While attending a Rotary club board meeting the other day, I was struck by the number of projects in the works. “And that’s just my club!”, I realized with disbelief. There are FIVE active clubs on the Semiahmoo Peninsula alone, each deploying an army of people united by truth, fairness goodwill and better friendships. With so much going on, it’s easy to lose track and miss out. Many noteworthy club initiatives happen behind the scenes or simply slip past unnoticed.
Here’s a few you may have missed:

The Rotary Club of South Surrey has been busy in the community with two ‘Shredathon’ events and a wonderful Beatles Tribute night. Together these events raised funding for a Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS) Canine Assisted Intervention Team specifically for children dealing with the trauma of abuse. “We are very proud of this undertaking as we know it will materially and positively help kids who really need some help!” said Patrick Hahn, President of the South Surrey Rotary Club.

The club was also busy working with the Semiahmoo club and Shine the Light Foundation to present the very popular Sip and Savour event held last October. Proceeds from this event enabled Rotary to provide $12,000 to the White Rock South Surrey Hospice Society. Mark your calendars for the next one – October 21st.
Many times, funds raised by club initiatives deploy back into the community silently. A few ways the Peace Arch club has applied their funds are:
$6000 presented to LA Matheson Secondary, Guildford Park Secondary, and Queen Elizabeth Secondary ($2,000 per school) for the new “CASTLE” program; Character, Awareness, Strength, Tenacity, Leadership and Empowerment. Donated funds will help each site implement this program developed in response to at-risk male students currently going down scary paths of gang affiliation, drugs, and other illegal activities. The weekly after-school sessions include positive male role model mentorship, interactive pro-social activities, discussions, guest speakers and practical skills for becoming young men who are positive citizens in their schools, communities, and circles of influence.

Additional donations have been made to the Riverdale Elementary PAC for Expressive Arts Therapy support. The $4000 donation will be used to support new refugee students to help them deal with the trauma they have experienced as a result of their situation prior to entering Canada.
$2000 donation to H.T. Thrift Elementary, $3,000 donation to Semiahmoo Secondary and $2,000 to Holly Elementary PACs. In December, the club also donated $2,000 to Tamanawis Secondary PAC for their Feed the Needy Dinner, which is put on every year for families in need in their community.
Since 2008, the White Rock club has given $3000 annually to the Semiahmoo Shopping Centre's Kid-Lit Reading Club program. This program is designed to encourage literacy and the love of reading to the children in our community. The program runs monthly, with 30 minute story time reading sessions, at the shopping centre. At each story time, children receive a reading card with 20 squares that parents initial after the children have read or been read to for 20 minutes. Once the card is complete, the child can turn it in at the next Kid-Lit Reading Club, and receive a special gift from Semiahmoo Shopping Centre and the Rotary Club of White Rock.

Not all giving back has a price-tag attached. Some events are focused simply on building friendships in our community. Take for example the Peace Arch club’s sponsorship of monthly bingo nights alternating between Hazelmere Lodge in South Surrey and Beuna Vista Lodge in White Rock. Club members facilitate the games by calling the numbers, assisting residents as needed, and providing prizes. These bingo nights were established many years ago by past club member, Andrew Watkins with the tradition being continued by current facilitator, John Makepeace. It’s a great opportunity to get to know the care home residents and staff. As an added bonus, past club members Helmut Buhrke and Dorothy Taylor (along with her husband, Bill) still help out.
All this is just a sampling of what’s going on in our five clubs! We’d love to have you join in our work; here’s how:
Become a member of a local club and help plan and host fund-raising activities before deciding how and where funds will be deployed; partner with us by sponsoring events; attend / donate to our events. Whichever way(s) you chose to participate, we’d love to have you!
April 22 – 29 – White Rock Rotary’s Spring Book Sale. Thousands of books for sale, $2 each, at the Peace Arch Curling Rink 10 am to 4 pm each day. Free parking available for book buyers.

Friday, May 12th – 7th Annual SASSY Awards at the Surrey Arts Centre. Tickets and more information on-line at the SASSY website or tickets.surrey.ca.
Saturday, May 13th – Five Club Breakfast fundraiser. Held at the First United Church on Semiahmoo Ave from 8:30 am – 11 am, tickets are $15 and all proceeds go to the Sources Food Bank. Ticket at the door and the Food Bank.

June 22 – 28th Annual Semiahmoo Annual Golf Tournament at Morgan Creek golf course. Funds raised will support the pediatric treatment rooms to be constructed in the Peace Arch Hospital’s new emergency department. Register and/or donate now at www.semirotarygolf.com.

Brenda Gibson writes on behalf of the Semiahmoo Peninsula’s five Rotary Clubs. For information she can be reached at brenda_gibson@shaw.ca.