February 25, 2021
Westwood Village Rotary Club
Coming up on March 4th: Till von Wachter and Janey Rountree
Till is an economics professor at UCLA who has previously spoken to the WVRC. Janey is the founding Executive Director of the California Policy Lab at UCLA. She will discuss the homeless issue in West Los Angeles, on which the CA Policy Lab has done extensive research. Every L.A. resident involved in our community should be concerned about this subject and its potential solutions. How did the homeless issue explode so quickly and what can we do to solve the problem? Come and learn. And invite your family, friends and fellow Rotarians.
The District 5280 POA finals will be held virtually this year on April 17th, starting at 12:00 noon
WVRC will hold club-level competitions in Art, Music/Instrumental, Music/Vocal, Speech and Dance with participating students from University High virtually on Friday, March 12th at 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Contact Youth Services Chair Phil Gabriel with questions about the Pageant of the Arts competitions and to volunteer for judging.
Special Joint Happy Hour: Rotary Club of Santa Monica and Westwood Village Rotary Club
Be sure to join us on Tuesday, March 2nd at 5:00 p.m. for a special time of fellowship and celebration with the Rotary Club of Santa Monica. RCSM sponsored the founding of WVRC in 1929! Raise a glass of your beverage of choice to toast the unique bond our clubs share. Family, friends and other Rotarians are welcome.
Westwood Virtual Rotary Club Meeting - February 25 2021
As the author joined the chit-chat at 12:07 p.m., President Nancy was telling the participants that she would be unable to lead next week’s WVRC meeting and was attempting to solicit a guest host. With ‘tongue in cheek’ in mind, I suggested the PE was responsible for the duty. Knowing this was the case, she laughingly blurted, “but that’s me”! Further along, Nancy remorsefully said the District wanted her to also attend PETS again. We all agreed she should adamantly refuse the suggestion.  Unbeknownst to all, she had already negotiated a Friday night and Saturday appearance. 

PP Marsha Hunt mentioned she was still zooming from her daughter’s house in Arkansas.  Asked if the Texas cold front has crossed the border into Arkansas, she sadly reported it was 10 degrees below zero at one point, the pool was frozen over and we haven’t left the house! So much for the weather report.

Promptly at 12:30 p.m. the meeting was opened with a welcome slide on the screen, featuring a celebratory 116th birthday of Rotary. President Nancy asked Jim Crane to lead the pledge, and he did with offbeat participation by members. Since John O’Keefe missed last week’s duty, he was given another chance for the ‘thought of the day.’ And a good thought it was as he reflected on the importance of relationships. He spoke of the imaginary train of life, whereby one is joined with parents, and when they leave the train, others, such as friends and close companions, come aboard. Some come on for a quick hello, others stay the course with love and forgiveness until it is time to leave the train. Then, we thank God for the journey. It was truly emblematic of the TRAIN OF LIFE. Thanks, John.

Song meister, Ed Gauld, then sang in honor of the global nature of today’s speaker topic, Hymn to the Nations.

Visitors for the day, other than the speakers, were Asst. Gov. Michael Lushing and, as Phil Gabriel introduced his better half, Lisa Chapman.

Announcements for all concerned, included:
  • Applications for 130 Rotary Peace Fellowships for Master Degrees and Certificates of Disciplines related to peace and development, were in the offing from The Rotary Foundation.
  • This Saturday there will be a zoom conference on Diversity Equity and Disclaimer.
  • Shortly, there will be a career showcase for Rotaracts.
  • Camp Pendleton pickup for furniture will be next week. Remember last week’s speaker, Linda Sundram? For needy Marines housed at Camp Pendleton.
  • Pageant of the Arts is well underway. The categories are Music – Vocal, Music – Instrumental, Art (theme is ‘doing good in the world’), Speech (same theme) and Dance. The Club is limited to one entry per category. Judging for the WVRC will be on March 12th at 3:00 pm, announced Phil Gabriel, Youth Services Committee Chair. As the judging will be virtual, e-mail Phil for judging volunteering or entries. 
  • President Nancy announced, once again, that the Member Survey was sent out this week. Please, please participate as it is very important to the Long Range Committee recommendations for the Club Assembly on March 25th.
  • In a very emotional tribute, Carol Rosenstein was honored as the Rotarian of the Month. Her contributions via ‘Music Mends Minds’ are nothing short of awesome, declared Nancy. Carol truly appreciated the honor as she spoke with vigor although recovering from the dreaded COVID-19.
Speaker(s) for the Day:  Whitney Hawthorne and Alondra Olmas 
Whitney Hawthorne, volunteer coordinator for the UCLA Global Medical Training (GMT), was to be the only speaker on behalf of GMT; however, she brought along Alondra Olmas, the co-finance director of the organization. 

