What's Happening at Rotary Club of Concord
At our Jan. 20 meeting Kim Trainor, Director of Development of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell, presented an update regarding the progress on the renovation of the two-family home at 30 Main Street in West Concord. The Rotary Clubs of Concord and Bedford have held two “build days” at the house. The Rotary Club of Concord designated Habitat as the recipient of proceeds from its April 2020 Pops, unfortunately cancelled due to Covid. Despite Covid, Kim reported building has gone smoothly, with many community volunteers, including “sweat equity” put in by the families who will be moving into the home. Dedication is slanted for May. Due to the dramatic rise in building material costs, Habitat needs an additional $25,000 to complete the project. And, there is an opportunity for Habitat to build another home in West Concord, on Commonwealth Avenue, at an estimated cost of $200,000 to $250,000. Concord Rotarians are eager to help, and have again designated Habitat as recipient of their fundraising through this year’s Pops, scheduled for April 8. Spread the word! Be a sponsor. Help solve the housing crisis for underserved families in our area. And thanks Kim, for keeping us up to date.
Christine Pinney, Rotary District Chair of RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards), and member of the Rotary Club of Bedford, gave a sparkling account of the ins and outs of RYLA.  With an assist from committee member Bob Dowd, she enumerated the many ways the 3-day RYLA conference expands the leadership potential of high school sophomores. The program includes a variety of challenges and sessions, which allow students to learn about themselves and others. They engage with small and large groups in a program created by student input. Bob noted the close relationship of Interact to RYLA. The 2022 session will be held June 24, 25, and 26 at Fitchburg State College. Each club is limited to sending 10 students at a cost of $300 per student. In all, there will be 200 students and many volunteers attending this “life-changing” event.
 
Taylor Donaldson, Intern and Volunteer Program Manager at the International Institute of New England (IINE) in Lowell, MA gave a very timely introduction to the work this agency is doing to help resettle Afghan refugees relocating to the area. Through her narrative and slide presentation, we learned of the many services IINE provides and how we may help. IINE  staff secures and sets up apartments, greets clients at the airport, administers cash assistance, and connects clients to services. They provide classes to teach English, and help with employment services and job skills training. Their legal staff assists clients with green cards, citizenship, family reunification and more. Already 60,000 evacuees have arrived in US, with the number expected to reach 95,000. Locally, most Afghan families settle in Lowell where there is already a substantial Afghan population. Taylor answered many thoughtful questions and suggested individuals help through a variety of volunteer and advocacy opportunities as well as providing financial support. Learn more at https://iine.org.
At Rotary’s December 16 Zoom meeting, extreme climber and West Concord native Jim Davidson related his experiences conquering many of the world’s highest peaks, including those in Nepal, Bolivia, Alaska, Ecuador, Mexico, and Tibet.  Jim has published two books. The first, The Ledge, relates his experience descending Mount Rainier when a hidden snow bridge collapsed beneath his feet, taking him and his friend into a cavern where they were buried by snow. His friend did not survive but Jim was able to climb the ice walls to safety. The second, The Next Everest, chronicles his survival of a 7.8-magnitute earthquake that released avalanches destroying his escape route, trapping him at 20,000 feet.  A helicopter rescued him and his team after two days. A 1980 graduate of CCHS, Davidson’s background is in geology and environmental science. His comfort with heights began when as a boy he worked at his Dad’s painting company. Thanks to Jim’s talk and excellent photos, we left the meeting informed and inspired.
On December 9 The Nature Connection's Executive Director Kimberly Simmons introduced Concord Rotarians to the organization's programs and successes. The traveling program is headquartered in the Umbrella on Stow Street but carries out its activities in many towns beyond Concord. The Nature Connection's mission is to improve the wellbeing of individuals and communities through the therapeutic use of nature. Their staff and volunteers bring nature to those who have limited access to the outside world. For example, taking animals to assisted living sites, plants to nursing home residents, " nature" to hospitals, residential schools, at-risk youth programs, special needs facilities and Alzheimer's care programs. We wanted to learn more and will do so by visiting The Nature Connection's website and FB page.
 
The Rotary Club of Concord, Inc.
Serving Concord, Carlisle & Surrounding Communities - Visitors welcome!
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Concord, MA 01742
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