Monica Spollansky, a 20 year volunteer with TSF, spoke at the District Foundation Seminar held this past Saturday, providing a very emotional talk about her work with the Thousand Smiles organization. She has been in a position to help the RI Foundation take children with facial deformities and transforms them with years of free care into normal healthy individuals accepted by their society. She has committed her time to four clinics per year for many years, only taking time off when she needed treatment for cancer.  This Spanish speaker, originally from Argentina, often works 12 hour days while she is at the clinic. She lives in Auburn, Northern California and drives down to each clinic with her husband and two daughters who now volunteer as well. Monica has been honored for her devotion to the needy children TSF serves. For more info to get involved, please visit

Rotary members frequently work with youth as part of community program across Southern California. From reading in local schools and Interact programs on campuses, to Youth ExchangeRYLA, LEAD, Model UN, and MusiCamp™, youth programs are a core component of many Rotary clubs. 

Rotary District 5340 has published an updated Youth Protection Policy that governs interactions with minors, including a mechanism for Rotary members to become certified to work with youth in a volunteer capacity. In accordance with the Youth Protection Policy, District 5340's Youth Certification process has been overhauled to include a revised application, an online background check, and web-based training.  
Response to the new Youth Certification program has been tremendous. For Rotary members who have been youth certified over the past decade, they will have additional time to earn the new Youth Certification qualification before their previous certification expires. The sunset period for past Youth Certification has been extended to December 31, 2017.
"Hundreds of Rotary members have already completed initial applications and background checks, and achieved provisional youth certification," said Scott Carr, Governor of Rotary International District 5340. "It has been an uphill climb in helping our members complete the third step of certification, which includes online training. From difficulties in sharing links, to incompatibilities we have uncovered with mobile devices, the training has been a challenge for many to complete. We have listened to member feedback, and are working on an all-new training module that will streamline the process, and provide the full youth certification."
The District had an amazing Peace Leadership Seminar Saturday at the Ronald McDonald House by Children's Hospital. Hosted by our Pathways to Peace Committee, we had over 70 Rotary members and guests attend, which means we were beyond capacity for the space and will need a new venue next year (a wonderful problem to have). You could feel the energy, excitement and enthusiasm for all the programs coming up ahead for the year, including our upcoming 7th Annual Peace Forum... and our clubs were instrumental in getting the word out and encouraging attendance. Huge kudos all around. 
Let's keep the momentum going.
Our People of Action Foundation Seminar is this Saturday, September 23, 2017. This is shaping up to be one of our best-attended Foundation Seminars in recent memory. Every person that attends will get a new (or renewed) appreciation for the impact The Rotary Foundation has, not just around the globe, but even closer to home. Through the Rotary Foundation's six areas of focus, Rotarians are making a difference, each and every day.
ALL club members are encouraged to attend and help blow the doors off this event. The Poway Center for Performing Arts will be the place to be this Saturday morning. And the sooner you register, the better seats you will get. 
Visit, or save time and click to reserve your seats today!
On September 19, 2017, Rotary District 5340 officially recognized Robert and Beatrice Tomko Day, in celebration of Past District Governor Bob and Bea Tomko. At a special ceremony in Vista, California, Bob was surrounded by friends, family, and fellow Rotarians, including several from the Vista clubs. Roughly a dozen past district governors also came out to celebrate Bob's achievements, and to look back on 63 years of service to humanity through Rotary.
