Today's meeting with District Governor Ed Charlesworth and his wife (and co-governor!) Robin was fun and informative.
Keith's announcements before the meeting began included a reminder of the Bus Buddies program coming up very soon. Training for this event is offered one of three days, August 17, 18 and 19 for one hour. A handout was provided.

The CAM Senior Food Boxes is a new project that occurs every third Friday. According to Joan Christianson who is the director at CAM it is difficult to get organizations to commit to a monthly project like this one, but our group is faithful and dependable, so she trusted us with it. We pack food boxes for senior citizens who have specific an special dietary needs. This has to be done once a month. We had 12 people sign up for this month. Tom Benson pointed out that we get to follow this project with Mexican Food with Glen, always a treat!

There will be a fundraiser committee meeting on Tuesday night at Keith's office at 5:30.

Keith introduced Dr. Ed Charlesworth who is the president of Willowbrook Psychological Clinic. He is the current District Governor and a member of the Willowbrook Rotary Club.

Ed opened his talk by saying that he has established 6 regions within our very large district to encourage joint activities and endeavors among clubs. He has appointed 6 lieutenant governors, one of whom is our own Glen Rowe.

Ed spoke about the District's efforts to measure Rotary's "humanitarian footprint" by keeping up with all volunteer hours, both service and administrative. Our club is doing this and will be reporting to Cecile Schutter prior to District Conference. Every time you and your family volunteer, those hours are being recorded.

Robin has established a new Rotary club that is an evening club called Northwest Houston Sunset. It meets on Thursdays at the YMCA. The gnome will be going there soon!

Ed complimented us on our Roaming Gnome project. He thinks it is a great idea and one that may be picked up by other clubs.

He emphasized the importance of Rotary's theme, "The Future of Rotary is in Your Hands" by talking about song lyrics that also espouse that idea. He mentioned a song by Jack Johnson called "My Own Two Hands," that captures Rotary's ideal of changing the world to make it a better and kinder place and the necessity of doing that with "our own two hands." Justin Jenkins happens to have the song on CD, so Ed challenged him to play it at next week's meeting.

Ed recognized D. Ray for having gone to Nicaragua where Rotary's hands-on approach has resulted in the Children of the Dump now being productive members of society. The poverty is still there, but we are celebrating our successes, one young girl who was rescued from the dump at the age of 12 having become a college graduate. You will hear more on this topic in two weeks when Ray tells us about his trip.

Ed celebrated our youth exchange program which this year will have over 40 short and long term exchange students. He congratulated us on having obtained a district simplified grant.

He informed us about a new effort to feed people in Honduras and will assign the check for $100 that we gave him to that project.

Turning the podium over to Robin, Ed sat down to resounding applause and Robin stepped up to a standing ovation. She proceeded to tell us about the district fellowship opportunities ranging from Astros night on Sept. 27th to a hayride and picnic at Jay Altieri's farm. We were also reminded to plan to attend the District Conference April 22 at the Hyatt Regency downtown. Many exciting events are planned for that weekend.

Ed summed up by reminding us of Bill Gates' support of our Polio Plus campaign. Gates has pledged $255 million dollars in addition to the $100 million that he initially pledged. Rotary will match $200 million, bringing the grand total to over $550 million. This is an amazing program and one that is destined to change the lives of millions of children around the world. Ed spoke of his and Robin's visit to India to participate in the vaccination efforts and how moving that experience was for them. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed Ed's speech despite his apology to us for having to endure it!