The Rotary Club of Pleasanton has awarded 12 Pleasanton high school students scholarships totaling $31,950, with another $3,000 in scholarship funding given to three students by the Rotary Club of Pleasanton North.
Together, these two clubs, along with a third -- Tri-Valley Evening Rotary -- have provided millions of dollars in funds and services, including nearly $1 million in scholarships to Pleasanton students in recent years. The clubs are also known for the thousands of wheelchairs members have contributed and personally distributed in Mexico and South America to those in need of mobility.
Nancy Harrington, who with her husband Gary is an advocate and contributor for public art in Pleasanton, named this year's scholarship winners at a luncheon of the Rotary Club of Pleasanton, where I am also a member. They are Bryce Taylor, Matthew Reyes, Amrit Singh, Martha Vazquez, Francisco Flores, Jason Roney, Jordan Plumridge, Kimberly Snyder, Mariah Raygoza, Jason Castro, Abigail Richardson and Ivan Ramos. The funds were raised through the club's 2016 annual Father's Day Run.
In addition, the club -- also known as the Downtown Rotary Club -- awarded five Pleasanton college juniors and seniors scholarships totaling $11,000. These students are Angelica Flores, Mahi Nagar, Isabel Ashley, Lauren Liao and Cheyenne Harper. Harrington said these funds came from private donations.
Scholarships given by Pleasanton North Rotary North went to Mikayla Tran, recipient of the club's Chuck Pickens Scholarship; Audrey Goodman, the Stephen Parker Scholarship, and Madison Cring, the Robin Barnett Scholarship.
Mark Linsky, the club's youth services director, said the scholarships were provided in recognition of the students' achievements in volunteering for community work, school involvement and academic achievement.
The Rotary clubs also participate in a wide variety of local and internationally focused projects. Each month, students from Pleasanton high schools are selected for special recognition based on academic and other noteworthy achievements. Winners are invited to attend a Rotary lunch meeting where they are honored for their accomplishment.
The two Pleasanton Interact clubs, with the one at Amador Valley High School sponsored by Downtown Rotary and the other at Foothill High sponsored by Rotary North, are part of Rotary International's service clubs for young people ages 12 to 18. There are 20,372 Interact clubs worldwide with a total of 468,556 members. The clubs meet during the school year and members occasionally join the two sponsoring clubs at their weekly luncheons.
All three Rotary clubs also raise funds for community needs with members joining in local charitable efforts. These range from sponsoring local Scout troops to hosting holiday dinners for seniors. Representatives of the Rotary Club of Pleasanton Foundation recently presented checks totaling $22,200 to 11 different local organizations through its "October Grant" fund, including $2,000 each to Hope Hospice, Tri-Valley Haven, the Pleasanton school district's mariachi program, Sunflower Hill and the Valley Humane Society, along with $3,100 to Open Heart Kitchen.
Over the years, Pleasanton Rotary North has raised and distributed over $2 million to special programs both here, regionally and internationally. Earlier this year, members of Rotary North gathered at Shepherd's Gate in Livermore to present a $7,000 "fund-a-need" check and to offer helping hands with maintenance projects.
Tri-Valley Evening Rotary sponsors and supports local youth through its annual speech contest, clothing and coat drives, and youth education and leadership activities, although it does not offer college scholarships.
The club also runs a yearly coat drive, which provides over 1,200 coats to local children and families in need. Additionally, it partners with the school district to assist in The Hangar, a vocational project that supports community clothing needs. It also sends students to Rotary's Youth Leadership camp, where they are helped to develop leadership skills.
* Editor's note: Jeb Bing is editor emeritus for the Pleasanton Weekly. His "Around Pleasanton" columns run on the second and fourth Fridays of every month.