Posted by Pete DeLaunay on Sep 22, 2022
President Beth opened the meeting promptly at 12:30 PM, followed by the day’s song, ‘This Land is Your Land’, led by Trish Bostrom on the banjo. Skip Kotkins led the day’s inspiration acknowledging the legacy of Queen Elizabeth (who held unshakable beliefs), yet her leadership adapted to changing events. 
Linda Thompson-Black of the Education Committee invited Rotarians to attend the College Career Fair on October 16 at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall.  “One of the activities of the Rotary Education Committee is the Portfolio Project, which helps students prepare for college,” she said.  Rotarians were encouraged to consider a table at the career fair to share information about their industry and career.  In addition to sharing information, she promised some fun with music and a fundraising Walk for Education that day. See the club newsletter to sign up.  
Peacebulider Committee Chair, Mike Hatzenbeler, led the day’s short program about the United Nations International Day of Peace and how refugees cope with a new country, new language, and new way of life.  He said the Day of Peace started in 1981 to underscore how fundamental human rights are violated with “unmistakable” racism and gender inequality.  “Rotary International’s pursuit of peace is embedded in everything Rotary does,” he said, “and what we say and how we behave matters.”  The Seattle #4 Rotary Peacebuilders Committee was established in 2016 to encourage Rotarians to advocate for non-violent resolution of conflict. Peacebuilder projects include the Rotary Peace Center, the Peace Pole Project, Japan Refugee Center, and the Refugee Women’s Alliance Refugee Resettlement Project. 
He invited Mahnaz Eshetu, Executive Director of the Refugee Women’s Alliance, to the podium where she gave a brief overview of how Rotary has helped support her group’s wrap-around services for refugee women.  “Our clients are attending ESL classes, get support to find employment and other needs,” she said. Funding provided by Rotary helps pay for training, computers, transportation and more.
Mike concluded the Peacebuilder program by introducing another Seattle Rotary Service Foundation recipient in attendance, Seattle Police Detective Denise "Cookie" Bouldin, who for more than 16 years has used chess to steer Rainier Valley kids away from violence.  Seattle Rotary helped fund a nearby ‘chess’ park for neighborhood kids.  Your Rotary dollars are being invested in the community for good.  
The day’s long program was about Pickleball, a game that was created by three Bainbridge Island dads (including former U.S. Representative Joel Pritchard) in the 1960s to help curb kids’ boredom on the island.  Rumor has it that the game’s name came from Pritchard’s dog , Pickle. The game has evolved into a phenomenon thanks to the efforts of retired Edmonds-based financial advisor, Roger BelAir, who since 2022 has become a Pickleball advocate, instructor and inspiration for Pickleball behind bars.   
“The game looks and feels like tennis, but with a whiffle ball instead of tennis ball and a shorter court," he began. “It is growing fast because it is easy to learn, great exercise, easy on the joints, cheap, and very social.”
Roger came up the with idea of taking Pickleball to prison following a 60-Minutes segment about the Cook County Jail in Chicago, a 75-acre facility with a population of about 8,000 inmates. He wrote to the Cook County Sheriff about how inmates could learn sportsmanship, learn mistakes, and have some fun playing Pickleball.  The Sheriff agreed and Roger hopped a plane to Chicago to teach inmates how to play Pickleball.  Since then, his Pickleball in Prisons program has taken flight.  
“It went from not having any interest in playing the game to I was a pied piper – a rock star- on my third visit to the Cook County Jail,” he said. Of course, publicity helped pump up Pickleball in USA Today, NPR, ESPN and several daily newspapers including the Seattle Times.  The exposure led prisons in Washington, New York, Alaska, California, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire to include Pickleball in their recreation inmate plans.   
“Prison officials reported fewer disciplinary problems,” he concluded, “with gang members prior to Pickleball not talk to each other, now they are laughing together.”   He recently got a call from the Director of Recreation Programs with the U.S. Justice Department who wants to explore how Pickleball could be introduced in Federal prisons.
Seattle 4 Rotary is a partner with the Seattle Fire Department for their Employee of the Year ceremonies on October 15.  Sponsorship support allows fire department personnel to attend the event at no cost.  Information about sponsorship and tickets can be found on the Seattle 4 Rotary website.  
John Steckler, VP Membership Engagement, said networking and social events are well attended, fun, and productive.  He said the recent quarterly Rotary Happy Hour networking event was a great way to connect/network with other Rotarians.  Up next is the 2nd annual Handeland Garden Party on 9/25, a tour of the International District & eight-course Chinese dinner on 10/13, and whale watching 10/8.  More information can be found on the Rotary 4 website.   
Our Prince of Programs, Ken Grant, came to the podium to describe next week’s program featuring the Anti-Defamation League and how to eradicate hate.  The presentation will be on Zoom not in a room.  
President Beth concluded the meeting with recent sports results from the disappointing Seahawks loss to the Rams to the Huskies defeat of 11th ranked Michigan and how the Mariners look like they are on the road to the playoffs, with J-Rod’s (Julio Rodriguez) 25 home runs in his first season. He is the third rookie every to have 25 home runs and 25 stolen bases in a single season. 
 Thank you to meeting reporter Pete DeLaunay for another great meeting report! We appreciate you!
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