Did you know that 2 in 5 children in South Hampton Roads live in poverty? That is 147,698 children -- enough to fill 2,954 school buses. Our September 7 Rotary speaker, Trish O'Brien, highlighted ways the nonprofit she heads works to improve the lives of area children living with lower-income families. Trish is president and CEO of Children's Health Investment Program of South Hampton Roads (CHIP). Her Chesapeake-based organization works with 358 families of young children in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach. In October, it will expand its work to Suffolk. Trish thanked the Rotary Club of Norfolk for its recent grant that paid for blood pressure cuffs to help new mothers diagnosed with high blood pressure monitor their pressure. 
CHIP's services include providing visiting nurses to help expectant mothers and those with young children. The nurses teach effective parenting and help ensure that children are born healthy, regularly see a healthcare provider, and get any extra care and services needed. CHIP's goals are to help families become self-sufficient and for children to meet development milestones so they enter kindergarten ready to succeed.
CHIP program includes one that provided 2,400 desks for area students forced to learn at home during the pandemic. That program involved a partnership with Premier Millworks, whose employees volunteered to build the desks before and after their regular shifts. This effort attracted a surprise $20,000 grant for CHIP from TV's Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe. Sleep Tight Hampton Roads is another CHIP program that strives to reduce our region's high rate of infant mortality by educating parents on safe infant sleep and providing cribs. Trish reported that 36 infants die each year in the region because they do not sleep alone, in a crib, and on their backs. Early in the pandemic, CHIP also delivered food and hard-to-find paper goods to families that lacked transportation to go hunting for them. 
Our club honored our speaker by donating a book with her name in it to Jacox Elementary. It is "The Ugly Duckling" in tribute to CHIP's big rubber duck race fundraiser. 
Meeting Highlights
  • We welcomed new member Amanda Workman, who is sponsored by Kelly Stefanko and mentored by Amanda's fellow University of North Carolina Tarheel, Sigur Whitaker. Amanda works for the City of Norfolk in its budget office. She is a legacy Rotarian whose father has been president of his Burlington, N.C. club. 
  • President Michael shares the results of the recent voting for our meeting venue. In the final count, Scope was the winner with 35 first-place votes. Norfolk Yacht & Country Club had 26 votes and the Town Point Club 17 votes. 
  • Growlfest last Saturday was a big success. Board member Chris Bugg, who organized our club's volunteers, thanked all the helpers and especially Lauren LaBonte for stepping up as the event day zoo boss. President Michael, a first-time Growlfest attendee, was wowed by the event and enjoyed the hours he spent on the bench visiting with fellow Rotarian Joe Massey waiting to distribute beer glasses. 
  • Dues are past due, and 39 members still need to pay and should do so soon.
  • We met our new bookkeeper, Robin Bailey.
  • We learned that Rotarian of the Day Rachel Bellis, who works for PETA, loves Chihuahuas, watches Spanish soap operas to keep up her Spanish language skills, has lived in Spain and Mexico, and likes to end her day with a glass of wine. 
  • Sally Hartman bought the winning ticket for the daily raffle. She also won the big pot by drawing the right queen from the card deck. Her daily winnings were $30, which she gave to our speaker to support CHIP. Her big winnings will be $799. Linwood Beckner kindly added $1 to her winnings so she would have an even $800.
Fines & Happy Bucks Paid
  • Joe Massey for his phone ringing and our new member Amanda even though she did not go to his alma mater, Duke University.
  • Marilyn Gowan for her and her husband celebrating their 37th wedding anniversary in the Blue Ridge Mountains and for Duke's recent football win.
  • Sigur Whitaker for new member Amanda Workman, her fellow Tarheel. 
  • Chip Vogan for the three Barbaras who served beer at Growlfest as a team -- Barbara Lipskis, Barbara Kiley, and Barbara Vogan. 
  • Barbara Lifland for not volunteering with the Barbaras because she was on a trip to Colorado for hiking and seeing family.
  • Chris Bugg for our new member, his 25th Naval Academy class reunion, and a successful Growlfest.
  • Tom Ambler for his 50th high school reunion.
  • Sally Hartman for new members Lauren LaBonte and Chris Bugg stepping up to make Growlfest a success.
  • Dianna Starkey for her youngest son heading off to Los Angeles to start his career and her oldest son graduating from Duke. 
  • Jeff Wells for his wife taking him sailing at Nauticus, all the photos he took at Growlfest, and for his neighbors giving his mother-in-law in hospice a barbecue and Frank Sinatra karaoke night.
  • Jim Kitz for the undefeated Army football team.
  • Bill LeHew for the Hampden-Sydney hall of fame inductees and his University of Medical School 60th class reunion finally happening.
  • John Cameron for his Civil War book being published with something in it to irritate everyone.
  • Michael Desplaines for the time spent visiting with Joe Massey at Growlfest, getting to go to the Washington game and have his team win, and for his happiness for the return to meetings of Rotarians Stephen Kirkland and Konner Pritchard.