Rotarian Trent Reynolds, Director of the Thomas County Library, is an active member of the Certified Literacy Community Program providing important leadership and the Chair of this committee in our Club. Under this program, annually free books are given to four year olds, dictionaries are given to third graders, a Back to School Blitz is conducted, a fund raising spelling bee is held and GED Scholarships are awarded. Rotary In cooperation with CLEP, Kiwanis, Flowers Foods and Thomas County Family Connections, purchased and distributed 675 dictionaries and 681 books to elementary school children in 25 classes at four elementary schools. The book Never Tickle a Tiger was read to the children. This program stimulates a love of reading early that is a fundamental skill required for an education enhancing the student's development and academic performance which ultimately benefits the community. Involvement by our Club in this activity reinforces our branding as a major supporter of education and supports our community outreach. This is a continuing activity of our Club each year.
A plan to increase the club's image on social media was developed and implemented by club member Lauren Vann, owner of Adele Creative. Weekly posts on FB feature club news, projects, and club events with photos and captions. Examples of stories posted--Rotary sponsors golf tournament benefiting United Way, Rotarians speak at local women's conference "She Creates Business," Club programs with photos or speakers, Rotary hosts cookouts for local first responders, Rotary hosts holiday lunch for National Guard company and their families, etc.
Our Club recognizes academic and technology students of the month, their parents and advisors. Each student is asked to identify his guests at the meeting, typically parents and advisors or sponsors, describe their major activities in high school and their plans for the future. Having an opportunity to speak before a group teaches them about preparation and gives them confidence about such opportunities to speak in the future. The students are awarded certificates for their selection and have a picture made to be published in the Thomasville Times Enterprise. Recognition of these students rewards them for their hard work and encourages others to emulate them leading to more productive citizens. This activity supports our Brand as encouraging scholarship and citizenship in our student population. This is a continuing activity each year.
Designed and produced an ad for the regional magazine THOM featuring one of our club's many projects that support education. "Be the Inspiration for Learning" was the title and ad copy noted Playground Maps, Books Are Magic, Character Counts, Scholarships, Students of the Month, and 15 other school projects as evidence of our club's commitment to inspire students to learn. The ad included a drone photo of children playing on one of the playground maps members have painted and maintained at local schools. A second photo showed Rotarians involved in the project. The Rotary logo and contact information on our club was included with the full page color ad in Thom magazine's fall edition.
In connection with Thomas County Certified Literacy Committee Rotarian Nancy Tillinghast from our Club sponsors a community wide team trivia Bee Competition and we provided two teams of three Rotarians to participate in the trivia bee. Each team that enters pays a $300 entrance fee. The proceeds from the event are used to purchase dictionaries and other books to be given to elementary students in the community. The Club swept the competition with the Rotary GTD -- Greatest Trivia Dominators consisting of Rotarians Don Sims, Gene McNease and Rotary spouse Theresa Brown, winning the competition with the Rotary Nerds, Ron Salter, Lauren Basford and Jeff Zoller placing second out of nine teams.
Decor took a nod from the previous Celebration Night "Taco Bout Rotary." We used a large authentic piñata adorned with the Rotary International Emblem in the center to anchor the table. This was put inside a large vase containing Mexican candy. Authentic Mexican scarfs were crossed on the table. Mexican pottery and baskets dressed up the extra space. The table setting was pink plates and green napkins. Thanks to Cameron at Relish and his sister for supplying the décor.
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 400 items that year and a Rotary plaque was placed in the Food Bank designating this event.
Our Club participated in the "Back to School Blitz" for 2000 students sponsored by Thomas County Family Connections. Over 27 participants handed out free school supplies and shared information concerning resources available, school activities and health support. Free eye exams, hearing tests and health screening were conducted. This activity provided school supplies to students who otherwise may not have been able to obtain them. The health screenings were very valuable to be sure that there were no physical obstacles to learning. Over 47% of Thomas County families are considered to be at the poverty level and need the support. This project reinforces our Rotary brand of supporting education and provides community interaction. This is a project that is supported each year. Rotarians participated in the planning of the event, packaging and handing out the supplies, as well as security. We contributed $1000 to purchase supplies.
