Club Assembly is combined with literacy spotlight
Head of the Trident Literacy Association shed light on local illiteracy challenges

July 13, 2004 – – Today Mark Smith conducted his first meeting, a Club Assembly, as Club President. As part of the Club Assembly, each of the new Directors made a brief presentation about their goals for the coming year and thanked those Rotarians who have agreed to serve on various committees. Smith also identified a number of club-wide goals for the coming year including: focusing on literacy; holding a fundraiser; showcasing members’ workplaces to fellow members; establishing a sister club relationship with a Rotary club in another country; and substantially increasing the base of the Charleston Rotary Fund by raising $100,000.00.

After the Club Assembly portion of the meeting concluded, Eileen Chepenik, the Executive Director of the Trident Literacy Association (“TLA”), presented Club members with frightening statistics about illiteracy in our own community. For example, Chepenik said that 25% of the people in our community are “functionally illiterate.” These individuals cannot do basic tasks such as reading the labels on medicine bottles, reading the questions on a driver’s license exam, or reading books to their children. Chepenik stressed the close correlation between illiteracy and incarceration and welfare dependence. She said that 7 out of 10 prisoners come from the lowest two literacy levels. She also noted that illiteracy has been described as a “life sentence without parole because it limits one’s options in life and is often perpetuated in the next generation.

The TLA was founded in 1972 by a group of volunteers who simply matched students with tutors. Today, it is a registered non-profit that provides numerous services including: adult basic education; instruction in reading, writing and mathematics; family-oriented literacy programs; life skills training; job readiness training; GED preparation; English as a second language courses; and computer usage courses. Volunteers are always needed and should call 747-2223 to help.

Rotary leadership changes hands

Mark Smith steps in to fill Anita Zucker’s “huge shoes” as President

June 29, 2004 – – Today outgoing Club President Anita Zucker handed over the gavel to incoming Club President, Mark Smith, and paid tribute to those who helped make the past year a big Rotary success. Anita gave a number of examples about how the Club helped “lend a hand” over the past year, including providing over 350 gifts to needy seniors, assisting with numerous projects at Frazier Elementary, the installation of water purification systems in Ecuador, contributions to Alzheimer’s research, and major donations to the Red Cross blood drive. Anita kindly gave gifts to numerous Rotarians for their efforts.

During the past year, our Club received numerous awards including the Presidential Citation, the District Governor Citation, and awards for best Club Secretary and electronic bulletin.

Mark Smith began his presidency by joking that he had “huge shoes” to fill, but that he would not wear high heels. He also stressed that this was not his year, but rather “our year” to succeed through Rotary.

Mark also presented appreciation gifts to Anita, including a Rotary book that had been signed by the outgoing Rotary International President and numerous former Presidents of Rotary International.

Mark said that the Rotary theme for the year is “Celebrate Rotary.” Rotary International has four areas for clubs to focus on in the coming year: (1) the Family of Rotary; (2) health concerns; (3) water resources; and (4) literacy and education, especially for children.