Category Archives: Rotary News

“The Heart of a Rotarian” – Malcolm Graham

Persons drawn to Rotary membership are often involved deeply in many other charitable activities – Monrovia Rotarian Malcolm Graham is no exception. Following a successful 26 year career in insurance, first with a British Insurance Company (Royal Sun Alliance Group) and thereafter a CEO of an Insurance brokerage company he became a missionary for 30 years with African Enterprise as their Administrator, mostly coordinating their international ministry.

For the past two years the Monrovia Rotary Club has been pleased to partner with Malcolm and African Enterprise with a donation of $500.00 to a school supplies project for 253 children at the Umsilinga Primary School in South Africa.

The following is a letter of thanks  received by Malcolm and the Monrovia Rotary Club:

Dear Malcolm and Monrovia (CA) Rotary Club Members,Thank you so very, very much for bringing such joy and delight to the children at the Umsilinga Primary School.  Through your generous giving we were able to purchase a year’s supply per child of 253 sets of very basic stationery consisting of the following:
–    5 x Bic Click blue Ballpoint Pens
–    5 HB Pencils
–    1 Ruler
–    1 x large Pritt Glue stick.
These little acts of kindness means so much to the children in this destitute community, many of whom are orphaned and living with aged grandmothers and some are in child-headed households.  The 253 children no longer have to beg and borrow from each other.  When we were teaching English at the school we found that one child would write and then hand the pen to the next child.  This was really disruptive to the lessons.We handed over the stationery supplies to Mrs. Essa the Principal of the School so that she and her Educators could do the distribution as we didn’t want to unduly disrupt lessons or take up too much for Mrs. Essa’s time, but we did personally distributed to the one Grade 6 Class.  More photos will

We wish you could have been with us to see the children’s faces light up with such bright and beautiful smiles as they received their stationery!

Thank you Malcolm and the Monrovia Rotary Club for your kindness and

God bless you!

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But
the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” Mother Teresa

Kind regards
Yours sincerely

Sandra Pillay
Project Manager/Fundraiser
PO Box 21810, Mayors Walk, 3208, KwaZulu-Natal
Tel: 033- 342 6525 (Office)
Cell:  074 1200 337
PBO No. 930031274;  NPO No. 040-839
A member of the Southern African Institute of Fundraising

“Blessed is He who considers the poor” Psalm 41:1

Distinguished Speaker: Richard Ashworth, CitizensTrust

The Monrovia Rotary Club is pleased to present Mr. Richard Ashworth as its guest speaker on Tuesday February 1.  Mr. Ashworth holds the position of Vice President, Private Client Advisor at CitizensTrust.

Mr. Ashworth earned his BS degree in Business Administration from East Carolina University at Greenville, NC.  Over the past 17 years Rich has worked at Wells Fargo Securities in various positions focusing on fixed income and broader investment sales throughout Arizona, California and Nevada.  Prior to that, Rich was with Kidder Peabody & Co. and First Interstate Bank for five years and six years respectively.  He has worked actively with clients spanning individual wealth management, municipalities, water districts and corporate market segments.  He has the sales experience, proven performance and depth of investment knowledge to address the needs of those broad groups in a superior manner.

New Member: Dana Sacdalan

The Monrovia Rotary Club is pleased to welcome Dana Sacdalan to membership.

Dana is a financial coach, mother and business owner.  She started a tax, accounting and financial coaching practice (RMD Financial Services) together with her husband Manny, in Monrovia in January 2015.

Dana grew up in Spain and moved to Los Angeles to complete her undergraduate degree in Hotel, Restaurant Management. Since then she went on to complete a graduate degree in Business Administration.

Dana’s passion and calling is to coach others in the skills needed to achieve financial peace.  As a couple, Dana and Manny have coordinated financial classes at their local church to help within their parish and community.  In 2015, Dana received additional training in Nashville by Dave Ramsey’s team of coaches and as a financial coach plans to continue providing coaching both as a ministry, and a fee based service for individuals and small businesses within their company.  Most recently, Dana has implemented financial coaching directed at helping single mothers.

The Monrovia Rotary Club looks forward to partnering with Dana in her passion for community service!

Photo from right to left: Monrovia Rotary Club President, Bill Shieff, Dana Sacdalan, Dana’s sponsor, Susanne Hayek, Manny Sacdalan, back row: Tom Adams, Mayor of Monrovia and Past President of the Monrovia Rotary Club.

Distinguished Speaker: Nic Fetter/Samuelson & Fetter

The Monrovia Rotary Club will welcome Nic Fetter on January 26th at its regular club meeting.  

