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For most of us December 21st is the shortest day of the year, but for those living rough - on the streets or in shelters - it's the longest night of the year.  Cold and hunger and how to combat them become the common ground for people living rough and they form bonds, friendships, and informal support groups.   When one of their group is missing, it can hard for them to find out what happened to that person, many of whom died.  

Ryan White, Reporter / Producer @CTVRyanWhite reported that this year, a 'Longest Night of the Year' event "brought current and former homeless Calgarians together to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on the streets.  The service, which was held outside Calgary city hall early Friday evening, honoured the memory of more than 130 people who have passed in recent years.  The names of the deceased, whether it be their birth name or the name they were known by in homeless circles, was read aloud in a display of respect and dignity.  Nigel Kirk, organizer of the event, says homeless Calgarians are at great risk as they can face exposure to the elements, addiction, mental illness, and a dehumanizing attitude towards the homeless."

Rotary Club of Calgary North did what they could to help, gathering to serve coffee, hot chocolate, rice, and chili to the attendees.  This was the first of what might well be an annual event and we were proud to be of service.

Sonny's story is engaging, energizing, and captivating for sure; but above all else, it is heart warming.
Sonny Carmona, a former Rotary Club of Calgary North exchange student from Venezuela, is now an international student at Seneca College.  We always found her charming and willing to work hard at anything she tackled.   It appears that Seneca College feels the same way.  
Every year the top 16 colleges with marketing programs in Ontario are called to participate in the the Ontario college marketing competition, a process that starts early April to pick the top 16 students in the school of marketing to be pair up and represent different categories.  Sonny was selected to represent the Direct Marketing Team with another young woman who is from the from Dominican Republic.  After eight months of really hard work Sonny and her team mate accomplished FIRST PLACE in the competition
Sonny also received a special award, one that is given to just one person.  Sonny was nominated by her school for an award that recognized the recipient as someone with "outstanding character and leadership skills" and who is a hard worker and an excellent, collaborative team member.  We are so proud, but not surprised, to know that Sonny received this award. 
Sonny particularly appreciates being the first Venezuelan to be recognized in this way and shares her glory with Rotary.  This is what Sonny has to say:
"YOU are behind it.  Rotary is behind it.  Since 2011 when I got the opportunity to travel I would have never imagine I would had meet amazing people like you, each one of you had tough me, give me knowledge and pull my ears more than once when it was necessary every day until today each one of you had help to shape me to be ME to give 300% to be able to live in a country where I can live and not just survive and there will be never enough words that can express my feelings and gratitude for you.  Thank you , thank you, thank you."
Sonny, you are welcome, admired, and much loved.

So what does MHM mean?  Anyone? Anyone? No? Well it stands for Menstruation Hygiene Management.  This is how our informative, confident speaker, Manon Mitchell, began her talk to us this past Monday.  The MHM Program provides fact based instruction, that does not tread on the toes of cultural norms, but that does reach over a million girls and women - so far - and helps them remain in school, and more importantly, helps them live full lives.  

Sadly millions of girls and women lose upwards of 3000 days of their lives, which is just over eight years, because they have no access to hygiene products.  Some sit on cardboard and some on buckets, some hide in forests and caves, and some have been isolated from their villages and safety. Clearly they miss one week out of every four weeks of school.  Trying to succeed on 75% of instruction time, at best, is too much for most and they drop out of school, just as their mothers did and just as their girl children will if the trend isn’t stopped.

And for just over a million girls and women, the trend has stopped.

How is it done?  The answer lies in the palm of your hand.


It all starts with a DfG POD (Portable Object of Dignity), the basic unit Days for Girls Kit.  PODs contain 1 waterproof shield and 2 absorbent liners. PODs are the seed for Micro-Enterprises, because they can be sold at an affordable price point, and women can add components in the future.  Because DfG Kits last years, this is a timeline that works for many women. Days for Girls prioritizes using locally-available materials whenever possible.

Days for girls is an educational program that encompasses many topics.  The initiative has also added a “Men Who Know” course.

Get more information on line by googling Days for Girls.rg

Rotary Club of Calgary North's 2018-2019 YEX Student from France has arrived and our 2017-2018 YEX Student is settling back in in Sardinia.
This Stefan on his first day in Calgary attempting to get a view of downtown Calgary.  Unfortunately, it was still a tad smokey at that time.   The other picture is Michele back home and purchasing a suit for his sister's wedding.
Watch this space for more information on Stefan, his background and his time in Canada and news from YEX alumni.


August 20th was an induction day: Paula Lee, Marketing and Advertising Director for Bentall Kennedy and the delightful speaker who introduced us to the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association project that will result in a renovated mail family-hearth room, is our newest member.  

The Hanover Educational Institute in Western Jamaica resides in the parish of Hanover, where a population of 70,000, has a illiteracy rate of 35%.  Furthermore, Hanover is ranked #4 out of 13 parishes with the highest rate of persons getting infected  by HIV even though there is vigorous on-going outreach program in the communities.  As if that weren't difficult enough, Hanover is ranked #2 behind St. James as the Parish with the highest number of young men involved in scamming. Young men are dropping out of high schools as they see this activity as the way out of poverty. 
Club Information

Welcome to the Rotary Club of Calgary North.

We meet Mondays at 12:00 PM
Village Park Inn
1804 Crowchild Trail NW
Mail: BOX 67131 5111 NORTHLAND DRIVE
Calgary, AB  T2L 2JO
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Fluid approach to water

How Rotary has changed to help people get clean water for longer than just a few years

Profile Rotary member forms Roots of Peace to remove land mines

Profile: A vine ideaHeidi KühnRotary Club of San FranciscoHeidi Kühn arrived in Utsunomiya, Japan, in 1975, a few months after the end of the Vietnam War. She was a Rotary Youth Exchange

Putting power in hands of women

Stephanie Woollard went from Down Under to the top of the world to find out if one person can make a difference.