Bob Tomko served from 1968-69 as District Governor of what was then known as Rotary District 534. A member of the Vista Rotary since 1954, Tomko was instrumental in raising awareness and support for PolioPlus during its early days, and helped raise the profile of District 534 both locally and across the globe.
The Torrey Pines Rotary Club is promoting membership with a new stand-up banner!  The colorful display welcomes the lunch-time crowd at the Rock Bottom Brewery in La Jolla where the club meets.  The banner emphasizes club's "Power Hour for Business People" and encourages walk-ins.
Shown in the photo above is (Photo L-R)  Torrey Pines President, Alex Robertson; International Service Chair, Max Gurney and Past President, Gordon Shurtleff who has a perfect attendance string in the mid 250s.
Call to Action: 
Join the Torrey Pines Rotary Club and share your stories of how your club is promoting membership.  We are in this together - We are growing Rotary to Make a Difference in the World!
A polio survivor in Kenya is in real need of an electric wheekchair.  Does anyone have one that is working that they can donate to this cause.  Please contact PDG Janice Kurth at
Tip # 4
Create a letter that lists all the great things about your club. List your star members, the advantages of where your club meets, how many members it has, etc.  Make sure to tailor the email/letter to the wants of any potential new member.
The United Nations has recently recognized Past District Governor, Janice Kurth by nominating her for the prestigious Eleanor Roosevelt "Global Citizen Award".  Announcement of the winner will occur in late in October.
La Jolla resident, Janice Kurth, is a 24-year member of the Rotary Club of Del Mar.  She has served the club and District 5340 in many capacities, including club president, assistant governor, chair of several committees and events, and District Governor in 2016-16.  During her year as District Governor, she culminated the largest district fundraising campaign of $32 million for The Rotary Foundation. 
Torrey Pines (La Jolla) Rotary Club President, Alex Robertson was recently approached by a member of the board of directors for the United Nations San Diego Chapter whose responsibility is handling 'nominees' for the this award and who personally knew him as a Rotarian, and asked if he could secure a copy of Janice's biography without disclosing the organization. 
Alex shared the request with District Governor, Scott Carr who eagerly believed Janice was a worthy candidate noting she has participated a variety of projects including health and community development projects in Kenya and Uganda, helped build homes in Mexico, facilitated a variety of youth events, initiated a first-of-its-kind mental health project in Southern India as well as contributing to dialysis an school sanitation activities in India.  Anyone who knows Janice would know that she'd try to deflect this honor to her fellow Rotarians, however, all agreed she deserved this nomination. 
Janice has been married to her Rotarian husband, Matt for 30 years and they have two daughters, ages 26 and 28, both of which are now Rotarians and serving on the board of directors of their respective clubs. 
The Global Citizen Award  will be presented by Ford Roosevelt, Advisory Board member and grandson of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt.  We are all hoping she is the chosen recipient and are very proud of what Janice has accomplished as a Rotarian.
For more information click here
Tip #3
Make recruiting the top priority of your club.  You can't do everything as club president, and knowing that will give you some freedom to focus on the most important thing.  Having new members - with new energy - will help you have more people to raise money for grant opportunities and club activities and programs.  New members with ideas and connections can be valuable committee members and aid in your club's  local service projects.  The more smiling faces and energy at club meetings, the more interest there will be in others wanting to join your club. 

