Member Spotlight: Ron Gemberling

Posted on Jun 02, 2020

Meet Rotarian Dr. Ron Gemberling

Anyone who has been on a humanitarian surgical mission can share how moving the experience is. Surgeons from around the world come together to help children worldwide by eliminating the burden of cleft lip and palate, burn scarring, and other birth deformities.  Dr. Gemberling has traveled throughout the underserved parts of the world with Rotaplast International and ReSurge International 29 times over 20 years, including as Medical Mission Director.
Dr. Gemberling is a former President of the San Jose Surgical Society, as well as a member of The American College of Surgeons, The American Medical Association, The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and several other professional associations.  He received his undergraduate and doctorate degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles, and completed residency programs at University of Michigan and University of Louisville.
Member Spotlight: Ron Gemberling Sam Alkan 2020-06-02 07:00:00Z 0 member spotlight

Member Spotlight: Renee Paquier

Posted on May 20, 2020

Meet Rotarian Renée Kazemipour Paquier.  

A first generation Iranian American, and San Jose native, Renee was a global citizen at a young age:
She was the president of her high school’s Interact Club and District 5170 rep, received a Rotary Scholarship for college, and joined Rotary to serve our Saratoga community.  
Renee currently serves as Dean of the Che School of Professional Studies at West Valley College and as a Parks and Recreation Commissioner for the City of Saratoga. She also serves on the Board of the Saratoga Area Senior Coordinating Council.
As Dean, Renee oversees the following programs: Accounting, Administration of Justice, Business, Court Reporting, Child Studies, Early Elementary Education, Entrepreneurship, Geospatial Technology, Paralegal, Park Management, Real Estate, and Unmanned aircraft system technology (drones).  
Hope you can meet Renee on one of her international service trips, including Rotaplast.
Member Spotlight: Renee Paquier Sam Alkan 2020-05-20 07:00:00Z 0 member highlight

Saratoga Rotary Foundation Approves New Grants to Local Organizations

Posted on Apr 08, 2019
The Saratoga Rotary Foundation is pleased to announce that grants were recently made to the following local non-profit organizations:
Child Advocates of Silicon Valley
Parents Helping Parents
Martha's Kitchen
Young at Heart
Saratoga-Los Gatos Assistance League
The Greatful Garment Project
Books Aloud
Hope Services
Sunday Friends
Cancer CAREPoint
ACT for Mental Health
Know a Vet?
Bill Wilson Center
Prevention Partnership International
Saratoga Rotary Foundation Approves New Grants to Local Organizations Sue Biester 2019-04-08 07:00:00Z 0

Presidents Message - July

Posted on Jul 27, 2018

Hello, Saratoga Rotary! 

Well, we're off and running in a new Rotary Year. Thank you all for the warm welcome, many suggestions and cogent advice!

This year's Rotary International theme is "Be the Inspiration". Our RI President, Barry Russin, picked a good one. Inspiration comes in many ways. When I was younger, I found that inspiration came in the form of "just doing something".

After joining Rotary in 2000, I have found that each of the members of our club have been an inspiration to me at one time or another.

We've got a lot to think about this year: I'm looking into a strategic planning session to create a multi-year plan, we're looking at things to do to beef up the art show, new events - fundraising and fellowship, etc. Key to each of the success of each of the things we undertake will be our inspiration. I have started to ask myself how I can be the inspiration and I know deep down that we each are inspired and inspiring at the same time.

