The Rotary Cares purpose is to enhance the quality of life for children with special needs and their families in the North Sonoma County region and to foster a greater sense of inclusion, goodwill and acceptance in our communities and schools.
Areas of Focus
The multi-club Rotary Cares program concentrates on four communities—Cloverdale, Geyserville, Healdsburg, Windsor—and three primary areas of interest:
Resource Advisory Services:
Connecting parents and caregivers with services such as childcare, transition services, advocacy, and advice to provide for a productive and fulfilling family life. Organizations such as Matrix and the North Bay Regional Center provide many of these services, as follow:
- Help families learn how to obtain appropriate education and services for their children with diverse abilities;
- Connect families of children with diverse abilities to community resources that address their individual needs;
- Work collaboratively to improve education results for all children;
- Train and inform parents and professionals on a variety of topics concerning persons with special needs;
- Facilitate parent-professional collaborative activities;
- Enhance non-English speaking families’ access to information and advice about services for special needs individuals;
- Help resolve problems between families and schools or other agencies.
Friendship and Socialization
Pairing children with special needs with peers offering friendship and behavioral modeling. One such program, BEST BUDDIES®, builds one-to-one friendships between people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), through school and community friendship clubs that provide socialization opportunities to help erase the invisible line that often separates students or adults with and without IDD. Weekly and monthly outings and events might include:
- Summer Camp- Respite care and activities outside of the school year;
- Tutoring- Assistance directed at overcoming obstacles in the learning process for children with physical and mental handicaps;
- Pet companionship- Specially trained pets to enhance the sense of peace and affection in the lives of special needs children;
- Music- Instruction and performance directed at the specific abilities and sensitivities of children with special needs. For example, group drumming sessions have been shown to benefit mentally and physically challenged children and adults;
- Arts- Painting and pottery can release emotions and express feelings that are often suppressed by physical and mental disabilities.
Organized and Individual Physical Activities-
Facilitating the fitness and activity of mind, body and spirit for children with special needs. Our existing program, The Wonder League, believes that every child deserves the opportunity to play baseball. The Wonder League pairs special needs children with youth and adult volunteers to experience the joy of physical activity and team fellowship. Other activities might include yoga, track & field, Frisbee golf, and other fun games for groups and individuals.
- The Rotary Cares Collaborative, comprised of representatives from the Cloverdale, Windsor and two Healdsburg Rotary Clubs, meets at least monthly to explore and vet proposals from individual Committee members for program developments and for supporting North Sonoma County organizations.
- The Rotary Cares Collaborative makes grants and offers volunteerism for projects that fit our Mission based on the recommendation of a Committee member sponsor.
- The Rotary Cares Collaborative funds proposals based on the budget that is granted to it by the four sponsoring Rotary Clubs; in some cases it will consider fund-raising to augment the funds provided by the sponsoring Rotary or to support individual programs (where practical and appropriate, and approved by all four Clubs).
Each Rotary Cares representative/Collaborative Member
- acts as the liaison to her/his Club and community, communicating our mission and proposals;
- is encouraged to be the Rotary Cares representative to each respective Club’s Youth Services and/or Community Services Committees;
- discovers needs in her/his community that might be addressed by Rotary Cares;
- explores and/or develops solutions to service gaps in his/her community which fit the Rotary Cares Strategic Mission and Areas of Focus;
- proposes ideas, potential grant recipients, and programs to the Collaborative, acting as advocate/champion and implementation coordinator;
- follows through on the implementation of Rotary Cares projects which are approved by his/her Board for his/her own community, recruiting Club member(s) and community volunteers where possible;
- Makes a quarterly report to his/her Club Board and/or membership on the activities of the Rotary Cares Collaborative.
Develop a summer activity program designed to provide fun, enrichment and sense of inclusion to children with special needs and their families.
2017-18- Expand summer program based on experience with 2017 experience. Develop other ways of implementing our mission. Beyond- Expand our mission to include other related populations and/or purposes.