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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We're all aware of the issue of homelessness, which is a nationwide problem. The impact on each individual and the society is enormous. Hospitalization is often required for homeless individuals for conditions you and I would need no more than a doctor's visit for.
Here are some things you may not have known about Eugene's homeless population:
- 649 sheltered, 1102 unsheltered recorded on the 2013 one night homeless county
- Eugene is 142nd in nation by population
- 19th in the nation for per capita unsheltered
- 60th in nation for number of homeless
There's a myth that we attract the homeless.
- 7% provided no previous address
- 7% are from other places in oregon
- 13% out of state
- 73% from lane county
How does Opportunity Village help?
Opportunity Village provides stable sustainable shelter and community for occupants. The houses that are developed are low cost, but are of high quality since they are very well conceived and executed. This new living environment helps to stabilize lives, and as a result, a dozen occupants have already found jobs!
Opportunity village is successful for a number of reasons, particularly because of volunteers (10,000 hours) and leaders. Pastor Dan Bryant from First Christian Church heads up Opportunity Village along with Alex, who designs the structures. A small place to call your own is pretty important no matter how small it is. It's a heck of a lot better than living under a bridge. Pastor Bryant believes we all should be concerned about this. Thrivent Lutheran volunteers started the volunteer effort and were followed from people from all walks of life to come in to construct the houses. They are simple designs, approved by the City of Eugene and State of Oregon. They meet every code. They were originally designed in pieces because they were supposed to be temporary structures. Five can be built in one day with 100 volunteers.
How does it work?
This is a community "Village Project" grassroots effort. It is modeled after other successful communities. The first year has proven that the model is working well. It is not staffed, it is self managed and sustained. All 30 units cost less than 1/2 of one federally funded unit and don't cost taxpayers a dime.
There's a community gathering area, a community kitchen (which is spotless), & laundry facilities. The units are not heated but they are well insulated and the community yurt is heated. Residents pay $30/month for their utilities. Opportunity village runs on $2 a head a night. The villagers themselves were able to "decorate" and paint their own structures. The sense of ownership is the most important element. People will take pride in their houses. Four walls and privacy is a lot different than apartment style living. There's a sense of ownership and community.
The village residents have to participate in weekly meetings, make the rules and enforce them. Each resident feels like they have a voice. An average stay is around 6-9 months. Many have moved in to other houses, and only 2 of those have gone to publicly subsidized. There are no kids in Opportunity Village. Eugene does a better job for families than individuals and couples, so the age group in Opportunity Village is mid 20s to mid 60s. Applicants have to wait a few weeks to a few months depending on the time of year. There are two waiting lists now for singles and doubles. This is the only place where a couple can get shelter. There's a vacancy once every couple of weeks.
Emerald Village Eugene is the next project for permanent housing. While Opportunity Village focuses on transitional housing, Emerald Village will provide more accessible and sustainable places to transition to.
There will be $200-250 mortgage per month for those who were previously homeless. This will provide those the opportunity to live the American Dream. The costs are low because resources like the kitchen and bath are communal.
The Emerald Village structures will be $10,000 a piece to build. They will be bigger structures with a communal bath and laundry. Land will be purchased for that effort. Emerald Village structures will also have heat and be super insulated. Plumbing is also possible.
If you wish to help with Emerald Village, click here.
To learn more about opportUNITY village, click here.
By Sharon and John Doherty - Project Leaders
As supporters of Escuela de Educacion Especial we are reminded daily of the optimism and resilience of each of the special young people we serve. It soon became apparent that beside the fact that these children had been dealt a tough hand with their deafness, they also faced many other challenges. Most of the students at the school are from families with poor financial circumstances and some live in communities outside of the city, including rural areas, which makes it even more difficult and expensive for them to make the trip into town to attend this school for special education. As a result of these two factors alone, many students have not attained the grade level you would expect of their ages. There are other factors that make many of their lives even more challenging. One of these being a lack of emotional support at home. For various reasons, there is often an inability or lack of commitment from family members to learn Mexican Sign Language themselves and consequently they cannot communicate with their deaf child on a meaningful level; in fact, in the majority of cases no one in the household knows any sign language. I can hardly imagine how difficult it must be to be unable to communicate with one’s own parents or siblings! Other parents are often unable to accept deafness in their child without attaching blame or guilt to themselves or others which creates anger and resentment. This further erodes the child’s self esteem. However, it is through opportunities offered at EEE that each child can learn to their best ability, gain further independence, and ultimately learn a skill in which they can excel.
