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Welcome to our Club!

Kansas City Plaza

Service Above Self

We meet Fridays at 7:15 AM
Grand Street Cafe
4740 Grand Avenue
Kansas City, MO  64112
United States
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Interested in visiting our club?
Would you be interested in attending a meeting and learning more about the Plaza Rotary Club?  
 
We'd be happy to have you visit!
 
Just email Vice President Randy Steinman (Randy@rlsteinman.comto let him know you would like to attend. 
 
We meet at 7:15 a.m. Fridays at the Grand Street Cafe, 4740 Grand Avenue, Kansas City.
 
 
 

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Home Page Stories
First Wire Transfer for Microcredit Goes to the Dominican Republic 
 
After many months of fundraising, organizing and structuring, Rotary District 6040’s microcredit project in the Dominican Republic is about to launch.
 
The first wire transfer of $25,000 (U.S. dollars) left the United States in early June 2016. Randy Steinman, Kansas City Plaza Rotarian and District 6040 Microcredit Chair, returns to the Dominican Republic in late June to observe the implementation of the project. 
 
These funds were wired to District 6040’s Rotary partner for this project, The Rotary Club of Santo Domingo Herrera. The Herrera club will in turn make a presentation to the project’s cooperating partner, Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral Inc., or IDDI.
 
IDDI estimates these first funds will help 70-80 families in the Herrera & Alcarrizos neighborhood lift themselves out of poverty. The overall commitment to this project is $125,000 to be distributed over 5 years. This program was made possible as a result of a contributions of District 6040, District 4060 (D.R.), Rotary Clubs in Missouri and a Global Grant from the Rotary Foundation.
 
 

 
 
Games for Good: Oct. 1, 2016!
 
Mark your calendars for the 2016 Games for Good -- the fun begins again on Oct. 1 at the World War 1 Museum and Memorial.
 
KC Games for Good is a one-day event intended to showcase – and to celebrate – that sense of community service and civic pride for which both Kansas City and the Plaza Rotary Club are so well known. 
 
Hosted on the lawn of the National WWI Museum and Memorial, the festival brings together a host of activities and resources under the common banner of “Service Above Self.”
 
The event includes:
  • Exhibit Area
  • Team Competitions
  • Entertainment and other activities 
Find more information on our 2016 Games for Good brochures (just to the left, under Downloads): 
  • For Exhibitors
  • For Sponsors
 
We'll see you at the Games! 
 
Join us on Facebook 
 

The Kansas City Plaza Rotary Club is on Facebook, which is where you can find out more about the culture of club with posts from our members. Check us out here! 

We welcome your visits and hope you'll "Like" us and invite your friends to follow us, too. 

 

 

 
Outstanding Collection of Shoes for Orphan Souls 
 
With Big Muddy churning by just a couple of hundred feet away, cheering Rotarians chanting off the numbers by the thousands, the annual Shoes for Orphan Souls campaign wrapped up April 30 at the District Assembly in St. Joseph with another outstanding year – 16,777 pairs of new shoes, 2,103 pairs of socks, 158 pairs of shoelaces, and $10,717 in cash donations.
 
 
 
 
 
 
We Know Shoes! 
 
Can't resist one more shout out to all the club members for the impressive showing in this year's annual Shoes for Orphan Souls drive. 
 
Our club donated 1,219 pairs of shoes and had an impressive showing at the collection, held in connection with the District Assembly  at the Remington Nature Center in St. Joseph.
 
Here you can see fellow Plaza Rotarians on the truck with shoes -- from left, Dave Bahner, Beth Bahner, Frances Reddis, Larry Lunsford and Cassy Venters. 
 
Congratulations! 
 
 
 
 
Plaza Rotarians prepare
to journey to Malawi
 
With a Global Grant from the Rotary Foundation’s World Fund and District 6040 funds, three representatives of Kansas City Plaza Rotary will be in Malawi later this month to launch a  student empowerment project at the Malawi Children’s Village
 
Malawi Children’s Village is a village-based orphan support program in Mangochi, Malawi. It supports more than 2,000 HIV/AIDS orphans living with members of their extended family in 37 villages.
 
The village helps vulnerable children from birth to 18 years providing shelter, food, safety, health care and education until they can live independent healthy lives. 
Plaza Rotary is a long-time supporter of Malawi Children's Village. 
 
