Elimu Project: An Educational Journey

Aspen Abajo by KMarsh

This Meeting’s Highlights

Program: “Elimu Project: An Educational Journey”
Speaker: Kerry Mattimore, Kelly Hilton, Sarah Landis, Jen Perazzo-Maina, Charles Maina
Meeting for the week of September 21st to 28th, 2015

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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!

rushton1Message from the President

Welcome, everyone! We have all sorts of service goodness for you to see, watch, and read, which is our goal every week – to inspire you to see new possibilities for improving the world around you.

This month we’re celebrating school kicking back into gear. That’s good news for students who are ready to be inspired, for teachers who are ready to try new tools and techniques, and for parents who were wondering if summer would ever end.

We encourage you to use the month to learn something new, too. That may be figuring out a new techno-thingy-app or finding a new effort in your community to which you can add your time, talent, and resources. Better yet, it could be a combination of the two.

As someone probably says, “The only good days to learn something new are those that end in the letter ‘Y’.” Fairly English-centric thought, that.

Rotarian guests, we ask that you consider contributing whatever you like (perhaps the regular cost of a Rotary meal) to the efforts of our club. We have a variety of options below, should you decide by the end of the meeting that you want to make a donation.

To pay via Google Wallet or PayPal, you’ll need to log in to your account with those companies.

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, you are certainly welcome to help us out, too! Even a small amount can help us make something good happen for someone in need.

Yours in service,

Rushton Hurley, President
Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley


The Power of Images

We believe that there is power in imagery, and that great photos can inspire in its own unique way. Every week we feature a powerful photo to inspire you.

This week’s image is from our own Camera Czar Keith Marsh! 
“Now that Labor Day is behind us, we can start to look forward to the changing colors of the fall. Here is a photo I took in the aspens in the Abajo Mountains in southern Utah in 2011. Once again, HDR helped to bring out the vivid colors of the scene.”

Aspen Abajo by KMarsh


The Power of Ideas

Sometimes one good idea is all the power you need to get the engine of creativity moving. We would like to share with you one good idea to help you power your week.

This good thought fits our back-to-school month theme perfectly:

“The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.”
– Alexandra K. Trenfor


The Power of Action

Every week we share an inspiring video because we believe everyone needs a juice box full of inspiration at least once a week. This week is about the power of action.

Rotary has six identified focuses, and while we agree with them all, we identify the character of our club via three of our own focuses: innovation, entrepreneurship, and education.

Some stories we share cover one of these, others cover two or all three. In every case, the goal is to inspire our members and guests to take their thinking to another level about what’s possible.

“See” if you agree that this short talk does exactly that.

Thanks, Martin Fox, for sharing this one!

Events & Projects

This section of our meeting is where you learn about both recent and upcoming events and projects our club has going on. We welcome guests to all of our events and service projects listed here.

What We Do: Recent Event Recaps

Coastal Cleanup Service this past September 19:
Four members of our club (Art Taylor, Mahmood Khan, and Rushton Hurley along Guadalupe Creek in San Jose; and Allen Thompson on the central coast) participated in the annual Coastal Cleanup Day put on by the California Coastal Commission. Preliminary results are that over three hundred tons of trash and recyclables were gathered throughout California. Proper disposal of all that brings California’s Beatifulness Quotient (very important measure, that) up several notches. Our four were part of the 53,000+ volunteers who helped out across the state.

Here is a picture of the pile gathered by the small group of three dozen or so organized by Art two-thirds of the way into the effort. Plenty more came in over the final hour.

bags and carts 1000p

Two of the three carts were hauled from challenging positions by Rushton and Lou Bash, CDFARC (Cool Dude From Another Rotary Club).

Lou and I and the carts1 1000p

One sobering element of the experience is that some of the places we cleaned were clearly places where homeless people live. Here’s a place where I left several items (edible food, intact clothing, and – found under some leaves – a homeless services info booklet).

services booklet 1000p

Kudos again to Art Taylor (middle) for all his work to organize our group and to Mahmood Khan (left) for bringing the needed table.

eclub three 1000p

What We Do: Upcoming Events

School Supplies Drive for Buchser Middle School in Santa Clara – Last Two Weeks!
We are helping member Heather Shaw and her team gather school supplies for teachers and needy students at Buchser Middle School in Santa Clara. There are several ways you can help, and we’ll be passing out plenty of kudos to those who do two or all three!

