Message from DG Jenalea Randall

As we enter into the holiday season, I wanted to take a moment to thank you. Thank you Rotarians for all that you do in your clubs to support one another. Thank you for your efforts to support needs in your communities. Thank you for looking beyond your own communities to find opportunities to support our fellow men, women, and children.
Collectively as Rotarians, our vision is “Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.” Across our 41 clubs and 1,900 plus members in Northeast Kansas we are focused on this vision. There are so many needs in our world today. I truly believe Rotarians are a light as to take action in the world.
Our communities need Rotary – our members, our ability to network, create, and collaborate. And, the Rotary Clubs of Northeast Kansas needs you. Through our service and fellowship we are making a lasting contribution and real impact.
Happy holidays to you and yours. I hope you are surrounded by those who bring you joy and laughter this season.
Jenalea Randall
District Governor, 2023-24
Member, Topeka South Rotary

Club & District News and Events

Rotary and Polio Plus
Dear District 5710 Polio Eradication Warriors,
Pleased to report that there were NO new Wild Polio cases in Pakistan or Afghanistan during December 2022 and we are in the Final Race to make 2024 the year we finally defeat the Wild Polio Virus.   
As the year closed there were only 12 cases in these two endemic countries compared to 30 cases at this same time in 2022.  See our “Countdown to History”.  Remember that after the last case of the WPV occurs the World Health Organization will monitor for up to 3 years before declaring the Polio Virus eradicated. During that time, Rotary’s continued support will be absolutely necessary!
The other remaining challenge of the eradication task will be to eliminate the incident of Circulating Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus (cVDPV) paralysis cases. During the last week of 2023 the total number of these cases reached 428 cases, less than half of the almost 900 cases that occurred in 2022. In last months newsletter, we provided a detailed description of the causes of cVDPV and the promising success of the NovelOPV, so please look back to last month’s Polio Report to become familiar with this key part of Ending Polio.
Looking back from this Half-Way point in the Rotary Year, many of our District 5710 Clubs continued to work toward both setting and achieving their annual Polio Plus Funding Goals, including special events surrounding World Polio Day.  A great second opportunity in the coming year for supporting Polio Plus will occur the last week of April as we celebrate World Immunization Week, remembering that it was in April of 1954 that Jonas Salk announced the success of the Polio vaccine.  So, if your Club hasn’t set its goal or planned your annual Polio Plus funding event, start the new year by making that a priority now! An easy way to make those Goals a reality is to encourage as many members as possible to become members of the District’s Polio Plus Society.
And as a special reminder to the leadership teams of each of our clubs; be sure as your incoming President Elect and Board begin budgetary planning for the Rotary 2024-2025 that Polio Plus is included as a high priority.  With every Rotarian’s help, “TOGETHER, WE END POLIO”!
And “We are…This Close” as shown in our “Countdown to History”
Call/email me for help / (913) 200-0514 ~ / Jim Arnett, Polio Plus 5710 Chair  
Wild Poliovirus Weekly Update
Week Ending 30 December 2023
Total number of wild cases in 2019:  176
Total number of wild cases in 2020:  140
Total # of wild poliovirus cases in 2021: 6
Total # of wild poliovirus cases in 2022: 30(20 in Pakistan!)       
Total # of wild poliovirus cases in 2023: 12(6 in Pakistan!)
      (compared with Total of 30 for the same period in 2022)
Total number of Circulating Vaccine Derived cases - 2023:428
 (vs. totals in 2020: 1113; & 698 in 2021, with 876 in 2022)
Please Donate @ 
Save the Date for PETS 2024
Save the Date—Presidents-Elect!!!
Our PETS is scheduled for 21-23 March 2024 in Salina, Kansas.
The PETS committee is working hard to make this a fun and informative event…stay tuned for more information and our Pre-PETS Zoom date!
Questions, email Tamara @
Anti-Human Trafficking Committee Update

Mark your Calendars: National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is on January 11, 2024. The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Blue Campaign encourages the public to wear a blue item of clothing and post a photo using the #WearBlueDay hashtag on social media. It doesn’t matter if it’s a selfie, group photo, or video — just be sure to wear blue and invite others to do the same!

Indicators of Human Trafficking   (From DHS Blue Campaign)

Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life. Here are some common indicators to help recognize human trafficking.

•         Has a child stopped attending school?

•         Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?

•         Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?

•         Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?

