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ROTARY CLUB OF
|Membership Chair||Bob Freeman|
|Foundation Chair||Bill Mulkey|
|Bulletin Editor||Tania Lopez|
When we launched the Rotary Youth Exchange program in Georgia, we knew that we would have to attract some very impressive young people to start the program here. Who knew that we would be lucky enough to find Yasmeen Herb to become our club’s very first representative to the program. Here is her story:
A little more than two years ago, 16-year-old Dunwoody High School junior, Yasmeen Herb, approached us at the Rotary Club of Dunwoody and applied to be considered as a candidate to become a Rotary Youth Exchange student, and represent our club and our district overseas for one academic school year.
At the time she applied to the program, Yasmeen was already an accomplished scholar. She was fully competent in her second language, Spanish, after five years of studying that language, and excelling in Advanced Placement Spanish at her school. Yasmeen also took on the challenges of Advanced Placement Government and Politics, Advanced Placement US History, Advanced Placement Psychology, Advanced Placement American Language and Composition, Physics, Pre-Calculus and Art – 3. Not surprisingly, she was invited to become a member of the National English Honor Society and the National Social Studies Honor Society.
As a young teenager, Yasmeen was already a “citizen of the world”. Her parents’ careers called upon them to travel, and as a result, Yasmeen had the opportunity as a child to visit London, Dubai, Fiji, Tanzania, Egypt, Zambia, Kuwait and the Caribbean. Her fascination for all things international led Yasmeen to become active in the UNICEF club and the International club at Dunwoody High School. In her spare time, she played soccer and served as a soccer referee. She was destined to pursue her international interests! Just what we were looking for at Rotary Youth Exchange.
But Rotary Youth Exchange does not only look for extraordinary young students with a penchant for all things international. We also look for young people with a true commitment to Service Above Self. In her competitive selection interviews, we learned that Yasmeen was no stranger to service, having served as a volunteer for Hands on Atlanta. But she went on to tell us that her most incredible and challenging volunteer experience as a young teenage was the summer when she taught English to women refugees at the International Rescue Committee!
Yasmeen was eventually selected by the Rotary Club of Dunwoody, and later by the District 6900 Rotary Youth Exchange selection committee to be one of our very first student ambassadors to represent Dunwoody and Georgia in a study abroad program for one academic year in a foreign high school, while living with a Rotary selected and trained host family in complete immersion in a foreign language and culture. The country that Rotary chose for Yasmeen’s exchange year was Taiwan!
In her own words, here is Yasmeen’s self-introduction for our meeting on Friday:
“Nĭ hăo! My name is Yasmeen Herb. I spent my senior year in Taiwan as a Rotary Youth Exchange student. I was born and raised in Georgia and am currently a freshman at Georgia Tech studying International Affairs and Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. I’ve lived in Dunwoody almost my entire life, excluding seven months in first grade when I lived in Kuwait with my mom, dad, and brother. Living in Kuwait definitely made me much more curious and eager to live overseas. I love learning about and experiencing new cultures and I will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I always thought it would be amazing to learn Chinese and am so happy that I was able to learn it in Taiwan. I missed my family and my friends very much while I was gone but the experience was definitely worth it. While I continue to practice my Chinese and search for study abroad programs in Taiwan, right now my next stop is
Spain! I am in the process of applying to a university exchange program in Granada, Spain for my sophomore year of college. I truly cannot wait to go abroad again in a new place with a new language and culture.
I can’t thank Rotary or my parents enough for allowing me to go on the amazing adventure that was Taiwan and I look forward to sharing with you the life that I lived and the experiences that I had and how they have truly changed my perspective and my future.”
UiO: University of Oslo International Summer School
The Norwegian Rotary Advisory Board will invite three Georgia students to apply for an all- expense paid summer study at the International Summer School at the University of Oslo. The session begins June 22 and concludes August 2. Students must be between the ages of 20-24, single, and have completed their college sophomore year. This opportunity is available to children and grandchildren of Rotarians, as well as, other students nominated by a Rotarian. Bachelor’s and Master’s level courses are available and excursions and social events enrich the experience. Last year one student was selected from each Rotary district in Georgia. The application and additional information can be found on the GRSP website www.grsp.org with link to the University of Oslo www.uio.no
Deadline is December 31, 2018.
