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 (