1) Drop by Nova Chiropractic on Saturday, October 3rd, and drop off a ream of paper, or a set of white board markers, or something similar (see below). There will be plenty of fun for all (with extras for those who bring a donation) – ice cream, chair massages, backpack safety demos, prize wheels, nutritional testing, blood sugar screenings (before the ice cream, of course) and raffle drawings with prizes donated by local businesses (thanks to ideas from our members and guests from the program Heather did!).

2) Donate to the cause. The money raised will allow the school to purchase needed materials not gathered through physical donations. Use the secure Happy Dollars form below, or send a check to Treasurer Allen using the info above – either way, let us know in the comments what the donation is for.

3) Reach out to your contacts via email, social media, and phone to get them to do one or both of the two items above.

Here’s the list of items the school is hoping for: white copy paper, glue sticks, dry erase markers, pens/pencils, binder paper, dry erase boards, calculators, colored pencils, construction paper, small scissors, Kleenex, composition notebooks, index cards, highlighters, electric pencil sharpener, sharpies, paper towels, disinfectant cleaning wipes, graph paper, art supplies, 5-subject notebooks

This is our major local fall local service activity, so let’s make a major statement!

Beers 'n Buddies will be at Das Brew in Fremont on Sunday, September 27 at 2 PM! Come hang out with us!

Beers ‘n Buddies will be at Das Brew in Fremont on Sunday, September 27 at 2 PM! Come hang out with us!

Beers ‘n Buddies Social on Sunday, September 27 at Das Brew in Fremont

Our Rotary eClub is hosting its September in-person social at JP Das Brew Beer Tasting Room in Fremont on Sunday, September 27 from 2 PM to 6 PM. Come join us for live acoustic music, great beer brewed on-site, and some small bites! Guests are welcome! You are also welcome to bring +1s, +2s, + however many! Just leave us a comment in Disqus at the bottom of this page to let us know if you’re interested so we can get a headcount.

JP Das Brew is located at 44356 S Grimmer Blvd Fremont, CA 94538, right off the Automall Parkway exit for I-880. You can find out more about them through their Yelp page and their website. See you there on the 27th!

Rocktoberfest Service on October 17

While this isn’t a club-wide thing, we think it’s an important one for you to know about and join in if time allows!

Support the Children’s Health Council via their Saturday, October 17th, program called Rocktoberfest. You and your close buddies can go to Woodside for the annual shindig, which includes, as they put it, “great beer, wine, food and dancing to the amazing sounds of PopRocks.”

They’ll need a number of volunteers, so if you want to help make it happen, here are the needs:

EVENT SET-UP: Saturday, October 17th from 10:00am-2:00pm

Set-up volunteers will assist with preparing for the event, including: decorating, hanging signage, setting up party rentals, marking parking areas and doing whatever it takes to get the arena ready for the evening.

EVENT: Saturday, October 17th from 5:00-10:30pm

General volunteers will be assigned to any of the following areas: registration/check-in, food or beverage service, VIP lounge area, raffle ticket sales, silent auction, fund-a-need or wherever there is need.

EVENT CLEAN-UP: Sunday, October 18th from 9:00-11:00am

Clean-up volunteers will assist with cleaning up the outdoor covered arena after the event, including: taking down decorations/signage, breaking down party rentals, trash disposal/recycling, and doing whatever it takes to get the area cleaned up.

Things to know about volunteering:

* Must be 21 years or older
* Need to be able to stay for the entire duration of shift
* Volunteers assignments may require standing or walking/moving around
* Venue is outdoors at an equine facilitated therapy center
* Breakfast, lunch or dinner (depending on shift) will be served to volunteers prior to shift

For all questions, more information or to sign up to volunteer contact Sydnee Brooks at [email protected] or 650.617.3818.

Find out more at the Children’s Health Council and this cool gig at their website.

Thanks to member Art Taylor for this service suggestion!

San Mateo Rotary’s Annual 5K Fun Run on October 25

The Rotary Club of San Mateo is hosting its annual 5K/10k Fun Run on Sunday, October 25, 2015 at Seal Point Park (1901 J Hart Clinton Dr, San Mateo, CA 94401). A few of our club members are planning on participating. Anyone else interested in participating, please comment in the Disqus section, and we can plan on meeting up at the Fun Run, and afterwards for lunch. All proceeds benefit a local scholarship for at-risk kids. Registration includes a T-shirt.

You can register for the 5k/10k Fun Run via their Active.com page here. If you plan on going and have not yet left a comment in a previous meeting, please leave a DISQUS comment at the bottom of this meeting, so we can keep an eye out for you!

More Socials Soon!

Look forward to more socials coming up for October and November dates! If you have any suggestions for socials in the Silicon Valley / Bay Area, please leave us a comment in the Disqus section at the end of this meeting.


