Our President, Lady Grizzly, a.k.a. Colette Lay, started the meeting ringing the bell and displaying a Rotary sign behind her! We were reminded Mark Daniel Maloney from Decatur, Alabama is this year’s Rotary International President.  The theme is “Rotary Connects the World”.  
Hermann Welm was the greeter, who had two quotes for us. These quotations show that both Benjamin Franklin (Founding Father, 1706 - 1790) and W. Edwards Deming (Professor and Speaker, 1900 -1993) thought alike.  Deming was a statistician who developed the concept of Statistical Quality Control which he used to help turn Japan’s “Made in Japan” label from junk products to quality!
Deming: “It is not necessary to change.  Survival is not mandatory.”
Franklin: “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”
Hermann has been busy with woodworking projects.  He recently finished a coffee table and has four other projects in the works. He gave us an update on Lindsay Wildlife.  Although closed to the public and volunteers, staff is still working and handling animal rescues. There are many volunteers fostering animals in need, including Hermann who is currently housing four squirrels. \
President Lay reminded us that there are many opportunities to stay connected until we can meet in person again:
Weekly meetings via Zoom – visit other clubs!
Happy Hour via Zoom – Tuesdays @ 5:00 pm
Share “Good News” and photos with Ana
Share Community Needs – Dennis checking w/Sunny Glen and other community seniors to adopt
SRR members donated $1800 in Virtual Lunch fees – Clementine’s for                  SRRMC – Order take-out!
Ray Giles presented Mike Thelan with his Paul Harris pin.  He promised to disinfect it thoroughly and send it off to Mike ASAP!
Ray also provided a list of many Rotary Foundation projects/grants that have been made in response to COVID-19.  Unfortunately, the audio wasn’t always clear, so we look forward to hearing more about Rotary’s response and contribution to the pandemic.
Priya Jhingan discussed her Stay at Home Spotlight Series. The first interview with Chris Gallagher was released last week.  Stay tuned for the next three interviews being released starring Carolyn Degnan, Steven Porschet, and Vera Packard. 
Karen McNamara announced that our virtual food drive to benefit the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano was a big success. With matching grant money and donations still coming in, SRR was able to donate about $2700 to the food bank.
Melanie Emig shared happy news about Crow Canyon Country Club’s phases of re-opening. The golf and tennis courts will open on May 4th.  Curbside and to-go food service is open for all Rotarians (even if you aren’t a CCCC member).  They also offer a special Mother’s Day to-go menu.
Geoff Disch celebrated his birthday on April 30th.   Don Jones celebrated his birthday on April 26th.
Mark Honstra shared that his son was turning 30 years old, and the same son is expecting their second grandson in July!
This week we were treated to two heartwarming presentations.  The first was given by our own Mark Honstra about a project to help women affected by conflict in Uganda.  San Ramon Rotary provided a grant to assist in this project.
The building of a community center in the most rural of rural areas in Uganda – Pauma Village.  Women started constructing the community center by making bricks from the dirt.  The SRR grant helped provide windows, doors and a roof for the building.  The building was completed by solar panels for power – thanks to SoloGrid – and a satellite TV to watch their beloved football games. 
The grand opening was attending by many local dignitaries and Mark got to cut the ribbon at the grand opening. The draw of this community center has sparked a construction trend.  The area now has several other buildings going up and will create a trading center in this rural Ugandan community. 
Mark shared a video from many of the local women involved in the project, expressing their sincerest gratitude for the financial help received from San Ramon Rotary.  As a thank you gift to SRR, Mark was presented with a chicken.  Since he couldn’t transport it back on the plane, he donated it back to the community along with a rooster to help facilitate more chickens and eggs. 
This project is a perfect example of how Rotary Connects the World.
Our second presentation was given by guest Kevin Adler. Kevin is the Founder and CEO of Miracle Messages, an award-winning nonprofit reunion service and buddy system helping our homeless neighbors reconnect with their loved ones and us. To date, Miracle Messages has reunited 325+ families, with an average time separated of 15 years, as part of their mission to end relational poverty on the streets.
Kevin started by sharing his history about why this work calls to him. His beloved Uncle Mark suffered from schizophrenia and lived on and off the streets for 30 years, before dying at the age of 50.  Kevin’s grandpa, Mark’s dad, who just passed on February 2nd at the age of 97 (possibly one of the first identified COVID-19 fatalities). Grandpa always kept a dedicated phone line specifically to receive any calls from Mark.  While visiting Uncle Mark’s gravesite with Grandpa years back, Kevin asked what the purpose of a tombstone was, and was struck by the idea that it didn’t relay any information about who the person was, only the year they were born and the year they died.  He thought “all the good stuff is in the dash between the years”. 
This got Kevin thinking about other homeless people’s stories, and a philosophy that is now the tagline for Miracle Messages – Everyone is Someone’s Somebody.  So Kevin and some volunteers thought about how to document stories from life on the street.  They started going onto the streets of San Francisco with GoPro’s strapped to their chest and asking those living on the street if they would like to tell their story.  As they gathered more stories, a common theme emerged: “I didn’t feel homeless when I lost my housing, only when I lost my family and friends.” 
Kevin’s first story was with a homeless man named Jeffrey.  After posting it on Facebook, comments started to come in from people who had gone to school with him, people offering him a job.  Through the power of social media, it was later learned that Jeffrey has been on the missing persons list for over 12 years.  People were looking for him, but he didn’t know. 
With this experience, Kevin quit his job and founded Miracle Messages.  Read all about their organization on their website at https://www.miraclemessages.org/
Kevin announced a brand new program they have launched in response to the pandemic, Miracle Friends. They are looking for volunteers.  A brief description is below, and you can find out more using this link https://www.miraclemessages.org/miraclefriends.
People experiencing homelessness are especially vulnerable during the pandemic, and service providers are already overwhelmed.
Miracle Friends is a virtual buddy system that matches people experiencing homelessness with volunteers for daily 5-10 minute phone calls and texts, to offer basic companionship and support.
Miracle Friends is currently being piloted in the San Francisco Bay Area to support homeless neighbors being moved into vacant hotel rooms during the pandemic, as well as formerly homeless senior citizens.
Volunteers are welcome to apply from anywhere in the world.
The raffle will be returning soon!  Stay tuned to see how this will be done virtually.  That alone will be worth the price of a ticket!
Stay safe, fellow Rotarians. 
Respectfully submitted,
Julie McKinney, Scribe