President-Elect, Chris Krueger opened the meeting in the absence of President, Allan Cady.  Allan and Polly had sent photos of the view of Niagara Falls, which they had sent earlier in the day from their hotel room.  They apparently were having some travel adventures following their attendance at the Rotary International Convention in Toronto, Canada.  
Ray Smith led those present in singing one verse of "Old MacDonald Had A Farm."  Dr. Ron Thompson offered the invocation and Ed Koeneman led the Pledge of Allegiance.  Pam Cohen served as greeter, welcoming all to the meeting.
Carolyn Ann Jones, introduced herself for the last time as a guest.  Wendell will no longer be introducing her as his guest, since Carolyn will be our newest Rotary Reserve member.
In the attendance drawing, Ed Koeneman was the $5 winner.  Chuck Flint was looking for an honest Rotarian to draw the raffle ticket in the weekly drawing.  The holder of the winning ticket would win $88 in the weekly drawing, and if they were to draw the ace of clubs from the six cards remaining, they would be the lucky recipient of $1,846.  Chuck had Bert Millett (an attorney) draw the winning ticket.  When no-one got excited when they heard the last four numbers on the ticket, Chuck checked his own tickets and found that he was the winner.  John Pennypacker volunteered to help keep the card drawing honest, and laid the six cards face down on the table after shuffling them.  Chuck had his eye on two cards.  His first choice was (unfortunately for Chuck) the Queen of Hearts.  This is the first time the weekly drawing has rolled into a second Rotary Year.  The club will be dark on July 5.  Attendance should be good on July 12 when the odds of drawing the right card will be even better, but offset by the odds of buying the winning ticket likely being worse.
Sgt at Arms, Greg Okonowski, went around collecting happy bucks.  John Hunt was happy to be at the meeting after having to miss several recently.  Dick Myren paid $2 because he was happy to see his friend Rod Daniels at the Changing of the Guard.  Steve Ross paid sad dollars for having to leave 75º weather in San Diego to return to 105º weather here.  Dan Coons was happy he was going to get to see his son, Nicholas, on Sunday.  Dan, Colleen and Ryan will depart early Saturday morning to fly to Taiwan and enjoy the last few days of Nicholas' Rotary Youth Exchange journey with him.  Bob Zarling was happy to be heading for Long Beach next week.  Ed Koeneman was happy to report that Emilee Goetzenberger was going to pick up his stolen wallet at the Paris Police Department and bring it home with her when she returns from her exchange in Belgium.  Steve West made a generous contribution as he was happy to finally be able to find time to attend.  John Pennypacker was happy to have placed Rotary Foundation brochures on all the lunch tables.  He announced that on July 12, our new District Governor, Jim Erickson will be attending our meeting to officiate in recognition of some TRF giving achievements.  
Steve Ross introduced the guest speaker, Tyler Vasquez of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the East Valley.
Tyler was pretty impressed with our weekly drawing.  He said he would be back on July 12, and that our club would be his new Vegas.   He pointed out that there were informational brochures on the tables about the Boys and Girls Clubs.  In the east valley, they have eleven clubs in eight communities.  They serve youth age 5-18.  
Tyler's goal is to engage non-profits.  They have, in the past, had members in various service organizations, but as staffing turnover occurred over time, those relationships have been lost.  He has made it a personal priority to reconnect and develop relationships with local service clubs.
In explaining what they do, he said there are "no bad kids, just bad decisions."  They try to place their facilities in areas with the highest crime rates, highest drop out rates, highest population of single parent households, highest poverty levels, etc.
To illustrate the kind of people involved in their work, he told of Adriana, who at age 13, was told by her mother she needed to volunteer.  Adriana's mother was the wife of major league baseball player, Ricky Henderson.  Up until Adriana started volunteering with Boys and Girls Clubs, she was known as Ricky's daughter.  In her volunteer work, she developed a fan club of her own and developed her own identity through finding satisfaction and fulfilment in her role making a difference in the lives of the individuals at the center.
Tyler was seven when he joined one of the Clubs.  That year, the Phoenix Suns were in the MBA finals with the Chicago Bulls.  Charles Barkley was his hero.  He wanted to be a basketball player.  His parents indulged him by letting him join even though they had to drive him from Power and Guadalupe Road in Mesa to the gym at the club near Elliot and Gilbert Rd. in Gilbert.  He had to be there two nights a week - one for practice and the other to play.
A few years later, when his parents were going through a divorce, Tyler became a latch-key kid.  His mother worked in retail and had a varied work schedule.  His younger siblings were at a babysitter.  Tyler's friends knew there was a nice liquor cabinet in Tyler's home and even though Tyler was afraid of incurring his father's wrath, it was a big temptation to cave to peer pressure.  About the time the pressure to cave was at its worst, A local Boys and Girls Club van slowed down for the driver, who knew Tyler, saw him and stopped to visit.  With the driver was a new Boys and Girls Club employee, Christina.  Christina was in her early 20's, very attractive, and Tyler readily agreed to help with the heavy lifting at the new satelite club which was being started at a local elementary school where Christina would be working.  
Among the programs Tyler took advantage of learning as he observed what was offered at the center.  He learned how to fill out job applications, create a resume and interview for jobs.  He went along as a volunteer on field trips.  He has a history of 25 years with the Boys and Girls Clubs.  It became his career.  He has been a paid professional with them for thirteen years.  While 54% of their alumni say the Club saved their life, Tyler can say the Club made his life.
The Boys and Girls Clubs survive with relatively few paid employees and lots of volunteer support.  They need coaches for their athletic programs, and individuals who are willing to help after school with homework coaching and support as well as those who want to help with teaching hobbies and creative crafts.
They have a Keystone group which is comparable to Ineract.  The youth do service in the community and raise money to attend leadership activities.
Membership in the Boys and Girls Clubs is only $30 per year, but that is out of reach for many they want to serve.  They do not turn anyone away for financial reasons, but visitors to their facebook page will find the opportunity to participate in a raffle.  The proceeds of the raffle are used to provide membership scholarships for those children who cannot afford the membership fee.
One of Tyler's boyhood dreams has sort of come true.  He always wanted to be the Suns announcer, the one out on the floor introducing the players.  He gets to do the next best thing.  When they take kids on a tour of the Suns facility, he gets to use the PA system to announce them as players on the floor of the arena.  In addition to his work with the Club, he is a promo rep for KTAR and has announced local hip-hop events.
During questions and answers, Tyler made it clear that volunteers do have to have their background checked before they can participate.  
Individuals who want to learn more or are interested in volunteering at the Club can CLICK HERE to visit their website.  Those interested in buying raffle tickets to help them raise money for membership fees for those kids who need that assistance can CLICK HERE to visit their Facebook page.
  • The Club will be dark (no regular meeting) on July 5.
  • The July 12 meeting will be a Club Assembly, and feature DG Jim Erickson presenting The Rotary Foundation recognition materials.
  • Colleen Coons is also joining Mesa West Rotary as a Rotary Reserve member