•         Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?

•         Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?

•         Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?

•         Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?

•         Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?

•         Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?

•         Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?

•         Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?

•         Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?

Not all indicators listed above are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.

The Rotary Foundation 
Happy New Year from your District Foundation committee! As we start another calendar year, I wanted to share a few pieces of information that are currently in process with your District Foundation. We have received all of the club funding for the global grant for Guatemala and are currently waiting for Rotary International to fund the remainder from three districts and the World Fund. This grant will focus on Disease Prevention and Treatment for the Patanatic region. There are several of our clubs involved in this grant and we also have some support coming from our neighboring District 5680. We are now in the process of planning a trip to this region of Guatemala in April from the 13th – 21st. I will send out an opportunity for our 5710 Rotarians to join us for this trip as soon as the details are confirmed.
You have already heard about the global grant that is being led by Jennifer Montgomery in Kampala, Uganda in other articles and newsletters.  Your Global Grants committee is now looking at other opportunities in Ghana, Uganda, and Guatemala with other possibilities blooming. It is our goal to utilize our District Designated Funds in a way that benefits as many people as possible. I look forward to sharing more information on these potential grants in the future.
Please save the date for April 6, 2024! This is when we hold our fourth annual Gathering For Good. Our committee met last month to discuss details this night’s event. As before, this will be a silent and live auction. We decided to change our event to theme night with this year’s being “The 80’s”. We will have a DJ spinning the tunes and encourage all of our attendees to dress in their favorite 80’s outfits. This year, the Gathering For Good will be held at the Doubletree by Hilton in Lawrence and our auctioneer extraordinaire, Charlie Moon, will be returning to lead us through the live auction. This event, as before, will be a very fun filled night with all the funds raised going to The Rotary Foundation Annual fund in the name of the person purchasing any item that is available. I hope you plan to attend this year. You will not want to miss it.
So far for this Rotary year, we have, as a district, given 30% of what we contributed last year to TRF Annual fund and 36% to Polio Plus. We are halfway through year. It would be great if we could match or exceed our numbers from last year. Your District Foundation committee is dedicated to helping our members with various ways of contributing to TRF and with various ideas for projects that can benefit from those funds.
As always, thank you very much for all of your support for TRF. We are truly impacting and enhancing lives with our efforts!
Endowment & Major Gifts Update
GREAT First Half of the Rotary year!!
For the first half of the 23-24 Rotary year District Rotarians made two new major gifts and one significant endowment contribution, and a couple became new Endowment Benefactors. It’s a great start for the year and now we need to finish up strong.
One of the major gifts was from a Donor Advised Fund and thus highly tax favored treatment in December. It is time to start thinking about 2024 taxes now, so the decision to make gifts to the Rotary International Foundation Endowment (or annual fund or Polio) from taxable or tax preferred assets or techniques can be made wisely.
Everyone’s situation is different and I would be pleased to visit with you personally about how to get the most bang for your charitable buck. While cash or check are still greatly appreciated, a lot of times some other gifting technique is better for you and your income tax return.
Recent visits to Emporia and Manhattan Clubs prove how awesome and generous Kansas Rotarians are. I would be pleased to attend your club meeting to talk about the Rotary Foundation, Endowments and Major Gifts.  Call me at 785-267-8782 (daytime work) or  (same) to connect and get energized about the Rotary International Foundation.
Rotary International professional Lizzy King (1-847-866-3017 or is also eager to visit with anyone about making a major gift or funding the Rotary endowment.
District 5710 Membership Update

