Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What Does Rotary Mean to You? Mari Chael's Story

Mari Chael is one of the more vivacious, engaging, personalities in our club! Her energy and enthusiasm for her community is endless and encouraging! She's an extremely versatile architect with designs that run the whole spectrum, from walkable communities, to civic buildings, to monuments, to small cottages, to affordable housing, and the list goes on.

Mari is also a big bike advocate. In fact, she is the founder of Bike SoMi and the current chair of the Green Mobility Network. GMN is a 305 grassroots organization that looks to further enable people to bike and walk safely, ultilizing a "greener" sense of mobility, by moving away from the pollution that comes from constantly driving cars to work. It is truly is a pleasure to see her in her element especially regarding bike advocacy, for she is, without a doubt, the STAR South Miami ambassador for switching from Automobile Mobility to Green Mobility!

One of Mari Chael's restoration projects!

Rotary Club of South Miami ( RCSM ) "Who or what brought you to Rotary?"

Mari, "I've known about Rotary most of my life, my husband was a Rotarian (Victor Doyle)  when our kids were little and so I was brought up in my adulthood with Rotary, seems like forever!

When I became an activist in South Miami, I thought I should join the Rotary Club because all of those people I've known for so many years who were out there doing good deeds for their community. And, by joining Rotary, this was really another means of tapping into a wonderful, positive group of people whose mission is improving our community and our world! So, anyway, my husband was a past President and after going to a Rotary convention, I was convinced that Rotary was like an extended family. And, to just to hear their stories, it's totally, totally inspirational!"

RCSM, "What is your favorite Rotary memory?"

Mari, "Oh? That is a trick question! I love everybody. in particular I love the ladies who selflessly put together the Arts Festival. I have to say, that of all of the Rotarians who are my favorites, I have a soft spot for Wendy (Wendy Lapidus) and Doreen (Doreen Reitnauer)."

RCSM "So, your favorite memory ties into the Arts Festival?"

Mari, "Well yeah! It's our major fundraiser and these ladies work year round to put it together both for our community and our foundation, and that kind of selfless giving, I really much admire!"

RCSM, "What would you like to see Rotary do going forward?"

Mari, "Well, I think the way we're going is good! I love the volunteer programs, I love the direction of editable foods, of helping the underserved in the community, like the homeless,  of boosting our sense of place, really everything we're doing is exactly the right thing!  I would like us to eventually grow organically and also have more participation in our volunteer, community events, and also, I would like to see us eventually reach 100% Rotary participation and I think that's doable! We still have a ways to go, but I don't think that's an unreasonable expectation!"

RCSM, "Thank you Mari!"

Mari, "Thank you! That was fun!"

Interview by Jeff McNabb

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