As the Director of Marketing, Nic oversees the leasing of the company’s office portfolio, as well as being intimately involved in the planning of new developments in the San Gabriel Valley. He will bring the club up to date on developments at Station Square.

Nic graduated from Willamette University with a BA in Politics in 2003, and received a Graduate Certificate from Portland State University in Real Estate Development in 2006. After graduation in 2003, he worked for DDRM on a five-star hotel project in Park City, UT, and spent two years in the customer service department of WebMD while attending graduate school.

Nic recently co-chaired the 2012 For the Love of Youth Gala benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of the Foothills. He also served three years as a board member for the Levitt Pavilion Pasadena organization, and is a member of the Urban Land Institute. Nic currently resides in Pasadena with his wife and three dogs.

Distinguished Speaker: Sandy Burud, Ph.D.

The Monrovia Rotary Club is pleased to announce that Sandy Burud, Ph.D. will be the featured speaker at the regular meeting of the club on Tuesday, January 19th at noon.

Sandy  is the Co-Project Director of the Monrovia Legacy Project. She is a writer and certified graphic designer who recently turned her talents to researching and documenting personal histories. Last year she produced a series of family history books for Betty Sandford, helped her write a memoir of her 88 years in Monrovia, and organized her life’s worth of papers.  Prior to that Dr. Burud was a researcher, writer and project manager.  She is a former Visiting Scholar at Claremont Graduate University’s Schools of Management and of Educational Studies. She has co-authored two noteworthy books – the Human Resource Academy’s ‘Outstanding Book of the Year 2004’ — and in 1984 the first book on employer-supported child care, which sparked that trend. Following the early book, she established a boutique consulting practice that designed and/or operated work-site child care facilities for Disney, Universal, Mattel, Apple, PG&E and others. She was later Chief Strategy Officer for a company that produced flexible work software and lead projects for the Dept. of Defense, Procter & Gamble, American Express, and John Deere.  She has received grants from the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, David & Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Women’s Bureau.  She is Past President of the Alliance for Work-Life Professionals, a professional association for the work-life balance field. She has lived in Monrovia for twenty years and followed Monrovia’s evolution closely since her uncle, Bob Wilcox, was Executive Manager of Monrovia’s Chamber of Commerce in the early 1970’s. She holds an M.A. from Pacific Oaks College in Human Development and a Ph.D. in Education from Claremont Graduate University, where she serves on the Board of Visitors.

Stop Hunger Now Meals Packed by Club Were Delivered

Here is a letter sent to the Monrovia Rotary Club in care of President Bill Shieff:

Dear Bill,

Blessa Chloe Zamora is a happy, healthy 5-year old who loves food and will eat anything, except maybe vegetables. Abandoned by her birth mother as a baby, Chloe blossomed after receiving nutritious Stop Hunger Now meals at a children’s home. A sweet and loving child who enjoys giving kisses and hugs to the staff, Chloe has grown to a healthy weight of 28 pounds and 39 inches tall.

Chloe is but one example of the tens of thousands of children around the world who are being helped by Stop Hunger Now. By packaging meals with us, you have helped put them and their families on a path toward a better life. Because you shared your time with us, these children have hope—hope for a wonderful childhood, hope for an education, hope for a better life.

We are delighted to announce that the meals from your meal packaging event on 11/7/2015 have been shipped in a container totaling 285,120 meals from our Southern California warehouse. If this is the second email you have received, this simply means that your meals have gone to impact multiple partners.

The meals will be received by our in-country partner Salesian Missions in Cambodia.

The Salesians have provided vocational education to Cambodian refugees living in camps along the Thai-Cambodia border since the late 1980s. In the early 1990s, the Salesians partnered with the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Education to open a total of seven vocational training centers across the country. Approximately 1,300 youth ages 16-21 attend one- and two-year vocational training programs in Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh, Toul Kork, Teuk Thla, Battambang, Kep, and Poipet. The courses of study prepare them for careers in mechanics, welding, computers, printing and communication. Stop Hunger Now meals are provided five days a week to the young adults attending the seven technical schools. For more information visit:

Visit for more information about how you can support Stop Hunger Now and continue your involvement in the fight against hunger. Follow us on Facebook at for updates, videos and photos from the field.

Thank you for volunteering with Stop Hunger Now. We truly appreciate your dedication and commitment to the vision of a world without hunger.


Ryan Pond
Program Manager
Stop Hunger Now Southern California

Distinguished Speaker: Katherine Thorossian, Ed.D., Supt. of Schools MUSD

The Monrovia Rotary Club is pleased to welcome Dr. Katherine Thorossian to speak to the club on Tuesday, January 12th at noon.