Our first project was n 2003, followed by a project to develop latrines in 2005, 2007 and 2013; a Malaria bed nets distribution program in 2009, and delivery of Malaria medicines in 2010. Our total contribution to the Malawi Children’s Village, including matching grants, is more than $105,000.
 
This Global Grant, for nearly $32,000, funds a curriculum for primary school teachers to refine and implement as an after-school program once a month for a year.
 
The program focuses on encouraging goal setting, confidence building, and life choices that affect educational attainment, and address health and environmental issues that can prevent children, especially girls between ages 12-16, from completing primary school, attending secondary school, and qualifying for entrance to either university or technical training schools.
 
The grant also covers the installation of solar lights in five primary schools, as well as furnishings and supplies for a study area in each school so that students can study at night as well as during the day.
 
The Plaza club’s Vocational Training team, led by Elizabeth Usovicz and including team members Bill and Cindy Schmidt, departs on March 31 to train teachers and collaborate on the study area installation. The team will spend time in collaboration with teachers, observing and coaching, through mid-April. 
 
This project addresses a humanitarian need in basic education and literacy. Primary schools in Malawi are under-resourced, under-staffed and under-funded, creating extremely challenging conditions for teachers and students.
 
According to Unesco, 58 percent of children in Malawi will complete a full course of primary school. In addition, 20 percent of children repeat one or more years of school. Students must pass final exams to progress to secondary school — but just 8.4 percent complete secondary school. 
 
The goal of the program is to help students continue learning, increasing the population in secondary schools and beyond. Malawi is among the least-developed countries, ranked as the seventh-poorest in the world. 
 
Plaza Rotary is proud to support our Vocational Training Team in this effort to help the residents of the Malawi Children’s Village.  
 
 
 

 
Plaza Club Takes Honors at Foundation Dinner
Plaza Rotarian Jerry Venters was given the Rotary Service Above Self Award at the District 6040 Foundation Dinner.
Only 138 were given out in the international Rotary world in 2015-16. It was given for his work in Rotary for community and international service for the last 26 years and his other volunteer work in the community and his profession.
 
Congratulations, Jerry. We are very proud of you. We appreciate all that you do for Rotary. 
 
And, Kansas City Plaza Rotary won the Klinginsmith Cup for the third time in five years. Bob Merrigan accepted the award from Cassy Venters on behalf of the club. 
 
 

 
Microloan project launches in Dominican Republic
Kansas City Plaza Rotary is proud to sponsor a new program designed to provide small business start-up loans in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. 
 
The program, led by Plaza Rotarian Randy Steinman, was developed by our Rotary district to help break the cycle of poverty in the Herrera and Alcorrizos neighborhoods. It’s a joint effort between our district and the Santo Domingo-Herrera Rotary Club and the Instituto Dominicano Desarrollo Integral. 
 
Money for the program was raised by Plaza Rotary and other clubs in the district and supported by a Global Grant from The Rotary Foundation. The Rotary Club of Santo Domingo-Herrera oversees the project and provides mentoring and education to loan recipients. The Instituto Dominicano Desarrollo Integral manages and administers the loans. 
 
All Rotary funds go directly to loans for small businesses; operating costs are paid from interest on the loans. Once loans are repaid, the proceeds go to new start-up loans, continuing to circulate benefits in the community. 
 
The average loan is between $500 and $750, with an 18-24 month repayment schedule. The five-year program is funded for $125,000, with $25,000 available for loans annually in that time.  
training day at RC
In the photo: members of the Rotary Club of Santo Domingo-Herrera during training to serve as financial instructors to our loan recipients.
 
 
What Rotary is All About: 
Doing Good In the World
 
 
Help us continue to create lasting change. Donate to The Rotary Foundation. www.RotaryFoundation.org/Give.
 

 
 
 
 
Teaching and Touching the Future
 
In May 2013, four science teachers from the Philippines were preparing to return home after a visit to the United States as part of a vocational training team (VTT). They’d spent 30 days observing classrooms, visiting science museums, meeting with policymakers, and making presentations to Rotary clubs in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
 
It was an emotional time for all of us, as we had learned much more than science instructional strategies. We had learned that, no matter what country we hail from, we all want the best for our students. We want them to succeed. And as teachers, we want to make a difference in their lives.
As hosts, we were very proud of what we had accomplished. The teachers returned to their schools in the Philippines and immediately made an impact. They won regional and national teaching competitions, they were promoted to master teacher, and the performance level of their students improved significantly. They were making a difference.
 
