District Governor's Message:  March 2023

Brunswick Rotary Club President Claudia Frost arrived in Lusaka, Zambia on May 25, 2015. 

 Go Away!
District 7780 Team Zambia will be traveling to Lusaka, and Livingstone, Zambia, to meet local Rotarians, and to listen, learn and discover ways that District 7780 can help those in need. 
COVID restrictions have grounded the International Service Outreach since our last trip to Columbia in 2019-20. During the pandemic, the International Team kept active as a committee of Rotarians formed a support system for the Indigenous peoples of Maine, New Hampshire, and Canada. 
I have a compelling excuse to travel with this team. I traveled to Lusaka in 2015, shortly after a Global Grant was approved. This grant supported a project called Healthy Kids/Brighter Future and was started by a young Bowdoin graduate, Lonnie Hackett. The program trains classroom teachers as front-line health workers. This initiative helped children from 6 - 14 years old to stay healthy through basic knowledge of common childhood diseases and illnesses. Many of our District clubs supported this grant.
The first Global Grant served 1500 students in a very poor area of Lusaka. Since that first grant, the program has grown to serve nearly 500,000 school-aged children. The District 7780 team will visit the first school to be serviced and go on to visit new schools that have joined what is now called Healthy Learners.
The team will also visit schools in Choma and Livingstone. The Rotarians from District 9210 are eager to share progress on their projects. 
Members of this year's District 7780 team are ready and willing to present to your clubs regarding their trip and the needs in that area of the world upon their return.
I will be posting pictures along with short descriptions of what we are seeing during our trip. Please check out these pictures on the District's Facebook page. 
Peace and good health,
DG Claudia
email me here
H. 978 468-1579
C/t: 207 449-9884
Carolyn Johnson Recognized for Her Work in Literacy Instruction
President Jennifer Jones presented Carolyn Johnson with an award in Guatemala in February.
While on her Imagine Impact Tour, current Rotary International President, Jennifer Jones traveled to the Western Highlands of Guatemala to highlight the important work being done by the Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP) to combat illiteracy. At the GLP’s 25-year anniversary celebration at Hacienda Maria School in Guatemala, Jennifer Jones presented an award to Carolyn Johnson, Chair of BELRAG (Basic Education & Literacy Rotary Action Group). The award recognized Carolyn’s 18 years of service in certifying over 1,000 primary-school teachers in literacy instruction across Guatemala through the Spark Reading Program. “To learn to read is to light a fire,” reads the inscription on the sparkling crystal award, citing the famous Victor Hugo quote.  Carolyn Johnson is PDG District 7780 and a member of the Rotary Club of Yarmouth, Maine.

The Spark Reading Program

The GLP’s Spark Reading Program [formerly known as the Culture of Reading Program (CORP) founded by Carolyn Johnson] trains primary-school teachers in effective reading instruction and provides them with a library of books. Teachers receive two years of intensive training combined with individual support and instruction through in-class visits.
Founded in 1997, the GLP is a network of individual Rotarians, Rotary clubs and districts, and the nonprofit organization Cooperative for Education (CoEd) with a common interest in improving education for underserved students in Guatemala. It is one of the largest grassroots, multi-club, multi-district projects in Rotary, with over 800 participating clubs, including many in District 7780.
Click here for more information on the Guatemala Literacy Project;  for more information on the Spark Reading Program, click here.
District Rotarians Attend Colombia Project Fair 
Emma Bodwell (2nd from left) and Rick Welchel (2nd from right), are pictured with the administrative staff of a prospective school project.
By:  PDG Peter Johnson, Member DISC, RC of Yarmouth
Rotary Project Fairs offer a unique opportunity for members to interact with Rotarians in another part of the world to discuss potential collaboration on International Service Projects, most frequently leveraging contributions via Rotary Foundation Global Grants.  Our travelers, Emma Bodwell and Rick Whelchel, RC of Bridgton-Lake Region, along with Peter and Carolyn Johnson, RC of Yarmouth, reviewed the success of projects from earlier years with site visits in Barranquilla, Medellin, and Armenia, renewed prior friendships and made new acquaintance with Rotarians from Colombia, Canada, and several US states.
During the actual conference, approximately 60 different projects were presented, each one seeking an International Partner and funding sources.  By attending Project Fairs in person, attendees enjoy the benefit of spending time with the people behind the scenes who will actually implement the project on the local level.  Experience tells us this is invaluable in assessing how quickly and effectively the proposed project can be implemented.
Connecting the Dots - March 2023
By:  Sarah MacGillivray, Secretary and Public Image Coordinator, District Foundation Committee, RC of Bath Sunrise
1. The Foundation committee put together an incredible zoom training last month. Rotary Basics 101 shared important information about OUR Rotary Foundation and the basics of how it all works.  If you missed the training, we posted it on the District website.  Or you may click here, to watch it anytime you would like.  Consider sharing it at a club meeting too!
2. Is your club considering submitting a District Grant this spring? The required grant training is on March 20! Click here to register.
3. The Rotary Foundation has opened a disaster response fund to support earthquake relief projects for Turkey and Syria. Members may donate here from now until March 31; simply click “donate” on the home page and select “Turkey/Syria Disaster Response Fund.” More info on this is in the full story below.
4. Bob Gravino, District 7780 Rotary Peace Centers Fellowship Subcommittee Chair, shares that applications are now open for the 2024 Rotary Peace Fellowship.  Click here to apply. Read more about this in the full story continued below.
Peace Fellow Update
Peace Fellow Cassandra Varanka sent this note to the Bridgton-Lake Region Rotary Club, her sponsoring club, upon arriving in Queensland, Australia to begin her Peace Fellow studies.
“My husband Hai and I are a few days into our Australian adventure.  Please pass along this update to District Rotarians.  Upon landing, we were immediately welcomed by my Rotary Host, David Frost, a member of my local club, the Paddington Rotary Club. I joined them for their meeting that first week where I and another Peace Fellow briefly introduced ourselves. The club has been incredibly welcoming, hosting us for a few nights in their homes and driving us around to help us set up our cell phones and bank accounts. Hai and I are now moved into our new apartment and getting everything in order at our respective schools.  I promise to send more updates.” 
District Youth Exchange Program Update

