//The Memory Project – Portraits of Kindness

The Memory Project – Portraits of Kindness

Disneyland castle by RHurley

This Meeting’s Highlights
Program: The Memory Project – Portraits of Kindness
Speaker: Ben Schumaker
Meeting for the week of May 16th to May 22nd, 2016

Is this your first time to visit us? If so, welcome to our meeting!

Each Monday our week’s meeting is posted early in the morning, U.S. Pacific Time. These meetings are designed so that you can read and watch what we post anytime during the week. The entire meeting takes about 45 minutes to complete, with the video conference recording of the program being the bulk of the time.

Note that you can easily read this meeting with your favorite device, so feel free to take our meeting on the go with you; read it while on public transit, waiting in line for coffee, or even at the park! Please also make sure to complete the attendance form at the bottom and leave a comment. Enjoy!

Welcome Members & Guests!

Message from our Club President

Last weekend, my wife and I met family down in Anaheim and spent a Saturday at Disneyland. While I enjoy seeing family, Disneyland is not, shall we say, at the top of my list for what to do with my time.Disneyland castle by RHurley
photo by Rushton Hurley with edits using Instagram

Over the course of the morning, though, I was struck by a number of moments that suggested to me I should get over the mild cynicism battling for my thoughts.

In particular, at one point, I saw a man lift his perhaps three-year-old daughter out of a stroller. What caught my attention initially was the pretty blue princess dress she was wearing. Then I noticed her big grin. And then it hit me that she was practically bald, likely as a result of battling cancer.

Different places and different activities mean different things to different people, and realizing that at that moment reminded me that I rarely know the circumstances that are faced by those I encounter.

May we each find ways this week to encourage those around us – they may need it more than we can tell.

Rotarian guests, we ask that you contribute something – whatever for you is the regular cost of a Rotary meal, perhaps – to the efforts of our club. Please choose one of the options below:

* To pay via Google Wallet, you’ll need to log in to your account to donate.

Those of you who prefer a more traditional approach can mail a check made out to the Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley to our treasurer: ℅ Allen Thompson, 13500 Cascade Ct., Bakersfield CA 93314.

Non-Rotarian guests, there is no need for a donation from you. As we see it, your job is to simply enjoy what you read and watch, though at the end we do ask that you let us know you were here and also leave a comment letting us know what you think. This club is loaded with folks who love sharing ideas, and we look forward to your sharing yours!

Yours in service,

Rushton Hurley, President
Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley


The Power of Images

They say a picture says a thousand words. Every week we try to bring you a picture that we think will inspire you a thousand times.

This week’s photo is from Camera Czar Keith Marsh!

In Keith’s words: “Here is a photo from my recent Rotary trip to Cuba with Jon Kaufman from H2OpenDoors. Our mission is to provide clean water for the small town of Corcovado in southeast Cuba. While the town leaders were treating us to a feast of roasted pig, I noticed several of the town children hanging out nearby on the old tank. I walked over and indicated to them in sign language that I wanted them to raise their hands a yell when I took the picture. All I had to say was, ‘Uno, dos, tres…….click.'”

kids in Cuba by KMarsh


The Power of Ideas

Every week we share a thought that we think will make our members and guests think in new ways.

A powerful thought is one that we think can get us to a better place in how we see the world. This week’s quote is from Samuel Ullman, an American businessman and poet who lived from 1840 to 1924.

Youth is not a time of life—it is a state of mind. It is not a matter of red cheeks, red lips and supple knees. It is a temper of the will; a quality of the imagination; a vigor of the emotions; it is a freshness of the deep springs of life. Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over a life of ease. This often exists in a man of fifty, more than in a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years; people grow old by deserting their ideals.
– Samuel Ullman

You can read the poem Youth that this quote opens at this page on Bartleby.


The Power of Visuals

We believe a great visual prompts creative thinking in the same way a great quote does. In this piece, both the visuals and the “screen” act as an exercise in creativity.

It’s one thing to think of putting a light show on with a building as the backdrop. It’s another to do so with the building being the Sydney Opera House. In “Lighting The Sails,” a 2013 artistic piece by The Spinifex Group, you’ll enjoy a rather different take on visual art.