I was in the Philippines last month and made a point to reconnect with the members of this vocational training team. I was able to visit two schools and see the teachers implementing the hands-on techniques they had learned during their VTT experience. I saw young girls conduct an experiment and then explain why they thought the results had happened. I watched students work collaboratively to complete assigned tasks. Students were excited and engaged in learning science. It took me back to our original conversations, but this time, they were not abstract ideas or comments or thoughts.
 
Had the visit ended there, it would have been worth the time and effort. However, Manny Sy Peng, the governor of District 3770, had arranged for an intercity meeting where we got to hear from the team members about life after they returned home. They told us about the impact the VTT had on them professionally and personally. We heard the following:
 
    ▪    “Thank you, (District Governor) Terri Kidder, you changed the life of a simple teacher.”
    ▪    “I came out of myself, I became more self-confident. The VTT journey has never ended.”
    ▪    “My dream is to create a teacher resource center in my school.”
    ▪    “Julia, you told us to come back and make a difference in our schools and communities and we have.”
 
Tears welled up in my eyes as I listened to these and other comments. How many times have I called on Rotarians to “make a difference?” These teachers took my words to heart and did just that. I was bursting with pride, not only as an educator but as a Rotarian, at what we had collectively accomplished.
 
The impact was truly what Rotary leaders had envisioned when they designed the new grant model. We were asked for long-term impact. Here it was, right in front of me.
 
Teacher and U.S. astronaut Christa McAuliffe said, “I touch the future, I teach.” This sentiment was evident in the classrooms I visited and in the lives of the four teachers who were members of this vocational training team.
 
This post was originally published on the Rotary Voices blog. 
 
 

 
 
We're Making A Difference 
 
Rotary has made a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world — and right here in Kansas City. 
 
The Kansas City Plaza Rotary invites you to join us as we work toward a polio-free world, fighting hunger, poverty, and social injustice. Our efforts support our local community and as well as people all over the world. 
 
The Rotary International primary initiatives:
  • A Polio-Free World — We support immunizations in areas still afflicted by polio. 
  • Promoting Peace — We use education and training to strengthen peace efforts and support long-term peace-building in areas affected by conflict.
  • Fighting Disease — We help prevent the spread of major diseases including HIV/AIDS and malaria.
  • Providing Clean Water — More than 2.5 billion people don’t have access to sanitation facilities. We help communities develop sustainable water and sanitation systems and provide education on clean water. 
  • Saving Mothers and Children — We provide immunizations, improve access to medical care, and help train health care providers.
  • Supporting Education — Worldwide, 67 million children have no access to education. We support basic education and literacy, reduce gender disparity in education, and increase adult literacy.
  • Growing Local Economies — We help enhance economic and community development and create opportunities. 
 
Please consider joining us. Here's how:
 
 

 
On Giving Thanks 
 
 
More than just a day for feasting and football, let's remember that the Thanksgiving Holiday is really a day for reflection and gratitude.
 
We have so many reasons to feel grateful. Here are just a few:
  • We are a vibrant, fun, dynamic club that produces good works in service of our community, and the world in total
  • We are part of an international organization of unwavering spirit and muscle, making a difference in eradicating polio, teaching literacy, supporting social justice, advocating for peace, clean water and economic growth, and much more
  • We live in a city that is home to the world champion Royals
  • At every Rotary gathering, we are surrounded by friendship and fellowship, unified in our mission of service
  • We see that our acts of service make a difference in the lives of others
There are many more, including personal reasons covering love, faith, health, family and security. Others might include the glorious colors of the season, the crispness in the air, the anticipation of a changing season and coming holidays. Or the laughter of children, the joy of animals, pleasure in food and drink, the delight in feeling love. 
 
Whatever it is that makes you happy, take a moment to celebrate. 
 
Happy Thanksgiving. 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
Could this be the year of the final Polio case? 
 
