Frantz received treatment at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, while he and his father spent time at the homes of Visconti and Evaristo. The hospital care was coordinated via volunteer efforts from the doctors, in conjunction with the Rotary Club.
Global to Local
Whether it’s fighting Polio in the Philippines, rebuilding a firehouse in the Dominican Republic or digging wells in Africa, the Rotary Club’s international scope is undeniable. Yet programs like the regular meals at the Hoboken homeless shelter, work with the Boys & Girls Club and the annual coat drive are where the club’s work becomes readily apparent.
Otto Oosterwijk, who hails from the Netherlands, joined the Rotary Club in 2003 while living in Prague. He is now a member of the Hoboken chapter. “I enjoy the social element, as it gives me a chance to meet new people,” says Oosterwijk, who often travels internationally for business. “But I truly enjoy giving to the community.”
The Hoboken Rotary Club’s ongoing work here in the city has made a significant impact.
Marie Stinson is chairperson of the Club’s Literacy Program. “As part of the program, the Hoboken Rotary gives personalized books to all 1st grade students in the city of Hoboken,” says Stinson. These schools include Wallace, Connors, Elysian Charter, Mustard Seed, Hoboken Charter, Hoboken Catholic Academy, Stevens, Hola and Calabro. “The 1st graders love the books because the story stars them as the main character. Some past books themes for our 1st graders were, ‘My Trip to the Firehouse’ and ‘My First Day at School.’”
The program is fully funded by local sponsors and these unique gifts are supplied by Gigglehouse Books, with the help of Gina Deluca. Sponsors and Rotarians alike volunteer to distribute the books to the children.
“The Hoboken Rotary also distributes dictionaries to all 3rd grade students in the City of Hoboken,” says Stinson. “The dictionaries coincide with our annual Spelling Bee for 4th grade students.” The most recent event saw the fourth year of the Hoboken Rotary Spelling Bee, which
was created and implemented by hMAG’s own editor, Noelle Tate.
Meanwhile, an afternoon of golf might appear to be in stark contrast to “Service Above Self.” But as Rotarian Chris Mackin explains, “The proceeds go towards our annual scholarship program, where we give out $5,000 scholarships—typically to three local high school students per year.” The Hoboken Rotary Club puts heavy investment into the city’s younger population. “Money from the golf outing also goes toward sending a few students to the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program,” says Mackin.
RYLA is a one-week camp for high school juniors who are accepted based on academic performance and an admissions essay—not unlike the college application process.
“RYLA teaches kids leadership, self-confidence, social skills, current events and most of all how to interact with different cultures,” says Evaristo. “These are all things that the kids may not get staying in their own community. Our aim is teach them how to work with other people who might be a little different than they are.”
Feeding the Machine
“We do so many projects, I could talk about it all day,” adds Evaristo. And she should, because she’s genuinely proud of the work that the Hoboken Rotary Club has done. But she also recognizes the need to do more—the key for the organization is to keep growing.
With over 45 current members, Hoboken Rotary is always looking to broaden its circle even further. Club meetings are held on Tuesday afternoons at 12:15pm. All meetings are open to the public, and first-time visitors can participate in the meeting for free (without paying dues).
“As time goes by, older members move out or move on,” says Evaristo. “We’re doing a good job of finding more and more people. It’s a young, vibrant club.”
For more information, visit HobokenRotary.org.