President's Message For July 2020
I would like to begin this month’s President’s Message (my last one) by thanking my colleagues on the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC) Board and my fellow CMIRC Rotarians for making my job as CMIRC President a real pleasure this Rotary Year. We accomplished a great deal and did our part in fulfilling our Club mission of improving Child Safety, Health, and Education in Northern Thailand. Sure, there was stress and tension at times, but our CMIRC Rotarians have always remembered that Service Above Self is the motto of Rotary!
Next, I would like to welcome our new leadership. As an indication of the strength of new membership in CMIRC, it is interesting to note that 4 of the 8 Board members (including the President, left in purple shirt, and President-elect) will be serving their first full year on the Board in RY 2020-2021. There are still three Charter Members on the Board, but CMIRC is now six years old and it is clear we are transitioning to a new generation of leadership. Here is the new CMIRC Board:
President: Clarence Shettlesworth
President-Elect: Dylan Thomason
Secretary: Nick Dale
Treasurer: Nancy Lindley
Service Projects Chair: Dylan Thomason
Youth Programs Director: William Churchill
Foundation Chair: Roger Lindley
Membership Chair: Viki Thomason
Immediate Past President: John Schorr
So, now a very brief recap of SOME of what we accomplished this year to improve the lives of children and families in Northern Thailand:
1. We responded to the Covid-19 crisis by creating a CMIRC Food Initiative. Working with community partners, we provided meals and food staple packs to at least a thousand newly unemployed and poor families in Chiang Mai and in surrounding mountain villages.
2. We worked with our Rotary District 3360 to provide medical equipment and sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) to local hospitals to help with the Covid-19 response.
3. We taught over 500 4th-graders in Chiang Mai, Phrao, and Ban Ya, Phuket survival swimming and water safety.
4. We delivered many, many truckloads of winter clothing to children in the freezing mountain villages here in Northern Thailand. We are also donating school supplies to those villages.
5. We raised nearly 250,000 Baht for the Mae Tao Clinic to be used in their Child Protection Program and their Child Development Center.
6. We provided tutoring and scholarships for the GED (High School Equivalency) program at BEAM Education Foundation. This program allows refugee children to gain the credentials needed to attend university.
7. We provided support, loving care and companionship for seriously ill children every Sunday at the Burma Children Medical Fund's B.K. Kee Patient House (a VERY low budget Ronald McDonald House for children and their families who need specialty care available in Chiang Mai).
8. We instituted a Child Development Screening Program for poor communities in Chiang Mai Province.
10. We sponsored the Payap University Rotaract Club.
11. We worked with Red Lahu villages in Mae Hong Son Province to create the Avocado Garden Project, a sustainable, environmentally-friendly crop alternative for the villagers.
12. We helped a village in Roi Et Province ensure the availability of water year round with a surface water retention project.
13. We are partnering with the Rotary Club of Bangkok on a Rotary Global Grant: “Cultivating a Peace Culture in School.”
14. We sponsor Nong Gai’s room and board at the Warm Heart Foundation in Phrao.
15. We sponsored Avis Rideout of Agape Home/Nikki’s Place for Rotary District 3450 The One International Humanitarian Award.
16. And, much, much more!
To do all of the above, we needed sponsors and donors. I would like to thank some of our generous sponsors who provided grants and awards to CMIRC in 2019-2020
1. With the help of Rtn. Wessel from the Netherlands, we sponsored Avis Rideout of Nikki’s Place/Agape Home for Rotary District 3450 The One International Humanitarian Award. She was selected as one of the three finalists and will be awarded at least US$50,000, possibly US$100,000 if selected as The One!
2. We received grants in excess of 350,000 Baht from the U.S.-based Thai Thaim Foundation to administer the building of a surface water facility in Roi Et province and to begin a sustainable agriculture project in two Lahu villages in Mae Hong Song Province, the Avocado Garden Project.
3. The Swiss Lanna Society awarded the CMIRC Children's Water Safety & Drowning Prevention Program (CWSDPP) 100,000 Baht for the program in the Chiang Mai municipal schools.
4. The British Community in Thailand Foundation for the Needy donated 135,000 Baht for the CWSDPP in Phrao.
5. Bharatbhushan Kwatra Foundation donated 200,000 Baht to provide food for local people affected by Covid-19.
6. The Road to a Better Life Foundation donated 100,000 Baht to provide food for local people and rural refugee populations affected by Covid-19.
Finally, I would like to brag a little bit. At the end of each year our Rotary District recognizes excellence and exceptional community service achievement in the 67 Rotary clubs in District 3360. Normally, this would be at a large District Awards Meeting, but this year due to Covid-19, it was all done via Zoom. We won 2019-2020 District 3360 Awards for Outstanding Overall Service to the Community (1st place for small clubs), Consistent Sustainable Service Project (Survival Swim Program) (1 of 4 awarded), and Increased Membership (2nd place for small clubs). We were also recognized for 100% EREY and Rotary Foundation giving and a high percentage membership in My Rotary.org
So, it has been an incredible year and I am proud to have been a part of it. For those who would like to view the recording of our Club Assembly, where I describe in some detail what we accomplished this year you can view a recording of our June 30 Club Assembly (about 65 minutes) at:
For those who would like a copy of the PowerPoint presentation used at the Club Assembly, it is available at:
Below is one of my favorite "formal" photos of the Club this year, taken at the visit of District Governor Kamolsak, his wife, Assistant District Governor Saran and many visiting Rotary friends.