Eugene Southtowne Rotary is a service club of committed members partnering with Rotary International to provide support in service to local and worldwide communities through truth, fairness, goodwill, and better friendships, beneficial to us all.

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March 29th ground breaking of our Habitat for Humanity home

Habitat for Humanity and Southtowne Rotary joined together for a groundbreaking ceremony on Sunday, March 29th. Southtowne will partner with three other local Rotary Clubs (Delta, Metro and Twin Rivers) to build a house for Ursula Jimenez and her two children, Ishmael and Haley. For Ursula and her family this is a dream come true!

Representatives from each club met this week to talk about communication and the coordination of volunteers. Information about volunteer opportunities and progress on the house will be shared in a variety of ways:

  • You will have weekly announcements at our meetings and progress updates in the SpinOff. (A special note of thanks to Joelle for volunteering to be an official photographer for this build…thank you, Joelle!)
  • You can subscribe to the Springfield Eugene Habitat blog by going to this link: Here you will find pictures and information about what is happening at the build.
  • For more photos and current information you can also visit Habitat’s Facebook page at:
  • We will also have pictures and updates on the Southtowne website and district DaCdb calendar.

There will be many opportunities in the following months to volunteer at the site working with fellow Rotarians from Southtowne and local area clubs. Habitat offers a short orientation, which is required for all volunteers. Normally, you would be asked to go to the Habitat office for a regularly scheduled meeting to complete this step in the process. However, Amy Keir, Habitat’s Volunteer Coordinator has offered to come to our meeting on April 9 and give us a short orientation after our regular meeting. You will be able to fill out the necessary paperwork at that time. There is a job for anyone who would like to help so everyone is included. You can pound nails, sweep, dig or prepare lunches for the crew just to name a few! We need your help to make Ursula’s dream a reality!

See our story on KVAL by clicking read more or clicking here.

On March 19th, Southtowne Rotary help a speech contest during their regular meeting. Three local high school students were asked to consider the Rotary Four-Way Test and apply it to a situation in their lives or in the world and speak about that for several minutes. The "winner" of this speech contest received a cash award and advanced to the next level of competition where they could win an even larger award/scholarship. The two runner ups received a lesser cash reward.

To review, the 4-Way test asks these 4 questions:

  1. Is it Truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Here were some of the topics that were brought up:

Gene started the contest with a short story of when he tried to sneak out of his house to hang out with his friends. His speech focused on the importance of friendship in high school drawn from his own personal experiences. He also spoke about the struggle to decide between hanging out with friends and studying, but in the end, hard work now ensures that the future doesn't suffer.

Rachel went up next. She started her speech by repeating what she has often heard "It's okay to be different". Being different shapes and sizes is what makes people special and unique. She felt that even though she hears this, the media says otherwise. She uses the 4-Way Test to challenge that. She brings up important topics such as body image, self confidence and perceptions of beauty.

Carson ended the contest with his hilarious take on how teenagers as a group fail the 4-way test. Being a teenager himself, he admits that teenagers gossip about each other and make it hard for new people to fit in. Teenagers are "self-centered thrill seekers"! He concludes by speaking about how maturity, completing brain development can play an important role in these issues.

The students were judged by: Joelle, Ron, Andy, & Doug.

You can watch the whole contest on Vimeo here:

On the weekend of March 20th, Southtowners took "service above self" to a whole new level!

After living in a van with her 2 children for so long, a Headstart parent (with the help of Southtowners) was finally able to move into an apartment. In addition to moving, she was also in need of furniture for the apartment, including a couch, kitchen table, chairs, and 2 or 3 dressers. Many Southtowners donated furniture, time, lifting & delivery power to complete this effort.

