Posted by Nick Aroutzidis on Mar 18, 2018
March 22, 2018: Elizabeth Payne “Milky Whey Cheese shop. All about cheese”, Colleen Brown will introduce, and Wendy Anderson will thank our speaker.

Head Table:  Our President Linda Bathe, invites Colleen Brown, Maryanne Wilson Cox, Bill Cozyn, Gerry Culliton, Keith Culliton, Colleen Devine and Ed Dujlovic, to join her at the head table.
Winner of best costume for St Patrick Day  Theme Elizabeth Gaffney
This Week: Our guest speaker today was Debra Swan, Executive Director of the Local Community Food Bank.
Guest Speaker Debra Swan introduced by Rick Orr giving Classification talk.
(Warning to readers:  Anyone who heard Debra will be disappointed that the scribe has been unable to capture the emotion and the power of her classification presentation.  Any member who missed the meeting should be disappointed that they missed it.)
Debra was born and raised in Fruitland, Ontario, now part of Stoney Creek.  “Debra is in a class of her own.”  Debra’s mother. 
Debra became involved in community service at a very early age.  When she was ten years old she walked 30 miles in a walkathon to raise money for the new arena.  She repeated the walkathon every year for the next six years.  “Debra is a rebel without a cause.”  Debra’s mother. 
While in high school, Debra found several causes.  In Grade 9, she organized a sit-in in the school cafeteria because girls were not allowed to wear pants to school.  The school administration caved and permitted girls to wear pant suits, but no jeans.  By the time Debra finished high school, jeans and halter tops were common attire.  (And thousands of future students wish to thank Debra for this.)
Another highlight of Debra’s high school career was being the first female Student Council President.  She also discovered her love of theatre.  In Grade 10 she had the lead role in Mother Goose Rock, which included seducing a paper Mache gander in order to lay a golden egg. 
For several years Debra worked as an actress doing story book theatre.  Actually, she was acting, directing producing, writing, set design, set construction, and a few other jobs in order to earn $75 per week.  Eventually she decided that she could make more selling shoes and she changed careers.
Debra married at the age of 19 and became a mother when she was 25.  She has four children.  When her third child was four years old, he was diagnosed with Semantic Pragmatic Disorder, a serious learning disorder.  When Debra queried the doctor who gave the diagnosis, he told her that “90% of the men in jail are just like your son”.  This turned Debra into a rebel with a very real and meaningful cause. 
She became determined to provoke change.  She became an outspoken advocate and was appointed to several provincial committees.  She attended night school to obtain certification in Early Childhood Education.  She played a key role in the County of Simcoe Board of Education initiative “Community Action Program for Children”.  The objective was to change programs from “for” or “to” children into programs “with” children.  This requires an understanding that marginalized people are actually capable of knowing what they need and that they should not be blamed for their challenges. 
Debra continued to work as a keynote speaker, workshop facilitator and consultant.  Her talent took her to places as far away as Attawapiskat, Whitehorse and Vancouver. 
She also discovered her love of writing, particularly short stories and screen plays.  One of her screen plays a several of her short stories have been published.  She is pretty sure that some have even been purchased by people to whom she is not related. 
In 2010, Debra made a major life decision.  She and her husband sold their farm of 30 years and moved to another farm in New Brunswick.  It was like living in a Disney movie; there was no much of nature and wildlife that she communed with every day.  She continued to write and consult, but also took a full time job working with the homeless in Fredericton.  
By 2015, Debra realized that she was missing her children and returned to Ontario.  She took a one year contract with Epilepsy Eastern Ontario.  When she had completed this contract, she applied for the position of Executive Director of the Food Bank in Stratford and, fortunately for the City of Stratford and the Stratford Rotary Club, she was the successful candidate. 
Debra is justifiably proud of her four children.  Her oldest son is a graphic designer.  Her daughter is a singer/songwriter/lay minister.  Her youngest son is an Account Manager with Bell Canada.
