NEARBY MAKEUP SITES
Craft Talks - Leah Vriesman and
Craft Talks - Dr. Kevin Shannon
District Governor David Moyers Visit
September 16, 2:30pm
Annual Picnic - To be held at Eloise Siskel's.
Kansas City Barbeque and Branson, Missouri - Contact Sharon Bradford
Adoptions and Public Counsel, WVRC on Sept. 6th
SHANE WAARBROEK led the Pledge. LENNY suggested My Country Tis Of Thee, and we done pretty good. The Rev. ED GAULD provided the Invocation. He spoke first about Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University, and a California Senator. A quote If a man were given all the material things of the world…he would be unhappy unless he could share them. Dear God, stir us to active service for others. Teach us thus to give and help. ED, well done, as we would expect.
We had several guests. Svetlana Chernobrivina from a Club in Siberia, attended with her friend, who speaks better English. We are still hoping to have her tell us about life in Russia today. Another Visiting Rotarian was Ron Davis from Santa Monica he is the President of Santa Monica Ford/Lincoln Mercury, and sat next to me (thus showing how democratic he was). At this point a cell phone erupted. Since this is a fineable event, everyone was interested in who would own up to being the recipient. LEE DUNAYER first stood up, but when it became apparent that this call would not be forgiven, and after several statements in between, it turned out that PP JIM COLLINS was the culprit.
This being the first meeting of the month, birthdays were featured. Those who elected September included TONY MARRONE, who started us out on the 6th that being today, but since he wasn’t present, is he forgiven the double fine if your BD falls on the day of our meeting? I leave this decision in the hands of the Finance Committee. Anyway, PP JIM DOWNIE admitted to the 8th, in Minneapolis. ED JACKSON brought us back home to LA, on the 12th. AVA PEPLOW liked the 15th, in nearby Santa Monica, while KEVIN BADKOUBEHI took us all the way to Tehran, in Iran on the 24th. SEAN McMILLAN liked the 27th in Killarny, Ireland and he really should have been required to sing an Irish Lullaby. Closing the month was SLOSS VIAU, on September 30th in Fresno.
There were a couple of announcements:
Family Picnic on Sept 16th, 2:30 to 5:30 at the Siskels see enclosed flyer. And NOTE this is really great for the kids bring ‘em, OK?
Paul Harris Celebration on Sept. 29th at CBS in Studio City. We have three tables filled, but can get more space ED GAULD is the contact, and the tab is a hundred bucks.
And looking to November, we move to Friday the 16th for the R.I. President
Wilfred J. Wilkinson, who will be speaking to all the clubs at a site to be announced:
Circling back to October, Notre Dame/UCLA is on the 6th, and I have a parking pass, (NOT tickets) for the game. Ten bucks to the Club lemme know, OK?
Some of you will remember JANINE KRIVOKAPICH, our former member. She has had a serious bout with cancer, but is now back at work. Office is (310) 825-5486.
I spoke briefly with FLOYD DEWHIRST, who feels that he is slowly getting better. He has trouble hearing on the phone, but his number is (310) 559-4549. Call, anyway.
And still on the health side, NICK KAHRILAS was called to his feet. After several laudatory remarks about how good he looked, CEO CHRIS asked if NICK had any athletic news to report. After first admitting that he was a good paddle tennis player. It soon developed that he won a recent Tournament for which he insisted the prize was zero. This didn’t achieve the mercy that was hoped for, so he was socked with a fifty-buck fine. This inspired new member TOM BARRON to come forward with some witticisms that he had collected. One coach suggested, for defensive players, “The shortest route to the ball, and arriving in bad humor”. John McKay, to his team after they lost to Notre Dame 51-0, “All those who need a shower, take one”. Another McKay quote, “We didn’t tackle well today, but we made up for it by not blocking”. Knute Rockne, describing football players, “To be a lineman, you have to be big and dumb. To be a back, you only have to be dumb”. And finally, from John Heisman, “Gentlemen, it is better to die a small boy than to fumble this football”.