The Rotary Club of Thomasville proudly supports CampSTEMtastic at Thomas University. Camp STEMtastic primarily serves to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields to low-income students, and it also offers teachers-in-training real-world experience working with students on STEM lessons. Many of the experiences campers have would not be possible without a program like Camp STEMtastic.
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 20, 2018, 9 Rotarians, our GRSP student and 8 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.
Every year the Community under the leadership of Rotarian Trent Reynolds, the Thomas County Library Director, and Rotarian Andre Maria selects a book to be read by the community members in conjunction with various activities including author appearances and other activities. This year our Club donated $1,000 as a Silver sponsor to the One Book project which will involve a title to be announced. This project encourages the youth of the city to read as they and their parents get involved.
The Thomasville Rose Show in April annually is recognized as a regional highlight for horticulturalists and rose enthusiasts particularly. We provide members and tools to set up the tables and table coverings as the show’s venue is built.
We relied on our younger Rotarians for 2019 to help with this setup and had great attendance from them. They had the tents set up faster than ever! Easy 2 hours of Coffee and stapling. We will do this set up again in 2020 for our Rose Show Festival and hope to have even more Rotarians participate so we can cut our time in half!
The Rotary Club of Thomasville is sponsoring six students to RYLA this coming June. A rising junior from the following schools will be selected. C.H.A.R.T., Bishop Hall, Brookwood, Thomas County High School, Scholars Academy and Thomasville High School. The selection of students will begin in January and will be completed in March. One Hundred and forty four young men and women will receive leadership skills, team activities and develop lasting friendships.
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 will ring 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.
This program funds taught forty disadvantaged youth from Harper Elementary School eight hours of swimming lessons at the YMCA as requested by the president of the Harper Parent Teacher Association. This project serves two purposes. First it validates the importance of parents participating in the Parent Teacher Organization, a long term school goal which our Club has been supporting, but second it teaches important life saving skills to youngsters who would otherwise not be able to swim. This project enhances our Club's brand as doing all we can to support the youth of our community. The CEO of the Thomasville YMCA is Rotarian Tom Everett.
The Rotary Club of Thomasville has been and will continue to support local community youth sports as a means of developing physical, mental and spiritual sides of our youth. This year our club sponsored a YMCA football team and Director Will Felts coaches a YMCA soccer team.
The Morehouse School of Medicine partnered with several schools, community-based and faith-based organizations to implement the Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. This 5 year federally funded initiative of $1.2 million per year will serve approximately 3,450 middle and high school aged youth over a five-year period in eight counties: Dekalb, Douglas, Dougherty, Grady, Jasper, Putnum and Thomas. All counties have teen birth rates above the national rate of 26.5 for every 1,000 adolescent females, ages 15-19. Under the leadership of Rotarian Andre Marria, Key Consultant, and Fidelity Manager, who was responsible for the program in Thomas and Grady Counties. Our club will be a partner in the program for Thomas County. An MOU is being drafted that will define our role and financial contribution.
Thomasville Rotary President Andre Marria presented a compelling story why polio is still a critical issue. She introduced Dr. Lorraine M. Williams, otolaryngology specialist in Thomasville who gave a visual story of how the polio virus affects people. it was a very moving presentation and a couple of facts stood out, that in the US the last contracted case was in 1979 and a gentleman was introduced as one of the longest living person with the disease who was able to graduate college and get a degree in law.
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 attending the Summit 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. The Club honored some two hundred and sixty of these soldiers and their families by supporting the Family Day Holiday party from 11 to 3, Sunday, December 2nd at the Exchange Club this year. On this day the soldiers and their families celebrated each other, were provided gifts and a traditional turkey and ham dinner with all the trimmings. The hall was decorated with holiday themes, holiday music and a Bounce House and slide were provided. Santa Claus made an appearance with gifts for the children. In addition, supported by Thomas University a Noncommissioned Officers was honored with a Peacemaker Award and recognized for his service to the community. Thirteen Rotarians and other volunteers prepared the food for the officers and non-commissioned officers to serve. Twenty-two Rotarians provided homemade desserts for the party. The event was covered by the Thomasville Times Enterprise. This project reinforces our brand of supporting First Responders and soldiers as this year's overarching theme and is an annual event.
