Regina Shands Stolzfus Spoke to the Club on
Peace Education and Civic Engagement
Visiting Rotarian was: Kevin Lockwood from South Bend.
Guests were: John Brazzell guest of Terri Rickel, Karen Ponce guest of Fran Conner, Adrianna Garcia guest of Ann Lowry, and high school students Maria Lapp, Ian Jenks & Mikayla Karasch
Sergeant at Arms, Mike Cristofeno, did a great job of collecting fines by encouraging everyone to “feel the love” in the room. Most of his questions focused on the television show, The Love Boat. Some people may say the show was cheesy but it was good and happy and just a good era of TV. It was fun to see how many Rotarians remembered the characters from that 1970’s - 1980’s show. Judge Chuck Grodnik even gave his impersonation of Charo. The money the Sergeant’s Committee raises over the year is pooled into a fund and then disbursed annually to area non-profit organizations.
Dean Hupp gave a report on how donations to the Rotary Foundation are being used in other countries. In Nicaragua, a couple of recently funded projects   provided clean water filters and wells to 532  households and eyesight testing was provided for school children as well. In 2014-2015, over $83,000,000 was donated around the world. In addition to the monetary donations, there were over 997,500 people who donated over 8,576,000 hours of time. Rotarians are action people and they are working together to make the world a better and safer place.
Connie Caiceros, Executive Director of Center for Community Justice introduced the Guest Speaker, Regina Shands Stolzfus. A Professor at Goshen College, Regina is a core trainer in routes of justice and works towards urban peacemaking. She teaches courses in race, class and ethnic relations, personal violence and healing, and more. Among many accomplishments, she is also a co-author of the book “Set Free: A Journey Towards Solidarity Against Racism.” Regina has been awarded the 2016 Spirit of Justice Award by the State of Indiana Civil Rights Commission, their highest honor.
With all the ways people can be horrible to each other, Regina maintains hope that we and the world can be different, She spoke about a particular class she teaches that allows students to assess conflict styles and learn to let go of some things. About 80% of the students at Goshen College take this class. She maintains that the “classroom is their lab where it is okay to not know what they’re doing or how to do it”. Students need to be in a safe place to answer in the classroom. Teaching students the skills to communicate effectively, she gently challenges the quieter students to speak up and others to pull back if they talk too much.
It’s important that we learn to talk to and listen to someone we profoundly disagree with and it’s okay to have conversation with someone with whom you disagree. Regina says the world desperately needs people to stay in the room and not walk off in a huff. We have to equip ourselves to “stay in the room”. Knowing what you believe about something and why is crucial to effective communication. It’s okay to stand your ground – to have your opinion - but know why and articulate it well and listen to others’ perspectives to build a better world. We need to release the “need to be right” and know that it’s more than just “winning”. We need to all leave the conversation feeling our integrity is intact and that we were heard.
We must learn to listen and compromise because negotiation and listening are how things get done. We could accomplish so much more in the world if we all would learn better communication skills. Together, we can all use our gifts and powers to make the world a better place.                 
Up Coming Program(s):  
March 7th – Kelby Rose will speak about the Elkhart County Museum
March 14th, Mayor Tim Neese will speak on the City of Elkhart