2016 Saratoga Rotary Art Show
Upcoming Events

I am honored and also apprehensive to begin my year as your club president. For me it is a new experience to be a leader of our GREAT Club. As you know I have been a member for a long time and have fulfilled many different functions over the years. It was sometimes challenging but also very rewarding.

Some of the moments will stay with me forever. I appreciate that we all are individuals with different professions, backgrounds and still are able to come and work together.

As we celebrated 4 th of July I was reminded how I got where I am today. I came from a socialist country where individualism was crushed and many in response adopted a very selfish sentiment embodied in this saying “ who does not steal from government steal from his family ” and where help such as picking potatoes or harvesting hobs by students was forced under threat of expulsion from school. Philanthropy and volunteer work was almost nonexistent. I truly appreciate our freedoms and responsibilities which are part of it. It is not a surprise that Rotary began in this country and became a force worldwide. I am proud to be a Rotarian and with help of you all we will have the privilege to help. I am following in footsteps of many great presidents and hope to continue and build on what they have done. I want to make sure that we all have voice and can steer direction of this club. I am open to ideas, comments and criticism (within limits). It is important to me that we enjoy what we do, have fun doing it, enjoy each other‛s company, and do not take ourselves too seriously.




WaSH Project: Changing the lives of students in Bengaluru, India

The Rotary Club of Saratoga, California, USA (Club 5170) in partnership with the Bangalore (India) Rotary District 3190, with matching grant from Rotary International will improve the lives of a few thousand low income primary and middle school students across 15-20 local schools in the city of Bengaluru, India. This global grant will be funded at approximately USD $70,000. During 2017, Rotary will construct restroom facilities for girls, hand washing stations and water purification following UNICEF guidelines. Such basic facilities will reduce girls‛ absenteeism from schools and improve student health, thereby enhancing personal safety and educational experience. This initiative, entitled WaSH (Water, Sanitation and Health), starts with a formal needs assessment of schools and interviews with teachers, students and other stakeholders. Following best practices, the project team along with school staff, will also establish a curriculum anchored around health such that good sanitation practices can be passed on to their families as well to students through successive school years.

This program is also open for contributions from private individuals or companies; such amounts will be matched at 50% by Rotary International, thereby expanding the project footprint and community impact. For further information, please contact Sesh Ramaswami.



Saratoga Rotary’s Community Service Committee participated in two programs to help make sure local students had everything they needed to go back to school this fall. 
West Valley Community Services Back-to-School Shopping Spree
On August 9, West Valley Community Services hosted their annual Back-to-School Shopping Spree, supplying over 90 children with back-to-school clothes and supplies. WVCS collected donations from the community to provide each child, grade kindergarten through 12, with a JCPenny gift card of $100 or $150, depending on their grade level, and a new backpack with school supplies.  Volunteers assisted with the set-up, check-in, and distribution of backpacks and supplies.  Other volunteers, including six Saratoga Rotary members, got to take a student shopping for back-to-school clothing before the store opened for business.
It was so much fun and so rewarding to shop with the students!  They, and their parents who were waiting outside the store, were so appreciative of the help with all the expenses that are incurred at the start of a new school year. Students receiving the new items attended schools in Cupertino, Saratoga, and West San Jose, the WVCS service area. JCPenny employees volunteered their time to come work the cash registers and help students find new clothes and the store applied generous discounts to help us stretch the gift cards a little farther.  Those who participated are already looking forward to the Back-to-School Shopping Spree next summer.
Innvision School Supplies Drive
Thanks to the generous donations of our Saratoga Rotarians, our club raised close to $2,000 worth of Back To School Supplies for the children served by Innvision Shelter Network!  

Innvision's mission is to help homeless families rapidly return to permanent housing and self-sufficiency, and the families in the Innvision program have a 94% success rate of returning to stable housing and becoming self-sufficient.  The average length of stay for families that graduate from their transitional housing program is 188 days, significantly less than the national average.  

Our donations of backpacks, calculators, crayons, notebooks, scissors, binders, lunch boxes, pens, pencils, and more went directly to benefit the children and youth at Innvision who are struggling with homelessness.  We sent a strong message to these children that we see them, we care about their lives, and we support their future.  