Makili Matty (Kittery) in Italy with Dom and family

By:  Kathi Perkins, Chair, District Youth Exchange, RC of Westbrook-Gorham

The District is at the midpoint of our long-term youth exchange program.  Erika from Romania in Kittery and Dasha from Ukraine in Gorham are both settled into their second families.  They have successfully completed their first semester and have begun the second, continuing with some classes and beginning new semester-long ones.  Both are involved with their schools and have visited their host clubs (Kittery and Westbrook-Gorham respectively) several times.

While hosting a long-term student is a major commitment for a club, please consider the Short-Term program as an uncomplicated way to get involved in Youth Exchange.  The Short-Term program is a true exchange!  Our American students are matched with a student of similar age in one of their country choices.  One student travels to the other for 3-4 weeks, then both return to the first country for another 3-4 weeks.  The students get 6-8 weeks together, but each club and each family has only 3-4 weeks to host.  The time and length of travel are totally up to the families involved.

In Memorium: Gary Speers
Gary Speers 7/27/1945 - 2/18/2023

Former (2011-2012) District 7780 District Governor and member of the Rotary Club of Damariscotta-Newcastle, Gary Speers of North Ft. Myers Florida died on February 18, 2023.  His wife Judy (Past President of Damariscotta-Newcastle and District Secretary) was with him.

Gary spent much of his law enforcement career working with youth. He started by working with elementary school students as "Officer Friendly," and then worked with high school students as a Police School Counselor. As a supervisor, he headed up a Community Service Division, started programs for mentoring at-risk youth, and founded the Police Cadet Program.        

March 2023
Club News
Click HERE  for news about projects and fundraisers from around our district.
Bridgton-Lake Region
Brunswick Coastal
Kittery & Kittery Afterhours
Oxford Hills
Saco Bay Sunset
South Portland-Cape Elizabeth
If we missed your club, 
please know that your work is appreciated. Please send your stories next month to:
District 7780 Celebration
June 10, 2023
Click here to check out this year's location:  Bailey Island. 
More information coming in future editions of this newsletter, stay tuned!
Get Your Tickets Now for
Thursday, April 6, 2023
6:30 gathering, 7:30 performance
176 Sawyer St., South Portland ME
“CURTAINS, the Musical Comedy Whodunit!”
By Kander and Ebb (“Chicago”, “Cabaret”)
Tickets: $25, available here 
Invite Friends and Family
ALL are welcome to
an evening of great theater, good Rotary friends,
wine/beer bar and complimentary appetizers and soft drinks!
Net Proceeds go to the

Sponsored by Rotary Club of South Portland - Cape Elizabeth


District Public Image Committee Update
By:  Brenda Pollock,
Chair, Public Image Committee;
President, RC of Biddeford-Saco                    
Let the District Public Image Committee help your club tell Rotary’s story in a compelling way and guide your club in marketing, media outreach, and social media campaigns.
Our recently updated website page gives all Rotarians easy access to logos, social media information and downloads, information on how to write a press release, and easy access links to the Rotary International site, without having to login. 
A positive image will help your club raise awareness of Rotary; attract, and engage members; increase contributions for your club and The Rotary Foundation; and garner partnerships, volunteers, and support for your club’s projects and activities.
The newly updated Public Image webpage features easy to access information on anything Rotary. Whatever you’re looking for regarding advertising, partnerships, licensing, merchandise, logos, using the Rotary name, and so much more, can now be accessed easily from the Public Image home page.
Each month has a separate theme and we suggest that you consider adding the monthly theme to your Club's  website and Facebook page, much like the District Newsletter does each month, see upper left hand corner right above “Club News” information.  This month’s theme is Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.
Questions?  Email us here.  

