Rotattler for the Last Month or So
In case you haven’t attended any of the Zoom meetings we have had, here is a summary of what you missed.
On February 11th we started seeing a new face at our meetings.  Paige Johnson is interested in joining our club and has been attending each week.  She came from a Rotary club in Vermont and also has participated in a Rotary Youth Exchange in Finland.  She is new-ish to South Berwick.  We welcome her and will get an application to her soon.
In case you have been reading your Rotary emails, Lonnie Hackett, our “man on the ground” in Lusaka has received all sorts of RI recognition and praise for the fantastic work he is doing in Africa.  We hear that currently COVID is running rampant in Zambia and elsewhere, with a 15% positivity rate.  The whole office of the Healthy Learners program, the global grant we are sponsoring, was shut down for awhile, but the group was most helpful getting necessary help and supplies.   The kids are now all back in school and we hope to Zoom with them sometime in March.
Juliana Burke, a SoBo girl who graduated from MHS in 2014 and went on to Bowdoin College to do great things, is now living in Brooklyn, NY and she was our guest speaker on February 11th.  She works in an organization call Matriculate whose mission is to identify and get high-achieving economically disadvantaged kids into college.  After majoring in sociology and French, she took a great interest in educational access issues which resulted in a paper she wrote for her senior project – a study about Bowdoin students from Maine.  This helped her get her job in NY in 2019.  Matriculate provides the means and guidance to improve the rates of higher education for low-to-moderate-income high achievers.  This includes finding and managing peer mentors at colleges all over the country who are recruited and trained to help, known as “fellows”.  Sometimes those who received this help as students go on to become fellows, too.  In 2017 there were 70 fellows.  Now there are over 1000.  Juliana recruits and trains them.  This program is funded mostly by philanthropists.  Needless to say, Juliana loves her job.
On another note, speaking of loving one’s work, Lena Ugren is offering to create a mural for a deserving non-profit organization, if you happen to know of one who might appreciate that.  It is so kind of Lena to offer her talents this way.
The following week, although we didn’t have a speaker, we decided to talk about all the things that our club does, so Paige would know.  It was like peeling an onion – our club on a normal year does so much all year long.  Can’t wait until COVID is more controlled so we can get back to being regular do-gooders.
Speaking of good works, Amy Miller and the Tuskegee sister city project, AKA Common Ground, has been going great guns with celebrating Common Ground Day with Tuskegee folks on February 12th, and presenting dignitaries from Tuskegee with a letter Linda Becker and her husband had obtained which was written to Emily Tyson of South Berwick (Hamilton House owner) by Booker T. Washington, asking her in 1898 for support of the technological school that was established in Tuskegee. 
Then, on February 4th, Linda Becker was our Zoom meeting guest speaker and she talked with us in more detail about the experience of presenting the framed 1898 letter to the Mayor of Tuskegee and others from the Institute and all the good feelings associated with that.  Then she continued her presentation by describing another program she is involved with called Maine Meals.  This is for food insecure families and a group of enthusiastic and hard-working cooks and bakers are busily providing home-made meals to dozens of families in the area.  Suzi Burke (Juliana Burke’s mother – remember her from the other meeting?) introduced Linda to this program and now she is part of a “Dream Team” of 9-12 people in her group.  In fact, the Maine Meals Assistance group in York County now has over 1000 bakers/cooks!  Linda was thrilled that the renowned Maine chef who lives in town, Kathy Gunst, helps as well and even shares her recent cookbooks with volunteers and families receiving food.  Recipients get deliveries of breakfast, entrée, dessert and fruit.  Linda’s group supplies these to 26 families once/week.  Normally, each baker owns a family and plans meals accordingly.  What a lot of work, but if you love to cook/bake and want to make a difference in the lives of struggling families, this is the group to join!
Speaking of food insecurity, thanks again to Jeremy Fogg, Brenda Gagne, Mary Onken and others who helped at the Food Pantry this past Thursday.
There is a board meeting at 5 p.m. on Monday for those who can make it.  President Deb will make sure to send the Zoom link.  Among the topics being discussed at that meeting will be the request from Rowan Waddell, a MHS freshman, to be a Rotary Short-Term Exchange student sponsored by our club in 2022.  We also need to tell our District who are our officers next year.  We are a bit behind the eight-ball on that one.
Enjoy the next several days.  It’s getting warmer out and more and more of us are being vaccinated.  Things are definitely looking up.