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 www.youngstownrotary.org. 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 rcfaniro@faniroarchtects.com.
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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 www.littlefreelibrary.org.



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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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A Focus on Crocus

As part of Rotary International’s “End Polio Now” campaign, the Rotary Club of Youngstown kicked off a local campaign to raise awareness and critically-needed funds to fight this crippling disease. The local Rotary’s fundraising effort, The Crocus Campaign, is a partnership with Chick-Fil-A and Youngstown CityScape. crocus

On the National Day of Caring this past fall, volunteers from CityScape and the United Way helped plant over 500 purple crocus bulbs in the downtown square.  The crocus is the international symbol for the eradication of polio.

 As the crocuses are in bloom, the Rotary Club of Youngstown is celebrating this reawakening by selling silk crocus lapel pins. The purple color symbolizes the dye that is applied to the little finger of each child immunized against polio. The Crocus Campaign is to help raise funds and awareness of the potential global economic and financial effects of Polio.  Crocuses can be purchased at the Boardman Chick-Fil-A for a suggested donation of $3.  Of course, if you’d like to donate more, it would be greatly appreciated!

Funds raised will be matched by Rotary International, the volunteer fundraising arm of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative — a public-private partnership that also includes the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

This fundraising effort comes at an important time in the fight to eradicate polio, which would be only the second human disease besides smallpox to be eradicated. Case numbers of the disease have never been lower, and only three countries (Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan) still continue the transmission of the wild poliovirus.

However, a funding gap means immunization campaigns are being cut in high-risk countries, leaving children more vulnerable to polio. If polio isn’t stopped now, the disease could stage a comeback, affecting an estimated 200,000 children every year.

Since 1988, the number of polio cases has been reduced from 350,000 a year to fewer than 700 cases in 2011. The Americas were declared free from polio in 1994, the Western Pacific region in 2000, Europe in 2002, and India in 2011.  A highly infectious disease, Polio still strikes children mainly under the age of five in parts of Africa and South Asia. Polio can cause paralysis and sometimes death. There is no cure for polio, but for as little as 60 cents worth of oral vaccine, a child can be protected from the disease for life.




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Beers, Cheers & Gears is Near

The first Beers, Cheers and Gears of the Centennial year is almost here – and have the organizers got a surprise for you!  On Thursday March 20 from 5pm until 8pm, Rotary Club of Youngstown will host a “Youngstown Club Cheese Tasting” at Christopher’s downtown.  Chef Christopher will tempt your taste buds to the max as he puts his own formulation of this classic Youngstown recipe to the test.

You know the drill if you’ve attended the other events in the past.  If you haven’t, here’s the scoop:

  • Alcoholic/non-alcoholic libations will available on your tab.
  • The famous cheese spread and munchies will be on Youngstown Rotary
  • Show up when you like…..leave when you like.
  • Socialize with your fellow Rotarians or ignore everyone in sight…..whatever your preference, it’s OK.
  • No bell ringing, singing or signup sheets….just pure fun
  • Receive a make-up credit for attending
  • No service project at this event….just fellowship

This event is open to Rotarians and non- Rotarians alike so feel free to bring a guest, spouse, significant other or a friend(s)

You can sign up three different, easy ways, so there’s no excuse not to attend.  RSVP via email to Youngstown Rotary Office, go to  Cheers, Gears and Beers Sign Up to sign up directly, or sign up at this week’s Rotary Meeting.  But SIGN UP so we can get an idea on how much food Chef Christopher has to prepare.  Hope to see you there!

Christopher’s is located in the lower level of the City Centre One Building at the corner of North Champion and East Federal Street.

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99 Years and Counting

Youngstown Rotary Celebrated its 99th Anniversary on Saturday, February 1, 2014 with a bang, not only reviving the tradition of honoring those from the community and members as Paul Harris Fellows but also revealing a new Youngstown Rotary Centennial Logo.

The Paul Harris Fellowship is named for Paul Harris, who founded Rotary with three business associates in Chicago in 1905 and is one of Rotary International’s highest honors. The Fellowship was established in his honor in 1957 to express appreciation for a contribution to the humanitarian and educational activities of The Rotary Foundation. These activities are funded, implemented and managed by Rotarians and Rotary Clubs around the globe. Rotarians also designate a Paul Harris Fellow to recognize another person whose life demonstrates a shared purpose with the objectives and mission of The Rotary Foundation to build world understanding and peace. This year, Youngstown Rotary has re-established this tradition, and sought nominations from the membership community members this evening.

Rotarian Elayne Bozick, District Governor Debbie Esbenshade, Rotarian Sharon Letson and clubb President Sccott Schulick present the Paul Harris Fellowship Award to Dr Richard Billak.

The certificate for the Paul Harris Fellows states, “In appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations between peoples of the world.”  Those members honored as Paul Harris Fellows are; Msgr. Robert J. Siffrin, Carlton A. Sears, Carol Chamberlain, and John B. Slanina. Community members honored as Paul Harris Fellows were Brian Corbin, Lawrence Bozick, Frank Matyi, Dr. Richard Billak, and Janet Murray.

Elayne Bozick, DG Debbie, Janet Murray, Paul Harris Fellow recipient, President Scott and Rotarian Carol Sherman after presenting the Fellpowship award to Janet.

President Scott and President Elect Paul Garchar Schulick and Paul Garchar rang the Rotary bell together to kick off the Centennial celebration and yearlong festivities. The Centennial Committee revealed the new Youngstown Centennial logo created by Keynote Media. The logo highlights the changing nature of Youngstown’s skyline over the past 100 years, with smokestacks, skyscrapers, and prominent education buildings. Each attendee received a new logo pin as part of the celebration.

Youngstown Rotary received its official charter from the International Association of Rotary Clubs, now known as Rotary International on February 1, 1915. It became the 137th club, of what is now 34,000 clubs worldwide comprised of 1.2 million members. Youngstown Rotary is the first club founded in what is now Rotary District 6650, comprised of 48 clubs in northeastern Ohio. It holds a special place in the early beginnings of the Rotary movement; sponsored by the Rotary Club of New Castle, PA, with assistance from the Rotary Club of Cleveland. Youngstown Rotary was founded by architect Charles F. Owsley, who with his son, designed many buildings of historical significance in downtown Youngstown and throughout the community.

Youngstown Rotary founded and established the Boys & Girls Club of Youngstown in 1968, and was instrumental in the founding of several other key civic organizations including the Chamber of Commerce and Better Business Bureau. Most recently, activities have focused on the adoption of Harding Elementary School, where Rotarians have operated an award winning mentoring program.  The Youngstown Rotary Foundation, Inc., has provided scholarships annually to seniors from each public and parochial high school in Youngstown to attend Youngstown State University.  Additionally, the Club’s local foundation has provided over $1 million of support to local charitable projects since its founding.

Seven Youngstown Rotarians have served as Rotary district governors, including Debbie Esbenshade, the current governor; Leonard T. Skeggs served as Vice President of Rotary International in 1925, and was key YMCA leader and founder of Youngstown State University; and most notably, Atty. Robert A. Manchester II, of Harrington, Huxley and Smith law firm, served as President of Rotary International, 1976-77.



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