Grosse Pointe Rotary Club

Grosse Pointe

Service Above Self

We meet Wednesdays at 5:30 PM
Grosse Pointe Yacht Club
788 Lake Shore Road
Grosse Pointe Shores, MI  48236
United States of America
Venue Map

Meetings will be held via Zoom until further notice.

Members will receive email invites each week.

Our Stories

Noel Jackson, our Governor for District 6400 was our presenter on Sept. 9th.

A member of the Trenton Rotary Club since 2004, DG Noel served as its president in 2012-13.  He has been involved with numerous international projects, including travelling to India with Ron Vitale in 2010 to provide polio vaccines.

DG Noel began his presentation by thanking the amazing team that has helped him reach this point and continue to help him.  This includes 10 Assistant Governors, his mentor in the Trenton Club - Chuck Howey, and our own Kim Towar who has been in his corner, promoting him to become District Governor.

RI’s moto this year is Rotary Opens Opportunities while the District 6400 motto is Be A Hero - Human Engaging Rotary Opportunities.  DG Noel believes that engaging in these opportunities is what makes one a Rotarian, while also developing lifelong friendships.

A persona created by our District Governor a few years ago to support a literacy program is Captain Rotary.  He views the character as a metaphor for the superhero inside every Rotarian.  No superpowers, just a willingness to turn ideas into projects.

DG Noel is promoting a “peace chain” – a positive passive peace initiative to raise awareness of others to make their communities stronger, safer, and more stable.  Clubs are asked to nominate individuals to be a “link” and becomes friends of Rotary.

To open service opportunities for the Clubs, DG Noel has started the Rainbow Connection, which provides connections across the District.  Go to and click on the Be a Hero link for the extensive list of the areas of service available. 

This year’s District Conference, to recognize and acknowledge all of the work being done by DG Noel and the individual clubs, will take place from May 6th – 9th, 2021 at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.  Great speakers have already been lined up and 2022-23 RI President Nominee Jennifer Jones will be in attendance.  Spending a weekend on Mackinac Island would be a great way to show her your support.  Register at

Our presenter on September 2nd was Jerome Dinochau, our 1985-86 Rotary exchange student from France.

One of Jerome’s host families was the Mozenas, who have stayed in contact with him over the years.  John and Susan attended Jerome’s wedding, and he was able to be here for their son’s wedding.

Jerome joined us via Zoom from Paris and Susan “interviewed” him.

Jerome noted that he had enjoyed all of the activities and sports during his year at GP South (which is much better than North 😊).  He had already graduated from high school before coming here and had passed the “baccalaureat” exam.  While here, he focused on classes to help him score well on the admissions exam to attend one of France’s “grands ecoles,” “L’Institut d’etudes politiques de Paris,”. “Sciences Po,” as the school is known in France, is generally thought to be the beginning step toward a career in public administration.

Jerome credited his time here among business-oriented Rotarians for his decision to go into the private sector and not the government.  Now 54, Jerome has worked for large companies, including the French railroad, where he managed the railroad’s real estate.  Since 2008, he has crafted a very successful entrepreneurial career in real estate in France, especially in and around Paris, working with brownfield properties around train stations and airports, and renovating properties in Parisian suburbs.

The Mozenas have hosted many exchange students.  Their son, John, reflected on how learning from his exchange brothers and sisters about other cultures was eye-opening.  Along with his parents, he highly recommends the hosting of exchange students, remarking that it had changed his family’s life.

Neil Sroka passed the Oil Can to Mark Brooks for his work on the Rotarpointe, keeping members informed when it’s difficult to attend meetings in our current format.

Sarah Jean spoke to us about Raising a Mixed Family during Racially Charged Times.

Sarah Jean (not providing her last name as she is protecting the anonymity of her adopted children) has 7 children, She and her husband, Joe, became foster parents in 2017 and have adopted 4 of the 5 they fostered (the fifth returning to their family).  All four are black and Sarah Jean and her family are white.

The tiring process of adopting foster children, although needed, has its ups and downs.  She noted many ways to support foster families, such as county “foster closets” that will accept donations of money, clothing, and toys to help offset the cost of taking in these children.  Also, donations of memberships to places like the Zoo or Greenfield Village and of your time (babysitting, lawn cutting) are greatly appreciated.

Her family are advocates of Black Lives Matter. She understands that all lives matter but believes that these words defeat the purpose of Black Lives Matter and that black lives need a little extra help at this time. 