Here is what they accomplished that weekend (barely beating the rain!):

  • Kathi picked up table and chairs from Habitat ReStore, then went to Nancy Hughes' and picked up two single beds (Mattresses and boxsprings). Kathi delivered the truckload, which included a microwave, to Melissa, 20 minutes before it started raining here! The children's father was there to help unload everything and Melissa worked hard at it too.
  • Lonny helped to pick up the hide-a-bed couch from Bert's house then stopped by to get the bed frames from Nancy to deliver to Melissa.
  • Terry donated and delivered 2-3 dresses and chairs.
  • Suzy (Nancy's daughter and her husband, Chris, helped to pick up a desk and a bookcase to deliver to Melissa's.

When Kathi spoke to Melissa after the mission was accomplished she was happy! She was in tears of gratitude, marveling over how wonderful everyone had been, collecting so much that she needed and delivering it. She plans to get her queen bed from St. Vinnie's in the next few weeks, but is happily sleeping on Bert's donated hide-a-bed until then. She says she now has everything she needs, and will contact me if she needs anything else.

What a great group of people! Thanks to everyone who donated and helped out. It takes a village to furnish a whole apartment.

Great job Southtowne!

Grounds for Celebration!

The long wait is nearly over, as the official Groundbreaking Celebration for our Habitat House is on Sunday, March 29, at 1:00pm. Join our Rotary Partners Twin Rivers, Delta, and Metro, along with Habitat staff, and especially Ursula Jimenez, her children Ishmael and Haley, as we break ground on their forever-home at 3609 Yogi Way in Eugene. Be sure to attend the March 26 Southtowne meeting for a chance to meet Ursula and learn about volunteer opportunities.

Delta Rotary to Feature Habitat Project at Their Meeting

Delta Rotary will feature a program on the Habitat project on Friday, March 20th at their regular lunch meeting at the Hilton. Please plan to attend and support their efforts as well as this important project.

presented by Olivia Curl

Around the world, 32 million girls who should be in primary school are instead working, married, or prevented from accessing their education in some other way. Education is one of the most powerful tools to change our world, and educating girls has profound implications for communities, violence, sustainability, and economics. Most importantly, educating girls is the right thing to do. 

#GIRLWITHABOOK began as a social media movement promoting girls’ education after the 2012 assassination attempt on Malala Yousafzai. Deciding that girls with books were, apparently, scary to extremists like the Taliban, Olivia Curl and Lena Shareef began collecting photos of girls and women reading books.


Notes from Olivia's Presentation: 

When she was 20, Olivia went to study abroad and was put in a middle east, intensive arabic immersion program. She spent a lot of time inside on Facebook because she was harassed whenever she went outside. One day, she was talking to a friend, Lena about Malala Yousafzai.

Malala at that time was a girl who at the age of 11, was writing pages for a reporter from the BBC, sharing her experiences trying to access education in a part of the world where girls are often not allowed. As a result, she was shot in the head when she was 15, along with two of her friends and survived.

In reaction to that, Olivia and her friend began the #girlwithabook movement by collecting images of women and girls reading books. They started on facebook and twitter and it just exploded with support. 

The United Nations contacted them about collaboration on putting together a book of these photos, which was a gift to Malala on her 16th birthday.

Note: Olivia and Lena created the book and have done most of their work remotely through skype, social media, and email.

A year later, the United Nations sent her a message on Twitter about an email inviting them to New York to hear Malala speak at the UN. Olivia and Lena got to meet her and were encouraged by her to continue their work.


1 in 9 girls globally by the age of 15 and are no longer in school and will be having kids in their teens.

2/3 of the 774 million illiterate of the world are women. A woman's ability to advocate for herself increases phenomenally with every additional year of education, as does their income potential. Women invest 90% of their take home income in their families and communities (whereas men invest 30%) <----this is a worldwide statistic. Therefore, investing in a woman's education helps build communities.

What's Next?

They are now beginning a project which is a journey through four countries creating a documentary about the day in the life of girls going to schools in different communities within countries where access is difficult, and highlighting work of organizations that are trying to help. They hope this will raise awareness and thus, put pressure on the right people for change. They are beginning a Kickstarter to raise money for this effort.

