Rotarians Serving the Community
In February of 2020, Parksville AM Rotarians were busily planning their 7th annual house-building mission to Mexico.  With the help of a District 5020 Community Grant (DCG), to be matched by the Club, Rotary Team Mexico was set to build two houses in the struggling community of Padre Keno in the northern Baja. 

Suddenly the pandemic hit, and all thoughts of leaving Canada came to an abrupt halt.

But International Chair, Jo Dunn was undaunted, recognizing the opportunity to turn Club attention to the local community.  He quickly pivoted and, with procedural advice from DCG Coordinator, Bob Zawilski, the Mexico District Grant was cancelled, a new DCG application submitted for a local Covid-19 related project, and a matching grant in the amount of $3000 US obtained.

The initiative gained even more traction when the Rotary Mid Island Group (MIG), a consortium of 23 Rotary clubs and one Rotaract Club on Vancouver Island, advised that applications were being taken for COVID project funding provided by Coastal Community Credit Union.  Parksville AM Rotary applied and was successful in obtaining a matching grant of $1000 CDN.
 
With funding in place, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Oceanside Building Learning Together.
 
Since 1999, Oceanside Building Learning Together (OBLT) has strived to build a strong community by offering free literacy programs that engage and meet the needs of community members, from pre-natal to elder.
 
In 2003, the first Words on Wheels (WOW) bus hit the road, traveling to underserved communities in the Oceanside area bringing Early Learning and literacy programs to families. 

The WOW bus is driven by a team of enthusiastic volunteer bus drivers who share in the passion of accessible free learning.But when the pandemic struck, the wheels of the bus came to an abrupt stop! Judi Malcolm, Manager of OBLT notes:

“As we started planning our program offerings, we were concerned about how we could safely use the WOW bus with Covid-19 protocols, and were thrilled when the Parksville AM Rotary Club approached us to see how they could help.  Covid-19 has presented many challenges, along with financial implications.  Rotary’s support has been a real game changer.”

 

While Rotarians are often known and recognized for their work on Rotary projects, many of our members work locally over and above their Rotary activities. Below is a listing of only some of the numerous organization that members of the Rotary Club of Parksville AM have devoted hours of volunteer time to support.  Need something done in the community - involve a Rotarian!

Service above self ...
The revitalization of Parksville's Shelly Park, suspended during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, is moving ahead once again.  On July 18, Parksville AM Rotarians joined neighbourhood residents to pick up shovels and wheelbarrows, taking yet another step forward in completing the job.
 
 
A Shelly Park Improvement page was posted in 2017, with the call to action: "Shelly Park needs improvements to make it the neighbourhood park it is meant to be!" 
 
Regular updates can be found at https://www.facebook.com/ShellyParkParksville/
 
In 2019, the Rotary Club of Parksville AM joined the neighbourhood to champion this project, committing both funds and muscle to help in its completion.
 
Prior to the work stoppage, pathways had been completed and cement pads poured for the placement of two concrete benches.
 
Two picnic tables, one wheelchair accessible, have since been ordered and arrangements made for installation by the City.
 
Socially distancing in the great outdoors, volunteers enthusiastically attacked the turf where cement pads will be poured for the picnic tables. 
 
Future work bees will include digging out gardens, adding top soil, planting flowers and shrubs, and installing an irrigation system.

From a neglected empty lot, Shelly Park is gradually being transformed through the efforts of neighbourhood residents, with the support of Rotary.  Stay tuned for future updates and photos of a vibrant community park which will be open to all to enjoy as it was intended.