Club News
Jennifer was pleased to be involved in the Rotary Mayors of the Week program again this year. The program has been running since 1969, providing local high school students an opportunity to meet with various City staff and departments and get a first-hand look at how their municipal government operates. 
This year we had four students participate.  The schools select students who show civic leadership and an interest in helping their communities.  The students meet at various City locations each afternoon for a week, accompanied by Rotarians.  They are given tours of City facilities, meet with senior staff and the Mayor and attend a City Council meeting.  Following this, they attend a Rotary meeting to share their experiences with our club.
The students were able to meet the new Mayor and Council the week of December 5.  Jo-Anne Wheeler accompanied them to the Mayor’s Office and a library tour on Monday.  Dr. Tracy Bray joined them for a tour of City Hall, the Sports and Wellness Centre and the Transportation and Operations department on Tuesday.  Jennifer joined them for the tour of the water and wastewater plants and Belleville’s HR department on Wednesday.  President Darrell accompanied them for a tour of the police station and Council chambers on Thursday, and Shannon Neely did the tour of the Fire Department on Friday.  Shannon and Jennifer also joined the students for a lunch with Joe Reid and Councillor Thompson on Friday. Two students have joined us today, Emma Lee Hogan from Nicholson Catholic College and Ben James from Albert College.  A third student, Joshua Choicine was unable to attend, but provided his comments on the program as well.
Emma-Lee Hogan, a Grade 12 student at Nicholson Catholic College was honoured to be chosen to represent her school in the Mayors of the Week program.  She will speak about a few things that she felt were very interesting.  First stop was the public library, an inside and literally on the roof tour of the building.  In addition to books, there were paintings and art pieces by many artists.  Day two they met Joe Reid of the Transportation and Operations Department of the City, a very enthusiastic representative.  Joe and his crew are the first service on the scene if there is bad weather.  Next time you see a snow plow, think of Joe and his crew.  It was them who helped clean up the debris when the storm blew the roof off of Chilango's downtown.  Emma-Lee noticed there was a lot more chemistry involved at the water treatment plan and she was very impressed with their tour guide and the information provided.  Each place the students visited has a very important part to play in the City.  Thank you to all the people the students met through the week.  Can't forget about City Hall where they learned about everything from operations to finance and how a City Council worked.  Belleville is growing rapidly from village, to town to now a great City and it is amazing how everything and everyone works together.  Emma-Lee plans on studying psychology, but having finished this Mayors of the Week program, may contemplate government, especially seeing forensics in action and mental health training and support provided by police officers at the Belleville Police Service.  Thank you to everyone for such a great opportunity to learn.
Ben James is a student at Albert College and he thanked the Rotary Club of Belleville for the opportunity to see the workings of the City and responsibilities serving as mayor.  One Department that stood out was the Transportation office and all the farm equipment that the City has.  Ben gained knowledge on maintaining roads and the systems in place.  He saw first hand the workings of local government and what goes on behind the scenes.  How much money and effort goes into what seems to be simple operations.  Joe Reid was super positive and made everything interesting and fun.  The program will be beneficial to Ben in the future as he may now consider working for the City of Belleville.  Thank you.
Joshua was unable to attend the Rotary lunch as he was competing for Eastside Secondary at the COSSA Ski Championships.  Josh thanked the Rotary Club of Belleville and sponsors who made it possible for him to participate in the Mayors of the Week program.  He has used the Quinte Sports and Wellness Center on numerous occasions.  Getting a look into the logistics and what it takes to run this facility from a mechanical standpoint was interesting.  He learned that the building was designed for energy and heat efficiency.  The students were able to see the infrastructure and machinery used to create and maintain the ice rinks.  A fantastic part of the week was the tour of the water and sewage treatment center.  Walking through the facility, seeing and learning about the well engineered steps in each process was eye-opening.  The week changed Josh's perspective on municipal politics and the City operations.  Josh truly felt like a mayor for the week!
Past President Kelly McKinney introduced Hazzem Koudsi and shared a little background on him.  Hazzem obtained a degree in Economics from Guelph University after apparently attending a number of high schools.  After a career at Canada Revenue Agency, Hazzem felt he had more to give to his community and in 2021 became the Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity where his outgoing personality and his time in government will serve him well navigating various policies and regulations as he focuses on Habitat for Humanity.  Hazzem recalls riding the school bus in the County when he lived on Rednersville Road, a youngster from Syria.  He spent time making friends through sports in order to fit in, although he admits he was not all that good at sports.  When he started work on a six month contract in the mail room at CRA, he found the workplace was not as diversified as it is today and his name Hazzem became Hank.  He worked hard, but found the work environment did not encourage connections with people and so he decided it was time to go. Since then he has worked on the Board for the Quinte Humane Society during fundraising of the new building, a proud accomplishment.  This was followed by Habitat to Humanity.
