The Rotary Club of Emerald & District is delighted to be part of a number of celebrations marking the 100th year of Rotary in Australia and New Zealand.  From Rotary celebrations to fundraising activities we are a very busy group at the moment!    in the 2020-2021 Rotary year we also celebrating 40 years of service to the local community and supporting many international project including Polio eradication.
Look out for us as we are out an about in the next few months as we enjoy this momentous occasion.


Baton Celebration - Full Steam Ahead To Mark 100 Years!

Toot Toot! Many locals waved to the 100 Rotarians, local school children and dignitaries aboard Puffing Billy on Saturday 22 May 2021, as we commemorated Rotary’s century of service in Australia and New Zealand in 2021. 
Leaving Belgrave station at 11.00am, the Puffing Billy celebration train adorned with Rotary flags, meandered along its route through the picturesque Dandenong Ranges, stopping at Menzies Creek station at 11.23am and arriving in Emerald at 12.10pm.
People enjoyed music, static displays and information showcasing Rotary’s proud history of providing humanitarian services, building goodwill and working for peace.  At each station, a special baton of service passed from one Rotary dignitary to another, signifying a commitment to another 100 years of service to the people of Australia.
The celebration was organised by the Rotary Club of Emerald & District and Rotary Club of Belgrave, two of 1,100 Rotary clubs operating throughout Australia, with the support of Puffing Billy Railway.
President of the Rotary Club of Emerald & District Vicki van den Bergen said Rotary has a strong record of active service in the Hills area.
“Since our club’s establishment in 1980, our passionate members have worked together to create positive change in the wellbeing of our community and beyond,” Vicki said. “From supporting victims of the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires to our work today assisting those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, our club has been at the forefront of helping people of all ages who may be struggling through no fault of their own.
“We also support many international campaigns such as End Polio Now and run several major community events that raise much-needed funds for worthy causes. Our Kids Fun Run with Thomas event, for example, has raised more than $670,000 since it began in 2002, with 100 per cent of proceeds donated to local organisations that support children.”
Joint presidents of the Rotary Club of Belgrave Helen McKenzie and Rosie Vulling believe it’s a privilege to serve and help those in need through Rotary. 
“Since 1954 our club has supported many local programs such as the Dandenong Emergency Relief service, and since the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve helped Pay it Forward by providing casseroles for people in need,” said Helen.
“We’ve also sent containers of medical and sporting equipment overseas and with the help of a District grant this year, we will be running a youth mental health program for local secondary school children.”
“It’s full steam ahead for our club as we are committed to continuing our active service in support of the local community and international groups for many years to come,” Rosie added.
Ranges Trader
Ranges Trader
A great article in the June Edition of the Emerald Messenger about Rotary in Australia over the years - worth a few minutes to read :) 
Or access file HERE - the article appears on page 14
100kms for 100 Years
We are pleased to announce our 100km fundraiser raised over $3,700 to assist those in the local community.  Thank you to all our wonderful Rotary team who took on the challenge.
COVID REFLECTION - How The Club Has Given Back Under Difficult Circumstances
By Club President 2020-2021  Vicki Van Den Bergen
After mid-March last year, when Melbourne went into lockdown, our Rotary Club suspended its weekly in-person meetings at the Paradise Hotel Clematis, and under the guidance of then President Catherine Elfick, switched to online Zoom meetings. We had held our All-American Car Display and Man-Cave Alley major fundraiser in February at Toomuc Reserve Pakenham,  which thankfully had delivered significant funds for our projects. But subsequently all our other major fundraisers, the Cocktails on the Catwalk in May, the Deb Ball in June, the Kids Fun Run With Thomas in November and the 2021All-American, regrettably had to be cancelled due to the Covid restrictions.
