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Bulletin Editor
Arnie Goldman
Aug 12, 2022
Transition Programs for Adults
Aug 19, 2022
Aug 26, 2022
Sep 09, 2022
GLO Update
Sep 16, 2022
Secular challenges faced by churches today
Sep 23, 2022
Canton Director of Senior & Social Services
View entire list
Executives & Directors
President Elect
Immediate Past President
Rotary Foundation
Board Member-at-Large
Board Member-at-Large
Interact Chair
Club Information
Rotary of Avon-Canton - Founded 1973
Service above Self
Fridays at 7:30 AM
Golf Club of Avon
160 Country Club Road
Avon, CT 06001
United States of America
(860) 760-6364
All meetings are hybrid both in-person and Zoom available
District Site
Venue Map
Reminder:   No meeting on Fridays, July 1st or 8th.
Next Meeting: July 15, 2022
Mike Mezheritskiy
The meeting will be held both in person at the Golf Club of Avon and via Zoom. 
Watch for an email from the Club for Zoom access and
please note we use a recurring ID for your convenience.
Sergeant-at-Arms Report 
Following the Pledge of Allegiance, and a rendition of a song somewhat resembling God Bless America,
our morning's speaker, Rotarian Steve Morris, offered the following blessing:
"As we gather here today as members of Rotary, we pray that we are ever mindful of opportunities to render our service to fellow citizens and to our community. Keeping in mind always the enduring values of life, exerting our efforts in those areas and on those things upon which future generations can build with confidence. Let us continue to strive to make a better world. Amen."
Rotarians Present: 21
Visiting Rotarians: 2:  Augusto Russel, Farmington club; Dick Kisiel, Suffield club
GuestsPenny Phillips, FAVARH Marketing & Communications Director
Happy Dollars$32.00
Raffle Winner & Prize: Kershwin Singh, $20.00
Fines: None today.
Carlo Geddo, June 26th, was absent.
Linda Pendergast, June 30th.: Linda recalled that last year on her birthday we were also at FAVARH, saying: "This has been an important organization for me to be a part of, because it fulfills something that my parents instilled in me, which is the importance of giving back to one's community, and Rotary has more than done that. It's been like family in many respects, as I have now known many of us for many years. I also love having so many young people here, and in our leadership. It means so much that we will be able to carry on our activities into the future."
Happy Dollars
Peter Vignati, had a great time at the Travelers Golf Tournament. Further, on July 3rd, he and his family are headed to Hamburg, Germany to celebrate his mother in law's 80th birthday. The Vignatis have many family members there.
Bob Cave, noted the food today was phenomenal, and thanked Gary Roman for the opportunity to fill in for him on the golf course after Gary was injured. Bob, very modestly, noted he played very well.
Gary Roman quipped that what "injured himself" on the course actually meant, was an assault by an unknown assailant, a la Nancy Kerrigan (tongue in cheek). Gary does have a knee problem which he will be havingg assessed very shortly. [Ed. Note: Whatever the course of action to come, we wish him a speedy recovery!].
Dale Bronson reported his grandson Levi just had his 11th birthday. Young Levi loves the Beatles and his birthday gift was a trip to Syracuse, NY to a Paul McCartney concert. "He loved that so much that  now he'll be going to see Ringo Starr in Bridgeport, CT in August. It's also great to be back at FAVARH where I worked for 8 years, and after having had to leave prematurely due to the cancer diagnosis I had. It's great to be back here. I love you all."
Alicia Canning, offered a sad dollar for Scot Nardozzi , who's dog Owen died yesterday, aged 17 years. RIP Owen.
Kershwin Singh attended his daughter's high school graduation and, since his wife serves on the Avon Board of Education, had the honor of presenting their daughter's diploma to her.
Jolly Lux, for Linda Pendergast: "Happy Birthday to you!"
Ann Clark also wished Linda Pendergast a "Happy Birthday."
Bob Cave thanked Gary Roman and also thanked the entire Club. Eleven years ago the Senior Jobs Bank didn't exist. Don Bonner, Gary Miller and Chuck Joseph had a vision for what it could be, and were involved in bringing it back to become the successful program it is today. Most people involved come from our local community, and 300-400 people have been assisted. One must be >50 years old to participate, and many local businesses are now using it. Learn more at:
Phil Ferrari  reminded all in attendance that we are blessed to be able to give, and to give we must first raise those funds, and it takes all our members to help with our golf tournament to do so, as it is our largest fundraiser. "Please get involved", said Phil.