You can find information about this on their website here:

The Register Guard has an article on Olivia and her work here:

Recent donations of several large pieces of hospital equipment ( Ultra Sound machines, C-Arm X-Ray, and surgery lights) were shipped last Thursday to Coos Bay. In a few days they will be loaded into a sea going container for shipment to a hospital Ivory Coast, West Africa.

The shipment is is arranged by by Aron Boesl, Imaging Dept. Manager of Bay Area Hospital. Aron is a member of the Coos Bay - North Bend Rotary Club. Agostinho Machado, Rotary Dist. 4410 Governor Elect. with Camille, Lauren and Mrs. Machado selecting hospital items to ship to hospital in Brazil. The Dist. Gov. goal is to find proper laundry equipment for a small 20 bed hospital. He is also interested in the usual supplies and equipment. The hospital currently does not have a surgery or even basic sugery equipment and supplies, so every little thing helps!

Cort Vaughan is a Polio survivor. Cort joined the Rotary Club of Greater Bend to help eradicate Polio. He founded the Pints for Polio fundraiser in 2012 to raise money for global Polio eradication and to increase local awareness regarding the need to vaccinate all children. Pints for Polio has raised over $20,000 for the PolioPlus Fund. Cort was appointed Rotary District 5110 PolioPlus Chair in 2014.

Back in the '50s we knew Polio was caused by a virus, but not how it was spread, so parents were very cautious about letting their kids in public. Cort was 2 when he was diagnosed. He was completely isolated for weeks (a very scary time, obvioulsy). Cort spent 4 months in daily physical therapy and receiving other treatments to prevent paralysis. He was fitted with a brace and had to learn to walk all over again. He was immediately recruited as a fundraiser by the March of Dimes.

The March of Dimes funded the research that helped develop the vaccine and later to manufacture it.

Cort continued to receive physical therapy and received special accommodations such as special shoes and was fortunate enough to be able to receive treatment throughout his life.

In other countries where medical care is not available, they end up crippled for life and impoverished. 

Even getting the vaccines to many of these remote areas is difficult. Rotary has conducted national immunization days in order to reach these remote areas, working closely with the locals, so that every last child gets the 2 oral drops that prevent polio.

In 1985, Polio had been wiped out of the US but there were 350k cases a year in other countries. Now, in 2014, only 356 cases were identified. This is mostly because of Rotary's efforts.

Experts believe that we could see the last case of Polio in Africa this year. This is because of Rotary and its partners.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have had less luck with eradication because of urban slums where there is no access to clean water or proper sanitation. Repeated vaccinations are necessary. There are a lot of systemic problems. In other areas, there are tribal areas with no connection to the central government and it is difficult to get health workers in to those areas. Fortunately, Rotary has clubs in Pakistan who can help negotiate with tribal leaders.

Back in late December, one unvaccinated individual contracted the measles and spread it to other unvaccinated people at Disneyland. There are over 100 cases in the US and also in Mexico because of that one case. This is troubling since measles was eradicated. The same thing can happen with polio.

In herd immunity, the vaccinated protect the unvaccinated. As more and more people opt out of vaccinating, the risk of outbreaks increases and herd immunity is broken. This is what happened at Disneyland. We need to get the herd immunity back up and the word needs to be spread. There are some people that can't be vaccinated and they are in danger because of those who can and don't. We have to help protect each other.

What Can You Do?

Spread the word, fundraise, donate. Every dollar is matched 2 to 1 by the Gates foundation, which triples the value of your donation.

You can also join the Polio Plus Society. This month, if you commit to a $100 annual donation until Polio is eradicated, you'll receive 200 Paul Harris credits, a pin and a certificate of recognition. Learn more here:

You can also come to "Pints for Polio" on April 4 and drink beer at an old fashioned pub crawl for a great cause. Click here for details.


Southtowne has long supported the work of Aid Africa. The late Ken Goyer, a member of Southtowne, directed this effort for years. Below is a blog from one of the staff members of Aid Africa.

