Air Force first sergeants joined us in assembling Thanksgiving
food boxes for 65 Air Force families in need. 
 
What a year! Our small club helped hundreds of families in many ways, here and in Senegal.
 
Here's our track record for the Rotary year that began July 1:
 
In July we bought and filled the backpacks of first graders at Bishop School with all the required supplies. This is a project that we've done for more than 10 years. Each year, it seems, the backpacks and their contents get more technological and more expensive. Families in Englewood really need our help. Members Vee Sabel and Dawn Shepherd did the shopping, assembling and delivering. 
 
In August our member Judy Beggs was in Gueoul, Senegal, carrying out two grant projects -- a district grant secured by our club with contributing partner clubs of Highlands Ranch, Wheat Ridge and DTC. This project was to teach English as a Second Language to girls who are part of a Friends of Gueoul program, founded and directed by Judy, and others in the community. The second, smaller grant was from the Society of Professional Journalists Colorado Pro Chapter to obtain software and produce an online news report about happenings in Gueoul. Shy girls found the courage to ask strangers questions about soccer and changes in their community. The grant was secured by our member Bob Burdick. 
 
September rolled around, and we were all about wine and raising money. We held the 2nd Annual Harvest Wine-tasting fund-raiser at The Guild in Englewood. President Ed Koerperich and his family get the lion's share of credit. We raised about $10,000 mostly from the auction that featured vacation getaways to Provence, Santa Barbara and Winter Park. 
 
We also participated in a golf tournament-fund-raiser organized by the United Service Clubs of Englewood, of which we and the Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce are members. That brought us about $1,800 for our charitable work. 
 
In October and November it was all hands on deck for our program helping Air Force families in need with Thanksgiving food and holiday gifts. The families were screened for need by commanders or designees at Peterson and Schriever Air Force Bases and at the Air Force Academy. We filled huge carts at Costco with turkeys and all the fixings for Thanksgiving dinner for families of four. And we filled wish lists of toys and clothing for 65 families that included more than 100 children. Whew! This was a $15,000 project, with a matching grant from the district and some financial and volunteer support from the North Colorado Springs Rotary, and East Colorado Springs Rotary and Castle Rock  High Noon -- all ably led by our club President Ed Koerperich. Many members shopped and helped on the distribution day.  
 
We also rang the bell for the Salvation Army, a club tradition of many years. 
 
If it's December, it's another party with Santa for Head Start kids at the Center for Early Childhood Education in Littleton. With a grant from the Englewood Walmart and funds from our foundation, we invited 65 kids for lunch, a spot on Santa's knee and a bag full of winter clothes and toys. This is Dr. Frank Sargent's project, possibly the 20th year. Special thanks to Vee and John Sabel, as well as volunteer shoppers and wrappers. 
 
January and February are usually quiet times for our club. We did get creative, though. We selected not just one president for the next Rotary year, but three. We're calling it the Team of 3. Linda Spear, Gary Sears and Susan VanDyke each will take a four-month tour of duty. 
Because of software issues in Rotary, Linda Spear will be the name on Rotary records, but in our reality, the three will have equal responsibility and authority. 
 
Every month we enjoy three lunch meetings with fabulous speakers. On the fourth Wednesday we dine out! We call this "happy hour," but it has morphed into dinner. We've been to Zane's, Bar Louie, One Barrel, Volcano. . . . We usually have 15-20 participants -- wives, husbands, guests all invited. 
 
In March and April we are interviewing seventh graders and high school sophomores and juniors for the fabulous Rotary camps known as the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. We expect to send four kids this summer -- at no cost to the families. Every RYLArian returns and says the experience change his or her life. About this time of year we also give a Literacy Award to a District 5450 club that has conducted a fabulous project such as reading to kids, supplying electronic tablets, giving dictionaries, mentoring immigrant families.
 
For spring, we hope to recruit new members and decide on new projects. The Team of 3 has said they wish to focus our work primarily on Englewood.
 
Stay tuned! 
--Patty Burnett