Newsletter of the Needham Rotary Club for April 19th, 2022
Recent Projects:
On Wednesday, April 13th, we installed the Little Free Library that we donated to the Joseph P. Tynan School in South Boston with Lisa Vergara Founder of Storytime Crafts and Leslie Gant, Principal.
Mark Your Calendar, Upcoming Events:
  • Saturday, April 23rd, Earth Day Cleanup: Kathy is looking for volunteers to join her in a cleanup project.
  • Saturday, April 30th from 7-10pm, Spring into Springtime, a fundraiser for the Needham History Center under a big tent on the grounds of the Center (adjacent to Newman School). Information and tickets: http://www.needhamhistory.org
  • Tuesday May 17th from 5-7pm, Wine and Beer Tasting at Bin Ends, 65 Crawford St., Needham. No zoom meeting at noon today.
  • Tuesday, June 14th: Needham Rotary Club Picnic at Clayton Field at 5:30. Bring your own everything. No zoom meeting at noon today.
Our Speaker on April 5th: Roy Balfour, Rotary's Aid for the People of Ukraine
Our speaker, Roy Balfour, has been a member of the Rotary Club of Shrewsbury for 33 years. His club (part of our district) sponsored the 1st Rotary Club in Ukraine thirty years ago after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Referendum in favor of independence in Ukraine in December 1991. Since then, 62 Rotary clubs have sprung up in Ukraine. He told us about Rotary's efforts on behalf of the Ukrainian people. There are two Rotary Facebook pages devoted to aid to Ukraine:
1.) Rotary Helps Ukraine
2.) Rotary in Ukraine
Plus, there's Rotary's website http://www.rotary.org. with a special section devoted to Disaster Response Fund/Ukraine. Donations made by April 30th qualify for use in support of Ukrainian Relief efforts. We can advocate to our families, friends, and co-workers that they can effectively support Ukraine by donating  through the Rotary Foundation, knowing:
  • there's no religious or political affiliation
  • Rotary is the only non-governmental organization to have a seat at the UN, due to its role in founding the organization
  • Charity Navigator gives the Rotary Foundation four stars  (Exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in its Cause).
The Rotary Disaster Response Fund has received $9.4 million in donations for Ukraine to date. The money will be used to make Disaster Response Grants to districts to provide water, food, clothing, shelter and medicine to Ukrainian refugees. To date, 53 grants to districts in the amount of $1.5 million have been awarded. For example, Roy told us that the Rotary Club of Weston and Wayland has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Rotary Foundation to provide supplies for doctors from Boston who are working to help Ukrainian refugees in Poland.
After the meeting, the Board voted to make a $1,000 donation to the Rotary Disaster Response Fund/Ukraine and a $500 donation to the Rotary Club of Weston and Wayland to help Ukrainian refugees.
Our speaker on April 12th was Kathy Halamka (photo below), Unity Farm Sanctuary, "Lifetime Care for Animals in Need".
Kathy Halamka gave us a zoom tour of the Unity Farm Sanctuary that she and her husband, John, founded in Sherborn in 2014. Now, she's the Executive Director with responsibilities including volunteer coordinator and chief fundraiser as the sanctuary's budget rises over $500,000/year. They provide a home for 60 mammals and 225 birds currently. Every animal there was "rescued" from adverse circumstances that typically include: moves, foreclosures and divorces. There's a sterile cow that couldn't produce milk, the llama (photo above) that had a root canal from outside its mouth, a starving pony whose owner was declining into dementia.
The sanctuary is funded from donations.  To make a donation, visit their website http://www.unityfarmsanctuary.org where there's a "Donate Now" tab. Volunteers do much of the work to take care of the animals.  For more information: Unityfarmsanctuary@gmail.com. We're in the initial planning phase of a Fall club roadtrip to visit the Sanctuary ($10/person). Tell Kathy if you're interested.
On Tuesday, April 19th, our Speaker was: Audrey Loria, Executive Director of Wildflower, Inc. (photo below)
Audrey told us about the challenges facing Cyndi Jones, Founder and Board Chair of Wildflower Inc., when her first husband died in 1989 at 40 of a heart attack, leaving her with three kids ranging in age from 3 months to 8 years old. Her husband grew up in NYC, but loved summer camp. He planned to share this cherished experience with his children, but Cyndi realized that his hopes would be difficult for her to accomplish on her own. She reached out to several camp directors, who extended assistance so that her children were able to attend. Their experiences in camp provided healing, a place to feel normal without reminders of their loss. Fifteen years later (2004), a second marriage offered an opportunity to launch a new, non-profit organization dedicated to helping children of families that had suffered the loss of a parent the chance to go to summer camp. Wildflower was born. Five children were helped in 2005; 105 in 2022, and the growth plan calls for 140 by 2024. There are more applicants than funded slots: the key challenge is to raise funds from donors to open up more slots to applicants.
Families are paired with a family liaison, a trained human services professional, to help them find a "best-fit" summer camp and to provide referrals to grief programs and other resources as needed. Once a child becomes a Wildflower camper the support continues as long as it's needed, up to age 18. 
There are two key fundraisers annually:
  1. On June 14th, 2022, "Gather with Wildflower" is a party under a tent on the grounds at Gore Place in Waltham. Tickets run from $75 to $1,500. 
  2. On September 24th, 2022, "Rodman Ride for Kids" is an umbrella fundraiser for youth service organizations, including Wildflower and 45 others. Donors are matched with riders sponsoring their favorite organizations.
To make a donation: http://www.wildflowerforkids.org. For more information: info@wildflowerforkids.org
Our Next (Zoom) Meeting: Tuesday, April 26th at noon. Our Speaker will be Carmen Fields, who will discuss her life and career in the information and entertainment business.