Consequently our ability to fundraise was severely curtailed, but we did have some money in reserve. The Club decided that we needed to support those who had lost their jobs and were suffering extreme hardship. The Community Service Committee received Board approval to bring back a voucher system that they had used during the 1983 Ash Wednesday Bushfires, when many residents in our District lost their homes in the fires. Committee member Russ Nielsen designed the $50 vouchers which could only be spent locally at the IGA and Woolies Supermarkets, the Pharmacy, Emerald Village Meats and AutoPlus Service Station. The Committee worked in conjunction with the local Churches and Emerald Community House to ensure only the deserving received the vouchers and to also maintain their privacy. The Committee Chair, Martin Buoncristiani also applied to other bodies for grants and Rotary District 9810, which our Club belongs to, donated $2,000.
Approximately $14,000 has been distributed to those hardest hit in our community by the Covid lockdown. Brochures explaining how people can best look after their mental health and some inexpensive yet nutritious recipes were also handed out with the vouchers. We have received some emails from very grateful recipients thanking the Club for the vouchers.
The Club continued its practice of buying hams for the Christmas hampers that St. Mark’s and St. Luke’s provide each year at Christmas time to needy families, so that they don’t miss out on traditional festive fare.
The Community Service Committee also asked club members to write individual Christmas cards to the residents of Emerald Glades Aged Care to accompany gifts of sweets and calendars, as we weren’t permitted to visit with Father Christmas and Emerald Primary schoolchildren playing carols as we had done in past years. The residents were delighted with their cards and gifts, so at Easter time we decided to do a similar thing to again brighten up their lives. The members wrote an individual message to each resident again to accompany colourful Easter baskets of goodies, that Emerald Primary School children had made.
The Youth Service Committee also did fabulous things for our school students, whose lives had been seriously disrupted while most of their learning went online. Tina McInerney, the Committee’s Chair, collected a number of items for Care Packages to present to the graduating class of 2020 at Emerald Secondary College to sustain them during “Swot Vac.”
Time Capsules were assembled for the Grade 6 students of 5 of our local Primary Schools: Selby, Emerald, Cockatoo, Macclesfield and Gembrook. Every student also received a letter congratulating them on finishing a very challenging year and giving encouragement for the next phase of their lives.
So the Club has done as much as possible given the restrictions of Covid to  support the youth, the elderly, families and individuals who have struggled due to job losses and accompanying anxiety, through no fault of their own.
We always try to live up to our Mission Statement:
“Working together to create positive change in the wellbeing of our community and beyond.”
Vicki Van Den Bergen, President 2020-21.
On Being a Rotarian
President Elect Shalini Penny
Joining Emerald & District Rotary on 5th July 2016 seems quite a long time ago however really just under 5 years, which is not long in the life of a Rotary member. Becoming a Rotarian coincided with giving up work and looking to move house into Emerald.  I looked at the huge range of Community groups available, checked out a couple and decided that Rotary was the best fit for me as it covered ages from 30’s – 80’s, male and female and was progressive and fun – just what I was looking for as I wanted to keep my brain ticking over, keep up with technology, mix with the Community and take part in activities that I had never been involved with previously.  
Until joining Rotary I had never worked with Children however I now have several Kids Fun Runs with Thomas behind me, attended School Speech Contests for Primary Schools,  assisted at the Driver Awareness Days at Sandown Race Course, been part of the Pride of Workmanship Awards and run a Debutante Ball.  
Then the list of Fundraising activities is endless – some of the activities are: Sausage Sizzles,  Cocktails on the Catwalk,  All American Car Show & Man Cave Ally, a Car Rally, Great Community Raffle, Wine tasting evenings,  Cup Day and our latest event the Trash2Treasure Market, which is held monthly on the 1st Saturday of the month.
On top of this we undertake site visits such as a privately owned car museum, CPEC (Cerebral Palsy) in Glen Waverley Monash Children’s Hospital and “Insight” the School for the Blind in Berwick.
Being part of the Rotary family has brought a different dimension to my life, there will always be someone in the group that I can turn to if I needed help. Which is just as well as from July I embark on 12 months as President.  
Shalini Penny