Rotary Log for December 12, 2019 
Another Thursday is upon us…
President Leo struck the bell at 12:15pm and welcome guests and fellow Rotarians. John Rice led us in a song fitting for the holidays, “White Christmas.” Reverend Rob Stevens, Rector of St. John’s Episcopal church provided the invocation.
As we peaked around the room, we noticed attendance was a bit lower than usual since some Rotarians were slinging trees.  Leo started the meeting a bit early as we had a jam- packed schedule full of surprises. 
The club continues to grow, and we welcomed two new members today!  Aileen Dugan introduced Ken Murphy, a local attorney with lots of community volunteer history. He is familiar to many in our club and makes a great addition. In fact, he has already served Christmas Tree shifts. Ken’s new motto; #serviceaboveself.
Jenn Madden introduced Joann Neumann.  Joann is the Director of Development at Families First, an organization we have supported over the years. 
As tradition would have it, PDG Dr. Mort bought the first ornament of the year for $100. It will be gifted, as always, to Ray Jones’ widow, Marlene.
For those that were present at the last meeting, you heard we lost an amazing Rotarian, community leader and friend, Bill Mortimer.  Bill was so grateful for Rotary and the good work we do every day.  Before he passed, Bill prepared a bag of all the tree ornaments our club has created. Bill wanted it to be auctioned and that’s just what Steve Bennett did, starting at $1000. PDG Dr. Mort stepped up and won with a bid of $ 1600!  Congratulations, Mort!
Who doesn’t like a little extra cash during the holiday season?  Charlie Bourdages was the lucky 50/50 winner, but it was not a match for the bigger prize. 
Next up was Past President Ben Wheeler to introduce our speaker, Meme Wheeler. Meme is the Executive Director of the Chase Home for Children. Founded in 1877 as an orphanage, the Chase Home in Portsmouth is one of New Hampshire’s oldest nonprofit entities. For more than 140 years, the home has been committed to helping at-risk children in dire circumstances live happier and healthier lives
Chase Home helped more than 300 families last year. Ben shared a story about the Chase Home that is very dear to him.  He recalled that the Chase Home helped his cousins during a difficult time. He remembered how fortunate they were that the Chase Home was there, and the fond memories created.
There are currently three programs at the Chase Home.  The first is the residential program, which offers youth a place to live. At the same time, skills are developed so that youngsters experience stability across multiple areas of their lives. Areas that include social, academic, emotional and family environments. The second is the In-Home program. This program focuses on family preservation. The opioid epidemic affecting our state has impacted the Chase Home significantly, according to Meme. Families are struggling to stay together under the pressures of addiction.
The third and newest program is the Youth Diversion program.  An evidence-based program, it attempts to divert youth from re-offending and entering the Juvenile Justice System. The strategy here involves addressing underlying issues behind shoplifting, drug/alcohol abuse, bullying, and anger-management. Therapeutic groups are provided for individual and substance abuse counseling. This is an invaluable program because it can keep youths out of the court system. It also saves tax payers thousands while helping children make better life decisions as they grow into young adults.
Meme closed by expressing her gratitude to Rotary, recounting all our hands-on projects completed at the Chase Home.
PDG Dr. Mort came back to the podium, explaining that part of what we do is recognize community leaders. Folks who work behind the scenes, much like Santa’s elves. He discussed Paul Harris and how the Rotary Foundation raised $1.2 million the day Paul Harris passed in 1947.  Part of this money was used for Ambassadorial Scholarships.
The Ambassadorial program ended in 2013, replaced by the Rotary Global Grant Scholarship, which expands on the Ambassadorial mission. Now every Rotary Scholar advances Rotary's International mission to "promote service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace."
Meme presented a Paul Harris Fellow to Ralph Woodman Jr.  Ralph has been on the Chase Home board of trustees since 1982. A second Paul Harris Award went to another member of the Board of Trustees, W. Peter Torrey.  While we can’t pinpoint the exact year, Peter served the Chase Home as a board member since about 2001.Thank you both for your dedication and your service!
If you want to get more involved with the Chase Home, please visit
 Leo closed the meeting with the Four Way Test.
Respectfully Submitted with a Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!
Cleo Villaflores