The Service Companion Club
A Way Attract More New Members & Retain More Members
And Other Membership Ideas
I hope that all of you had a very Merry Christmas full of joy with friends and family!
Halfway thru this 2023-2024 Rotary year – some questions to ask you:
  • Does your Rotary Club want more members?
  • Would your club like to do more service projects?
  • Does your club want younger members?
  • Would your club want more women?
  • Does your club want to look more like your community?
If your answer is YES to any of these questions, you should consider starting a Service Companion Club!
So, what is a Service Companion Club?  It is an extension club of your existing Rotary Club!  Click on the following link  to download the Service Companion Club Fact Sheet from Rotary International.  You will learn more about how a Service Companion Club can help your club grow, thrive, and be able to help more people improve their lives.
To learn how a club in our district recently started a Service Companion Club, click here:   You can read how Shawnee Rotary Club immediate past president, Matt Zimmerman and his team started their Service Companion Club, Shawnee in the Evening.  You will find out how the Shawnee RC not only increased their membership but also brought some members back who recently had to resign.
Meanwhile, lets see where our district stands regarding membership at the Rotary year halfway point …
Our district membership is at 1,933 Rotarians - a net increase of 38! We inducted 86 new Rotarians and readmitted 16 since July 1st.  On the other hand, our district also lost 63 Rotarians since the start of this Rotary year.  Club leaders, please ensure you understand why they left. 
Twenty of our clubs gained members with 7 of these having a net 10% or greater increase in membership.   Congrats to all these clubs and let’s ensure our new members become actively engaged Rotarians who will have fun while serving others and meeting new friends!   
How are these clubs gaining members?  Consider the following three keys to attract and keep more members by Emily Tucker, Supervisor, Regional Membership Development at Rotary International:
  1. Make sure your club experience is delivering what people want. Rotary International leaders continually state that the care and comfort of your members is critical to the long-term success and sustainability of your club.
  2. Tell your story so well your community knows what you’re doing. How well do you know the folks at your local news outlets? Do you consistently send them stories about all the wonderful community support your club does?   Our district has put together a template to effectively tell your story along with how to effectively approach your local media.  eMail me at I will be glad to send this to you.
  3. Be thoughtful about who’s missing from your club and work to establish genuine relationships and partnerships with vocations not represented in your club? Do you invite those from these vocations and other non-Rotarians to participate in your service projects?
Please do not hesitate to contact our District Membership Team with questions and to ask for our support to help your clubs grow.   That’s why we are here and that’s what we do!
Best wishes to all of you for a very healthy, fulfilling happy 2024!
Younger Members are the Lifeblood of Rotary
(In recent months we’ve discussed ways to attract younger members to Rotary.  This article reminds us why and how younger members are vital for Rotary’s future.)
Engaging young adults in Rotary can bring new perspectives, energy, and skills to the organization, which can contribute to your club’s growth and sustainability. Here are several reasons why your club should make recruitment of younger members a priority.
1. Fresh Perspectives and Ideas: Young adults often bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and a willingness to challenge conventional thinking. By inviting them to join, Rotary clubs can benefit from diverse viewpoints and creative solutions to address community needs and global challenges.
2. Leadership Development: Engaging young adults in Rotary provides an opportunity for their leadership development. Encouraging them to take on leadership roles and responsibilities within the organization can help them develop valuable skills and experiences that will benefit both Rotary and the members themselves.
3. Sustainable Growth: Inviting young adults to join Rotary is essential for the long-term sustainability and relevance of the organization. Ensuring a continuous influx of new, diverse, and engaged members is critical for the vitality and growth of Rotary clubs.
4. Connection to Community: Young adults often have a strong desire to connect with and contribute to their communities. By inviting them to join Rotary, clubs can provide a platform for young adults to engage in meaningful service projects and make a positive impact in their local and global communities.
5. Representation and Diversity: Actively inviting young adults to join Rotary can contribute to greater diversity and representation within the organization. Embracing a wide range of age groups and backgrounds can enrich the collective experience and effectiveness of Rotary clubs.
6. Succession Planning: Engaging young adults in Rotary is important for succession planning. As experienced members transition out of leadership roles or move on, inviting young adults to join ensures that there is a pipeline of capable and committed individuals ready to step into leadership positions and sustain the organization's mission and impact.
