Posted by John Schorr on Jun 06, 2019
This will be my last president’s message since I am traveling in the U.S. during the month of June, returning to Chiang Mai on July 8, after my CMIRC presidential term has ended. President-Elect Colin Jarvis has generously offered to stand in for me during the month of June, before beginning his own term on July 1.
I would like to use this message to reflect on some of the major things our club has accomplished over the past 11 months and thank the CMIRC Rotarians who led or played very significant roles in these efforts.
We are a service club, so I’ll start with some highlights of our service projects. This year we have:

a. Installed pure drinking water systems at the Mae Tao Clinic MTC for patients and staff and worked with MTC to develop a Global Grant. Thank you PP Jerry and PE Clarence.

b. Volunteered with the children and their caregivers every Sunday at the Burma Children Medical Fund's B.K. Kee Patient House. Thank you Rotarians Mike, Gary, and Roger.

c. Taught over 500 children survival swimming and water safety with our Children’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Program in Chiang Mai, BanYa Literacy Center - Phuket, and Phrao. Thank you Rotarians Roger and Gawain.

d. Gathered and delivered seven full truckloads of children’s winter clothing to mountain villages here in Northern Thailand. Thank you Rotarian Geoff & Volunteer Peter Barlow and daughter Pang.

e. Volunteered with displaced and refugee GED (High School Equivalency) students at BEAM Foundation (a program for Burmese migrants and refugees) in an English Language and Culture Program and in GED preparation review. Almost all have passed all parts of the GED and can now apply to universities here in Thailand and abroad. Thank you Rotarians Gary, Brian, Roger, Nick, Gordana, and volunteers Bob and May.

f. We are now the donor representative on the BEAM scholarship committee and are helping them raise funds to enroll the GED students in universities. I am currently serving in this role.

g. Three youth programs have been added this year. At the high school-level we now have Rotary International chartered Interact Clubs at the Chiang Mai International School, thank you Rotarian Mike and at the Unity Concord International School, thank you Rotarian Brian. At the university level, we sponsored and chartered the Rotaract Club of Payap University, thank you Rotarian William.
h. And much, much more, thank you to everyone in CMIRC for your dedication to improving Child Safety, Health, and Education in Thailand!
To do these projects we need good service-oriented people and this year we added some amazing new members: Nick, Clarence, Brian, Andrew, Cynthia and Gawain.
Thanks to Rotarian Ken for his help adding financial incentives for our membership efforts.
It takes money to do what we do and this will be a record year for fundraising for CMIRC, estimates through May of this year show we have already broken our 1,000,000 baht record from last year, thanks to fundraising efforts led by Rotarians Nancy and Shana!! And after two great fundraisers ”It’s Only Rock and Roll,” Rolling Stones tribute concert and the Children’s Charity Duck Dive, we still have another fundraiser in June: Whim’n Rhythm!  
We also are very grateful for our Foundation donors: Safe Child Thailand, Australian Direct Assistance Grant Program, and the British Community in Thailand Foundation for the Needy (British Embassy and Chamber of Commerce), and the Rotary Clubs of Minnesota under the leadership of Rotarian Craig Clark. Finally, PP Jerry’s fundraising work with the Mae Tao Clinic continues to provide essential support for their Child Development Center and Child Protection Services.

Our philosophy as a club is to use the money we raise as soon as we can to support our projects focused on child safety, health and education. What we do not spend on our projects we donate to Rotary International or worthy projects focused on children here in Thailand. This year our club and its members have participated in supporting the Rotary International Foundation and Polio Plus programs by donating over 100,000 baht to the Rotary International Foundation and Polio Plus. We will set a record this year with donations of over 1,000,000 Baht to our projects and charities!

Other accomplishments:
This year we faced a real challenge: homelessness! After three years at Hong Kong Lucky they moved to a new location and there was no place for us at the inn!! Thanks to Rotarian Cynthia and her extensive connections and tireless work, we found our best home ever: The Royal Peninsula Hotel! 

Finally, I think this past year exemplifies our club’s continued dedication to living up to the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.” Thank you all! I am very proud of us!!
What happened in May:
The club was busy in May helping to plan the annual installation of the new club officers event for all sixteen clubs in the Chiang Mai area. The event will take place Saturday, June 29 at 6 pm at the Khum Phucome Hotel. All members and friends of Rotary are welcome to attend the installation dinner. We will have a special guest speaker at the event, United States Deputy Consul General Lane Ogawa. Pictured left to right: Deputy Consul General Lane Ogawa, P John, U.S. Consul General Jennifer Harhigh, P Chonisa of RC of Chiang Mai-Wattana, PP Werapong of RC of Chiang Mai and CP Roger. We had an excellent meeting at the Consular residence in May to discuss the event.

Our club also joined with CP Pongsawart and PE Soontorn of the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai-Wattana to host a group of students and their faculty adviser from Utah State University at one of our meetings devoted to a discussion of service projects in Omkoi.

On May 25 and 26, CP Roger, PP Jerry, PE Clarence, and I attended to District Training Assembly in Phayao.  CP Roger was selected to be one of the main trainers and presenters at the conference! While there we had the opportunity to meet the director and staff of Rotary International Thailand Office (shown left) and we got to know the 2019-2020 District 3360 Governor Kamolsak Visitsakulchai. 
At the end of the month Rotarian Gary and I attended the annual RC of Chiang Mai-Thin Thai Ngam and Grandma Cares Foundation Scholarship ceremony with Thel Thel and Su Myat former BEAM students and current Chiang Mai University students receiving scholarships. BEAM staff member Alta Alonzi joined us in the celebration.

We were busy until the last day of May! On the 31st, PP Jerry, Rotarian Gary, visiting Rotarians from Spokane, Washington Fred and Dave, prospective CMIRC member Tabatha, and I participated in a banner exchange, (shown right).

Finally, because I am traveling in June, we conducted our traditional hat ceremony for the departing president and new president at the May CMIRC Board Meeting. PE Colin Jarvis received his Tam o’ Shanter complete with much-needed hair from “professor” John. More on that tradition in the story below, with photos.
How readers of our Bulletin can help:
Please read the project reports in this Bulletin to learn more about how CMIRC has expanded and strengthened its focus on Child Safety, Health, and Education this month.

I will end with an appeal. We are getting ready for a very productive 2019-2020 year. Our club’s mission to improve the lives of children in Northern Thailand through our club projects focusing on Child Safety, Health, and Education, demands a great deal of effort and commitment from CMIRC members and friends. There is much to do, and if you would like to help us by joining the club, or if you know someone who might like to join, please let me know: or 08 5030 2143.

If you wish to make a financial contribution to the CMIRC, please contact

If you wish to make an in-kind contribution: We especially need children’s toys, sports equipment, and school supplies --  please contact or 08 5030 2143.