The World of Rotary

We are part of the Rotary International family with over 1.2 million members in over 180 countries in the world. Rotary’s reach is global. Here are some Rotary initiatives and events we think we should know about.

District Happenings

Our Rotary District Governor Susan put out the district newsletter for September last week, and it’s filled with all sorts of good info, particularly about Interact and Rotaract. I also notice that Milpitas Rotary honored Austa Falconer, a 1st grade teacher at Marshall Pomeroy Elementary School, with their annual teacher of the year award. Congratulations, Austa!

Perhaps we should plan to start an award for Innovative Teacher of the Year. If you like that idea, say so in the comments at the end.

Polio Immunization and West Africa Project Fair

It appears a group of Rotarians will be going to West Africa in November both to participate in an immunization effort and to attend a project fair put together by Rotarians from fifteen countries in that region. Click here for the full tour info shared by the company organizing this excursion.

Immunization Efforts in Nepal

Sujan Pradhan of the Rotary Club of Kakarvitta, Jhapa, Nepal, tells about members of his club hitting the road in June to inspect immunization booths on the border of Nepal and India. Read about it in the Rotary Blog, which has this and many more stories of Rotarians doing good in the world.

Rotary Peace Conference in January 15-16, 2016 in Ontario, California

The Rotary World Peace Conference 2016 will be a chance to learn from expert leaders in conflict prevention and resolution, become inspired and leave with immediate action plans to implement in your communities. This event is open to all members of the public to attend, and is organized by Rotary. For list of speakers, topics, and pricing, please visit www.peaceconference2016.org. We strongly encourage members who are available to attend this conference! If you are interested in going, leave a comment in the Disqus section.

Seoul Rotary International Convention

It isn’t too early to begin thinking about next summer’s Rotary International Convention in Seoul, South Korea. The Rotary International Convention is an amazing opportunity to experience how amazingly international our organization is, and to be inspired by the good being done around the world. Next year’s gathering will be May 28th-June 1st, and you can learn more at the convention website.


Service Survey

It’s that time when we celebrate what our members have been up to on the service front! If you’re one of the several folks in our club who has yet to report something in the survey, let this be the encouragement to make it happen!

Four of us picked up trash and recyclables as part of Coastal Clearnup last Saturday, but I’m guessing many of the rest of you also did some good where you were! Please take thirty seconds and let us know via the service survey.


Happy Dollars

Every week we offer the opportunity for guests and members to express their gratitude for something good that has happened to them this past week. Think of this like a digital karma jar.

You can donate any amount of your choice, and all proceeds go towards future projects that help better our local and our international communities. In exchange, your comment will be posted at next week’s meeting for everyone to see.

We’ve also been getting some good love in for the school supplies drive! If you haven’t added your happiness on this yet, feel free to do so.

But first, here are the messages from the Happy Dollars contributors from last week:

member Martin Fox ($30):
For Heather Shaw and the school supplies drive. Booyah!!!

member Richard Knaags ($15):
Please allocate $15.00 to the school supply drive.

member Heather Shaw ($20):
I really appreciate all the support the Rotary club and the community is putting towards the school supply event. You guys are the best! This is for the Buchser donation, of course!

member Allen Thompson ($15):
For the Buscher Project!


Here’s a quick shot Rushton got while visiting Heather’s office last week. Serious style points to Heather’s team for putting the initial gifts in a Radio Flyer!

supplies 1000p


Fill out my online form.


The Tidbit

Every week, we feature a new tech tid bit or life hack to make your life more convenient.

There are so many cool ideas and stories out there, and if you’re not finding a way to get to them, you’re missing out on one of the magical pieces of the internet. In this week’s Tidbit, Lisa Highfill gives us some recommendations for great podcasts, as well as how to download them to your mobile device. Great stuff, Lisa!


A Little Humor

We feature a little bit of humor every week because we believe laughter is sometimes the best medicine, and we just want to brighten your day!

Typically, this section of our meeting is given over to some joke which often makes obvious why the word “little” is used in “A Little Humor.”

This week, it strikes me as funny that a 20-second clip from a weather report in Britain would receive over eleven million views within a week of its being posted. The answer why has to do with the reporter apparently having nailed the pronunciation of a town in Wales.

The town?


The clip with the epic (because it is correct) pronunciation of the above:


Selected Comments from Last Week

Every week our members and guests are introduced to some fascinating person helping make something cool happen in his or her community. We take plenty of pride in providing programs that touch on our focuses of innovation, entrepreneurship, and education, and hope that you’ll share your impressions of the program and the meeting at the bottom of the page before leaving.

