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This world needs more good people like Les Twentyman OAM!!
Last Monday night, Les told us about his 20th Man Youth Fund and all the important work it does by providing support services and programs to assist disadvantaged and disconnected youth. He told us of the many young people who have suffered greatly due to financial hardship, discrimination, and exposure to drugs, violence and abuse.
With sponsorship from the Smorgon family, a crisis accommodation facility has been providing refuge for 70 homeless youth each year for the past 20 years. The Redskins Basketball Club was formed to break up the gang violence that was increasing on our streets. This club now actively supports up to 450 young people each year. Outreach staff are employed to work with young people in their own environment, often dealing with intense issues. Connecting these young people with the services for rehabilitation, recovery and reintegration, changes their lives by providing opportunities for a brighter future.
20th Man Youth Fund runs many other worthwhile programs, but a primary focus to his mesmerizing presentation was Les' explanation of the ICE methamphetamine drug issue. Whilst our local police report through Boroondara Cares that this hasn't yet become significant for the youth in our immediate area, Les told us of the catastrophe that is occurring in the country towns of Victoria and in other suburbs of Melbourne. ICE has replaced heroin as the drug of choice. Even the ambulance officers who come to assist get attacked. We were warned not to try to rationalise with someone we suspect to be under the influence of this drug. Just back off, carefully.
Our chairman for the evening, Bob Falconer is on the board of the 20th Man Fund. In thanking Les for his presentation, Bob presented Les with a cheque for a thousand dollars from our Club to support the wonderful work they are doing for our youth. Several members have expressed their desire going forward to join the seven other Rotary Clubs in supporting this outstanding organisation.
Our mentor program is well under way, with Steve Wylie and Michael Chong mentoring the student President of Enactus at Swinburne Uni. It can be very rewarding to assist young people to grow, by sharing some of our lifetime experiences with them.
Our Club has been offered a kidney dialysis machine by the Austin Hospital. This is badly needed by the new hospital in Masbate City in the Philippines. On our visit to Ticao Island last month, we were given a list of hospital equipment, much of which can be supplied from the DIK warehouse, that is urgently needed by the San Fernando hospital on this very poor island. The rescue team in Masbate City asked us for stretchers for use in situations where they suspect neck and back injuries. Gerry has requested additional funds to send a container to Masbate with all this equipment next month. It will make a wonderful Christmas present. Unfortunately, our DIK budget for this year has already been spent. Our Club needs to run some special fundraising events to try to raise the $3,600 that will be needed to pay for the freight.
Club Members have asked how our Club conducts its budget process, wanting to know what shares we allocate to the various committees. Each year we start with the income budget as this determines the total size of the pie. However the Board, quite rightly, does not start by setting percentage allocations to the committees for their expenditure. Rather, we are driven by the projects that our members wish to undertake for that year. There are some projects that we commit to over a number of years. A good example is the Community Service project to sponsor research into cures for Alzheimer’s, where we have agreed to fund this over three years and are currently in our second year. Our committees vet the projects from their members and provide a priority list to the Club Board. This year we had more projects than the income budget could supply, so the new Board spent considerable time last April, with a great deal of good will and ardent discussion, pruning down to what we could afford. The pie chart shows the percentage allocations we ended up approving.
Next year the percentages will be different. It is up to our members to determine what projects they wish to support, within our committee structure. If most of our members wish to work on local projects the Community Service budget will grow, but if members prefer to work on more International projects, that percentage will grow. In our Rotary Club, we are very lucky to have the income from the Camberwell Sunday Market and the increasing income from our Aussie Pride badge sales. It means we never have to decide between whether we will do either local or international projects. We can do most of the projects that our members wish to support.
One of the important things learnt from this the budget process this year is that we need to budget for funds to each committee, in addition to those that are pre-approved for specific projects. Our committees require the flexibility to take on additional opportunities during the year, rather tha n having to wait for the next annual budget process. Our fund raising committee is working hard to try to increase the size of the income budget for the 2015-16 year to allow for this additional flexibility.
Our speaker for next Monday is Les Twentyman. This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to hear about the good work being undertaken in our community, to assist young people who are experiencing various difficulties. Please take up the challenge for every member to invite at least one guest to enjoy the experience of hearing one of the outstanding speakers scheduled for the next four meetings. They are all listed here in this bulletin. Bookings for guests should be made through our Club website.