Opportunities for deaf students, in the form of scholarships, have been made possible through the generous gifts of donors like you. Through this project and over the past three months, funds have been raised to offer six scholarships. During this same period of time, the school has welcomed five new students, so we have a lot more work to do! We are confident that it is possible to offer many more deaf children in our community the chance to improve their lives in significant ways. Apart from learning sign language and obtaining a better education, a scholarship at EEE allows each student to be a part of a “deaf community”; a community of other children who are like them; people who can, literally, understand them and who will provide the social interaction and positive role modeling necessary to help rebuild their self-esteem.
And this is the story of one student who recently benefited from a scholarship...
Any 17 year old lad would be excited about the possibilities of what the future might offer him, and Fernando is no exception! Although a shy fellow with a very low level of hearing, his sweet personality shines through his eyes and through his smile the moment he greets you. He explained to his teacher through sign language “my favorite things about school are learning to better read and write” and he further signed “I want to learn more sign so that I can talk better with my friends at school”. He added “I like to exercise and I wash cars on the street to make some money”. Fernando dreams of continuing his education through high school, and although he is currently reading at a grade 2 level, we encourage him to pursue his dream. He added “I would like to train to be a cook or a carpenter”. He also explained that should the opportunity of any sort of regular paying job present itself, he would jump at the opportunity to become self-sufficient. His home life is not a happy one (no one in his family can communicate with him in sign language) and we are concerned he may become a youth at risk should he turn to a life on the streets. To help secure a more promising future for Fernando, we intend to help him stay in school to better his education and to receive valuable job training skills...we can do no less!
Jason Davis is a Public Information Officer for the Dept. of Health and Human Services.
Here is a summary from his presentation at Southtowne's meeting on Nov. 20th, in case you missed it.
Influenza is the most common cause of death in the US. As a matter of comparison, in an average year:
- No one dies from anthrax
- 2 people die from shark attacks
- 55 people die from lightning strikes
- 80 people die from tornadoes
- 100-300 die from flesh eating bacteria
- BUT 27-55,000 DIE FROM INFLUENZA
The flu spreads through respiratory droplets and contact transmission. Every case causes about 2 cases. What is the best way to prevent an outbreak that can spread at this rate? The answer is vaccines.
Vaccines are 60% effective and have resulted in the prevention of major diseases including polio, measles, rubella, smallpox etc. by 90-100%. However, the rate of people that get the vaccine is all too low. Last year Lane County's adult flu vaccine rate was 38%. Oregon has one of the highest influenza like activities in the US. We're likened to states with less regulations and more humid environment because of our low immunization rate.
There are many reasons that people choose not to get vaccinated. These barriers include education, concerns of side effects and effectiveness, and distrust. 2-8% of kids claim religious exemption from immunizations and this has grown significantly over time. Although these are valid concerns, there are many myths that surround vaccines:
- The flu vaccine is not a live virus vaccine. People cannot get the flu from the vaccine.
- Vaccines do not weaken the immune system (there is no evidence). This can be true with immunizations but not vaccinations. When you give a vaccine, it stimulates the immune response and so you may feel tired or sore. The flu shot takes two weeks to become effective so you may get sick in the meantime, but it's not because of a failing immune system.
- Vaccines do not cause autism and the doctor that started that rumor lost his license.
- No major religion forbids vaccination.
There are potentially serious side effects to the flu including hospitalization and death. Hospitalization is not limited to just the very young or very old; Anyone can be hurt by the flu.
Influenza is also costly.
- The flu costs tax payers 13 million dollars because of unpaid medical bills.
- The flu costs Lane County businesses 10-12 million. If there is an outbreak year, costs go up up up. Lane County costs would be $500 million.
- The US Cost is $675 billion.
How can we help to remedy this situation?
- Cover your cough and sneezes and dispose of tissues quickly.
- Get vaccinated
- Promote the Flu 50 Initiative to improve the vaccination rate from 38-50%
- Make it easy for employees to access vaccines
Public Health will come to your business, and has a Vaccine for children program that is either 100% free or on a sliding scale so every parent can afford it. All educators know this. Public Health does many things that Rotary does but on a community scale. Disease prevention, maternal and child health, education and literacy, etc.
So, when will you get your flu shot this season?
November is Foundation Month and is the time to celebrate the wonderful work of The Rotary Foundation (TRF). One may wonder though, where does all the money for TRF go after it's donated?
Here is a breakdown of that info for you:
50% of the money goes into the Global Grant fund.
50% gets distributed to the districts for district designated funds where district grants are made.
