New President for 2016-2017

The Rotary Club of Youngstown is proud to announce William Lawson as our President for the following year!


All-Ohio PETS (March 2016)


Bill pictured with John Germ the new RI President.

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New President for 2015-2016

The Rotary Club  of Youngstown officially welcomed Becky Keck as its new president for the 2015-2016 year Wednesday, July 1st. Becky and The Club thanked past president Paul Garchar for an excellent year and then proceeded to lay out her vision for The Club for the next year. There are four points of focus for The Club to focus on that also align with its International Goals:

  •  Youth and Education
  • Philanthropy
  • Peace
  • Arts and Culture

We wish Becky and the Rotary Club of Youngstown success in the upcoming year!

Happy BK

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The Rockin’ Race Rocked!

The Rockin’ Race for Breast Cancer raised nearly $2,000 for the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center at St. Elizabeth Hospital. A huge THANK YOU to all of the Rotarians, mentors and others who helped make this a success, but most of all, congratulations and thank you to the Harding Elementary students. Their dedication and perseverance paid off once again!

Presenting the check to Dr. Abdu are, left to right:  Tiffany Westbay, Put Kids First co-chair; Jonathon Fauvie, Mercy Health Foundation; Dr. Abdu; Louis Lee, Put Kids First co-chair; Susan Koulianos, Harding Elementary School principal.

Rockin Race2015

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OH WOW! It’s the Rockin’ Race!

In support of the Youngstown Rotary and the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center, OH WOW! The Roger and Gloria Jones Center for Science & Technology is donating a free family pass to the top two student fundraisers from each classroom. How about that for incentive?

And speaking of donations, a huge thank you goes out to the major underwriters for the Race:

  • Janet & Michael Murphy (general race sponsors)
  • Mercy Health Foundation (collection can sponsor)
  • Youngstown Rotary Foundation
  • American Maintenance
  • Grow Youngstown
  • Sherman Creative Promotions
  • OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Center for Science and Technology
  • CCA Graphics

Here are a few things to keep in mind about the Race:

  • The Rockin’ Race will be held May 27 at Rayen Stadium. Volunteers will start at 8:00am, and the Race will start at noon and will run until 3:00pm.
  • On May 20th, volunteers are needed at 5:30 to meet at Sherman Creative Promotions to sort T-Shirts for the event.
  • On May 22nd, volunteers are needed at the Salvation Army 1501 Glenwood Ave, Youngstown, OH 44511, to help count coins collected from the cans students used to collect donations in.

Sign up sheets will be available at our Wednesday meetings leading up to the event, but anyone who is interested in volunteering for the above opportunities can contact Tiffany or Louis. Thanks!

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Closing in on the Centennial Celebration

Rotary 100 yrs logo - HORIZONTAL VERSION

It’s hard to believe that the Rotary Club of Youngstown’s Centennial Celebration is nearly upon us. Founded on February 1, 1915, the club was started when local architect Charles F. Owsley and businessman William W. Gillen were invited to a meeting in Cleveland in the early part of August 1914. They had heard about Rotary and how rapidly it was growing, and decided to see firsthand how it was done.

Fast forward 100 years, and Rotary Club of Youngstown is proud to honor its legacy with a series of events designed to showcase its history and move forward into the next century.

Event #1:  Rotary history exhibit cocktail & hors d’oeuvres reception at the Tyler History Center. Thursday, January 29, 2015, 5pm – 7pm.  $15 per person.

Event #2:  Rotary Centennial luncheon, Tyler History Center. Friday, January 30, 2015, 11:30am reception, noon luncheon. The keynote speaker will be Ed Futa, former General Secretary, Rotary International. $15 Youngstown Rotarians, $25 guests.

Event #3:  Centennial Gala, Youngstown Country Club on Saturday, January 31, 2015. Festivities begin at 6pm. Black tie. $75 per person.

You can register by visiting the Rotary Club of Youngstown’s website at Click on “View Full Website” on the upper navigation bar, then look for “centennial order form” on the left hand side of the site under Home Page Download files. Reservation deadline is January 15, 2015.