Arnie Goldman thanked the Club for having had the opportunity to be one of the Scribes on the Early Riser team. He enjoys writing and has tried to keep up with the high standard that Salin, Gary and the others on the team, past and present, have established. Arnie will be taking a break from scribing for a while as he travels around the US over the next 8 months campaigning as a candidate for the office of president-elect of the American Veterinary Medical Association, an organization he currently serves as Treasurer. He hopes to eventually return to scribing, whether he wins or loses that election.
Our President & Board Installation Dinner will take place on Friday, July 8th at the Golf Club of Avon at 6pm.   You can purchase your ticket and make  your dinner choice by going to this link: Alicia Canning noted the availability of a sign-up sheet on our tables.
Ann Clark noted the annual Avon-Canton Senior Picnic will be held July 28th. We need volunteers and also prayers for sunshine that day.
As a reminder, Salin Low continues to look for at least one additional scribe to prepare the Early Riser one time each month. The current crew has worked together for about six years and have a number of scheduling conflicts this summer, so it's a good time to try out your editorial skills. Gary Miller is a pro at training new scribes, so it's a fairly smooth learning curve. If you are willing to be a summer intern, please let Salin know.
July 8th: President's Dinner at Golf Club of Avon. Dinner cost is $55. Meal choices are: chicken marsala; grilled salmon; filet mignon; and vegetarian. You can sign up & pay on the club website now.
July 28th: Avon-Canton Senior Picnic.
September 10th: "Motown Magic Under the Stars" benefit concert for FAVARH.
7:30 PM at Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center, 22 Iron Horse Boulevard, Simsbury
Order your tickets online at:
Induction of New Members
None this week.

None this week.
Community and International Service Grants
Gary Roman presented a $1000.00 check to Bob Cave from the Community Service Committee for the Senior Jobs Bank. The Committee had a $27,500.00 budget and 28 applications, of which 23 were funded. Once the Committee funded all 23 applications, the remaining dollars were evenly split between the Avon and Canton fuel banks. With the current fuel price inflation, this was considered a timely gesture on behalf of the needy.
Steve Morris, Executive Director
President-elect Rauf Majidian introduced FAVARH executive director and Rotarian Steven Morris as follows:
"Steve was born in the U.S. Navy hospital at Quonset RI, where his father served as an anti-submarine helicopter pilot. As such, his family moved around a great deal during his early years. A resident of Connecticut since the 4th grade, Steve graduated from Simsbury High School and thereafter earned a BA at the University of Rhode Island, where he also played college football. He later earned a graduate degree at the University of Connecticut, and began a career supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He started as a job coach at FAVARH in 1987, and moved to Sarah, Inc. in Guilford, CT from 1998 to 2006. He returned to FAVARH in 2006, becoming their third Executive Director.
Steve has two adult children: Sydney, 32, of Raleigh, NC, and Wes, 26, a graduate student in Dallas, TX. Steve enjoys the outdoors including hiking, camping and adventure travel along with reading about psychology, physics and spiritual subjects. He is passionate about FAVARH and about making a difference in people's lives. He lives in Burlington, CT with the lovely and brilliant Cherie Walton and claims to be a better than average cook, a pretty good writer and someone who hates cleaning bathrooms. Steve?......"
FAVARH Executive Director Steve Morris
FAVARH Executive Director Steve Morris began his presentation by noting that today's focus is on 3 projects FAVARH has worked on for 6 or 7 years that have statewide impact, and that FAVARH's strategic priorities are growth, innovation, advocacy, collaboration.
