We are meeting in person and via Zoom!
President's Message 
Sangita Seshadri
member photo

Be the reason someone smiles today.

Happy New Year and Welcome to 2022!  Reflecting over the holidays, it is clear that the most precious gift one can give is Time. When you give your time, you give a little of yourself and a part of your life to someone else. Time spent in fellowship and service is what defines us Rotarians. Through the pandemic, we have supported each other within the Rotary family and demonstrated that we are People of Action by serving the community in impactful ways. 

Rotary achieved a big milestone in 2020 with the declaration of Nigeria being free from the wild poliovirus. We celebrated this achievement with a walk on World Polio Day with our guests from Nigeria. Our frequent Fellowship events gave us an opportunity to socialize and network with current and new members. Our traditional holiday party at the Foothill Club was a blast. It gave us an opportunity to relax, rejoice with music and reconnect with each other. We have welcomed 8 new members into our family. We have provided a refrigerated truck for Martha’s Kitchen which has already been deployed to transport cooked food and groceries to the needy. Through a Global Grant, we are providing teacher training and materials for children with special needs in several school districts. Our work with West Valley Community Services and West Valley College continues unabated. Saratoga Rotarians are indeed People of Action!

The best part of the season is remembering those who make our life meaningful. We wish you all the love and happiness this season can bring, and may it follow you throughout the coming new year. With January 7 being dark, we are kicking off 2022 with a fun-filled Bocce Ball evening on January 12 followed by our regular club meeting on January 14.

Looking forward to your continued support of our club in 2022,



A Visit with Jit at Cedar Crest
I visited Jit Kapur at Cedar Crest Rehabilitation Center. Jit is one of Saratoga Rotary's honorary members and was one of my co-sponsors 21 years ago. The photo is of Jit and me in the center's community room. Jit is doing very well and misses being actively involved in the club. He also expressed thankfulness for Sangita and Sesh's sharing the club photo album with him earlier in the year. 
Cedar Crest provided much Christmas cheer to the residents. Jit served as their Santa, giving each resident a special moment with Santa in the community room during Christmas week. 
I enjoyed my visit with Jit and expressed my joy of Jit Kapur and Bob Flores being my co-sponsors in 2000. That special induction has resulted in endless joy and involvement with Saratoga Rotary and a tremendous sense of fulfillment.
Happy New Year to all!
Introducing New Member, Sonal Christie

Welcome new member, Sonal Christie.  Sonal has been a resident of Saratoga for more than 20 years with her husband, Cecil, and two daughters. 

Sonal is a California Board registered Pharmacist, currently working for Safeway Pharmacy. She enjoys educating and counseling the community on medications and medication management and is passionate about using herbal and alternative medicines for prevention of chronic diseases.  She is an active member of the California Pharmacist Association and the Diabetes Society of Santa Clara Valley.

Sonal loves to travel, read, garden, practice ceramics and play pickle ball with her family and friends. 

Sonal’s sponsors are Sheeba Garg and David Guidry.

Introducing New Member, Anjali Kulkarni

Welcome new member Anjali Kulkarni.  Anjali, her husband, Neel, and daughter, Neha, have lived in Saratoga since 2017 and in the Bay Area for many years prior to that.  Her daughter is a ninth grader at Saratoga High School.  Anjali and her husband are both software engineers - she at Oracle and her husband at Google. 

Anjali likes to spend time with her family and to travel and has recently taken up badminton with her husband.  She loves to read, listen to music and hike with her three-year-old German Shepherd, Crystal.  

Anjali’s sponsors are Alba Alamillo and Sheree Williams.  

Introducing New Member, Michelle White

Welcome to new member Michelle White.  Michelle was introduced to us by Garry and Michael Sneper as the new Memory Care Director in their Palm Villas organization.  Michelle will be working at the Saratoga site when it is completed.  She is a native Californian, currently lives in Pleasanton and plans on relocating back to the South Bay.  

Working in senior living has been Michelle’s life’s work, personal mission and one of her passions.  Most of her career has been supporting people with cognitive impairment, and she has worn many hats professionally in that field.  Prior to Palm Villas, Michelle worked at the Saratoga Retirement Community.  

Michelle enjoys all outdoor activities, watching and participating in sporting events and spending time with friends! Her family, which was super small to begin with, has passed away, but she says she is fortunate to have wonderful friends that are her family.  She also has a pup named Louie, who is her sidekick to many events and often to work!  

