Notes from the Governor
Earlier this month, I called District Governor-nominee Sheila Brennan. “You are so lucky,” I told her. “During your year as Governor, your President will be Jennifer Jones - my all-time favorite Rotarian.”
This is another important moment for Rotary: Jennifer Jones will be the first female president of Rotary. As the first female President, Jennifer’s selection is a welcome change to Rotary in a season of change for our Members. Jennifer has served as President of her home club, Governor of her Canadian Rotary District, as a Member of the Rotary Foundation Board, and as a Member of the Rotary International Board. She was the moderator of Rotary International Assembly, where District Governors from around the world are developed, and she has spoken at our District 7610 Conference. She is not only a wholly qualified President of Rotary International – she might be the most overqualified Rotarian in the history of the organization.
I first met Jennifer when she spoke at my President-elect Training Seminar (PETS), where she uttered a phrase that changed me as a Rotarian:
“Rotary is where leaders come together to exchange ideas, create solutions, and ultimately, create a better world.”
I remember listening to that speech at lunch on a Friday and literally dropping my fork. Up until then, Rotary for me was about ending polio, breakfast with others, and handing out meals on the weekend before Thanksgiving. I was asked to be President of my club and I agreed to do it. I went to my PETS program with more than a little belief that I was not going to learn anything new. And then, President-nominee Jones took the stage.
Jennifer was dynamic. She was energetic. She had a vision for where Rotary needed to go and why we needed to get there. I walked out of the weekend believing that she would be the first woman President of Rotary International. I also walked out of that seminar believing that I needed to be a change agent in my club.
Jennifer’s first order of business was to build Rotary up as a membership organization, recognizing that Rotary needed to diversify and attract new members. She was involved in initiative after initiative. focused on modernization within the organization. Jennifer has been fearless, and at times, has had to suffer from an endless barrage from the “that’s not how we do things here” crowd or the “I like my club just the way it is” crowd.
Jennifer’s elevation to President is frankly overdue. Her selection as President portends a change in how Rotary can and should do business. It also should portend a change in how we as Rotarians do business.

For months, you have heard me talk about the importance of diversity within our clubs and within Rotary International. I say these things for two important reasons:
  1. Our clubs need to look like, be reflective of, and be relevant to the communities they reside within; and
  2. Our clubs need to realize that in 2020 the way we have been doing business MUST change.
Our clubs and their leaders must recognize that our communities need a platform for social and racial equality. Our leaders need to create that platform. Our leaders need to speak up and say when something is wrong. They also need to listen to those that are telling them that something is wrong and do something about it. 
In short, stop waiting for the change to happen - become the change agent.
For years, Rotarians have known that a change was needed and that a woman deserved to be President of Rotary International. There are countless others out there who are deserving, and they need to be next in line. Likewise, we have fantastic leaders in our clubs and in our District, who come from diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
These leaders need to be elevated to key roles within our Clubs and the District. Our District and Clubs need to be the change agents that our communities and their residents need. We cannot do that if we do not look like and sound like the communities in which we reside.
My guidance to all of you is to consider the words of my favorite Rotarian once more, and ask yourself, “What am I doing to make my community a better place and my club reflective of the community it resides within?”

Thank you for everything you do.
Yours in Rotary,

DG Harry Henderson

In This Issue
  • District Strategic Planning
  • Taking Action on Equality
  • Branding Tips
  • Supporting the Second Story
  • Stafford Scholarships
  • Walkin' Tall
  • Stafford Supports First Responders
  • Podcast Features District Rotarians
  • Continued Support for ShelterBox
  • North Stafford News
  • New Members
District Strategic Planning, in RY 2020-21
By IPDG and Membership-Youth Chair Jonathan Lucus and
Combined Youth Services and Rotary Youth Exchange Chair Jim Holcombe
District 7610 updates its strategic plan every year. In our opinion, this year’s plan can be described as a, ‘cultural paradigm shift’. Two key points of Rotary’s new strategic plan, this year are:

  • Increasing our impact

  • Expanding our reach.