And her other son, the one with the learning disability that the doctor suggested would put him in jail?  He is a highly successful trainer whose work includes doing fitness testing for the police.  Debra should be very proud of her professional and personal accomplishments.
Debra was introduced by Rick Orr and thanked by Colleen Brown. 
Scribe:  Steve Lichty
Hard working Rotarians /St Patrick’s Day theme
Rotarian Alan Wakelin Sargent at Arms having fun at meeting
More  Rotarians dressed for theme having fun
Elizabeth and Sara Gaffney serenaded us to “O Danny Boy”
Guests:  Today we welcomed: Sarah Brown (Stratford), Steve Weed (Stratford), Wayne Young (FCRC)
Draw: The draw prizes today were donated by Al Wakelin (two sets of tickets, two passes to the senior curling championship including dinner) and Debra Swan and Bob Gulliford were the winners.
Rotary Announcements March 15, 2018
Ron Shaw is asking for host families for the members of the Rotary Friendship Exchange from Croatia. Ron will be in Croatia from May 7th to the 17th.  The Rotarians from Croatia will be here in June before the RI Conference.  They need accommodation for the nights of June 19, 20 and 21. They also need transportation to the RI Convention so if anyone is planning to attend and has room to take a couple extra please consider helping out.  Please send Ron a message if you are interested in being a host family or can provide a ride to Toronto.
Wendy Anderson reminded everyone about the Rural-Urban Dinner on April 19th. Ticket sales are advanced tickets only.  There are posters and if you have place to display one please do so to recognize our sponsors.
Sue Wakelin: The hospice project is holding a 50/50 draw at the Senior Curling Championship.  There are a few spots open for volunteers and they are asking if we could help by filling in the spots.  To access the sign-up sheet follow this link:
Pat Feryn:  The Commit Project will receive the YMCA Peace Award on Wednesday, March 28th at 7:00pm at the YMCA
Al Wakelin and Susan worked a tournament at the Concession booth last Monday and Tuesday and made $1850.  This shows that if we had more volunteers we could have more impact on the bottom line.  Next year we will be training volunteers to run the booth on their own with Al or Susan opening and closing to help.
Pat Shewen:  Reminder of the Home Show on the 13, 14 and 15th of April.  Please take a poster to display in your workplace.
Arlene Pol:  On Tuesday night there was a celebration at Molly Blooms to celebrate 50 years of Rotaract.  The Rotaract Club baked 150 cup cakes which they divided up between different agencies such as Shelterlink and Optimism Place.  Please remember that Rotaract meets twice a month, the first Wednesday and the third Thursday, at the Hub in the wine cellar downstairs.  Please consider attending a meeting to show them our support.
Rob Ritz:  Needs more volunteers for parking at Dairy Expo. Only half the roster is full. Rob will throw in a $50 gift certificate and hold a draw based on the numbers of hours worked.  Please consider signing up.  The dates are Wednesday the 4th and Thursday the 5th of April.
President’s Corner
On Friday evening, May 11th, John Wilkinson and Loretta Shannon are hosting a fundraising event, for up to 40 people, in support of the Stratford Perth Rotary Hospice.   The event starts at 5:30 pm with a wonderful meal at the Wildcraft restaurant in the north end of Waterloo.   Then it is a 5 minute drive to the nearby St. Jacobs Country Playhouse to attend the Opening Night performance of “West Side Story”.  After the show, there will be a catered Meet the Cast Party.   Tickets are $500 each, with a tax receipt for approximately $400.   To reserve your spot, email before April 11th.
If you do decide to go, your donation can be part of the Rotary total, just let me know to include your name in the list of Rotarian Friends of Hospice.
Second,  Charlene and I received an email this week from Sarah Hamza with a very generous offer from Anita Gaffney and the Stratford Festival.
Make-ups: No report
March’s Attendance Committee: Rob Russell (I/C), Jim Scott, Dave Bean, Walt Bathe, John Wright, Andrea Page, Chris Thomson, Al Wakelin, Jo-Anne Hood Tidman, Doug Brown.