Friday November 18, 2016
Becoming an active advocate for change means having a genuine love for one’s community and the people within it. We spoke with Harshad Bhimani, Chairman of the Mountain House Rotary Club, about what it means to be part of something bigger than yourself.
- When did you become a resident here at Mountain House?
2. What has been your favorite part about calling Mountain House home?
The closeness of the community.
- For those of us who have never heard the term, what exactly does it mean to be a Rotary Club member?
Being a Rotary member means being a part of a wonderful community and family. As a Rotary member, I am able to do good in the community and the world without any regional, religious or personal boundaries. I am part of global organization doing good for every human being. Along with that, I am more connected with my local community - events, organizations, people, and local businesses - than I have ever been.
- As Chairman of the club here at Mountain House, what inspired you to get involved and become dedicated to the group?
The Mountain House High School Interact Club (Interact is the high school division of Rotary) along with their involvement and passion for community service was my primary inspiration. I have also grown up among Rotary members in India and have always had a deep appreciation for what the organization does. This was the perfect opportunity for me to get involved and make a difference in our community and the world.
- Can you tell us what the agenda looks like for a club meeting?
A traditional club meeting starts with a silent invocation followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, member/guest introductions, and fellowship, community, and Rotary announcements. After this, we have presentations by the guest speakers, who are leaders in their respective fields and have made a significant impact in their community. Some of our speakers in the last year were:
Ed Pattison - General Manager, MHCSD
Troy Brown - City Manager, City of Tracy
Angel Lamb - MHCSD Recreations / Communications Coordinator
Patricia Harrison and Jennifer Snyder - Relay for Life
Jenni Tellers - Photos for Foster Kids
Jeff Naleway - Rooms Of Hope
Steve Willhide - Presentation and demo about drones
Ruth Cassidy - Host, MH Vendor Night
We also invite other Rotary members to be guest speakers, who have years of experience with the organization and shed light on its inner workings and impact on a global scale:
Ellen Hancock - PDG, Rotary District 5220 – About Rotary zones, district, areas
Penny Van Der Meer & Ellen Hancock - About their contribution for LUSD
Craig Mizuno, Bryan Harrison, & Brett Nixon - Panel discussion – Why Rotary?
- We know the club is a satellite club of Tracy Sunrise Rotary. What was the motivation to bring a Rotary Club to the Mountain House community?
A traditional Rotary Club requires members to attend weekly meetings, which is not feasible for most local residents. After a year of being a satellite club of Tracy Sunrise Rotary, we are now pleased to announce the intention to form Rotary Club of Mountain House, which will be a Passport Club. In this format, there will be one general meeting and one board meeting each month, however, it is not mandatory for members to attend. Instead, members can volunteer as Rotarians at their preferred community event or an event at any other Rotary club. As a result, the Rotary Club of Mountain House will see an increase in membership and a greater impact in the community. Though Mountain House is mostly a commuter town, it is tightly connected through social media and technology and this new Rotary model’s constructive use of technology makes it a perfect fit for us. Not only that, Mountain House will be recognized at the Rotary level as one of the few clubs to adopt this innovative approach!
(Photo Credit: Tracy Press)
- What kind of impact are you hoping the club will have on the community?
With just five local Rotary members and a short span of one year, Rotary and MHHS Interact have contributed to the community significantly by participating in Relay for Life, MHHS Kite Festival, MHHS 4th of July Parade, Shakespeare in the Park, and more. We have also provided volunteers at these and other events. We will have continued support and guidance from Tracy Sunrise Rotary, other Rotary clubs in Rotary District 5220, Rotary District, Area and Zone Leadership, and Rotary International. With Rotary’s presence in Mountain House, I hope that we will come even closer together as a community with a goal to do good, and I am certain we will feel proud that we have our own Rotary club!
- How has being a member impacted your life personally?
I have learned a lot about new cultures, traditions, global challenges, and noble initiatives to resolve local and international problems. Rotary has also given me leadership opportunities and trainings, and given me a whole different perspective on the world. By far the biggest impact that Rotary has had on my life is giving me the satisfaction of being able to serve communities on a local, national, and international scale, and truly help those in need.
- Do you have any specific projects going on currently, or do you have any in the works for the future?
This month, Rotary and MHHS Interact have adopted the Mountain House Thanksgiving Basket Brigade. We will collect food items and prepare meal baskets for families in need. One basket will contain supplies to provide one family with a complete Thanksgiving dinner. We plan to deliver these baskets to families on November 19th. Additionally, we will continue to participate in all the events that we participated in last year, and will keep looking for more opportunities and expanding our outreach through input from our new members.
10. What would you say is the main reason people should join the Rotary Club?
Rotary is a local, national, and global organization. It provides the platform, flexibility, and support to make a difference locally and globally. In addition to being a service organization, it is also a leadership organization with opportunities to lead at the club, area, district, zone, national and international level. In a few words, the main reason to join Rotary is that you will get to connect with leaders, exchange ideas, take action, and be able to see the results for yourself!
Want to get involved? Explore the club website HERE, or call (209) 233-0133 to find out what you can do to give back to the community, and how you can become a Rotary Club member.
Current Club Officers:
Harshad Bhimani - Chair, Director of Vocational Services
Bryan Harrison - Chair-Elect, Director of Service Projects & Public Relations
Christina Oh - Chair Elect Nominee, Secretary, Treasurer, Director of Youth Services
Jaswant Singh - Director of Membership, Club Administration, Youth Services, Vocational Services
Marylou Edwards - Director of Membership, Public Relations, International Services
Bill Prioste - TSR President, Director of Satellite Club Administration