Hi folks.

We’ve completed our first camps.

We are tired. We are sore. We know we’ve done something big here but we just have to get it behind us a bit to revisit and contrast these camps to others we’ve done by ourselves, then we’ll decide what this all means.

Today we are in Maundo village for some respite, staying at the guest compound of John and Florence. The Okumus have been welcoming our Rotary teams since the earliest days. Their rural b&b takes such good care of visitors -- we have all our needs met here, village style. Our break between camps is an important stop for us.

First because Maundo village is our ‘home’ village – the first Rotary Adopt-a-Village project that the Springfield club worked on all those years ago and that introduced us to Africa. It was the site of our first medical camps. And it is the home of the Maundo rocks, that incredible geological feature that lets you know you are not in Kansas, Toto.

It has also been important for us to stop here and take stock of our supplies. We dispensed an incredible amount of meds in Manafwa. Yesterday we put a giant tarp on the lawn and emptied every bag and box. We organized and learned what meds needed to be replenished before the next camp and we made many piles: the meds that we will carry on top of our van north to Alanyi, as well as a store of meds to donate to each of the clinics in the villages of Maundo, Abur, and Okwalloagabo. These are the sites of former camps that we are not visiting this year.

We are also making a donation of medicines and supplies to the Tororo hospital. We have sent these along with Father Centurio who lives in Osukuru, just outside of Tororo.

Last night I made all the chapattis for our dinner (kind of like an Indian tortilla). I sweated (er, was ‘dewy’ in a most lady-like fashion) over a small, homemade charcoal “stove” that balanced precariously on the uneven ground. I was sort of perched on a shallow bowl on top of a short tripod about 8 – 10 inches off the ground.

Dignified? Not so much. But it was practical and time-tested.

And slow going!

It took me hours to produce 35 chapattis for our team and the household. When I started it was light out and about 6 p.m. I didn’t finish ‘til after dark at nearly 9 p.m. By contrast, at home I could have produced all of these chapattis in about half an hour on my handy-dandy electric griddle where I controlled the heat and could do more than one at a time.

People here are still working pretty hard to produce some of the basics, including last night’s yummy beef stew, Irish potatoes (referred to thusly to differentiate them from the also common sweet potato), and matoke (mashed plantains).

Last night’s meal was a fairly light selection of courses for a normal meal here in Uganda. Most meals here would have all of the above plus posho (like congealed grits), sweet potatoes, white yams, rice, fresh beans, peanut sauce, avocadoes, and a couple of cooked vegetables, etc. John and Florence have learned that Mzungus’ (Muh-zoon-goos -- us) meals do not commonly have so many courses or carbohydrates.

They are so very responsive.

While I worked I also watched the sky change for the end of that day’s good things and the beginning of night. The colors deepened and the birds quietly retired so that the bats could come on for their own busy shift. It was so very peaceful, beautiful and relaxing. My thoughts and imagination were unbidden and undirected, free to range around the universe. The cooking coals weren’t the only things on fire as I produced chapattis here under a changing and expansive African canopy a world away from home. I softly and happily sang Bruce Springsteen songs to myself in my dark corner of the yard:

I want to sleep beneath the deep blue skies
In my lover’s bed
With the wide open country in my eyes
And these romantic dreams in my head

Sometimes slowing things down is a really good thing.
And so are homemade chapattis.

