On December 3, 2022, the Nominating Committee of Rotary District 7305 gathered to select the next District Governor Nominee Designate (DGND). The Nominating Committee was comprised of the following Rotarians: Colleen Arnowitz (Charleroi), Vickie Buzzelli (North Boroughs), George Dull (Fox Chapel), Dan Kravetz (White Oak), Kelli Robbins (Pittsburgh), Miguel Saviroff (Somerset), Patricia Shaffer (Murrysville-Export) and Mark Rafail (Uniontown).
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Titusville Rotary Club members and guests of the local business community met on Tuesday to hear from motivational speaker Felicia Mycyk at the 2022 Annual Free Enterprise Luncheon.
The event had previously been the Rotary’s part of Chamber Month, but has since become a stand alone event allowing business leaders to hear from experts in various fields.
While no longer part of Chamber Month, the luncheon is a joint venture by the Titusville Rotary Club and the Titusville Area Chamber of Commerce. According to Chris Fiely, president of the Rotary Club, the purpose of the event “is joining business and community leaders to celebrate our country’s economic system and learn from guest speakers.”
A few years ago I worked for a political campaign. At a team meeting about neighborhood canvassing, there was a discussion on what dates and locations to visit. One of the members told me that I cannot go to a few towns because my skin color would hurt the candidate in the polls. Also, my safety was a concern. It set me back for a millisecond and reminded me that not everyone was as progressive as the candidate. It was more shocking that the person that said it to me was a young male in his 20s.
We did it — four events in one weekend! It was a challenge but we organized four Community Heart & Soul picnics in local parks throughout Ambridge. We followed CDC recommended guidelines which allowed residents to have a low-pressure experience meeting our leadership team and learning about how Ambridge Heart & Soul will become the basis for building our community’s shared values and unique action plan.
I can honestly say, I love where we are at in this journey. Community Heart & Soul is about storytelling and how it can help communities build brighter futures together. The goal is to involve as many residents as possible, including those who are underrepresented and have not typically had a voice in their community’s planning processes.
During our picnics, residents were welcomed and encouraged to visit five stations to help set the stage for meaningful and transformative action plans. "
Ambridge Community Heart & Soul solicited feedback from residents at community picnics. Photo credit: Rustbelt Mayberry Photography / Ambridge Heart & Soul.
Each station had a different experience:
AMBRIDGE HEART & SOUL FOLLOWED CDC GUIDELINES FOR SAFETY AT THEIR SUMMER PICNIC EVENTS. PHOTO CREDIT: RUSTBELT MAYBERRY PHOTOGRAPHY / AMBRIDGE HEART & SOUL
It will be an uphill battle to earn people’s trust in a town where it wasn’t always easy to be heard. Fortunately, there is training and support from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and the folks at Community Heart & Soul that will help everyone join together and collectively make a lasting impact.
This is not new terrain for me as a longtime advocate for civic engagement in Ambridge. The Community Heart & Soul program builds on my own work of making meaningful change through conversations and storytelling.
We are on our way to greater inclusivity and shared decision-making with these recent picnics, which engaged those missing voices and helped us learn more about what is important to our community. The next step is identifying shared values, called Heart & Soul Statements.
We are setting the stage for meaningful and transformative plans for action!
RESIDENTS WROTE THEIR HOPES FOR THE TOWN ON CHALKBOARDS AT THE AMBRIDGE HEART & SOUL PICNICS. PHOTO CREDIT: RUSTBELT MAYBERRY PHOTOGRAPHY / AMBRIDGE HEART & SOUL
I can already envision us doing the strategic group events — that we have yet to plan but will be coming in the future — because we laid the foundation and started the conversation. I see our Community Heart & Soul events allowing safe discussions where residents want to connect, converse, and answer real questions about their community in places like the library, parks, and more.
Resident-driven starts with residents seeing themselves in positions to be heard!
Kudos to our team for being exactly what this community needs to make Ambridge what we all know it can be! Relish the process because we will see results in each event moving forward.
I went to support the youth who wanted to do a protest in Ambridge. I did not realize what seeing signs saying reading black lives matters and strangers of all color and ages standing together to call out racism was going to cause an emotional reaction from me.
I have so many life experiences from having dark skin that I at times I am numb and have to sit back and take care of my mental health.
Do a social experiment for yourself, If you want to know how it kinda feels to have brown skin. Put on a red baseball cap that says make America great again and do not say anything. Go outside your home and around in places of work, community, and go to places that have people who do not know you personally.