Posted by Eric Garton on Jan 06, 2020
Welcome to the Elkhart Rotary Club Meeting on January 6, 2020; Today we welcomed Sharon Sarber, Volunteer Engagement Specialist at Elkhart and Goshen Community Schools.

President Candy Yoder opened the meeting and introduced Sharon Hirstein who shared positive words, led the Pledge, and Four-Way Test.  

Welcome table volunteers were Bob Homan, Andrew Harmon, and Tom McArthur, who introduced today's guests including: Namorian Rogers (Todd Stone), Paul Davis and Macy Troyer (Monica Abair), Jill Yoder and Kevin Kilmer (Lisa Guadea-Carreno), Mona Livingston, Keith Sarber, and Erin McNeal (Ashley Bowen), Paul Milnes (Garrick Lankford), Braden Weldy (Tina Weldy), Sam Dales (Kurt Janowsky). Special Guests of the club were Marie Drake and Diane Luchesse. Welcome to ALL, we hope you can all join us again some other time!

Announcements and continuing club reminders for January 6:

  • A message from Doug Risser, if you are interested in a Rotary International and Peace Corps Partnership trip that will be occurring April 18-26, please contact Doug directly.
  • Dawn Fisher announced that our $1025 donation to the Guatemalan Village of  was MATCHED 100% by the Helping Hands foundation, making our total gift $2050 in support of buying needed equipment and school supplies for the village. Thanks to everyone who donated! Stay tuned for photos!
  • CONTINUING REMINDER: Rotary District 6540 Matching Gifts Campaign continues through January 31, 2020 your personal donation of $100-$5,000 to the Annual Fund of The Rotary Foundation will be matched with FOUNDATION RECOGNITION POINTS. Your matching foundation recognition points can be used in several ways: 
    • For your own Paul Harris designation, at the first level or toward the next multiple. For example, your personal gift of $500 will be matched with 500 points for a total value of $1,000 to achieve designation as a Paul Harris Fellow.
    • To recognize another individual with a full Paul Harris Fellow designation or an initial contribution. For example, your $1000 check will be matched with 1,000 points to award Paul Harris Fellow designation to a relative, a community member, or another Rotarian. 
    • For multiple recognitions, any combination of points designations for yourself and/or other individuals, with a minimum of 100 points per designation. For example, your personal gift of $500 will earn 500 points. You can keep 200 points for yourself to attain the next level, and award 300 points to a deserving new member of your club to inspire future sustaining contributions to the foundation and a future Paul Harris Fellow designation. 
    • INSTRUCTIONS for the matching promotion:
      • Mail a personal check payable to "The Rotary Foundation" to District Rotary Foundation Chair, Judy Walker, including donor information and designating the beneficiary(ies) of the matching points if applicable. 
      • Mail to: Judy Walker, 8421 Manor Ave. #406, Munster, IN 46321
      • Questions? Voice or text 219-680-6557; email
      • Only those donations submitted per the above instructions will be matched
      • Club checks or online donations are not eligible for this offer
Today's Sergeant was Bill Rieth, who did a nice job of FUNdraising today! Rotary fines are collected weekly and are pooled into a fund throughout the year. In the spring more than $10,000 is distributed as grants to not-for-profit organizations around our county. Thanks, All, for your contributions!

Today's speaker was introduced by Eric Garton who welcomed Sharon Sarber, Volunteer Engagement Specialist at Elkhart and Goshen Community Schools, in partnership with United Way of Elkhart County presenting information about the Read United initiative.

Read United is a special program sponsored by the United Way of Elkhart County and consists of three programs:

  1. Real Men Read runs every October to November - - This program places positive male role models in Goshen and Elkhart elementary school classrooms to read aloud to their assigned class.
  2. Reading Camps run every January to March - - This program provides extra one-on-one tutoring and reading practice for elementary students who are falling behind their peers.
  3. Spring Into Reading runs every April to May - - This program places volunteers into elementary classrooms to read aloud to classes of children.

Read United is starting to recruit for their next program, Reading Camps:
The program matches a community volunteer with a 1st-3rd grade student identified as being just below grade level for reading skills. Students are invited to meet with mentors after school twice a week over an 8-week period.  Volunteers may sign up for one or both sessions, or participate in the Sub Pool. Volunteers are provided a brief training the week before the start of the program. All materials are provided as well. Volunteers meet with students in a supervised setting at their respective schools. Reading Camps in Elkhart Community Schools include Bristol, Eastwood, Mary Beck and Mary Daly. Sessions meet T/Th from 4:00-5:00, starting Jan. 27th and running through March 19th. Reading Camps in Goshen Community Schools include Chandler, Model, Parkside, Waterford and West Goshen. Sessions meet T/Th from 3:00-4:00 pm. Over the course of the hour, volunteers read to students, then students read to volunteers, followed by an enrichment activity. The last 15 minutes are spend playing a skill-building game (usually the favorite part of the hour!). All Camps culminate in a celebration on March 19th for students, families and volunteers. NWEA test scores show the benefit of this program through increased “camper” scores. It is the most challenging Read United program regarding volunteer recruitment.

If you're interested or have questions, please reach out to Sharon Sarber at or 574-533-8631, ext. 2048 for Goshen and Diane Lucchese at  or 574-295-4830, ext. 7685 for Elkhart in order to participate in this wonderful program! Volunteer registration deadline is January 17, 2020. In the past, we have had volunteers pair up with a friend, coworker, family member, etc. to share a student and each come once per week with the option of covering one another in an absence.  We are also encouraging groups of volunteers to create a social activity out of the volunteer experience. Friends can volunteer on the same day and then go out for dinner, shopping, bowling, a movie, whatever!!



Thanks, Sharon, for a very informative presentation and Q&A session. If you would like to learn more about United Way of Elkhart County's Read United programs, visit their website
About Rotary:
Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, community leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and act to create lasting change – across the globe, in our local communities, and in ourselves. The Elkhart Rotary Club was founded in 1917 and serves its community through volunteerism, providing grants to not-for-profit organizations, sponsoring, and participating in service projects such as ringing bells for the Salvation Army, twice-yearly roadside trash collection, and are the originators and continuing supporters of Wellfield Botanic Gardens. Elkhart Rotary Club’s membership consists of approximately 150 dedicated individuals from various professional backgrounds and diverse interests. Membership in the Elkhart Rotary Club is by invitation. We welcome guests to attend any of our meetings and hear from our great lineup of weekly presenters.
For more information on the Elkhart Rotary Club, visit or email Like and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook/ElkhartRotaryClub to stay current on meetings, upcoming events or speakers, and initiatives in the community.
Upcoming Meetings and Programs:
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All meetings are at noon on Mondays at the Matterhorn Banquet and Conference Center, 2041 Cassopolis St. in Elkhart IN, 46514. In months that include a FIFTH Monday, the Elkhart Rotary Club holds an alternative meeting or activity.