Sarah Jean asks that we all take a moment to reflect on racial assumptions we make and to try to be anti-racist.  This would require getting to know someone of a different color and experiencing different cultures.  Only by doing this will the healing process begin.

Sarah Jean’s 12 year old son, Jeremiah, told the Club that he appreciates living with people who don’t look like him but that love and respect each other.

Our presenter on August 19th was Lauren Heinonen, the Director of Public Image for the Ann Arbor Rotary Club.  Her topic, How Rotary Can Attract Young People.
Lauren is 24 years old and joined the Ann Arbor Rotary Club in 2018. She has always been goal oriented – getting into a good college (U of M), writing her senior thesis and graduating, and obtaining a job in her area of study (biological anthropology). All of which she accomplished, but she still felt like something was missing. She knew she wanted to give back to the community by joining “something” that was already in place, could do work on a larger scale, and would last over a period of years. But what?
One day, while on Facebook, Lauren saw a Michigan congresswoman’s post about visiting Rotary clubs and it included the 4-Way Test. This led Lauren to attend an Ann Arbor Rotary meeting. At first, she was wasn’t sure if Rotary was right for her, with the older, not very diverse, membership and the meetings having a bell and singing. However, the members were very welcoming, ensuring her that the Club could use someone with her perspective and skill set. She could also see how passionate they were about their numerous service projects.
Lauren has greatly benefited from being a Rotarian. She was looking to give back to the community through service projects and has been able to do this but is also now being mentored and doing mentoring, networking, and developing leadership and public speaking skills. Most importantly, she is gaining friendships and is overall happy.
If Rotary Clubs would like to attract young members, they should ask “why?”. Is it to gain new perspectives? To increase diversity? To bring in new skills. If yes, change is necessary. For example, focusing less on business backgrounds and more on whether a person is willing to give back, having flexible attendance requirements, and possibly flexible dues (community service hours to lower the dollar amount). Also, a Club’s social media and website should appeal to young people, focusing on the environment and social justice, for example.
Finally, engagement is the key. Members cannot be too welcoming to visitors and potential new members at their meetings.

On August 12th we recognized the 2020 Frank Sladen Scholarship winners.

Three scholarship winners from GP North and three from GP South.  Mark Weber, the committee chair, introduced each student and read snippets of their school counselor’s recommendations.  He bypassed the students’ accomplishments because they were too numerous to mention.

From GP North:

Clare Loch – described as dedicated to everything and helping to bring the community together, Clare will be attending Wayne State and would like a career in theatre.

Mariah Loper – described as selfless and a decision maker, Mariah will be attending Michigan State and would like a career in politics.

Emee Simpson – described as someone with volunteerism at her heart, she has taught dance to children with a range of disabilities (Emme was unable to attend).

From GP South:

Will Glasser – described as diligent and a champion for the underdog, Will will be attending Michigan.  He is unsure of his major but would like a career in the medical field.

John Blake – described as one who gives to the community, John is in a 4-5-year paid apprenticeship program to become a residential wireman with Union 51 in Warren.

Claire Sheeren – living with a sister with an illness, Claire has run two very successful fundraisers for Mott Hospital.  She will be attending Wheaton College, pursuing an applied mathematics degree with a minor in music.

Our presenter on August 5th was Karen Kendrick-Hands, the Co-Founder of the Environmental Sustainability Rotarian Action Group. (ESRAG).

Ms. Kendrick-Hands is a Madison, WI Rotarian but she and her husband raised their children in Grosse Pointe, both graduating from GP South.  Bringing her passion for Rotary and mitigating climate change together, she co-founded ESRAG in 2017.

Until recently, Rotary International had six areas of focus: Promoting peace, Fighting disease, Providing clean water, sanitation & hygiene, Saving mothers & children, Supporting Education, and Growing local economies. There is now a seventh: Supporting the environment.  Being an area of focus enables environmental service projects to receive global grants. It also brings Rotary’s seven areas of focus more in line with the United Nation’s 17 sustainable goals.

ESRAG assists Clubs, Districts, and RI in planning and implementing service projects, building awareness, building global and local support, inspiring action for sustainable solutions, and supporting RI in environmental initiatives.  The organization has 11 Green Themes, which include such service projects as organizing a clean-up, planting trees, and beating plastic pollution.  It also partners with groups such as Drawdown, the world’s leading resource for climate solutions, and Tradewater, whose goal is to reduce the world’s carbon footprint.

To learn more and/or become an ESRAG member (like Liz Vogel), please visit