Club Donation : $10,000
District Matches +$10,000 (limit is 10k)
TRF Matches the District amount $10,000 and 1/2 the Club donation
Since 07-08, $70,000 has been donated to Stove Team from Clubs which created $82,900 from the district match, which created $118k from TRF.
All of the funds come back to the district after 3 years.
COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECTS HAVE GROWN BECAUSE OF DISTRICT DESIGNATED FUNDS - Over $8k helped these projects grow thanks to TRF:
- Family nights including supplies, food, books, etc.
- Over 200 food boxes delivered this year because of district designated funds.
- OBOB supplies. Head Start reading and check out library books.
- Dictionaries and bilingual books for PILAS families.
- Water for the community garden and a fence for that garden.
- Nontraditional scholarship $2000 to give to a head start person or someone from downtown languages to help with a little extra training so they can better support their family.
- Latino food boxes
- Family engineering night to help build projects for families
On Thursday, December 4th, 2014, Klamath Falls will have its annual Snowflake Parade. It will be preceded by a one mile run/walk. The Rotary Club of Klamath County is using the run/walk to raise money for the End Polio Now program. The club hopes to raise over $10,000 for the End Polio Now campaign.
Everyone in the District can participate. Just make a pledge to the End Polio Now program. Your donation stays in your club and can be added to your Paul Harris account. All that is asked is that you notify Glen Thomet (former Southtowne member and past president) how much is pledged into your account so he can add it to our totals.
Glen is 79 years old, has never run in a race, and is a polio survivor. He strongly supports Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio and hope that you do too. Let’s all show our support to rid the world of this terrible disease.
For further information and to log your donation, contact: Glen Thomet, (541) 850-9098,
Saturday the 15th, I was invited to the Oakridge fire department to view pictures of the hospital shipment that recently arrived in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Dr. Ellen Heinitz and her husband John, spear- headed the shipment with a lot of help from Tim and Patrick, firemen in Oakridge. They shipped an ambulance donated by Oakridge and also a 40 foot container of hospital equipment and supplies.
Southtowne helped with equipment donations from PeaceHealth.
Ellen and John presented us with Congo shirts as gifts from Dr. Ysu in Lubumbashi, Congo. The local Congo tailor came to Dr. Ysu’s home with his sewing machine and made the shirts based on John and Ellen’s estimate of our sizes.
- Lauren Alexander
PolioPlus is Rotary’s priority program which supports global efforts to eradicate polio. It was launched in 1985, with the help of Dr. Albert Sabin, developer of the oral polio vaccine, as a worldwide program to protect children from the cruel and fatal consequences of polio. In 1988, the World Health Assembly challenged the world to eradicate polio and, since that time, Rotary’s efforts, along with partner agencies, including the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and governments around the world have achieved a 99% reduction in the number of polio cases worldwide. By the time the world is certified polio-free, our contributions will make Rotary the largest non-governmental financial contributor to the global polio eradication effort.
The new simplified indoor family night was a big hit. It was held in the Fairfield Elementary School Gym. Children from Fairfield Head Start, Early Head Start, Junction City Head Start, Eugene Combo Head Start, and Clear Lake Head Start were invited. We also invited the Pilas families who were taking classes to learn English at Fairfield Elementary School to attend this event! Thanks to all the Head Start staff who extended their day and attended the event. Thanks to Head Start for providing salad, drinks, etc. A big thank you to Doug Phillips at Abby’s Legendary Pizza for helping sponsor pizza for over 150 people! It was yummy and what a treat for the families. A huge thanks to Chris Ferguson, our partner at Fairfield Elementary school, while wearing a legendary Turkey Hat, helped set up, clean up and led a popular obstacle course!
Thanks to 16 Rotarians and spouses we had face painting, loteria (like Bingo), book reading in English and Spanish, fall wreath making, putting practice, and an obstacle course. This created a spectacular family event. Alison Willis of Head Start said there were over 150 people there and this was definitely their most successful fall family event! We raffled 2 food boxes and 5 pizzas!
One Head Start teacher Becca Bruce said, "Southtowne Rotarians are always so accepting and loving of our families, and it really does bring tears to my eyes to see people reaching out and serving them the way you do. I hope the feedback you get from your crew is as positive as mine. Thanks again for all you do!"
"Thank you so much for a wonderful evening. The parents and their children had a great time. You all do so much for us that it is so hard to find words that could express the level of gratitude that I feel. Thank you so very much."
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Doe Chasco, Region 5 manager
Head Start of Lane County