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Bulletin Editor
Avis Hardy MPH
MEETING RECAP - 14th March 2022
Submitted by Will Arscott 
Guest Speaker:   Michelle Busa from READ Saskatoon
This meeting was held by Zoom with about eighteen members present. Graham Pearson was our capable MC.  He will no doubt be fined at a future meeting for his joke telling. President Mark Gryba was our Zoom host. Wayne Palmer was the cashier for the meeting.  Thanks also to Avis Hardy for setting up the roster.
The meeting began with the playing of ‘O’ Canada. The video feed showed some wonderful Canadian pictures though none that were immediately recognizable as Saskatchewan. The blessing was asked by Al Morton. Al spoke of the recent news from the Ukraine and the challenge it presents to us as humanitarians. Al included a quote from Voltaire to the effect that there is not a flag large enough to cover up the killing of innocents.
Visitors and Guests
Was handled by Avis Hardy.  The only visitor was Michelle Busa who was introduced later in the meeting.
Health of the Club
Linda Petrow was present and was able to report that her double knee replacement was settling in well. She is now able to hobble around without a walker or cane.
Jennifer Lawrence reported that her husband has completed all his cancer treatment and is weak but on the mend.
There were many announcements.  Your editor is very pleased that President Mark sent them on ahead to be published here.  This effort on Mark’s part reduced the work and more importantly, improves the accuracy and completeness of what follows:
A reminder that this is our last Zoom-only meeting and that we will restart our hybrid meetings – meeting in person at the Saskatoon Club with an on-line option for those who are unable to attend in person – with our meeting on March 28th. The Saskatoon Club no longer requires proof of vaccination or masking by attendees.
Our board has decided to send $5,000 (from our general reserve) to support the humanitarian efforts for the Ukrainian refugees.This money will be sent through the Salvation Army, as they have a large contingent there already in the neighboring countries supporting the refugees. Anyone who would like to support this effort personally can make a donation to our charitable trust to support this intention, or directly to the Rotary Foundation Disaster Relief Fund (online on my rotary site), directly to the Salvation Army, or any other mechanism that you wish.(Many of our members have already answered this call as shown in the Happy and Sad dollar section of this bulletin.)
We received a report that ShelterBox is sending a team to Eastern Europe in response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis to see what type of help is needed there and see how they can be of help.
We received a funding request from the Nutrien Children’s Festival; for the last 2 years their festival in Bess Park has been cancelled due to covid, so they developed a virtual festival program. This year they are returning to an in-person festival but are maintaining the virtual component to increase access to children across the province. They are looking for support for their Swag Bag Program where they send out 2,000 care packages to children in need across the province who participate virtually – this was extremely popular last year. Our board has decided to donate $1,000 to this very worthwhile community program; funds will come from the Sid Buckwold Memorial Fund in our Charitable Trust. We will be recognized as a sponsor for the festival – our logo will appear on their website and on their main gate sponsorship sign. Also, the Rotary Club of Saskatoon name will be listed in each swag bag that is sent out across the province. There is also an opportunity for club members to volunteer for this festival.Anyone who is interested in volunteering for the festival can contact President Mark and he will pass along the contact information
District Conference 2023: The 5 clubs in Saskatoon are being asked to host this conference as we have not hosted in over 15 years, and the incoming DGs club has already hosted twice in the last 5 years. The program would be the sole responsibility of the District Learning and Development Team, as would be on-line registration; Saskatoon would be responsible for arranging facilities, meals, a social event, greeting and in-person registration. A total committee of 12 – 15 people is needed (we would need 4 or 5 members to become involved in the planning committee), and maybe a few more members for day-of duties. While our club is not able to take this responsibility on by ourselves are we interested in participation in a 5-club committee? Ruth Marritt and Brenda Banbury have already volunteered to act as co-chairs for this planning committee (if Saskatoon agrees to host) and there were 2 or 3 other members of Presidents’ Council who agreed to head committees. Following this announcement President Mark asked for volunteers from our club who might be interested in helping. Several volunteers came forward including Steve Wilson, Gary Rusu, Prem Sharma, and Linda Petrow. Several members expressed the opinion that this conference could be used to raise the profile of Rotary in Saskatoon.
The 2022 District Conference will be virtual, by Zoom; held over 2 Thursday evenings:
May 5, 6:00 – Kick-off; 6:30PM – ‘Reducing Child Poverty’. May 12, 6:00 – Special Entertainment; 6:30 ‘Climate Change in Canada and on the Prairies’ – current research
May 14 -District AGM at 8:00 AM
For the “In Memorium” presentation at the conference, we are sending in the names of Otto Ulrich, Bert Ayers, Vangy Heagy and Clive Cory; have we forgotten any other former members who passed away this last year? [If you know of any others that should be included, please pass the names on to President Mark.]
