Category: Inspiring (Page 2 of 3)

Lawrence Central Sister Cities 2016 Scholarship Recipients Update Members On Their Travels

Central Rotarians saw the fruits of their contribution to Lawrence’s Sister Cities organization when Elizabeth Grinage and Chehailis Jones spoke to the club on August 3.  These two young women were the recipients of 2016 travel scholarships provided by the club.

Kelly SchultzKelly Schultz, a nine-year member of the advisory board, explained that the Sister Cities program was devised during the Eisenhower administration in order to promote relationships among people and reduce the likelihood of conflict in the world—values certainly consistent with Rotary’s aims.  Lawrence has three Sister Cities:  Eutin, Germany; Hiratsuka, Japan; and Iniades, Greece.  There is a Friends group in Lawrence for each city.  Friendship gardens here symbolize the effort and care that it takes to generate the beauty of international relationships.  The student travel program is a reciprocal one where Lawrence students spend time in homes in one of the Sister Cities and then host their new friends here in our community.  Porter Arneill, the city staff liaison for Sister Cities, was also in attendance.

Elizabeth GrinageElizabeth, a junior this fall at Free State High School, spent a month visiting Eutin, Germany, along with six other Lawrence students.  Not only did Elizabeth stay in the home of a German family, she attended school, a real challenge since she has only been studying German for two years.  The Eutin parks and gardens and the local castle impressed her in particular.  In visits to other cities, she explored churches, a miniature museum, and an outdoor festival. The group spent five days in Berlin, visited a concentration camp, and mixed with the crowd of soccer enthusiasts during a public viewing of a game.  She visited a seal rescue station on the North Sea and held a jellyfish in her hands at the Baltic Sea.  Favorite new foods:  “spaghetti ice” and “milk rice,” rice cooked in milk with sugar and served with strawberries.  Elizabeth is looking forward to hosting her German friends for a month in Lawrence this fall.Chehailis, an

Chehailis JonesChehailis, an eighth-grader at Southwest Middle School, spent ten “amazing” days in Hiratsuka, Japan.  Her group visited an aquarium, a Shinto temple, and an amusement park situated on the sixtieth floor of a building.  She told about the crowds, music, and festival lanterns.  What was most different?  Well, they walked everywhere!  And ate lots of fish.  And had vegetables for breakfast.  When her Japanese guests came to Lawrence last month, Chehailis took them to Pet World, to meet her friends, to play at Worlds of Fun, and to see the Basketball Hall of Fame at KU.  They also sampled fry bread and saw bison at the Potawatomi Nation.

Record-breaking Bicycle Rider Ashton Lambie Tells His Tale

Ashton LambieThe old record time for the more-than-400-mile trip across Kansas on a bicycle was 29 hours and 52 minutes, set by Tim Parks of McPherson in July 1993.

Ashton Lambie’s wanted to complete the same journey in 24 hours or less.  “Technology has come a long way since the early 90’s and I was confident with newer bikes and aerodynamics I could do it, ” Lambie told Lawrence Central Rotary.

If you’ve attended any of Lawrence Central’s Community Bike Ride’s you’ve probably seen Ashton in the Sunflower bike tent tuning-up or fixing bikes that attendees bring to the event.

Ashton is also an avid distance rider who’s ridden in events all across the area and beyond.

The ride was sanctioned by the Ultra-Marathon Cycling Association after a barrage of paperwork was completed and he was able to coax and get a friend and co-worker approved as a race-officia and Lambie’s crew — made up of his wife and parents — drove behind him for the entire route.

Lambie rolled over the Kansas-Missouri border 23 hours and 53 minutes later, breaking the old record by nearly six hours and beating his personal goal by several minutes.

For more information about Ashton’s ride there’s a great article in the Lawrence Journal World you can read.

Sister Cities Travelers Visit Lawrence Central

Haley Lockwood-Peterson and Nia RutledgeIt was a day to celebrate young people, their families and other guests at Lawrence Central Rotary on August 12 when two Lawrence teen-agers presented a program about their experiences in a sister city exchange this summer and Kevin Munge, an exchange student from Helsinborg, Sweden  was introduced.

Nia Rutledge and Haley Lockwood-Peterson each  spent 10 days in Hiratsuka, Japan, living with local families, soaking up local culture, going on field trips and even taking time to do some shopping. Nia had made a video of the highlights of her trip and  Haley passed around pictures she had taken.  Both had been sponsored by Central Rotary and were at the meeting with parents and grandparents.

