Posted on May 04, 2022
We are an active club! Read more about some of our recent events and service projects. April was a BUSY month! 
(Make sure you read about Michelle's Service Above Self Award in this section!)
Speaker: National Guard
Two members of the Iowa National Guard visited our club meeting on April 13 and shared the story of the National Guard unit that meets here in Cedar Rapids, as well as the bigger story of the NG in Iowa and the nation. Major Matthew Berry is the Officer in Charge at the unit, which has over 300 members serving as part-time citizen soldiers ready to respond in the event of a local, state, or national emergency. The soldiers train one weekend a month, and two straight weeks every summer, to maintain preparedness. Joining Major Berry was Staff Sergeant Tara Walker, who is the unit retention officer. Her duties involve helping soldiers realize all the opportunities and benefits that National Guard membership entails, and to keep them enlisted. Many National Guard members join because they enjoy serving their community and country, but also because of the educational opportunities. Members can often get a full college education paid for by the National Guard, including advanced degrees (depending on the field of study). Both Major Berry and SSG Walker said one of the goals of their National Guard unit is to be more visible in the community, and activities such as speaking at our club meeting is part of that. They are also looking for community volunteer opportunities where they can send members out occasionally during training weekends to help with events, especially if the activities serve veterans.

All-Iowa District Conference
It has been 75 since the last "All-Iowa" Rotary Conference and it was a huge success! Clubs from both 5970 and 6000 joined together at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Coralville for two fun-filled days of learning, service, fellowship, and fun! It was a wonderful event to attend and network to expand initiatives, build awareness, develop ideas, and change our world. 
Comments from Mariah: Satellite and breakout clubs are becoming the next wave of the Rotary future. A lot of clubs are adding evening meetings. People are excited about this and looking for guidance - sharing our strategies could be a great way to help other clubs gain traction. And something we could advertise more!
In addition to the main District Conference activities, some of our club members helped coordinate sessions and events for our youth. John Schultz, Rebecca Schultz, and Shari Stoll worked together with the rest of the Rotary Youth Exchange Committee to introduce the RYE outbounds to conference attendees in wonderful flag ceremony before the lunch keynote speaker. John conducted the RYE outbounds in singing "What A Wonderful World." 
Katie Wilford worked with 5970 and 6000 Interact Committees to coordinate four sessions and a service project for Interactors. Interactors learned about the various programs Rotary offered (i.e., RYLA, RYE, Global Scholar, Peace Scholar, WAS, Xicotepec), how to solve problems that could occur in an Interact program, the history of the iron lung, how to balance school and life (and maintain happiness and sanity!), about human trafficking, and how to plan a successful event. In addition to all of this wonderful learning, Interactors had fun assembling 35 birthday bags that were delivered to the CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank in Iowa City a few days later. 

Rotary Club Excellence Award
We are Rotarians. And we serve our communities, at home and abroad! Congratulations for our club for receiving the District 5970 Rotary Club Excellence Award! 

Service Above Self Award
We couldn't be more proud of our club president, Michelle Bell, who won the District 5970 Service Above Self award. This award was presented during the District 5970 Meeting at the District Conference. She was nominated by Neil Fell, Jacob Wittrock, and DG Jeff Hassman. Michelle works the equivalent of two jobs and still brings energy and a love of Rotary to every meeting and project. Congratulations, Michelle!
The Service Above Self Award is a prestigious award for Rotarians and Rotaractors who demonstrate their commitment to helping others by volunteering their time and talents. Read more about it here.

Treats for Hospice Workers
The mission of a Hospice worker is to help terminally ill patients plan their final days and guide them and their loved ones through the passage emotionally and spiritually. A global pandemic presented the ultimate challenge these past few years.
Our club packaged and delivered 65 bags through Mercy for hospice employees and volunteers that give care to families going through final stages of life.

Big Brothers Big Sisters
At our last Wednesday meeting in April, we heard from Big Brothers Big Sisters Development Director, Catherine VanDraska. Our very own club member, Tedde Jones, was honored with her fiance Hunter as 2021 Bigs of the Year. There are currently 183 kids who are waiting to be matched.
Written by Tedde Jones:
BBBS has been a successful presence in Cedar Rapids since the mid-70s. The purpose of this program is to have leaders in our community be mentors to our youth, encouraging them to try new things and offering guidance through life. Bigs are someone the Little can trust and learn from. They empower Littles to reach their goals in school and in sports, all while having fun! The program matches an individual, a couple, or a family with a Little and creates opportunities for life-long friendships. The commitment is minimal: 1 visit with each other a month, for an hour or two, but more time together is always encouraged! BBBS sends out monthly newsletters with low-cost or FREE activities to do together, whether it's half price pizza at a sponsoring restaurant, discounted bowling, or a free tour at the African American museum. Hiking, bike riding, and going to the splash pads on a hot summer day are a few other opportunities to spend time with your Little. The process does not take long and strives to match you with an ideal, similar-to-you-in-personality kiddo. Littles have grown up and become Bigs themselves, Bigs have matched with other Littles once their Little moves on, OR the match lasts a lifetime. No matter your situation, there is a Little waiting to be matched with you!
Are you ready to be a Big with Big Brothers Big Sisters after learning more about what it takes to be a Big? I know any of you would make a positive impact on one of the 183 kids who are waiting. I encourage you to check out the link below to learn more, ask questions, or sign up!
To connect directly with Catherine, email her at:
Click here to become a Big or learn more:
Watch this video about Hunter's hesitation on becoming a Big:

Run or Walk to Support Ukraine
This past weekend, there was a run or walk to support Ukraine. This event was made possible by No Regrets Running, an offshoot of "The No Regrets Project," which is a movement designed to provide activities and experiences to enhance your self and the people around you by providing health, nutrition, fitness and mindset programming in our community.
Where: Lowe Park in Marion, Iowa
When: Saturday April 30 at 10AM
What: Informal 5K walk or run event to support the people of the Ukraine.
Proceeds from this event were donated to the Rotary Disaster Response Fund and UNICEF. 
$600 = Rotary Disaster Response Fund
$400 = UNICEF

Little Free Pantry Project
The Linn County Rotary Little Free Pantry Project has continued this past month and we are nearing completion of the first pantry. With the leadership of our chief woodworker, John Schultz, the pantry needs only to be painted, roofed, and fitted with the door. Once these last details are completed, we will be ready to place it in its new location and begin serving our community.