Michelle is sponsored by Garry and Michael Sneper.

Stephanie Kashima Awarded Fellowship
This article was published by West Valley College on September 23, 2021 and appears on their website under this title: "Stephanie Kashima of West Valley College Chosen for Aspen Institute's New Presidents Fellowship to Advance Student Success". Permission to reprint the article was granted by Stephanie Kashima. The title above was abridged to accommodate the parameters of the ClubRunner software. Photo by Maria Guldner.

Stephanie Kashima of West Valley College Chosen for Aspen Institute’s New Presidents Fellowship to Advance Student Success

New leaders of colleges educating more than a quarter-million students to participate in program to advance student success.

Saratoga, CA – The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today announced that Stephanie Kashima, President at West Valley College, is one of 25 leaders selected for the 2021-22 class of the Aspen New Presidents Fellowship. This program supports community college presidents in the early years of their tenure as they aim to achieve higher and more equitable levels of student success. The Fellowship’s philanthropic partner is JPMorgan Chase.

The 25 Aspen Fellows, who lead colleges that collectively serve more than 280,000 students, were selected through a highly competitive process. Starting later this year, the Fellows will engage over nine months in residential sessions and virtual learning to develop strategies to meet their goals for student success and equity with data to assess challenges and progress.

“We continue to learn how the best community colleges improve outcomes for students and close persistent race- and income-based equity gaps,” said Josh Wyner, executive director of the College Excellence Program. “This year’s fellows have demonstrated their commitment to achieving excellent and equitable student outcomes, and we are eager to work with them as they join Aspen’s network of more than 100 fellows who serve as community college presidents.”

Past Presidents' Lunch
The theme of the 2021 Past President’s Lunch was Celebrate! While celebrating the contributions of the 18 past presidents in attendance, we also celebrated being together for this special luncheon.
Past President Evan Rohrbough, who was unable to attend the lunch, sent me a piece of history – an invitation to the First Annual Past Presidents’ Recognition Dinner. The event took place in 2008 and honored those in attendance for their tremendous work within the Club and the District. Evan put it best: “When your term was over, the Rotary Club of Saratoga and our community were stronger and better for your
leadership. Thank you for your exceptional service to both.”
Saratoga Rotary's past presidents, current president, and president-elect
An Update on Global Grant 2120253

Global Grant 2120253: Children with Special Needs in Santa Clara County

In the months of November and December of 2021, we delivered all the items that were part of the grant with two exceptions: 

  1. The occupational therapy (OT) kit for Franklin McKinley School District (FMSD) was not delivered because they would like to wait and see if we can deliver the two that were originally budgeted; 
  2. One item for the Sensory Room that is currently unavailable. We will be approaching RI to see if we can replace it with a similar item if it continues to be unavailable. 

All of the OT’s were registered for training.

Thank you for spreading Rotary Holiday Cheer!

This year we supported Family Giving Tree’s Holiday Wish Drive, working with local social agencies. Their goal for 2021 was to provide 40,000 gifts in the Bay Area and 22,000 essential health kits (toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, and a mask). The gifts go to 85% children and 15% teens, adults, and seniors that could be low income, unhoused, in foster care, or have disabilities.

Family Giving Tree was founded 1n 1990 as a San Jose State MBA project to help in-need children. Today it is the largest holiday gift and backpack donation program in California. The founder and CEO, Jennifer Cullenbine, is a member of the Rotary Club of Milpitas where she recently served as club President. Like The Rotary Foundation,  Family Giving Tree is recognized by Charity Navigator with a 4-star rating. 

I am proud to report that Saratoga Rotarians donated 72 gifts, cash for 10-15 more gifts and lots of toothbrushes! Family Giving Tree is happy to report: The journey to two million recipients has been accomplished!

The photos below show Saratoga Rotarians helping out at the Family Giving Tree warehouse in Sunnyvale.

Community Service Project Updates
Written by Cathie Thermond
The last two months have been exceptionally busy for our Community Services committee.  We started three drives in October and participated in traditional Holiday activities in December.
The first drive to be completed was the Bike Drive with Community Cycles of California for the benefit of West Valley College Office of Student Needs and other low-income persons in need of transportation.  This project, chaired by Jim LeBlanc, exceeded our goal of 50 bikes thanks to our Rotarians, two other Rotary Clubs, WVC staff, and community members.  WVC has already received 15 refurbished bicycles, including 8 children’s bikes which are Christmas presents for kids of WVC students in need.