For Mark Dohn’s program last week on The 21st Century Classroom, we had plenty of kudos and thoughts in the comments.

Here are 5 selected comments from last week:

“Great job Mark. With multiple research studies documenting that children lose 95% of their creativity by ages 10-12, it is so refreshing to see your approach. Creativity is key in life and the new economy. Thanks for leading the charge :-)” -Martin Fox, Club Member from Utah, USA

“This is so very true, Mark, and this is why we are so actively trying to change the structure of our learning spaces. I have also seen after some research that it is so critical that teachers know how to manage these spaces and your point on how we deliver PD hits home with me. Well done on your fantastic work. I will be sending all my teachers to see your site. Thanks Mitty, great job.” -Club Member Richard Knaags from Western Cape, South Africa

“Cheers Mark! As a teacher I certainly agree that education is in many ways still ‘old school’. Technology is often tacked on. We can still have the technology, interaction and collaboration if we are careful about things like the setup of our rooms and the kind of activities we prepare for lessons. I’m a history teacher and technology coach, so your presentation resonates a great deal. Your focus on equity is a key challenge for governments. Enabling young people to succeed and learn with tools and/or through ‘field trip’ opportunities is crucial. I teach at a private international school, which is probably the “easiest” teaching environment someone could have, so I admire the work you’re doing for kids in less fortunate schools or communities. Best of luck with TiltShiftEd. I’ll be passing this on to a couple of professional development organizations here in East Asia.” -Nate Gildart, guest from Tokyo, Japan

“Bravo, Mark. The approach of education and technology that you promote is THE ONE that should be in schools!!! Great discussion of the members about what’s normal and what’s not… Thank you for your presentation.” -member François Tessier (Quebec, Canada)

“I think the point Mark makes about tech being layered on 1800’s teaching techniques hits the nail right on the head – a very important point that we (the education community) need to get our heads around, and do something about… I’m looking forward to the day when the majority of classrooms are not teacher-centric. That image of the student holding a phone with a bunch of other kids around him said it all. Nice talk, Mark – thanks!” -Gene Tognetti, Club Member from California, USA

Please make sure to leave a comment about this week’s program and meeting before you finish today!


The Program

This week’s program is presented by speakers Jen Perazzo and Charles Maina of Overlander Safari Company, which provides Elimu Safari experiences to see Africa.

In Swahili, “Elimu” means educational and “Safari” means journey. The Elimu Safari experience connected four teachers from Pleasanton, California, with a classroom in Kenya, and this week, these teachers will share stories of this educational exchange, which helped them see beauty in Africa far beyond the disease, famine, and corruption that the media usually highlights.

Central to this effort is the Overlander Safari Company, owned and operated by teacher Jen Perazzo and her husband Charles Maina. In addition to guiding family safaris, they host an Elimu Safari for educators to connect with classrooms in rural Kenya through an educational exchange program.

When Jen is not leading safaris in the summer, she is teaching elementary school science in Pleasanton, California. Joining the Elimu Safari this summer were three more teachers from Pleasanton, Kerry Mattimore, a 5th grade teacher, Sarah Landis, a literacy coach, and Kelly Hilton, a new teacher coach. The group will share their story of Elimu Safari.

Ladies and gentleman, the podium is yours!

Jen and Charles put together a series of links to their work that may be of interest to you, and you can find them collected here.


You’re Almost Done! The Attendance Survey..

Thanks for reading and watching this week’s meeting! You just have two last things to do before you’re done with this meeting. 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 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 DISQUS comments area. 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!

Fill out my online form.


  • It’s great to see inspiration become action which becomes opportunity for kids – well done, Sarah, Kelly, Kerry, Jen, and Charles! Lisa, your podcast recommendations are great – we’ll have several new enthusiasts as a result of your tidbit. As for Welsh town names, I’m guessing there should be a contest each year to see who can pronounce that one!

  • Great great program! Thank’s for sharing!!!

  • I cannot think of a more important goal than to connect students and teachers from different parts of the globe – thank you all for making this wonderful concept come to life!. I also can’t help but give a big shoutout for the MERIT program. I believe this is exactly the kind of result that MERIT hopes will happen with all of its participants.

  • Melissa DiMatteo

    Very enlightening and informative

  • Andrew Taw

    Team Elimu, great work on making the big world a little smaller and people a little closer!

    To add onto Lisa’s prestigious list, I’d like to toss in Radiolab: stories at the intersection between science, philosophy, history, and culture.

