Nogales 2015 – Update

Just a quick update:

All of the team members survived the project and the Martins are on their way home. This was an outstanding year with over 1800 blankets, 348 coats and toys, over 1000 shoeboxes/backpacks/toys and 900 groceries plus 83 balls delivered. The store ran out of balls, so we have some dollars to put towards next year!

We visited two schools that now have water thanks to our club in combination with Mississauga West. Our drinking water fountain is the only access to water for many of the students at one of these schools. They cannot afford to buy bottled water.

We had donations from the state of Sonora, the municipality of Nogales and two congressmen as well as the Rotaract and a taxi service. We visited the mayor, who has promised to make certain that the school most in need of a drinking fountain is provided with free water every second day. One of the congressmen and representatives from the other and the state attended our closing celebration and promised continued support.

Every time I looked around more groceries, more blankets, more toys, and more people seemed to be arriving to help. The firemen and Rotaract provided security and managed the flow of people. Rotary families directed people through the confusion. We have more and more children of Rotary members taking charge of the project and by that I mean a 10 year old telling our team what was and was not appropriate for a boy or girl in selection of backpacks, etc.

The US partner, the Pantano Club has greatly upped their financial support of the project inspired by the Canadians.

There were two ceremonies to recognize long-time team member and friend Jim Aslin, who passed away suddenly in October. The weather caused a change in the plans hence the two ceremonies. One was a very quiet and intimate celebration, the other loud and lovely. Jim always wanted to be taken somewhere so the taxi company will be installing a memorial to him in their new cabs. The owner is a new member of the Rotary Club.

The president of the Nogales club has been in the position for 44 days. In fact he has been a Rotarian for 44 days. He was marvellous and completely overwhelmed.

We are tired and exhilarated and thank the club for all of the support. Again, thanks to our membership for the support.

Cheryl Ewing  [1] interview with Kirty & Jack [2] interview to Fito

My Rotary Youth Exchange — this year has opened my eyes

Originally posted on Rotary Voices:

Victoria Alvarez and other youth exchange students during their trip to the West Coast of the United States. Victoria Alvarez and other youth exchange students during their trip to the West Coast of the United States.

By Victoria Alvarez, a Rotary Youth Exchange student from Argentina to the United States

Most of you have probably heard of Rotary Youth Exchange, and maybe some of you have even been involved with the program. I recently completed my exchange year in the United States, and wanted to share the perspective of someone who has just taken part in one.

I come from Argentina, a little country on the edge of South America that you may have heard of recently because of the World Cup. It is in many ways very different from the United States. In signing up for an exchange to America, I stepped out alone into a culture unlike any I had experienced, in an unfamiliar environment, in a house I did not know, to live with people…

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#WomenWednesday Rotary Profile – Erica Lee Garcia

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We are pleased to profile Rotarian, Erica Lee Garcia. Erica joined the Rotary Club of Kitchener just over a year ago. An engineer, she leads her own consulting and professional services firm and is a heavily involved with Engineers Without Borders.

Why did you join Rotary?

I was invited by my aunt Patricia Dimeck; she spoke so highly of the international projects she’d volunteered on that I was motivated to check out what it was all about.

There was a Rotary club in my hometown (Walkerton) so I knew about Rotary exchange students and the musical festival, but it never really occurred to me join myself.  But the giving back element of Rotary seemed a natural continuation of the volunteering I’d been doing since childhood, and I loved the idea of knitting that experience into my life here in KW. team

How would you describe your “Rotary path”?

It’s a short but exciting one:  I joined just over a year ago, and just about immediately became a counsellor to Jessica, our club’s inbound exchange student from Taiwan.  I attended a few district events and met some great young Rotarians whom I have agreed to mentor.

I also helped to give away a Mercedes as part of the club’s fundraising car draw.  That was so much fun!

I am now helping the PR committee boost all our membership and fundraising initiatives and contributing to the Club’s first PR handbook.  

How does Rotary align with your own values?

I always look for opportunities to give of myself and to contribute to the world I want to see.  I aspire to be creative with my professional skills and how they can be applied outside the box toward furthering the changes that I believe in. I also look to cultivate a community with like-minded individuals wherever I can; you get more done and it’s more fun than trying to go it alone!