These two points dovetail into the larger membership and youth services strategy that our District will be working toward over the coming months.
A key aspect to Governor Harry Henderson’s plans includes enhancing the engagements that Rotary has within the youth services world. Our clubs already are working with groups from institutions ranging from education to religious. Our District would like to actively engage these organizations and find a way to expand our reach into the community.
To that end, we are asking clubs that have activities going on at our schools and religious institutions to send us e-mails about those activities so that we can document and work to enhance that engagement within our community. We are also looking to identify club members who are also members of larger religious institutions within our district to assist in expanding our reach into some of these tremendous organizations that do such great things!
Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you on these important topics.
Yours in Rotary Service,

Jim Holcombe and Jonathan Lucus
Send your e-mails to:
Jim Holcombe   
Taking Action on Social and Racial Equality
By Lori Prencipe, Baileys Crossroads
In the July District Newsletter, DG Harry Henderson outlined his platform for the current Rotary Year. Click HERE for a link to that Newsletter.   
Be a voice for social and racial equality: We will and are taking on the difficult subject of injustice. The work and dialogue to understand and end racial and social injustice will not be easy and it most certainly will not be comfortable. But it is critical. This is not political; it’s standing up for what is right. I have faith in our members and in our clubs, many of which are led by people of color.
This work is not just for our clubs, it’s for our communities. We need to embrace what our communities look like and do the work to have our clubs better reflect our local community demographics. In the end, for our clubs to be welcoming of our community, we must first understand the challenges of our communities.

In support of this tenant, DG Harry appointed the “Group of Nine” with the charge to lay out a course of action to address how District 7610 clubs/members understand, talk about, and act on diversity, equality and inclusion. The Group of Nine include Harry Henderson, Dr. Deborah Jackson, Rene Laws, Lori Prencipe, Sheila Brennan, Amelia Stansell, Dave Borowski, Pat Borowski and Jonathan Lucas. Other members will be added to the group in the coming weeks.
The group is currently working to develop (1) training on diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI), (2) a guide for talking about racial justice and DEI in our clubs; (3) a new DG award focused on DEI, and other actions yet to be determined. !"
Branding Tips to Publicize your Club and Attract Members
By Diane Hill, Falls Church Rotary
We all know it's important to attract new club members, so we can amplify the good we can do in the world. Your club's Public Image and outreach activities are a critical component for #MembershipAttraction -- by all club members -- yet are often viewed as too time- and labor- intensive ... and let's be honest ... overwhelming.

But they don't have to be! Here are a few quick tips that have worked for my Falls Church Rotary to expand our exposure and goodwill as a community partner on social media. As our club tagline states, we are a "Small Club with Big Impact." We are about 20 members, but our social channels have much larger followings. For example, our club Facebook page has 381+ fans (likes/followers) from around the world, and regularly gets engagement and shares far beyond our local area to spread the word of #ServiceAboveSelf.

Here are 3 tips that have worked for our club:

#1 - Create a branded image template for your meetings and standardize to use it. It's a best practice to post on your priority social channel(s) at least several times a week. A basic and important post is your Club's bi/weekly meeting. Creating and using a branded meeting template can expedite this posting, as you can quickly update it for ongoing meeting program details. Here's an example as a Facebook event cover image:
#2 - Create image template "frames" to easily brand your club photos/collages. You probably know it's important to create and post photos because visuals increase memorability for storytelling. Even more so: consistently branding photos reinforces your club's Public Image and call to action – especially as your social post is shared by others in their social feeds. It's easy to create a branded photo template in the free graphics app or other photo editors. Then it's quick to swap out new photos and headlines on an ongoing basis (even on your smartphone). Here’s an example:  
(Image at left is sized for Facebook; the other for Instagram.) If your club would like help doing this in Canva, I'd be happy to assist, or to share my club image as an editable Canva template that you can modify as your own.
#3 - Use the Rotary “People of Action" free online photo tool for branding your photos and telling your club story, available at This tool makes it easy to add an action verb -- such as "Together We Promote Peace" -- with the proper Rotary fonts and logo. Then you can customize it with your club logo, info, hashtags, etc. For example:  
Do you have time-saving tips or other advice that has worked for your club? Let’s share ideas at our Rotary District 7610 Group page on facebook!
Supporting the Second Story
By Ambreen Rizvi, Tysons Corner
The Rotary Club of Tysons Cornor has a tradition of supporting non-profits that provide care to traditionally excluded or underserved populations in the Tysons and Mclean communities.
Second Story is an agency that understands the many shades of brokenness that exist in our youth today; is not quick to judge, but eager to reach out, provide for, and offer positive solutions to support their journey back to wholeness. Most importantly, Second Story represents the reality that what has happened to these young people is quite different from who they are. 

