Working Together, Having Fun, Making a Difference

Thank you to Roger Strauss for his dedicated service and unwavering commitment to The Rotary Club of Brentwood. The club and community truly appreciate Roger’s service and the phenomenal job he did as President of our club.

The start of a new term is a great time to remind current and potential Rotarians about what our mission and object really is. Per Rotary International, our purpose is “…to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and to advance goodwill and peace around the world. It is a secular organization open to all people regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender, or political preference.” What an exciting and positive mission that is!

The object of Rotary further enforces and expands upon this mission. “The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

  • FIRST: The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
  • SECOND: High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
  • THIRD: The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life;
  • FOURTH: The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.”

July brings many exciting new opportunities to The Rotary Club of Brentwood. This includes the new term of our 2016-2017 President, Olga Vidriales. Olga is passionate and committed to her work at Rotary, and how our club serves the community. The Rotary Club of Brentwood has many great programs and options to serve our community (and beyond) in this, and the coming, year. While staying grounded in tradition, we are also working to get even more fresh and relevant by sharing our message, mission and work in a variety of ways. Stay-tuned for updates on the fun and fellowship that we have in store.

As a youth, most all of us wanted to make a difference in the world. Let’s never lose site of this desire. Whether locally, nationally or internationally; service through Rotary is exactly how we can do just that! And there has never been a better time to be a part of making a positive difference.

Bicycle Powered Irrigation System is Changing Ugandan Lives

After nearly two years of meetings, of writing and re-writing grants, of countless hours of white board sessions, of phone conferences and endless email streams; after completely giving up twice only to try again, we are so thrilled to say that the Mukono Rotary Project was an absolutely amazing success. A success that only comes through the power of partnerships.
We are so blessed to have such amazing partners. First up is Assist International. From the very beginning of Project41, Assist International has been our biggest supporter. They have come through more times than we can count and that is exactly what they did this time. The AI team worked diligently over the past two years to see to it that this project would take place. Ralph and Matt Sudfeld pulled everyone together in what can only be described as a near perfect project. Great job AI, it is a pleasure to work with such a wonderful organization.
Next up is Rotary International and the Rotary Clubs of Modesto, Brentwood, Oakdale, Patterson and Oakhurst, CA. David Gallagher of Modesto Rotary took the lead and brought these wonderful clubs together. It was David’s tireless efforts that convinced us not to give up and keep trying. Thank You David and all the Rotary members who helped make this project such a great success.
That brings us to the wonderful members of the Rotary Club of Mukono, Uganda. What an amazing team they are. From traveling down endless bumpy roads in order to identify the farmers, to arranging the educational training and scheduling the event, we could not have been more impressed. Way to go Rotary Club of Mukono. The Mukono region is blessed to have such an amazing community of leaders.
Finally, our incredible partners at WomenFirst. We love working with this team. Agnes and Joseph Twoli spend their lives helping others, and they are such a help to us. Their love for their fellow countrymen is inspiring, and their faithfulness and professionalism is hard to match in all of Africa. Thanks for all you do.
The Rotary Foundation funded the placement of 150 Rainmaker irrigation systems to poor farmers in the Mukono region of Uganda. The grant also covered training the farmers in better agriculture techniques, as well as educating the farmers in running their farms as a business. The project brought together 250 farmers and roughly 50 community leaders. Detailed information from each farmer was collected, and we will follow up with a measurement and evaluation process to verify the impact of this project on raising the income and food security of these families.
WomenFirst trained the farmers on the use of the Rainmaker. It is impossible to describe how excited the farmers get when they first see the Rainmaker in action. When all you have to move water is a bucket, this pump looks like a rocket ship.
NAADS ( National Agriculture Advisory Service) officials conducted extensive training in better agriculture practices as well as how to farm as a business. Many of the farmers live in extremely remote settings and have never had any technical training. We were extremely impressed at the quality of training provided by the team Mukono put together. We have great hope for these farmers.
From single mothers to grandfathers, these farmers represent some of the hardest working, family-loving, and most resilient people on the planet. The majority of them are subsistence farmers, relying on seasonal rain in order to grow enough food to feed their families. It is a tough existence. With no other way to water their crops than a bucket, it is extremely difficult to grow enough to eat, let alone have an abundance to take to market. This will all change now. The ability to irrigate dramatically improves their prospects of growing an abundant crop. Irrigation is proven to raise the income of subsistence farmers by up to 1500%. We are so excited at what the future holds for these wonderful families.
We trained over 250 farmers on this project. They will share the pump and their experience. We have tremendous hope for them. Considering the average farmer has 7 family members in their household, this means that over 1750 people will now have the opportunity to better their lives.
We see a future of abundance for these wonderful families. The road ahead is full of hope and opportunity.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 2.56.36 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 2.57.19 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 2.57.26 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 2.57.32 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 2.57.40 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 2.57.47 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 2.58.06 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 2.58.23 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 2.56.22 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 2.56.14 PM

Poker Players Help the Community!

Please join us at the 7th annual Brentwood Rotary Club No Limit Texas Holdem Poker Tournament. This is a fun event for beginners and seasoned pros alike! Great food, drinks, fellowship, and fun!

This event helps the Rotary Club of Brentwood provide thousands of dollars to our local and world communities in the form of college scholarships, service grants, Rotary led community service, and international projects like eradicating Polio, literacy programs, clean water projects and more.

Come be a part of this fantastic event!

The Brentwood Rotary Club Is Helping Keep Children Safe!

Sign cover




The Brentwood School District superintendent, Dana Eaton, noted that an ongoing challenge facing each of the schools in the district is the horrible traffic jams that take place twice a day most weekdays in the immediate vicinity of each of the district schools. Streets become temporary parking lots as parents maneuver their automobiles into crowded pick-up and drop-off points. Traffic safety around schools is a pressing problem — not just because the traffic is so heavy, but because of the precious young lives that are at risk.

Eaton said that the district is always looking for ways of increasing the safety of the young students in those areas. “Our efforts were given a big boost,” Eaton said, “when the Brentwood Rotary Club provided 24 high-quality safety signs. The signs bear the message “Drive Carefully” and “Protect Our Children.” They will serve as permanent reminders to drivers about driving with care in school zones around each of Brentwood’s 11 schools.

Guy Rohlfs, principal of the Brentwood Elementary School, was grateful that Rotarians were “being mindful of the safety of BUSD students.” Kirsten Jobb, Principal Edna Hill Middle School, said, “We appreciate that our Rotarians have partnered with us to keep our students safe. The signs are a visual representation and reminder to us all that the choices we make each day impact every student in our community.” She then added, “The signs are just one more way the Rotary Club supports our schools and students.”

Chris Calabrese, the Principal of Loma Vista Elementary School noted that the safety of the city’s children is everyone’s duty. “It is all of our responsibility to ensure our children our safe.” Then Chris added, “It is great to have a partner like Rotary supporting the students in our community.”

Trade Club Comedy Night is coming!


GEN_0172 GEN_0176 GEN_0183

Do you love good food, music and lots of laughs?  Then you need tickets to our annual Trade Club Comedy Night Fundraiser!  The event is on 10-24-15 at the Brentwood Community Center from 6-9:30.  Standard tickets are $40, or you can have an upgraded sponsors ticket for $75.  A sponsors ticket gives you all the great food and laughs PLUS a line in all of our thank you advertising!  What a deal.

For tickets, call Fran Bowman at 925-200-2759.

2015 Kohl’s Shopping Spree

Every year Brentwood Rotarians take more than two dozen under privileged students back to school shopping at Kohl’s. This is special tradition that Rotary family members also take part in.  The kids are all thrilled to be able to choose brand new clothes for back to school.

DSC_0417 DSC_0425 DSC_0427 DSC_0444

Brentwood Rotary Year End Service Project Review

Brentwood Rotarians work hard to give back to our community.  Here are some of the projects we completed during our 2014-2015 year.  Every third grader in the Brentwood Unified School District, all 3rd graders in Discovery Bay & Oakley all got dictionaries.  We helped fund many Eagle Scout projects.  We give scholarships to graduating seniors, honor students of the quarter and send Interact students involved in leadership to Camp Royal.  RotaCare is a free medical clinic in Pittsburg that we help support.  The Pathway Home got $20,000 to help veterans suffering from PTSD.  The list is as long as the needs are great.  In addition to fundraising for many causes we also do a lot of grilling and pancake cooking for back-to-school nights, school carnivals/festivals, we’ve pained huge maps on every elementary school playground in Brentwood, Oakley and Discovery Bay.  Our first club project was helping the Liberty FFA students revamp their garden and animal area.  Brentwood Rotarians have a lot of energy!

DSC_0126 DSC_0130

Rotary Ride for Veteran’s

Local Brentwood Rotarians recently took up the challenge to raise enough money to pay for one complete 14-week treatment stay at The Pathway Home, a treatment facility for veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Everyday more than two dozen veterans are lost to suicide.  The Pathway Home’s treatment program is one way to reverse that horrible statistic.


Every year the Napa Rotary Club puts on an event called the Cycle for Sight/Rotary Ride for Veteran’s.  This is the sixth year the Brentwood Rotary Club has participated.  During their first year they raised $1500 and last year they shattered their $10,000 goal by raising $13,000!  They shattered their goal for this year, $15,000 by raising $20,000!

The Pathway Home, Inc. is a privately funded organization that provides comprehensive treatment for the nations’ military personnel who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  They assist those impacted by PTSD, TBI and other post-combat mental health challenges to successfully reintegrate into their families and the community at large.  Since opening their doors in 2008, The Pathway Home, Inc. has successfully helped 420 warriors and 180 of their family members to cope with the effects of PTSD and TBI.

DSC_0118 DSC_0121 DSC_0127 IMG_0941

The Dictionary Project – Every 3rd Grader-Every Year!

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 4.02.42 PMEvery year the Brentwood Rotary Club (and many more Rotary Clubs) give each third grader a dictionary they get to keep. The goal of this program is to assist all students in becoming good writers, active readers, creative thinkers, and resourceful learners by providing them with their own personal dictionary. The dictionaries are a gift to each student to use at school and at home for years to come. Educators see third grade as the dividing line between learning to read and reading to learn, so we encourage our sponsors to give dictionaries each year to children in the third grade.

We give out over 1500 dictionaries every year. During the distribution each student is encouraged to look at the word before and after the one that they needed to look up. This “trick” is a way of helping students learn more than 1 new word each time they use their dictionary.

The next time a Rotarian asks you for a donation, either monetary or a door prize, keep The Dictionary Project in mind when you decide what you can do to help us out!  Thank you.