June 2021 Rotarian of the Month: Howard Rudge
Dr. Honora Norton, RCSL Public Image Chair
The Rotary Club of Sun Lakes (RCSL) is proud to name Howard Rudge as its June 2021 Rotarian of the Month. Howard, who joined RCSL in November 2016, is an ardent contributor and noteworthy supporter of many of the club’s service efforts. When awarding this honor, Club President Jon Lyons stated, “Howard directly supports the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Neighbors Who Care, and many of the club’s education endeavors, such as the Four-Way Test Speech Contest, Rotary Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA), and scholarships. Howard is an active participant of the club’s Foundation 2000.”
Howard and spouse Loie moved to Sun Lakes in 2002 after he retired as General Counsel and Senior Vice President of the Dupont Corporation. An original native of Scranton, Pa., Howard earned both B.S. and B.A. degrees from Bucknell University, and received his J.D. degree in 1964 from George Washington University Law School. Besides Rotary, Howard leads the Rudge Foundation and is an active supporter of women’s causes, Neighbors Who Care, and education in the east valley. Howard is also a strong advocate for women’s health and has made substantial and significant contributions to Rotary Club of Sun Lakes, the local school system, community, and the Greater East Valley.
For more information about Rotary Club of Sun Lakes’ programs, events, and membership, visit www.sunlakesrotaryclub.com.
2020-21 Award Winners Announced
Dr. Honora Norton, RCSL Public Image Chair
The Rotary Club of Sun Lakes (RCSL), founded in 1986, supports Rotary International’s (RI) PolioPlus Fund and supports projects that provide clean water, promote world peace, fight disease around the world, save mothers and children, support education, and grow local economies. Each year, the club honors various members for their distinguished commitment to “Service Above Self,” for sharing their gifts of time, talent, and resources, and getting things done.
The club’s 2020-21 president Jon Lyons believes that acts of service, big and small, create opportunities for people who need our help. When presenting the 2020-21 RCSL Awards, he emphasized that through Rotary, the following honorees have improved their lives and the lives of those they helped through service. Congratulations to:
Don Robins, 2020-21 SLRC Service Above Self Award: Don Robins, an RCSL member since 2005, serves as the club’s education chair; supports numerous service projects that support education; serves as liaison with the Chandler Unified School District; leads many science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM-related) projects; is an active member of the RCSL Board; supports CO2 Dragster and Splash Route Club projects; and is active in the recruitment of new club members, both as a sponsor and a mentor.
Judi Edmonds, 2020-21 SLRC Service Above Self Award: Judi Edmonds, an RCSL member since 2018, has represented the club and district on a Polio Immunization trip to Caborca, Mexico; served as the club’s representative at RI’s Mexico/USA Friendship Exchange Conference and recommended support of three international club projects discussed at this conference; completed training and leads the “Peace Building” requirements for RCSL to qualify as an RI District Peace Builder Club; supported the Rotary Week of Service planting of a tree in Snedigar Park; and plans to join the club’s Local Charity/Giving Committee.
Terrie Sanders, 2020-21 SLRC Service Above Self Award: Terrie Sanders, an RCSL member since 2015, has led the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Committee and its successful pilot project in Guadalupe, Ariz., and setting the stage to expand the project into Chandler zip codes; led School Closet projects, partnering with Classy Closets to provide critically-needed organized space in schools in CUSD; helped with the club’s Bingo project; served as a member of the Local Charity and Giving Committee, served on the RCSL Board and the club’s Foundation Board; and is always willing to support club committees and service projects.
Maureen Alger, John K. McCain, 2020-21 “Good Guy (Gal)” Annual Award (trophy provided by Coulter Cadillac in memory of former club member and WWII Veteran John K. McCain): Maureen Alger, a second generation Rotarian/member since 2018, has been a key liaison on numerous projects within the Chandler Unified School District; serves as an RCSL Board member; led various club projects; led the committee that evaluated and selected each Teacher of the Month winner this past year; participated in A World in Motion projects virtually and in person at Strong Foundations Academy; served as key champion of the Leader of the Me Program at Auxier Elementary School; developed the club’s Veterans Day Program, which included a parade drive-by at Auxier Elementary School and a video tribute to all Veterans Club members; supported the veterans’ Help on the Home Front drive by collecting an SUV full of supplies and gifts; has been elected club vice president; and attended many RI district training events as she begins her journey as 2023-24 RCSL club president.
Val Crump, 2020-21 SLRC Rotarian of the Year, and Bill Crump, 2021-2021 SLRC Rotarian of the Year: Both Val and Bill Crump have been key leaders, club members, and meeting attendees—no matter whether they are in town or on the road; led the monthly Splash/annual Source Book Delivery Project, which ultimately earns significant money to fund club projects—from generating and maintaining excellent documentation and maps, to being there each month at the storage sheds as 23 delivery teams collect and deliver the Splash/Source Books; led and managed the storage, packaging, and delivery of the San Marcos Elementary School Christmas Program, which brings a sweatshirt and socks to every student for Christmas; support the club’s annual golf tournament in numerous ways to ensure a successful tournament and fundraiser.
The Rotary Club of Sun Lakes meets regularly and gets things done in our greater Sun Lakes community and beyond. Join in and share the club’s passion for community service and friendship. See www.sunlakesrotary.com to contact us, and for more information about meetings and projects.