7. Adaptation to Changing Needs: Young adults are often early adopters of new technologies, trends, and methods of engagement. By inviting them to join Rotary, clubs can adapt to changing preferences and needs, ensuring that the organization remains relevant and accessible to a new generation of potential members and beneficiaries.
8. Impactful Engagement: Inviting young adults to join Rotary creates opportunities for meaningful engagement and contribution. By involving them in service projects, mentorship programs, and leadership opportunities, Rotary can empower young adults to make a positive difference in their communities and the world.
In conclusion, asking young adults to join Rotary is essential for the organization's continued relevance, growth, and impact. Creating an open and inviting environment for young adults to participate in Rotary can bring new perspectives, skills, and energy to the organization, ultimately contributing to its success in advancing community service, fostering leadership, and addressing global challenges.
Your RI Foundation Dollars at work -- World Peace Fellow, Jennifer Montgomery
Jennifer Montgomery was nominated by District 5710 and selected by Rotary International to participate in the 1st RI Peace Fellowship program at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. Since becoming a Rotary Peace Fellow, Jennifer founded a nonprofit, MGI (Magenta Girls Initiative), and worked with Columbia South Rotary, RC of Kasangati, SA, and District 5710 to apply for a Rotary Global Grant. The grant restores hope to the women in the slums of Kampala who are victims of gender-based violence and are forced to work in the sex trade to support their families. More than 80 women will learn vocational skills and receive mentorship in setting up their own business.  The project was launched in Uganda on November 22, 2023.
Congratulations to Jennifer for developing this incredible Global Grant project to mobilize innovative and sustainable solutions to help women in the slums of Kampala. You can view more about the event at or on Jennifer’s blog at
Jennifer is available to speak to your clubs about this project. For more information, contact Jennifer at
District Training
We have some great news! The Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) has approved our grant request so those District 5710 Rotarians interested in attending these Leadership Courses may do so at no expense. As we have mentioned in the past, The KLC Leadership Path will influence the way you manage yourself and others in both your professional and personal lives.  The number of scholarships/seats allotted to our District is confirmed.  We have 25 spots that can be used for When Everyone Leads or Your Leadership Edge and 5 spots that can be used for Lead for Change. We highly encourage you to follow the registration link and use the appropriate promo code below to reserve a spot now!
The promo code for 2024 is Rotary2024 (case sensitive) and registration is open for 2024 programs.
A reminder: Please let us know if your club is interested in hosting (providing a conference room/site) a February RLI (Rotary Learning Institute).  We intend to keep a hybrid design: Friday a Zoom mtg from 5:30-8:30 PM, and the in-person session on Saturday from approximately 8:30 AM-5:00 PM.
We look forward to continued collaboration in Rotary Learning and Professional Development opportunities throughout 2024.
Yours in Rotary,
DeEtte Lombard and Ellen Bogdan
District Learning Co-Chairs
Rotary History Moment
"Friendship was the foundation rock on which Rotary was built and tolerance is the element which holds it together." Paul Harris - 1948.
With the new year dawning, we face new challenges and through them, opportunities.  This year bids fair to be a political brawl, and all year from the primaries through the probably inevitable post-election challenges to take us through the next Christmas season.  At least if history is any guide, it probably won’t be genteel, either.  Fortunately, as Rotarians, we are part of an organization with over a century of experience living with this and adapting to it.
Our governing documents reference board decisions dating as far back as 1916, with several updates since, regarding how Rotary International engages politics.  Our Constitutions, both RI and the Standard Club Constitution are clear: corporately, as an institution and as clubs, we don’t.  We don’t endorse candidates, parties, political questions – however much we are encouraged as individuals to be involved in our communities, including the ever-messy realm of retail politics.
But we shouldn’t be wearing our Rotary pins when we do so, and we should leave it at the door when we enter our meetings and events and projects. 
As David Forward expressed in his history of Rotary, “A Century of Service:”
“Rotary has always approached peacemaking systematically – it has sought to break down the barriers that cause people to point fingers at one another, By trying to understand people’s points of view and reaching across lines or race, religion, and culture to become partners in service to all mankind, tensions are reduced and friendships are increased.” [Chapter 17, Rotary, the Peacemaker]
1994-95 RI President Bill Huntley, from England, thought that Rotary succeeded for three reasons. [Century of Service, “Conclusion.”]