The Rotary Club of Thomasville last year developed a program to honor each of the local service brances of our community: Law Enforcement (Thomasville Police and Thomas County Sheriff), both City and County Fire Departments, Emergency Medical Technicians, and the Utility Department.
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 between the IRS, AARP, Thomasville Rotary, Thomas County Library, Thomas University and community volunteers. Last year the program served 350 clients which resulted in direct refunds of over $300,000 with a dollar stimulus of $1,000,000 for the local economy.
This is a program funded by a District Grant and contributions from our Club in which Rotarians discuss six Character Pillars with before and after student evaluations for fifty students at The Vashti Center, Marguerite Neel Williams Boys and Girls Club, the Thomasville Community Resource Center and the Thomasville City Schools' Scott Elementary School. Vashti offers a residential program for students who are not able to live with their families and the Boys and Girls Club and the Resource Center are after school programs which helps young people become productive citizens. The Character Counts Program from the Josephson Institute involves the staff discussing with the students each of the character traits of Fairness, Caring, Citizenship, Trustworthiness, Respectfulness, and Responsibility. Each month focuses on a different character trait. Two Rotarians then meet with the students to discuss how the trait of the month has impacted their personal and professional lives. The students are then involved in a discussion about how this trait could apply in their lives and the difference it could make. The assessment of the program at Vashti was that “The Character Counts Curriculum has proven to increase the morale and values of the youth in the program.” We have branded our Club as giving priority to educational projects and this program reinforces this branding in the community. We expect this innovative program to have a similar impact this year and plan to continue it in the future.
The Rotary Club of Thomasville partnered with The United Way in order to hold a golf tournament at Country Oaks in Thomasville. This year we had 23 teams, 52 hole sponsors, a $5000 sponsor (Envision), a $2500 front 9 and back 9 sponsor (Synovus), a breakfast sponsor (David Hufstetler), and a lunch sponsor (Mary Beth Donalson and John Glenn). We also offered two hole-in-one CAR options (thanks to Flowers and Spence). 25 Rotarians volunteered to make this a success. Other club members were hole sponsors, team participants, and donated prizes.
Rotary sponsored the 4th Annual Thomasville Scott Senior Center Valentine's Party for 70 seniors Feb 14, 2019. Due to Valentine's Day falling on a Thursday, our Rotary Meeting Day, the seniors were invited to join us at The Plaza for a meal and program. Many were excited and had anticipated this day since the beginning of February. The seniors were greeted by many of our Rotarians. They enjoyed a delicious meal while listening to love songs and joined us in hearing Tim Filston talk about the differences between man and woman. All seniors were given a Valentine stuffed animal and box of candy. The event almost paid for itself with sponsorship money. Three Rotarians were directly involved and many more contributed on the day of the event. There were twelve community sponsors. Several representatives of our sponsors came to volunteer at the party. This project impacts Rotary branding by making the broader community aware that Rotary is involved in the community benefitting seniors.
Bullying is a documented problem in both Thomasville City School and Thomas County School systems.
Be the Voice that Stops Bullying – We have purchased and received 2 kits. We have distributed to two local middle schools (Thomas County Middle School and McIntyre Park Middle School) in October. Once they have completed the project, we will invite them to the Rotary Club to share the results.
AVID (Acheivement via Individual Determination) is a college
readiness system that will be instituted into Harper Elementary, MacIntyre Park
Middle School, and Thomasville High Schoolfor the upcoming school year. The students will receive assistance in
organization, study skills, critical reading, writing and preparing for college
and career. The program comes with many needs, some of which were supply needs.