Sydney Opera House: Lighting the Sails – The Spinifex Group – Vivid LIVE 2013

If that intrigued you, you can learn more about the Sydney Opera House via this teaser for a project done with the Google Cultural Institute.

Sydney Opera House on the Google Cultural Institute

Travel, explore, learn, and celebrate!


Our Events & Projects

We hold our meetings online, but we hold regular service projects and social events in the Silicon Valley every month! This section is updated every week with our upcoming events. We welcome guests to all of our events and service projects listed here. Also be sure to join our Meetup Group!

Recap of Recent Events:

Last Wednesday’s Service Project at Game Theory Academy in Oakland

Last Wednesday, Rushton, Mitty, Andrew, and nonmember but cool guy Troy went to Oakland to help teens preparing to interview for their first job practice by talking with total strangers about their strengths and what they would bring to a job that they hope to get in the near future. Whether acting as movie theater managers, day care operators, or anything else, all reported it was good fun to meet and encourage these great young people.

The fascinating organization that runs the project, Game Theory Academy, teaches students career preparation and personal finance skills (Shags, you’d love these guys!), and we’ll work to get them to talk to us as an upcoming program.

GTA mock interviews (1200p)



Help Meals on Wheels

Join us for a really fun night volunteering for A Taste of France, a gala fundraising for Meals on Wheels! On Sunday, June 5, some of the best chefs in Oakland will be serving their ever fantastic grub. There’s a silent as well as a live auction and it all takes place on the rooftop garden of the Kaiser Center in Oakland! There will be a volunteer training at 3:00 and the event runs from 4:00 – 7:30. Because this is such a big event, you’ll notice that you can pick from a wide range of roles. Click here to sign up! The directions are on the right of the page. Once you’re signed up, feel free to let us know on the Meetup.


For Our Members: Min-e-Grants

Min-e-Grants are service grants of up to $250 that are available for our paid members only. These miniature grants are available for our members to use for local community service projects such as school renovations, community park improvements, and partnership opportunities with other local groups.

If you know an honorable organization making good things happen in the community, and it’s one you try and put time into yourself, and you can find another Rotary club or other organization to match it, you can apply to the club for a grant of up to $250 to help with their work. For the full details and instructions on applying, visit the link below. Please note that this is only open to members of the club.

Rotary eClub of Silicon Vally Min-e-Grants


The World of Rotary

We are part of the Rotary International family, with over 1.2 million members in over 180 countries around the world. Rotary’s reach is global. Here we tell our members and guests about Rotary’s initiatives and events.

Fostering Peace

One focus of Rotary International is promoting peace, and this video telling about the efforts of Rotary the Rotary Peace Symposium will give you a view on how this happens.

Nobel Laureate Óscar Arias Opens Rotary Peace Symposium

Former Costa Rican President Óscar Arias says in that video that those who strive for peace “are not only dreamers, as our opponents often like to say. We are simply pragmatists who have our priorities straight.”

The Four-Way Test

Have you memorized Rotary’s Four-Way Test of all we think, say, and do?

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

When faced with difficult decisions, you may be hard pressed to come up with a better framework for choosing your path.


For Our Members: Service Survey

This section is dedicated for our members to report to us what service projects they have participated in recently. We love giving shoutouts to our members for the good work and the impact they’ve made in their local communities.

We survey our members to learn about the things they are doing to help others. The activities they report may be a little moment when someone needed help, or a large, involved charitable effort designed to make a difference for many thousands.

Whatever the scale, we love that this allows us to get to know each other better, all while inspiring members and guests to see the many opportunities around them to experience the joy and meaning that comes from service to others.

So, members, what have you been up to? Let us know via the link, below!

The Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley Service Survey


Happy Dollars

Happy Dollars is the segment of our meeting where anyone can choose to make a voluntary donation to tell us a short story about something good that has happened to them this past week. Maybe someone paid for your coffee, gave you a ride somewhere, or you got a job promotion.