Rotary fits in perfectly with this. 

What have been a defining moment in your life? 

After working nearly a decade as an engineer in manufacturing and mining, I quit a well-paying job that didn’t align with my values in 2009 and went traveling.  I ended up volunteering in Ecuador and Argentina on various non-profit helping initiatives that utilized my skills as a manufacturing engineer and change agent in very unexpected ways.

When I came home I started doing freelance consulting to help businesses reduce their costs by improving their business processes always toward the goal of bettering the work experience for people.   Then I started a mentoring and coaching service for young engineering students and recent grads to give them the benefit of some of my experience and help them find their way.

While speaking at an Engineers Without Borders Canada conference at Queen’s University (my alma mater) I was approached by that organization to partner on speaking to kids about engineering in new and creative ways.

Deciding to become an entrepreneur was without a doubt the most important turning point of my life so far.  I enjoy the social aspect of Rotary since I work by myself a lot and that can get lonely!  Also, I enjoy the chance to network and learn from experienced and accomplished professionals in many different industries in my Rotary club.

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Watching Jessica give her year-end presentation at our club meeting was a wonderful experience for me; she was so happy and animated as she spoke of her year in Canada and showed us photos of all her exciting excursions and activities.  I felt really proud of her and glad that I had the chance to support her.

As we speak she is making her way across Canada with several fellow inbound Rotary exchange students and having a blast!  When I was a teenager I met Mirjam, a Rotary exchange student from Holland who attended my high school.  Today I am still in touch with Mirjam who emigrated to Canada as an adult.  She lives close by with her husband and young girls, and they love it here, so I know the power of a Rotary exchange to change lives!

Whatever Jessica does in the future, it feels great to have touched a young person’s life and to have had the chance watched her grow.

What are your future Rotary goals, both short‐term and long‐term?

Engineers Without Borders Canada is very well-aligned with Rotary’s international projects, so I dream of further connecting those two wonderful organizations to create some powerful impact overseas.  Also, I sing with Grand Harmony, a local chapter of Sweet Adelines International, and I think that a Rotary singing event would be great fun!

If you could tell another woman one thing about Rotary membership, what would it be?

It’s a very professional and welcoming environment.  Think about joining up – your contribution will be greatly valued and you will meet lots of great people.

There’s no catch, and lots of great opportunity!  I’d welcome the chance to chat with anyone who is considering Rotary membership and not sure if it’s for them.

To find out more about Rotary and how you can have an impact locally or globally, contact us by email at or visit our website, our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter.

#WomenWednesday Rotary Profile – Patsy Marshall

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On June 25th, Rotarians of District 7080 will welcome new District Governor (DG), Patsy Marshall. We are thrilled to profile our incoming DG in this edition of Women in Rotary.

A member of the Guelph Trillium Rotary Club, Patsy has had a distinguished record of service in Rotary. As a passionate, dedicated Rotarian, she has been involved in a variety of club and district committees, has served on her club’s Board of Directors, and was President of her club in 2000/2001. During her year as President, her club chartered the Rotary Club of Guelph South. It has since become a vibrant club.

Patsy was an Assistant Governor with the Guelph Wellington Cluster, in 2010 and 2011, taking on a variety of assignments. She continues to be actively involved as a member of the District Training Committee, especially with President Elect Training (PETS) I and II, and Club Leadership Training. She is a member of the District Foundation Committee, the District Conference Planning Committee, and is an engaged, certified instructor with the Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI). Patsy speaks at Camp Enterprise, and at the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) program, as an avid supporter of young adults. She has encouraged other clubs to support Youth Services.

Patsy is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow and is a member of the Paul Harris Society. In addition, Patsy has been involved with numerous community boards and committees, as a leader and as a member, throughout her lifetime. In 2012, she received the Woman of Distinction Award for Training and Education, from the YW/YMCA of Guelph. She has also received the J. David Stewart Award from Conestoga College, in 2007, for excellence in teaching and leadership.