I'd like this to be a year of openness, warmth, creativity and inspiration for our club. We'll welcome new members, shake ourselves up and be thankful every day for the goodness that is Saratoga Rotary! Thank you for entrusting the Presidency to me - I promise you that I'll do my very best. And, at every step of the way, like you, I'll do my best to BE THE


Thank you,


Presidents Message - July Chuck Page 2018-07-27 07:00:00Z 0

Africa Trip

Posted by Jitka Cymbal
It has been less than a month since we returned from Tanzania.Our club participated in a international global grant project together with seven other clubs. Prior to the trip I didn’t know what to expect. I knew the Orkeeswa School is a British style high school located in a rural area of Monduli hills near Arusha. I knew that the children are from Masai tribe. What I didn’t know is what it really meant. Some Massai to this day lead nomad life. They are moving with their families and livestock (cows, goats, sheep and donkeys) to good grazing lands. That is slowly changing. Some of the families are now staying in one location and beginning to farm their land. What impressed me was the commitment these children have to the school.
Africa Trip Jitka Cymbal 2017-04-15 07:00:00Z 0
Latimer Literacy Catherine Thermond 2017-04-15 07:00:00Z 0
Youth Speech Contest Catherine Thermond 2017-04-15 07:00:00Z 0

Breakfast With Santa

Posted by Shinku Sharma on Dec 17, 2016
Community Service project: Breakfast With Santa.
Did you know that Breakfast with Santa was first started in 1995?  It was a joint event between Saratoga Rotary and City of Saratoga. More than 100 children were bussed to a beautifully decked out community center for the event. Rotarian Don Perez started the event and chaired it for many years. Over the years, Breakfast with Santa became a Saratoga Rotary event only. Now Rotarians go to Washington Elementary School and treat the children.
This year was our 21st Breakfast With Santa event. Thank you to Saratoga Rotary Charitable Foundation for its continuous support for funding this event.
On Dec. 3rd, 2016, more than 30 Rotarians and their guests brought holiday cheer, gifts, breakfast, activities, and caroling to 175 children aged 4 to 6 years old. Little boys and girls were dressed in their finest and so delightful.
One little girl remarked, “This is the best day of my life.”
A little boy said, “You guys are so nice. I will always remember today.” And we heard similar sentiments from so many more children. Our hearts were grateful.
We had a great event because of what everyone did.
A big thank you to Cathie Thermond for doing all the shopping. Each child got a gift bag with a reading book, coloring book, crayons, play dough, and a ball.
Thank you Jim LeBlanc for being Santa. You fit this role perfectly!
Thank you Lillian Barnes for being Mrs. Claus. Kids love you!
Thank you Cookie Fitzimmons for being a perfect Elf.
Thank you Roseanne Rose for being Santa’s helper and carrying all the gifts in your sleigh.
Thank you Maria for photographing all the children, Rotarians, and teachers.
Thank you Mayor Manny for reading the story to the children.
Thank you Tom Collins for playing piano through out the event. It really was a treat to have live music.
Thank you Ketan Jashapara and Carol Yuan for picking up breakfast from McDonalds.
Thank you Alba Alamillo, Manny Cappello, Julie Herndon, Lisa Huening, Patti Workman, Dhiren Unadkat, Anandi Unadkat, and Carol Yuan for face painting. Alba’s son and two Prospect High Interacters: Maryam Ali and Sylvina Garnica face painted also.
Thank you to Marie Bechtel, Roy Cook, Jitka Cymbal, Ron Gemberling, Susan Gentry, Larry Grace, Sean Halasz, Paul Hernandez, Reiko Iwanaga, Marsi Nomura, Chuck Page, Sandie Prevot, Sesh Ramaswami, Wes Toy, Carol Woodard, Garry Woodward, and Phil Young for helping with gifts, breakfast, helping children, cleaning up and whatever was needed to make everything perfect.
Here are few photos from Maria Guldner for you to enjoy.
Breakfast With Santa Shinku Sharma 2016-12-17 08:00:00Z 0