Dr. Thorossian is the Superintendent of Schools in the Monrovia Unified School District.   Her 30 years of experience in education includes serving as Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in the Glendale Unified School District;

Principal of Glendale High School;  and  Grade Level Coordinator, then Assistant Principal of Diamond Bar High School.

Dr. Thorossian began her career as a high school English teacher in Diamond Bar.  She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the University California at Los Angeles, her teaching credential and Masters of Science Degree in Counseling with an Option in Administration from California State University, Los Angeles and her Doctor of Education Degree from the University of Southern California where she researched factors aggravating or mitigating the achievement gap. 

The Monrovia Rotary Club welcomes guest to its meetings. The lunch cost is $16.00 and there is an e-mail link to RSVP on the right column of the club website:

Santa Clothes Project Keeps on Giving

Not only did Kohls in Monrovia assist the club with discounts at the Santa Clothes event, the clubs investment also resulted in a substantial amount of Kohls cash.  In an effort to wring every last ounce out of that Kohl’s cash, event chair Dr. Sylvia Domotor went looking for the best way to extend the good will to additional people in need. After meeting Jamie Duncan of the two-year-old Foothills Kitchen project based at the Methodist church, “Dr. D” decided to spend the $1148 credit on socks and underwear. At a recent meeting of the club, Ms Duncan expressed thanks to the “Monrotarians”, as the members refer to themselves, and explained that the Foothills Kitchen’s mission has expanded from its initial objective of providing meals for those in need to making other essentials such as clothing and blankets available. The Foothill Kitchen is a non-denominational organization and has enthusiastic participants from members of other congregations and lay organizations thru ought Monrovia. Ms. Duncan says the group’s efforts compliment those of the Foothill Unity Center and invited everyone to visit the Foothills Kitchen Facebook page.

Distinguished Speaker: Alexander Reyes | Saute Culinary Academy

The Monrovia Rotary Club is excited to welcome Chef Alexander Reyes as its speaker for January 5th, 2016.  To visit the club and hear Chef Reyes speak please click on the RSVP link in the contact box on the club website.  More about Chef Alex from the Saute Culinary Academy website:

A passion for food and a love of service inclined Chef Alex Reyes to pursue a career as a professional Chef. Having an interest in all aspects of the hospitality and restaurant industry influenced Chef Reyes to surrender to his passion of cooking.

As a graduate of the world famous Le Cordon Bleu, College of Culinary Arts, Chef Reyes has over 23 years of experience in the restaurant business. Chef Reyes has found a home as an instructor at Saute and conveys enthusiasm for teaching and a passion for the food industry.

After spending 7 years as a full time Lead Chef Instructor at Le Cordon Bleu, Chef Reyes seeks to stimulate his students and challenges them to take Culinary Arts to its highest level, by working hard, developing a strong foundation in culinary techniques and helping them visualize and manifest sound careers as future Chefs.

With an open mind and love of all foods and people from around the world, Chef Reyes specializes in foods from the Caribbean, using French techniques as the foundation of all cooking.  


Club to Welcome Camrin Christensen, CASA of Los Angeles

The Monrovia Rotary Club is pleased to welcome Camrin Christensen as the speaker at our regular meeting on Tuesday, December 22 at noon at the Monrovian Restaurant.

Camrin  joined CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children) of Los Angeles as Director of Volunteer Recruitment and Outreach in January 2015.  She is heading up the organization’s efforts to triple the number of volunteers serving as court appointed special advocates for children in foster care.  Part of this role includes developing partnerships with community groups, in order to increase awareness of the opportunity to become a court appointed special advocate for one of the 30,000 children in the dependency system in LA County.  She looks forward to sharing information about the work of the organization and the role of the volunteer advocates in the lives of the foster children they work with.

Prior to joining CASA, Camrin worked for an Orange County based non-profit focused on providing at-risk youth with social and educational opportunities during after-school time.  She also worked at the UC Irvine Department of Education, recruiting and monitoring undergraduate volunteers in after school service learning placements.  Camrin Christensen has held management positions at Eurasia Partnership Foundation, an organization focused on promoting civic engagement in the South Caucasus.  She also worked to eliminate corruption through increasing public access to information and facilitating citizen engagement in good governance.  Camrin has an MA in International Affairs from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a BA from Wellesley College.  She was a Fulbright Scholar (Tbilisi, Georgia) andRotary Ambassadorial Scholar (Irkutsk, Russia) and is multilingual in Spanish, Russian and Georgian.

More information about CASA of Los Angeles can be found at: