Club Infomation
 
Metro meets on 1st & 3rd Tuesdays of each month at 12noon at the Jewish Educational Alliance, 5111 Abercorn St., Savannah, GA
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PRESIDENT UPDATE & COMMITTEE REPORTS

President Jasmine Mills kicked off the meeting with the 4 way test. She encouraged everyone to be on a committee!
 
GUESTS/VISITORS:
  • Danietté Thomas - Fashion Designer and Consultant (guest of Zerik Samples)
  • Melanie Farrant - Marketing professional/SCAD alumna - moved back to Savannah from the UK (guest of Suzanne Kirk)
  • Kyle Reese - Rotarian from Jacksonville and Senior Minister, First Baptist Church of Savannah (guest of Sarah Smith)
CLUB ANNOUNCEMENTS:
 
3.375Need a Rotary nametag? We got you! If you do not already have a name tag or your current one is incorrect due to a classification or name change, please share your name & classification here by Friday, May 10.
 
Did you know? You can subscribe to the Metro Rotary Calendar! Go to ClubRunner, Events, click on Subscribe to Calendar at the bottom (Google, Apple, Outlook compatible)
 
Attendance Check-in: Check your attendance in ClubRunner. Is it accurate? If not, email metrosavannahrotary@gmail.com. 
Membership Committee is reaching out it not meeting 50% attendance to discuss options - go to "Members Only" area of website for info on makeups
Lunch purchase policy: if absent, but already paid - members can buy lunches paid via Venmo/cash to Treasurer at $10 discounted price. Absentees need to alert Leigh beforehand at leigh.acevedo@gmail.com. 
 
UPCOMING DATES (PROGRAMS & SOCIALS):
      • May
        • 5/11: District Assembly - Dublin
        • 5/21: Julie Wade, Tharros Place & Legacy Project Updates
          • Oatland Island (Julie) and Forsyth Park (Bret)
          • Recorded - online voting
          • Site visits: Oatland at 4pm and Forsyth Park at 5pm, followed by happy hour at the American Legion on Bull St.
        • 5/28: Social @ Coastal Empire Beer Co.
      • June
        • 6/4: Dana Williams, Mayor of Thunderbolt
        • 6/18: Mae Bowley, Re:Purpose Savannah
        • 6/25: End of Year Celebration Social @ Aqua Vitae - registration required for you +1
      SERVICE:
      • 5/13: Emmaus House Soup Kitchen - 7:30-9:30am, 2nd Monday of each month - minors 13 and up can volunteer accompanied by a parent or legal guardian
      • June will be the final service with Re:Purpose - date TBA
      • Legacy Project will take the place of ASP (chair John Bennett) - committee met on April 25 and will have announcements for the club soon!
      DISTRICT EVENTS:
      • District Assembly - Board/Leadership training this Sat., May 11, 8:30am-3pm, Dublin (DuBose Porter Business & Industry Training Center) - $45 pp *3 credits for attending the full day*
      ROTARY INTERNATIONAL:
      • 50 fellowships for master’s degree programs at six universities in U.S., Asia, Australia, & Europe
      • 80 fellowships to earn postgraduate diplomas at Makerere University in Uganda and Bahçeşehir University in Turkey.
      • Applications due May 15
      MEMBERSHIP:
      • Check your attendance in ClubRunner. Is it accurate? Email if not: metrosavannahrotary@gmail.com
      • Membership Committee - reaching out if not meeting 50% attendance to discuss options
      • Visit the “Members Only” area of the website for more info
      • If you are interested in being on the Board, please reach out to Kristen Crawley
      • “Fireside Chat”: First step for a new member. Thurs., May 23, 5:30 PM @ Habitat for Humanity Restore @ 701 MLK. If you are interested in sponsoring a member, check out the “Members Only” area of the website for more info!
      • Sponsor Challenge: Anyone who sponsors a new member this rotary year will be entered into a drawing to be held on June 18 (last meeting of the Rotary Year!)
      CLASSIFICATION TALKS/NEW MEMBER INDUCTIONS:
       
      Fitz Haile: Data and Analytics Consultant, United Way - Sponsors: Kristen Crawley & Jordan Chase
       
      Please watch Fitz's classification talk HERE!
       
       
      YOUTH SERVICES:
      • Preston Johnson Speech Contest winners from Woodville Tompkins presented today! Please watch their speeches linked below:
       1st Place: Serani Hassan
       2nd Place: Sanlos Celestin
       3rd Place: Maleik Clausell
      ​​​​​​​
       
      LEGACY PROJECT:
      • Metro's 15th anniversary in 2027, currently saving $ for this
      • Legacy Project Updates on Tuesday, May 21 at 12noon program meeting:
        • ​​​​​​​Oatland Island (Julie) and Forsyth Park (Bret)
        • Recorded - online voting
        • Site visits: Oatland Island at 4pm and Forsyth Park at 5pm, followed by happy hour at the American Legion on Bull St.
      Our own Julie Wade doesn't need any trophies to know she is a winner in our book! We're lucky she is a founding member of Metropolitan Savannah Rotary and in awe of the numerous things she has done for our community. The Horatio Cabby Cabasares Award is given to a District 6920 Rotarian who has excelled in their vocations and has used their profession to encourage and promote the ideals of Rotary that Cabby exemplified. You can read more about the many reasons Julie was nominated for the Vocational Excellence Award here

      PRESIDENT UPDATE & COMMITTEE REPORTS

      Jasmine Mills, President, kicked off the first meeting of the year with the 4 way test
       
      GUESTS/VISITORS:
      • Danietté Thomas - fashion designer and consultant (guest of Zerik Samples)
      • Drew Acuff (Guest of Cari Phelps)
      • Heather Radtke - VP with Speros (Guest of Laura Lee Brocade)
      • Kris Parks (Guest and mother of Emily Doherty)
      MEMBERSHIP MINUTE: Danietté Thomas (guest) shared that most people don’t know that she moved to Savannah when she was 7 months from Arkansas.
       
       
      CLUB ANNOUNCEMENTS:
       
      3.375Need a Rotary nametag? We got you! If you do not already have a name tag or your current one is incorrect due to a classification or name change, please share your name & classification here by Friday, May 10.
       
      Did you know? You can subscribe to the Metro Rotary Calendar! Go to ClubRunner, Events, click on Subscribe to Calendar at the bottom (Google, Apple, Outlook compatible)
       
