Club News
Literacy Chair and Rotarian Sharon McConnell spoke to the Rotary Club of Belleville about a successful global grant under the literacy project umbrella in Bangladesh.  It was a large grant of $73,000 U.S. over a five year span of 2015 to 2020.  Two Rotary Clubs co-sponsored the project -- the Rotary Club of Belleville and the Rotary Club of Dhaka Midtown along with the Amarok Society as a partner.  Overall the funding came from three Districts with eleven Clubs providing funds, including Belleville.  The funds raised were matched by the Districts and the Rotary International Global Fund.  The Amarok Society is a small NGO operating and overseeing 23 Amarok Schools where mothers from slum neighbourhoods are taught literacy two hours a day.  The mothers, in turn, become their own micro-schools with a minimum of 5 children each who are taught by the mothers one hour a day.  The skills acquired include basic literacy, math and English.  The goal is to get the children up to speed so they can be transferred once the skills are learned, into government schools.  Children in government schools are taught three hours a day and are considered full-time students.  Tuition is free, but learning materials are paid for by the children. The purpose of the grant is to introduce participants to digital skills by providing equipment (tablets and laptops) and training and to develop curriculum in Bengali, English and Math.  The project also collects data and administers tests to measure progress.  Drama development through video storytelling is introduced and has been successful in influencing social practices.  Both the mothers and children become digitally literate and the program graduated 450 students who were transferred to government schools.  Jobs became more available that required internet skills and the mothers and students learned how to advocate for themselves.
The outcomes of the project included 700 mothers who acquired digital skills, the goal was 500 as well as 3,675 children, goal was 2,500.  The world of Internet was opened to them and of the students who transferred to government schools, 62% performed in the top 10% of their class and nine received government scholarships.  All of the students graduated high school and several went on the post-secondary.  Some of the mothers started their own businesses and many were able to secure higher income jobs.  Social issues such as child marriage, domestic violence and eve calling (bullying) were acted out through video presentations that resulted in significant attitudinal changes in families and neighbourhoods.   Teach a mother, change the world.  The Rotary Club of Belleville is very proud to have been involved with this project that produced very positive outcomes.
The current project, a digital reading App, developed by past Rotarian Michael Maloney who is a literacy specialist, has been made available to Rotary at a cost of $1,000 U.S. which works out to $40 per student to teach them to read.  Each purchase includes 60 lessons and internet licenses for up to 24 students that can be used in a group setting or by individuals.  No training is needed and the App can be used locally in schools, community centers, libraries and church groups as well as internationally.  English is a prized asset in the job market.  A pilot project is currently in place in Bangladesh as well as being used by 300 homeschoolers.  Basic education and literacy is the 6th area of focus of Rotary and introduced during RI President Wilf Wilkinson's term in 2007/2008. The Rotary Club of Belleville in support of this area of focus developed a tutoring program called Each One Teach One through the local library and YMCA that although proved to be labour intensive, operated for ten years.  Rotary also participated in Spelling Bees in the District for three years and most recently was a co-sponsor of the Global Grant in Bangladesh for over nine years.  The Digital Reading App project will be coordinated through the Rotary Club of Belleville with contacts made with other Rotary Clubs to expand the project locally as well as internationally.  The power of Rotary is evident.  A big deal according to Sharon McConnell who has seen the success of these projects around the world.
Hazzem Koudsi was introduced to the Club by Treasurer Karen Baker.  Hazzem is the Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity.  He is also involved in other community organizations including Vice-Chair of the Quinte Humane Society, responsible for the new building, is a member of the Belleville Chamber of Commerce and Sales and Ad Club.  Hazzem's career was with the Canada Revenue Agency, but after a short retirement, he re-located to Belleville where he quickly filled his retirement with a second career and other community related initiatives.  Hazzem considers it a privilege to join a well recognized Rotary Club such as Belleville.
Katherine MacIver was introduced to the Club by Rotarian Hugh Campbell, is the Director of Education for Hastings and Prince Edward School Board and moved to Belleville in the summer of 2021 when she was hired by HPEDSB.Katherine MacIver comes to the top education role with more than 25 years of experience in elementary and secondary schools.  Katherine most recently worked as a superintendent of education at the Trillium Lakelands District School Board. MacIver joined the Trillium Lakelands board as a secondary school principal in 2010 after having been a teacher and administrator at elementary and secondary schools at the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board.  The HPEDSB includes 39 elementary schools, 8 secondary schools with over 18,400 students, 1,070 teachers and 705 support staff so Katherine is one busy leader.   Katherine is excited to join the Rotary Club of Belleville, to meet everyone and be of collective service with other members..
