Tough love, wishing wells and lots of stamps....

What more is there to say? After hearing of the personal challenges that Peter Lyndon-James, Founder of Shalom House, a men’s refuge, has overcome to achieve the balance in life he lives today, is there anything else that us ‘geeks’ can add? His remarkable journey is one of courage and encouragement. With the rate he’s moving to accommodate more and more men facing addictions and his tough love approach, I am sure we’ll continue to see him succeed. Along those lines, I must apologise for incorrectly stating previously that Shalom House had become the recipient of a government grant. Peter explained that his program is totally self-funded and that he receives no support from the government. What he did receive recently though was a private gift to enable him to continue his work.


Incidentally, after hearing that he asks for “nothing from no-one”, I did ask him quietly after the meeting: Given we’ve got a roomful of ‘geeks’…professionals, passionate supporters, and well-connected networks, what is it that Shalom House needs most? His no nonsense reply: office space from which he can run his admin team and a warehouse/shed to park his vehicles and equipment. Given he’s running this as a self-funded operation, I’m sure we can all guess what his budget is. If you or a contact are able to help Peter and Shalom house, please feel free to contact his PA, Milena: M: 0451 137 757,


While on the subject of community service and unsung heroes, I thought I’d share a bit about what Ulrich Kunzmann gets up to. Ulrich caught my attention when he sent a note to Kirstin stating that he’s just deposited 13kg of coins worth $574.60. What? Where did this come from I asked. His reply: the Kings Park Wishing Well! He continued on…


“the wishing well at Kings Park is near the roundabout, just outside the Fraser’s Restaurant. The Kings Park gardeners kindly empty the well every couple of weeks, and I then go and pick the coins from their office. I then wash and dry them and then bring them to the BankWest Branch in Claremont; they have a wonderful coin-counting machine there.”


And if that’s not enough, he followed up with this one:


“A couple of days ago I went to see Mrs Betty Smith (she had received my contact through Kirstin). She had told me she had a box of stamps for me to pick up, and it turned out that there were 30kg (!!!) of used and nicely cut out stamps! The nice lady told me that she has a list of more than 300 companies and businesses which she visits every couple of weeks to pick up their used stamps....and she has been doing this for almost 30 years!! What a dedication!


Like I do it a couple of times a year, when I have a sufficient quantity, I will now bring these stamps to the Rotary Collection Centre in East Victoria Park. From there they are being sent to homes of handicapped people who, if still necessary, are being kept busy by the task to cut out the stamps from the envelopes. Then they are being sent to various worldwide charities. 


In D9455 well over $1,000,000 has been raised so far. In the first 10 years of the project, stamps were sent to doctors in Japan who used the funds raised to eliminate TB in Nepal. Today the beneficiaries are the many projects of Oxfam (UK) and the Rotary Club of Ambattur, India. Oxfam sells the stamps in packs of 120g for around $3.00 each through their 700 retail stores, and use the funds for numerous overseas projects. In India they are sold to collectors and have used the funds raised to set up an emergency hospital.


Peter, Betty, and Ulrich are just a few of the countless numbers of community heroes who quietly go about their lives in the service of others. Without great fanfare and acclaim, they are examples for us all. Every little bit counts…and as my father has often said to me growing up: “Many hands makes light work.”


May these folks be an encouragement to us all!


Along the lines of fund raising, that you so much to those members and guests who supported our ScoutsWA visitors who in turn were selling sleeping bags produced by our Cambodian Stitches of Hope Joint Project with the Rotary Club of Swan Districts for $50 each. In all, $605.00 was raised. Receipts are currently being generated via RAWCS and if you left us your details, you will receive a receipt acknowledging your gift shortly. The Scouts will be giving these sleeping bags away to the homeless later this week when they serve as some of the many volunteers passing out essentials to the homeless on Wellington Street each fortnight. Incidentally/coincidently, one of these young Scouts is aiming to become involved in our Rotaract Club and also seeks to participate in our November “House That Jack Built” project in Cambodia!


This week our special guest speaker is Dr. Nicky Howe, CEO of Southcare. I met Nicky earlier this year as she spoke to a forum of some of our state’s most promising leaders. As the introduction in our bulletin explains, Nicky has a passion for not only developing leaders in the Aged Care industry, but also seeks to strengthen the leadership and governance capacity through the engagement of young people and organisations in a sector through a wide collaborative approach which facilitates the involvement of emerging young leaders on Boards.


Could I please ask that every member attending lunch this Friday brings along a young woman who might be inspired to (as our motto states) “Join Leaders. Exchange Ideas. Take Action.”? Let’s try and avoid the situation where Nicky is speaking to a room full of ‘blokes’ about the need to increase young womens’ involvement in our community organisations!


On the subject of young women professional leaders…please mark the evening of Wednesday, 30 September 2017, on your calendar. Renu Pantula, our Rotaract Club of Perth President, has invited our club to share this fifth Wednesday of the month as a joint sundowner. More information from Jacques to follow. When I attended the Rotaract strategy day a week ago, an interesting comment was made: one Rotaractor stated that they feel somewhat strange asking the RCP for support. While we are their parent club, they don’t really know us well…and that our relationship with them is essentially limited to asking for support dollars once or twice a year!


As a club, we can do better! If we all acknowledge that our Rotaract Club is the source of our club’s future leaders, then let’s get to know them, build relationships, and encourage their members to join our club when they reach the age at which they can no longer be members of Rotaract! And did you know there are several of them reaching this milestone age this year???


Have a great Rotary Week.


Yours in Rotary, Stephen Inouye - President - Rotary of Perth 2017/2018