Monthly Archives: September 2011

Hats For A Purpose To Help Schoharie Kids

Thanks to a wonderful group of folks who knit, crochet and weave we have exceeded our goal to make 100 hats for kids at risk.  Now I will ask you to knit some more – for the kids in Schoharie County who lost everything during the devastating floods following Irene’s visit to our area.  Cold weather is just around the corner and your help will make a difference to these children.

I will work with Jack Hill, a local team leader for Volunteers In Mission, a program of UMCOR, the humanitarian relief and development agency of the United Methodist Church.  Jack and fellow volunteers have been down in the Schoharie area working to clean-up and rebuild.  This network of volunteers extends down to Greene, Broome and Delaware counties so as soon as we warm up the kids in Schoharie we will keep going.  I will also ask my Rotary friends in those counties to pass the word to anyone who wants to help.

We need all the hats we can make – in fact, if you can’t knit or crochet or weave, how about purchasing a hat or two?  Winter is just around the corner so we need to move quickly.

Needles Up, Crochet Hooks Get Ready.


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Please Sign the Petition to End Polio

Of all the initiatives to eradicate polio, this one may be the one that re-involves the governments around the world to step back up and commit the dollars needed to bridge a $590 million dollar funding gap for vaccine faced by the private-public partners (including Rotary International) leading the eradication for the past 30 years.

Join this Call to Action asking World Leaders to commit, both financially and politically, to polio eradication.  Watch the story of Piper Pacquin from Pittsburgh, PA and how she is leading the way to END POLIO.  This charming and interesting video traces the history of polio and Rotary International’s involvement introducing new facts and information.

For each signature (up to 20,000) The Rotary Club of Crawley, Perth, Australia (D9455)  will donate vaccine to a child.  Another story of Rotary in action.  Thanks Rotary Club of Crawley.

I’ve signed the petition.  Won’t you?  You don’t need to be a Rotarian to sign it either.  It’s easy.  Watch the video below and click on Sign Petition.

End Polio petition

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A Reading Center That Makes A Difference

Words are the fabric of our lives; they are the basis for critical analysis and creative thought; they give a richness to our communication, both written and spoken; they help us make decisions and solve problems. Words bring us joy through reading, singing, writing, talking, acting and playing.

But what about those who struggle with words, unable to read or write or spell?  What about the fabric of their lives?

Today, September 8th, is International Literacy Day and I ‘d like to tell you about a program making a real difference to struggling readers, particularly those with dyslexia or serious difficulties with reading and/or written language.  It’s called A Different Way In Reading Center, a not for profit organization, offering a NO COST after school program using Alphabetic Phonics, a multisensory structured language instruction (combining eyes, ears, muscles and voice) taught by clinically trained  teachers.  Interestingly enough it was founded three years ago on September 8th.

What exactly is dyslexia and how does Alphabetic Phonics help? According to teacher, Kathy Jensen, “People with dyslexia can’t figure out what the word says from what they can see.  Students have to be taught how the language works for reading and spelling.  They need to learn the letters and letter combinations and how each of them sounds in words.  Subsequently we move on to the work of breaking long words into consistent pieces – the syllables, and then we teach each of the consistent pieces needed to learn the English language.  We teach through reason, not rote memory.  We teach them the reason reading behaves the way it does.”

The Center, based in Schenectady, NY, serves the Capital District area.  Students are served one-on-one or in small groups, meet 1 hour three times a week.  Both parents and students alike must make a 3 year commitment to the program.

Kathy provided these sample sentences to help you get the picture.  Try your best to figure out what they say.  Meybi riedong os nut es iesy es wi thonk.  Vuwils can bi triechiruas.

For more information about the center please click on the FAQ page or contact the center at or 518-945-8842

A literacy tip of the hat today to my friends at A Different Way In Reading Center, The Dictionary Project and The Literacy Site for the difference you make.

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From California to the New York Island Staff Benda Bilili Performs

Q.  What do you get when you take polio survivors, a zoo in Kinshasa, DR Congo, homemade musical instruments, and a strong message?  A. Beautiful Music.  And if you are luck enough to live in or near any of the US cities where Staff Benda Bilili is performing in September go see for yourself.  One of their key messages – ‘the only real handicaps are not in the body but the mind.’  And as you watch and listen you only see the joy in the faces and the energy in the voices.

Appropriately enough Benda Bilili translates as ‘look beyond appearances’

You can read all about  this extraordinary group by clicking on the link Staff Benda Bilili and treat yourself to a few moments of their music by clicking on 

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