President Ross Grantham called the meeting to order at 12.30pm, asking all members to silence their cell phones.
Jessica Stewart led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Nicole Butler shared her inspiration on Divine Storms and viewing challenges as opportunities.
Secretary Alicia Fougere introduced our guests and visiting Rotarians:
Visiting Rotarians:
  • Jane Lawicki from Rotary Club of Evanston
  • AK Emarievbe from RC Dupont Circle
  • James  Emarievbe from Gombak, D3300
  • Thomas Augsten of RC Dupont Circle
  • Doris Margolis invited Mauricio Mattos from the US Treasury and Jason Chang from the USDA
  • Wilhelmina Bratton invited Bill Day of Day Law Practice
  • Michael Harper invited Danny Naja of Courtplay Athletics
  • Rich Carson invited Richard Long of Learning First Alliance
  • Lynn Holec invited Paula Donham
  • Marilyn Cruz invited Marcella Oakley to speak about fundraising for Cystic Fibrosis
  • Terry McCormick joined us again
  • Tyrell, Seana Hollwell and Jessica Masciuli came with our Speaker from Free Minds
A number of visitors and guests did not sign in – Rotarians, please remember that YOU are responsible to having your guests sign in before the meeting so they can be counted and announced.
Marilyn Cruz, as Sergeant-At-Arms, announced the Birthdays, there were no Anniversaries this week:
  • Balraj Gupta - September 10  Balraj joined Rotary in January 1992. He was sponsored by Jim Magee and his classification is Computers: Information Technology.
  • Violet Habwe - September 12 Violet joined Rotary in November 2009. She was sponsored by Clara Montanez and her classification is Medicine: Nephrology. 
  • Hal Vaughn - September 16  Hal joined Rotary in January 1995. He was sponsored by Ann Milne and his classification is Consultant.
AK Emarievbe is the Foundation Chair for RC Dupont Circle, and came to share their progress on their International Service Project, which our club supported through an ISC grant. They have raised about $39,000 of the $68,000 needed to complete the bridge for schoolchildren in Zimbabwe to safely go to school.
Thomas Augsten of RC Dupont Circle announced their 2nd annual Octoberfest fundraiser on October 19 at the Bier Baron, tickets are $10. Please contact the RC Dupont Circle for additional details.
Catherine Pociask gave her New Member talk. Catherine comes from a very close family (her sister lives in DC too!)  After the unexpected death of her mother, an avid Rotarian, Catherine took stock of her  life, and gave her notice to her employer, the Federal Aviation Registration – who promptly promoted her. She also joined the Rotary Club to give back to the community. Catherine’s sister has a travel company, and she is happy to share information about adventure travel.
Marcella Oakley, cousin to Marilyn Cruz and the mother of a child with for Cystic Fibrosis, invited our club to attend our Oktoberfest for CF event in Alexandria on October first. For more information, click .
Marilyn Cruz also called for volunteers to deliver books for this year’s Dictionary Project, from October 3 to December 9. Please contact her directly for more information.
Marilyn Cruz introduced our Speaker, Tara Libert, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Free Minds. Free Minds was the recipient of our $20,000 Community Service Grant.
A trained literacy tutor, facilitator of community conferencing and restorative justice practitioner, Ms. Libert is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop—a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization that uses reading, writing and storytelling to awaken incarcerated youth to their own potential.
Ms. Libert and Kelli Taylor co-founded Free Minds in 2002 after working together as television journalists and seeing firsthand the lack of rehabilitative programming for youth incarcerated in the adult criminal justice system. Through creative expression, job readiness training and violence prevention outreach, Free Minds members achieve their educational and career goals. Called Poet Ambassadors, these “Poets with a Purpose” engage youth and the community in writing solutions to violence with the Free Minds literary journal, The Untold Story of the Real Me: Young Voices from Prison—a collection of poetry and autobiographical vignettes by incarcerated and formerly incarcerated youth. Ms. Libert trained at the Freedom Writer’s Institute; her writing has been featured in Teaching Hope: Stories from the Freedom Writers Teachers. She has received several honors for her work—among them, the Linowes Award for “unsung community heroes,” the BleakHouse Publishing Social Justice Award and the District of Columbia Department of Corrections George Strawn Award for Continued Outstanding Service. Ms. Libert believes that the key to ending youth violence is gathering all parts of our communities for dialogue. Free Minds facilitates gatherings where formerly incarcerated individuals reintegrate with their communities.
Ms. Libert showed an inspirational movie (link will be added when its provided). Free Minds started as a book club, and has expanded to include re-entry support. Ms. Libert also introduced Tyrell, a Free minds graduate and ambassador for the apprenticeship program, who shared his story and read the poem he wrote to his father, who passed away while he was incarcerated. Haleh Viziri won the raffle for a copy of The Untold Story of the Real Me: Young Voices from Prison. As a tribute to the strength of both our Speakers, President Ross announced we will be planting 2 trees in their honor.
Raffle:   Dan Kapner  won the small pot of $110 and did not win the large pot of $1926.
President Ross announced our next speaker on September 21 is Jack Evans, WMATA Chairman.
He thanked Cherry Baumbach for conducting today’s Raffle, Ken and Stu for staffing the Hospitality Desk, Nancy Riker for serving as Greeter, and Alicia Fougere for writing today’s Meeting in Review.
The meeting adjourned at 1:30 pm