During John Brown’s year as president of the Thomasville Rotary Club, it was his desire to leave a lasting legacy for the 100th year anniversary of his Club and at the same time for the 75th anniversary of the Georgia Rotary Student Program (GRSP). To do this, he elected, as one of his Club projects, the construction of a Peace Plaza at the site of the new hotel in downtown Thomasville. This project is dedicated to remediating the lack of understanding of GRSP and its history of promoting peace through understanding throughout the world.
This was our fifth year having a Valentine Party for the seniors of the Scott Senior Center. Last year due to COVID, we were unable to gather together. After contacting the seniors with a survey and following up with a handwritten letter and invitation to the Valentine Day party, about 45 seniors gathered once again at the Scott Senior Center. Thanks goes to Thomas County Commissioners office and Thomasville YMCA who partnered together to reopen the center for activities. Rotary vows to be more involved than once per year. We have begun a quarterly pen pal program and will continue to be a face at the center throughout the year. About 30 Rotarians volunteered their time and talents, from making desserts, taking photos, prepping food, visiting and greeting the seniors, and writing letters. Photos were taken and will be sent to the seniors during the 2nd quarter penpal program. We are also sending birthday cards to our local seniors as they arise. $20 bills and a Rotary Has Heart for Seniors magnet was given as a gift. Those not in attendance were mailed their gift.
The Rotary Club of Thomasville began collecting coats, blankets and sweaters for the Thomas County Food Bank and Outreach Center in 2002 in answer to an urgent request. We continued in a small way until President Francis Parker made this our signature project for 2004-2005. Rotary provided over 100 items that year and a Rotary plaque was placed in the Food Bank designating this event.
The annual day of service and celebration and volunteerism benefits more than 40 Different project sites and brings together more than 1,200 community volunteers of all ages, resulting in more than 4500 hours of Service. The Rotary Club of Thomasville has provided landscape services at The Vashti Center, a residential and outpatient service for troubled adolescents in Southwest Georgia, a ministry of the United Methodist Church. On Saturday, October 17, 2021, 9 Rotarians, and 11 other Vashti volunteers joined together to refresh the landscaping on the commons areas at Vashti. This multi acre site was raked of debris, shrubs were trimmed, fifty bales of pinestraw were spread, and a refreshed look was created.
In this program high School students write an essay on a character value and how it applies to the student's life. Our Club participated in this program with Thomas County Central High School involving over 1,000 students, Thomasville High School and Bishop Hall Charter School. This program encourages students to think about values that are keystones to becoming good productive citizens. Winners will read their essays at a club meeting and be publicized in the Thomasville Times Enterprise newspaper. Rotarians plan to participate in the evaluations of the essays.
The Thomasville and Thomas County Salvation Army is a critical provider to the community members in need of spiritual, housing, clothing and other support. The RCT has a long history providing members to serve as bell ringers at the Thomasville Wal-mart to gather contributions from store patrons. RCT members take responsibility for an entire week during the pre-holiday fund raising period. Signup has begun for this year's Kettle Bell ringing and, as usual, we've had a great response. We rung the bell outside the Wal-Mart store as always. We have a running competition with our other Civic Clubs to see who can raise the most money.
The Rotary Club of Thomasville Rotarians participated in Character Counts teaching character to the youth in our community. Our Rotarians use their vocational skills to share their viewpoints on the topics of Kindness, Fairness, Caring, Citizenship, Trustworthiness, and Respectfulness to the children of the Boys and Girls Club, Community Resource Center, Vashti, and Scott Elementary School. Pictures weren't taken due to school policy
The project design incorporates a model of using youth leadership to establish a peer based program of personal responsibility leading to positive outcomes with respect to HIV/Aids and Drug Awareness. This project will impact 12 teens who will serve on the Youth Leadership Council as planners and conveners of the Summit. Another 175-200 teens will be impacted through educational and informative sessions.
The Rotary Cub of Thomasville supports the 1230th Transportation Company, Georgia National Guard. This company has deployed to the combat zone in Iraq and Afghanistan twice in the last 10 years. This year our unit was Deployed, and the rear guard was present on site. We delivered and celebrated 40 troop members. We had 6 rotarians and 2 of wives show up to honor and feed the troops. This project reinforces our brand of supporting First Responders and soldiers as this year's overarching theme an this is an annual event.
The Rotary Club of Thomasville is in the 5th year of honoring each of the local service branches of our community: Law Enforcement (Thomasville Police and Thomas County Sheriff), both City and County Fire Departments, Emergency Medical Technicians, and the Utility Department. This year we added Grady EMC to our last cookout and the Rotary Club of Cairo assisted us.
TaxAide is dedicated to providing totally free tax preparation to low and moderate income families in southwest Georgia. The service is delivered by a partnership of the IRS, Volunteers in Tax Assistance, Rotary Club of Thomasville, Thomas County Library, Envision Credit Union and community volunteers. From its award winning first year as the best new program in District 6900, TaxAide has served over 2800 families resulting in direct refunds of over $1,820,000 with a dollar stimulus of over $7 million for the local economy.
Be The Voice Anti-Bullying continues to be strongly supported by The Rotary Club of Thomasville. It continues to be a documented problem in both Thomasville City School and Thomas County School systems. The Rotary Club purchased 2 kits again for the school year 2020. There The program implementation was delayed due to COVID-19. A late Kick off will be implemented