1. “We cross boundaries.  Look at District 1160 - there is one district for all of Ireland, where strife has boiled for generations.”
2. “We talk at all levels because of the quality of our members – kings, government officials, and business leaders.  We have entrée into the US White House Oval Office and the United Nations.  Local club presidents can talk to city councilors.  Rotary has a say in affairs of the community.”
3. “We’re trusted.  Our history covers 100 years of faithful community service, and our badge has become the emblem of integrity.  In Istanbul, Turkey, for example, Rotarians were called in as the arbiters in industrial disputes.”
As someone who had been living in the silo of the US Army since literally before I was born, I looked forward to joining Rotary to expand my horizons and interact and come to understand all the folks I had been manning the ramparts to protect.  To get out of the very real bubble military service puts you into.  I had seen what it did for my father, who, like me, had been a career soldier.  And it worked.  I worked, and  had lunch with, learned from (and maybe taught) people who had never lived like I did and I’m pretty sure had never voted as I did.  My mentor as I went through the process of learning to be a District Governor was someone who had lived a very different life than I had, and who looked at life through a very different lens.  And I am still blessed by that experience.  We both knew we were different.  But we focused on what we had in common.  And left the rest at the door, for other venues and groups.

Why am I bringing this up?  In addition to the upcoming political crazy season, my own club has recently had some drama along these lines, and as someone who values consensus I talked to a lot of people in my club, and learned quite a bit about exactly the fact that we all have so much in common causes us to assume that we have *everything* in common.  And how that can create a subtle hostile environment in your club.  We have a long-time member (20+ years) who almost quit the club in her first month because she  joined us right after an election, and sat at tables with members who were making great mock of the results, and crowing about the wins.  These established members ran in different political circles than our newcomer.  And our new member was uncomfortable, and didn’t feel welcomed, but in fact, felt alienated.  She approached our President and stated an intention to quit.  He asked her to “Wait, and let me take care of it.”  And he did, reminding our membership that some things were best left outside the meeting room, and that you shouldn’t assume that everyone was like them…” 
As noted in the quotes above, keeping that in mind is a good thing.  Consider – how many members have you lost or never gained, because your club has an unconscious partisan vibe to it?  Or a religious leaning?  Think about it.  It’s rarely obvious and in-your-face.  It’s almost always subtle and unconscious. And it takes a continual awareness to keep a lid on it.  Especially in this era of social media.

