Dream Street at WVRC - March 16th
This was a powerful program, and it all started with our regular routine. PDG ANDY ANDERSON led us in the Pledge. LENNY and PP JIM took us through When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, and some wag suggested I identify the two leaders as O’Friedman and O’Downie. I leave this matter to your own preference…
SEAN McMILLAN gave a lovely tribute to PETER TOMARKEN, who died along with his wife, Kathleen, when their plane crashed into the ocean just off Santa Monica Pier. They were enroute to San Diego to pick up a patient checking into the UCLA Medical Center, and apparently their engine failed shortly after takeoff. PETER joined WVRC about six months ago, and with his background in Game Show hosting, etc, he took the lead in the recent Hump Day for President DON. He and his wife took a couple of kids on MIKE YOUSEM’S Holiday Shopping Spree, and they ended up being the biggest spenders which, of course, the kids really appreciated. He was with the Corazon project, and he may be the best carpenter of us all. He is survived by three children, twin daughters and a son. Kathleeen is survived by her Mother and Sister. Services will be held tomorrow at Hillside, at 2 pm
Before a moment of silence, SEAN asked that we look around at the others in the room, and remind ourselves that life is very transitory. We need to make the best of each day, and of each relationship. This life is a tiny splash of a raindrop, a thing of beauty that disappears as it comes into being. Therefore, set your goals. Make use of every day and every night. SEAN, I have to tell you, this is poetry. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
We had a Visiting Rotarian, Alonzo Hill from Santa Monica he is in Law Enforcement. PP STEVE SCHERER brought Reed Garwood as his guest, and Sheri DeWane was with PDG BILL GOODWYN. JACK HARRIS was accompanied by his son-in-law, Vic Thompson. FLORENCE SAMPSON claimed our Speaker, Lenny Roberts, as her guest. Yoshika Umiyawa was with SUSAN ALLEN.
Bill Goodwin and Guest
Steve and Guest
Some Upcoming Events
March 23rd, Community Service Committee meets at Bel Air at 11:30 Let PEGGY BLOOMFIELD know, please
March 28th, District Breakfast, Crown Plaza Hotel, 7 a.m. SEAN is contact.
April 1st, 10am PLUUS Walk along the Palisades, followed by some fellowship time. Contributions in honor of PP GEORGE DEA would be appreciated.
April 4th-7th, District Conference in Oxnard. Includes an all-day wine tour and pretty location. Again, SEAN has the details.
JACK HARRIS came forward with his Irish Joke, what with St. Patrick’s Day almost upon us. Seems that Murphy is standing in front of Muldoon’s Bar about 11 a.m. but without a dime to his name. He is terribly thirsty. About that time along comes the Hearse, it hits a bump in the road, and out falls its passenger, Clancy. Murphy picks him up, gets him inside Muldoon’s, and sits him down at the bar. He calls out to Muldoon, “Two whiskeys”. Murphy, of course, drinks them both. “Two more whiskeys” he calls out to Muldoon. Muldoon brings two more, and says, “That’ll be eight pounds for the four whiskeys”. Murphy speaks up, “My friend here will pay ya”, and he goes to the Men’s Room. Muldoon looks at Clancy, and says, “You heard what your friend said I’ll be having my eight pounds”. Nothing. “Did you hear me? I said I wanted eight pounds, and I want it now!” Nothing. So Muldoon reaches across, grabs Clancy by the lapels, and starts shaking him. Clancy slips out of his grasp, and comes crashing to the floor. Murphy comes out, rushes over to Clancy, and feels for a pulse. He looks at Muldoon, and says, “You killed my best friend”. Muldoon says, “I had to he pulled a knife on me”
President DON’S contribution here A drunken Irishman enters the Confessional Booth, sits down, and says nothing. The Priest coughs, to get the Confessioner’s attention. Finally, he grows impatient, and pounds three times on the wall. Then he hears, “Ain’t no use knockin there’s no paper here either”
And a couple more shorties
Murphy told Quinn that his wife was driving him to drink. Quinn thinks he’s very lucky because his own wife makes him walk.
Question Why are Irish jokes so simple?
Answer So the English can understand them.
Mrs Feeney shouted from the kitchen, “Is that you I hear spittin’ in the vase on the mantlepiece?” “No,” said himself, “but I’m getting closer all the time”.
FLORENCE SAMPSON introduced our Speaker, Lenny Roberts. Mr. Roberts has been in the Insurance field, for twenty-five years with Met Life. He is the volunteer President of the Dream Street Foundation, and will be telling us about what Dream Street does.
He became involved with Dream Street some twelve years ago, as a financial contributor. Shortly thereafter he was invited to attend one of their weeklong programs and he was hooked! He is proud to be the Chef for the California/Arizona groups. and as President he works in all aspects of their operation.
