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Sunday, April 11, 2021
Last week former Lehigh County Executive Jane Ervin in her current role as President of the Fund to Benefit Children and Youth (FBCY) gave an amazing presentation about an incredible organization. The group traces its beginnings back to 1991 and their mission is to provide items and services traditional community and government sources cannot in Lehigh and Northampton counties. The process is fast and easy as a caseworker sends in a request, FBCY Board reviews, and in only a day or two responds with the funds to fulfill the need.
The needs vary. Last month 20 beds and 5 cribs were provided to children. Another family need $550 to cover back rent and avoid eviction. A mother with a Down Syndrome son had to close her small business due to the pandemic, was denied unemployment, was evicted from their home, and then the van she needed to transport her son fell apart. The Fund stepped in to provide the needed funds to repair the van. They fill the gap to help prevent the child (and family) from possibly slipping into a more perilous situation. Sometimes one act of charity can reap huge dividends long term.
Jane reported that requests are down over the past year, No surprise there, given that Covid-19 has limited caseworkers' access to households and reduced pediatric visits, thus preventing the reporting of cases. The Fund to Benefit Children and Youth IS the last hope when no other organization can help. An impressive 100% of donations received go directly to fill requests with an investment fund and Board member donations covering expenses. For more information about this amazing group, please visit  helplehighvalleychildren.orgFeel free to contact their Board member-our own Chris Nelson to answer questions you may have. 
April is a busy month with various events you can participate in:
  • Camp Neidig registration is open to Junior and Senior High School students-go to our ClubRunner home page to register a student interested in building their leadership skills. The camp takes place in unison with the District Conference on May 1 consisting of morning virtual leadership sessions and afternoon participation in our Day Of Service Centennial Park/Ice House trim/weed/paint cleanup event.
  • Saturday April 17 9am-12:45pm is District 7430 virtual assembly for every Rotarian to learn new ideas and best practices. The FREE online event will celebrate incoming club Presidents (our own Deb Walter) and learn about steps you can take to guide our club into the future. Special guest Valerie K. Wafer-RI Director will be speaking on creating an inclusive environment. Registration is on the District 7430 site.
  • Thursday April 22 is Earth Day and at our weekly meeting the day before, Lisa Jordan will update us on where our club is planting trees this year in celebration of the event. Monday April 26 is the Interact Charter celebration event at 2:30. Please mark your calendars and watch for more information.
  • April 30 through May 2 is the Virtual Tri-District Conference. Registration can be done through our ClubRunner home page. REMEMBER: In unison with 5000+ PA Rotarians we will conduct a "Day of Service" as part of the conference on Saturday May 1, 1pm-5pm at our Centennial Park on Sand Island with Camp Neidig students. The sign up for the work team will be going out later next week-watch for the email.
President-Elect Deb Walter has a fun Community Outreach Project to help residents in Bethlehem Senior Centers put their creative talents to work: Birdhouse Art Kits. The kits are created by Bloom Creative Studio in Bangor which gives women a supportive workplace after leaving lives of abuse, trafficking, or addiction. And the Birdhouse Art Kits give our local seniors a project to engage their time, much needed since the Pandemic has prevented them from much outside interaction. Kits can be purchased for $15. Please visit for ordering details.
This week Tammy Wendling from the Downtown Bethlehem Association will join us with an update on the City's response to the Covid-19 pandemic and what initiatives are developing to keep our downtown business community moving forward and transition back to normalcy. I hope you can join us and remember you can bring a friend along to Zoom with us-guests are always welcome!
Yours in Rotary service,
President Pete Mickolay