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Welcome to our Club!

The Abingtons

Service Above Self

We meet Thursdays at 12:10 PM
Ramada Inn
820 Northern Boulevard
Clark Summit, PA  18411
United States
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After over four decades at Nichol Village, the Rotary club of the Abingtons has moved their weekly meeting to the Clarks Summit Ramada Hotel. The decision was not an easy one, and came after months of deliberation. A search committee was formed, headed by Laurie Stephens and Ryan Campbell. They put countless hours into finding a home which would be the right fit for the club's future. In the end, the vote from the club was nearly unanimous.
   Here's to a new beginning.
 

 
 
 
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Polio is in its final days.

The disease that once paralyzed hundreds of thousands of kids a year around the globe is now down to just a few dozen cases this year. "We are aiming to halt all transmission of wild polio virus next year," says Peter Crowley, the head of UNICEF's global efforts against polio.

If polio is stopped, it will be only the second human disease to be eliminated. Smallpox was the first — the last case was in 1977.

There's reason to be optimistic that this gigantic feat of public health is within humanity's grasp. The World Health Organization says polio transmission has stopped for the first time ever in Africa. Last month, Africa's last bastion of polio — Nigeria — celebrated going an entire year without recording any new cases.

"This is a really major step forward in the effort to eradicate polio from the world," says Kate O'Brien, a professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins. O'Brien also works with the World Health Organization as an adviser on global immunization policy. She calls ending polio in Nigeria "absolutely massive" in the overall eradication effort.

With Nigeria off the list of countries where the virus is self-sustaining, there are now just two nations in the world where transmission has never been fully stopped: Afghanistan and Pakistan. Of the 51 cases of wild polio detected globally so far this year, all of them have been in those two countries. (Note: The world map at the top of this post also includes cases of vaccine-derived polio, which are easier to control.)

The problem is that until polio is actually stopped in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the multibillion-dollar global effort against the virus is going to have to continue everywhere.

"This is a virus that is fighting for its life," O'Brien says. "It is going to find people and places that are not vaccinated. It's going to find a way to move and it's going to find those places that are vulnerable." Kids will continue to be vaccinated everywhere around the world for at least three years after the last case to make sure that the virus doesn't stage a comeback.

Public health officials have been declaring that polio is on the verge of being wiped out ever since Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin came up with vaccines against it in the 1950s. At that point the world was tallying hundreds of thousands of cases each year. Now, it's just a few dozen cases globally, and polio's demise does appear closer than ever. The disease that in its heyday affected Franklin Roosevelt, Olympian Wilma Rudolph and actors Mia Farrow and Donald Sutherland will be relegated to the history books.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Be the change that you want to see in the world.
 
-Mohandas Gandhi
 

 
 
It isn't enough to talk about peace,. One must believe in it.
And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work for it.
 
 
-Eleanor Roosevelt
 

 
 

Mario Macicak came all the way from Kezmarok, Slovakia to Clarks Summit to become the latest Rotary-sponsored exchange student. He is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Poprad and is a guest of the Rotary Club of the Abingtons.

“Destiny!” Macicak exclaimed. “Do you believe in destiny?”

He asked this question of me as I was trying to interview him.

I answered, “Well, I guess.”

“Well, destiny has brought me here,” he firmly stated.

He told me he is a Rotary exchange student because, and only because, of destiny.

He had never heard of Rotary, never knew of the good Rotarians do all the time and never dreamed of ever going so far away from home. Then one day he heard or overheard a conversation about young people who had traveled to far­away places and lived in lovely homes with people who became family to them. He listened in wonder and asked who does this.

The answer was Rotary.

He had never heard of Rotary. He asked what it is and where in the world was such a place. As he listened, he knew such a program was for him. He set out to find out how he could qualify to be a Rotary Exchange Student, even though he was unsure if there was a Rotary club in his town.

Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE) is a Rotary International student exchange program for students in secondary school. Since 1929, Rotary International sent young people around the globe to get to know new cultures. About 8500 students are sponsored by Rotary clubs each year. These students are sent to another country for a year, usually a school year, and they live with multiple host families. They are expected to perform ordinary daily tasks, like any other kid in the household, and attend high school classes.

Macicak’s local Rotary club is that of Poprad, Slovakia, in District 2240. Through that club, he learned student exchanges are for people from 15 to 19 years of age who have shown strong leadership in their schools and communities, are willing to try new things, are open to cultural differences and are willing to serve as an ambassador for their country. In his heart, he knew all those qualifications could be met by him. He began the lengthy process, close to a year, where he was scrutinized and documented and coached so that his year abroad would be successful.

The process for host families is also in place. Rotary International instituted a certification program, which assesses individual Rotary Youth Exchange programs with a primary focus on quality control and student safety. Rotary groups, such as our club, are not permitted to participate in RYE programs without first obtaining RI certification.

In September, Rotarian Ryan Campbell took a day off from work to meet Mario at the airport in New York City. When they arrived back in Clarks Summit, family and extended family of Ryan’s were there to greet Mario and welcome him to his new home. The Campbell household with be the first of several families where Mario will live this school year.

As an exchange student, Mario comes to our Rotary Club of the Abingtons meetings each week where he is greeted by all. He recently spoke to us about his life in Slovakia. Although he struggles with English, he readily addressed us with a slide program he had prepared, called “Me, My Town and My Country.”

As he stood at the podium, Mario’s command of our language is obviously limited and he addressed us in choppy, but delightful, English. His natural wit and charm came through with each word. He spoke about his family, his friends and his home life with loving sincerity. He is lively and interesting and, most of all, full of enthusiasm and fun. He attends school at Abington Heights High School and has an interest in information technology and graphics. He enjoys winter sports but his real love is acting and his ultimate dream is to be a Shakespearean actor.

Mario’s home is located in the high Tatra mountains, where tourism and sports such as cycling and hockey are paramount. The High Tatras National Park, just north of Poprad, offers access to the small alpine mountains in summer and many ski centers in winter. His town of Kezmarok, Slovakia has about 17,000 residents. Nearby Poprad, with a population of 55,000, is one of the most important cities in eastern Slovakia and is known as the administrative, economic and cultural center of the Tatras region.

From so far away, Mario comes to our town to meet our people, learn our language and play in our mountains. At first glance, it may appear to the onlooker as if he is receiving so much. But the real gift is what he brings ‚Äčto us. His energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and innocent demeanor show a teenager full of hope and life.

We welcome Mario Macicak to our community.

 

 
 
Thursday November 19th marks the date for our annual Thanksgiving feast at Nichols Village.
Every year we are stuffed like  turkeys by the gracious staff with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, and, of course, pumpkin pie.
   This year we are reminded of the many blessings we enjoy and all members are asked to remember those less fortunate by bringing in some non-perishable foods to share with the local food pantry.
 
 

 
 

Welcome to our Rotary Club! 

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Come to any regular meeting held at the Inn at Nichols Village, Thursdays at 12:10PM or at our new morning meeting on Thursdays at 7:15a.m. at the Glenburn Grill on Routes 6 & 11 in  Glenburn Pa. to find out more. For further information call Leah Ducato Rudolph at 570.586.0864.  Follow Rotary Club of the Abingtons on Facebook, too.