Hands of Peace and Rotary have concluded a successful District supported summer program!  Every year for the past four summers in San Diego and 15 summers in Chicago, Hands of Peace brings together Israeli, Palestinian and American teens to empower young people to raise their voices as leaders of change. This summer, we have almost 100 courageous individuals between the two sites that are taking part in this 19 day process, were they learn to put their bravery and emotions to the test. 


Amidst the intense dialogues, our participants also get to experience team building skills while visiting a ropes course, attending religious services at a Temple, a Mosque and a Church, often for the very first time, and putting their writing skills to the test preparing and delivering speeches at multiple events.  Social activism in both San Diego and Chicago are incorporated into our programming, through projects like the Hunger Van Project, whose mission is to provide the needy with a means and path to self-sufficiency, or lectures by Azim Khamisa, who carries an inspirational message of forgiveness, peace and hope.  


By balancing daily dialogue with other opportunities to build trust, mutual respect, tolerance, understanding and ultimately, action our goal is to create impactful change by developing future leaders who are committed to a positive and just peace.


Rotary members from Encinitas Coastal, San Diego Coastal, Downtown Breakfast Club, Del Mar/Solana Beach, La Jolla Golden Triangle San Diego e-Club and Chula Vista Sunrise have participated in the program through volunteering, hosting teens and attending events and offering support.  Three clubs in the Chicago area support the program and the founder, Gretchen Grad, has been awarded two awards by Rotary International: 1) The Willie Frankel Award for Harmony and Understanding from the Rotary Club of Wilmette, and 2) She was named a "Paul Harris Fellow" from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.




The Miramar Semper Fidelis Rotary Club is sponsoring a poker fundraising event to support  marines and sailors based in the San Diego area.  If poker is not your game, you might consider sponsoring a marine or sailor so the he/she can play. 
For more information, go to

Minnia Curtis has been teaching High School English for 28 years at Carlsbad High School in California. Over the last 11 years Minnia has coached the Carlsbad High School Speech and Debate Team, leading them to multiple Championships and National Ranking in the top 1% of teams in the USA (National Speech and Debate Association).  No small feat for this team which averages 120 members and competes in 17 different speech, interpretation, and debate events.

What is unique about the Carlsbad High School Speech and Debate program is the integration of the 4 Way Test into the curriculum.   In Ms Curtis’s class the 4-Way Test plaque is hung in a prominent place for all the students to see, and when she wrote the curriculum for college approval, she included the Rotary Test Speech as a central component.  Ms. Curtis integrates the Rotary Four-Way Test as a core portion of her classes in order to expose ALL students to the usefulness of  using the test as a basis for making good decisions, as well as to motivation for  competition.  Both Rotary Clubs of Carlsbad, High-Noon and Evening, have been participating in District 5340 4 Way Test Speech Contest for the last eight years. Due to the integration in the classes, over a thousand promising students have been exposed to the 4-Way Test.  

Music has been part of mankind since the beginning.  It is a means of communication, expression and enhancement of one's life.  Recent studies of the brain have shown that active engagement with music influences many brain activities.  The findings identified the importance of music in the development of the brain with music being described as a source of intellectual, artistic, cultural, technological and economical abilities in our young people.
Rotary District 5340 has just launched a new web portal to help Rotary members support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. The initiative marked the official launch of the Rotary District 5340 Foundation, a 501(c)(3) designed specifically to support disaster relief efforts like those taking place in Texas and Louisiana.
Starting today, the 5340 Foundation is collecting donations that will support the American Red Cross and ShelterBox. Donations made to the 5340 Foundation can be earmarked for the charity of your choice (e.g. 100% to one, 50% to both) or they can be used to help fund our response to future disasters, all while keeping future fundraising solicitations to an absolute minimum.
Several Rotary districts in Texas and Louisiana have also mobilized and provided information on emergency relief funds to help their local districts. The new web portal can help donors sort through the options to support these individual efforts directly.
Photo: Left to Right: Max Gurney, Senator Tim Scott and Matt Risi
Torrey Pines Rotarian, Max Gurney was recognized by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) for his service in WWII at the Lincoln Reagan Dinner, held on Saturday, June 24 at the Marriott Marquis  in downtown San Diego.  Senator Scott was very gracious and asked the 96-year-old veteran to stand and be recognized in front of the overflow crowd.  Max served in North Africa, Sicily and Italy and was assigned to Intelligence as part of General Gorge Patton's staff.   Matt Risi of the Old Mission Rotary  served as Max's escort to the gala. 
People of Action

Rotary is where individuals come together to change the world for good.
With over 1.2 million members across the globe, Rotary is the place where business and civic leaders come to share ideas, connect, and get inspired. 
Rotary members are people of action, dedicated to sustainable, impactful change in the communities in which they live and work. 
To learn more about joining other leaders in your community, visit a Rotary club near you.
Find a Club
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September 2017


District Governor Scott Carr
Scott C. Carr
District Governor 2017-18
Rotary District 5340
Rotary District 5340
2247 San Diego Avenue
Suite 236
San Diego, CA 92110

619-2-ROTARY Phone
619-299-3826 Fax
 Rotary. Making a Difference