Posted on Feb 25, 2020
Rotary Club of Needham Newsletter February 25th, 2020
Volunteer Opportunities
Meal Packing
"The Rise Against Hunger": packing 20,000 meals for the hungry on Saturday March 28th at a location TBD from 10:00-2:00 with the Needham High School Interact Club.
In the Community
Paul Harris Fellows (see picture below):
Ron Sokol and Charles Nelson were recognized as Paul Harris Fellows at our Tuesday meeting for $1000 contributions to the Rotary Foundation.
We held a Grand Opening for the Ambassador Raymond Flynn Sensory Room at the Joseph P. Tynan Elementary School in South Boston on Wednesday February 26th (see pictures below).
Ambassador Raymond Flynn, Mayor of Boston from 1984-1993 and Ambassador to the Holy See from 1993-1997, was keynote speaker. His speech traced his involvement in supporting autistic children and their parents from driving his nephew from South Boston to the only school that would then serve autistic kids, deep in the suburbs of metro Boston. He noted that parent advocacy had resulted in improvements in public education where kids with sensory disorders can now remain and get an education in public schools, and that the soothing environment of sensory rooms is the latest improvement helping to keep those kids engaged in their education. Libby Pero and Bill Paulson were recognized for their pivotal roles in getting the sensory room funded and built. The children were led into the room for the first time as the Ambassador was completing his remarks, and the sweetest reward was the pleasant sound as they enthusiastically played in the room.
Offsite Meeting: Beth Israel Deaconess Needham, Tuesday March 3rd
in place of our regularly scheduled noon meeting that day, we will instead meet John Fogarty, President BID Needham, for an update on the hospital's new facilities. Please invite a friend to attend with you.
NEF Spelling Bee
Sunday March 15th at 3:00 at Needham High School Cafeteria
League of Women Voters Civics Bee 
Sunday March 22nd at 2:00 at Broadmeadow School
Speaker: Zachary Attenborough, Employment Coordinator, Elliott House of Riverside Community Care (see picture below)
Riverside Community Care (RCC) is a non-profit organization that offers mental healthcare, developmental and brain injury services, early childhood and youth services, addiction treatment and trauma response. It serves over 40,000 children and adults in Eastern and Central Massachusetts. Elliot House is a unit of RCC located at 255 Highland Avenue in Needham. It's called a "clubhouse" because it's focused on providing a supportive environment where "members", recovering from a mental illness, can regain job skills, find employment, reduce hospitalizations, secure decent housing and develop meaningful relationships. The emphasis is on a reintegration into the community and a return to paid employment.
Zach is an Employment Coordinator there. He told us that about 60% of people with a mental illness have an underlying substance abuse issue. People often inappropriately self-medicate to sooth themselves when facing difficulties. The clubhouse environment, including a 12-step, self-help, recovery program, helps members learn to manage difficulties though connection, support and education, reducing the chance of a relapse. There are three types of employment programs:
  1. Transitional: typically 6-9 months where a staff person will fill for a member who is unable to work
  2. Supported: staff help members with job search, resume writing, and interview preparation 
  3. Independent
Typical work activities include: word processing, spreadsheet design, data collection, data entry, food service, banking, budgeting, and building and grounds maintenance. The amount of time that a member spends in a work unit is determined by their personal choice and interests. A "work-ordered day" concept keeps tract of members' work and results in reimbursement, which is billed to the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. For more information on Elliot House see Riverside Community Care's website: