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Rotary Club of Vancouver Sunrise
Vancouver Sunrise

Caring People Serving Locally and Impacting Globally Through Partnerships, Friendship, and Fun

We meet In Person
Wednesdays at 7:30 a.m.
Coal Harbour Community Centre
480 Broughton St
Vancouver, BC
Parking at street meters is free before 9:00 am.
Home Page Stories
Ivy Liao, one of our 2019 Rotary-Strathcona Hoop-A-Thon scholarship recipients, was our guest speaker on January 31st.  A few years after her parents enrolled Ivy and her brother in a local table tennis club, Ivy became national champion of her age group at 10 years old, and a key member of the Canadian National senior team at age 14.  
Ivy completed her undergraduate degree at UBC while continuing to compete internationally, and also giving back as a coach with BC Provincial and UBC teams.  She is working as a project manager at ShEvalesco, a not-for-profit leadership organization for youth, as well as volunteering as a mentor with the Girls Who LEAP and the Face of Today Foundation. She will be start her law degree at the Allard Law School in the fall.
Read more about Ivy and her remarkable athletic, academic and career accomplishments here.
We closed out the month of January by officially welcoming Cheryl Thomas as the newest member in our club.  Cheryl is an accomplished business professor and Rotarian who transferred to our club from the Rotary Club of Victoria Harbourside.  
We look forward to learning more about Cheryl in her upcoming classification talk and through sharing service activities and fellowship events in the weeks and months ahead!  
Our guest on January 17th was Annie Smith, Executive Director of the McCreary Centre Society a not-for-profit organization committed to improving the health of BC youth through research, evaluation and community-based projects. 
Their best-known research is the BC Adolescent Health Study (AHS), which is the most extensive study of the health of BC youth. Data from the study is used by government agencies, communities, schools, and health professionals to plan programs and services for youth.
Annie spoke to us about their latest study, Searching for a place: The health and well-being of homeless and unstably housed youth in BC. Participants were 838 youth aged 12-27 who were homeless, unstably housed or at risk of homelessness -  those without a home, in temporary accommodation, on the street, couch surfing, staying in an SRO or shelter.  Key recommendations from the findings include:
  • More youth safe houses and shelters
  • Self-referral options for youth
  • Services for those who become homeless at a young age
  • More outreach workers and portable health services; and
  • Support to obtain ID and substance abuse and sexual health treatment.
We are grateful for the important work done by McCreary, and we look forward to having Annie return to speak to us again, after the release of the AHS in February. 
On January 17th, we were joined by three lawyers who provided us with a sobering peek into the complex humanitarian and war defence efforts in Ukraine.  
Jessica Lott Thompson is a former Director of the Yukon Human Rights Commission and Member of the Law Societies of British Columbia and Nunavut who works with other Canadian lawyers who volunteer to assist with human rights and legal work in Ukraine. 
Mariia Zivert and Nadiia Denysiuk are Ukrainian lawyers who have been volunteering their time and skills since the 2014 Russian invasion of Crimea. In February 2023, a year after the full-scale Russian invasion, Nadiia, together with Mariia and other legal colleagues, co-founded the Dead Lawyers Society charitable organization.
Nadiia leads the organization’s Defence Procurement projects and Mariia heads the Medical Outpost project that supports 12 hospitals near the front line and combat medic units working on evacuation of the wounded. You can donate to support their efforts at the link to the Foundation above. 
We launched the new calendar year with a presentation by former District 5040 Governor Chris Offer.  Chris is the Chair of the Rotary Peace Major Gifts Initiative Committee whose goal is to raise $75 million for the Rotary Peace Centers and Rotary’s peace area of focus. 
In addition to updating us on the contemporary impact of Rotary's Peace Centers mission to train peace leaders from across the world, Chris walked us through the legacy of Rotary International's peace work from its early 20th-centry influence in the formation of the United Nations.  Learn more about Rotary's Peace Initiatives here
Our busy club member Zarina always manages to fit in time for service and was onsite at the Miyawaki Tree Planting Project at Terra Nova Park in Richmond with her daughter Aralina from the Interlink Interact club. 
This is a service project of the Rotaract HOPE 604 Club. Christine, the club's President, has invited our club to join in get your boots and spades ready for next fall!
Our Strathcona Interactors and the Strathcona Youth Council baked up a storm using the kitchen facilitates at the Strathcona Community Centre, including some all-time treats: brownies, cinnamon rolls, sugar Cookies, Rice Krispie squares, and lemon tarts that went to a Christmas Eve dinner in the Downtown Eastside.  Great work all!
Since September, members of our club have been participating in the Bread Brigade partnership project with the Mountainview Rotary Club and Cob's Bread. Every second Tuesday, a small team picks up the unsold bread and pastries from Cob's and delivers them to The Osborn shelter on East Hastings.  
More help is needed at Cob's for January and February, so if you can spare half an hour on a Tuesday evening at 8:15 pm, please sign up here for a future shift to help package up the donations at Cob's Bread at 1702 Robson Street (corner of Robson and Bidwell) for delivery.  Thanks to Ron and Steve for their support with unloading at The Osborn.
Every second Saturday of the month our club also supports the Food on the Corner service project at 222 Main Street (near the court house) to distribute home-made soup, sandwiches, pastries, bread and coffee to seniors and others in need on the Downtown Eastside.  We need two members to help out on January 13th, so if you're available from 11:00 am - 12:00 pm, please contact Ron. 
Many thanks to Carlos and Azita for hosting our club's annual Christmas potluck party and for the wonderful, warm welcome and fun that was shared by all!  Our next social event will be the return of our Guess Who's Coming to Dinner event. Stay tuned for updates.
Undeterred by the wet winter weather, Rotarians, Interactors, Rotaractors and friends from across Metro Vancouver turned out for the second annual Walk to End Polio.  The walk ended at Science World, where the dome's lights sparkled in red to mark the occasion! 
The walk started at City Hall, with a Proclamation ceremony by Deputy Mayor Rebecca Bligh, and City Councillors Mike Klassen, Lisa Dominato, Peter Fry and Peter Meiszner who participated with District Governor Shirley-Pat and the presidents of the nine Vancouver Rotary clubs. Check out the ceremony here.  
On October 25th, we welcomed Jamie Kemp as our newest member and on November 29th she shared her remarkable career inspiring service-based learning.  The journey began in second year studies at McMaster University when Jamie's History professor invited her to explore a Medieval manuscript with the freedom to select her own curiosity-based approach. That moment sparked a lifelong journey in international research, teaching and leadership. 
Jamie has taught courses in numerous European universities and in the departments of Art History and Medieval Studies at the University of Victoria. She later served as Professor of Arts & Humanities and then Interim Chief Academic Officer at Quest University Canada in Squamish. Jamie returned to Victoria as Academic Dean and Senior Educational Administrator at Pacific Design Academy, and also joined the Rotary Club of Victoria-Harbourside. 
Today, Jamie serves as Chief Academic Officer at LaSalle College, Vancouver, where she provides the creative inspiration for service-based learning to 20,000 applied and liberal arts post-secondary students across 23 international schools. 
Fun facts - Jamie is a novice rower at the Vancouver Rowing Club and has a 16th-century Italian manuscript in the University of Victoria Library collection named in her honour - the Codex Kemp - pictured below.  Thank you Jamie for sharing your passion with us! 
October kicked off with a wonderful classification talk from Danison Buan, who shared his fascinating story of community service and business success.  
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Danison worked three jobs as a University of Winnipeg student while also volunteering at a local hospital. He later transferred to SFU's Business School which brought him to BC and to Rotary. 
A passionate entrepreneur, Danison has mentored, founded or co-founded an incredible number of businesses, including a tea house, a Greek restaurant, a food truck, a travel business, a bookkeeping service, and a beauty salon, to name only a few.  Eight years ago, he started ReFood, a charity that collects surplus food from grocery stores and other sources, and distributes it to individuals and families in need in local communities.  
Danison is a true global citizen as he regularly works in Bali and the Philippines on business and micro-finance projects while also serving on numerous charitable boards.  Five years ago, he joined the Burnaby Rotary Club and later founded the Regal Rotaract Club. Today, he chairs the District Membership Committee and our club's Grant Committee, among others.  
Fun facts: In addition to his business degree, Danison is a Red Seal certified chef and enjoys basketball and calligraphy in his "spare time."  Thank you Danison for choosing our club to continue your Rotary leadership and service...and we really look forward to your mentoring workshop on time management!! 
November kicked off with energy and inspiration thanks to a visit from our Rotary District 5040 Governor Shirley-Pat Chamberlain - pictured above with club members and friends.
Congratulations to club member Lawrence receiving his Paul Harris +8 pin and King George Interact President Wilson receiving his club's 2022-2023 Citation - pictured below.
Author, cyclist and kindness champion Brock Tully shared his life story and many inspiring messages of hope with us on November 22nd. 
Check out this documentary about Brock's life and work, Heart Rider.  Thank you Brock for your service work to create kinder, healthier communities! 
Neil Fernyhough, Executive Director of the West End and Coal Harbour Community Policing Centre spoke to us on October 11th. The non-profit organization, located at the corner of Davie and Jervis streets, coordinates education and information programs delivered by 100+ volunteers to support residents and merchants with reducing crime and street disorder and increasing personal safety - including addressing violent shoplifting and stranger attacks, home security, graffiti clean up, and pedestrian safety.
Interested volunteers who are willing to commit to 4 hours a month of service are invited to contact Neil for an interview.
Executive Director Claudine Matlo and Yathu Radhakrishnan, Events and Communications Coordinator, joined our October 18th meeting to discuss the activities of the West End Seniors' Network (WESN). Operating out of Barclay Manor (pictured above) and a storefront at the Denman Mall since 1990, the organization has since grown to over 900 members, with 250+ volunteers supporting a wide range of social activities and programs, including health, housing, food security and recreation.  
For many years, our Rotary Club worked closely with WESN, serving on the Board and hosting a Christmas luncheon. We look forward to exploring how we and our King George Interact Club can support WESN's future efforts.
Team Rotary Vancouver Sunrise lived up to its name with another successful early morning Pancake Breakfast to support the lawyers participating in the annual Hooplaw fundraising basketball tournament.  Proceeds from the event support local charitable projects, including our Rotary-Strathcona Youth Leadership programs.  
Special recognition and appreciation to:
  • Past President Cam, Luba and Ron who led the organization and pick up of donated food and supplies.
  • Jamie Kemp and her colleagues at Lasalle College's Culinary School who provided supplies and professional equipment.
  • Abigail, Emma and Jason who fought the flames and prepared a big serving of pancakes and sausages to get the party started!
On September 6th we were treated to a fascinating classification talk by one of our newest members, Dr. Ryan McBride.  With his dry wit and a collection of family and vacation photos, Ryan took us through his journey as a lifelong resident of Surrey and Burnaby and his career as an academic and scientist who applies mathematics and data science to real-world community problems. 
Along the way, we also learned about AI, Ryan's favourite travel souvenirs (tacky fridge magnets) and how he has combined a demanding teaching, research and consulting career at SFU with his passion for service through Rotaract and Rotary. Thank you Ryan for sharing your research expertise as a founding member of our Grants Committee, and for your friendship and fun! 
Our newest club member Jamie Kemp and Ron were busy in September promoting Rotaract opportunities to students during orientation at Vancouver's Lasalle College, where Jamie is the Chief Academic Officer.  Given this dynamic duo, it can't be long before we hear about a potential new Rotaract Club in our District! 
On September 20th, we took a deeper dive into September's Rotary theme of Basic Education and Literacy with an interactive and engaging presentation by Katrina Jenkins - pictured above with a proud Papa Kwan.  Katrina is a paediatric Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) who works with Vancouver Coastal Health helping pre-school children with a wide range of communication delays and disorders to improve their speech and language skills and gain confidence.  
Thank you Katrina for your service supporting children and their families and making our future generations and communities stronger and brighter!
Vancouver School Board (VSB) Chair Victoria Chung spoke to us on September 13th about the Board's role and priorities and the new development underway at the Coal Harbour Community Centre.
The mixed-use development is a joint initiative of the VSB and the City of Vancouver and will provide an elementary school for 340 students, a child care centre with 69 seats and 60 units of social housing attached to the Community Centre. We look forward to expanding our relationship with Victoria and the VSB, the City, and this exciting initiative at our club's beautiful waterfront location!
The month of August closed out with a beautiful performance of traditional Japanese dance by our friend and educator, Mari Kato with her daughters Hibiki and Shizuha - above. 
Mari Kato also shared her work as the owner of Focus Education Services, which builds intercultural language skills through lessons, teacher training, workshops, and global interactive events.
Thank you to Mari, Hibiki and Shizuha for the gift of music, story and dance. If you missed it, you can enjoy the performance on our Vancouver Sunrise YouTube channel here
On August 9th we were treated to an inspiring presentation of the personal and professional journey of club member Zarina Rosimo. Zarina is the Operations Manager for Shelter and Outreach Services at the PHS Community Services Society, having previously worked as a Building Manager with Atira's Hutchinson Block and Hazelwood Hotel properties and for the BC Indigenous Housing Society.  
Prior to working in supportive housing, Zarina was a Community Support Worker with the RainCity Housing and Support Society, and a Supervisor and a Mental Health and Addiction Support Worker with the Greater Vancouver Community Services Society.  
Zarina brings a true service commitment to her job and to her role as a Rotarian - one that is deeply rooted in her lived experience growing up in care and having had to advocate for change and supportive programs in the school system as a young parent. 
Zarina transferred to our club from the Rotary Club of Vancouver Mountainview where she served as Club Secretary and received the Don Evans Award for First Nation/Indigenous Advocacy for her leadership initiating the Safe Rides for Indigenous Women and other service projects in the Downtown Eastside. She is also a member of Regal Rotaract Club and serves on the District DEI and Youth Alumni committees. 
We are grateful to have such a shining model of Service Above Self in our club! 
At our August 23rd meeting, we discussed our 2023-2024 Action plan to continue advancing our Rotary Club of Vancouver Sunrise Strategic Plan.  Fasten your seat belts because among our goals and plans for this Rotary year, we can look forward to:
  • A new Grant Writing Committee led by Danison to increase our Foundation impact.
  • Growing our service projects by tapping into the talents and passions of our new members.
  • Continued expansion of our Hoop-A-Thon participation with other District Rotary clubs, and
  • Even more social events for our members and friends...including the return of the popular Guess Who's Coming to Dinner event!
At our August 2nd meeting club member and marketing master Kaustav Ghosh (pictured above with our Club's new Grants Committee Chair Danison Buan and Past President Cam Scott) gave us an engaging update on his online business campaign I Support Your Business.  
In the past six months, the global marketing initiative has expanded beyond the original 100+ companies, with 92 new Canadian and Indian small businesses supporting one another for shared success - congratulations Kaustav!
Learn about the latest Indo-Canadian partnership initiative of I Support Your Business here: and about the origin of this successful marketing venture here:  
We were proud to wave our Rotary banner and provide our support for our local Pride community through two summer events: 
  • Special thanks to Teacher Sponsor Doug Sherrett who coordinated our Strathcona Elementary EarlyAct Club's leadership of their school's second annual school pride parade in June.
  • And thank you to Ron and President Peter who organized participation by members and friends of our club and the Vancouver Young Professional Rotaract Club with the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Parks & Recreation's entries in the annual city July Pride Parade. 
What better way to end the past year and welcome the new year than with the gift of three new members who joined our club at the changeover of the Rotary calendar year?  With great joy and gratitude we welcome Danison Buan, Zarina Rosimo, and Ryan McBride to our club and we look forward to serving with these these talented and dynamic young Rotarians - pictured above with Past President Cam and President Peter. 
Stay tuned for much, much more about Zarina, Danison and Ryan in upcoming Bulletin features, including which of them got their Ph.D before their BC driver's license, which one indulges their love of cuisine in their home "test kitchen" or when travelling the globe, and which one has received the distinguished Don Evans Award for First Nation/Indigenous Advocacy.  
The launch of the new Rotary year in July included the hand over of duties from our outgoing Board members to the new club leadership team, which includes our new President Peter Fox and new Treasurer, Reyna Dominguez Debernardi.  ADG Maryanne Velayo made the handover official by presenting us with the 2023-2024 banner for this year's theme, "Create Hope in the World."
Thank you to outgoing Treasurer James Miller for your service and to our continuing Board members, including Past President Cam Scott for your dedication and leadership.  Ready, set, go!
Sticky fingers and lots of laughs proved to be the perfect recipe to celebrate the Rotary annual changeover with new friends and old pals. Master Chef Ron Sushi led a sushi making fundraiser and social event on July 7th at the Obregon household in North Vancouver. Funds raised will support our club's international Project Amigo, helping children of migrant workers in Colima, Mexico attend school. 
Special thanks to Azita and Carlos for hosting this wonderful party! Catch some of the highlights here on our YouTube channel:
Gary wowed the crowd of Rotarians who attended the July 9th Vancouver Bandits Rotary Night at the Langley Events Centre.  
The great news is that his hard work and the drive from White Rock to Langley paid off.  Several clubs signed up to learn more about the Rotary Hoop-A-Thon for Local Communities partnership, and the Vancouver Bandits look to become a key partner going forward. Woo hoo!!

