7:30 a.m. Thursday mornings. Most who have a meeting scheduled at that time would come in with uncomfortable fatigue of having to get up in the morning of having a conflict with work. But not at the Anthony Amalfe Community Center in Roselle. That is where and when the Rotary Club Of Roselle-Roselle Park meet every week. Welcoming handshakes, smiling faces, and sincere greetings are exchanged over a breakfast before their meetings start. Old friends and new friends sit and share a meal and conversation.
This past Thursday had something special. The District Governor (DG), Hal Daume, was visiting Club 1420 of District 7510 along with other groups including the Roselle Girl Scouts, Roselle Park Boy Scouts, Kamili A. Williams-Bland of the Community Food Bank, Investors Savings Bank, council representatives from both municipalities – Roselle First Ward Councilman Yves F.Aubourg and Roselle Park Councilwoman-At-Large Charlene Storey – and Roselle Park Mayor Emeritus Robert Zeglarski, who is a Rotarian.
Together the group of over two dozen neighbors and friends sat and listened as Mr. Daume spoke of the positives that the Rotary has had not only in his life but in that of others.
“It’s about doing,” he said about the worldwide group of volunteers are members who actively work in their communities to help. He related that in 1980, after polio had been eradicated from the United States, Rotary International – seeing that in 28 countries around the world, 350,000 new cases emerged every year – decided to work on eradicating polio everywhere. Over the years, cases of polio have disappeared throughout those countries, including most recently Nigeria and India – both hotbeds of the disease – and currently the only two nations that still need to be addressed are Pakistan and Afghanistan. This was at no cost to any government said Mr. Daume and the over four billion inoculations were provided by the voluntary network efforts of Rotary.
Mr. Daume even spoke about how Rotary International is related with other volunteer groups like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts; noting that all their mottos have helping others as their core mission. Representatives from the Roselle Girl Scouts – Naima Ricks, Marlene Jones, Nyasia Jones, and Marita Parham – as well as a Boy Scout and Cub Scout from Roselle Park were in attendance to receive a Youth Honors Award.
“The only reason we do what we do is because we like each other,” concluded Mr. Daume, “And we know that we’re making a difference in our towns.”
The Rotary Club works with various other organizations to address issues that need attention but are sometimes overlooked. This was later evidenced when Denise Garry, a Rotarian, presented a $2,000 from her employer, Investors Savings Bank, to fund a special backpack program at Robert Gordon School in Roselle Park. The program helps those students who are on the school’s free or reduced lunch program by providing a backpack that the students can take home over the weekend filled with food so that they can, at least, have food to tie them over the weekend when school is not able to provide such meals. The program started in Roselle and it was then brought into Roselle Park.The $2,000 will be sufficient to provide each needy student with a weekend back pack for the entire school year. Mrs. Garry stated that the goal is to provide such backpacks for all the schools in the district.
Other upcoming events include an International Food Festival that will take place at the Casano Community Center on October 16th to celebrate the diversity of neighbors.
At the close of the meeting, those in attendance enthusiastically recited the Rotary’s Four-Way Test, the ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships:
- Is it the TRUTH?
- Is it FAIR to all concerned?
- Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
- Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
As evidenced by the actions of neighbors of Roselle and Roselle Park, those truths – as well as their motto of Service Above Self – were put into practice at the meeting.
More information on the Rotary Club Of Roselle-Roselle Park can be found by visiting their website (link). You can also visit their weekly meetings every Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. at the Anthony Amalfe Community Center located at 1268 Shaffer Avenue in Roselle.