Saratoga Rotarians assisting at Bike Collection Day, at West Valley College
A happy recipient of a refurbished bike

Our coat, socks and outerwear drive with One Warm Coat benefited Martha’s Kitchen in San Jose.  This drive was chaired by Reiko Iwanaga and Emily Lo. With donations from our Club, Inner Wheel, Foothill Club and community members, the drive was wildly successful.  In total, we sorted and donated:

    1,082 pairs of socks

    280 coats/jackets

    128 sweaters/sweatshirts

Over half of coats and sweatshirts and almost all the socks were new thanks to several Rotarians and a generous grant from Our Lady of Fatima Villa Foundation. The coats were all distributed on December 15 at Martha’s Kitchen. The coats were gone in under an hour!

Saratoga Rotarians packing up bags of warm clothing to drop off at Martha's Kitchen
Customers at Martha's Kitchen looking over the merchandise

At the same time, we started a drive for professional clothing for a new service at West Valley College.  This effort, chaired by Sabine Grad and Maggie Tsai, benefits the WVC Office of Student Needs.  There will be an actual closet in the Office of Student Needs to assist students with career clothing and wardrobe basics.  We have received lots of donations to date; they are being sorted by the students who assist Samantha Hernandez, Director of Student Needs.  Thanks to many of our Rotarians and a grant from Our Lady of Fatima Villa Foundation, there will be lots of clothing to support the students when the closet opens in late January.  Watch for updates on this exciting project!

The empty closet at West Valley College at the start of the career clothing drive
Donated professional clothing being transported at West Valley College 

Continuing one of our Club’s longest traditions, (we think it has been happening for around 30 years), Breakfast with Santa was held at Washington Elementary School on December 4.  Chaired by James Lindsay, aka the driver of Santa’s sleigh, Santa arrived for photos and to distribute gift bags to the 109 TK, Kindergarten and First Grade students.  Although there was no breakfast or party, students who attended still had a marvelous time meeting Santa.

Santa Chuck and Santa's Helper, Ramya, at Washington Elementary School
Santa and a Washington Elementary student

Last but certainly not least, Saratoga Rotary participated with Family Giving Tree to fulfill the wishes of area children.  Chair Terrie Creamer started with 40 wishes to fulfill.  Thanks to our generous Rotarians, we actually collected 72 gifts and some cash to make Christmas a little happier for many!  Rotarians also went to the FGT warehouse and helped sort and package gifts for the recipient families, as seen below.

Saratoga Rotarians assisting at the Family Giving Tree warehouse

Whether you donated, sorted coats or gifts, collected bikes or played Santa, we so appreciate your willingness to help our community.  We estimate that we touched the lives of nearly 1,000 people with our efforts over the last two months! A huge THANK YOU to all of you who helped us with these meaningful projects.  

Jan 07, 2022
Jan 14, 2022
Argentine Tango
Jan 21, 2022
Nuro - Self Driving Cars
Jan 28, 2022
Feb 11, 2022
Covid-19 and Its Impact on the Local Economy and Real Estate Markets
View entire list
Upcoming Events
WVCS Mobile Pantry / Park-It Market
Jan 05, 2022
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Board of Directors Meeting
Jan 11, 2022
5:15 PM - 6:15 PM
WVCS Mobile Pantry / Park-It Market
Jan 12, 2022
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Membership Committee Meeting
Jan 17, 2022
5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
WVCS Mobile Pantry / Park-It Market
Jan 19, 2022
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Youth Service Committee Meeting
Jan 24, 2022
5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
WVCS Mobile Pantry / Park-It Market
Jan 26, 2022
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Community Service Monthly Meeting
Jan 26, 2022
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
WVCS Mobile Pantry / Park-It Market
Feb 02, 2022
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Board of Directors Meeting
Feb 08, 2022
5:15 PM - 6:15 PM
View entire list
Slow Dance, by David Weatherford
Shared by Keong Kam
Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.
Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask: How are you?
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done,
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.
Ever told your child,
We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
'Cause you never had time
To call and say, "Hi"?
You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.
When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower.
Hear the music
Before the song is over.
A List of Things to be Grateful For, by Gary Brandenburg
Shared by James Lindsay
For the spouse who grouses when dinner is not on time,
because he/she is home with me and not with someone else.
For teenagers complaining about doing dishes, 
because it means they are at home and not on the streets.
For the taxes I pay,
because it means I am employed.
For the mess to clean up after a party,
because it means I have been surrounded by family and friends.
For the clothes that fit a little too snugly,
because it means I have enough to eat.
For my shadow that watches me work,
because it means I am out in the sunshine.
For a lawn that needs mowing and windows that need cleaning,
because it means I have a home.
For all the complaining I hear about the government,
because it means we have freedom of speech.
For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot,
because it means I am capable of walking.
For my heating bill,
because it means I am warm.
For the lady behind me in church who sings off key,
because it means I can hear.
For the pile of laundry,
because it means I have clothes to wear.
For the alarm that goes off in the dawn hours, 
because it means I am alive.
And finally...for too much e-mail,
because it means I have friends who are thinking of me.
14 Cows for America
Shared by Paul Conrado
​​​​​I heard a young man speak 12 years ago at a Rotary meeting. I guessed him to be about 30, and his story captivated me. I would like to share it with you.