The Master Golf Pool is going to go ahead again this year. It will be managed by Steve Wilson and Tim Squire. The entry form is being finalized and printed and the final lottery license is pending. The entry form will be distributed to all members through Club Runner this week. Please make as many copies as you can to send out and enter yourself. Anyone with an interest in golf should be a good prospect for this project. We do need to sell the entries. Steve will be contacting the other Rotary clubs to have them take part in sales. There will also be a mailing to those that have entered the lottery previously.
Spring Raffle:   This will be a new club project and the details are just being worked out now. This project will be headed by Wayne Storozuk and Jim Weber. They will be looking for raffle prizes in the $100 to $500 range. There will be a mechanism where credit can be granted towards particular Rotary projects based on the raffle sales. Stay tuned for further details.
Grocery Cards:   Donna has them available. Please contact her to order your cards. They can be ordered now to be available at the next meeting or they can be delivered. Several members requested cards.
Sad Dollars
  • Gary Rusu led things off by pledging $100 towards relief in the Ukraine.  He felt, like our members in general, that it was sad that we can face a war of this type well into the twenty-first century.  Gary directed his donation to Streams of Hope, the Ukrainian charity introduced in the recent email from Brenda Banbary. [all members should have received this email.]
  • Mark Gryba matched Gary’s $100 donation as did Will Arscott and Avis Hardy.
  • Graham Pearson and Jack Brodsky each generously committed to $200.
  • Maureen Torr reported that a fifteen-year-old boy sponsored by Joy’s Home drowned in a boating accident. Prayers are needed as well as money for funeral expenses. Maureen will send out more information.
(There were no happy dollars this week.)
Michelle Busa - READ Saskatoon
Michelle was introduced by Avis Hardy. She began her career as a teacher but quickly moved into the social services sector as a worker for the YWCA. With the Y she was involved in both programming and fundraising, eventually moving into donor relations. Michelle has worked in non-profit development and has earned several qualifications in the field. She is the mother of two sons and her husband is a firefighter.
READ Saskatoon is a non-profit devoted to increasing literacy. In Saskatoon it has grown into a significant organization with fifteen staff and about 165 volunteers. The last two years have been difficult and much of the programming had to be moved online. Last year the program reached about 900 individuals. In a normal non-covid year the program reaches about 2,700 people. The organization currently has plans to add more staff/volunteers and therefore serve more people.
The revenue to support READ Saskatoon is about 20% self-generated with 80% coming from the province. Many of the volunteers are also donors. The organization appreciates those that can contribute time and talent and those who contribute financially.
The organization has programs addressing four areas: The first is children’s literacy. This program is specifically oriented to children in grades two to four. There is good evidence that children that do not achieve an appropriate reading level by the end of grade four have a much more difficult time with education. This results in such outcomes as very lower rates of high school completion, poverty, and substance abuse. Of the programs offered this is the area that is least funded but has the greatest need.
Adult literacy is the flagship program of READ Saskatoon. This is most often done in a one-on- one setting. Very few adults in our society, less than 2%, are illiterate. The need comes from the ability of the individual to do the things they need to do, and these needs vary greatly. Often adults come to the program because they may be asked to write reports for work or need to access online resources and do not have the skills to do these things effectively. The individual needing assistance is assigned to a volunteer. They are required to meet in public places such as libraries or coffee shops and are not permitted to meet in private homes.
The third programming area is family literacy. This program tries to reach young children and involves pre-literacy skills. Children that come from households where books are valued, and present have much better literacy outcomes. Reading to young children is important. In this area books are donated to children and READ Saskatoon can always use donations of children’s books.
The final area of programming is financial literacy. There is a huge concurrence between poverty and literacy. READ Saskatoon works to develop financial understanding and better financial habits. One specific program involves encouraging the purchase of RESPs. If the client is successful in saving in a RESP for a set time, then their contributions will be matched by READ Saskatoon on a three to one basis. READ Saskatoon also helps the clients apply for the government contributions to further increase the amount of the savings. The RESP makes it much more likely the client will undertake some higher learning. Donations to support this program are always needed. The three-to-one grant can often amount to $750 to $1,000 if the client has been a disciplined saver.
In closing Michelle went over the five beliefs that underlie all the programming from READ Saskatoon.  
  1. Literacy is not achieved by chance.
  2. All communities have the right to literacy programs.
  3. Literacy habits contribute to communities.
  4. All people have the right to learn regardless of age.
  1. Everyone’s cultural perspectives are limited, and we cannot make assumptions of     the experiences of others.
These beliefs come from the UN’s Sustainable Livelihood Framework.
After her talk Michelle answered several questions. She said that Covid has been bad for literacy and that there is work to do to catch up. The ones most effected are the ones that are at greatest risk.
In recognition of Michelle’s talk the regular donation will be made to Bethany Homes.
Next club meeting is in 2 weeks - Mar 28 – in person at the Saskatoon club with a Zoom option; the speaker will be Mark Volker from VIDO.