Burlingame Rotary Club
Founded in 1925

High Gear Bulletin


Wednesday, May 3, 2023

High Gear Editor: Paul Watermulder


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Here’s an official “2 For 1” deal—Today’s Rotary newsletter comes in two volumes (dear reader, consider how fortunate you are, because this little package can put you to sleep two consecutive nights as you read it and drift off into dreamland…). 
Yes, Volume I will be a review of The First Annual “Burlingame’s Got Talent” show, which was last Sunday, April 30.  It was our club’s remarkably successful and as-it-turned-out very fun fundraiser to support our own outreach programs, from the up-close and personal scholarships at Burlingame High School [where our Rotary Club is the largest single funder of scholarships to students each year!] all the way across two or three oceans to our new project of helping build, equip and staff a village school in rural India.
Then, Volume II of this newsletter will be an accounting of our weekly meeting on May 3, featuring many cool enhancements (from two new members to a speaker from the rich pool of talent in our own club, namely the up-and-coming-and-arrived community leader, Emily Beach.  Hold your applause as you read these two volumes so you don’t startle the people near you wherever you are right now—flying to a distant city for meetings or vacation, or perhaps sitting in a boring business meeting trying to pass the time, or just perhaps spending another day in your one-year-plus-a-day sentence sitting in the day room of the County Jail.  (Actually, I recognize that usually only Elks, Lions, Soroptimists and Moose might be found in the latter location!.)  Just kidding, of course:  if you are like me, you have made as many mistakes along the way as anybody else.  Just didn’t get caught for them?  But now, back to business:
Volume I       Burlingame’s Got Talent:  This was at first an experimental idea, to see “if it will fly” to do three things  -  count ‘em:  a)  raise outreach money, b) introduce friends to Rotary and c) to have an honestly good time in a function not tied to a regular meeting.  With only three months from inception to execution, a hand-picked cluster of club leaders, both experienced and new, dug in fast and hard, back in February. 
Worker Bees included:  Jennifer Pence, Marilyn Orr, Christopher Ramirez, Mark Lucchesi, Carol Tanzi, Bob Doerr, Chris Krolik, Karina Perez-Vargas, Raul Pulido, Nancy Bush, Liz Buljan.  And cheering heartily while paving the way was our president, the indefatigable, Fritz Brauner.
We had about 120 people in attendance, and had over $12,500 and heading north, given or pledged!  Wow; this was a winner from so many angles.  But I haven’t reported to you possibly the best part yet:  The face of our Rotary Club changed!  No longer was the average age in the upper stratosphere.  No longer could anyone accuse us of being (as my grandkids tell me I am definitely included) “Fat, Old White Men!”  Sorry if anyone’s toes got stepped on; all of mine did.  But really, the demographic leaned well into the profile of the City of Burlingame as it is this 21st century—younger, diverse in age as well as ethnicity, charitable in spirit, generous in action, and full of life!  We had youngsters performing from the early grades of grammar school on up through teen aged years.  And in addition, there were a number of performers who actually could legally drift over to Mark’s wine bar and have whatever they wanted!
Yes, this was a landmark night with 19 different performances, from a rock band or two to dancing to poetry readings, to piano recitals to a barbershop quartet (including honorary Burlingame Rotarian Peter Wagner).   The finale was Burlingame Rotarian Emily Beach folk singing on guitar—bless her heart.
The evening was sponsored by super-worthy Burlingame merchants who were true partners to Burlingame Rotary and they deserve our recognition:   Coconut Bay Thai Restaurant, Sapore Italiano Restaurant, Copenhagen Bakery & Café, Crepevine Restaurant, La Corneta Taqueria, Limon, Masala Desi Café.  Plus:  Barrelhouse, Domenico Winery, Mollie Stone Market, Vinyl Room.  Plus:  Carol A Tanzi ASID & Associates, Kikes Balloons, Paul’s Flowers.  Plus, a special thanks to Kiki’s Beurre/Blanc.
There was a Raffle for items from 52 local merchants / entrepreneurs.  Wow! 
Many Rotarians contributed time and effort to put all this together, under the guidance of the central committee, and we can’t thank all these people enough.  What a landmark event this was.  It introduced a whole new view of what Rotary can be here in our town, consumed in a passion for service to others, a zeal for bringing together all kinds of good people from around the community, and a desire to have a fellowship that is a darn good time for all.  Next year, let’s give ourselves a bit more lead time than three months—this has been a wonderful event for us all to stand proud as Rotarians of the Burlingame stripe.