"Change the Sign" was intended to change the then common "handicapped" sign and image to something more modern and inspiring. Organizations and agencies such as DDS, DSS, Cigna, Aetna, AARP and celebrity Susan St. James all supported the initiative. Local and statewide media were also helpful. Our own advocates, FAVARH clients Todd and Lauren, were successful in lobbying politicians. A real breakthrough came when Jonathon Slifka, then Governor Malloy's aide, became involved. He wrote and championed the legislation, which then became known as "Jonathon's Bill." There would be no cost to taxpayers as the new design was to apply only to new construction or reconstruction. With the bill still unscheduled for a vote and the necessary margin of votes at stake at the 11th hour, Jonathon Slifka called on Todd and Lauren to come to the Capital and talk about the bill. They set up a booth in the lobby of the LOB and former Canton state legislator Tim Legeyt pulled legislators out of meetings to talk to them, one at a time. The bill therefore did come up for a vote and passed. Meanwhile FAVARH also  started a "Where is Todd" Campaign showing him with the many new signs for a public relations effort.
"Project SEARCH at UCONN Health": Steve showed a short video about the original program at Cincinatti Children's Hospital on behalf of people with disabilities. (Project SEARCH - Cincinatti Children's - YOUTUBE) It was noted that after growing up, there were few opportunities.....for disabled people 18 -22 as they become adults. In this program they intern during their final school year to facilitate transition to adult life and work. Independence, time management, skills training are all provided. Now 500 programs exist across the US and the world. Overall employment rate after completion is 75.5% making it the most successful transition programs in the US. The program has a 9 months duration.
Here at FAVARH in collaboration with UCONN, we've had 42 interns graduate, 8 new program participants in 2022-23, and a 96% employment rate for 6 years. The pay ranges are $14 - $20/ hour base pay for graduates. Work opportunities include housekeeping and janitorial as well as dental and pharmacy department work in medical office settings.  Our graduates are known for task completion with 100% accuracy.
To gain this partnership, we advocated at several legislative committees seeking a grant program as an incentive to get others involved in  creating their own programs around the state. Eventually this motivated other disabilities service providers and there are now 10 programs across the state. There are 80 to 100 people who have completed school with a job they might otherwise not have.
"Supportive Housing" is an affordable, integrated community-based apartment program. FAVARH has had group homes since 1984, however it took until 2006 to realize we were isolating people from their peers in this way. Now we create home "clusters", which locate a larger number of FAVARH residents within a larger housing community. They then can choose their own friends. We strive to keep the disabled population </= 25% of overall housing population so a true community is preserved.
In 2015 the Ojakian Commons in Simsbury was built by Ken Regan for MS patients. Subsequently Simsbury asked the developer to allow for other types of disabilities to reside there. That's how FAVARH got involved. Eventually FAVARH sought to create our own community, first we began one in Bloomfield and also one in Canton. In 2021 Canton Bear Woods Apartments opened and 19 people moved in from their family homes to their first independent apartment. The Bloomfield site took longer than expected and will be occupied in July 2022.
What made these projects most successful was that FAVARH as a provider collaborated directly with the developers to meet client's needs and in so doing increased capacity for our clients. These types of living arrangements are much less costly than group homes which have isolating and costly aspects such as 24 hour staff. By working with developers we allow for client independence and also less cost to the state. We are now talking to Metro Realty about a third project in Farmington with 70 units, 15 of which will be for people with disabilities. This will further increase the capacity for residential living.
There are now 5 other programs in existence that followed our lead in this. For all the clients involved, their families won't have to worry so much about the future of their adult children as time goes on.
In order to participate, individuals must be clients of the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services, and determined to be appropriate for such settings. We pick and choose who can be included and also match roommates for compatibility and abilities.
Steve concluded his presentation by thanking everyone for their attention and their attendance at today's meeting! Ann Clark drew attendees attention to brochures on our tables advertising the below FAVARH fundraising event to be held September 10th:
Please join FAVARH at its "Motown Magic Under the Stars" benefit concert for FAVARH,
Saturday September 10, 2022, 7:30 PM at Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center,
22 Iron Horse Boulevard, Simsbury, CT 06070.
Order your tickets online at:

Special Announcements

None this week.
Mail Bag
None this week.
Photo Credits
Arnie Goldman
Technology Credits
When utilized, Zoom platform management expertise by Mike Mezheritskiy.
Editor's Notes
Submission Deadline: Members are kindly encouraged to submit all materials for each week's Early Riser as early as possible. Please note that some editions may be published and distributed as early as the Saturday following our meetings, and during those weeks further contributions to the Early Riser will be included in the subsequent week's edition.
“The FOUR-WAY TEST of the things we think, say or do”:

1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all Concerned?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?