Oct. 30, 2017 Newsletter

At first, it seemed like last week’s meeting topic might be about how to dry out your cell phone after dropping it in the sink. Ralph Koozer apparently had just done such a thing, so he was ready to share some tips. (“Put the phone in a box of desiccant in a 125-degree convection oven,” Ralph said. “It works.”) Which in turn drew quite a response. However, we did get back on track, and had an inspirational presentation from Rotary Peace Fellow Bianca Neff.

The daughter of an American father and a Basque mom, Bianca is a 2010 alumnus of the Rotary Peace Center at the University of Bradford in the U.K. She said the Peace Centers are a major initiative of the Rotary Foundation, and over 1150 Peace Fellows have studied at the Centers and are now working globally.

She described the Peace Centers that offer programs for masters degrees, and the 3-month professional certificate offered at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. “In the latest round, there were 500 applications. I wish you could see the quality of these applicants,” she said. “In fact, there are now so many applicants for Bangkok that Rotary is looking to expand that program.”

Bianca showed a photo of her class, and there was an amazing diversity of students–from Japan, Italy, Finland, Russia, Cambodia and Uganda.

Rotary Peace Fellow Bianca Neff.

“We are now in Year 15 of the Peace Fellow program,” she said. “While it’s been successful, some are starting to burn out. Some have suffered horrible things. Some have compassion fatigue. We need to start taking care of people who we owe a lot to.”

She gave some examples:

–Luke, working with NATO in Afghanistan, survived a bombing

–Mel, a friend on a UN mission to South Sudan last July, was there when the UN compound was attacked and a colleague was murdered

The current reality is that:

  • 79% experience negative mental health issues
  • 93% of those are related to field work
  • 50% experience or are diagnosed with anxiety
  • 44% experience or are diagnosed with depression
  • 1 in 5 experiences panic attacks, post traumatic stress or stress injury

“Peace Fellows are self-identifying the issue to be one of the utmost priority,” she said. “And the help that is currently available is not adequate.”

“The future of global peacebuilding lies in resilience,” she said. “There is a need for debriefing, coaching, walking alongside people.”

In response to a “knocking at my door, ” Bianca founded Petra Peacebuilders and is now the CEO. Petra is a location in Jordan, but it’s also a metaphor for an ancient system of waterways that ran through the desert. Plus, “petrose” means “loose gravel,” which can get knocked around. “Petra” conveys “solid.”

“How do we find ways to help keep people in the field? One thing we are doing to address this is trying to get ‘resiliency’ on the curriculum at the Peace Centers. The trustees of the Foundation will vote on this in January. If approved, Petra will deliver services, mostly in terms of training.”

She outlined the following Petra programs that are currently available:

  • Ascend: The flagship Resiliency Training Program. Includes 6 months of training and coaching.
  • Thrive: Resilience Coaching
  • Restore: Retreat program
  • Oasis: Crisis and critical needs
  • Passage: Personal debriefing and retreats
  • Caravan: Group debriefing retreats

For more information or to donate, go to Petrapeacebuilders.org.


New CCC Exec Director, Sean Andries.

The new Executive Director of the Chehalem Cultural Center, Sean Andries, was the guest of Past President Leah Griffith. According to the Newberg Graphic, the 34-year-old Rogue Valley native’s last post was as operations manager at Portland Center Stage. In his own words, Sean states, “My love for the arts and their place in our lives has always driven me to have a strong sense of community. When arts support the community, community supports the arts. I am simply overjoyed to join this community as the director of an organization that plays such a vibrant role in the lives of so many throughout our region.” Welcome to Newberg, Sean!


Guests Nicky Colo’n and Bear.

Nicky and Sherri Colo’n and Bear, the red nose pit bull service dog, were guests representing “Pacific Northwest for Puerto Rico Relief,” a new nonprofit organized after the terrible devastation to the island from Hurricane Maria. They are coordinating disaster relief in terms of food, water, shelter, medicines and other needed items. They are planning a fundraiser on Nov. 10 from 6 to 10pm at the Cultural Center. For more information, please call Sherri at 503-757-3391 or go to www. facebook/pnwforpuertoricorelief.com.

Beth Pent from Attrell’s, who is awaiting confirmation of her membership in our club, joined us, too.

Jeff Lane introduced Dave Henderson, who was attending for the second time. Jeff said he met Dave through work, and Dave is very interested in joining Rotary.


“Get well” wishes to Jack Czarnecki, who had surgery to remove a brain tumor last week. According to Jack’s wife Heidi, his spirit is strong and he is now doing physical therapy. He is at OHSU, Kohler Pavilion, K10 (10th floor), Room 26. Visitors are welcome.

Tony Lelack reported that dictionaries still need to be delivered to Ewing Young School. If you can help out, please contact Tony. And thanks to Tony for coordinating this project this year.

Happy Birthday wishes to Mike Caruso–69 years young yesterday!

Welcome back to Ray Hillman, who has been gone for a few weeks to Tennessee visiting his son.

Laura Tilrico reported she will be gone for two weeks on a cruise to Hawaii. She said the Nepal drinking water grant has been sent off to Rotary International. Nice work, Laura…

Auggie Gonzales announced that he is working to schedule the next Guatemala dental trip in March, 2018. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Auggie.

My husband, Mike Miller, and Jeff Lane (right) were clowning around at the new Resource Room at Mountain View Middle School last week. Jeff worked to get the room stocked with food, supplies and clothing for kids who may need some help. Mike was there exploring volunteer opportunities. The room will open Monday, Nov. 6. If you are interested in volunteering–even just an hour a week–please see Jeff.



pumpkin animation


  • Rachel Huber invites you to bring the kids (or grandkids) in their costumes to “trick or treat” with the residents of Avamere, 730 Foothills Dr., from 4 to 6pm on Oct. 31.


  • The annual benefit for “Quilts for Empowerment” will be Saturday, Nov. 4 from 2 to 4pm at the Wine Country Barn, 16200 Lewis Rogers Lane in Newberg. For more information, please contact: quilts4empower@gmail.com. Early bird tickets are $30; $40 day of event.
  • Dec. 2 is the annual Holiday Tree Lighting event in the Cultural District. Festivities get underway at 3pm; Santa arrives at 5:30pm. A holiday craft fair and a kids craft sale are also planned.
  • Providence Newberg Health Foundation is sponsoring “An Evening of Hope” on Dec. 13, from 5:30 to 8:30pm at the Chehalem Cultural Center. Well-known violinist Aaron Meyer will be performing. The event is to fund new technology which will help increase breast cancer detection and save more lives. Tickets are $25, and are available at http://pnhf.ejoinme.org/benefit or by calling 503-537-1671.