No tux for the gala? No problem! Rondinelli Tuxedo is offering a special deal of $75 off your tux rental at all of its locations. There are stores in Boardman, Niles and Hermitage, so get going!

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Club Centennial Project Proposed

As the Rotary Club of Youngstown turns 100 years old this year, many activities are being planned to celebrate this anniversary, one of which is the section of a service project that will make a difference in our community and commemorate our 100 years.
Ron Faniro and the Centennial Committee have come up with a proposed project that they feel fits the bill very nicely:  the renovation of the pavilion at Wick Park in Youngstown. The Pavilion has seen some wear and tear over the years, and the Rotary Club’s engagement can extend the use of this building to the City’s Park Department.
Ron and John Slanina gave members an overview of the project at our meeting on November 12. Some of the highlights included:

  • The Pavilion is the most-used building in the city’s park system, reserved several times a week.
  • The Committee shared how they did their due diligence to determine this project, compared to other considered projects
  • The Committee presented their overview of cost estimates to refurbish this existing structure
  • This will be a four to five year project because of the costs involved
  • Youngstown Rotary will not be the only financial supporter, but will be leading a community campaign to complete the project
  • The site can also be a location for ongoing plantings by the Rotary Club or other groups
Opinions were shared on the feasibility and budget, longer-term commitments, and project timelines.
Because our Club has such a great collection of strategic thinkers, campaign experience, and enthusiastic members, a collection of Rotarians will be meeting to discuss the next phase of turning this vision into reality.
If you would like to be a part of this effort on the Wick Park Pavilion Renovation, please email Ron Faniro at
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It’s Definitely Not Your Nonna’s

Your Nonna’s what? Sauce cook off! Rotary Club of Youngstown and Grow Youngstown are hosting a new fundraising event called “Not Your Nonna’s Sauce Cookoff”.  It’s a competition to see who has the best sauce in town, whether it be red, white or green. Bet you didn’t even know there was such a thing as green sauce, did you? Well, we won’t give away what that might be, you’ll have to attend the event to find out.


Not Your Nonna’s Sauce Cookoff will be held on Sunday, October 26 from 11am until 4pm at Mount Carmel Church in Youngstown.  Cost is $15 per person, kids 10 and under get in for $5.  The price entitles you to 3 “tasting tickets”. For the big eaters among us, there’s also a Pasta Primavera all-you-can eat price for $30. In addition to the great sauces created by Valley cooks, chefs and restauranteurs, there will be a cash bar with locally sourced wine and beer, and lots of activities for kids.

Local celebrities will be judging the sauces in the three categories, for the Sauce Lover’s Choice and Best All Local. To date, are judges are  Mayor John McNally, Rich Morgan, Judge Robert Rusu (a real judge!), Vindy editor Todd Franko, Frank Occobocchi and Denita Davis.

Of course, the event would’t be possible without our sponsors, WKBN / Fox and Dr. Kathy Padgitt, The Center for Lifestyle Change.  Thank you for your generosity!

We promise, Not Your Nonna’s Sauce Cookoff will change your notion of sauce forever! Tickets can be purchased from any member of Youngstown Rotary, or online at Grow Youngstown.



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Little Free Library – Take One, Leave One

Free libraries? Haven’t libraries always been free? What’s so special about a small, free library? Let’s go back to the beginning…….

In 2009, Rotarian Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading.  He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard.  His neighbors and friends loved it.  He built several more and gave them away.  Each one had a sign that said FREE BOOKS.  And so Little Free Libraries were born. original-lfl

Little Free Libraries offer a way to promote literacy and love of reading by building free book exchanges throughout communities worldwide. The concept is simple: take a book, leave a book.  Because they’re small, they can be placed almost anywhere, creating a meeting place in neighborhoods, parks and other locations where people gather.

A committee of Youngstown Rotarians has been formed to bring Little Free Libraries to our area. The first site has already been chosen, and Rotarian Mike Shaffer has committed the Youngstown YMCA, fitting, since it’s where we meet each week for lunch. Three other locations have also come on board:  YNDC, Crandall Park and SMARTS. Currently, there are 30 Little Free Libraries in Ohio. This committee’s first big goal is to help facilitate the installation of 31 in and around the Youngstown metropolitan area starting with the YMCA, downtown – one more LFL than the state total.