For the year, Thomasville City Schools will have 150 students served. Each of these students needed the following: ·3” three-ring binder with clear-view cover, set of tabbed dividers, pencil pouch with three holes, pencils (can be corporate), pens (can be corporate), highlighters (can be corporate), and post-it notes. 52 Rotarians donated items and funds to purchase items during the month of August. On Sept 6 immediately following the club meeting, 23 Rotarians packaged the supplies for transport. A Rotary sticker was added to each notebook, and a Rotary 4-Way Test Card was added to each package. Items were delivered to Laine Reichert, superintendent of Thomasville City Schools. She reported that the kids were so thrilled to have new supplies to participate in this program.
The Rotary Junior Tennis Tournament is our oldest, continuous Community Service project, going back to 1978-79! Last year marked the 36th Year of offering boys and girls ages 6-18 a USTA sanctioned tournament. Competitors from four states including South Carolina, Florida, Alabama and Georgia have gained State Southern and National rankings while staying close to home. In past years numerous Rotarians helped man concessions and assisted with tournament administrative duties. Today only 2-4 Rotarians are needed for the two day tournament. Over the years the tournament has been self sustaining and actually has made money for scholarships in most years. Gene McNease and Tom Harrison are very proud of having provided leadership in keeping this valuable service project viable and well administrated for all these years. Our Club has hosted as many as 200 players in one tournament but normally it runs 50-75 players today. The Tournament this year will be 30 April and 1 May on the new Glen Arven hydroclay tennis courts. This is a continuing project that demonstrates to families from the southeast the commitment Rotary has to Youth.
Playground Maps of USA in Thomas County Elementary Schools
ELementary school children in our country need to have knowledge of the geography of the USA, particularly knowledge of the fifty states. The Rotary Club of Thomasville has consulted with the Thomasville City School system to gain permission to paint fifty foot wide maps of the USA with each state painted in different colors on their elementary school paved playgrounds. The result will be a year around teaching tool for children to improve and maintain their geography knowledge. The five Rotarians with participation from fifteen Interact Club students and their faculty advisor completed painting a 20’ x 40’ map of the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) under the covered playground (pavilion) at Harper Elementary School. The map will be used to provide geographical education to elementary students at the school.
SafeDrive has been an annual project for over 15 years.Our club produces the SafeDrive Map to alert citizens, especially newcomers and student drivers, about the most dangerous roads and intersections in the Thomasville/Thomas County region.Using accident data provided by the Georgia DOT and local Thomasville Police Department, the SafeDrive Map is updated about every 3 years.The 6th Edition debuted in January 2017.
The Rotary Club of Thomasville awards five $1,000 scholarships for advanced education to deserving students from Thomasville High School, The Scholars Academy, Thomasville Central High School, Bishop Hall Charter School and Brookwood High School. This money provides financial support to students who face ever increasing costs of post secondary education. Rotarians are involved in fundraising by conducting a weekly drawing and a football competition. Rotarians serve on the school selection committees and award the scholarships at graduation ceremonies. The media coverage of this project supports the branding of our club as having a primary focus on education and provides significant community awareness.
Thomasville Rotarians goal was two fold: to find and fill all the "little libraries" in the community with new books and secondly to secure books to give to both the YMCA and Boys and Girls club after school participants. We were able to fill the little libraries with donated books from Rotarians and we go periodically and add more books.
Rotary Club of Thomasville's Public Image enhances the Rotary brand by telling Rotary’s story to the public and promote the club’s projects and activities with a strong emphasis on all three (3) themes: our local club: “Recognizing Those Who Serve”, District 6900: “Dare To Be Better”, Rotary International: “Rotary Serving Humanity.”
C.H.A.R.T. Adviser: Heather Lindquist. 26 members. This fall worked at Hands on Thomas County volunteer day in October. Volunteered with the Thomas County History Museum to clean up after their fundraising Gala on October 28. Will sing Christmas carols at Scott Senior Center.
The Club hosts a Wine or Whine event the first Tuesday of each month at a local venue, often owned by a Rotarian. It is a good time for members and spouses to gather for beverages of their choice and snacks after a hard day's work. Typically a Director will update the group on a project or other matter of interest and then great fellowship and conversation ensues. Those Rotarians who participate earn a Make up. This year the meeting place of choice is Hubs & Hops.