Mayor Mitch Panciuk was Rotary's guest speaker on January 6th, taking us through a "look back at 2021" and a "look forward to 2022".  Introduced by Past President Tim McKinney, Mayor Panciuk first of all thanked the members of the Rotary Club of Belleville for their long tradition of "service above self" and continuing their work in the community.
The year 2021 proved to be a test, adapting and surviving through COVID, a test of community resolve and commitment, pivoting and adapting.  We tried to follow the three "C's" -- cool, calm and collected.  In 2021, two new councillors joined City Council -- Tyler Allsopp and Carol Feeney at about the same time that MacLean's Magazine named the City of Belleville as #4 Best Community to Live In across Canada!  Wow!  Council focused on outdoor recreation with the Hillcrest park area where the Children's Safety Village is slated to be relocated as well as the future lawn bowling site.  A playground and pickle ball area, spray pad and basketball courts will be included as well.  Let It Grow initiative was started to protect pollinators also known as "pardon the weeds" campaign.  The Quinte Sports and Wellness Center has actively held a vaccination clinic, conducting 2,500 vaccinations a day, the highest capacity area in Ontario.  The Downtown Business Association welcomed Luisa Sorrentino, Executive Director to focus on a better offering of services to the community.  The Ontario Business Improvement Association presented Belleville with an award in 2021 for marketing and rebranding!  The Pop-Ups returned to West Zwick's Park and had their best year with some enhancements to take place in 2022.  The Egerton Boyce Bike Lane, connecting the City to Loyalist College with the trail extension off of Avondale Road, named after Councillor Egerton Boyce who served for 15 years in the City.  The City welcomed Fire Chief Monique Belair in 2021, a leader in transformation, off to a great start.  The Catherine Street pedestrian bridge, to be named the Ben Corke Bridge, received federal government approval and the first arch arrived in December 2021 with work continuing through 2022.  The Bayshore Trail named after former Mayor Shirley Langer will extend from Herchimer east to Farley, a 1.5 km loop with the summer of 2022 as the official opening.  An exclusive franchise IHop will open at the former 10 Acre Truck Stop, now owned by K2.  The Roundabout at Farnham and Maitland was named after Jackie Denyes, a 15 year Councillor in close proximity to the new Dog Park named after the Late Pat Culhane. After many years of planning, the Belleville Police Service opened on Sidney Street in October 2020 with a grand opening ceremony of former Chiefs and Mayors as well as staff members, retired and active.  An outdoor event took place in September 2021 to recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a respectful opportunity to reflect on history and move forward.  And the list goes on.  The Mayor encouraged folks to visit the parks and newly installed plaques where much history is recorded.
The year 2022 looking forward will be as busy with an $87 million Capital budget approved to work on parks and roads.  Council is optimistically working on a 4th 401 interchange called Belleville East Arterial Route (BEAR).  Construction on the former and new fairgounds will show much activity, but not at taxpayers' expense.  The sale of land will offset the new costs.  The opening of the new Humane Society on Wallbridge-Loyalist Road will happen in 2022 along with some other provincial announcements and a few more surprises!.  The future is bright and Council's focus is to make improvements to the quality of life, creating better prospects for our future, to build responsibly and make continual progress to serve the community.
Rotarian and Councillor Carol Feeney thanked Mayor Panciuk for his virtual tour of 2021, looking forward to 2022.
The following information has been provided by Dianne Spencer to President Darrell, Fellow Rotarians and guests,
Many Rotarians have seen the media report earlier this week announcing the results of the Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign - which totalled $322,711, surpassing their goal of $315,000.  This in spite of the challenges of Covid, and a shortened campaign period.
Dianne offered some Happy Bucks to recognize the participation of Belleville Rotarians in their support leading to this wonderful result - 29 Rotarians stepped up to help with the kettle at the LCBO; collectively giving 110 hours, or 4 days and 14 hours of their personal time. Special kudos to two Rotarians who each volunteered 10 hours to the campaign - Nadine Langlois and Marg Wagner - wow! Kudos as well to those who volunteered 6 hours to attend to the kettle: Ian Acton, Karen Baker, Brenda Snider, Jamie Trudeau and Ken Wheeler! 