Rotary Club Members Volunteer at Schools
Dr. Honora Norton, Rotary Club of Sun Lakes Public Image Chair
When in-person volunteering was eliminated at Auxier, Rotary Club of Sun Lakes member Maureen Alger found a way to quickly adapt the SAE A World In Motion® (AWIM®) Rolling Things STEM challenge to incorporate outside perspectives. Industry volunteers are crucial for young learners participating in AWIM’s PreK-8 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) experiences. They provide mentorship, real-world insights, and expose students to different STEM career paths. During the pandemic, they also provided something else—social interaction with someone other than a teacher.
SAE International, previously known as the Society of Automotive Engineers, is a U.S.-based, globally-active, professional association and standards developing organization for engineering professionals in various industries. The moment the virtual volunteers, which included Rotary Club of Sun Lakes Rotarian/SAE Member Don Robins and Rotarians Val Crump and Bill Crump, joined a class of first graders at Auxier Elementary School in Queen Creek, Ariz., students immediately lit up. After being isolated from other classmates and outside contact because of COVID-19, the students were so happy to have an outside connection, that they hung on their every word. It also didn’t hurt that the volunteers previously worked in the automotive industry which made STEM immediately relatable.
Per a press release statement from Maureen Alger, she stated, “When they shared what they did, it was magical. All kids know cars, even if they don’t know engineering. They can envision one of the volunteers building a car and understand it in a much more tangible way than someone working as an accountant, for example.” She further added, “Because volunteers weren’t able to be there in person, they weren’t able to participate in many of the hands-on components that make the AWIM program unique. However, they were still able to find a way to immediately add value by asking leading questions: What do you think is going to happen when we add more weight to the car? What can we do to make sure the car doesn’t tip over? Why do we need three trials instead of just one?”
Beyond the instructional component, the virtual volunteers also helped with social and emotional learning. The first graders had to think about how to interact with adults and also with someone they don’t know—vital skills both in and out of the classroom.
COVID-19 interrupted classroom learning for millions of students. Thanks to teachers like Maureen and volunteers like those from Rotary Club of Sun Lakes, 16 first graders had a chance to experience a little bit of normalcy while learning about STEM and cars in a fun, hands-on way. An additional on-site AWIM program with Rotarian volunteers was held with Chandler’s Strong Foundation Academy teacher Angie Neal’s kindergarten class.
For more information about Rotary Club of Sun Lakes’ education projects and programs and membership, see www.sunlakesrotary.com.
Rajani Rastogi, LMSW, 2021 Sandy Lundberg Educator of the Year Award Winner
Dr. Honora Norton, Rotary Club of Sun Lakes Public Image Chair
The Rotary Club of Sun Lakes recently announced that Rajani Rastogi, LMSW, received the club’s 2021 Sandy Lundberg Educator of the Year Award. The club award was established in 2017 as a prestigious annual award. Its purpose is to demonstrate the club’s continuing commitment to the Chandler Unified School District—its educational objectives, and the educators who work so diligently and professionally to achieve those objectives.
In May 2018, the first award was proudly presented to Sandy Lundberg, the principal of the newly-opened Casteel High School. Sandy was an active member of the Rotary Club of Sun Lakes, in which she provided the same energy to the club endeavors as she did to her profession. Her passion for children and community shone through whatever she did. Due to Sandy’s untimely passing, the Rotary Club of Sun Lakes proudly named the award the Sandy Lundberg Educator of the Year Award.
One of the components of the award’s application process is for the educators to provide a presentation to the Rotary Club. During Rajani’s presentation, she provided an overview of how, as a social worker, she integrates Rotary values when assisting students achieve holistic success in school and beyond academics. These values are:
* Commitment—for Hamilton High School to be committed, be supportive, deliver value, and be engaged with each student’s well-being
* Excellence—for Hamilton High School to build trust, provide quality programs, and provide sustainable capacity
* Integrity—for Hamilton High School to provide student tracking, transparency, and accountability
* Collaboration—for Hamilton High School to work jointly with Chandler School District, students, families, and community partners
Rajani, a social worker at Chandler’s Hamilton High School, is a licensed social worker (LMSW) with over 20 years of experience in client support services in health care, education, and human resources settings. Rajani works with families, children, teenagers, and the elderly to provide education, counseling, resources, and support.
Rajani, in her role as one of the social workers at Hamilton High School’s 4200 student population, assists students experiencing emotional and/or social difficulties that may interfere with their academic success. As applicable, the social workers provide students and families with counseling, resources, and referrals to community agencies. Additionally, they conduct mental health screening assessments and, as needed, address substance abuse, anger, suicide/homicide ideation, self-image, abuse or neglect, teen pregnancy, anxiety, depression, homelessness, financial, and any other issues.
Rajani collaborates with the school interdisciplinary team to provide crisis management services and advocate on behalf of the student. In addition to ongoing services, she conducts support groups for students and families. Rajani has developed programs that have addressed parent and student educational presentations, food assistance, student support groups, the laptop giving program, mindfulness program, ISS student support, fundraisers, and mentorship.
Rajani’s education includes a Masters of Social Work (M.S.W.) Medical Social Work/Gerontology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey – New Brunswick; and Bachelors of Social Work (B.S.W.) from Kean University – Union, New Jersey. Over the years, Rajani has earned various certifications and other honors/awards.
To learn more about the Rotary Club of Sun Lakes’ education-related programs and projects, as well as membership, see www.sunlakesrotary.com.