November 2017
Upcoming Events
Club Initiatives
Rotary Stories
Five years since its debut, Rotary Club Central is getting a big upgrade
When we introduced Rotary Club Central in 2012, it revolutionized goal tracking and planning for clubs and districts — no more filling out paper club-planning forms or passing along boxes of historical club information every time a new leader took office. Rotary Club Central offered clubs and districts a quantifiable way to begin measuring local and global impact, specifically membership initiatives, service activities, and Rotary Foundation giving. But as with any technological advancement, in a few short years, Rotary Club Central began to show its age, and Rotarians took notice. They...
Rotary International Board adopts new zone structure
At its January 2017 meeting, the Rotary International Board of Directors adopted a new zone structure for Rotary clubs. Rotary bylaws require the Board to complete a comprehensive review of the 34 Rotary zones no less often than every eight years to ensure that each zone has an approximately equal number of Rotarians. The Board’s previous review of the zones occurred in 2008. The Board earlier approved the creation of three regional workgroups to develop rezoning proposals for Asia, Europe/Africa, and the Americas. These workgroups comprised one representative (either a current director,...
Centennial celebration honors 20 noteworthy global grant projects
Through The Rotary Foundation, Rotary members have supported thousands of projects that promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water, save mothers and children, support education, and grow local economies. We’ve also led the fight to eradicate polio worldwide. As part of our celebration of the Foundation’s centennial, we’re honoring 20 global grant projects with special recognition. Learn more about the projects using our interactive map.
Convention: Southern hospitality
The Atlanta Host Organization Committee is offering some good old-fashioned Southern hospitality at the Rotary International Convention from 10 to 14 June. It has planned a wide range of activities featuring everything from good food and music to inspiring tours of local landmarks. If it’s your first convention, these events are chances to meet fellow Rotarians from around the world, and if you’re an experienced convention goer, you can catch up with old friends. Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron will host Rotarians for a “Strike Out Polio” night at the new SunTrust Park, where you’ll...
Member spotlight: The power of the press
When Teguest Yilma helped found the Rotary Club of Addis Ababa Entoto in 2002, she thought polio had already been eradicated from most of the world. But while Ethiopia had been free of the disease, Yilma was shocked to learn that new cases had started cropping up in surrounding countries such as Somalia. “I was thinking, it’s not possible, we can’t be free if the countries around us are not free,” she says. Yilma, the managing editor of Capital, Ethiopia’s largest English weekly newspaper, has brought a journalist’s skills to the fight against polio. She became vice chair of the Ethiopia...
Club Information

Welcome to the Rotary Club of Belleville Ontario!

Service Above Self

We meet Mondays at 12:00 PM
The Travelodge
11 Bay Bridge Road
Belleville, ON  K8P 3P6
District Site
Venue Map
Community Paul Harris Awards Night
Nov 20, 2017
Honouring the selected Paul Harris recipients
Mayors of the Week
Nov 27, 2017
Best experiences from their week as Mayor
Rotary Christmas Party at Bridge St. United
Dec 04, 2017
Entertainment and Christmas Dinner
Mayor Taso Christopher
Jan 08, 2018
New Year's Levee
Home Page Stories
Sharon McConnell introduced Gem Munro, author, educator and social activist and Executive Director of Amarok Society along with his wife Tanyss and their four children.  Gem and his wife have devoted their entire working life helping disadvantaged people.  One of the programs they have established is in Bangladesh where they have taught mothers to teach children in some of the worst slums of the world.  Gem was able to share with the Club the impact of the financial support they have received through Rotary.  Their program has changed the lives of young women who learn how to read and teach their children how to read.  Their program has changed the life of a young woman, Shania, from a life of domestic slavery to a life of purpose as a neighbourhood teacher.  These young women are making a tremendous difference and they are now held in high esteem and respected in their communities.  Even the husbands, brothers and fathers are learning to read, write and do arithmetic through this program (pictured is a grandfather with his granddaughter who is teaching him how to read and write).  Education has opened many doors and has resulted in a tremendous benefit to families.  And Rotary has played a very large part in ensuring education is provided to those who need it, shared with as many people as possible and all of this has resulted in changed lives. 