Why do we have a Happy Dollars section? Many reasons! First, it’s a chance for members (and even guests!) to share a piece of good news with the club. Second, doing so helps us get to know each other better. Third, the dollar or two or more you toss in helps with our service projects. Fourth, it’s good karma, easily obtained.

member Brian Liddicoat ($15)
Feeling inadequate after meeting our newest California Supreme Court justice last night at a lawyer’s dinner: only 39 years old, one of the most experienced Supreme Court litigators, now a justice on our own state’s Supreme Court. Wow!

member Linda Tangren ($20)
Survived the rodeo parade and chili cook off. Passed three crates of oranges to children along the route. Whew!

Fill out my online form.


Would you believe we have a birthday again this week? That marks the fifth week in a row! Clearly, this is our club’s time of the year.

Friday the 20th is the birthday of never-slows-down member Manju Ramachandran. Manju, on your birthday 101 years ago, Albert Einstein published his general theory of relativity, and we have rapidly been reshaping our understanding of the universe ever since.

Albert Einstein by ThomasThomas from Flickr (CC by-nc 2.0)

Albert Einstein by ThomasThomas from Flickr (CC by-nc 2.0)

Great things can happen on any day, and sometimes they happen right in front of us. Try to notice the possibilities before you, and celebrate the possibilities you see.


The Tidbit

For each meeting, we create or find a short video that helps you with some slice of technology or anything else as a way to learn something new. We call this our Tidbit.

Members, if you have a tech tip or life hack to share, let us know – we’re a group that loves to learn, and particularly from each other!

Smart phones are even more common in Silicon Valley than are nerdy engineers (for those visiting from outside Silicon Valley, you should know that the term “nerd” is more positive than negative). In this Tidbit, we share a nice video from Tech Insider showing three funky tricks you can do with an iPhone.

3 hidden iPhone tricks


A Little Humor

We believe laughter is medicine. In that spirit, we share with you a joke every week.

There is little that is better for one’s health than a good laugh. There is little chance, in this section, that you’ll get that, but we’re trying.

This week, a zoological observation.

When a female sheep turns around and goes the other way it makes a ewe turn.
– from Joseph Leff at punoftheday.com.

We hope all our members and guests know where they’re going. We also hope that where you’re going isn’t away from this page, given the quality of that joke.


Selected Comments from Last Week

Part of having digital meetings is hearing from everyone who is attending. We encourage everyone to leave their thoughts in the comments at the bottom of each meeting. We take select comments and feature them in next week’s meeting.

As you can tell from our meetings, we have various tools and activities we use to get to know each other and to help our guests get a good feel for the people who make up this wonderful club. Those include our birthday wishes, happy dollars, service survey, and news of our club’s service and social activities, just to name a few.

Perhaps the most important tool on a week-to-week basis for learning the personalities of our group, though, is the comments section. When finishing the program, all are asked to let us know they attended and to leave comments about the meeting and message from the speaker.

We try to capture a variety of those for the following week’s meeting, and below you’ll find some of the comments from last week’s meeting, which featured a program called “Understanding Your Relationship with Money,” by our own Shags Shagrin.

member Richard Knaggs (Cape Town, South Africa)
Happy Birthday, Nate. I really enjoyed the joke, it actually made me want to continue with the meeting ;-). Thank you for taking the time to share your vast knowledge with us Shags. I will be giving your website details to my Business Economics teacher. I believe it will be really useful to our students. Look out for my money quiz in your mailbox. 🙂

member Ferheen Abbasi (Osaka, Japan)
Shags, thank you SO much for your amazing presentation. That picture of Truffle right in the beginning of the section made my day. Financial planning is such an important part of life – I keep a tight budget and track my finances meticulously through multiple spreadsheets. I attempt to share my “wisdom” with my peers but they refuse to acknowledge how beneficial financial planning is!!! I should make everyone listen to your presentation and I should most definitely take those quizzes. Happy Birthday, Nate!

member Yvonne Kwan (California, USA)
Shags, thank you for an information-packed presentation! Echoing Brian’s comments towards to the end — we are taught the basics of finance, but financial literacy rarely comes attached with it. It’s a wonder that students aren’t taught any of this unless they go seeking the information themselves, yet they are expected to become successful in life. Hopefully we can get more financial literacy openly available, even streamlined into schools as classes. And that photo of Truffle melts my heart!