Current status of club support:

  • Southtowne (Rotary) has pledged/raised approximately $25,000 cash.
  • Metro (Rotary) has pledged $5,000 this fiscal year and $4,000 next year for a total of $9,000 cash.
  • Mike Raz has said that his church may commit $4,000-5,000 to help fund this house.
  • Mike is working on confirming in-kind donations and feels confident he can procure some major contributions.
  • Airport (Rotary) has delined due to their ongoing support for Junction City Habitat.
  • Emerald (Rotary) and Sprinfield (Rotary) are both hesitant but Jean is continuing conversations with them.
  • Delta (Rotary) is interested and has offered a program spot but not until March or April. Jean is trying to meet with their president, Randy Klemm.
  • Downtown’s president has informed us that there is no money in their budget.
  • Jean is pursuing a grant with Wells Fargo as back-up funding. A Eugene Emerald Rotarian is assisting with that process.
  • Habitat has hired a full-time site supervisor so if funding is secured, we should be able to break ground on our target date of March 1. If funding is not solid, the date may be postponed.
  • Working with Habitat as a partner, we were able to purchase low cost furniture for one of our emergency families.
  • St Vincents helped with vouchers for 4 beds and linens for another family.

presented by Terry McDonald
visit St. Vincent's website here:

Terry McDonald, Executive Director of St. Vincent de Paul, has been with St. Vincent de Paul since 1971. 

St. Vincent De Paul's core mission is Helping People in Need.

In the 1950s, the store operation began, to raise funds to employ people in need. In the 1980s with an economic downturn, St. Vincent's decided to try and do more, particularly in the areas of:

  1. Affordable Housing
  2. Emergency Services
  3. Jobs

St. Vincent went to work to meet their goals with resources. One of the first acts was to put a donation center at the various dump/transfer sites, which worked really well for stocking shelves. 90 tons a day is now collected throughout the WORLD (including Scotland). 

This began creating more long term employment.

St. Vincent found the transfer sites to also be a great place to collect beds that could be given away to those in need. This includes mattresses, which transfer sites do not like. Many of these landfill sites now pay St. Vincent's to take all the mattresses, which they reconstruct to make suitable for those that need beds. St. Vincent's is the largest mattress recycler in the United States.

In 2001, St. Vincent was receiving 500 books a month but through further work with the landfills, they now process 400 tons of books a month which feed the store operations. They are the largest bookseller in our region as well as others.

St. Vincent has also found ways to process materials that others have not been able to effectively use like hard plastics, styrofoam, and mattress covers. They found reuse purposes for them that they sell internationally. 

In 1988, St. Vincent began developing affordable housing. 1200-1300 units our currently rented in our area. Energy and water efficiency innovations is a high priority for new units. Most units are for family housing but also transitional and veteran housing. St. Vincent has joined with others to eliminate veteran homelessness in Lane County.

St. Vincent is also working with mobile home parks to help revitalize and rehabilitate them in order to create more housing options as well as eliminate the tendency for these areas to be crime-ridden and centers for drug use and trafficking.

There are many many other programs and partnerships that St. Vincent engages in and as a result, one in four people in our area are helped by St. Vincent de Paul.

2/3-3/4 of income are from waste based businesses. This helps St. Vincent to be self-sustained. 

The goal is to become a true community asset, which Terry (and many others) feel has been accomplished.

St. Vincent has been hired to help create a model for other non-profits around the country to work with waste-based businesses and create sustainable programs.

Check out this Register Guard article on Terry and his work at "finding value in all things".


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Eugene Southtowne Rotary Club

We meet at the Vet's Club, 1626 Willamette Street every Thursday at noon! Join us.

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 5158,
Eugene, OR 97405-0158

Southtowne Photos

The Four Way Test

What Is Rotary?

Rotary International is the world's first service club organization, with more than 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide. Rotary club members are volunteers who work locally, regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace, and eradicate polio under the motto Service Above Self.

What Is Southtowne?

We are known in the Eugene/Springfield community as the “fun” club, where our members come to listen to engaging programs each week and are entertained by our spirited Sergeant-At-Arms. The ideal member for our club is someone who is passionate to help the youth in our community, and who enjoy positive business and personal camaraderie on a weekly basis.

Project Highlight: StoveTeam

In Latin America, millions of households are using either open fires or inefficient stoves to prepare food. The open fires are unsafe for women and children and smolder all day. Inefficient, non-vented and non-insulated cement block stoves produce smoke and use large quantities of wood.  Learn More...

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