DC Rotary MEETING IN REVIEW FOR: 07/21/2016 by Lara Bersano.
President Ross opened the meeting at 12:32 pm led in a pledge of allegiance to our flag.
Russ Savage led the inspiration and a prayer for law enforcement officers. The prayer followed with a moment of silence: “At this troubling time for our country, as tensions and violence arise between the minority community and law enforcement, let us join in prayer. Gracious God, be with us as we face difficult and painful issues among us. Hold us in your steady embrace of love and understanding and forgiveness. Open our eyes that we may see the decades of injustice and oppression which are just now beginning to become clear, and that we may appreciate the complexity of law enforcement. Remind us that in your sight each of your children are of equal value.  None is more precious than another, and none less so. Teach us the ways of listening, of healing and reconciliation, that we may become one at last and live in peace with one another. This is our prayer, and let us all say together, Amen.”
Secretary Alicia Fougere welcomed visiting Rotarians and guests:
  1. Sheryn Hara, invited by Jennifer Hara.
  2. Maresa Fisher, invited by Cherry Baumbus.
  3. Susan Sarfati, invited by May O´Brien.
  4. John Giambalvo, invited by Haleh Vaziri.
  5. Jay Burbank, invited by Shelly Williams.
  6. Don Tennant, invited by Howard Davis.
  7. Jennifer Jacobs, invited by Lisa Cohen.
  8. Connie Reinhart, invited by Lisa Cohen.
  9. Vincent Orange, invited by Lisa Cohen.
  10. Neil Cohen, invited by Lisa Cohen.
  11. Brooke Edwards, invited by Marilyn Cruz.
  12. Rachel McKay, invited by Marilyn Cruz.
  13. Benjamin Veas, invited by David Kalus.
  14. Terence McCormick.
  15. Claudia Rodriguez, invited by Clara Montanez.
  16. Pel-Hwa Yin, invited by Sarah.
Visiting Rotarians:
  1. Angela Hey, Nagril Jamaica.
  2. Humberto Beckers, District Governor From Antofagasta, Chile.
  3. Nancy Fisher, District 7610.
  4. Roy Ferguson, Wellington, North New Zealand.
President Ross introduced Governor from District 4320 Humberto Beckers, who presented a flag from his district in Chile.
Sergeant-at-Arms Marilyn Cruz recognized Rotarians celebrating birthdays this week: John Davis.
President Ross called Past President David to present 2015-16 Awards to recognize Rotarians for outstanding contributions: Stu Shalloway, Russ Savage, Tim Hurd (Clean up the School Campaign), Joan Bristol (Finance and Duck Race) . Not present to receive Awards: Dr. Sam Hancock, Andy Cook, Jennifer Galloway, Raven Canty, Glenn Ogilvie, Jessica Stewart, Michael Harper, Thomas Kern, Brendan McGuiness, Abrahem  Helal.
President Ross presented Howard Davis with a Paul Harris + 8
New Member TALK
Bob Schott told us about his work as a customs broker and spoke about the Cyprus project. Bob was born in Daytona Beach, FL and he studied in Florida, Madrid and Maryland. In 1977 he starts his own business. He became a Rotarian in 1971.
Bob spoke in several international organizations, and participated in UN global programs. He joined the Cyprus friendship program which brings teenagers from Cyprus to the US to have an international experience and meet other fellow teenagers. He introduced four Cyprus teenagers that talk about their experience.  They described the situation in Cyprus and how the experience of coming to the US changed their life.
President Ross talked about the upcoming generations. He spoke about the Rotary Youth Leadership Award which he attended last week in which 200 young people from 40 countries met in DC to learn about America and American politics.
Bob Schott was presented with the blue badge.
Kenny Barnes introduced speaker Lisa Cohen who is a Rotarian of the Club, an author and a retired professional boxer.
Lisas´s bio: Author and DC Rotarian, Ms. Cohen was born in Washington, DC and placed with her four older brothers in the now-defunct Junior Village, followed by several traumatic experiences in foster care. She recounts her life story as a foster child, world champion boxer and successful community leader, wife and mother in her memoir Being Too Fierce. Ms. Cohen began boxing at age 28 and turned professional the next year, competing under the name Lisa “Too Fierce” Foster. During her career, she earned the International Female Boxers’ Association Junior Featherweight World Title and established Too Fierce Boxing & Fitness. In 2005, she started Capitol City Champs, a non-profit organization for at-risk children, geared to fitness training, life skills coaching, dressing for success and etiquette. Ms. Cohen has also undertaken a number of motivational speaking engagements and career days aimed at women, children and government agencies engaged in foster care. At 45, she graduated from the University of the District of Columbia with a Bachelor’s degree in English.
Lisa spoke about how important it was for her to speak in our club. Lisa was born and raised in Washington DC. She was born to a mother with problems and an absent father. She has 4 more brothers. She still has contact with her mother but she does not know her very well.
She talked about the perils during her childhood but she does not consider herself a victim. When she decided to write a book she went to the learning center she attended when she was a child to find the records of her childhood. She spoke about how overcrowded and understaffed foster care is.
She talked about the “For the Love of Children” organization created by Fred Taylor and her story in foster homes until she was 5. Until that age she was loved and cared by her foster family until her mother came back to their lives and took them away and they were sent to another foster home with a woman called Mrs Graves.
The reason she wrote the book is because the experiences she had with Mrs Graves and because when she went back to find the records from those years not a single word was written on her behalf. Not a single word that would resemble her thoughts or how she felt. So she decided she needed to tell people what was going on in the system. She also talked about the importance of loving and caring for children and how she became a “revengelist” at the age of 7, with a list of people who deserved to be punished for their treatment.
She started seeing a psychiatrist at seven, and it was the best thing that happened to her. Although seeing a psychiatrist was stigmatized at that time, she kept it a secret but it was the way she learned to start living a different life.
Lynn asks: what do you think should be changed in the foster care?
Lisa: Instead of giving all the children psychological evaluation let´s start evaluating the parents. So we will know how to separate the bad eggs from the good ones.
Dick asks: in your life you had many moments that were turning points, please tell us about one.
Lisa: When she was five or six years old and she realized that the women that raised her was not punishing her but herself.
Standing ovation from the audience.
Raffle: Larry Margolis won the small pot of $71 and did/did not win the large pot of $1338.
The meeting adjourned at 1:32 pm.