Rotary Log for May 14, 2020
President Leo opened our virtual meeting with the Pledge.
The song was a video showing an orchestral performance of the National Anthem of Columbia. It was a nice tip of the hat to our Columbian guests who participated in the meeting. The anthem is said to be quite stirring. Your scribe could not confirm that, as a technical glitch led to a loss of the audio feed. Fortunately, the audio was restored in time for John Rice’s invocation.
President Leo recited “Covid-19 Guiding Principles.” These precepts were adapted from a missive to the faculty of Albertus Magnus College.
Eric Barr is a former Rotarian who is new to the area.
Jeremy Gould, president of the Freeport, Maine, Rotary Club and Emma Bodwell. Both Jeremy and Emma accompanied Leo on the Columbia trip (about which more later.)
Pauline (“Polly”) Dominguez and Maria Jose Uribe joined us from Columbia.
Lindsay Hery’s postponed wedding finally transpired!
Ian O’Neill and his wife are expecting a baby.
Annual dues invoices have been emailed to everyone.
Caitlin Hassett is taking applications for the Vocational Awards.
Today’s program told the story of “Columbia International Outreach 2020,” held in Columba’s capital city, Medellin, in early February. The event showcased more than 60 service projects produced by Rotary clubs throughout the country. Each project was thoroughly explained and accompanied by a proposed budget. Next, sponsoring Rotary clubs attempted to enlist additional support from fellow Rotary clubs throughout the world.  The District 7780 team included Emma Bodwell, Jeremy Gould and our own Leo.
First up was Polly Dominguez, speaking to us live from Columbia where she is a member of the Nuevo Medellin Rotary club. She described the workings of “La Cantera,” an organization providing opportunities for social re-integration of young people.
To help our understanding of La Cantera, Polly prefaced her remarks with a brief statistical sketch of Columbia’s “at-risk” population. More than 20% of the people live in poverty. Drilling down into Medellin itself, the numbers are a bit better, but the homicide rate remains too high.  This violence is mostly committed by young men.
For four years, La Cantera has enrolled more than 40 young residents of Comuna 5, a blighted neighborhood of Medellin. These folks participate in programs designed to change their life focus away from criminal activities and towards becoming productive citizens. Neighborhood cleanup projects and entrepreneurial skill development programs are integral to this work. La Cantera wants to replicate this successful activity in all neighborhoods of the city. 
Leo spoke next, describing the activities of our District 7780 Team above and beyond the regularly scheduled International Outreach event. For two weeks the Team traveled to three cities and visited 11 service projects. These efforts addressed a variety of needs, including safe water, pediatric oncology, IT technology for schools, and entrepreneurial development.
Leo highlighted two projects. One is “Safe Water in Palerma,” a rural village that has no safe water source. Potable water must be hauled in by horse and cart. The service project would provide an operable well. The second project is in Medellin. Here the purpose is to expand the social re-integration efforts of La Cantera into another neighborhood.
In closing, guest Jeremy Gould led us in the 4-Way Test.
Our meeting was a good example of how “Rotary Connects the World!”
Respectfully Submitted, Richard Greulich
Photos by Don Chick