Married to Jim, owner of Vac-Man, they live in Guelph and have two grown children; Peter and Heather, a daughter-in-law Natalie and a son-in-law Matt. In addition to family outings and getting together with friends, international travelling and gardening are passions for Jim and Patsy.

As a farm girl, Patsy was educated at Medway High School in Arva, and then attended the University of Guelph (B.A.Sc. 1974 and a M.Sc. in 1976). Her career has been in health care and education, and her vocational classification is Adult Education. She served in senior leadership roles in respiratory medicine for eight years and was Director of Education for Homewood Health Centre (a psychiatric hospital) for eight years. Patsy has owned her own training and development company, Train on Track, for over 20 years and focuses on training soft/people skills to develop the human side of business. She continues to offer leadership and management training programs to several Top Fortune 500 companies. In addition, Patsy continues to teach with Conestoga College, Sheridan College, the University of Guelph, Brock University, and BlCVeWlIUAIfiSlthe University of Waterloo. Patsy’s distinguished career has provided her with unique leadership opportunities as she has developed colleagues and coached many high performing teams.

Patsy is excited about the new challenge ahead as District Governor for 7080, supported by fellow Rotarians, family and friends. She hopes that during her year, her District will continue to be a resource to clubs, encouraging Rotarians in District 7080 to reflect on what Rotary means to them and their contributions to the world of Rotary as they Light Up Rotary! 

Q. Why did you join Rotary?

I liked what my [Rotary] sponsor told me – sounded like I would be joining other professionals to make a difference in my community and around the world. And there would be fun!

Q. How would you describe your Rotary experience in one word?


Q. What was your Rotary Path?

I began my professional career as a teacher at the Rotary Children`s Centre (Guelph) with five special needs children aged 18 months to three years of age—all in diapers. At that time, I didn`t know what Rotary was, or what the wheel affixed to the building meant.

I joined the Rotary Club of Guelph Trillium in 1996. By 2000-2001 I was President. After this, I joined the District training team. From 2008-2010, I had the privilege to be the Assistant Governor of the Guelph-Wellington Cluster. In 2011/12 I was invited to be the District Governor Nominee Nominee. The last two years have been a whirlwind. Now I am looking forward to the honour of accepting the role of 7080 District Governor 2014/15.

Along the way, I have received multiple Paul Harris fellows and I enjoy being one of the facilitators with the 7080 Rotary Leadership Institute team.

Q. What was the greatest challenge you`ve ever faced?  

As a child, I required major surgeries for a bone condition which impacted my physical ability. My parents were brave and prepared me for what was to come.

Because the surgery I had as an infant had not been successful, I had to wear steel braces until my 13th birthday. When I went in for surgery again, this time with a more successful outcome, my mother told me that I would need to learn to walk all over again. I thought she was joking. She wasn`t.

I still remember my dogged determination to get on my feet as soon as possible. After being in a body cast for five months, and two months of rehabilitation, I was chasing those young interns and my orthopaedic surgeon around!

Most children at school were wonderful, too. They always included me. I played baseball and was goalie in soccer – although I let more balls go in the net, than I stopped. My brother and sister were supportive, too. I was not treated differently which really helped me to overcome adversity and become self-confident.

I bring the lessons I learned during my childhood to every challenge I face.

Q. What`s the best advice about Rotary you`ve received?

Remember to consider the big picture items in Rotary. I received this sage advice from Past District Governor, Ian Ferguson.

Q. Rotary does Rotary align with your own values? 

I have always been a giver and Rotary enables me to share my vocation to make a difference in people`s lives.

Q. What Rotary initiatives are you passionate about?  

So many things!

And, of course, Club fellowship and connections with similar-minded individuals. All of the above come with membership, and being an active member.

Q. Do you think Rotary membership adds positive value for woman?

Yes; all of the above and brings a sense of inner peace.

Q. If you could tell another woman one thing about Rotary membership, what would it be?

You will never regret becoming a Rotarian.

Q. What do you consider to be your greatest Rotary moment?

Being told I would become a Rotary District Governor!

To find out more about Rotary and how you can have an impact locally or globally, visit the Guelph Trillium Rotary Club website, or check out the District 7080 Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.