Posted by John Schorr on Dec 31, 2019

Let me begin by wishing all our readers a VERY HAPPY and PRODUCTIVE NEW YEAR!

Our club begins the year with a great deal of optimism; 2019 was a great year of service for us in our community and 2020 appears headed toward even greater accomplishments as we continue to focus our service efforts on Child Safety, Health, and Education in Northern Thailand!

Where we are at the end of 2019

CMIRC ended 2019 with record membership, closing the year with twenty-eight members! We currently have six active service projects focused on children: Mae Tao Clinic/Child Development Center/Child Protection Project in Mae Sot, Children’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Program in Chiang Mai and Phrao, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) B.K. Kee Patient House in Chiang Mai, Children’s Winter Clothing and School Supply Program serving remote villages all over Northern Thailand, English Language Cultural Exchange Program at BEAM Education Foundation in Chiang Mai, and our new Child and Maternal Health Screening Program operating in Chiang Mai Province. Our Children’s Vision Screening Project in the Chiang Mai Municipal Schools is still not ready to be restarted, but perhaps a year called 20/20 will be a good omen for a vision program restart!

December 2019

The month started with the club’s Annual Meeting where we recognized President-Elect Clarence (in brown shirt, at right) as our newest Paul Harris Fellow and we also saw Charter President Roger (left side of photo) receive recognition as a multi-year Paul Harris Fellow. Clarence's wife Rtn. Aree and daughter Areeya were there to help him celebrate.

At our Annual Meeting we also elected our officers for the next Rotary Year beginning July 1, 2020:

President-Elect: Michael Gholson (PE Clarence will become President Clarence)

Secretary: Rtn. Nick Dale

Treasurer: Rtn. Nancy Lindley

A great team to lead our 9-member CMIRC Board of Directors.

Also, at the beginning of December, I had a formal meeting with the chair of the BEAM Education Foundation Board, Kyaw Kyaw Min Htut (Joe-Joe) and signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BEAM (left). We will continue to help BEAM students improve their communication abilities and prepare for the U.S. high school equivalency exams (GEDs) which will allow them to seek college admission in Thailand. 

In mid-December our club was recognized at the Rotary District 3360 Inter City Meeting in Chiang Khlong for having a 100% giving rate for the Every Rotarian Every Year (EREY) program of the RI Foundation and for having EREY gifts that averaged over $100/ member. PE Clarence and I were there to receive the honor on the club’s behalf. 

At our regular meeting on December 17, we welcomed Margaret O’Driscoll from Ireland as the newest member to our club. Also, at that meeting, we had over forty attendees with guests from Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Cayman Islands, the UK and the USA! A very international evening! 

Probably the highpoint for the month was our CMIRC-sponsored Christmas Party at the BCMF B.K. Kee Patient House (a home in Chiang Mai for severely ill/injured children, children with cancer, genetic disorders and other problems requiring specialized care not available in their home communities; parents and guardians can stay with their children. For my American friends, it is a low-budget Ronald McDonald House). We played bingo, gave presents to all the kids and their caretakers, ate lunch and just shared a loving day. The Christmas Spirit was really present on that day. Thanks to Rtns. Maliwan, Bill, Gordana for organizing a great party and thanks also to all who attended. 

The month ended with our last CMIRC Board meeting in 2019. Readers, we are working on ways to include new members in our club who do not live full-time in Chiang Mai. We will call this a Passport Membership and it will be tailored to your schedule and club service requirements. Meeting attendance will no longer be the key issue for members; it can all be about service! So, if you are excited about doing meaningful service in a part of the world where children still have many unmet basic needs, contact me and I will tell you how you can join us in our efforts to improve Child Safety, Health and Education in Northern Thailand:, CMIRC President and Membership Chair 2019-2020.