Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2016-2017 Rotary Youth Leadership Award Recipient - Rafael Gonzalez!

The 2016-2017 Rotary Youth Leadership Award Recipient, is our very own South Miami Senior High School Student and Interact Club Vice President, Rafael Gonzalez!

Here's a brief interview between this fascinating driven young man and the RYLA nominating Committee!

RYLA Committee, "What is your present role as a leader in your community?"

Rafael, "I'm assisting interning for the 27th Congressional District under Ileana Ros-Lehtinen"

RYLA Committee, "Would you classify yourself as a passive or dominate active leader? Please give examples."

Rafael, "I listen for different strategies for Projects and how to influence the expansion of donations around Miami Dade County"

RYLA Committee, "What do you believe are the qualities that a leader must have?"

Rafael, "As a leader, to be assertive, present humility and the desire to please with the decision at hand within my reach."

RYLA Committee, "Please briefly explain why you believe that this leadership conference will help you as a leader."

Rafael, "As a leader, we must be humbled to show our ethos. I wish to expand my knowledge and be a more qualified leader."

RYLA, "Where did you hear about the RYLA program?"

Rafael, "Robert H. Kelly, the RYLA Chairman for the Rotary Club of South Miami."

Congrats Rafael! And, thank you Bob Kelly for your service and in bringing this bright young man to the attention of the RYLA nominating committee!

source: Robert H. Kelly, RYLA Chairman

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Historic Lecture - Dr. Gregory Bush, Author, Historian

A Historic Lecture

January 24, 2017 - Our Speaker for today was Dr. Gregory Bush, author, historian, professor, and the director of the Institute for Public History at the University of Miami. Dr. Bush's lecture further illustrated Miami's rich history and how our public spaces played an intrical part in South Florida's Civic Rights history.

Nature Links

Dr. Bush began by describing his program which helps students with intellectual disabilities namely, "Nature Links". There isn't much to do in Miami Dade Country for students with intellectual disabilities out of the high-school program. Dr. Bush''s  program helps keeps them active, teaching them various skills ranging from planting to cooking. Additionally, Rotarian Mari Chael is the Vice President of this program (wonders never cease with Mari!). You can find a Nature Links project in various locations ranging from Coral Gables to Palmetto Bay.

Land Over Time

Then Dr. Bush switched to the main topic of the day which is creating spaces that last, focusing on the needs of all instead of just a few. Currently, it's confusing to even know who owns which parcel of land, what's public and what's private. And further exacerbating the issue is the fact unfortunately most of us in Miami just don't have a solid concept of our history. Dr. Bush gave us a brief synopsis of its history beginning with briefly describing the first Civil Rights assembly which was right here in May of 1945.

This educational summary was only limited by time constraints, still much was discussed and much reviewed. Such as the fascinating history of Virginia Key and its ongoing, but promising, preservation struggles. The Civil Rights history ( much of this unknown to Miami Natives) and how much of this history was preserved by the prominent women ( not so much the men) of that movement. The worry of old landmarks giving way to private industry, the extravagant parking costs just for access for public beaches, essentially pushing people away. And the concern, just how much this land of ours has changed over time, and what we can do to learn more. Thank you Dr. Bush!

Thank you Dr. Bush!

Article by Jeff McNabb

Mid Year Review - How are we doing?

True Fellowship and why did You Join Rotary?

January 10, 2017 - Today was a fellowship meeting in the truest sense, attendance continues to be solid and we all shared what brought us to Rotary. Generally, community service opportunity was a part of each answer, some were influenced and recruited by other Rotarians, a few others recruited through a Rotarian family legacy.

Mid Year Review - How are we doing?

The second half of the meeting was the first half of the year in review, and most goals set at the beginning of the year are being addressed! Still, there is room for improvement, and the strive to be better and to do more should always be a part of our collected drive. However, Rotarian Bob Kelly noted, to paraphrase his high-school basketball coach, that through trying and honest effort, we are in fact, achieving!

President Subrata's mid-year presentation was expertly prepared with illustrations and outlined what we have done so far. Some discussion took place mostly on what to run as fundraisers for our club, possibly setting up new club traditions. Rotarian Mari Chael, had an excellent idea about a community bike ride and a garage sale ( maybe a couple of garage sales).

Continued Club Enthusiasm!

Even though there wasn't a speaker today, the discussion today was effective and everyone participated, this just goes to show the kind of infectious enthusiasm we have as Rotary Club of South Miamians!

Article by Jeff McNabb

A Special Kind of Leadership - Dr.Jeffrey Hodgson of the New World School of the Arts

A Special Kind of Leadership

January 3, 2017 - Our speaker today was Dr.Jeffrey Hodgson of the New World School of the Arts, Lee Michael Morrison, our former distinguished speaker chair and fellow Rotarian, introduced Dr. Hodgson who was influential in Lee’s life as a former artistic director of NWSA’s Wind Symphony program.