Volume II  --  Are you still awake?  Good!  Our Wednesday program was upstairs at the Burlingame Community Center, and we over-filled the room joyously for lunch and the program.
President Fritz called us into order at 12:30, and asked Bob Doerr to lead the club in our Pledge of Allegiance.   It took a while to locate a flag outside the window, so the curtain was raised, and Bob et. al. held forth.
Invocation was offered by Mark Johnson, who inspired us with words from Carol Burnett, Audrey Hepburn, Winston Churchill and Ralph Waldo Emerson.  The words sank in and we found our inner balance.
Guests today were welcomed, including Terri Crenshaw, a partner to Emily Beach at their work site which presented the program later on.  Also visiting was Paul Behan was a guest of John Delaney
On Zoom today was Alden Cunningham (from Carlisle, PA).  Sunshine report was requested from Jim Shypertt who reported that members of our club seemed well in all aspects.
New Members were presented by Doug PersonDoug Bell joined our club, as did Victor Griffin.  Both men are activists in the matter of both community outreach and club member fellowship.  Welcome to both!
Birthdays and Anniversaries were announced by Mark, who opted  for signs of the zodiac over the month of the year as designators.  Taurus was the symbol for the following birthdays:  David Mendell, Sean Williams, Michael Mahoney, Mike Matteucci.  Anniversaries of when they joined this Rotary Club and the years they have been members went to:  Michael Brownrigg-4, Emily Beach-4. Mike Horwitz-22, Marianne Christopherson-32, Greg Mendell-40, Jim Shypertt-32, Mike Harvey-44, Mike Kimball-52.
Our program was introduced by President Fritz and turned over to Emily Beach and her co-leader, Terri Crenshaw, who led the north county office of Job Train, a non-profit anti-poverty institution in the model of the famous Leon Sullivan’s efforts in Philadelphia in the 1960’s.  Along with their central office in Menlo Park it consists of a 10M budget and about 70 staff who are sustained through philanthropy and a variety of governmental grants.  Their task is to attack and turn back poverty in our county through job training, counseling for job interviews, ESL classes, and support to help people get the skills, attitude, self-confidence and competence to hold real jobs in order to help their families gain more fulfilling lives. In San Mateo County, 93% of the clients are in extremely low or very low income brackets.  The population of clients is 57% Latino/a, 13% Asian and 8% black, the remainder being white. 
The nub of this remarkable effort Emily and Terri are leading is to connect employers with workers who are ready, willing and able to work successfully.  Job placement and referral are key, as is certification in carpentry, culinary arts, medical assistant, certified nurse assistant (CNA), building maintenance and IT support and services.  They also teach ESL, digital skills, an introduction to manufacturing  as well as interview skills and tips.  This growing service organization is not only in Menlo Park and South San Francisco, but also San Jose and North Fair Oaks.  They partner with other community service organizations, like YMCA and various county offices.
Terri, who is Employee Liaison for the group,  took over when Emily had to race to her next appointment, and shared about hiring events they are sponsoring in which potential employers get to meet and discover the skills and the willing spirit of so many people who have grown in their skill sets and are ready to make some money.
At 1:40, President Fritz wrapped up the luncheon by gifting Terri a certificate for the donation of five polio vaccines in honor to Job Train and in gratitude for her and Emily’s good work and presentation.
Final warning:  As the month of May rumbles forward, it appears nobody is as aware as President Fritz that the Rotary program year end is approaching.  Be sure to give him your thanks and gratitude when you see him—this year of presidential service is his second time around, and we all are beneficiaries.  Plus, we don’t want to see him trying on his various aloha shirts, board shorts and trendy eyeshades so much that he misses out before July on any of us and the Wednesday noon magic we all make when gather together!
End of both volume I and volume II.  Now we all  can go back to practicing life lived with service above self.  See you Wednesday!
To view this meeting, use the link below:
Zoom Recording!
Our very own Burlingame Rotarian, Mark Lucchesi has started a podcast for the Burlingame Historical Society called "Burlingame is a Small Town." He has interviewed a number of Burlingame Rotarians as well as other prominent folks in our community. You can check out his YouTube podcasts here.
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