Kimeli Naiyomah is a Maasai warrior from Kenya.

I have been to Kenya and spent time with the Maasai people and their warriors.

To be a warrior, you need to kill a lion, by yourself, with only a spear. Kimeli has done this.

As a child, Kimeli and his mother wandered from village to village. They were homeless, as he had no father, and women are not allowed to own land in the Masai Mara. They depended on village leaders to let them tend cattle in exchange for milk and a place to sleep.

Along the way, Kimeli learned to read and write. He was accepted to Stanford to study biology. 

On Sept. 11, 2001, Kimeli was in New York when the towers were struck. He witnessed America hurting. His heart was wounded. He wanted to give a piece of his life to heal those who hurt.

In the Masai Mara, the Maasai eat only milk, beef, and herbs. Cattle are sacred and valued above all other possessions. Cattle are their currency, as well as their food.

Kimeli wanted to help America heal, so he returned to his village in Kenya and asked the elders to bless the calf he wanted to give to America. They blessed the calf and decided to give more. Thirteen more, in fact. They decided to send 14 cows to America as a sign of sympathy and regret.

In June of 2002, and American diplomat arrived at that flung village to receive a gift for the American people. The gift is as unsought and unexpected as it is extraordinary. Tears flowed freely from American and Maasai as these legendary warriors offered their gift to a grieving people half a world away.

News travels fast. Many are profoundly touched, and for Americans, this selfless gesture had a deeper meaning. For our heartsick nation, a gift of fourteen cows emerges from the choking dust and darkness as a soft light of hope and friendship.

The State Department decided, through its American ambassador to Kenya, that the cost to ship the cattle was more than the cattle were worth. We asked the tribe to keep the herd safe on behalf of the American people.

The cows remain in Kenya, on hallowed ground, in a sacred warrior camp site where foreigners are not allowed. They are cared for by the Maasai and are the property of the 9-11 families.

Each one has a symbol of the twin towers carved in its ear. They are healthy and happy. They have multiplied and given birth to little calves that are American too. The herd has grown to 35+ cattle. 

Kimeli has grown also. He now has a master’s degree in microbiology from Stanford University, and is a Rotary Peace fellow, studying at Duke University.

In Kimeli’s words:

“Rotarians are ordinary people taking extraordinary actions to foster relations with countries around the world”.

I could not agree more. 



Executives & Directors
Immediate Past President
President Elect
Club Service
Club Service
Community Service
Fine Art Show and Fundraising Chair
Fine Art Show and Fundraising Chair
International Service
SRCF President
SRCF Treasurer
The Rotary Foundation
Vocational Service
Youth Service

The non-BOD positions in the club are:

Club Trainers: Jim LeBlanc, Larry Grace, and Jack Hickling
Information Management/Sergeant at Arms: Peter Marra
Meeting Announcements (with President): Alba Alamillo
Meeting Audio/Video (in-person meetings): Sheeba Garg and Keong Kam
Parliamentarian: Marcia Hansen
Public Image Lead: Sheeba Garg
We Care: Ann Marie Burger
Youth Protection Officer: Catherine Thermond
Russell Hampton
ClubRunner Mobile
Be the reason somebody smiles today.