Hazzem's parents left Syria shortly after they were married fifty-seven (57) years ago in Dasmascus.  Their first stop was in Wisconsin where an uncle lived and from there the family moved to Belleville where his parents built a good life with three sons.  His dad was an accountant, a hardworking immigrant, and bought their first house and built equity.  Because of his background, Hazzem learned about home affordability, bringing families hope so they can grow and set down ties in the community.  And he has taken those values to 93 Dundas Street East, where a three storey, 66 unit complex will be developed with daycare space, green land, one/two/three bedroom units, partnering with Hastings County to provide living options for people in the community.  Hazzem recognizes how fortunate he has been to accomplish what he has and demonstrates love of family and respect for the community.
Hazzem's father, Rotarian Al Koudsi thanked Hazzem for joining Rotary and following in his footsteps.  Hazzem was presented his blue badge by President Darrell Smith.
As you may know, our Rotary Club is hosting a brand new fundraiser - Rotary Winter Games. Think of it as Hockey Night in Quinte 2.0! 
Our first annual Rotary Winter Games is being held on Friday, February 24th at the Belleville Club, doors open at 6:30pm. There will be FUN GAMES, DANCING, LIVE MUSIC BY THE CHACHKIES, and PRIZES. Tickets are only $25. We are also having a Silent Auction and 50/50 draw. We are asking everyone to wear their favourite Plaid shirt. Please keep in mind that this is an age of majority event. 
WE NEED YOUR HELP!! Here's how you can help....
1) Buy tickets. And get your friends to buy tickets. To purchase tickets, go to this link:
2) Donate Silent Auction Items. We are asking every Rotarian to donate 1 item to our Silent Auction. We are looking for anything...experiences, tickets, gift cards, baskets, alcohol, etc. You can bring your silent auction to the Rotary lunch meeting tomorrow or email Peter Coy ( and we will arrange pick-up. 
Here are the instructions to register your Silent Auction Item. 
3) Share the event on your social media page. You can find the event here:
4) Promote the event. I have attached a jpeg of the Poster. You can email it or print and post at your workplace. I also have some large printed posters left and will bring them to Rotary lunch meeting tomorrow.
5) Volunteer - we are still looking for volunteers to help with Silent Auction, Sell/collect tickets at the door, help run some of the games. If you are able to volunteer, please email me:
I would like to thank the entire committee for their support in putting together this fun event. Remember that this is a fundraiser for our Club so your support is important and very much encouraged!! 
Should you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me. 
Lieutenant Governor General Elizabeh Dowdeswell was the guest speaker on February 1st at the Grand, an in-person Community Service Club luncheon hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Belleville.  The luncheon was attended by over 120 members from the Shriners, Lions Club, Kiwanis (Belleville and Trenton Clubs), Probus (Belleville and Quinte West Clubs) and Rotary.
Over the years, our Rotary Club has undertaken, or assisted in, a number of projects for the betterment of outdoor parks and spaces in the City of Belleville. Our participation has been both financial and/or in the form of sweat equity. To acknowledge our participation, our Club has been recognized at the locations, with plaques and/or signage.  Issues exist at many locations related to deterioration, equipment malfunctions and vandalism.  With the approval of our Board of Directors, John Smale and I have undertaken to work with the City of Belleville to address these issues in 2023. A spin off of this project will be a booklet for our archives that will compliment work already identified in Our 100th anniversary book “A History of the Rotary Club of Belleville”.
To that end, we have identified the following projects that carry a recognition of our contribution:
  • Rotary (Centennial) Ball Park, (Behind Centennial HS, Off Bridge St. W)
  • Alemite Ball Park (102 Pine St.)
  • 75th Anniversary tree plantings on Keegan Pkwy. (Foster to Herchimer)
  • “Rick Meagher/Medigas Rotary Park” (Pirate Ship, East Riverside Park)
  • Rotary International 100th Anniversary “Children of Hope” statue, (Pinnacle & Front)
  • Rotary Music Garden (beside Pirate Ship}
  • Rotary Fitness Park (east of playpark, Bayshore Trail)
  • Field of Ability ball diamond (Parkdale) 
  • Ongoing tree plantings at various locations
  • The four plaques at Camp Merrywood will also be documented 
The reason for this letter is to solicit your participation with respect to any pertinent facts, related to the above locations, that you feel we should include in our summary; for knowledge of any other locations in Belleville that should be documented.  If you have input, please contact Vince Lynch by February 01, 2023.