King George Interactors Clean Up on the Beach and at Graduation

As their year-end service project, our amazing King George Interactors spent a sunny day in June cleaning up English Bay beach where they received a kudos and thanks from members of the community. Thank you to Dan Turville of the Strathcona Community Policing Centre for the clean-up equipment and supplies.
Congratulations to our graduating King George Secondary Interactors, who ALL received one or more scholarships, including 2022-23 President Malena Hacker and Communications Director Noah Sasaki who received our Rotary Club of Vancouver Sunrise Foundation's two annual scholarships. 
Who are these guys? To find out, read the story below under District Capers!
On April 22nd, we welcomed the return of full-court action at the Strathcona Community Centre for our 2023 signature Hoop-A-Thon fundraising project to support kids at risk with scholarships, basketball and youth leadership programs. 
This year again, we welcomed partner Rotary, Rotaract and Interact clubs from across District 5040 and corporate donors who participated in the event. 
Pictured above are: Chris Gailus from Media Sponsor Global BC TV who raised over $6500 this year through his expert shots and social media support; and VP of Finance, Dallas Leung, from Corporate Sponsor Global Container Terminals shown beside King George Interact President Malena who led her team of high schoolers to raise funds for the Downtown Battered Women's Shelter.  
The top team award goes to the Vancouver Young Professionals Rotaract Club team pictured below.  Gunesh, in the centre was the day's top shooter, sinking 22 baskets in one minute.
The final tally of funds raised will be available in June, but, at the end of April, Hoop-A-Thon project leader Gary Chomyn reported that we have already met our $50,000 target!! 
Enjoy more event photos on our Rotary Club of Vancouver Sunrise YouTube channel:
The month closed out with extra Hoop-A-Thon highlights at the District 5040 Rotary Conference April 28th-30th.  
Past President Ed gave a wildly successful presentation promoting the one-minute Hoops fundraising formula followed by a live demonstration with celebrity District shooters that raised over $2500 for Food Banks BC. 
Thanks to our other Sunrise club members, President Cam, Frances, Vicente, Lawrence, and Diana who staffed the House of Friendship Hoop-A-Thon information table, attended the conference learning sessions and Gala dinner, and represented our club over the three days. 
Pictured above are scenes from the conference including headline photo "Hoop-A-Thon twins" Ron (aka the Rotary Bunny who kept speakers and attendees on time and task) and Strathcona Basketball alumnus and local basketball coach Dimitri Harris.
We are especially grateful for Dimitri's help.  He went to great lengths to find and transport a portable basketball hoop to the Pinnacle Hotel, and without that commitment and effort, we could not have staged our live conference Hoop-A-Thon fundraiser for Food Banks BC.  
Demitri joined the Strathcona Basketball program as a 6-year old, and, after many triumphs and challenges, he now serves as a basketball coach as well as a mentor to young people in Vancouver and Northshore communities - a true champion!  You can read some of his story here: 
Jarek Jakubec is a Senior Rocks Mechanics Engineer and diamond deposit specialist with SRK Consulting. He is a lifelong athlete who has climbed the summits of over 70 volcanoes around the globe. 
Jarek (pictured above in the yellow jacket) joined our April 26th meeting to share his harrowing experience in November 2021 surviving a mountaineering accident on the descent from the summit of Nevado del Colima in Colombia.
The climbing team was  at an elevation of 4,750 metres when a less experienced climber dislodged a 1.5 tonne boulder that hit Jarek on the rope below, fracturing his legs and pelvis in multiple places. It took a team of 5 people over 8 hours to carry him down to base camp 4,000m by lifting his stretchered in 2-minute intervals. Luckily, he was evacuated by a Black Hawk Special Forces helicopter and received life-saving surgery in Bogotá one week after the accident.
Jarek was able to medevac home to Vancouver shortly after surgery and began a two-year rehabilitation process to regain his ability to walk.  Proving that anything is possible, he recently completed the GranFondo Whistler bike ride and is back on his mission to summit the rest of world's volcanic peaks.  
The Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program for young people ages 16-18 returned to full force, March 25-28, at Camp Elphinstone on the Sunshine Coast after a multi-year pandemic absence.
We are proud to have sponsored five high school students to attend RYLA South which provides indoor and outdoor interactive workshops, team­-building exercises, professional speakers, hands-on service projects and other fun activities. 
Special thanks to the hard work and commitment of our very own James Fox, District 5040 RYLA Chair, who leads this great program!
On March 29th, Kaustav Ghosh joined us to share his personal and professional experiences in Rotary and creating impactful branding and marketing campaigns. 
Kaustav is a creative and passionate business consultant and former District Rotaract Representative in India who recently moved to Vancouver.  He spoke to us about two campaigns that he and his wife, Laxmi Sorte, created to assist over 800 small businesses in India that were struggling during the pandemic.  
We are also delighted to report that Kaustav will be officially joining our club as a new member in April - which is the best gift of all by allowing us to share in his upcoming Canadian marketing and travel adventures!
To learn more about Kaustav and his marketing mastery, check out his website and this video about The Honda Great Indian Travel experience:
We celebrated International Women's Day at our Rotary Club of Vancouver Sunrise with a special presentation by club member Abigail Turner about her recent motorcycle ride across four Rotary Districts in India. The Ride for Rotary is a Rotary Foundation fundraising event where participants experience Indian heritage, culture and hospitality along with an exchange of Rotary fellowship.
We could almost feel the warm wind at our backs as Abigail shared pictures and stories of this incredible and sometimes harrowing experience - watch out for those trucks and cows!
Our youngest Rotarians, members of the Strathcona Elementary EarlyAct Club were inspired by their youth mentors at the Strathcona Interact Club to partner with ToysRUs in gathering donated toys, wrapping them and delivering them to kids in five different Kindergarten classrooms and a local Parents Support Group.
Pictured above are some of the lucky recipients - and please note that only those with school photo permission waivers are in the shot ;D 
Cheers and thank you to our high-powered Finance Committee members who met recently to balance our books.  
The venue was the Terminal City Club, and it was reported that the Happy Hour timing was entirely coincidental. 
One of our members, Ron Suzuki, received this thank-you gift for his recent presentation to the Richmond Rotary Club.
It also serves as a useful reminder of our club's Values Statement and the standards that we each aspire to fulfil at work and in life as Rotarians.
Paul van Westendorp, BC's Provincial Apiarist, and member of the Rotary Club of Tsawwassen, joined us on March 15th, to tell us about recent efforts to address local outbreaks of the Northern Giant Hornet in BC and Washington State.  Previously known as the Giant Asian Hornet, (whose scientific name is Vespa Mandarinia), its presence here was first reported by a vigilant beekeeper in Nanaimo.  
This non-native species seems to have hitched a ride on a container ship from Korea or Japan, and scientists on both sides of the border have been working to locate and destroy the nests of these fierce predators of honeybees and their food sources.  Hopefully, 2023 will "bee" the last year that Paul and his colleagues will need to surveil and patrol for these critters!  
On February 22, we celebrated a special birthday milestone for our longest-serving and most distinguished member, Vicente Asuncion. Joining us for this very special occasion were Vic's wife Maryanne, son Ben, plus former club mates from the Rotary Club of Vancouver Quadra: Hans Doge, Dawn Sadler and Don Yerba.  
Thank you for giving us a wonderful excuse to have cake with our coffee and breakfast Vicente! 
Our hats are off to the inspiring young members of the University Hill Interact Club who launched their new club with a successful Toque and Sock Drive for the Homeless - pictured here with members of Vancouver's Park Rangers whose work brings them into contact with members of the city's homeless population.
Service Above Self was on full display when Teacher Sponsors and youth from our Strathcona Elementary EarlyAct Club showed up for a Pro-D day of training on February 17th. 
Thirty-six of these dedicated young people learned how to serve as Peer Helpers for their fellow students with a goal to make school recess and lunch hours safer and more inclusive for all.  How to lead the way, future Rotarians!
Our members' holiday stories at our Welcome Home meeting raised spirits and a few bucks for Rotary's Polio Plus campaign.
  • Visits and travel with loved ones to Point Roberts, London, England and Mexico.
  • Christmas Eve partying with 51 first cousins.
  • New Year's Day beach patrol at English Bay with 20,000+ Polar Bear dippers.
  • Surviving your kids' first clubbing night out.
  • And...apparently some people just can't get too much gravy. 
Welcome 2023 and here's hoping you bring peace on earth, better health, and more laughter to all!
PEDAL Society's shop manager Sarah Thomas joined our January 18th meeting to tell us about the work being done by her organization to help current and would-be cyclists access and maintain their bikes. 
Founded in 1993, PEDAL offers services and programs through its bike shop at Main & Broadway in Vancouver and with local and global partners. Sarah told us about a few:
  • Donating PEDAL-designed bicycle-powered coffee grinding machinery to a worker-owned co-op in Guatemala.
  • Deaf Access programs for hearing impaired riders to learn from PEDAL's ASL speaking mechanic.
  • Women Trans Queer Nights for maintenance and safety skills attended by 110 participants in 2022.
  • Gear Up Mechanics Training program giving youth with job barriers an opportunity to gain bicycle mechanic working experience, while giving back by restoring bicycles for donations.
  • Contributing to our environment by refurbishing or recyling 660 bikes, almost 1900 wheels, and 620 tubes.
PEDAL is 100% run with support from volunteers, grants, and partners including Arc'teryx, City of Vancouver, KidSafe, and the Vancouver Community Bike Network. 
Strathcona Community Centre is getting the word out about our 2023 Hoop-A-Thon fundraising event to neighbours in their Winter Bulletin. Mark your calendars to join us on the court with the kids!
PEDAL Society's shop manager Sarah Thomas joined our January 18th meeting to tell us about the work being done by her organization to help current and would-be cyclists access and maintain their bikes. 
Founded in 1993, PEDAL offers services and programs through its bike shop at Main & Broadway in Vancouver and with local and global partners. Sarah told us about a few:
  • Donating PEDAL-designed bicycle-powered coffee grinding machinery to a worker-owned co-op in Guatemala.
  • Deaf Access programs for hearing impaired riders to learn from PEDAL's ASL speaking mechanic.
  • Women Trans Queer Nights for maintenance and safety skills attended by 110 participants in 2022.
  • Gear Up Mechanics Training program giving youth with job barriers an opportunity to gain bicycle mechanic working experience, while giving back by restoring bicycles for donations.
  • Contributing to our environment by refurbishing or recyling 660 bikes, almost 1900 wheels, and 620 tubes.
PEDAL is 100% funded by donations, grants and volunteers, and partners with sponsors like Arc'teryx,City of Vancouver, KidSafe, and the Vancouver Community Bike Network. 
At long last, we returned to our Club's home base meeting location at the Coal Harbour Community Centre (CHCC) on January 11th. Why do we love it so much? Here are just a few of the reasons:
  • The best waterfront view in downtown Vancouver, bar none! 
  • With meetings that run from 7:30 to 8:30am, street parking is free prior to 9am at nearby metered spots along West Hastings, Broughton, Jervis and Cordova Streets. 
  • Lung fulls of fresh sea air on your way to and from our weekly Rotary meeting.
  • Come-as-you-are dress code. Shorts, yoga pants or a suit and tie are all welcome! 
  • Free wifi access - see for instructions.
  • Provides a stunning and welcoming destination for visitors to our beautiful city!
Given the new school construction taking place immediately south of the CHCC, access to our waterfront meeting room is via the alternative entrance marked by the Vancouver Sunrise sandwich board sign.  You can’t miss it as you walk along the sea wall.  See you soon!
Strathcona Interactors collected donations, wrapped and delivered over 200 toys to children in need in the Strathcona area in partnership with:
  • Britannia Community Action Program for Children
  • Strathcona Community Centre
  • Strathcona Elementary
  • Xpey̓ Elementary, and the
  • Hastings Community Centre.
Judging by the pictures it looks like they had lots of fun performing this service for kids in need too.  For more inspiration, check out their video on Youtube here:
We closed out our Rotary meetings in the month of November with an uplifting presentation by Brianne Oswald, Partnerships Manager of the Sunshine Foundation.  
The Foundation was created in 1987 to help youth, ages 11-21 living with severe physical disabilities, to identify their future vision and to take a step towards realizing that potential. Too often, these young people have their dreams defined by the physical limitations and challenges that able-bodied members of their communities see. 
Research shows that overcoming obstacles in adolescence, with the right supports, can foster mental resilience and positive growth.  A couple of the stories Brianne shared with us demonstrates this formula in action.
  • Razan, above, had her future dream career as a DJ accelerated with the gift of music equipment and is now working at venues where she previously was never invited.
  • Allayah, below, is a Grade 12 student, and an aspiring lawyer who happens to be paralyzed and relies on her family to support her daily needs.  During the pandemic, Allayah's ability to research politics and the law was limited to times when she could access a borrowed Chromebook from her school - until the Sunshine Foundation gave her a laptop to increase her independence.
The Sunshine Foundation works with youth and families across Canada to build confidence, independence and optimism to boost their mental health and future goals. For more information on their work and results check out
On November 16th, Dr. Cathy Wang joined us to provide practical tips to address the daunting reality that for 1 in 4 adult Canadians, high blood pressure is the #1 risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart disease.
Cathy is a Clinical Instructor in UBC's Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science and the business owner and manager of 360Care Denman Pharmacy in Vancouver's West End -
High blood pressure, or "hypertension"  is affected by two sets of risk factors:
  • those things we can't control including our genetics, our age and gender; and
  • risks we can control or influence, especially our nutrition, level of physical activity, and tobacco and alcohol use. 
Pharmacies provide free access to blood pressure readers with simple instructions.  So next time you're out and about picking up groceries, prescriptions, or a lottery ticket, take a moment to roll up your sleeve and give your heart a first and second thought!
    On a rainy October 24th evening, a hardy group of 75 Rotarians, family members and friends donned their Gortex jackets and red regalia to celebrate and raise awareness about Rotary International's End Polio Now campaign. Two groups - one from downtown and one from City Hall - participated and met up at Science World. 
    The event started with the City of Vancouver's Polio Proclamation being signed at City Hall by Councillor Peter Fry.  He was joined by Councillor Lisa Dominato and representatives from each of Vancouver's Rotary Clubs, as well as DG John Berry and Mary Anne Velayo.  
    Reminder! You can still make your annual Polio Plus donation or help the cause by donating through AG Mary Anne's donation site here and get a tax receipt plus personal and club recognition for your contribution: 
    If we ever seek more inspiration as Rotarians, we need only consult our youth clubs.  This month, our Strathcona Interact Club (pictured below), kicked off their new year with a working session to plan their community service projects. Here's their starting list:
    • A Toiletries Drive for the local Homeless
    • A Community Movie Night Fundraiser,
    • A Community Skate with Hot Chocolate 
    • A Toy Drive for Children at Strathcona and Raycam Community Centres
    • A Community Cleanup with Strathcona Policing Center
    • Volunteering to help the City of Vancouver with a Community Solid Waste Disposal Day.
    Can't wait to see the results!
    Rotary International's first woman leader, Jennifer Jones, has made Empowering Girls one of the four presidential initiatives for her Imagine Rotary year.  The Empowering Girls initiative is Rotary International's commitment to making a lasting impact on a generation of girls. Through the Empowering Girls Initiative, Rotary members worldwide are working to enhance girls’ safety, health, education, and well-being.
    Our Rotary Club of Vancouver Sunrise is proud to be a founding sponsor of the Girls Who LEAP (Lead to Empower & Act with Purpose) program that provides leadership and mentorship opportunities as well as early intervention supports for at-risk female-identifying and non-binary youth in our local Downtown Eastside and Grandview Woodlands communities
    On a sunny August weekend, participants, mentors and elders of the Girls Who LEAP program gathered for a BBQ picnic to celebrate the third successful year of this amazing program that now serves over 120+ girls between grades 6-12 and onwards.   
    We can't wait to see what these future community and organizational leaders will accomplish this year!
    Why is Empowering Girls a Priority for President Jennifer Jones and Rotary?
    The next time you visit a local seniors' care home, check into a fresh room in a hotel, bite into a local peach or enjoy a sip of BC wine, you might want to consider the challenges facing the 6,000 migrant workers who deliver these services each year for our communities. 
    On August 31st, we welcomed Hugo Velazquez to speak to us about about the work he leads to support migrant workers in our province.  Hugo is a lawyer, local Mexican diplomat and the Senior Manager of Community Outreach, Advocacy and Migrant Programs for MOSAIC BC.  
    MOSAIC is the largest organization in Canada providing settlement support services for immigrants and new Canadians, including serving as the lead agency for Afghan and Ukrainian refugees in BC. MOSAIC's support services are delivered in English, French, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Portuguese, and Tagalog and translation and interpretation support is also available in over 50 languages.
    Thanks to the amazing support from our partner Rotarians, Rotaractors and corporate sponsors, we were able to hand out $36,000 in awards to all 13 applicants to our 2022 Hoop-a-thon Rotary Youth Leadership Scholarships this year. 
    Hear from the students what these awards mean to them...
    There was no better way to kick off the new Rotary year than by presenting the proceeds of our 2022 Hoop-a-thon fundraising campaign to an incredible group of young students and youth program leaders! 
    This year's campaign set another new record by surpassing our target of $50,000 by almost $10K and brought our Hoop-A-Thon fundraising total to over a half million dollars for kids at risk.
    How did we distribute the funds you might ask...
    No brass bands were available on short notice, however, District Governor John Berry and Assistant District Governor Mary Anne Velayo presided over our transition meeting on July 6th and led the swearing in of our President Cam Scott and our Club Board of Directors for the 2022-2023 Rotary year.  A huge thank you to our leaders for their time and service in guiding our club affairs! 
    All the hard work and planning paid off on the morning of Saturday April 23rd, when Rotarians, Rotaractors, Interactors and supporters showed up to raise funds at our annual Hoop-a-thon fundraiser.
    One of the highlights of the day was the participation of Global BC TV News Anchor Chris Gailus - pictured above addressing the group.  Chris has been a strong supporter of the Hoop-a-thon event in recent years, and, this year he surpassed his previous free-throw record when he sank 18 baskets in one minute to raise over $3000 through his effort.  
    One of our June highlights was a neighbourhood Pride Parade that was organized and led by our Strathcona Elementary School EarlyAct Club members on June 16th. 
    Undaunted by the stops and starts of changing pandemic restrictions, and with strong support from teacher sponsor Doug Sherrett and seed funding from our Sunrise club, the 30+ member EarlyAct Club at Strathcona started work on this service project in early May. 
    The results were nothing short of spectacular!
    What's a Hoop-a-thon? 
    For those who don’t know, Hoop-A-Thon is our club's signature fundraising event based on pledges in support of the number of free throws each participant can sink in one minute.  The funds raised go to scholarships, local youth leadership programs and the basketball program at Strathcona Community Centre (SCC).
    Anissa Lau, an Outreach and Event Coordinator for Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers (MVCS), gave an excellent presentation on February 23rd to inform us about Crime Stoppers and its community safety work.  
    Crime Stoppers is a completely independent, not-for-profit organization that takes information from anonymous members of the public about crimes past, present and future.  They offer cash rewards of up to $5,000 for information leading to a charge or an arrest.  Callers are given a code number which is used for case updates and rewards.  Tipsters are never asked to testify (they are protected by the Supreme Court of Canada).
    Our guest speaker at our January 12, 2022 meeting was Lorelei Higgins who spoke to us about the shared path of Truth and Reconciliation.  
    Lorelei has deep professional and personal experience on this topic. As a Métis Canadian, she  comes by her peacebuilding roots naturally. Her Métis heritage can be traced from the Red River in Winnipeg, Manitoba where her great-grandfather came across to Canada from Kent, England, and met her great-grandmother – a Cree and Ojibwe community leader.  

    RYLA Changes Lives
    On December 15th, our own James Fox updated us on what’s happening with RYLA in 2022.  James has been a key leader as co-director of District 5040's RYLA South program for 8 years.  He will take on an even bigger leadership role as RYLA Chair for the District in 2022.
    RYLA stands for Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and is a cornerstone leadership development program of Rotary International.  RYLA gathers young leaders ages 14-30 in a supportive environment to develop and inspire growth and leadership skills for positive community change.

    Tuesday November 30th was a banner day as we officially launched the first EarlyAct club in Vancouver at Strathcona Elementary School.  What's an EarlyAct Club you might ask? Read about the "family" of Rotary clubs for all generations in the story below about our recent presentation to the Vancouver School Board.
    A giant thank you to teacher Doug Sherrett and our club member Ron Suzuki who have been the drivers behind this initiative and the main reason we were able to get this initiative up and running in spite of the pandemic challenges.  

    On November 18th, a delegation of President Ed and members Frances and Diana from our club attended the General Assembly meeting of the Vancouver School Board (VSB) where we made a presentation to elected School Board Trustees and other Board representatives and staff, including teacher, union and student representatives. 


    Vancouver Sunrise members welcomed District Governor (DG) Lorne Calder to our meeting for his “official visit” and presentation on November 24th.

    Lorne launched the meeting by presenting a series of awards. Congratulations and a big thank you to club members Sarah and Thomas Reppchen for their achievement of Paul Harris Society and Polio Plus Society membership – the first recognizing $1000 USD / year individual donations to the RI Foundation and the latter $100 USD / year individual donations to Rotary’s Polio Plus campaign.  Sarah and Thomas are pictured above receiving their award pins.

    DG Lorne continued the award procession by presenting Past President Carlos Obregon with a Polio Plus recognition for achieving the annual goal set last year for our club's fundraising for the Polio Plus campaign. Thanks to all members for putting those Happy Bucks to good use!

    Nicole Garton was our guest speaker on October 27th and spoke to us about the importance of ensuring you have at least the essentials for wills and estate planning in place to prepare for the unexpected. There are many risks and problems that can arise for the estimated one-third to one-half of Canadians who pass away without these measures in place.   
    Among our October highlight events, was the very worthy recognition of Past President Carlos who was presented with a Club Citation by Past Assistant Governor John Bathurst.  
    In keeping with the spirit of Canadian Thanksgiving, October was a month of bounty for our club as we welcomed three new members to our growing Rotary Vancouver Sunrise family:  Natalia Cabrera, Miguel Buitrago and Jessica Singh.  
    On October 20th, Dominic Vogel, a Cyber Security Specialist, spoke to us about cyber risk.  Dominic is a frequent security commentator on radio/TV/social media and was recently appointed to the BC Provincial Cyber Security Advisory Committee.
    Our club added dollars to dedication on October 9th when we presented a donation to Food on the Corner, a program that provides meals to over 150 people in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside neighbourhood every Saturday morning from 11 to noon.  
    From the Frontlines to the Headlines in Afghanistan
    Dr. Lauryn Oates is the Executive Director of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan), a not-for-profit organization comprising Canadians working in partnership with Afghan women toward improving conditions of human rights, ending women’s oppression and providing opportunities for Afghan women to live their lives with dignity, certainty and purpose.  Its main program areas include: (1) Investments in Basic Education; (2) Community Libraries, Literacy and Books; (3) Technology for Education; (4) Public Engagement; and (5) Afghanistan Policy Dialogue. 
    Lauryn spoke to our Club in August 2016 and August 2019.  On September 22nd, 2021, approximately 5 weeks after the Taliban seized power, this is what she had to say regarding the evolving situation in Afghanistan.  
    Despite having contacts on the ground, CW4WAfghan didn’t see the total collapse coming on August 15th.  Some districts were reportedly taken by as few as 4 rebels.  Younger Afghans were even more frightened than Afghans who had seen the Taliban in control 20 years ago.  
    Women are feeling loss and hopelessness as a result of what’s happened since that time. The Taliban have removed all women from government, job losses have occurred on a large scale with women disproportionately affected, girls can go to school only until Grade 6, and women can continue attending University only if they are separated from men, which is not possible in most cases.  Residents can only withdraw the equivalent of $200 per week from banks and the passport office has been closed.   The Taliban seem to have no consistent policy, and, despite what they say publicly, there is real concern they will revert to old ways.  Feeling that they have nothing more to lose, there have been wide-spread, women-led protests.  
    Despite these circumstances, CW4WAfghan remains committed to its mission of promoting the human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan, through ensuring access to quality educational opportunities, and finding ways to help and stay connected with Afghan women and their families during this period of uncertainty.  While Lauryn’s presentation outlined a very dark and terrifying future for women in Afghanistan, the strength and determination of CW4WAfghan to support these women and their families is inspiring.  To support this important work or to find out more, please visit their website:  

    Honouring Indigenous Peoples Working in Partnership with Rotary

    Our speaker on September 29th was Linda Mross from the Nlka’pamux Nation and a member of the Oregon Jack Creek Band.  Linda is a District Co-ordinator with Honouring Indigenous Peoples (HIP), a southern Ontario start-up that has grown into a nationwide movement that is receiving international attention for inspiring Indigenous and Non-Indigenous relationship building.  Linda is also a member of the Rotary Club of Langley Central and served as their Club President in 2016-2017.
    Linda was joined by John Currie, the Executive Director for HIP.  John helped establish HIP’s Board of Directors, proudly composed of 50% Indigenous, 50% Non-Indigenous, 50% Female, 50% Male and geographically dispersed across Canada.  John is currently serving as President of the Rotary Club of Pickering in Ontario.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from York University with studies in Indigenous and Canadian history.
    HIP’s vision is that all Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Peoples work together, interconnected and interdependent, for the benefit of future generations.  Its mission is to catalyze societal change by inspiring Indigenous and Non-Indigenous relationship building, strengthening community well-being and advancing the next generation of leaders.  We learned from Linda and John's presentation that HIP and Rotary represent the “Ultimate Super Alliance” due to their shared passion and values with complementing strengths.  Thank you to both of them for providing us with this practical and inspiring avenue to engage our Rotarian service with reconciliation efforts for the benefit of future generations.
    For more inspiration and information, or to get involved, check out HIP's resources, including videos, blogs, podcasts and advice on terminology here:

    Risk Management from an Enterprise Level Down to You

    Yat Cheng (pictured above with member Thomas Reppchen) is the Chief Executive Officer and Director of Operational Risks at Blueshift Advisory, a Vancouver-based firm that specializes in integrated risk management services.  Yat brings to this role over 15+ years of experience as a seasoned leader in strategy development, risk management, finance and audit. He has worked with leaders in the post-secondary sector, air travel, securities regulation and corporate social responsibility sectors.
    On September 15th, Yat spoke to us about Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), a process designed to identify possible events that prevent an entity from achieving its objectives.  The scale of the entity can range from large corporations to individuals with personal goals.  The process is based on (1) the identification of the goal (s); (2) characterization of the risk; and (3) the development of a strategy of risk mitigation.  
    Yat provided an example of how ERM can be applied at the personal level using the example of retirement planning - see below. Three risks are identified in this example with measures to mitigate each of these risks identified. While this example is simple in concept, it highlights the need to be cognizant of the risks that our goals could encounter and take steps to mitigate those risks in order to increase the likelihood of achieving those goals. For more information about Blueshift Advisory's services and Yat's work, visit

    A Global Adventure from Backwoods to Boardrooms

    There was no better way to launch September than with a classification talk on September 1st from one of our very own members, the talented Sarah Reppchen.  
    Sarah shared her personal and professional journey with us - from her humble "hippie" origins in an off-the-grid cabin in Burns Lake, BC to her career in the high-rise banking "power centres" across the globe.  
    With a heartfelt love of learning, she completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as her accounting designation in Wiesbaden, Mannheim, and Frankfurt, Germany before launching her career during the midst of the 2008 financial services crisis.  Sarah's focus throughout her studies and career has been on the application and effectiveness of banking regulation and supervision by individual nations and across international borders.  
    Throughout this journey, Sarah has also had the opportunity to enjoy her passion for travel, culture, and languages through her work with banks and regulators in some of the world's most glamorous and high-powered cities, including London, Singapore, and New York.  
    Sarah's curiosity and passion for financial market oversight, integrity and service were very evident during her presentation, including the walk-through she provided of the Basel Framework for global regulatory compliance.  These same characteristics and values clearly also make her a natural Rotarian.
    Thank you to Sarah for sharing her story and giving us a window into the complex, high-flying, and evolving world of financial services regulation.  What an adventure it has been, no doubt with even more to come! 
    A Very Personal Story of Truth and Reconciliation
    On August 11th Cecelia Reekie visited our club to provide an overview of Canada’s residential school system, followed by an account of her Dad's experiences within that system.  
    The Indian residential school system became law in 1886 and over the next 100+ years, more than 150,000 children of First Nation, Métis and Inuit descent attended residential schools, which were mostly run by various religious orders.  The system was based on the government's policy mandate that, by separating children from their parents, they could be educated and thereby “acquire the habits and tastes of civilized people.”  
    Cecelia’s Dad was 11 years old when he was taken from his parents along with his little sister.  He was known at the Alberni residential school as #126 and was assigned the anglicized name Cecil Paul.  During the morning, he was taught to read, write and speak English (students were severely punished for speaking their native language).  The afternoon was for chores and the evening was spent on religious studies.  Despite not seeing his parents over the next four years and enduring multiple forms of abuse, he left the residential school at the age of 14 as a survivor with a grade 5 education.  
    The Government of Canada established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 2007 to facilitate the reconciliation among former students of the Indian Residential Schools system, their families and all Canadians.  Reconciliation is about how we, as Canadians, can work together with Indigenous people.  
    While some efforts have been made to address certain of the TRC's recommendations for change, this summer's revelations are a start reminder that the real process of reconciliation is just beginning - starting with a genuine acknowledgement and understanding of the truths recounted by survivors and their families.  Heartfelt thanks to Celelia for sharing her family's painful truths with us for that purpose.
    Although Cecelia’s Dad passed away on December 3, 2020, his story is not lost.  A recent Vancouver Sun article containing an excerpt from her Dad's biography, the contents of which were based on recorded interviews and journal entries, can be found and shared at:  

    An Inspiring Presidential Update

    Strathcona Interact President Eva Yeung was our guest speaker at our August 18th meeting, bringing us an account of the many activities and accomplishments of the club. 
    Strathcona is a community-based, as opposed to a school-based interact club.  All members have a connection to the community and wanted to give back. While some attend Britannia Secondary, others grew up there and live or attend school elsewhere.  
    They are a small but mighty young team whose first-year accomplishments reflect the power of a few creative and dedicated people to make a big difference. In 2020-21, they: 
    • Partnered with Vancouver Chinatown Foundation to create Covid-19 Experience stories for the Chinatown story-telling centre.
    • Organized a Holiday Craft event where they taught local day camp kids the importance of giving during the season. They were able to deliver this event successfully following Covid-19 restrictions (pictured above).
    • Raised funds to produce 48 wellness packages to local seniors at the May Wah Hotel that houses low-income residents and seniors. Each package involved supplies such as dental hygiene, socks, masks, and hand-written cards from the Interact members. 
    • Hosted a Financial Literacy workshop for members and other youth on basic banking.
    Their goals for the 2021-22 year include increasing the membership and diversity of the club and working on several projects, including a sustainability project to educate local youth on invasive plants and an international project to build and deliver 100 kits with school supplies to kids in need. 
    Currently, the Strathcona Interactors are working on two fundraisers: a Bottle Drive and an Art Auction. President Ed and our (new) fundraising team will be following up to explore how we could support or partner with their members on these two initiatives and possibly other service projects.
    For more inspiration and information, check out the Strathcona Interactors on Instagram here:
    A Ted Talk on Tax Planning 
    Former club member and fellow Rotarian Ted MacCormac joined us on August 4th to share his advice and experience on tax and estate planning.  
    Ted walked through the most popular topics (FAQs) and services sought by his accounting clients which include the  capital gains inclusion rate, taxation of investments, taxation of different types of investments, estate planning, tax treatment of foreign property, and more general business tips. 
    Ted's top tips for estate planning include:
    • Keep it simple
    • Be aware of the BC Wills Variation Act
    • Donation bequests can be carried back from the Estate to the final personal income tax return
    • Assets at the date of death go to a testamentary trust until they are distributed
    • The testamentary trust does not have exemptions like the personal income tax return has, but it does have marginal rates for three years
    Thanks very much to Ted for making this special guest appearance and for walking through these scenarios with us.  It was a great reminder not to put off until tomorrow what you can do today! 
    John's Journey to the Club
    We started the new Rotary Year on July 7th with new member John Clark’s classification talk, aka “how did I get here.”  John was born in 1972 in Outremont, a residential borough of Montreal.  Most of his formative years were spent in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  He returned to Montreal in the early 1990’s and obtained a BA in Political Science.  As a result of his disenchantment with Bill 101 and what was happening in Quebec at the time, John accepted a position in Japan as an English language teacher.  He flew to Tokyo in January 1995 and was based there for most of the next 25 years.  
    As his Japanese language skills improved, so did his career opportunities. In 2001, he set up a consulting company in Hong Kong that focused on cross-border commercial contracts for his Japanese clients.  For a time, he was working for Ernst and Young and he obtained a Law Degree from Wolverhampton in the UK.  John still has a team in Tokyo working within his consultancy.
    John married Arisa in 2016.  It was her dream to move Vancouver to operate a day care for local Japanese families, so in early 2021, John and Arisa moved to Vancouver’s West End.   Since arriving in Vancouver, Arisa has been undertaking studies and John was briefly involved with BC’s Site C Hydroelectric Project as well as a Disney film production company in Victoria involving both cast and crew. 
    John discovered our Club through the RI and District contact channels relatively shortly after his arrival in Vancouver.  He was inducted on May 19, 2021 and recently nicknamed "John san" in recognition of his adopted Japanese background (and to avoid confusion with fellow founding Club Member John H).  More recently, the unofficial welcoming committee toasted his arrival on a sunny July afternoon with a pop-up patio welcome pictured above - from left to right: John san, Thomas, Peter, Cam and Matthew.
    Our Year Ahead Goals

    At our July 14th meeting, President Ed wasted no time in striving to live up to his "hitting-the-ground-running" reputation recently acquired from immediate Past-President Carlos.   He presented the annual goals that have been set for our club in consultation with our Board and District 5040 Governor Lorne Calder....along with his hopes, commitments and expectations for another year full of partnerships, friendship and fun!

    Among the key goals established for our 2021-22 Rotary year are:
    • growing the club's membership from 23 to 25 members (in keeping with Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta's challenge to grow Rotary by 10%)
    • holding 5 social (fellowship) activities during the year
    • having 6 club members attend the District 5040 conference in Prince George
    • sponsoring an elementary and a high school student through Project Amigo as our signature international service project
    • starting an EarlyAct Club at Strathcona Elementary School, and 
    • achieving member participation in 5 service projects, (including our signature local project, the annual Hoop-a-thon and Rotary-Strathcona Youth Leadership program).
    If this sounds like the kind of challenge that gets you excited, then you're in the right place with the right people at the right time!

    Food for Thought and Impact 

    Terra Paredes, Manager of Community Events and Engagement for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB) gave us a fascinating virtual tour of the food bank's operations at our July 28th meeting.  Founded in 1983 to provide "temporary relief" to the hunger crisis, the mission of the GVFB is to provide healthy food to those in need, with a vision of healthy communities through fair and effective food systems.  Sadly, the need has grown over the years and today's statistics indicate that 16% of all BC residents and 19% of Vancouver residents are unable to access enough affordable, healthy food, including 20% of children and 21% of seniors. Clients are required to provide: government-issued photo ID for each adult member and child within their household; proof that they live within the catchment cities; and information about their source(s) of income. 
    Terra provided an overview of the scale and complexity of the food bank's operation, which has been built solely through donations from the public, industry partners, and applicable grants, with no ongoing government funding.  The GVFB currently operates four direct distribution locations (Vancouver, North Van, Burnaby and New Westminster) that support 8,500 people per month.  In FY2020, the food donations amounted to 7.2 million lbs.  Since opening Burnaby, their capacity for fresh and frozen has increased by 400%.  
    In addition, they work with 115 community agency partners that have food programs in place for their own clients, including housing agencies, shelters, seniors and school food programs.  GVFB supports those programs with food that ranges from grab-and-go items like fruit and granola bars to large-scale grocery orders that will turn into fully-cooked meals - for a total of over 16,000 visits per month.  The food bank has also built significant relationships with growers and industrial pre-consumer donors but are pulling away from post-consumer and food drive donations as they bring a very high level of waste and incur disposal costs. 
    Hopefully, we’ll be able to schedule a live visit to GVFB’s new Terminal Avenue operation in the fall.  In the meantime, for more information about the food bank or to donate to this critical need, please visit
    A Brainstorming Forming and Norming Morning 
    We got down to work at our July 21st meeting with an early morning, coffee-infused brainstorming session. The purpose was to consider the merits and possibilities of expanding our club's future fundraising efforts. Drawing upon our members' experiences and creativity, we kicked off the discussion with three questions:
    1. What are some fundraising ideas?
    2. Who can we partner with for fundraising efforts?
    3. What are some pros and cons for having a fundraising committee?
    Some of the ideas and comments generated included:
    • A good starting point could be to consider adopting successful fundraising approaches from other clubs (such as used book sales, document collection and shredding, golf-related events, online or live auctions) and partnering with other clubs, (including Interact, Rotaract clubs, as well as our future Early Act club), or with vendors and businesses from our Rotarian networks.
    • If working with other groups, it’s critical to set the rules on who does what (roles and responsibilities) and how funds are split.
    • It’s important to be clear on the cause and report to the donors on the results (integrity, accountability and the 4-Way Test).
    Based on the ideas and interest expressed in this initial exchange, the club has since canvassed members for interest in signing up to be part of an initial or ad hoc fundraising committee. Stay tuned for an August update about the interest, potential mandate and role of this team.

    Pat Montani:  In Memoriam 

    We recently learned of the passing of fellow Rotarian Pat Montani following his short battle with pancreatic cancer.  Pat spoke to us in August 2020 about Bicycles for Humanity (B4H), a grassroots non-profit organization that he started in Kelowna with his wife, Brenda, in 2005 (the same year he joined Rotary).  B4H relies on volunteers to collect used bicycles and then ship them to African and other developing countries around the world.  By 2020, B4H had grown to 50 chapters worldwide and had shipped 325,000 bicycles overseas.  In addition, over 200 of the shipping containers have been converted into bike shops, aka Bicycle Empowerment Centres.  
    Pat worked tirelessly for the betterment of those in need.  His goal was to create economic opportunities and sustainable employment.  To this end, Pat helped to create self-sustaining local businesses:  bicycle repair shops throughout Africa, a touring company in Uganda and dental assistance programs in several countries.
    Pat and Brenda were awarded the Governor General of Canada’s Meritorious Service Medal  in September, 2016 for the creation of B4H.  Pat was also awarded the Citizen of the Year in Whistler in 2019, again for his work with B4H.  Pat was a past member of the Rotary Clubs of Kelowna, Whistler and, most recently, Pemberton.  A more fulsome summary of Pat’s incredible achievements and Rotary legacy can be found at:  Tribute to Pat Montani | Rotary Club of Pemberton (
    Our 2021 Rotary HOOP-A-THON was held on Saturday April 24.  
    The Program featured Rotarians, The Strathcona Kids, Chris Gailus & Yvonne Schalle from GLOBAL BC, Rotoractors, Interactors and Rotarians in Germany.  Thanks to our many donors who made this year’s event a huge success!
    Watch it now on You Tube:
    We proudly share this wonderful picture of the amazing young people of the Strathcona Interact Club who spent time during their school holidays to prepare and deliver health packages of hope to seniors at the Sun Wan Senior Centre, located at 258 East Pender Street in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.  
    Our Speakers this Month
    September 30, 2020 - Holly Williams Told  Us about Moneyball for Professional Soccer (Data Science)
    Holly Williams is a Geotechnical Engineer at SRK Consulting in Vancouver.  She obtained her first Degree in Civil Engineering in 2011 and recently obtained a Master's degree in Data Science at UBC.  So what is Data Science?  Continuously generated and collected across every domain, data is a vast and largely untapped resource of information with the potential to reveal insights about every aspect of our lives and the world we live in.  UBC's 10-month program teaches students to uncover these insights (see  Her presentation today focused on the program-ending assignment that she and 3 colleagues completed for the Vancouver Whitecaps.  The assignment required the evaluation of copious quantities of data generated by individual Whitecap's players during matches that occurred over several years, all with the intention of analyzing/ranking the value of each player.  It is reminiscent of the 2011 movie, Moneyball, in which Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt), manager of the Oakland Athletics, used sabermetrics to revolutionize baseball (albeit with orders of magnitude less data than Holly and her team used on behalf of the Whitecaps).
    September 23, 2020 - We welcomed Rahma Naveed, from ADHD Kids Rock Foundation
    Rahma Naveed is the grant writing and administrative assistant at ADHD Kids Rock, a charity that was founded by 14-year old Jeff Rasmussen to promote a safe and accessible online community for youth diagnosed with ADHD to share their experiences and access knowledge and resources - see   Now, several years later, the site and organization have expanded to include a blog by Jeff and learning and teaching tools developed with the assistance of experts. Rahma is currently in her last year at UBC, studying International Relations and Political Science, and is working with ADHD Kids Rock as a volunteer to promote the organization by increasing awareness and community engagement.
    September 16, 2020 - We learned from Vineetha Nakka from The Centre for Epilepsy and Seizure Education in BC 

    Vineetha Nakka is the Education Program Coordinator at The Center for Epilepsy and Seizure Education in BC, a nonprofit organization and a member of the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance, a nationwide network of epilepsy support agencies. With 1 in 100 individuals being diagnosed with epilepsy, chances are that someone you know is affected by this condition. Implications on one’s daily life are many. They can range from memory issues, cognitive deficits, excessive fatigue and/or frequent seizures. Vineetha's presentation helped us gain a better understanding of the range of epilepsy symptoms and conditions, and the practical skills for responding to persons experiencing seizures and other symptoms. 
    September 9, 2020 - An Update on Project Amigo from Elly Contreras
    Elly Contreras, Past District Governor for Rotary District 5370, and founder and past President of the Rotary
    E-club of Canada One, joined us to discuss what is happening during the pandemic with Project Amigo. Elly is
    the Intermediary for the Project Amigo Canada Society initiative that our club and others have supported for the past decade. Donations provide educational scholarships, material support, enrichment activities, and health care supplies to students in the state of Colima, many of whom are from migrant farm working families. 
    While the Volunteer Work Weeks for Rotarians and other supporters are no longer happening due
    to the pandemic, the program is still doing its important work in Colima through the staff on the ground.  
    Rotary club and volunteers from developed countries are also engaged in becoming
    friends and sponsors of Mexican youth seeking the many advantages of education.
    September 2, 2020 - Member Mark Pinnell Delivered His Classification Talk
    Mark was born in 1954 in Kitchener, ON.  His high school and early working years were spent in the Okanagan (i.e. owner of a TV repair business; tax preparer for H&R Block; life insurance salesman; the telephone company).  He met Lee, his future wife, in Kelowna in 1974.  They were married in 1975 and shortly thereafter, he was transferred to Kamloops.  After multiple transfers before and after a shift to CIBC, he and Lee ended up in Cranbrook where they stayed for approximately 20 years (computer sales and repairs; “do it all” handyman at a photo shop; and information systems manager for the City of Cranbrook).  He retired in 2017, at which point he and Lee moved to Vancouver.  Over the next 2 years, they used Vancouver as a base for international travel (32 countries).  In summary, many careers, many moves and lots of travel, and amongst all that, Mark has been involved with Rotary since 1996. 
    September Club Events and Member News
    Trivial Matters
    Congratulations to our Rotary Vancouver Sunrise Trivia Team of Ron, Mark, Carlos, Lorri, Ed, Matt, Rotaractor Sandra, and Diana who joined the bright young legal minds from Vancouver law firms in the first online Trivia Fundraiser to support youth basketball programs as part of the COVID 2020 version of the annual basketball HoopLaw fundraiser - see
    Thanks to quick thinking, extensive basketball knowledge, and some creative interpretation of the 4-Way Test, the Rotary team was tied in the lead until the final round turned to science and general knowledge.  With a strong third-place showing, Team Rotary Sunrise Trivia is sure to be back next year with the full, plain and true understanding that scorpions are in fact arachnids!
    Paul Harris Makes a Virtual Visit....
    Congratulations to President Carlos and Member Diana on receipt
    of their Paul Harris Sapphire Awards this month. 
    2020 Stanley Cup Hockey Pool Winners
    Congratulations to the Winners of our 2020 Stanley Cup Hockey Pool:
    • Matthew Lynam and Gary Chomyn, compliments of the Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning, have bragging rights for the next 12 months
    • Lawrence Bicknell, thanks to his family in Texas, took 2nd place with the runner-up Dallas Stars
    Thanks to everyone who participated.
    On Sunday June 28, in an outdoor, physically-distanced ceremony, Rotarians gathered with the successful scholarship recipients, family members and community representatives to celebrate the 2020 Rotary Youth Leadership Hoop-a-thon awards. 
    The 2020 Strathcona ROTARY Youth Leadership Hoop-A-Thon Raised $52,000+
    Thanks to all who donated this year during unusually difficult economic times. 
    Because of the generosity of Rotarians, friends, family, our Corporate Donors, The HoopLaw Tournament and the Vancouver Basketball Foundation we were able to exceed last year’s receipts!
    ALL of the money raised will go towards helping kids in East Vancouver:
    Scholarships: $35,000
    Strathcona Basketball Program: $8,190
    Rotary Youth Leadership Training (RYLA): $4,000
    Girls who LEAP: (Lead, Empower, Act with Purpose): $5,000
    Since 2007 the ROTARY Hoop-A-Thon Project has raised over $415,000 supporting our Youth Leadership initiatives in Vancouver. 
    Again, thank you for helping us help the kids!

    The Coronavirus WILL NOT STOP Vancouver ROTARY Clubs from Helping the Kids!


    The Coronavirus has interrupted the way we live, however it will not stop Vancouver ROTARY Clubs from helping the kids. This year’s Hoop-A-Thon fundraiser will go ahead, but with one change. The Strathcona Community Centre is closed so no teams will be shooting hoops this year.


    Make a DONATION NOW and receive an instant Tax Receipt: 

    Go To:

    Visit the official page for more information:

    During this period of our shared efforts to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus through physical distancing, self-isolation and quarantine measures, we have shifted our meetings online using Zoom. 
    We welcome Rotarians and guests to join our weekly online Wednesday club meeting at 7:30 am - 8:30 am PST!  Please email our club president, Matthew at to receive the meeting Zoom link details. 
    Stay safe everyone!
    We had 15 members attending our meeting this week. We also welcomed soon to be member Reyna Dominguez and visiting Rotarian Thomas from the Vancouver club.
    * Next week our regular meeting is canceled, we will instead have the gathering with the UBC Rotaract on Thursday.
    * Our changeover lunch will be a potluck on June 20th at the Obregon's. More details to come along later.
    Rotary Moment
    Ron Suzuki shared the news that the Britannia girls basketball team won the provincials! More details in the Vancouver Sun link below:
    Guest Speaker
    This week our guest speaker was Natalia Parga, from Potluck Catering. The mission of Potluck Café Society is to transform lives by creating jobs and providing healthy food for people living in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
    An award–winning social enterprise, Potluck Café Society (a registered charity) owns and operates Potluck Café & Catering, a thriving business that employs neighbourhood residents and provides up to twenty-five percent of the operating revenue required to run the Society’s ongoing programs.
    Learn more about this incredible project by visiting their website:
    Thought of the Day
    “The essence of Rotary will likely continue to be as undefinable as life itself. Therefore, we cannot hope for many results from definitions of Rotary but must rely on Rotarians acquiring a working knowledge of the appropriate activities which they are expected to perform, and then urge them to carry those activities into practice in their daily lives.” ~ Guy Gundaker Rotary Club of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA 1917 Rotary convention
    We had 13 members attending our meeting this week. We also welcomed prospective member Reyna Dominguez and visiting Rotarian Mark P.
    * It is with great pleasure that we announce our Rotary club president for 2021-22. Ed Kwan!
    * The Hoopathon committee shared a wonderful update, the other four Rotary clubs that are participating in this year's event have now announced their pledges. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.
    Rotary Moment
    Ron Suzuki told us about how pink shirt day started. The first Anti-Bullying Day started on Canada's East Coast in 2007 when David Shepherd and Travis Price bought 50 pink shirts and distributed them at home in Berwick, Nova Scotia. The motivation for this special day came after grade nine student Chuck McNeill wore a pink shirt on the first day of school.
    Guest Speakers
    This week our guest speaker was our member Cam Scott, sharing a very interesting slideshow from his trips to Africa. Please find some pics below:
    Selfie at Victoria Falls
    Luba early on the hike to seek Gorillas in Uganda.
    Thought of the Day
    “Only a life lived in the service of others is worth living." – Albert Einstein
    We had 12 members attending our meeting this week. 
    * Important announcement and vote request. Please click on the link below to pick a date for a networking session with the UBC Rotaract club:
    * The Hoopathon committee had their first meeting, welcoming 6 new members. The event will take place on May 9th.
    * The Rotaract club of UBC will begin collecting items for care packages to be delivered to the Vancouver East side residents later this spring. Each carepack will include a simple positive message in a card or post it note. 

    What goes into the Care Pack:

    Granola Bar
    Fruit Snack
    Water Bottle 
    Warm Socks
    Life Savers/Sugar Free Gum
    Hand lotion 
    Resource List of Shelters and City Services.
    Rotary Moment
    Jonathan Evans told us about how he was able to make a connection between Saori Ogura, a recipient of a Global Grant from our club, and an  acquaintance of his at MIT. Talk about connections!
    Guest Speakers
    This week our guest speakers were Franco Gallo, member of the Vancouver Rotary club, and Roger Killen, founder of "Get Inspired Talks".
    Our District has partnered with "Get Inspired Talks"to host an event on May 23rd 2020 called "Rotary Get Inspired Talks".
    This is the result of an overall recruitment strategy to attract new members to Rotary and help clubs achieve their growth targets. The event, which is organized and run by "Get Inspired Talks" seeks to inspire attendees to take action and make the necessary changes to improve their lives and communities.
    The values of both organizations are very aligned and the District believes that Clubs will greatly benefit from this partnership, from attracting new members to receiving sponsorship funds.
    Find out more by visiting the official website:
    Here is a video with Roger:
    Thought of the Day
    “Volunteers are unpaid not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.” – Anonymous
    We had 14 members attending our meeting this week. This week the meeting was to discuss our club's operations. 
    * Jonathan Evans told us that the Salvation Army was able to help out 1,400 local families this past holiday season!
    * The Hoopathon this year is off to a stellar start, our club was granted a $10K District Grant and we also have $11K from Hooplaw!
    * An invitation reminder for those members wanting to participate on the Rotary Leadership Institute training, the club covers the cost, just register on the district's website. The next session is scheduled for February 15th.
    * RYLA North Registration now OPEN! YLA North is District 5040's premier leadership program for participants aged 19 to 30.  Located at Camp Friendship in beautiful Northern BC (Prince George), this is an amazing opportunity to enhance leadership and communication skills, meet and collaborate with Rotarian leaders and make some lifelong friends.
    Rotary Moment
    This week we had the pleasure of awarding our member Ted MacCormack with a Paul Harris award, to add to his already extensive collection of well deserved awards. Congratulations!
    Guest Speakers
    This week we had our business meeting to discuss our club's operations and projects.
    Thought of the Day
    “Volunteers are unpaid not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.” – Anonymous
    Upcoming Speakers
    Danison Buan
    Mar 06, 2024 7:30 AM
    Time Utilization Workshop
    Gary Chomyn
    Mar 13, 2024 7:30 AM
    Here Comes Hoop-A-Thon 2024!
    Gary Chomyn & Mark Pinnell
    Apr 03, 2024 7:30 AM
    April Fool's Foolishness
    Past Speakers
    Catherine Atyeo
    Feb 28, 2024 7:30 AM
    The CLICK Youth Foundation
    Customize your Rotary convention with tours

    The Host Organization Committee has organized tours that Rotary members can experience before and after the Rotary International Convention.

    Polio mapping goes high tech

    Geotracking improves polio outbreak response targeting, ensuring fewer children are left behind

    Engineer follows the science of water

    Rotary scholar Isis Mejias dedicates her education and expertise to providing an essential human need — water.

    From farm to food pantry

    Harvest Against Hunger rescues a staggering amount of produce from Washington’s farm fields and fruit trees to nourish hungry families. But it never works alone.

    A barter baron with a knack for recruiting Rotary members

    The ‘barter baron’ of Syracuse, Bernie Bregman, has a knack for recruiting Rotary members.