You can help spread the library love by facilitating the placement of a Little Free Library where you work, shop, or play. AND you can help find donors who might be interested in sponsoring one. As always, it costs money to build these little works of art.

For more information, call or email Elayne Bozick, or give her a holler at Rotary. To read more about Little Free Libraries, visit their website at



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Harding Elementary Ready to Rock Out Cancer

footprintsGet your walking shoes laced and ready–the second annual Rockin’ Race for Cancer will be held on Wednesday,  May 28 from 12:30 – 3:00pm at The Rayen Stadium on Cordova Avenue in Youngstown. Kelly Stevens, HOT 101 radio personality and Youngstown Rotarian, will emcee the event, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Youngstown. Students will participate in three stations according to grade level: The Rockin’ Race around the Rayen track, Rockn’ Zumba led by Jamie Bylor, certified Zumba instructor, and Rockin’ Snack provided by Grow Youngstown.

Students from Harding Elementary School have been collecting donations during the month of May, and those gifts will be presented to Dr. Rashid Abdu at the end of the festivities in support of the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center at St. Elizabeth Hospital.  The two top fundraisers from each classroom will win a Free Field Trip to the OH WOW Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The two top students from each class, one boy and one girl, running the most laps, will win McDonald’s Happy Meal Coupons.  Harding School families are encouraged to attend the day’s event. All of the money raised will directly benefit women in the Mahoning Valley.

Joanie’s Promise is a grant-funded program that provides breast care services for uninsured and under insured women who meet financial eligibility. This program covers all diagnostic breast-related services and pays for hospital and radiologist fees. Those who qualify do not receive a bill.

Event Sponsors include Youngstown Rotary Foundation; Janet and Mike Murray and W. C. Granger Co.; Lane Transport; Sam’s Club; American Maintenance; Grow Youngstown; Sherman Creative Promotions; John & Michelle Perdue from McDonald’s; OH WOW Roger & Gloria Jones Center for Science & Technology; Humility of Mary Health Partners; CCA Graphics; John Slanina; Debbie Esbenshade and Kevin Chiu. Committee chairs are Carol Sherman and Frank Kishel. Committee members are Linda Kostka, Sharon Letson, Samantha Turner, Elsa Higby, Jonahon Flauvie, Kelly Bervish, Tammy Foley and Susan Koulianos.

For more information about the Rockin’ Race, call Carol Sherman at 330.360.8839 or Frank Kishel at 330.720.6328.

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Reverse Raffle Less Than Two Weeks Away!

The Rotary Club of Youngstown’s 15th annual Reverse Raffle will be held on Friday, May 14 at St. Mary’s Assumption Center in Youngstown.  The festivities begin at 6pm with a social hour that includes an open bar and hors d’oeuvres, with music provided buy the Back Beat Band.  While you socialize, make sure you bid on the silent auction items, check out the live auction items, and buy your tickets for the chance auction.  Here’s a sampling of some of the fabulous gifts this year:

  • 18 holes of golf at Kensington for four, plus a cart
  • Kitchen design  service with full drawings buy Sam Pitzulo Homes
  • Cleveland Indians game tickets
  • Dinner cooked and served by our own Elayne Bozick and her husband Larry
  • Pancake breakfast and instructions with John Slanina-and did I mention that includes a bottle of sold-out, impossible to find Mill Creek Maple syrup??

Then there’s my personal fave–a week’s stay at an apartment in Rheims, France, generously donated by Austintown Rotarian Kristofer Sperry.

Dinner begins at 7pm, the Reverse Raffle at 8.  Single ticket prices $100 for the Reverse Raffle, while couples pay $150.  Dinner only tickets are available also for $50.  The grand prize in the Reverse Raffle is $3,000, so that extra $50 is well worth the price! And did I mention open bar?  And wonderful desserts by Debbie?

Stay tuned for more details as prizes roll in!



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