Care packages for the Troops

Posted by Shinku Sharma on Dec 17, 2016
Community Service project: Assembling Care Packages.
On November 4, 2016, Saratoga Rotary Club made more than 320 care packages for active troops serving overseas in areas of conflict. 52 Rotarians and some guests were involved in this effort. 
SRCF gave $1,500 for supplies for care packages. We bought beef jerky, power bars, nuts, fruit roll ups, socks, batteries and chap sticks with these funds. Our own Julie Herndon donated toothbrushes and toothpaste. We were able to get decks of playing cards and hygiene products donated. Rotarians wrote cards of thanks and gratitude to the troops and they included in each care package.
Some of the Rotarians who have served in military were nostalgic about their own experiences. Gary Brandenberg spent two years on an aircraft carrier in the Far East. He said that care packages are a gift from home, and a reminder that people care, and you are not forgotten. Paul Hernandez said he got Red Cross packages when he was in army. Care packages are a really good idea especially for those who don’t have a lot of family collection.
We had several speakers including Rinkoo Nat, a local businesswoman whose son is serving overseas. She poignantly spoke about how her son has not been home for four christmasses and three thanksgivings. She said that receiving these care packages gives troops a boost and lets them know that they are loved. She has a year round donation box set up at the UPS office in downtown Saratoga for community members to give and ensures that all donations are shipped to the troops.
Alison Hughes, a director at Operation Care and Comfort was very thankful to the Club and Foundation for donation. This group is made up of volunteers only.
I am very thankful to my team who helped with shopping, pre-assembly, and set up:
Geeta Arunkumar, Sean Haalz, Reiko Iwanaga, James Lindsay, Sangita Seshadri, Cathie Thermond, Carol Yuan, and my mom. And a big thank you to everyone for helping with clean up.
Here are some photos of the event for you to enjoy.
Care packages for the Troops Shinku Sharma 2016-12-17 08:00:00Z 0

Community Service Committee August 2016 Update

Posted by Catherine Thermond on Aug 30, 2016

Thank you to Saratoga Rotary Charitable Foundation for funding Community Service projects. Along with Highway 9 clean up and Breakfast with Santa at Washington Elementary school, we will be working with Stop Hunger Now and Operation Care and Comfort.

Now in its third year at Saratoga Rotary, we will be making food bags through Stop Hunger Now. This organization's goal is to eliminate food hunger in our lifetime. About 50 Club Rotarians and Interactors will be involved in packing approximately 10,000 meals. We are working on finalizing date and location for this project.

Operation Care and Comfort(OCC) is a new project for our Club. OCC allows caring Americans to donate their time, talent, and treasure to honor those currently serving in areas of conflict. On Veterans Day, November 11 2016, our club program will be making care packages for the troops. Please mark your calendars. 

Reminder: Meetings are Fridays at 11am, before our weekly Rotary meeting, in the sitting area of the Community Center. Community Service meets on the second Friday of the month and Youth Service on the third Friday.

Thank you!

Community Service Committee August 2016 Update Catherine Thermond 2016-08-30 07:00:00Z 0

Changing lives in Bengaluru, India

Posted by Sesh Ramaswami on Jul 19, 2016

WaSH Project: Changing the lives of students in Bengaluru, India

The Rotary Club of Saratoga, California, USA (Club 5170) in partnership with the Bangalore (India) Rotary District 3190, with matching grant from Rotary International will improve the lives of a few thousand low income primary and middle school students across 15-20 local schools in the city of Bengaluru, India. This global grant will be funded at approximately USD $70,000. During 2017, Rotary will construct restroom facilities for girls, hand washing stations and water purification following UNICEF guidelines. Such basic facilities will reduce girls‛ absenteeism from schools and improve student health, thereby enhancing personal safety and educational experience. This initiative, entitled WaSH (Water, Sanitation and Health), starts with a formal needs assessment of schools and interviews with teachers, students and other stakeholders. Following best practices, the project team along with school staff, will also establish a curriculum anchored around health such that good sanitation practices can be passed on to their families as well to students through successive school years.

This program is also open for contributions from private individuals or companies; such amounts will be matched at 50% by Rotary International, thereby expanding the project footprint and community impact. For further information, please contact Sesh Ramaswami.

Changing lives in Bengaluru, India Sesh Ramaswami 2016-07-19 07:00:00Z 0