Valerie, our Salvation Army contact, advises that $16,381 was raised at the kettle at LCBO, making it the top location for the month of December. Of course the Salvation Army is very appreciative of the Club’s support.
This great team effort was pulled together on behalf of the Club thanks to technical support provided by Kerry Paul, and the super organizational efforts of Carol-Lynn Burnett-Michaud and Secretary extraordinaire Jo-Anne Wheeler - a huge thank you to each of them.
Dianne also wanted to recognize the efforts of six non-Rotarians who volunteered, adding another 34 hours to the time provided to support the Salvation Army. The bottom line - a total of 144 hours was provided to help with the kettle campaign by 29 Rotarians and 6 other volunteers. 
Dianne was pleased to donate $35 in Happy Bucks to celebrate a fabulous team effort, which helped achieve a fabulous campaign result in support of our community. Thank you!
The Annual General Meeting of the Rotary Club of Belleville was called to order under the leadership of Treasurer Karen Baker who presented the 2020/2021 Audited Financial Statements with Michael McMurray, Welch LLP.  Carol-Lynn Burnett Michaud made the motion to approve the Minutes of the December 10, 2020 AGM, the motion was seconded by Judy McKnight with all in favour.  Treasurer Karen Baker walked the Club through this year's audited financial statements and summarized the club as having excellent financial results.  Karen complimented the members for their good stewardship of monies while continuing the good work of Rotary in the community and abroad.  Karen Baker made the motion to accept the audited statement for the period ending June 30, 2021, seconded by Tracy Bray with all in favour.
Karen Baker made the motion to approve Welch LLP as auditors for the 2021/2022 Rotary Year, seconded by Len Kennedy with all in favour.  Motion carried.
President Darrell Smith read  Past President Tim McKinney's report to the Club in review of the 2020/2021 Rotary Year.
President Darrell Smith introduced the Board of Directors for the 2022/2023 Rotary Year as follows:
  • President Cory MacKay
  • Past President Darrell Smith
  • President Elect Peter Malone
  • Treasurer Karen Baker
  • Secretary Jo-Anne Wheeler
  • Director Carol-Lynn Burnett Michaud
  • Director Randy Coker
  • Director Heather Hall
  • Director Collin Myers
  • Director Rosi Ouellette
  • Director Samantha Reid
  • Director Terrence Thomas
  • Director Tracey Vandervoort
President Darrell Smith made the motion to approve the slate of nominees, seconded by Judy McKnight with all in favour.
A motion to adjourn the 2021 AGM was made by Cory MacKay, seconded by Bill MacKay, motion was carried.
President Darrell Smith was contacted by Sandi Ramsey, President of the Rotary Club of Trenton about a multi-club Christmas Sweat Equity Project that would see Christmas plants delivered to local hospitals, long term care homes, retirement residences and VON caregivers in the Quinte area.  This initiative was put in place by Dahlia May Flower Farm earlier in December with a call out to the community to assist with delivery of over 3,000 plants over a two day blitz.  Seven (7) Rotary Clubs stepped up with volunteers, including the Rotary Club of Belleville.  When we put out the call for help in delivering all of these plants throughout the community the Rotary club stepped up to the plate, with seven different rotary chapters involved and more volunteers then we almost knew what to do with!  JB Print donated a greeting card with each plant, Dahlia provided the labour and invited sponsors to support the cost of the plant.  Students in the community hand-made 3,000 cards to go with the plants as well.  Lots of colour to let the seniors in these homes know that their community was thinking about them over the holidays.  A warm gesture of love and caring.  Thank you to all who helped.
The Indigenous Peoples Partnership Cluster is working with the Nibinamik Education Center on a new project.  Nibinamik or Beaver Summer is a fly-in community, 490 km northeast of Thunder Bay.  The ice road distance is 770 km and it takes approximately 22 hours to drive the distance from Nibinamik First Nation to Thunder Bay.  The community has StarLink internet service since this summer and the teachers are trying to incorporate more technology into their teaching program.  After Grade 8, many students attend Keewaytinook Internet High School and it would be very advantageous to have more laptops to use with the students before they reach high school.  It would provide an opportunity for them to familiarize themselves with the software programs, assist with researching school programs and prepare them for the next step in their education.
The IPPC will ensure the laptops are ready to go and will cover the cost of shipping to Nibinamik.  Anyone with laptops they wish to donate, please contact Chair of the IPPC, Birgit Wartenberg and arrangements will be made for pick-up or drop off.  Please see below for more information.  Project deadline is January 15, 2022.