    I will join Stephen in walking the 5k! Who’s with us?!

    • Yvonne Kwan

      Already registered for the 5k! I’ll see you there! 😀

    • I’m registered too!! See ya there 😀

  • Keith Marsh

    Another great program. Thanks to Jen, Charles and associates. Loved the TED video–the technology is amazing.

  • Rory Olsen

    Thank you for another interesting program.

  • Yvonne Kwan

    Thank you all for sharing your stories of Elimu Safari! Sometimes the world can seem so big, but programs like Elimu Safari (and Rotary!) make that world a little closer. Kerry, I especially love your idea of connecting kids with other kids and having them teach each other. Teaching is one of the best ways to learn, and adding a global aspect to this makes it that much more impactful. Lisa, thanks for those podcast recommendations! This American Life is one of my favorites. And I’ll see some of you buddies at Das Brew this Sunday!

  • Nathan Gildart

    This was very engaging to listen to and I admire the effort to change perceptions people around the world have of places. (in this case, Kenya) I’m going to pass on Global Read Aloud to our school. I’m an international school teacher based in Tokyo, with children from over 50 countries. I would love to have some kind of exchange happen between my school and Elimu Project and partners!

  • ShagsCA

    Fascinating program, and a very informative & entertaining meeting overall. Looking forward to face time at DasBrew later today (possibly bringing a friend or two, plus Truffle).

    • Great seeing you at Das Brew earlier today, Shags!

  • Richard Knaggs

    Beautiful picture Keith and great clean up everyone. What a fantastic Safari Jen and Charles.

  • Kelly Amick Hilton

    Thank you Rushton for giving us a platform to share the stories of our “Elimu Safari!” Your program is packed with so many great resources!

  • Lisa Highfill

    It is great to see my world’s colide for this week’s program. From the Merit program, to my colleagues in Pleasanton to the work this club is sharing and doing- I love the connections and power we have when we act on our inspirations.

  • Another educational and inspiring meeting. Technology is surely changing lives.
    From my low tech place in Santa Clara, I wish to thank everyone for their generosity for the upcoming school supply drive. Come join in on the festivities if you are in the area. Rotarians rule!

  • john lozano

    Another great meeting! I found the presentation of Elimu Safari so interesting and informative. Thanks Lisa for bringing this group Rotary. I am reminded of the possibilities of connecting different regions of the world through education. Keep up the great work!

    Also, thanks for the TED video. Amazing!

  • Paul Mosso

    Thank you Kerry, Kelly, Sarah, Jen, and Charles for sharing the Elima Safari! I love the idea of getting teachers together across different cultures to share and collaborate on how education is done. This really makes the world smaller and breeds that there is not just one way to teach or learn.

  • I loved the TED video. Very inspirational.

    Thanks to everyone who came out to our eClub social earlier this afternoon! It was a blast catching up over some delicious local brewed beer. For members and guests who haven’t made it out to one of our socials yet, we would love to see you at one of our upcoming socials! We’ll be announcing new ones soon.

    And to our guests — What a wonderful presentation! It was wonderful hearing about the safari experience. Thanks so much for taking the time to speak to our eClub! Now I really want to go on a safari experience. 🙂

  • Allen Thompson

    Very inspiring program this week! Thanks to Jen, Charles, Kerry, Kelly, and Sarah for their program on Elimu Safari.

    An exceptional opportunity is coming to California next January. Take a look at the Rotary World Peace Conference (http://www.peaceconference2016.org/) being held in Ontario CA on January 15-16, 2016. The registration fee goes up after 30 September. I hope other club members will also be able to make it. I’m already registered so I’ll be there and I’ll bring back as much as I can to share.

  • Andrew Knaack

    Great job on the website refresh! It makes a big difference.

    I am sorry I missed the clean up event. Tangental thought that the pictures brought up: while it is obvious that the Jungle was a poor way to support the homeless population in SJ, I worry about the fact no great solution was in place before the closure. I fear the great need out pacing the support for the low income population in Silicon Valley. Is there a Rotary solution? (:

  • Tzviatko Chiderov

    Thanks for a great program! What a cool way to connect children from the US and Kenya so they can learn about and from each other! Jen, I’m glad to see that you are breaking the negative stereotypes of Africa that are still so prevalent in our society here in the US. Thank you.


We'd love to hear from you! You can use this form or send us an email directly at [email protected]

Copyright Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley 2015-2017, located in Rotary District 5170 in the sunny Silicon Valley of California, USA. Rotary International club #86428. Inquiries can be sent to [email protected]

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