Yours in Rotary
Vince Lynch (pictured here at the opening of the Rotary Fitness Park)
Rotarian Ruth Mathieson was pleased to introduce the guest speaker on January 19th, 2023, Marianne McQuillan.  For over 20 years Marianne has been an excellent fundraiser for not for profit organizations, securing major gifts and planned gift commitments.  She connects the donors to ensure they remain focused on the mission and stay connected to causes that matter to them.  Marianne has worked in Hong Kong, Vietnam, India, Ghana, Morocco and Norway.  Since May of 2022, she has been the Leadership Gifts Officer for Casey House in Toronto.  Her parents live in Belleville so we are fortunate to meet Marianne in person.
In the 1980's the appearance of AIDS put fear into many, stoked by the media and ostracizing many people.  In 1988 Casey House opened, a place for people with AIDS to be cared for in a hospice-like setting.  Casey House was supported by a group of people who wanted to support those affected by the HIV/AIDS virus.  The tide was turning and there was success through medication to prolong lives and prevent the disease.  There are 65,000 Canadians who have or who are living with HIV so support is still very much needed.  Patients come from all walks of life, in all sorts of areas.  HIV/AIDS does not discriminate and attacks females, people of colour, new immigrants, Indigenous, people who do drugs, inmates.  Compassion and care are essential in order to support the whole person.   There is no cure, but the focus is to bring the viral load down. 
Casey House is set up as a hospital serving in-patients as well as a day program.  There are 14 in hospital rooms and they are currently at full capacity on a 24/7 basis.  The health of the patients is fragile.  Casey House also serves as a hospice for end of life care, but their biggest focus is on their out-patient program where they provide medical services, social support, government services, hot lunches Monday to Friday and groups of interest such as music, books, gardens and gay clubs.  Casey House is very proud of how they are managed, an accredited organization and recognized by MacLean's Magazine in the Top 10 charities.  They continually strive for excellence.  The Rotary Club of Belleville has supported Casey House for 10 years and a total donation of $36,000 over that time frame.  Marianne acknowledged and thanked the club sincerely for this long-term financial commitment.  Seventy-Five (75%) of their work is out-patient and these programs are not supported by the Ministry of Health so donations are still sought and imperative to the programs offered to provide people with a better life, to reduce the stigma and to ensure COVID does not add to the disease of HIV/AIDS.
Past President Ken Dickson thanked Marianne for the information provided and for the caring work that is done at Casey House.
Dianne Spencer received an update on the results of the 2022 Christmas Kettle Campaign conducted by the Salvation Army in our area.  Even after the kettle campaign was finished, people in the community continued to mail in and make online donations to the Salvation Army, resulting in a final total of $361,598.09.  What a wonderful community.  The Salvation Army is beyond grateful.  Never underestimate the difference you made and the lives you touched.
The Rotary Club of Belleville once again stepped up to assist in the 2022 Salvation Army Kettle Campaign - LCBO Location at the Quinte Mall.  The campaign at this location ran for 18 days, with a total of 87 spots needing to be filled (after the schedule was adjusted due to weather). Rotarians and friends filled 67 of those shifts, with others covered through the Salvation Army. 
21 Belleville Rotarians stepped up to volunteer, and were joined by Stirling Rotarians Bill & Cory MacKay, and former Rotarian, Sharon McConnell. Four friends of Rotarians also volunteered.  A shout-out to Rotarian Kerry Paul for sharing his technical skills and setting up the Volunteer list on ClubRunner, allowing Rotarians and other volunteers to readily sign up! 
With 67 shifts covered, 134 volunteer hours were generously provided, helping to collect a total of $16,526 at this location! Final numbers are still to be confirmed, but the Salvation Army has announced a preliminary campaign total of $319,864, topping the goal of $315,000. 
While this isn’t a fundraiser for our Club itself, the volunteer hours provided by Rotarians are invaluable in assisting with the Salvation Army’s annual community campaign. Kudos to the 28 individuals who stepped up to help, and in particular, special thanks to those taking multiple shifts - our Rotary Rock Stars! Nadine Langlois and Jamie Trudeau, who each covered 6 shifts;  Karen Baker, Harold Brennan, and Hazzem Koudsi  - 4 shifts, and Pat Feasey, Vince Lynch, Ray McCoy, and Darrell Smith, who covered 3 shifts each. 
A huge thank you to all who assisted in this important Community Service initiative!
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