In our clubs and our service – focus on what we have in common, not what divides us.  Trust me, as a Mizzou grad, I can tell you Rotary in Eastern Kansas can be a hostile environment – yet you did allow me to be District Governor, so, clearly, some sins can be forgiven.  If you wonder about it – let the 4 Way Test and Object of Rotary be your guide.
Ambassadors Rotary
Ambassadors rotary club packed 900 Hygiene kits for Heart To Heart International at our November meeting.  Those Hygiene kits will be distributed all over the world to support those affected by a crisis, to ensure they have the basic essentials.  Special thanks to Olathe North and Shawnee Mission North students and other volunteers who helped. 
Club members with the Rotary Club of Community Action Against Human Trafficking (CAAHT) gathered in the kitchen of member Patti Mellard on November 1 to chop vegetables, brown beef, cook noodles and enjoy fellowship while preparing casserole freezer meals to benefit victims of human trafficking.
The evening was the first round of casserole production for the club’s 2023 Rotary District Grant project. Through the grant project, CAAHT club members will make dinner casserole freezer meals in stages to help keep the YWCA Day Center and women’s shelter freezers stocked. Club members donated their time by gathering recipes, purchasing ingredients and supplies, and preparing the casseroles. Some ingredients were donated by club members. The group completed 14 casseroles during the initial night of production. 
Organizations such as the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment and Human Trafficking Day Center within District 5710 have been critical in creating a safe space for victims as they work to escape trafficking. Every Friday at noon the Day Center provides a hot meal for the women who are receiving services there. This meal provides an opportunity for peer support and education, as well as adding a warm, healthy meal to their diet. In past years, the Day Center has run low on food supplies to supply this meal. Through this project, the CAAHT club aims to provide food security for these locations by preparing and supplying them with as many freezer meals as possible.
Club members will meet again in early 2024 for a second round of casserole production.
Emporia Rotary
On December 6th, the Emporia Rotary Club, along with Evergy’s Green Team, were able to help revamp the playground area at SOS, Inc. – a non-profit that empowers and advocates for those affected by sexual and domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking, child abuse, and neglect. We were able to remove all the old mulch that was in their play area, level out the area, and add new, rubber mulch. It was a great day to serve our community.
Kansas City, KS Rotary
This November the Kansas City, Kansas Rotary Club focused its programs on the theme of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  The Club heard from a diverse group of speakers from the local community who shared their perspectives on DEI. 
To kick off the month, Rakmi Shaiza, the founder of Stitching Change, spoke to club members about her organization’s work in teaching sewing skills and providing marketing and business development information to refugee women and men in the KCK community.  Stitching Change has broadened its initial focus on refugee women to include programs for area youth.  Randy Lopez, the incoming President and CEO of the Wyandotte Health Foundation, spoke the following week and shared valuable information about the efforts of Wyandotte Health Foundation to approach and address health equity issues.
Club members also enjoyed learning about the work of the Kansas City Latin Jazz Orchestra and institute when Pablo Sanhueza and Cynthia Ammerman visited a meeting.  They explained how the non-profit orchestra provides tuition free cultural immersion education to local youth.  Club members are hoping to have the KC Latin Jazz Orchestra perform at a future event.  Closing out the month of DEI, Stephenie Smith, co-founder and managing partner of Sophic Solutions, a change management firm, spoke to the Club.  Ms. Smith lead Club members in an interesting discussion of perceptions of race, inequality, and prejudice.
Leavenworth Rotary
Bell Ringing and Dictionary Deliveries Kept Us Busy during the month of December.
In support of the Salvation Army, Leavenworth Rotary members rang bells 10 days beginning on the day after Thanksgiving.  Thanks to our bell ringers, we were able to cover 95 hours of bell ringing; special thanks goes out to President Nominee (VP) Caroline Webster for taking the lead on bell ringing for our club!
We delivered over 650 third grade dictionaries in our local communities (Leavenworth (Xavier Catholic and Saint Paul Lutheran included), Fort Leavenworth, Lansing and Pleasant Ridge School Districts).  The kids were as excited as ever to receive their personalized dictionaries (thanks to the Pleasant Ridge High School Business Class/Future Business Leaders of America).  Special thanks goes out to the Dictionary Chair, Brian Wepking, for taking the lead on Third-Grade Dictionary business for our club!
The Rotary Club of Leavenworth wishes everyone a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year --- here's to 2024!
Upcoming for Leavenworth:
Leavenworth High School Interact Club Valentine's Day Rose Sales - February 2024
Irish Stew Dinner - 11 March 2024
Manhattan Konza Rotary
December was a festive and eventful month for Manhattan Konza Rotary. On the afternoon of December 9th, 17 Rotarians rang the Salvation Army Bell outside Hyvee. Even Santa made an appearance! 
From November 17th through December 11th, our club collected gifts for the Junior League of the Flint Hills Adopt-a-Family program. We were able to cover the wishes and needs of two families this year.
On December 15th, we had our annual holiday party, ugly sweater competition, and 2024-25 board elections. Mark Rose won the coveted trophy for his sweater, and the club nominated Di Hinrichs-Toburen as our next President-Elect. Di will serve as Club President in the 2025-26 Rotary Year.
Manhattan Rotary
District Summary for December 2023
Over the last few months, the Club welcomed new members Lori Feldkamp, President and CEO of Big Lakes Developmental Center, Narmadha (Meenu) Mohankumar, former Rotaractor and now employed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Michael Heylin, a retiree in Manhattan.
President-elect Randy Peterson presented our Cup Money BIG CHECK to Karla Hagemeister, Executive Director of Flint Hills Breadbasket. This support allows her to leverage bulk food purchases at costs well below grocery store prices.  Over fifty families a week benefit from the Breadbasket.
