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
Shakira Lynn Hawkins, a U of M and Detroit Mercy Law School graduate, is a criminal defense attorney who is running for Wayne County 3rd Circuit judge.  She has also served as Executive Director of My Sister’s Place, a domestic violence shelter.  Born and raised in Detroit, she lived in Grosse Pointe with her son for over a decade.
For the past decade, Ms. Hawkins has been a public defender.  She wants the court to be more of a reflection of the community by including civil rights and criminal defense attorney, rather than primarily consisting of former prosecutors. 
Ms. Hawkins believes the system is broken and that she has a responsibility to improve it by making it fairer.  Her goals on the court will be to reduce mass incarceration and to take advantage of alternative measures, such as mental health treatment and drug courts.  She also believes that cash bail reform needs to be implemented as most of the those incarcerated are the result of not being to pay bail.
To avoid becoming involved in the court system, Ms. Hawkins would like to establish a mentorship program for at-risk youth to provide education and community outreach.  To be productive citizens, they need to be provided with educational and employment goals.
Our speaker on October 14th was Heather Eckner, the Education Specialist at the Autism Alliance of Michigan.
The AAoM’s mission is to lead efforts to raise expectations and expand opportunities for people touched by autism across the lifespan.  Ms. Eckner believes her role is to be an advocate, which she defined as “positive disruption”.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disability that affects the way an individual perceives the world, making communication and social interaction difficult.  ASD includes a wide range of symptoms, which can range from gifted to severely and are
typically recognized in the first three years of life.  There is no cure, but early recognition, evaluation, and evidence-based intervention can significantly reduce symptoms and improve development and learning.
Schools and the medical profession evaluate a triad of characteristics – communication, social, and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior.  These three areas of focus can have numerous offshoot issues, such as irritability, intellectual disabilities, and hyperactivity. 
It wasn’t until 1975, with the passing of the Individual with Disabilities Act (IDEA), that access to public education for children with disabilities to help prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living became the law of the land.  The AAoM’s four pillars operate based on this Act – to navigate those touched by autism to create high education expectations, to maximize employment opportunities, and to drive initiatives to attain independent living.
With the diagnosis of autism becoming more prevalent nationwide (from 4.9% of students to 10.5 in a 10-year period), the work of the AAoM has become that much more important.  To learn more, visit and you can contact an autism specialist by calling 1-877-463-AAOM or by e-mailing
Grosse Pointe News reports, "Rotary continues support of Northeast Integrated Health" Pictured are Lisa Gandelot, Jessica Keyser, Sherry McRill, Roger Hull, Rotary President Robert Lucas, Diane Strickler and Richard Allison.  Read the full article here.
Our presenters on the 7th were Michele Hodges, President of the Belle Isle Conservancy and Richard Thomas, of the Garden Club of Michigan.
Belle Isle consists of 982 acres.  broken down into three zones: (1) Formal. which includes the fountain and Aguarium; (2) Natural, which is made up of forest, meadows, and wildlife; and (3) Active, which includes the playground and beach.  Its historic  pedigree includes being used by the underground railroad on the way to Canada, having a speakeasy in the Aquarium during Prohibition, and this year’s Covid picture memorial. 
The island has a $300 million capital need and faces constant challenges, including the pandemic, the 4 million visitors, and flooding.  Ms. Hodges tries to operate the Conservancy using the 4-Way Test.
Planting of the Oudolf Garden Detroit began four weeks (after delays due to flooding).  The designer, Peter Oudolf, is a world renowned landscape designer who took on the project after a “love letter” from the Garden Club. 
The 2.5 acre garden has a main area, a rain area, and wetlands.  It’s made up of 15 beds, consisting of 26,000 plants.  The idea is for the garden to be beautiful in every season and for it to invoke an emotional response.
To learn more about the garden, go to
Grosse Pointe Rotarians join Grosse Pointe Memorial Church to help Life Remodeled on October 7th. Judy Massering and Ted Everingham got our club involved in the project where the task was to clear brush and trash from one block of Quincy Road in Detroit, MI.
Pictured from left to right; Doris Neal-Van Tiem, Dick Allison, Ted Everingham, John Mozena, Holly Cory, Diane Strickler, Dave Colton, Mark Cory and Liz Vogel.
Our presenters Felix D’Haenens and Daiana Contini are former Rotary exchange students.

Daiana is from Cremona, Italy (home of the violin)  and attended GP South for the 2011-2012 school year.  She really enjoyed her film class as school in Italy didn’t offer those type of electives.  Daiana had two host families and has stayed in touch with one of them, spending Christmas together a few years ago.
Daiana attended university in Bologna, Italy, studying economics. Thinking she might go to college in the United States, she took the SAT, which she was able to use to get into the Italian university.  She has just completed her graduate studies in Copenhagen, Denmark, where she is currently living.
Her time with Rotary has taught her sense of community and to be open minded and open to exploring. 
Speaking from his home town, Mons, Belgium,  Felix attended GP South in 2012-13, having already graduated high school.  His favorite classes were photography and cooking. 
Felix is completing his studies in communications and works with group “social animation”, which for us, means motivational.  His goals have shifted as he is looking to become an English teacher at the high school or college level.  His love of the English language is what his time with Rotary provided him.
Our guests, John and Jack Mozena, spoke of the benefits of hosting an exchange student.  John found that both the host familes and the student learned a lot about each other, especially with the small cultural differences.  What would have been a very young Jack in 2012-13, he bonded with Felix over music and described him as “awesome”.