Good news -- no new Polio cases hae been reported for a record three weeks in a row from the final two endemic countries: 
 
 
  • Pakistan - No new Polio cases reported this week.  Thirty-eight Polio cases have been reported in 2015 compared to 234 at this time last year.  Four new Polio positive environmental samples were collected this week.   
  • Afghanistan - No new Polio cases reported in Afghanistan this week. No new Polio-positive environmental samples were collected this week.  
 
Other good news: In post-endemic Nigeria, there were no polio cases reported in 2015, compared to six cases reported in 2014. The last case reported was in July 2014. 
 
 
And, of the six countries reporting importation of polio in 2014, NONE have reported any polio in 2015. The six: 
  • Ethiopia -- one case in 2014
  • Cameroon -- five cases in 2014
  • Somalia -- five cases in 2014
  • Iraq -- two cases in 2014
  • Syria -- one case in 2014
  • Equatorial Guinea -- five cases in 2014.
 
Our goal is Global Polio Eradication. Join us by:
 

 
 
 
 

Riding for my cousins, who perished from polio

Editor's note: This article is by Naish Shah and first appeared in Rotary Voices, a blog of Rotary International, with stories of service from around the world. 
 
My two cousins had polio, and they passed away before they reached adulthood. My brother, my sister, and I were fortunate to have been born here in Chicago, so we received the polio vaccine that my cousins in India never got. This has made me passionate about doing whatever I can to help eradicate this horrible disease.
 
I rode with the Miles to End Polio team last year. My fellow members of the Rotary Club of Naperville Downtown, Illinois, USA, and I raised more than $8,000 for the cause. Easily, the Miles to End Polio effort last year was the most memorable experience of the two years I’ve worked at Rotary International. It really provided a tangible way to contribute toward Rotary’s mission and live the motto of Service Above Self.
 
I also felt blessed to be able to train and ride with the team last year. I had never ridden more than 104 miles before. I could not have done it without the tips, support, and encouragement of the team. We truly built goodwill and friendship. It was a great experience, and I thank all my teammates for their support.
 
We also received wonderful hospitality and support from the Rotary members in Tucson who organize Rotary’s participation in El Tour de Tucson. Their passion, dedication, and hard work are the keys to the success of Miles to End Polio. I am so excited to be a part of this year’s team, and I look forward to being pushed to my limits for this great cause.
 
Naish Shah is manager of Rotary’s Member Benefits program. He is one of several Rotary staff members who will join General Secretary John Hewko in biking El Tour de Tucson in Arizona to raise money for polio eradication. Check back for posts from other team members between now and the 21 November event and learn how you can support the team.
 
Want to join the effort? Take part in the Indoor Ride to End Polio by riding a stationary bike at your local gym or at home anytime from 14 to 21 November.

 

 

 
Plazans Top $8,400 in Golf Marathon!
The members of the Plaza Rotary Club have raised more than $8,400 in pledges and contributions in support of the District’s second annual Pars v. Polio Golf Marathon and Rotary’s worldwide campaign to eradicate polio – and the final numbers are still out on the course!
 
Of that amount, $3,000 has been donated by club members who paid $100 apiece to become designated "Centurians" and the rest came from additional contributions and pledges to support Erik Dickinson and Jerry Venters, the club’s two golfers in the marathon.  Erik and Jerry played 100 holes of golf on September 22.  Ryne Kloeppel of the Parkville Rotary Club, left, played 80 holes with Erik and Jerry.
 
Districtwide, Pars v. Polio has raised more than $21,000 this year, and that number is expected to go higher as clubs report on their fund-raising efforts.  This will qualify Rotary for an additional match of more than $42,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Jerry served as the District Pars v. Polio chairman last year and this year. 
 
Congratulations, Plazans, for your continued support of the effort to end this crippling disease!  
 

