and care by Rotarians and Interactors from a local High School. It was held at JC Penny with excellent discounts being offered along with cookies and balloons. We had lunch at the school district campus making for a full morning.  

I welcome invitations to your club projects and events. Just send me an e-mail at  Thanks!

Health Check-up

If your mom says get a physical, I suggest you listen. Listen to your body, family, and doctors. My original treatment, as you may remember, was two major surgeries plus many other medical calls and visits. My current treatment includes daily chemo tablets plus regular testing and doctor visits. By the way I’m up from 147 lbs to 195 lbs. While I itch and am fatigued at times, each of you is my inspiration. All said, I’m doing well and grateful for so much Rotary family love! Celebrate Rotary, friends, service, and health!

All our best,

Christine and DG John Weiss

Rotary Club of Morro Bay