He said he was first under the impression that he could speak for a couple of hours now knows better and he pointed out that being ‘entertaining’ about his subject matter is difficult. But he does expect to be informative, and YOE thinks he did an excellent job in that department. While he has recently spoken to a group of 500 insurance professionals, and about 2000 Jr. High students, he seems to think our group will be a tougher audience than he had at his Bar Mitzvah!
The Dream Street group was started in 1988 by a brother and sister who decided they wanted to provide chronically ill children with a camping experience. This of course required medical doctors and nurses to be recruited, and they wanted to change the children’s lives radically for this one week as little medical time as possible, and fun time being emphasized and available. They started with 40 kids and 30 doctors/nurses, and eight years later, they were up to their maximum of 130 children with this one-week experience, augmented by over 100 medical personnel and volunteers.
Lenny then showed a professionally made video, which gave an overall view of what the kids do during their week. The first thing you realize is that these kids are there WITHOUT their parents they have plenty of adult supervision, but obviously feel much freer to participate without parents looking over their shoulders. There is a lot of game activity, races, and general good fun and the noise level validates that. The range of illnesses includes sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, cancer of various kinds, and leukemia, among others. Everyone present, except the kids, are volunteers they take a week off their work, to provide the medical and ‘civilian’ staff that is needed. Part of the video was testimonials, mainly from the kids themselves (and speaking editorially, YOE thinks testimonials are the most effective form of advertising).
The volunteers of Dream Street are sometimes asked why they give up a week of their precious vacation time to participate. They do it because it changes their life seeing the kid’s relish every moment is a reward that is almost magical. There are great memories and sometimes great sadness, when one of the kids you knew, dies. The program in Arizona, by the way, is only for 18 to 24-year olds, all of whom are terminally ill. Being with their peers at this time is deeply meaningful to each of these young adults.
The last portion of his prepared message was devoted to their need for funds. 97% of all money they receive goes directly to their camping programs, and they actively search for regular, or even one-time sources of income.
Q&A Sherri DeWane, our former member, How are the children selected? Dream Street has an excellent reputation among hospitals, social workers, and support groups for young adults, and their recommendations are usually followed. Each accepted candidate is medically approved. MIKE YOUSEM, Where is your camp located? Our camp in the summer in California is in San Juan Capistrano, at a facility owned by the Crystal Cathedral. The biggest cost is the rent of the facility. In Arizona, they use the Canyon Ranch Resort the cost is totally underwritten by Mr and Mrs Zuckerman, who own the ranch. PP MIKE NEWMAN, What is the economic background of your campers? Very diversified we do not seek any particular group, but the majority of the children are from the lower economic level. Some of the kids who come arrive with what they are wearing, period. We clothe them, of course. The only criteria for acceptance is medical need. MIKE GINTZ, What does it cost per child for these camps? In California, the cost is about $2400 per child but in New Jersey, much less. Lenny couldn’t resist noting that some of their ‘staff’ is alumni of the CIA no, not what you think, but the Culinary Institute of America! PDG BILL GOODWYN, In your cost figure of $2400, does that include Gifts in Kind? No, these are actual cash expenses transportation, food, clothing, etc. We do receive Gifts in Kind above that.
SHARON RHODES-WICKETT, About how many camps do you have? Seven, scattered over the U.S. One of the camps in New Jersey is only for wheel-chair patients! RALPH BEASON, What are the age limits? We have taken kids as young as four, and up to fourteen. A food example in one recent camp, with 130 kids and 110 adults, they consumed almost 2,000 hot dogs! In California, for instance, we have 4 or 5 kids and 2 counselors to a room. SHARON, again, Is it tough to find proper facilities? Yes, we have to consider altitude, dust, too hot or cold all factors that matter. Most facilities are a tradeoff of these factors. The California Camp is the most expensive rent, plus insurance are major numbers. President DON, Do the kids pay? No. PP STEVE SCHERER, How does a typical day go? They get up about 7:30, for a med call. Breakfast is at 8, and after that they gather in the Quad, with a choice of about 15 activities to choose from golf, rock climbing, dance, arts and crafts, karate, archery lots of choices. Lunch and another med call, followed by activities that afternoon.
Four nights a week they have dances, with a deejay, reading and story telling it’s a busy time. ED GAULD, Who makes the determination that the child is able to come to the camp? It’s a combination of their own doctor, our Medical Director, and our staff of doctors and nurses. He doesn’t think they have ever turned down a child because of his medical problem. MIKE GINTZ, What is the breakdown of your 100 volunteers? About 18 doctors and 30 nurses, plus specialized counselors and other adults. And a bonus in the Arizona programs is that friendships can be formed that last for years. GENE PRINDLE, Why doesn’t the Crystal Cathedral donate their facilities? I need YOU to go down there and talk to them! The last audience statement was from SEAN McMILLAN, who noted that his son had attended one of their camps. It was a very positive experience.
Lenny Roberts, we thank you for an informative and inspiring presentation. You can reach him at . 11766 Wilshire Blvd #1100, LA 90025 (310)689-3354
If the world were a logical place, it would be the men who rode horses sidesaddle