Club President lays stress on service projects All the three Rotary clubs in Kerrville, Texas, have reached out to the community, students and weaker sections of the society through year-long programmes.

Rotary Club of Kerrville President Kristy Vandenberg was the featured speaker at a chamber luncheon.
Rotary Club of Kerrville President Kristy Vandenberg was the featured speaker at a chamber luncheon.

The Rotary Club of Kerrville (Texas, US – D 5840) and the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce joined forces in a networking lunch attended by Rotary members from three area clubs and the Chamber.

Noon Rotary Club President Kristy Vandenberg introduced herself and the various Rotary clubs around Kerrville, saying she joined a few years ago after realising she personally was “a do-gooder” and this organisation fit into her personality.

“All you members have a Rotary pin, and one thing I know now is, it’s recognised. You need to wear it,” Vandenberg said.

She showed a short video on the six areas of focus in Rotary clubs.Those include clean water, pregnancy-cum-maternity care, and care of newborns.

She said every Rotary club takes pledges to work toward peace, economic development and disease eradication.

“Our Kerrville Rotary clubs are 170 members strong now, among our three groups locally,” she said.

She cited among accomplishments that Rotary groups get community leaders into clubs where they are giving back to the community.

“You’re always recruiting, so members have lots of options,” Vandenberg said.

Locally in the Kerrville area, she said, they are participating in a “tree-planting initiative.”

“The goal is to plant one tree for each club member,” she said, “and here we have 149 trees in the ground now.”

As for future events, she said they will again hold a Labour Day “Walk-a-Fun.”

She said they plan a family event again, and that last year on that morning about 400-500 people of all ages walked the designated trail.

Each spring’s focus is usually literacy and water safety, she said.

“In the public schools, we’ll be leading programmes with the students about ‘Josh the Baby Otter’ and every student will get a copy of the books, too.”

Vandenberg noted the Noon Rotary Club’s recent “First Responders’ Lunch” and said it was a chance to thank the Kerrville area’s emergency responders.

This year they honoured 12 of them during a regular meeting.

Vandenberg continued with a reminder about the clubs’ high school and college scholarships.

She added that their scholarships are open not only to high school students entering college for their freshman years, but also to current college students seeking funds for subsequent years.

“We also give different scholarships to first responders so they get more training,” Vandenberg said.

Fundraiser

Vandenberg said their main fundraiser now is the annual Super Ball, with no programme, just a time to meet friends and eat and drink with friends.

She especially noted their inclusion of food trucks for this event rather than the usual catered meal.

On a more serious note, Vandenberg talked about the club’s “Pints for Polio” campaign, an ongoing effort to eradicate polio around the world.

The goal of this campaign, she said, is to fulfill the healthcare definition of zero polio cases anywhere in the world for three straight years.

“But a few countries still have outbreaks occasionally,” she said.

“In 2017 there were 17 polio cases reported worldwide.”

Other projects

Vandenberg told the audience about Rotary’s Exchange Student Programme, saying presently the clubs are sponsoring a high school student from Spain to live with families in Kerrville to attend Tivy High School.

“We need more families so if you’re interested in the experience of hosting an international student, call me.”

“Each student who comes here spends three months living with each of three families, for the school year,” she said.

“We also have a project in ‘Trafficking Education.’ It’s a tough subject but it’s important to talk about,” she said.

“We want to do a project with BT Wilson (Sixth Grade Campus) students, especially about their use of the internet.”

Vandenberg said she’s had conversations with a lady in the local area who is planning to open a home for the recovery of kids who have escaped that life; and Rotary will have a programme about that in the future.

Vandenberg also said the local Rotary clubs have for some time been involved with Habitat for Humanity, by starting four years ago to accumulate funds to be given to this housing programme.

“We have about $30,000 in the bank now and we want to ‘grow’ that by two or three times,” she said.

The Rotary Citizenship Recognition programme was next on her list, a programme for public school students; and Vandenberg also noted that Schreiner University has begun offering scholarships of $20,000 each to those student winners if they choose to attend Schreiner for college.

Vandenberg’s next item was to describe the Interact and Rotaract clubs that have been formed locally by and for school-age students.

“We now have clubs at Peterson Middle School and Tivy High School where about 100 students are involved; and a club in Ingram’s schools,” she said.

“The kids are learning valuable lessons.”

She said that also on the horizon is an essay contest based on Rotary’s “4-Way Test.”

Vandenberg also reported on the “Rise Against Hunger” project and community food drive in early March.

“We had 177 volunteers that day and we packaged 20,000 meals to be sent outside the US to other countries. And we did that in about one hour and 10 minutes,” she said, adding there were representatives there from CAM, the Salvation Army and Hill Country Veterans Centre to collect other donations for their food pantries.

Source: Hill Country Community Journal

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