GMT is an international, humanitarian organization that provides free health care services in developing communities in Central America. Whitney began by telling of her journey to UCLA from the small town of Beavertown, Virginia. She expressed that her love of medicine started as a healthcare worker at Virginia Commonwealth University, inspiring her with the empathy for those saddled with mild and severe health issues. Alondra then introduced herself by telling of her perspective of the world being raised by a Hispanic family from the small town of Delano just north of Bakersfield. Alondra seemed to echo Whitney’s experience of empathy by working with those from small communities similar to the one from which she came.
During a trip to Panama in 2019 with GMT, Whitney experienced working with a young boy with a severely large intestine. This encounter, she said, moved her toward medical school. However, she openly admitted, that the hard chemistry courses and excessive studying left her “stressed out.” A GMT trip to the Dominican Republic in 2019 reignited her spirit and it showed when she displayed an array of pictures of needy children and staff in the rural parts of the DR. Whitney is currently a third year neuroscience major at UCLA. 

Whitney and Alondra took turns explaining what GMT is all about. Through GMT, students and volunteers travel with professional guides and doctors, setting up “field clinics” in rural villages to provide medical care for the local indigenous people. The GMT chapter is a student led organization that aims to coordinate and prepare students for one of GMT’s international service trips. Undergraduates gain clinical experience through student/patient interactions – all under the supervision of a medical professional. In preparation, they explained, is to participate in community service. Initially, their contact was with the Westwood Transitional Village, whereby helping with the mission to assist homeless families by donating lotions, socks, blankets, etc. to the facility. They also assist the Venice Family Clinic.
Whitney proceeded to relate the beginning history of GMT which was founded in 2003, and the year after formed as a 501©3 non-profit. Their objective was to teach students basic clinical medical/dental knowledge and the art of medicine. Another slide showed the ‘methodology’: travelling to countries and communities with a great need for medical attention, establishing GMT clinics, visits to hospitals and utilizing local citizens to assist in the clinics.

They discussed the “principles of excellence”, including compassion, continuous hands-on training, sustainability, ethics of cultural support and teamwork of all involved. The impact of their efforts was localized medical care, community improvement of public health projects (clean water) and health education (nutrition, hygiene, and water safety).

In preparation for their trip, participants attend ten workshops, covering such areas as heart and lung, skin and parasites, ENT, urinary, women’s health, and mock medical clinics. The trips usually cost the student anywhere from $2,200 to $2,500 per trip. You could tell by the gleam in their eyes they would appreciate any financial support possible. 
All in all, both Whitney and Alondra appeared dedicated to the GMT efforts and took pride in their participation to help those in need in Central America poverty stricken communities.

Commentary provided by Tom Barron

WVRC 2020/2021 Leadership Team
President: Nancy McCready
Treasurer: Terry M. White
Youth/Vocational Service: Phil Gabriel
Peace: PP Marsha Hunt
Foundation: PP Steve Day
Global Scholarships: Chris Bradford
Webmaster: PP Ron Lyster
Director at Large/Merchant Minute: PP Mark Rogo
District Governor: Bette Hall
Immediate Past President: Diane Good
Secretary: PP Diane Good
Community Service: Aaron Donahue
International Service: Nevin Senkan
Program Chair: PP Tom Barron
Membership: PP Mike Newman
Director at Large/Social Media: PP Aly Shoji
Windmill Editor: P Nancy McCready
Assistant District Governor: Michael Lushing