The Rotary Student of the Month program began anew when President Mitzi introduced, Ryan Thein, and his parents Patrick and Anita. The Konza and Manhattan Rotary Clubs will encourage these students to apply for Manhattan and Konza Rotary Club Merit Scholarships funded by district grants and the Clubs to be awarded in April/May.
In the final meeting of the year, Mattie Vandel, Rotary District 5710 Global Grant Scholar, spoke about her experiences working on a Global Master’s degree at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. Mattie thanked the club and district for her Global Grant Scholarship award and recognized Ryan Klataske and Steven Graham, for their mentorship and support. Mattie resumes her studies in India and Thailand in January. You can view her presentation via the Club Facebook page.
On December 21, we celebrated the holidays and the 101st birthday of the longest-serving Rotarian in the District, C. Clyde Jones. He joined Rotary in 1958. 
Mental Health First Aide Class - it was a great day with lots of information! Three Rotary Clubs from 2 districts came together to learn about mental health first aide. There was great interaction among participants! Awareness is Key!
Shawnee Mission Rotary
Although a small Club in size, Shawnee Mission Club has a big heart and committed to being quite busy this Fall and early winter. We entered Fall with our semi-annual Lamar Street Cleanup in Mission, and then continued maintaining our planted floral displays in the 26 large planters at Growing Futures school in Overland Park until the frost signaling clean out of the planters for another year.  Later, multiple members filled in shifts having a blast helping with games at the Annual Growing Futures "Harvesting Hope Fundraiser" - amazing event! Once a month, the Club visits on a Friday evening Tyler's House KC (TH-KC), an NPO providing a wonderful, safe-space of 'belonging and connection' for high school teens in Johnson County to gather, eat, enhance their creative abilities, and socialize. TH-KC was the recipient of our Club's support via our District 5710 Allocation Grant for various supplies at TH-KC, and too, a Discretionary Grant to supplement dinners for the teens on Friday evenings. Our Club helped with several other Rotary Clubs to financially support the Discretionary Grant of the Rotary CAAHT Club in Wakarusa for fighting Human Trafficking. Now as December arrives, the Club will be helping some families during the coming Holiday by Adopting a Family for requested gifts. Continuing the holiday spirit, we will volunteer to help clients shop in the annual Johnson County Christmas Bureau's Holiday Shop, as well as once again Ring the Salvation Army Bells in Mission - all refreshing activities for Rotarians eager for service to others. 
We enjoyed educational and entertaining speakers so far too: 5710 DG Jenalea Randall inspiring us about the District's new Task Force about Mental wellness, and also Empowering Girls; Dennis Grayless, very successful Instructor of the NJROTC at Shawnee Mission North HS; Steve Nettles, Lenexa Rotary Club, with eye-opening information about Human Trafficking and efforts opposing it; and Dave Huston, Western Johnson County Rotary Club, who stimulated everyone's attention with his presentation and 'props' about "Curling"!  As we go into December, it's like Yogi Berra said 'It ain't over till it's over.' - and we look forward to more Fun doing Good!
Shawnee Rotary
Adopt A Family: This year's family was a Mom and five children; the children are excellent students at a local elementary school. Their list was mostly "basic needs" and not "wants",  including a highchair. After all the donations were made from Rotarians and the Shawnee Big O Tires, the Shawnee Rotary Elves went shopping to find the perfect gifts. Some of the gifts included warm boots for all the kids, and at least one warm outfit; we supplied the family with the basics - shampoo, deodorant, lotion, towels, personal hygiene, and food. They all got socks; underwear; a Santa bag filled with art supplies; and each received a special gift that they specifically asked for. The gifts were delivered on Monday, December 18th.
Growing Futures Early Education Center.  On December 13th, seven Rotarians assembled Winter Break Bags at Growing Futures. Each bag had the ingredients to make a spaghetti dinner (sauce, spaghetti, parmesan cheese, the book "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs", a child's chef's hat and apron) that enabled the children to help make a meal for their families. After unpacking boxes and setting up an assembly line, the group assembled 192 bags that were given out to the families that evening. Growing Futures received one of the Fall grants from the Shawnee Rotary Foundation. The items for the Winter Break Bags were purchased with the grant it received.
Topeka Rotary
December was a busy month for the Rotary Club of Topeka. Our members delivered several hundred coats and shoes to elementary schools in Shawnee County for their clothes banks. Forty members rang bells and helped raise thousands of dollars for the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign. The Club teamed with the Marine Corps Reserve and donated over 100 toys for Toys for Tots.
The Rotary Club of Topeka always has great programs! Last month University of Kansas Athletic Director Travis Goff and Kansas Lieutenant Governor David Toland were two of our distinguished speakers.
Western Johnson County
Our club kicked-off the holiday season volunteering at the Johnson County Christmas Bureau Holiday Shop on Tuesday 12/5.  This year over 20 club members and friends volunteered their time to help assist shoppers with "shopping" for their items and handing out things like books, toys, groceries, and MUCH more!  Each year, the JCCB provides these items for thousands of low-income folks in our Kansas City community.
We also held our annual club holiday party on Tuesday 12/12.  This year’s dinner was at Garozzo’s Ristorante in Overland Park.  Along with good food and fellowship, we celebrated our club accomplishments in 2023 which included welcoming 5 new club members in 2023, volunteering for many organizations like Ronald McDonald House, Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Shawnee Neighbors Helping Neighbors, raising funds and coordinating food drives to help non-profits like The Golden Scoop, Harvesters, Shawnee Community Support Team and MUCH more!
As Club President, I'm proud of the great work our small club does in the Kansas City community and the commitment of each of our members to Rotary's motto Service Above Self!  The selflessness of our club members is second-to-none and I'm excited to see the great things we're able to do as we head into 2024!  THANK YOU to each of our club members for being amazing Rotarians!  - Matt

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