For the past 30 years, Rotary Club of Tysons Corner has dedicated annual financial support, weekly dinners, and board membership to assist the young clients of Second Story, formerly Alternative House, to discover and write a productive and positive "Second Story" of their lives.
Second Story programs include critical services to teens in crisis ages 13-17, moving from homelessness, abuse, trafficking, or other harmful situations to keep them moving toward positive outcomes. Additionally, they help young mothers ages 16-24, attain stability, provide shelter to youth who are homeless ages 18-24, as well as community outreach to include tutoring and mentoring.
Covid-19’s uncertainty and devastation has not spared Second Story. The Rotary Club of Tysons Corner invited the Second Story Development Coordinator, Lauren Witherspoon, to our last meeting to share program updates, required pandemic adjustments, and current requirements for their sustainability. Rotary Club of Tysons Corner is committed to inclusion and Equality as it delivers Service above Self to the Tysons and Mclean communities.   
Second Story after-school programs are an essential part of their development. If students are struggling in school, the volunteers at the safe youth project are their first call. Our volunteers have helped bring grades from F's to A's, keep students in accelerated programs, help kids learn English, and provide encouragement and support every day. 
High School Seniors Receive Stafford Rotary Scholarships
By PDG Sandy Duckworth, Stafford
Stafford Rotary Club awards $2,000 academic scholarships to Mountain View HS seniors Priya Singh and Juliana Calvert. Rotarian and Youth Service Chair John Lafley stated: “The two winners of this year’s scholarships are a credit to Mountain View High School, their parents and the Stafford community, and we are confident they will make this world a better place.”
Priya is President of the Mountain View Interact Club, founder and President of SHINE, volunteer for Meals of Hope and Trees of Hope. Priya took one of the most vigorous courses of study available in the school division – Commonwealth Governor’s School, where she has been on the CGS Debate and Model UN teams. She also attended a competitive summer program in medical science at the Governor’s School Summer Residential Program at VCU. She plans to attend William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA. Her study of interest is biology/neuroscience.
Juliana is Secretary of the Mountain View Interact Club. She participated in the Model United Nations, National Honor Society and was an elected official at Girls State. Juliana is also a National AP Scholar, participated in the Virginia Governor’s Spanish Academy. She is an accomplished dancer and actress, regularly performing with the Christian Youth Theater. Juliana will attend Yale University, New Haven CT. Her study of interest is computer science/engineering.
Stafford Rotary Club sponsors the Mountain View and Stafford Interact Clubs. Interact is Rotary International’s service club for young people ages 12 to 18.  The parent Rotary Club provides support and guidance opportunities for young high school students to work together in a world fellowship dedicated to service, international understanding and peace.
Walkin' Tall
By Woody Van Valkenburgh, Rappahannock-Fredericksburg
During a November 2019 trip to Ecuador, Club President Tom Carlson learned of the interest the Rotary Club of Quito Valle Interoceanico had in supporting young Ecuadorians for orthopedic surgery and rehabilitation in the United States at Shriners hospitals.
Soon after returning to the US, the Rappahannock-Fredericksburg Club was notified that the Rotary Club in Ecuador had identified a candidate for sponsorship.
A young man living in Ecuador had a congenital right hip deformity that caused him to have severe walking problems. The Shreveport, LA Shriners hospital was prepared to perform the surgery to resolve the problem and then provide the subsequent rehabilitation. A place for him and his mother to stay while in Shreveport was also secured.
The transportation element was still missing. What was needed were visa arrangements and airline tickets. Thanks to Rappahannock Club members Vicki Lewis and Tom Carlson, frequent flyer miles and outright airline ticket purchases were donated to fly his mother and him to/from Quito-Shreveport. Mike King, another Rappahannock Club member and owner of a travel agency, did the heavy lifting of pooling the frequent flyer miles and coordinating the flights.
The surgery was successful, and the rehabilitation even better. The support of the Shriners Hospital social worker also proved invaluable. The young man and his mother returned to Ecuador on June 28. He will be able to run and play with his classmates and friends and will be able to lead a much more normal life.
Stafford Rotary Welcomes Sheriff Decatur and
Fire and Rescue Chief Cardello
By PDG Sandy Duckworth, Stafford
Stafford Rotary Club, during their virtual meeting, donated $1,000 each to the Stafford County Sheriff’s Department and Fire & Rescue to aide in their fight of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rotarians received updates on the impact the COVID-19 is having on these Departments, their staff and the community. 

