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This week at rotary...

Program and Community Engagement Coordinator
Friends Forever International
Our speaker this week was Alexandra DesRuisseaux, the Program and Community Engagement Coordinator at Friends Forever International. Alex gave a history of the program and how it started during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Friends Forever was originally fully funded by Rotary, and the Salem Rotary Club is one of their favorite places to visit.
Friends Forever International, an organization we all know very well, has their program divided into five core components; Mindfulness, Self Reflection, Volunteering, Story Telling and Communication, Art and Creativity, and Goals and Evaluation. Alex briefly reviewed each of these core components and gave examples of them in practice based on her experiences with the organization. 
The traditional immersion program is also split into three phases; team building, skill building, and community building. While the immersion trips that the Salem Rotary has been involved in have been on hold since the outbreak of Covid-19, they will be returning this summer. These immersion trips involve bringing together groups from either side of a conflict, specifically those in Israel and Northern Ireland. Most often these groups have consisted of children, though recently groups of women have made the trip as well. The concept behind the three phases is to get the groups working together and going beyond their differences. 
Friends Forever also has Individualized Leadership Plans (ILP) that focus on strengths and weaknesses of individuals. They encourage individuals to identify weaknesses and fears, and develop ways to overcome them. The plans include individual meetings, discussions about fears and weaknesses, and goal setting, both for the individual and for the organization.
There is a focus on service learning that can create a value for community service. There are social action projects like organizing a cleanup of Lake Victoria and using the plastic to build blocks for housing. Other examples include self publishing a book, a library for refugees and peer tutoring services. All told, there are over 30 projects this year.
Other changes have taken place within the organization stemming from the pandemic. They now use a campus in Annalong, Northern Ireland, as well as one in New Hampshire, to bring groups together even when they cannot travel outside of the country. The program is now 100% free for participants. They have developed credit bearing programs through NH Learn Everywhere. Friends Forever can grant New Hampshire High School credits. They also are involved in Open World which is contracted with post-Soviet countries where adults come to the United States with a content focus and Friends Forever coordinates the visit.
Rotarians can help in many ways, such as allowing participants to speak at the club, which is something that the Salem Rotary has traditionally done. They can also host a program day, meet with professional focused team, join newsletter list, donate, and generally spread the word!
In Rotary news, our baseball winner was Jane Stirgwolt who won a treat- a six pack of beer. Let me know if you need help with drinking those, my dear neighbor! Rinus delivered some great news about the Salem High School CTE Program. They successfully repaired the official ribbon cutting scissors for city and received yet another grant, this time in the amount of $280,000 for automotive tech training. Please consider supporting the CTE computer program contest with a $25 prize. Be sure to speak to Rinus about giving to this cause. 


You can now pay for your 50/50 Raffle tickets and Happy Dollars with your credit card. Scan the QR Code and fill out the information on the Toast website. 

VisIting Rotarians & Guests


CAlendar winner!

No drawing this week as we continue to collect stubs. Please return them with a $200 check made out to Salem Rotary to Scott Grover. If you have not gotten your Calendars, please go to the front desk at the Hawthorne Hotel

50:50 Raffle

Tim Clarke played twice and lost twice
No winners either week


  • Bruce Whear and Heidi went away again, this time to Punta Cana. They had a great time, but Bruce did hit the back of his head. While he claims to have received great treatment in the Dominican Republic, he is still a little dizzy. Of course, this is likely a preexisting condition. 
  • Liz Bradt once again was on the move, this time to Florida on a dog vacation. She had a great time but did not see any of the Salem Rotarians who winter there. Mark Shaw did offer to "pitch a tent" which we assume is not a euphemism for anything. ’s birthday
  • Rich Eisner is still a jerk, we just can't remember why.

Club Announcements and events

Virtual Winter Classes
February 28 and March 2 6-9pm
Do you want to enhance your Rotary experience and learn how expand your service to be a more effective member? Parts I, II, III and Graduate will be offered (and must be taken in order). Sessions are open to all Rotarians and Rotaractors...whether or not they are currently serving as club officers or on the club leadership track. Sign up here!
At Rotary, we understand that cultivating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture is essential to realizing our vision of a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change.
We value diversity and celebrate the contributions of people of all backgrounds, across age, ethnicity, race, color, disability, learning style, religion, faith, socioeconomic status, culture, marital status, languages spoken, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity as well as differences in ideas, thoughts, values, and beliefs.
Recognizing that individuals from certain groups have historically experienced barriers to membership, participation, and leadership, we commit to advancing equity in all aspects of Rotary, including in our community partnerships, so that each person has the necessary access to resources, opportunities, networks, and support to thrive.
We believe that all people hold visible and invisible qualities that inherently make them unique, and we strive to create an inclusive culture where each person knows they are valued and belong.
In line with our value of integrity, we are committed to being honest and transparent about where we are in our DEI journey as an organization, and to continuing to learn and do better.
Member Birthdays
John Hall
January 3
Diane Fatouros
January 12
Elizabeth Bradt
January 14
Leslie Levesque
January 19
Robyn Burns
January 21
Ryan Guilmartin
January 21
Kenneth Rothwell
January 28
Upcoming Speakers
Jan 03, 2023
Friends Forever International
Jan 10, 2023
Disability Resource Center
Jan 17, 2023
View entire list
Club Information
Tuesdays at 12:15 PM
Hawthorne Hotel
18 Washington Square
Salem, MA 01970
United States of America
If you are interested in learning more about Salem Rotary, please email
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