What You Need to Know About our District Bylaws

By:  Lawrence Furbish,

Bylaws Committee Chair, RC of Sanford-Springvale 

District 7780 is governed by a set of Bylaws that can be found on our District Website under the Committee dropdown menu and the Bylaws Committee. The last time our Bylaws were amended was in May 2022.

Any club can propose amendments to the Bylaws by submitting them to the District Governor no later than 75 days prior to the Annual District Business meeting. This year's deadline is March 27, 2023.

All proposed amendments are reviewed by the District Bylaws Committee to ensure that they are consistent with the Rotary International Governance Documents and are in keeping with the spirit and principles of Rotary.

The District Governor must forward copies of all proposed amendments and any recommendations of the Bylaws Committee to each District club president no later than 30 days prior to the Annual Business Meeting. This meeting is currently scheduled for June 10. To be adopted, proposed amendments must receive a three-fourths majority of the votes cast at the Annual Business Meeting.

The current members of the Bylaws Committee are Lawrence Furbish, chair; PDG John LoBosco, and Bob Stephan of the Damariscotta-Newcastle Rotary Club. In addition, DG Claudia Frost and District Parliamentarian Dan Fitzpatrick are ex-officio members, and our Council on Legislation and Council on Resolutions representative, Ann Lee Hussey, is a non-voting member. Feel free to reach out to any of these Rotarians if you have questions.


District Training Assembly, Saturday, April 15
Don’t Miss This Event!
By:  Marion Cheney,
DGE, RC of Dover
Saturday, APRIL 15, 2023
8:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
District Trainer Michele Bois-Gilbody, Facilities Chair Dick Hall, and I have been working feverishly on program content for this year’s District Training Assembly.
Marty Helman and Mike McGovern will be this year’s keynote speakers.
We will be offering 32 breakout sessions PLUS a continental breakfast and lunch.
Here’s a sampling of the breakouts:
  • Training for Club Secretaries, Treasurers and Club Protection Officers;
  • The future of Youth Exchange;
  • Public Image…Tell your Rotary Story;
  • Opioid Recovery;
  • Navigating the World of Club Runner;
  • Rotary Indigenous People’s Committee;
  • Club Visioning and Vision Workshops;
  • Youth Services RYLA;
  • Youth Services Interact and Rotaract;
  • Membership Engagement;
  • International Committee-travel opportunities and programs;
  • Club Collaboration-hints and tips for success.
Presidents-Elect will be having a separate breakout session at 9:45-10:30 a.m.  to discuss the 2023-2024 district budget.
Thank You to our Host Clubs: Westbrook-Gorham, ME and Dover, NH.
Registration opening soon.
District Calendar
Zambia Trip
Mar 01, 2023
8:00 AM - 8:30 AM
Zambia Trip
Mar 02, 2023
8:00 AM - 8:30 AM
Zambia Trip
Mar 03, 2023
8:00 AM - 8:30 AM
DISC International Cafe
Mar 04, 2023
9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Zambia Trip
Mar 04, 2023
8:00 AM - 8:30 AM
Zambia Trip
Mar 05, 2023
8:00 AM - 8:30 AM
Zambia Trip
Mar 06, 2023
8:00 AM - 8:30 AM
Zambia Trip
Mar 07, 2023
8:00 AM - 8:30 AM
Zambia Trip
Mar 08, 2023
8:00 AM - 8:30 AM
DISC Committee Meeting
Mar 09, 2023
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
NEPETS -North East President Elect Training
Boston Marriott-Newton
Mar 09, 2023
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
NEPETS -North East President Elect Training
Boston Marriott-Newton
Mar 10, 2023
7:00 AM – 9:00 PM
NEPETS -North East President Elect Training
Boston Marriott-Newton
Mar 11, 2023
7:00 AM – 12:00 PM
District Bylaws Committee Meeting
Mar 13, 2023
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Presidents' Monthly Meeting
Mar 13, 2023
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
District Track Meeting
Mar 13, 2023
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Foundation Committee
Mar 14, 2023
5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Mar 16, 2023
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Live! D7780 Grants Training Webinar
Mar 20, 2023
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Finance Committee Meeting
Mar 22, 2023
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Meeting
Mar 27, 2023
4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Presidents' Monthly Meeting
Apr 03, 2023
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
District Track Meeting
Apr 10, 2023
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
District Training Assembly
Apr 15, 2023
8:00 AM – 2:30 PM
DISC International Cafe
Apr 15, 2023
9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
DISC Committee Meeting
Apr 20, 2023
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Apr 20, 2023
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Meeting
Apr 24, 2023
4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
View entire list
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