Gem and Tanyss' current project is in the northern communities where Canada faces its own education crisis, also overlooked and which must be addressed through a spirit of innovation – one in which youth themselves must become catalysts of sustainable change in their lives.  Through their work in First Nations education, Amarok Society founders, Dr. Tanyss and Gem Munro have witnessed the serious educational disadvantages afforded to our Indigenous youth right here at home, with significant repercussions to the lives of these youth. Education deficits have a ripple effect to other areas, as evidenced by the gap between Indigenous populations and the average Canadian populations in health, income, justice, and social issues. There is likewise a serious gap between the equality we Canadians say we stand for, and the reality of life for most Indigenous youth. Today, fewer than 40% of First Nation youth graduate with a high school diploma. In fact, these youth have a greater likelihood of going to prison than graduating from high school. The suicide rate for Indigenous Canadians is one of the highest in the world at 5 to 7 times higher than for the non-Indigenous population.
Dr. Tanyss and Gem Munro, have a history of turning around highly troubled schools in northern First Nation education systems by empowering the youth to be catalysts of positive change. Their methodology draws upon Indigenous traditions, history, and culture to create transformative change in students’ lives.   Amarok Society is working toward establishing a Leadership Academy for Indigenous youth that they would attend for one month. Amarok Society also works in partnership with Unstoppable Conversations, an Alberta based organization to offer leadership workshops for youth. Together, our work unlocks long-standing impasses through conversation-based workshops in a relatively short period of time. Amarok Society Indigenous leaves youth leaders with an unprecedented capacity to alter their lives and the lives of those around them.  Gem's new book The Silver Apple of the Moon examines Indigenous communities and examines the possibilities of what an education can provide.
Elizabeth Grew thanked Gem for his powerful presentation and his passion on projects near and dear to his heart.  It has been a great privilege to work together since 2010 on the Bangladesh program and see the progress of young mothers.
Ruth Mathieson, Chair of the International Service Committee along with members of her committee are pleased to provide some background on a fundraising request for a sanitation project at Ankirihiry Pulmonary Hospital in Madagascar through the Inner Wheel Club associated with Rotary.  Sonia and Bill King's daughter, Christine Botha is living in Madagascar and is working on a few projects in her community one of which is through Inner Wheel.  The hospital , a public service organization, specializes in infectious respiratory and pulmonary diseases, including  tuberculosis and leprosy. 
The sanitary blocks at the hospital are in a state of absolute squalor, drainage is blocked and there is no running water.  Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in Africa with 90% of people living on less than $2 a day and one child in two under the age of five is suffering from chronic malnutrition.  Inner Wheel has made it their mission to improve the living conditions of those most vulnerable within their community, including the Ankirihiry Pulmonary Hospital with the objective to improve health, hygiene and living conditions for the patients.  The hospital treats approximately 60 outpatients and 20 resident patients daily, but lacks even the most basic provisions required to provide adequate patient care.  Inner Wheel plans on constructing a new ablution block, improving health and sanitation and restoring dignity to the patients at Ankirihiry hospital.  The project, including earthworks, installation of drainage and plumbing, construction and initial operations will be overseen by Inner Wheel.
Bill and Sonia King were able to present a cheque from the Rotary Club of Belleville in the amount of $3,000 U.S. to the President of Inner Wheel.
Inner Wheel and Rotary International have been long standing partners and proudly share the same ethical values and objectives and are very grateful for the financial assistance provided by our Club to their community.
  • November 20th -- Community Paul Harris recognition evening at Sans Souci.