Lawrence youth in grades seven to twelve are eligible for a Sister Cities’ Exchange Program that involves 10 days in a Lawrence Sister City. Ken Albrecht of the Sister Cities’ Advisory Board also attended the meeting and thanked Central Rotary for its support of  what he called “a very worthy project.”

Haley said she would like to be bilingual and believed this was a good start.  She is still in contact with the families who were her hosts. Nia said her impressions of Japan included crowded streets, the Tabata Festival (similar to our Fourth of July), learning about Japanese food and a fireworks display on her last night there.

Kevin, who had only been in Lawrence for two days, said he is adjusting quickly and is looking forward to playing soccer at Free State High School where he will be a senior this year.

LCR Big Crowd


Local Agencies Work to Help Local Kids “Back 2 School”

Back 2 School Supply DriveEven though the 2014-2015 school year is just coming to a close, plans are already underway for “Back 2 School” for Fall 2015.  The project will provide school supplies, backpacks, and new shoes to children who cannot afford to purchase those supplies themselves.

Every child needs school supplies to begin the school year with confidence.  With “Back 2 School,” families who live at 185% of poverty level may apply for assistance.  In USD 497, there are 1,648 children, ages 5 to 17, who qualify.  That is 13.8% of the Lawrence school system enrollment.

Rotarian Jim Evers, Director of Development for Douglas County Salvation Army, introduced the join initiative to Lawrence Central Rotary members.  Kyle Roggenkamp, Human Services Director at The Ballard Center and Penn House, and Colleen Gregoire, Vice President and Campaign Manager, United Way of Douglas County, shared stories about the project.  East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corporation (ECKAN) is also part of the alliance.  Other sponsors include First Christian Church, Hallmark, the City of Lawrence, Office Depot, Walmart and Radio 92.9, KLWN AM 1320, and KKSW 105.9.

Local agencies will work with the school district and other groups to develop a list of families who need “Back 2 School” assistance.  In July, volunteers will encourage donations for paper, notebooks, pencils, and other materials listed by the local school district as necessary for a well-prepared student in the fall.  United Way also hopes to include a new book for each child as well.  In August, other volunteers will pack each backpack with the appropriate supplies for each grade level; buy shoes for children; and prepare for distribution day.

It is the second year of collaboration among these agencies.  In 2013, the Penn House alone distributed school supplies to 598 children.  Last year, the first year of collaboration, Penn House, Ballard Center, and the Salvation Army distributed backpacks and pairs of shoes to 833 children K-12.  The goal for this fall is to serve 1120 children in four school districts:  Lawrence, Perry/LeCompton, Baldwin, and Eudora.

USD 497’s Danica Moore Discusses Racial Equity in Lawrence

Danica Moore Danica Moore is a busy lady.  Her title is the Equity TOSA or “Teacher on Special Assignment” but it’s so much more than that.  One of her goals is to be in every classroom in the district at least twice a year to observe and help teachers as she’s the point person for  USD 497’s Beyond Diversity, E-Team, and CARE Team Programs.

A major focus of the Lawrence Public Schools’ work this last year toward its Equity Goal – to raise the achievement of all students, while closing achievement gaps – involves school board members, administrators, teachers, support staff, parents and community partners participating in Beyond Diversity training. This two-day seminar serves as the foundation to the Pacific Educational Group’s (PEG) Courageous Conversations about Race programming, which the Lawrence school district began implementing in 2009. Participants describe Beyond Diversity as a powerful, personally transforming experience. The training is designed to equip participants to understand the impact of race on student achievement and the role that racism plays in institutionalized racial disparities. The goal is to have all the employees of USD 497 to have taken this training.

In the spring of 2011, each high school and a small group of elementary schools initiated E-Teams, school equity leadership teams. These teams consist of 8-10 racial equity leaders who have completed the Beyond Diversity seminar. The E-Teams participate in additional professional development activities designed to prepare staff to develop and guide the implementation of their own school’s Equity Transformation Plan. The remaining schools developed E-Teams in 2012.

During the 2013-14 school year, the district formed its first CARE Teams to begin conducting Collaborative Action Research for Equity. The district also began providing opportunities for staff of color to meet and discuss equity leadership. Teams continued to attend the annual National Summit for Courageous Conversations, including presenting information about the district’s work toward its equity goal. In addition, several members of the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence staff participated in the National Summit. The Club offers before- and after-school programs in the Lawrence Public Schools.

For more information about these programs here is the link to the USD 497 Equity and Excellence page.

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