Happy birthdayversary, Nate!

Shoutout to Keith for winning first place for the category of “Places” in the Rotarian magazine photo contest that’s featured in the June issue! We are in the presence of a photo guru. 8)

member Martin Fox (Utah, USA)
The love letters video spoke to me deeply and loved the “orange you glad” service with 12 tons of oranges processed. Thanks for the insightful program Shags. Really enjoyed taking your assessment a few years ago – powerful stuff. I might just have to take it again now that I’m in a new industry 🙂

member Paul Mosso (California, USA)
Thank you Shags for sharing this week. I was educated in the field of Finance and worked in a bank for a number of years and the aspect of the emotion behind money I have never heard any one speak professionally about. This is a really important aspect and it has always seemed to me that either people have an ability to handle money or not. It makes sense that children learn this from their parents, and the birth order plays a role in their ability since they mirror their parent’s ability at the time they were being raised. This education should be brought in to the educations system to further help children in their formative years get the skills they need. It seems as basic as reading, writing, and arithmetic. Great Meeting!!!!

Nate, I hope you have a great birthday!!!

member Chris Cochrane (Ontario, Canada)
Great tidbit finale. Using it now! Shags, thanks for the program. Personally you’ve reminded me of many principles. You rock!

member Nate Gildart (Tokyo, Japan)
Shags, that was great! A lot of food for thought so thanks for the presentation, links, and PDF. I really like the concept of ‘Habitudes” – I’m going to steal that one and put it into a teaching context. 😉 Cheers Rushton for the birthday and anniversary karma. Nice job with Second Harvest folks!

member Shags Shagrin (California, USA)
For those interested, I’ve been given some free codes by Syble Solomon for the online Money Habitudes assessment. Write to me privately at Shags@PlanningForLife.info for the code should you wish to experience that exercise online.


The Program

Every week we work to bring you the stories of those making a difference for others, wherever they are, in order to inspire everyone who connects with us.

This week, we’ll start with a short video that introduces you to the Memory Project, the topic of our program. Click here to see this wonderful two-and-a-half-minute video on Vimeo

The Memory Project is a nonprofit organization that invites art teachers and their students to create portraits for youth around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as neglect, abuse, loss of parents, and extreme poverty. The portraits are intended to help the children feel valued and important, to know that many people care about their well being, and to serve as meaningful pieces of personal history in the future. For the participating art students, creating the portraits is an opportunity to creatively practice kindness and global awareness. Since 2004 the project has created more than 80,000 portraits for children in 35 countries.

The founder, Ben Schumaker, started the Memory Project in 2004 after an experience volunteering at an orphanage in Guatemala. While there, he learned that the children had very few personal keepsakes to take with them after leaving the orphanage. For example, they had few photos or other items that could represent a piece of their own life story. As Ben had always enjoyed creating painted portraits for others, he had the idea to organize art teachers and art students to create portraits as positive and tangible “memories” for the children to carry into their future.

Members and guests, welcome Ben Schumaker!

Ben Schumaker – The Memory Project: Portraits of Kindness


Learn more about the Memory Project at their site, and watch this 7-minute video about a recent delivery of portraits to Madagascar.


Upcoming Programs

Week of May 23rd: Chase Adam – Watsi.org, Y Combinator’s First Nonprofit
Week of May 30th: Jan Eric Nordmo – The State of the Union on Sports


You’re Almost Done! One last thing: The Attendance Survey..

Thanks for reading and watching this week’s meeting. You have two last things to do before you’re done. First, we have a very short attendance survey below for you to fill out to record your attendance.

Visiting Rotarians, this is how you can get an email receipt to pass along to your club’s secretary as proof that you’ve attended our meeting if you need it for makeups.

Non-Rotarian Guests, we would love to see who is dropping by our meetings! This part is optional for you though.

More importantly, for all members and guests — we strongly recommend and ask that you leave a comment below in our comments area below. Tell us how you enjoyed the program. Ask this week’s speaker any questions you might have. Or just stop by and say hello and tell us where you’re from!


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2016-05-27T15:36:11+00:00May 16th, 2016|20 Comments