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The Rotary Club of Needham - Welcome

Welcome to Needham! We are a great group of 30 members strong and growing. Men and Women, young and old – we meet for lunch every Tuesday. Our projects focus on giving back to both our community here and beyond.

Tuesdays, 12:00-1:30pm
Needham Sheraton: 100 Cabot Street

With interesting speakers and an energized group
every week, you will come away inspired.



Home Page Stories
Rotary Club of Needham Newsletter September 22nd, 2020
In our (Global) Community: Bujjuko and Ssumbwe Relief Project
Our member, Sylvia Kiggundu, has organized fundraising to support a project that distributes food and sanitary supplies to families whose income has been disrupted by the COVID-19 lockdown in her home country of Uganda. Located about 14 miles west of the capitol, Kampala, economically vulnerable families (home-hound elderly, widows, disabled persons and single mothers) in the villages of Bujjuko and Ssumbwe were identified as candidates to receive support from the project. The first-round goal of $5000 was achieved and distributed to families, providing an estimated 6 weeks of food and sanitary supplies. Fundraising and support are on-going and the project has currently supplied over 900 persons.
If you would like to donate, go to: For more information on the project, you can view the presentation at:
Speaker: Lise Elcock, Membership Director, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber 
Lise spoke to us about the Needham 100 Day Challenge. "With less than 100 days to go until the end of the year, we all need to do our part to save the small businesses that we love". The program is designed to promote and support Needham businesses and restaurants through the remainder of 2020. Here's what the chamber says we can do to support the campaign:


Community Supporters
Rotary Club of Needham Newsletter September 1st, 2020
Speaker: Bill Tobin (photo below), Rotary Relations Manager, ShelterBox
ShelterBox is an international disaster relief agency that provides emergency shelter and building tools to families displaced by disaster or conflict. ShelterBox was founded 20 years ago by the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard in England. It became Rotary's project partner in disaster relief in 2012, a role that it retains today. The Rotary Club of Needham has supported ShelterBox for the past twelve years. In addition to financial support, about 1000 Rotary members are involved in Shelter Box as volunteers, staff or response team members. Local Rotary clubs provide valuable, practical advice at the disaster sites: 90% of ShelterBox responses have been assisted by Rotary. Of the organization's $8.6mm of income in 2019, 13% was contributed from Rotary Clubs with the balance from: individuals (59%), foundations (24%), and corporations (2%).
In 2019, ShelterBox provided shelter to 145,000 families displaced by 11 disasters or conflicts in 9 countries, including: a cyclone in Malawi, flooding in Paraguay and Bangladesh, an earthquake and a typhoon in the Philippines and drought in Somaliland. ShelterBox helped those displaced by conflict in Ethiopia, Cameroon, Nigeria and Syria. Spending of $8.5mm in 2019 went to: program grants (81%) with the balance spent on administration and fundraising. That efficiency earned ShelterBox a four star (top) rating from Charity Navigator.
ShelterBox rose to prominence with its first large-scale disaster response: the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, which displaced 20,000 families. Its largest response to date was the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which displaced 30,000 families. The civil war in Syria has elicited their longest deployment, helping 60,000 displaced families since 2012 to present. The largest US deployment was Hurricane Harvey in Texas in 2017, which displaced about 10,000 families. The overall size of the need for emergency shelter: 104mm people were displaced by disasters or conflict in 2019. Adding to their vulnerability, about 75% of displaced persons are women and children.
Each green shelter box is designed to hold emergency shelter and essential, basic household supplies that create the framework for everyday life. Each box contains a family sized tent that protects people from the elements and provides a safe space for people to start to recover from physical and emotional trauma. The boxes also hold a cooking set, a water carrier and filtration equipment, blankets, a solar light and school supplies. Shelter Kits contain hand tools (hammer, pliers, saw, hoe and shovel) to rebuild. Each box costs about $1000 per family. 
Alex Goodale of Needham High School also addressed us to discuss her efforts to raise funds for ShelterBox. She leads the high school's ShelterBox Club, which organized a scavenger hunt, the "Stock the Box Challenge". For a $20 contribution participants received 15-20 clues and a chance at a bag of prizes. Their club raised $1700 for ShelterBox! 
To donate or to volunteer, go to ShelterBox's website: You'll be helping in a good cause: ShelterBox was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in both 2018 and 2019.
Rotary Club of Needham Newsletter August 18th, 2020
In Our Community:
Watch for an email list of our club's typical, annual community projects, so we can discuss re-imagining and re-purposing them in the context of a pandemic and recession at out August 25th meeting.
Speaker: Stacy Gauthier (photo below), Consultant for Pedagogy and Technology, spoke of "Understanding the Modern Classroom: Challenges and Solutions for Remote Learning"
Stacy has been a science educator since 1997, and she is currently the Middle Grades (5th - 8th) Science Department Head for the Town of Natick as well as a private consultant. She is married to Charles Nelson. She discussed the challenge of teaching in remote learning environments imposed in response to the coronavirus. She used "pedagogy", the method and practice of teaching, to organize her presentation. She  contrasted traditional with best current teaching practices. Traditionally, a teacher lectured to a class while standing at the front of the room. Under current best practice, several teachers facilitate small group discussions among students using laptops within the classroom. But that is not socially distant, and Zoom doesn't facilitate collaboration. So, the lack of interaction made it harder for today's teachers and students to adapt to remote learning.
Stacy demonstrated a teaching technology called "Pear Deck" that allows students in a remote learning environment to interact with their teacher's slide presentation at their own pace. We learned about a worsening achievement gap between affluent and poor school districts due to the cost and shortages of remote learning technology. We discussed different approaches to the problem of kids that have not been logging on to keep up with their remote educations. Schools in Massachusetts will return to mandatory attendance in the Fall. A punative approach to "truancy" by threatening parents with a charge of "neglect" is unlikely to improve remote attendance or learning outcomes, given the problems imposed by pandemic and recession. Those problems include a lack of childcare for essential workers and a shortage of laptops when parents and children are all working from home. Instead, when a student repeatedly fails to log on in Natick, it triggers out-reach to the family by school-based social workers. Finally, Stacy reminded us to be sensitive to teachers' legitimate fear of becoming sick in a return to an in-person learning environment before the rollout of a vaccine.
Next Week's Meeting (8/25/20): Discuss re-imagining our Club's projects during the pandemic 
Rotary Club of Needham Newsletter July 14th, 2020
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and mandatory social distancing, most of our volunteer opportunities and community support activities have been postponed. In response, we've continued to fund local and international charities. We've continued to meet on Tuesdays at noon. But, to maintain social distancing, our meetings have moved on-line. 
In Our Community:
On Saturday, July 18th at 9:00: help shovel the soil into the new, raised planting beds at Needham Housing Authority
Speakers from The Needham Channel: 1) Marc Mandel, Executive Director, 2) Ashley Morin, Director of News and Public Affairs, and 3) Mike Levin, Programming Manager
We had a virtual tour of The Needham Channel's (TNC) capabilities by three of their top executives (see photos, names and titles above). The Needham Community Television Development Corporation is a 501(c) 3, not-for-profit corporation that has served Needham since 1985. Because the cable TV companies needed to build out their networks within the town's public right-of-way, they were required to provide free public access TV for the first 15 years. Now, a portion of cable TV revenues raised in Needham is used to subsidize the station. TNC provides public access, educational and governmental programming for cable television subscribers in the town of Needham, Massachusetts. Their administrative offices and studio are located at 257 Chestnut Street. They operate four TV channels:
  1. Needham Community Channel (Comcast 9, RCN 15, Verizon 29) features community access programming, including a live newscast at 7:30pm on Thursdays. TNC runs all their programming, except municipal meetings, on this channel.
  2. Needham Municipal Channel (Comcast 99, RCN 13, Verizon 30) features live municipal meeting coverage for the Select Board, School Committee, Zoning Board and Town Meeting. TNC's website carries an archive of recorded municipal meetings
  3. Needham Education Channel (Comcast 8, RCN 3, Verizon 31) features programming of an educational nature, including programs about the administration of the schools and about activities at the schools (like high school sports).
  4. Needham TNC HD Channel (Verizon 2129) features a high definition signal. All events, except zoning board meetings, are recorded in HD and carried here at the highest definition.
If you want to participate in an existing production or to get a show started, call Marc to set up an appointment. Volunteers and interns keep TNC running. TNC provides training, expert advice and most of the resources needed to get a show up and running. To get coverage of a news story, email To post an announcement on TNC's community bulletin board, send an email (two weeks in advance) to:
Next Week's Speaker: Louise Condon, founder: Louise Condon Realty
Rotary Club of Needham Newsletter July 21st, 2020
In Our Community:
Last Saturday, we shoveled seven cubic yards of soil into the new, raised planting beds that we built at Needham Housing Authority. Photos of before and after below:
Speaker: Louise Condon (Photo below)
Louise Condon told us how and why she formed her real estate company. Born in Pawtucket, RI, Louise met her future husband, Frank, at the age of 16 at the Voice of Democracy contest (Louise won). Frank's first job with Westinghouse took the family to Mansfield, Ohio, where Louise taught school. Frank's job within Westinghouse moved to New York City, and the family lived in Connecticut. His career change to Finance brought the family to Needham in 1968. Raising seven children in a house on Hazelton Avenue, Louise focused on serving her family. As the kids neared college age, Louise looked to re-enter the labor force to help pay the tuition bills. Schools weren't hiring then, so she took a class at Needham High to train to become a real estate agent. In 1985, she had to create a real estate company to recover her kitchen, which had become a hang-out for her agent friends.
Now, Louise Condon Realty, Inc. has served Needham for 35 years. It has 18 agents working for the only remaining independently owned real estate company in Needham. Among many civic contributions, Louise joined the Rotary Club of Needham soon after women were first admitted in 1987.
Next Week's Speaker (7/28/20): Needham Diversity Initiative
Diana Nestorova, District 7910 Governor
Oct 13, 2020
What's new in Rotary
Amy Haelsen, Economic Dev Mgr, Town of Needham
Oct 20, 2020 12:00 PM
Economic Development initiatives in Needham
Gloria Greis, Exec Dir, Needham Hist Ctr & Museum
Oct 27, 2020 12:00 PM
Patriots and Pirates: NC Wyeth in Needham
Cyndi Roy Gonzalez, Needham's Public Info Officer
Nov 10, 2020 12:00 PM
What is a public information officer?
Nov 24, 2020

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