Last week's meeting was at the CPY Luncheon, and Mary Stewart thanked the 20 Rotarians who attended, and also thanked the club for donating the amount that we would usually pay for lunches and meeting room rental.  She also announced that CPY has received a grant from the United Way of $50,000/year for 3 years to improve CPY's middle school programs.  Great news for a great organization!  Mary is pictured below with Margaret Johnson and CPY board member Geoff Hollimon.
The NBMV Rotary Easter Egg Hunt is fast approaching and your help will be needed to make the event a success: 
      -On Friday, March 20th at 6:00PM, we will gather in the parking garage directly below our Tuesday meeting place.  Pizza will be provided but bring a beverage of your choice.
      -On Sunday, March 29th, at 11:00AM, we will meet at Lakeside Homes community room, 350 Old Hwy 8 SW, New Brighton, to fill the plastic eggs with jelly beans and prize slips.
      -On Saturday, April 4th, at 10:00AM, we will all meet at Driftwood Park, 2705 5th St NW, New Brighton, to set up for the hunt. 
John Risdall is putting together a group to dine, listen (and possibly dance?) to 20's and 30's music at Crooner's, 6161 Hwy 65 in Fridley.  Call John for more information.
Linda LaFond introduced her guest, Carol Jackson.  Carol is a librarian with the Ramsey County Library, Mounds View Branch.
We are all invited to attend Achieve Services annual gala on Friday, April 17th.  For more details, please visit the website.
Mike Abel visited today to announce a new job with the VA.  He'll start on Monday, and he hopes to continue in Rotary but he's not sure at this point if it will be possible.
Paul Fournier announced a couple of possible dates to attend a musical review at the Jungle Theater titled, "And the World Goes 'Round'.  Paul's wife Chrissy is involved in the production, so you know it will be great.  The dates are Wednesday, May 13th and Wednesday, May 20th, at 7:30 PM.  Contact Paul if you would like to attend.
You may remember that, two weeks ago, John Marg-Patton negotiated his way out of wearing the birthday hat by promising that he (and John Ordway) would provide desert at a future meeting.  Today John and John made good on their promise by providing us with delicious cupcakes.  Both John's were able to avoid wearing their hats but we managed to sing to one John (Ordway) over the protests of the other John (Marg-Patton).  Neither John could escape the photographer, however.  Photos of both John's are shown below.
Our speaker today was Past District Governor Clare Lillis.  Clare's first exposure to Rotary was when his neighbor, our own John Risdall, asked if he would like to host a Rotary Exchange student.  Clare soon became a Rotarian and has since become a great ambassador for Rotary.  Clare spoke to us today about his experience with Fast For Hope Nicaragua.  Fast For Hope began 20 years ago and has funded many projects aimed at alleviating poverty and poor living conditions.  Objective review of the long term impact of these well-intentioned projects revealed that many of the efforts had not been sustainable.  So, in 2007, the Fast For Hope Committee decided to explore new and sustainable ways to be of service in the world.  The result was a new vision of how to help people who are living in extreme poverty.  This new vision empowers the local community to determine their needs and take ownership of the solution in cooperation with Rotary.  Although it requires a greater initial investment of time and money, this grassroots approach insures sustainability because it is a community project rather than just a Rotary handout.  Clare described how this community ownership has led to big changes in El Corozo, Nicaragua, where District 5960 leaders have helped community leaders to develop literacy, professional development and road improvement initiatives that have led to widespread community support and involvement.  This new model of charitable aid to impoverished communities may just be the one that results in long term solutions to extreme poverty.  For more information, or to find out how you can help, click here.   Clare is pictured below with Margaret Johnson and Mary Stewart.