Rotary Service Opportunity – November 9, 9:30am – 1:00pm (shifts available)
Special Olympics Basketball Skills Clinic and Competition
For more than a decade Dunwoody Rotarians have helped Peachtree Charter Middle School host a Basketball Skills Clinic and Competition for 200+ students representing special needs programs in DeKalb County middle schools.
What will Rotary Volunteers do?
Working in teams of two or three, Rotarian volunteers will help conduct the team competition (as scorekeepers and assistants) and offer encouragement and support to the student participants. Rotary’s presence helps make this event possible for host Peachtree Charter Middle School and for 200+ student and teacher participants.
How do I sign up?
Volunteers may sign up by selecting a shift (below) and sending email or text to Kathy Brandt – email@example.com, 404-797-0705.
Shift #1 9:30am – 11:00am
Shift #2 11:00am – 1:00 pm
Shift #3 9:30am – 1:00 pm (both shifts)
Why is this event important?
The mission of Special Olympics can be summarized by the following description: “Transforming Lives Through Sports”. Through participation in athletics, Special Olympics athletes learn life skills that
transfer to home, community, school, workplace. The rewards from participation as a volunteer for this event are “priceless”.
Thank you, Rotarians! Thank you for donating your time to make this experience possible. Be prepared to have fun, make a difference and to be inspired!
On October 27, 2018, a dedication of the most recent tree plantings in Brook Run Park by The Rotary Club of Dunwoody was conducted. In attendance were; Rick Woods, Rick Otness, Cathie Brumfield, Ed Holliday, Ken & Sherry Levy, Fred Bounds, Jennie Stipick, Louise and Ron Barden, Jim Riticher, Tina and David Philpot, Gijs Korremans, and Terry Nall.Representing the Mayor and City Council of Dunwoody was our own Terry Nall. Terry's tribute was inspirational and worthy of inclusion in this Bulletin. Please read his comments below.
Remarks to Rotary Club of Dunwoody; Dedication of Trees Planted 10/27/18
On behalf of the Mayor and City Council, the City of Dunwoody is proud to partner with the Rotary Club of Dunwoody. We are thankful for its many good deeds in our community.
The Rotary project of tree plantings to honor our men and women Veterans is a complementary project to the Rotary's USO support, where arriving or departing military personnel are greeted and cared with generous hospitality.
When I was asked to speak today for the dedication of these five tree plantings, I saw the five trees as symbolic for the five branches of the military.
I then learned the five tree plantings are planned each year over four years. For me, I saw symbolism that the four years represent our Veterans of the past, present, future, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
As I look into the future, I can visualize the leaves of these fully grown trees as symbolically touching each other to represent the bridged connection of past Veterans with future Veterans.
As we dedicate today’s plantings, may these trees grow as strong as our country’s freedoms made possible by the Veterans we honor.
It’s hard to imagine that only a few weeks ago I was sitting at home daydreaming about Brazil. Before I arrived, I had no idea what to expect. I had formed many ideas in my head about what exchange would be like, but in reality, I was clueless that I would be living what is now my day to day life.
My flight touched down in Belo Horizonte, the capital of my state, Minas Gerais. From there, my host family picked me up. Immediately I felt a part of the family as if I had known them for years. We then went to eat dinner where I had my first tastes of the Brazilian cuisine. I ate rice and beans with with farofa, mandioca fries, steak, and chicken hearts on a stick. Now every exchange student talks about their experiences trying “exotic” foods, so for me, this was definitely one of them. I’d say out of all the things that I’ve tried, I’ve especially liked the fresh acai and salgados (various Brazilian pastries).
