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5.16.19 Club News

Club News written by Tom Mathison

The Rotary Club of Downtown Grand Rapids gathered at noon at the University Club for its regular meeting. President Chelsea Dubey called this meeting to order at noon by welcoming everyone and announcing the line-up of events and future speakers for the Club:

May 23:            No luncheon – Memorial Day Observance

May 30:             Rep. Justin Amash (RSVP for guests due Monday, May 27)

June 6:             Club 77 hosted by Leslee Fritz @ the JDEK @ JW Marriott

Chelsea reminded everyone that the Rotary Office will be closed next week so that Dawn can take a well-deserved week off.

Chelsea called upon Keith Lang to lead us in song today, “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, followed by today’s invocation by Carl VerBeek.

Following lunch, President Chelsea invited Nate Phillips  to introduce guests and visiting Rotarians.

Following this, Chelsea invited Jason Webb (who confessed to being sleep-deprived with the birth of a new baby) to the podium to introduce several new members to the Club:

Margaret (Maggie) Lancaster – CEO, Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

Bruce Law – Vice President/ Cumulus Radio Group

Honorable William (Bill) Murphy – Senior Counsel, Dykema Gossett

Following their introductions, each new member made a few remarks as ne members.

President Chelsea then invited Boyd Henderson to come forward to present a recipient of this year’s Boyden-Shearer Scholarships.  There are two winners this year, but one is here today, and the other will be with us later this month. Boyd began the presentation with a background of the scholarship.  Each recipient receives a $2,000 scholarship.  Following is today’s recipient:

Aunner Calderon-Reyes is a senior at Grand Rapids Union High School who will be attending WMU in the Fall. He is the Class Valedictorian and he offered brief remarks to describe his journey from Guatemala only four years ago (without knowing any English).  In addition to a GPA of 4.11, he simultaneously earned 51 college credits!

Chelsea then invited Derek Aten and Neil Marchand to introduce several winners of the Service Above Selfie contest as today’s program.  Derek and Neil mentioned that the contest continues to grow each year since its inception.  As of today, the GR Rotary Charities Foundation has awarded $30,000 to winners of this contest.  This year, there were 137 entries from 49 different non-profit organizations in West Michigan, a major increase over last year!  As this is a social media contest, this year there were over 350,000 impressions during the contest.  This program is one that many other Clubs in our District want to replicate!

The first-place winner could not be here today because of a scheduling conflict, but we had presentations from the second and third-place winners, plus the “Most Liked” social media post.

Neil and Derek then introduced Amanda Gilbert, from Henna Crowns of Courage” as the “Most Liked” post, with over 600 “Likes” during the contest.  Amanda spoke about the background of her non-profit, including a history of henna, and the mission of “Crowns”.  She wants to empower women and children as they travel their difficult journey.  Amanda said she has “crowned over 60 women and children herself.  Amanda introduced Becky Richard, a cancer survivor, who spoke about the uplifting impact of being the recipient of a henna “crown”.

The third-place winner (awarded $1,000) is Arts in Motion, and Delight Lester, its leader, who described the mission of Arts in Motion as “enriching those with disabilities through the arts”.  Arts in Motions provides all the arts classes at Indian Trails Camp, and now Delight is working on mentoring others to become artists through this program.

The second-place winner (awarded $2,000) is Ele’s Place, presented by Alyx Newton. Alyx described Ele’s Place as a healing center for grieving children and teens, with the underlying premise that “no one should have to grieve alone”.  There is no cost to clients, and the program continues to grow, offering 8-week school-based grief groups for 4th – 12th graders.  After concluding her remarks, Alyx thanked Rotary for “helping us heal hearts”.

Chelsea congratulated the scholarship and the Service Above Selfie winners today, and she reiterated the upcoming Rotary events, as well as the fact that the Rotary office will be closed next week.  Then she rang the Rotary bell, and the meeting was adjourned at 1:20 pm.


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