To paraphrase Lee’s introduction, Dr. Hodgson is one of those special kind of leaders who works behind the scenes, always encouraging, always patting those he supports on the back, and always taking a back seat so his students and staff can take the spotlight.

Rotary Scholarship

Dr. Hodgson, an accomplished pianist himself, began the lecture introducing Daniel Ochoa, the Rotary Scholarship Recipient, who is a freshman in the visual arts program, specializing in graphic art design.

Daniel, a well rounded artist and a Miami native, had the highest marks in visual design for NWSA, and is currently involved in the WARP program which is an intensive study that meets for 10 hours per week.

Educational Partnership 

The NWSA isn’t just a high school program promoting and helping to produce music, theater, dance and visual arts talents, but also works closely with Miami Dade College and the University of Florida as a 4 year college program.

In fact, one of the benefits of the NWSA is being on a college campus studying with college faculty. And, those in the high school program earn 24 credits towards their college degree. Additionally, there is a 100% graduation rate, and in 2015, a $24.6 million scholarship was awarded to 115 of NWSA’s graduates.

ROI of Arts Degrees

NWSA will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year, an accomplishment that is rare in Miami. It’s programs like the NWSA that continues to enlighten us about the Return on Investment with Arts degrees, which is a needed, vital resource, equivalent of Law, and Medical degrees.

The study of the Arts expands the mind, enriches communities, laying down the foundation of lasting legacies often defining cultures and international societies, visually, as well as musically.

Thank you Dr. Jeffrey Hodgson and congratulations on the NWSA's 30 year anniversary!

Article by Jeff McNabb

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Rotary Club of South Miami Officer of the Quarter – December, 2016 OFFICER ARYO REZAIE

January 24, 2017 – South Miami, Florida

For the 2016-17 Rotary year, Rotary Club of South Miami President Subrata Basu and the club’s Board re-instituted the Police Officer of the Quarter Award to recognize the outstanding work of South Miami’s finest.

The award for the 4th Quarter, 2016, is being awarded to Officer Aryo Rezaie.

On December 25th, South Miami officers were dispatched to a violent confrontation involving a knife occurring at a residence.

The family’s housekeeper, upon arrival for the day, had been terminated and asked to leave the residence by the woman who employed her. The husband was asleep in the bedroom.

Moments later, the housekeeper entered the residence, woke up the husband and forced him out of the house. She then grabbed a large kitchen knife and held him at knife-point outside of the house. With the wife and son present, she said she was going to kill the husband. He was able to break free and the family ran inside a neighbor’s house for safety and to call 911. The attacker, meanwhile, was banging on the glass door with the knife, attempting to gain entry.

Upon arrival of Officer Rezaie and other officers, the housekeeper approached them, still carrying the knife. With officers giving loud verbal commands to drop the knife, she continued toward them.

Officers are trained to react to a potentially fatal attack to stop the threat against themselves or the public. For attacks with edged weapons, including knives, the “21 foot rule” has historically been accepted as the minimum reasonable distance officers have to defend themselves. Recent training leans toward a “situational response” rather than a fixed distance. Newer principles recommend or encourage officers to use all available resources and options to avoid the use of deadly force.

In this incident, the housekeeper got to within 15 feet of the officers while still disobeying their clear commands to drop the knife. At that moment, Officer Rezaie deployed his Taser, causing the subject to drop the knife and fall to the ground. Officers were then able to take her into custody without injury or further trouble.

For this particular incident, Officer Rezaie’s performance and critical decision making proved the recent trend toward “situational response” is valid. Sound judgment, attention to training, instincts and common sense by Officer Rezaie resulted in the best outcome in this situation.

 source: City of South Miami Police Department

Friday, January 13, 2017

What Does Rotary Mean to You? A continuing Rotary Club of South Miami series...

2016-2017 Rotary Club of South Miami's Secretary David Jacobs' Rotary Story

I joined Rotary in November of 1996 (I can’t believe it’s been over 20 years!), sponsored by Bill Krueger. When Bill invited me to join and brought me to my first meeting, he said an organization like Rotary was “good for a young man like you.” He was so right! I was immediately swept up in the whirl and excitement of community, national and international service projects happening in our club at the time. One of my first memories in our club was a project where we refurbished a school bus and shipped the bus to a school in Central America.
My favorite Rotary memories are selling sodas at the Art Festival Coke booth near the food court with my daughters Kat and Kris. Those experiences in community service through our Club, and seeing Club members giving generously of their time and talent in service, inspired them both to pursue careers of service. Kat is a PhD student in Social Work at FSU, and Kris is the daytime operations manager at the Kearny Center in Tallahassee, the facility serving clients experiencing homelessness in Leon County.
I would like to see our club engaged in the city of South Miami, and for us to continue our active hands on community service.

Thank you DJ!