August 25, 2014 Rotogram: 8

Botswana and Water Lions

Steve Brandon and his wife Patsy Fowlkes (both Paul Harris Fellows) have traveled the world photographing wildlife and speaking about wildlife conservation.

Next Week: No Meeting

We will not meet next week on Labor Day.

Raj Shaunak, vice president for Workforce and Community Services at East Mississippi Community College, will be introduced by Ed Clynch on Sept. 8.

Rotary Minute: Community Service

Noting that club leaders had engaged in much discussion about providing more volunteer opportunities, President Michelle called on Community Service Committee chair Carrie-Beth Randall for details.

Randall said, “A goal last year and this year is to increase Rotarians’ numbers of service hours. However, we don’t have a baseline to gauge the increase.”

To get a handle on the situation, the committee asks Rotarians to report any service done in the name of Rotary.

The committee hopes to use DACdb to gather data, but in meantime we’ll use old-fashioned paper reports. Randall will have a small bucket and sticky notes at the check-in table. When you take part in a project, just drop your name, project title and number of hours in the bucket. Jennifer Usrey will track the reports.

Randall reminded us that Get Swept Up! is Wednesday. Meet at the GSDP at 7:00 a.m.

Humor Alert! — Roy Ruby needs a new supply of jokes. Send him anything you have. —

For the Record— August 18

  • Invocation and pledge:                Stu Vance
  • Attendance:                                          67.6%
  •                              Present — 92 (31 exempt)
  •        Absent — 83 (27 exempt, 11 honorary)
  • Guests: Member guests were Helen Ormon of Jim Ormon, Donna Rupp of Cindy Palmer and Chuck Bently of Don Trotter. Guests of the club were Ruth Remy, Queen Brown, Lauren Black, Martin Lifer, Max Garzoni, RYE student, and Alex Holloway, Starkville Daily News.

Meeting Notes

  • President Michelle announced that we have received two district grants totaling nearly $1,500 to help underwrite Between the Lions and third-grade dictionaries. She said, “This is just one example of how our support of the Rotary Foundation comes back to help the local community.”
  • She noted a matching gift opportunity announced in the district newsletter that each member should have received this month.
  • The Membership Development Committee was thanked for representing the club at the MSU new faculty orientation.
  • President Michelle congratulated David and Ellen Boles for their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary.
  • She asked for prayers for Jeff Donald’s family whose mother is facing end-of-life issues.
  • Remember: Fall Social is October 13.

Dealing With Hidden Cultural Rules to Combat Poverty

August 18 — The social and economic health of a community depends on the success of all classes.

John Breazeale, president of the Starkville Bridges board of directors, said, “The least need to prosper along with rest of us. We must view the entire community of poverty, middle class and wealth.”

The three-year-old organization is trying to build a bridge between the poverty class and the middle class by decoding the social rules each uses. Its philosophy is built on ideas proposed in the book Bridges Out of Poverty based on the work of Ruby Payne, Phil DeVol and Terie Dreussi-Smith. It is one of four such programs in Mississippi.

Crediting the group’s local founder, Breazeale said, “The experience I am having gives me great respect for Lynn Phillips-Gaines for the effort and time she put into building this new non-profit.”

“I stay confused,” he said. “But, Bridges has given me a way to alleviate some of my confusion. We live in Mississippi which is number one in church attendance, in charitable giving per capita, in infant mortality and in percentage of citizens who live in poverty.”

He noted that Mississippians are famously good for disaster response; however, the difference between natural disaster and generational poverty is that poverty tends to stay in the background especially for those of us who grew up and live in the middle class. Bridges operates on the basis that solutions must be local to address generational disaster. The War on Poverty turned 50 years old this year with little to show for a national effort.

Through programs for persons in poverty and the middle class, Bridges addresses the hidden rules of class which include language, appearance and decorum.

“It’s those things we grow up with,” he said. “For example my mother drilled into me if I wasn’t 15 minutes ahead of an appointment, I was late. Growing up in the middle class, we know how to shift gears, but folks in poverty don’t know.”

He encouraged us to look at a day in the life of a person in poverty through a lens of economic class and mental models that differ greatly between classes. People in poverty are problem solvers, but not in the ways commonly expected by middle classes. Bridges seeks to build relationships of mutual respect across economic classes.

The program includes a 16 weeks curriculum called Getting Ahead in A Just Getting by World. Rotarian Nancy Walsh is one facilitator of the three hour weekly sessions.

Last year, Breazeale served as one of two facilitators with 12 women in poverty. Participants are called investigators of the causes of poverty. They are experts who take a lot of responsibility for their situations.

Breazeale cited two participants who now are looking ahead. One has submitted a resumé to Yokohama and one is pursuing a degree at EMCC.

When asked about measures of success, he referred to the local Habitat for Humanity effort that struggled in its early years, but now is prospering. “When I started my small business in 1979, I was told that for the first three years to expect no profit.”

Mental Models of Class

Middle Class

  • Achievement
  • Credit card debt
  • Retirement
  • Civic Clubs
  • Insurance
  • Vacations
  • Investments
  • Housing
  • Mortgage
  • Career
  • Cost of education


  • Relationships
  • Jobs
  • Family and Friends
  • Childcare
  • Children
  • Transportation
  • Criminal Justice System
  • Chemical Dependency
  • Mental Health
  • Agency Time
  • Entertainment
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Debt
  • Safety
  • Health



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