Don Grunfeld and President Chris
CEO CHRIS has known our Speaker for over ten years, so he introduced Dan Grunfeld, the Executive Director of Public Counsel. In 2006, they provided free legal help to over 25,000 individuals and non-profit organizations (which would have cost the recipients $66 million dollars). During his ten years as Director, Dan has developed new programs to meet community needs and assistance to economically disadvantaged persons. He will focus today on the revamping of the Adoption system, in which Public Counsel has achieved over six thousand adoptions from the Foster Care system. This past March, he was given the California Lawyers Attorney of the Year Award, and named one of the five hundred leading attorneys in America, plus being named as one of the ten most influential lawyers in California. He graduated summa cum laude from Drexel University, and Cornell Law School.
In 1997, the County Foster System had APPROXIMATELY 42,000 kids registered. Records were so dysfunctional that no exact count was possible. Almost on a regular basis, kids would disappear they would move from one home to the next, the computer system was so antiquated and there were instances of caregivers receiving payment without the kids being present. The requirement for admission to the system is that the child has been abused, and thus everyone favors these unfortunate kids being adopted by a loving new family. But it was taking 8 or 9 or 10 YEARS and thus many of those who finally squeezed through, made it too late since they became 18 and were no longer eligible plus missing all the family time they would have enjoyed.
A coalition was formed to address this serious problem. The goal was to shorten the application process to three years, and today it takes only 8 or 9 months. This was achieved with the major help of attorneys and individuals who cared. The accurate count today shows 27,000 kids in the system and all of those are being closely monitored. Mr. Grunfeld pointed out that there will never be enough government support for the less fortunate among us. For one thing, they do not vote and thus are not politically powerful. In addition, these kids compete with bridges, a clean environment, tax credits, and on a national level, a strong defense and so many other needs that they are left behind. Yet we as individuals can help by mentoring, or reading in schools, or volunteering. All we sometimes lack is the will.
Rotary and Public Counsel share the same goals. It is not about getting the less fortunate to the Finish Line what they need is help to get to the Starting Line, to be given a chance. Five years ago the Ford Foundation sent him to Brazil, to aid lawyers there in forming a Public Counsel and today, similar efforts are being made south of the border, in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Chile, Venezuela, Columbia, plus South Korea. This shows that we are all in this together.
Mr. Grunfeld concluded his remarks by speaking briefly about his new job with Mayor Villagrossa. They are seeking ways to go beyond government to get things done. The idea of getting non-profit organizations, and interested individuals to enter a dialogue, to collectively make this city a better place is what attracted him. He is already getting messages from many people as to what needs to be done.
Q&A I asked how Public Counsel is funded. They take very little government money, and their biggest annual event has raised over two million dollars each year. They depend upon grants and help from large businesses, and of course from individuals. Our guest, Ron Davis, reported that they had participated in the Foster Care program, and their adopted son is now 16, doing well in school and what the Davis’s received from this is far beyond what they were able to receive from their adopted son. Dan said he got reports like this all the time, and he concludes that people are happiest when they participate in something that is bigger than they are. CEO CHRIS, There is a perception that Public Counsel can sometimes create more lawsuits and legal issues than it really solves. Can you comment? Last year, we helped over 25,000 individuals and some 600 micro-businesses. The vast majority of those did not get to the point of having to sue.
Having a lawyer make the initial inquiry always gets faster and better results than if the mother of the claimant calls. ED GAULD, In the case of adoptions, can people just call and say they want to adopt, or must they have a prior or existing relationship? Most of the cases are when relatives, after a death, ask to adopt, or foster parents ask to adopt the child living with them already. There are extensive background checks to be sure the adoptive person has no criminal record, of course. And the system is working. PP MIKE NEWMAN, I just want to compliment Public Counsel on their training program for individual lawyers to handle cases pro bono. It is very effective. And of course, Dan said “Thank You”.
WESTWOOD VILLAGE ROTARY CLUB 2007 - 2008
Community Service Chair
International Service Chair
Vocational Service Chair
Youth Service Chair
Wilfrid J. Wilkinson
DISTRICT 5280 GOVERNOR:
Palos Verdes Sunset Rotary
Monday, Beverly Hills, BH Hotel, 9641 Sunset
Tuesday, WLA/Brentwood, Chez Mimi, 246 26th St, Santa Monica
Wednesday, Century City, La Cuchette Restaurant, 10506 Santa Monica Blvd.
Culver City, Wyndham Hotel, 6333 Bristol Parkway, CC, or
Wilshire, The Ebell, 743 S. Lucerne Blvd, LA
Friday, Santa Monica, Riviera Country Club, 1250 Capri Dr, Pacific Palisades