Almanac

Community - November 9, 2011

Woodside-Portola Valley Rotary observes anniversary

by Kenneth R. Broome

The Woodside-Portola Valley Rotary Club is different from many other such clubs because it is representative of the whole community, rather than mostly local businesses.

Our members, for example, include professional engineers, an architect, a financial adviser, and a manager in an information technology company. We have members who spend only part of each year in the local community and the rest of the time in other countries, such as Indonesia and Guatemala, where they become very much aware of the needs of people in less-developed countries and are able to ensure that any financial support is used as intended.

Locally, we help feed the hungry and provide book scholarships to graduating seniors. Dictionaries are provided for third-grade children in disadvantaged schools. In addition, we hold the Larry Wenrick Pancake Breakfast for people watching the May Day Parade here in Woodside. Proceeds from the breakfast go to our educational scholarship fund.

We have initiated some major projects internationally, such as helping a young woman engineer from UC Berkeley develop a method of purifying drinking water in rural areas of Baja California by using ultra-violet light bulbs in the lids of plastic water buckets. We also worked with a nonprofit organization called Neighbors Abroad to build a farmers' training school in Oaxaca, Mexico, to teach the locals how to raise more profitable crops than the traditional corn and beans.

We are preparing an application for a Rotary Foundation matching grant of $40,000 to provide equipment for a birthing center in the Palestinian West Bank village of Al Aqaba, with support from the Rotary Clubs of Ramallah in the West Bank and Nazareth in Israel. Pregnant women now have to travel many hours through check-points on their way to hospitals in Ramallah or Nablus.

Fortunately, we have been able to obtain financial support for all these good works from members of our community attending our annual Taste of Woodside event (TasteOfWoodside.com) that showcases local wineries and restaurants and is held in the courtyard of the Woodside Village Church. The next Taste of Woodside event is set for Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012.

We hold our weekly breakfast meetings in the Guild Hall of this church at 7.30 am every Wednesday.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the Rotary Club of Woodside/Portola Valley is welcome to come as a guest for up to three weeks before deciding whether to apply for membership. Men and women of all races, religions and political outlooks are most welcome.

Rotary International, of which we are one of more than 30,000 clubs, with more than a million members worldwide, has been instrumental in nearly eliminating polio, with the generous support of the Gates Foundation.

Visit WPVRotary.org for more information about our club.

About the author: Kenneth R. Broome is world community service chair of the Woodside-Portola Valley Rotary Club.

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