       
      UPCOMING DATES (PROGRAMS & SOCIALS):
          • April:
            • 4/30: 5th Tuesday Social at Hull Park
          • May
            • 5/7: Cecilia Arango, A Personal Odyssey
            • 5/21: Julie Wade, Tharros Place
            • 5/28: Social @ Coastal Empire Beer Co.
          • June
            • 6/4: Dana Williams, Mayor of Thunderbolt
            • 6/18: Mae Bowley, Re:Purpose Savannah
            • 6/25: End of Year Celebration Social
          SERVICE:
          • 4/27: Tybee Island Maritime Academy, 9am–12noon Landscaping
          • 5/4: Second Harvest, 8am–11am Summer Feeding program
          • 5/13: Emmaus House Soup Kitchen - 7:30-9:30am, 2nd Monday of each month
          • Legacy Project will take the place of ASP (chair John Bennett) - committee met on April 25 and will have announcements for the club soon!
          DISTRICT EVENTS:
          • Auction items needed for District Conference this weekend in Jekyll Island! April 26th-28th, 2024.
          • Get them to Kristen Crawley before Friday midday or Venmo her for a credit at @Kristen-Crawley21 => $30
            ROTARY INTERNATIONAL:
            • 50 fellowships for master’s degree programs at six universities in U.S., Asia, Australia, & Europe
            • 80 fellowships to earn postgraduate diplomas at Makerere University in Uganda and Bahçeşehir University in Turkey.
            • Applications due May 15
            MEMBERSHIP:
            • Check your attendance in ClubRunner. Is it accurate? Email if not: metrosavannahrotary@gmail.com
            • Membership Committee - reaching out if not meeting 50% attendance to discuss options
            • Visit the “Members Only” area of the website for more info
            • If you are interested in being on the Board, please reach out to Kristen Crawley
            • “Fireside Chat”: First step for a new member. Thurs., May 23, 5:30 PM @ Habitat for Humanity Restore @ 701 MLK. If you are interested in sponsoring a member, check out the “Members Only” area of the website for more info!
            • Sponsor Challenge: Anyone who sponsors a new member this rotary year will be entered into a drawing to be held on June 18 (last meeting of the Rotary Year!)
            CLASSIFICATION TALK/NEW MEMBER INDUCTIONS:
            • Ruth Hutson (Outside sales rep for SESCO Lighting. Sponsors: Laura Lee Bocade & Denise Grabowski.) She presented on her son Jack including their trip to Maui (which was just prior to the fires.) ALOHA expanded. Son Campbell plays tuba and double bass. Husband Tyler teaches at GA Southern. Her Masters is from University of Texas. She moved to NY in October of 2001. She’s also been prominently involved in music theater & opera productions. She toured with Julie Andrews and is a personal friend! She taught at SCAD for 16 years in lighting design and themed design. She partnered with Disney Imagineering to tour theme park careers. One year after leaving SCAD, she’s found her way to connect with Rotary and Service as well as bringing her skills to the City of Savannah to light up the town for St. Patty’s Day. Her heart also is into greenhouses and aquaponics. She’s the operations manager for Inside Voices United, an incarceration outreach program.
            • Emerson Ingram (Systems Engineer Contractor & Senior Consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton: Sponsors: Jeff Brady, Will Gruver) Grew up in Fort Myers FL, where his father was very active in Rotary there. He attended FL Southern College with a BA in Computer Science. His main focus is cyber-security and he also had a short stint in the ROTC program during college. He met his wife in 2019 via Greek Life and decided to leave FL when their jobs became remote, so they chose Savannah in August of 2023. Considering the remote work situation, he really wanted to dive into the community with service and friendships and is incredibly grateful to meet everyone in our club.
             
            NEW MEMBER PROGRAM:
            • Fitz Haile: Data and Analytics Consultant, United Way. Sponsors: Kristen Crawley & Jordan Chase
             
            YOUTH SERVICES:
            • Preston Johnson Speech Contest:
              • Top 2, Serani Hassan & Sanlos Celestin, participated in Zone 34 contest April 6 in St. Simons
            • Will Gruver will schedule participants to present to our club soon
               
              LEGACY PROJECT:
              • Metro's 15th anniversary in 2027, currently saving $ for this
              • Currently have 6 nominated projects
              • Project nominees are acquiring more information from “owners” - top 2-3 will be presented to club
              • Contact John Bennett to submit ideas or for more information
              Profile photo of Michael SchwartzFeatured Speaker: Michael Schwartz, Founder, Safety Valve Project
               
              Michael Schwartz is an attorney in Savannah. His practice focuses on defending individuals whose conduct has been misunderstood by people in positions of power. He defends against allegations ranging from possession of controlled substances to murder. He is a veteran of the Georgia Capital Defender and the United States Air Force JAG Corps.
               
              In 2021, recognizing a pattern in his clients’ lives, he began studying the effects of school suspension and expulsion. With a group of friends, he incorporated a nonprofit organization called the Safety Valve Project, Inc., which exists to provide families (who can't afford it) free assistance in defending against suspension or expulsion before school tribunals.
               
              With the goal of slowing the flow of the school-to-prison pipeline, Safety Valve Project pairs students facing tribunals with defense teams trained to identify biopsychosocial and environmental factors that add context to alleged misconduct. Safety Valve Project builds and funds defense teams to investigate allegations, represent students before tribunals and, if necessary, appeal suspensions and expulsions to school boards, the Board of Education, and appellate courts.
               
              Michael started off by sharing that one of the Air Force values is Service Before Self, and his wife is a yoga teacher, so our 4-way test resonated with him. As a criminal defense lawyer, he errs on the side of “if you can’t say something nice, say something clever and devastating.” He’s passionate about talking with people about service...everything from attending a fundraiser and writing a check, to the one-on-one interactions that directly help individuals and families.
               
              Michael was sitting in Judge Karpf’s court (Suzy’s husband) for a murder trial (not his case) but wanted to learn more from the experience. Seeing the jurors show up, the Public Defenders, etc., he was overwhelmed with the sense of how everyone is trying to operate in these public systems. He’s fully aware that not all of our systems work well for all people. Half of his career specifically was focused on death penalty cases. Since 1973, only 2%-4% of death row inmates have been exonerated. This process is implemented by the highest quality of professionals, and yet we are still getting it wrong up to 4% of the time.
               
              ***PSA: challenge your parking ticket once/year and you’ll win every time***
               
              Appeals become incredibly frustrating to all parties. He made an example about “exclusionary discipline” and how that impact has terrible effects not only on the individuals but also on the institution and the families. A young person who is removed from school for more than 10 days is 3 times more likely to have an interaction with law enforcement within the next year. He found a common theme after reviewing a number of cases and found a common thread started with the client being removed from school and ending in his office facing the death penalty. The job became understanding the backstory to what caused the behavior problems in the first place. Michael became tired of being at the end of the line and decided he wanted to be involved at the start of this process. The social science behind all of this demonstrates the pipeline that the youth are run through as a result. 
               
              Building the Safety Valve Project started with Michael taking on a case with a 4th grader at Savannah Classical Academy (a school with “Zero Tolerance” at the time, which is against the law in GA.) There are additional flaws with that logic as well. Michael met with the CEO (Principal) of Savannah Classical and was told there was no way to work this out. He wasn’t okay with taking no for an answer, so he called the 4th grader’s family as well as speaking with the other student who was involved in the fight. They employed the services of the Mediation Center and ended up planning a trip to the arcade and had a blast with the boys. Michael had photos from this trip, and presented the trial lawyers with an image of the two boys with their arms around each other! The point being, there are alternative ways to solve problems with a little bit of creativity.  In Chatham County, we have a single person hearing officer, so when a student is facing a hearing, they are entitled to counseling. (He noted that our Public Defender office in Chatham is actually staffed with wonderful attorneys.) In the school system, you have a right to counsel, but it’s not funded. Which means that only 2% of these kids show up with a lawyer. This does not bode well for the student and their family.
               
              The goal is to help the under-resourced teacher, but removing the child from the classroom isn’t the best option. There’s a choice to work with the attorneys to identify the “why” behind the behavior and work towards rehabilitation. The social science behind this “third justice system” in GA (the schools) is real and Michael wants us to spread the word about the Safety Valve Project with anyone that you might know who would be a resource.
               
               
              From the President
              Metro Savannah Rotary is a diverse group of professionals who are passionate about service and connection. We offer flexible meetings and attendance, so members can create a Rotary experience that meets their needs.
               
              We're proud to be members of Rotary International, believe strongly in its mission and traditions, and partner frequently with other clubs in the area. What really sets us apart is our attendance flexibility each month (2 lunch meetings, 1 social, and 1 service event), unique style (the question we always ask ourselves is, "Will it be ridiculously awesome?"), affordable dues (less than the cost of a dinner out per month), and our commitment to the community (click on the "Service Partner" tab to catch a glimpse).
               
              If you're looking for a Rotary experience unlike any other, check out Metro!
               
              Stay Safe and Healthy,
               
              Jasmine Mills
              president@metrosavannahrotary.org
              Club Executives & Directors
              President
              President Elect
              Treasurer
              Secretary
              GRSP Liaison
              Membership
              Communications
              Foundation
              Service Projects
              Finance
              Programming
              Legacy Committee Chair
              Immediate Past President
              Sergeant-at-Arms