The officers in the Sheriff’s Department, while observing pandemic safety measures, continue to enforce laws while experiencing increased fraud, domestic violence, speeding, and many other related challenges. These men and women also continue their work to help those in need – providing food for the hungry, supplies for the elderly, sanctuary for the homeless.
The Fire & Rescue men and women comprise over 300 volunteers and over 150 uniformed, paid personnel. The virus has had an impact on their EMS and Rescue Services. In order to ensure coverage, no one is taking a vacation. Anything they use that affects the respiratory system is disposable. Even when not responding to calls, first responders are actively focused on cleanliness of the equipment. Staying on the job around the clock, healthy and at full physical strength is one of the biggest priorities as they continue to protect and serve. 

WE are proud to support our local First Responder Heroes for their on-going service!
Podcast Featuring 7610 Members 
By Lori Prencipe, District Public Image Chair
Rotary Opens Opportunities - what’s that actually mean? That’s the question that Immediate Past Resident of Tysons Corner club Tyra Garlington will explore in her radio program Frankly Speaking with Tyra G.
Over the next several months, Tyra will have candid conversations with District 7610 members on topics, such as the changing role of women as leaders in Rotary; how Rotaract members are taking action to support social justice; and members who are driving local and global projects to address food insecurity, deliver clean water, and more. 
Frankly Speaking with Tyra G airs every Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. ET locally, nationally, and internationally at and a podcast of each show can be heard on multiple podcast platforms as well as Tyra’s Website, To find out more, email
Stafford Rotary Continues Support of ShelterBox 
By PDG Sandy Duckworth, Stafford
Wayne Chiles, District 7610 ShelterBox Chairman, is presented with check for $1,000 from Stafford Rotary Club – ShelterBox is a Rotary International Project Partner in disaster relief. Stafford Rotary Club has a long history of support for the ShelterBox organization that provides emergency assistance in disaster areas all around the world. Every box is individually numbered and can be tracked by donors. Each box costs $1000, including the cost of all materials, packing, storage, transport worldwide and distribution to the needy.
North Stafford Rotary Club News
By Tracy McPeck, North Stafford
North Stafford Rotary Club Chaplain Mike Elliott
We are saddened to announce that NSRC member Michael Elliott passed away on August 1, 2020. Mike retired from the FBI as Supervisory Special Agent in 2007 and spent the last few years making a great impact as the Executive Director of S.E.R.V.E., Stafford County’s food pantry. NSRC formed a relationship with Mike through S.E.R.V.E., and in May 2019, Mike joined our club and agreed to be our Club Chaplain. Mike loved people and God beyond measure, and he is very much missed.

While all of our meetings continue to be virtual, we haven’t let the pandemic stop our small but mighty club from accomplishing great things for our community and our friends across the ocean. 

We continue to support the efforts of E3 Kids International in their efforts to break the cycle of poverty through education via the Royal Kids School in Kenya. Then, our Rotaractor, George Omiro from the University of Nairobi, did us proud by receiving a Certificate of Achievement for his service to G3 Community Services. Founded by community leader Vernon Green and based in Stafford, G3CS is dedicated to strengthening communities through mentorship and coaching in schools and beyond. Last but not least, our members chose to donate the portion of their dues not used for in-person meals to S.E.R.V.E..
New Members
These are the new members added in July 2020