 
 
 
 
Wondering if you should you join Rotary? Here are a few ways being a Rotarian makes a difference. 
  • Service in our community. We identify needs and work with organizations that make our community a better place. At Plaza Rotary, we do hands-on work for Hope House and Urban Rangers, among others. 
  • Service in the world. Beyond our community, we help improve life for others. The Rotary Foundation provides millions of dollars in grants for humanitarian aid. At Plaza Rotary, we support the Malawi Children’s Village, international microcredit loan programs, and ShelterBox — just to name a few.
  • We are making history. We support PolioPlus — the historic movement to end polio. 
  • Citizens of the world. As a Rotarian, you are welcome to attend any club’s meeting, anywhere in the world. There are more than 33,000 Rotary Clubs in 200 countries in the world. We also support international exchanges to promote peace and better understanding of the world’s cultures.
  • Hone your leadership ability. There’s always an opportunity for leadership, whether it’s running a committee, organizing an event, or stepping in to fill a gap at a meeting.
  • Learn new skills. Rotary can help you grow with opportunities in marketing, social media, business development, planning, fundraising, event management, financial services, education, mentoring and more. Get involved with club committees or community support opportunities. 
  • Feed your interests. Hook up with Rotary friends to pursue common interests. Plaza Rotarians meet regularly for camaraderie on topics including golf, photography and scotch. 
  • Advance your leadership. Rotary offers leadership training at all levels — from youth programs to club, district, zone and international levels. 
  • Make friends. Learn about different businesses and vocations in our community. Meet new people, share a meal once a week. Laugh, build bonds, bring smiles to others. 
Need more? Ask ANY member of the Plaza Rotary. 
 
Or check out some other ideas from Rotary International and what other members have posted on the Rotary International Facebook page
 
 
 

 
 
The continued fight to stamp out polio will receive an additional $40.3 million boost from Rotary in support of immunization activities and research to be carried out by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. The funds will be used by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF for polio immunization, surveillance and research activities in ten countries, as well as to provide technical assistance to additional countries in Africa. 
 
The funding commitment comes at a critical time as Nigeria – the last polio-endemic country in Africa – approaches one-year since its last case of polio, which occurred in Kano State on 24 July, 2014.
If the current progress continues, WHO may remove Nigeria from the list of polio-endemic countries as early as September. In addition to the notable progress in Nigeria, no new cases of polio have been reported anywhere in Africa since August 2014.
 
Experts do, however, strongly caution that it is too soon to fully celebrate. Nigeria needs to go an additional two years without polio to be certified polio-free.
 
The only two other polio-endemic countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan, continue to experience hurdles in polio eradication campaigns including inaccessibility to children and security.
 
Last year, Pakistan saw an outbreak which resulted in more than 300 cases, the highest number in the country in more than a decade. As a result, Pakistan accounted for almost 90% of the world’s cases. However, there has been improvement in 2015. Cases are down nearly 70% over this same time in 2014.
 
Progress against polio, while significant, remains fragile. Rotary’s funds will support immunization efforts in: $9.9 million in Nigeria; $12.2 million in Pakistan and $2.3 million in Afghanistan.
 

 
 
Notice of Change in Meeting Venue
Effective Starting July 10

After meeting for nearly 16 years at the Hotel InterContinental, the Plaza Rotary Club will be meeting at the Grand Street Cafe, 4740 Grand Avenue, Kansas City, beginning on July 10.  This will be the first meeting of the 2015-16 Rotary year under the leadership of President Jane Brown. There is ample surface parking as well as covered garage parking.  To access the underground garage, go one block east of Winstead's and turn south, then follow the signs.  We look forward to seeing everyone at our new meeting location!
 

 
 
Interested in Visiting Our Club?

Would you be interested in attending a meeting and learning more about the Plaza Rotary Club?  We'd be happy to have you visit!  Just drop an email to Vice President Jeff Chapman at  chapmanjef@umkc.edu and let him know you'd like to attend.  We meet at 7:15 a.m. on Fridays at the Grand Street Cafe, 4740 Grand Avenue, Kansas City. 

 

 
 
 
Speakers
Jul 29, 2016
Joel Thorman
Arrowhead Pride
Aug 05, 2016
Butch Rigby
Brookside East Development
Aug 12, 2016
Angie Pastorek
Ment-working: Deepen Your Network through the Power of Mentoring
Aug 19, 2016
Mike Vietti
Battles of Somme & Verdun
Aug 26, 2016
Sep 02, 2016
Sep 09, 2016
Sep 16, 2016
Jason Parks
Millenials
Sep 23, 2016
Sep 30, 2016
Pete Cowdin
The Rabbit hOle - the world's first ExploraStorium!
 
Interested in speaking to Plaza Rotary?
If you'd be interested in presenting to the Plaza Rotary Club, please contact Bob Merrigan at 
 

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