My second day in Belo Horizonte my host family and I visited some extended family where we all sat on the rooftop balcony and talked the entire night. This was an absolutely amazing experience and introduced me to the Brazilians’ love of simply being in each others company for hours on end. As we sat of the rooftop and watched the belo horizonte (Portuguese for beautiful sunset) in Belo Horizonte, I had my first aha moment. My exchange had started. I was to be living, eating, and speaking Portuguese like a Brazilian for the entire next year.
After four days of exploring Belo Horizonte, my family and I drove four hours to Viçosa, my new home. My bedroom window opens up to a huge Ipe tree (the national tree of Brazil) that is currently in bloom with yellow flowers. I share a Jack and Jill bathroom and closet with my host sister, which is great because makes it really easy to hang out.
My typical week has come to vary a lot, but it is loosely structured with a routine, something I believe to be really important in having a successful exchange. Three days a week my host mom drops me off at ensino médio (high school) by 7 AM. I’m currently in the second year of high school and have six classes a day with a twenty minute break in between. Another thing I like about my high school is that we stay in the same classroom with the same classmates while the teachers move between subjects. This made it a bit easier for me to get to know my classmates and make friends. One thing I love about my experience here so far is that everyone is very animated and curious to know each other. My classmates are always very accepting and willing to help if I don’t understand something.
The other two days a week I go to Univiçosa, a university less than a 15 minute walk from my house, with my host sister. She goes to Univiçosa full time for psychology. Therefore I have been privileged to audit classes with her, get to know her friends and classmates, as well as understand a piece of university life here in Brazil.
I always love telling the story about my first day at Univiçosa. When I arrived to class, the professor immediately started to lecture about the upcoming semester and what the class will be like. I was understanding bits and pieces of the lecture, but definitely was missing something. The professor kept saying this one word “comportamento,” probably about 50 times. I had no idea what it meant and for the rest of the class it became sort of a mystery game to figure it out. I finally discovered “comportamento” meant “behavior.” Ironically enough, I later found out the title of the class was Behavioral Analysis and that the entirely of the class was about “comportamento.”
I’d say this story encompasses a lot of experiences I have had since the beginning of my exchange. A lot of things are lost in translation and many times I have no idea what is going on, but slowly day by day I’m learning more and more about Brazil and the Portuguese language. I’ve found that I can hold longer and more profound conversations. I’ve found that it’s getting easier to connect with people and forge deeper relationships with those around me. It all depends on me being open to putting myself out there, unafraid to make mistakes.
I’ve also learned to appreciate my host family and each and every friend I’ve made, because those are the people who are supporting me. Something as simple as going to the open market with my host mom to buy groceries is valuable. I’ve also learned to be more flexible and malleable, because not everything is going to go as planned. I have had to accept that and realize it’s inevitable, but on the other hand, things I never even fathomed before exchange have also happened. That’s what I think is absolutely incredible. Yes, I won’t lie. There are days that are harder than others, where I may feel alone, miss things, or make mistakes with my host family. But these are the things that make exchange matter, that make exchange significant. It’s a chance to seek discomfort. It’s the opportunity Rotary gives you to change your life forever.
This past weekend D-4580 had its first orientation. The ten Exchange Students in my district met in a city called Juiz de Fora. From there we drove to our coordinator’s farm in the countryside. It was an absolutely incredible weekend. It was my first time meeting the other exchange students in my District and we all immediately hit it off. At the farm we hiked, rode horses, had a churrasco, picked farm fresh eggs and mandioca, and much more. I will never forget the trip and I got to meet many Rotarians in the District who are supporting me. Our last night, our coordinator, Juliana, and her husband told us the history of the farm, showing us tools and objects they found over half a century old. One object that was especially interesting was an unopened glass bottle of snake venom antidote that had expired 50 years ago.
Over all I’d say that my experience here has been beyond anything I could have imagined. I’m not going to lie and say that everything has been easy, because it’s not. Coming here, it has been up to me to adjust, learn the language and make stronger relationships. It has been one of the hardest challenges I’ve faced in my life. But it’s these challenges and slowly overcoming them that is the most rewarding achievement.