Saratoga Rotary announced four local high school students are the lucky recipients of $2,500 scholarships.
The winners are Saratoga High students Arhem Barkatullah and Joshua Pi and Prospect students Heather Lindsay and Sergio Cordero.  All four are seniors.
“When you hear them, you feel that the world is going to be all right and a better place because of who they are.” said Shinku Sharma, one of three Rotarians who served on the panel of judges. “The future is bright.”
Barkatullah, 18, said she’d use the funds toward school at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University, where she plans to study biomedical science.  The Saratoga resident’s years of experience as a volunteer helped her snag the scholarship, she said.  Barkatullah is a three year member of the Interact Club, a Rotary-sponsored club on campus that undertakes community service-oriented projects.  She has also volunteered at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System for the past two years and served on the Saratoga Library’s teen advisory board for seven years.
Joshua, 17 of Saratoga is involved in his school’s music department and in student government.  He is also an Interact member, having been part of the club since his freshman year.  Aside from holding fundraisers and organizing events this year, the club took on a global project in Kenya and another one here in the Bay Area where it helped impoverished children, said Joshua.  In the fall, he’ll be starting at the University of Puget Sound in Seattle.
Heather Lindsay, 18, of San Jose, is all about giving back to her community.  She regularly volunteers through her church, plays field hockey and runs track for Prospect and is president of the French club.
“If you have some talent, you’re not supposed to keep it to yourself.  You have to contribute to society and the easiest way to do that is through community service,” she said.  “I think it’s necessary to be well-rounded and get the most out of life.” Lindsay plans to study biology at UCLA this fall.
Sergio Cordero is a self-employed private tutor.  He started tutoring one student in Chemistry AP this fall and had 7 students by spring.  He is a member of Prospect's robotics tem and this is where he is most successful and satisfied.  He aids in the design of a robot, machine parts, and  mentors younger team members.  He is also involved with Prospect's leadership activities.  Sergio plans to pursue a BS in Mechanical Engineering and eventually wants to work in the field of prosthetics and robots.
Rotary received about 20 applications, according to Sharma.  The four applicants exemplify Rotary’s motto of “service above self”, she said.  “We are always looking for candidates who exemplify that, and make a difference for others and do things not necessarily for recognition but to get things done”, she said.  “All the applicants, when you listen to them, they’re all wonderful, great kids.  It is challenging to select a few.”
The Saratoga Rotary Charitable Foundation and the Thompson family are financing the awards.
Scholarship Winners (from left to right) Ahrem Barkateullah , Joshua Pi, Heather Lindsay, Sergio Cordero

On March 2, a dozen Saratoga Rotarians, armed with Dr. Seuss books and hats, visited Latimer Elementary School in the Moreland School District on Read Across America Day.  Latimer warmly welcomed us and the teachers had the students prepared for the celebration. Rotarians read to the students in grades TK through 5 and then left each student with a book to take home to support literacy in the community.  Titles ranged from picture books like Chika Chika Boom Boom through beginning readers like Henry and Mudge to classic chapter books including Charlotte’s Web and My Father’s Dragon. We distributed 230 books and a great time was had by all!

Seventy Rotarians and students from Prospect and Saratoga High Schools came together on Saturday, February 28, to package meals for Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief organization.  In just two hours, our group of volunteers packaged meals for 20,088 people!
Stop Hunger Now was established in 1998. Through its meal packaging program, participants package highly nutritious, dehydrated meals consisting of rice, soy, vegetables, flavoring and 21 essential vitamins.  Volunteers measure, weigh, seal and pack the meals while lively music plays and the gong sounds every time one thousand meals are completed.
Stop Hunger Now’s meals primarily go to schools and orphanages around the world.  In impoverished areas, children are often sent to school if they will be fed.  Each meal costs about 29 cents; the meals are easy to transport and store. Once a cargo carrier is filled with meals from events in the area, its destination will be finalized and Stop Hunger Now advises our group as to where the meals will be distributed.
We would like to thank all the Rotarians and their families and friends and the Interact Clubs at both Prospect and Saratoga High School for their help and enthusiasm on February 28.  Special thanks to Heavens Helping Hand Foundation for financial support of the event.  For more information about Stop Hunger Now, go to www.stophungernow.org.

Music and Memory is an amazing program to help people living with dementia and other chronic cognitive and physical impairments reconnect with family and friends.  The program has been shown to enable persons to feel like themselves and be able to communicate and socialize again through the use of this music program.
Saratoga Rotary is using part of our 2014-2015 Club DDF (District Designated Funds) to work with Fatima Villa, the local Music & Memory Certified Care Facility, to bring this program to Saratogans and their families. Music & Memory trainers will instruct elder care professionals, Rotarians and other interested parties on how to set up music playlists on iPods for those in their care and how to work with individuals to utilize the music to reawaken memories. The next training seminar will be available in a few months.
Rotarians will be able to work with this program in any of the following ways:
  • Develop and set up personalized music playlists,
  • Work at Fatima Villa with individual patients participating in Music & Memory,
  • Mentor high school students working with Fatima patients, or
  • Implement the Music & Memory program with a friend or family member.
For more information about Music & Memory, go to  http://musicandmemory.org/ .

The Saratoga Rotary Art Show is made possible each year through the generous donations of our sponsors and corporate partners. Please join us in thanking our 2016 sponsors and partners by clicking to find out more about their businesses:


Saratoga Rotary


Service Above Self

We meet Fridays at 12:15 PM
Saratoga Community Center
19655 Allendale Ave.
Saratoga, CA  95070
United States
Club Executives & Directors
Past President
Director, Membership
Director, Rotary Foundation
Director, Public Relations
Co-Director, International Service
Co-Director, International Service
Director, Community Service
Director, Youth Service
Director, Vocational Service
Director, Club Service
Director, Art Show
Bulletin Editor
Director, Fellowship