  • November 25th -- Special Needs Children's Christmas Party
  • November 30th -- Satellite Meeting at 5:30 p.m. at Shoeless Joe's
  • December 4th -- Rotary Christmas Dinner at Bridge Street United.  More details to follow
  • December 11th -- delivery of the Rotary Hams
  • December 14th -- Satellite meeting Christmas mingle
Kevin Bazkur introduced our speaker Rudy Heijdens. Rudy was born in the Netherlands and he and his two sisters and parents emigrated to Canada in 1951.  He received his elementary and secondary education in the Netherlands and his Bachelor’s degree in Music from Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfred Laurier University) when he was in his thirties and his Master of Education from Queen’s University when he was in his fifties. He retired from education in 1993 as a Curriculum Coordinator with the Hastings County Board of Education. Rudy continued his organ studies in Canada with Adelmo Mellici and Dr. Charles Peaker and held organist positions in various churches, retiring in 2005 after 32 years as organist at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Belleville.   In 1986 Rudy formed the Hastings County Board of Education Concert Choir (now the Hastings and Prince Edward Regional Chorus) and toured Europe giving concerts during 13 concert tours with the 14th coming up in July of 2018.
Rudy was married twice and has 9 children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who unfortunately live long distances away from Belleville. Living alone these past 23 years his premier hobby (besides the choir) has been sailing solo in his 28 foot long Ruhaven sailboat all over the Bay of Quinte, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River. Ruhaven, after 42 years, is now being looked after by a new owner.  Rudy is a long time Rotary member and he keeps the music going here!  We welcome Rudy to share his personal experiences from the Netherlands with us. 
Rudy says, ”When I was asked to speak to you for Remembrance Day. I grabbed it. I was enthusiastic but once I started to prepare I found it was difficult. I was five years old when the war broke out.  Now I’m 83. I come from the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Holland is the current name of the western provinces of the Netherlands but it was once the name of the original country years ago and is still used informally to refer to the Netherlands. In 1940 there were 8.7 million people in the Netherlands and now there are 17.1 million, mostly as a result of immigration. Migrants have arrived from nearly every country. Netherlands was known as a trading nation and had wars with many other countries. There are many Dutch names wherever you go in the world.
I was born in a suburb of Rotterdam and moved to in Rotterdam at the age of 5. My sister was born Dec 31, 1939.  My father was a seaman on the Orange Line and left on a ship just before the war and my family didn't see him for more than six years.  I know the ship he was on was torpedoed.  We did get a couple of letters – only 25 words.  I can’t find any information about what my Dad did during the war.
Today, Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands and is Europe’s largest port. The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy. The King is Willem-Alexander and he is married to Queen Máxima. Our royal colour is orange.  You will always see Dutch sports teams wearing orange. The Netherlands was neutral in WWI and proclaimed neutrality again when war broke out in 1939 for WWII. Hitler promised neutrality but then invaded on May 10, 1940. The Dutch were not really prepared. There was so much bombing for four days. In Rotterdam on May 14, 1,305 bombs were dropped and 900 people killed.  85,000 people lost their homes, 2,300 stores, 62 schools and hospitals, 24 churches, and the entire city center were destroyed. Today, there is a commemorative statue in the city center remembering this bombing. Paratroopers landed and tried to capture the royal family. The Germans met stiff resistance in Den Haag and in Rotterdam. 1,350 German prisoners were captured and were shipped from Den Haag to England and then to Canada. The Dutch lost all of their planes. My grandparents lost their home and their business.  After the bombing of Rotterdam, the Dutch government and royal family escaped and went into exile in England.
For a while most citizens just kept going with their regular life for a number of days but then were told to stay inside.  At the beginning of the occupation the Germans were not too bad toward the Dutch. It was the intention of Hitler to annex the Netherlands, but the Dutch are stubborn. We were compliant with the Germans to begin with because the Dutch are law abiding but then after some time we became much more resistant. Dutch were sneaky in their ways of resistance. They wore white carnations on the Prince’s birthday and then the next year the carnations were dyed orange. The Communist party was resistant from the beginning.  We were a very religious country. Children attended religious schools related to the religion of their parent and there was very little interaction among the religions. The Germans tried to enforce conformity and this started various groups to talk to one another and develop more resistance.
At the beginning of the occupation I didn’t understand what was happening but as the war went on I saw things and at the age of 7 or 8 saw and remember more things.  One of my teachers was part of a resistance group. I had a classmate who was the son of a Nazi sympathizer. We were supposed to learn German at school but didn’t really learn that much.  A German SS headquarters was near my school and they came to check that we were learning.  Children pulled pranks on the SS vehicles. In 1943 executions became the norm. There were also assassinations. Many people were sent to concentration camps. There were many strikes. Holland and Luxembourg called strikes on behalf of Jewish people. From exile in England, Queen Wilhelmina called a railway strike and all men on the street disappeared. School was stopped in 1944 and started again later in 1945.
