Russell Hampton
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Arnie Goldman
Mar 06, 2020
Mar 13, 2020
“The Power of Positivity: Turning Obstacles into Opportunities…”
Mar 20, 2020
Rotary Foundation
Mar 27, 2020
Guiding Light Orphanage
Apr 03, 2020
Turning Around the State's Economy
Apr 10, 2020
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EarlyRiser Presentations
A Promise to Jordan
The Annotated Guide to Ending Polio
Club Information
Rotary of Avon-Canton - Founded 1973
Service above Self
We meet Fridays at 7:30 AM
Avon Old Farms Hotel
279 Avon Mountain Rd.
Avon, CT  06001
United States of America
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January 3, 2020
Terry Schmitt
Connecticut Council for Interreligious Understanding
Sergeant-at-Arms Report
Members Present: 22
Visiting Rotarians: Debbie Voorhees, Ft. Myer's Rotarian.  
Guests: (3). Tom Voorhees introduced son Jim and daughter and Rotarian Debbie, both up from Florida for the holidays. Tom joked that he benefited from a "buy two get one free" offer. Heather Pantano introduced Cheryl Kram,  of Marys Place, our speaker.
Happy Dollars: $40
Raffle Winner: Luke Violette, $40.00, donated to the Club.
Tom Voorhees was born 12/24 and has been a Rotarian since 1973. With others, Tom started the Morris Plains Rotary Club in New Jersey as a Friday morning breakfast club, among the first breakfast clubs in Rotary. Interestingly, they initially received static from Rotary International which indicated "Rotary meets for lunch." Seeing the success of a morning club, they relented. "Its been a great journey (in. Rotary) and I hope it continues with great people for many more years."
Chuck Joseph, born 12/25 in the earlier century, was unfortunately absent.
Happy Dollars 
Hank Frey reported that Salvation Army bell ringing raised $9100 in just 5 days, with 30 members volunteering despite the cold. "Thanks and happy new year!", said Hank.
Salin Low was pleased to have gotten through 3 services in 24 hours, wondering aloud how this could be called "retirement." She had good holidays until her dog got temporarily lost. Once they found her all was well, and Salin is looking forward to happy new year for one and all.
Larry Haber gave this advice: Choose your friends well. As he has friends on Sebago Lake an on the Cape, that's where he'll be for the New Year!
Deb Voorhees, Tom's daughter and a Rotarian in Ft. Myers, Florida was happy to be here with her Dad and brother Jim.
Ann Clark related a remarkable example of "it's a small world!" She just cant seem to go anywhere without meeting someone with a connection. At her sons recent Christmas open house, the family entertained  20 people, including a young couple who had just moved in next door.  Hearing from her son that the husband of the couple, in their late 20s, had commented that his "wife's people live in Avon", Ann inquired if she might know them. It turned out that the "wife's people" in question were her grandparents, and they were Craig and Nancy Nation! It was granddaughter Amy, Nancy and Craig's grandchild who had interviewed her grandmother Nancy, and also taped the song "Jesus loves me." Nancy had officiated at the couple's wedding. Small world!
Phil Worley was happy to distribute free Goulet Printery desk calendars.
Bob Cave recently visited with his Sturbrudge Massachusetts grandchildren, and discovered he's no longer the tallest in their annual photograph. Tough luck, Bob! Beauty, and apparently height, are fleeting!
Larry Sullivan cleared his throat.
Calendar of Upcoming Events
March 28, 2020: Tastes of the Valley at Farmington Gardens.
Induction of New Members
None Today

None this week.
Community and International Service Grants
None this week.

Cheryl Kram of Mary's Place
Heather Pantano introduced Cheryl Kram, a volunteer with Mary's Place, a center for grieving children and families located in Windsor. Started by Mary Keene, a now retired oncology nurse, support activities were initially conducted in Mary's living room. Mary's Place provides ongoing support for children 3 - 12, who meet twice monthly, at no cost to families. Soon after inception the Carmen Funeral Home group became involved and programming expanded greatly. Mary also saw that the now, newly single parents were dropping off their children, but had few resources for coping with their own grief. Thereafter, she started a spousal support group as well. As with adults, expressions of grief vary individually among children and the facility is designed to accommodate that variation.The facility includes arts and crafts, a library, and an "anger room" with padded furnishings to allow safe expressions of anger
"When I became aware of Mary's Place, I learned they are dedicated to providing an atmosphere of trust for grieving families to express their feelings after a death in their family", said Cheryl.  When Cheryl was herself young, families didn't discuss death with children at all. Today, with 4 children and 8 grandchildren of her own, Cheryl knows that children at 3, 4 or 5-years of age have difficulty dealing with the recent death of a parent or sibling and further, as they grow and reach different stages of emotional maturity, their grief changes and needs new forms of support. Said Cheryl, "The major thing that happens at Mary's place, whatever you're feeling and however you're feeling, you can express it without being judged."
Robin DiNicola asked Cheryl who will replace the late Denise Discenzo, who was a Mary's Place supporter and MC of their annual gala. Cheryl indicated that remains unknown.
Regarding Mary's Place volunteers generally, Cheryl indicated that a lot of training is required for the volunteers. "One can't just show up and be placed in the role of a volunteer."  Volunteers also undergo a background check. The organization is overseen by a program director and a board of directors. It was established in 1996 as a 501(c)3, not for profit organization, and it receives no government funding. It serves families throughout Connecticut and southwestern Massachusetts, relying solely on donations and independent fundraising.
Ann Clark asked Cheryl how many young people are assisted. In response, Cheryl said, "It varies as they may come and go over time. Some previously assisted teenagers themselves come back as volunteers, having had the personal experience to understand their younger charges." Children up to 18 are included.
Heather Pantano referenced the organization A Promise to Jordon and asked Cheryl if she had seen children losing parents to addiction in particular. Cheryl responded that often they don't know exactly why people have passed away.
Larry Sullivan asked about Mary's Place annual budget, but Cheryl was not in possession of those details.
Robin DiNicola asked about blended families and loss, noting the special challenges of losing the biological parent under such circumstances. Acknowledging Robin's  point, Cheryl related how she had approached local business Cake Gypsy for support, and was served by a young woman named Jessica. It turned out Jessica had lost her father when she was 5-years-old, and was among the first children served at Mary's Place.
In closing, Cheryl said, "Although it's a subject we don't talk about a lot, please share the knowledge that Mary's Place exists to serve the community."
Noting Mary's Place' upcoming fundraising efforts, Cheryl announced a wine tasting event to be held at Farmington Gardens in March. Details available at (860) 688-9621.

Special Announcements
The 12/27/2019 Hartford Courant published the obituary of former chief state medical examiner and Rotarian Wayne Carver. For those that knew him or are otherwise interested, the link is here:
Mail Bag
None today.
Photo Credits 
Today's photographs courtesy of Phil Worley and Mike Mehzeritskiy
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?