Posted by Robert Wood on Nov 28, 2018

It was an average late Fall day – mostly cloudy, cool, with a slight breeze – that welcomed the 26 Rotarians to their weekly rendezvous at the Ridge. Once inside, they were greeted by Treasurer Dan collecting the usual lunch fee, and by “Happy Jack” fleecing us for the weekly raffle!  Nothing changes, except with the addition of Bob Buettner’s flower arrangement, which he so generously donates each week to raise money for the Rotary Foundation.  Thanks, Bob, we appreciate your arrangement and all hope to be able to claim it as ours when the number is called.  We next encountered Sgt. at Arms Buettner shaking us down for any number of offences- real or perceived!


Fortunately, President Kevin came to the podium and called us together for the usual song and Pledge.  Dan Firestone followed with a thoughtful Invocation which included a brief history of Hanukkah – the miracle of the oil, interesting and informative.  He concluded with “Love all that is good and beautiful” – a great thought for the Holiday season! Following the Invocation, we were dispatched to the Buffet Table hoping for another miracle.  This one didn’t come to fruition! We had our usual rice, chicken or pork - depending upon your faith, ham, green beans and cauliflower, rolls and a spinach salad. Dessert didn’t quite make the grade – a banana bread or some variation there of!


Following the repast, president Kevin called us together, trying some new approach by using an agenda to conduct the proceedings.  Sometimes the old ways are best, agendas can be confusing.  We were called to sing the Welcome Song before the guests were introduced.  District Governor Elect Mark took umbrage at this change and indicated such to president Kevin. Downhill from then on.

We did manage to get back in step, pick up the pieces, and continue the meeting with several announcements.  Jack Sayre said we need some Bell Ringers for the late shifts on 12/8 and 12/15.  Ceil mentioned the Holiday party next week 12/5 at the Gallery; call her if you haven’t yet signed up. NOTE – NO NOON MEETING NEXT WEEK!!!!!  Neal announced that we are all set with our adopted Holiday Families – two six-member families.  We will be spending $2400 plus some club member donations.  Neal has elves doing the shopping.  President Kevin called for a Club Assembly at our noon meeting on 12/19 to discuss the Fireside Chats and any other pending issues.  The Club also donated $200 to the local foodbank Holiday drive.  So far, a total of $3900 has come in in Memory of George Agnelli.  Kevin will meet with Eleanor and family members to determine how best to Honor George with a special project.  Laura Floyd announced a YMCA Wine Tasting event at Goodwin College this Saturday evening.  Call her at the Y for details if interested. Jairo mentioned an Estate planning session to be held next week.  Call him for details. Ceil mentioned that Agnes Popp, wife of former member Bob Popp passed away in Pennsylvania.  WOW, that’s a lot of stuff!!!
If that was a lot, Sgt. at Arms Buettner came up with a major laundry list of fines, infractions, and excuses beyond belief!  Bob Wood paid because he had the opportunity to write High Gear, Marc for his “Iggles”, Jairo for bringing three lovely speakers, Bill Saunders for his Rotary anniversary, Dave Amberg for his #3 Notre Dame, Ned Lynch for his Red Sox, Laura Floyd for a rare Cleveland win, Alex Wisz and Ruth Sheehan for leaving early, a large contingent too numerous to mention for no pins, and Bob Buettner for passing off his High Gear duties to Bob Wood!  I’ll get even! Happy Jack pulled Waldo’s lucky number, and President Kevin fumbled his attempt to pull the flower arrangement winner.  Picking the ticket off the floor he declared Ruth Sheehan to be the lucky winner.  ‘nuff said!
Jairo then introduced our speakers, three women from CREC to discuss their Community Education Program which is designed “To assist undereducated youth and adults through the provision of job readiness, job training, career development and adult basic education services.”
This program deals with many foreign born who need ESL training, high school drop outs, and adults who wish to get back into the workforce and need a helping hand.  They work mostly with people living in the area and usually have about 125 students at a time.  Interesting statistic – Hartford high schools have a 72% graduation rate, and EH has an 84% graduation rate.  The program helps with ESL training, obtaining a GED, or HS Diploma.
The program entails a lot of individual assessment and mentoring in helping these students to gain competencies needed to succeed. The program aids in all aspects of job development from resume writing, interviewing skills, proper behavior, and even helping with proper dress throughout the process.  The program has about an 80-85% success rate.  It is certainly a much-needed addition to the traditional education programs usually offered.  It’s not a “one size fits all! World out there.  A good and informative program.  Thanks Jairo!
That’s it for now, Bob Wood filling in for Bob Buettner.