In the winter of 1944-45 the Germans refused to bring food and there was no food. It was the worst time in Holland’s history. Church members and some underground groups would sometimes bring food to our door. It’s what kept us alive.  About 30,000 people died of famine, cold and disease. Towards the end of the war the Allies and the Germans met and then food came. Thank God for the Allies.  One day at church a resistance soldier came to announce that food drops would occur.  We went to my grandparent’s home to the roof to watch the planes flying over and to see the food drops.  Freighters also came into the harbor from Sweden.  I can can still taste the bread and butter! This is my memory of the end of the war.
Remembrance Day is observed in the Netherlands on the evening of May 4 at 8:00 p.m. Everything stops to 8:00 p.m. for two minutes of silence. All traffic lights turn red and trains stop. If you are drinking a coffee in a café, you put it down.  It is commemoration before celebration.  We were liberated on May 5. It is now celebrated as Liberation Day and it is a wonderful day.”
Shannon Neely thanked Rudy for sharing his childhood experience of WWII, a vivid picture of what it was like to live during the war.
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Rotary's outbound student 2016-2017 Callan Hillier and our current inbound student 2017-2018 Juanpi Poblete spoke at a Youth Exchange Information night for prospective outbounders for 2018-2019.  They did a great job describing both the benefits and challenges of the program.  Interviews start November 29th for interested outbound students.  Please contact Sam Brady or Paige Summers for more details (pictured on the left is Callan who went to Brazil and on the right is Juanpi).
October 24th was World Polio Day, the 5th annual World Polio Day event, co-hosted with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  A stream live from the Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle brought together viewers from around the world.  Global health experts and celebrities shared progress on the road to polio eradication.
The eradication of polio is one of Rotary's longest standing and most significant efforts.  Along with their partners -- the World Health Organization, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary has helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children against polio in 122 countries.  Polio cases have been reduced by 99.9% worldwide and Rotary won't stop until the disease is ended for good.
  • 1979 Rotary International begins its fight against polio with a multi-year project to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines
  • 1985 Rotary International launches PolioPlus, the first and largest internationally coordinated private-sector support of a public health initiative, with an initial fundraising target of US$120 million
  • 1988 Rotary International and the World Health Organization launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.  There are an estimated 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries
  • 1994 The International Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication announces that polio has been eliminated from the Americas
  • 1995 Health workers and volunteers immunize 165 million children in China and India in 1 week.
  • 2000 A record 550 million children, almost 10% of the world's population, receive the oral polio vaccine.  The Western Pacific region, spanning from Australia to China, is declared polio-free.
  • 2003 The Rotary Foundation raises $119 million in a 12-month campaign.  Rotary's total contribution to polio eradication exceeds $500 million.  Six countries remain polio-endemic, Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Niger, Nigeria and Pakistan.
  • 2004 In Africa, synchronized National Immunization Days in 23 countries target 80 million children, the largest coordinated polio immunization effort on the continent
  • 2006 The number of polio-endemic countries drops to 4, Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan
  • 2009 Rotary's overall contribution to the eradication effort nears $800 million.  In January, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledges $355 million and issues Rotary a challenge grant of $200 million.  This announcement will result in a combined $555 million in support of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
  • 2012 India surpasses one year without a recorded case of polio and is taken off the polio-endemic list.  Only three countries remain polio endemic.  Rotary surpasses its $200 Million Challenge fundraising goal more than five months earlier than planned
  • 2014 India goes 3 full years without a new case caused by the wild poliovirus and the World Health Organization certifies the South-East Asia region polio-free.  Polio cases are down over 99% since 1988.
So where do we stand now after the 1988 numbers of estimated 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries.  Year todate.  Afghanistan 7.  Pakistan 5.  Nigeria 0.  From 350,000 cases a year in 1988 to just 12 in 2017.  Rotarians and their partners are committed to the eradication of polio and we are almost there.