rotary serves the community

There are so many worthy organizations out there in need of support that a potential volunteer could easily become overwhelmed trying to figure out which good cause is most in need of his or her time. If only there was a way to help a long list of nonprofits without having to give up your job and volunteer full time.

According to Elaine Rosenfield and Blaise Larotonda there is: Sunrise Rotary. The club, chartered in 1990, is all about supporting local worthy causes.

Larotonda, district judge for Mt. Lebanon and Dormont, has been a Rotary member since 2003, and Rosenfield, owner of Advertising Works, since 1991.

“We are a little family,”  Rosenfield says of the group that meets Wednesday mornings from 7 to 8 for breakfast, fellowship and business at Bado’s. “And I’m the grandmother.”

Screen Shot 2013-05-09 at 11.20.36 AMUnfortunately, that family has gotten smaller in the last few years, as members have moved out of town or dropped out due to other obligations. The club is actively seeking new members to round out its ranks.

“It’s not really that much of a time commitment,” says Larotonda, who joined after retiring from the Mt. Lebanon Police Department, so he could stay in touch with the community.

Not to be confused with Rotary Club of Dormont-Mt. Lebanon-Castle Shannon, which meets Mondays at noon, the Sunrise Rotary is perfect for people who have jobs in which they can’t get away for lunch or have a lot of evening obligations. “You can stop at a meeting and get a healthy meal before heading to work,” Larotonda says.

But Rotary is not just about sitting around and eating pancakes. Rotary is a service organization with the motto, “Service Above Self.” Rotary International has worked since 1985 to immunize all of the world’s children against polio (as of 2011, nearly two billion children worldwide have been immunized). On local levels, Rotaries provide humanitarian services in their own communities.

In the past 11 years, Sunrise Rotary has given more than $200,000 to local organizations, from Outreach Teen and Family Services to local libraries to the Mt. Lebanon Veteran’s Memorial. In 2011, more than 25 organizations serving Mt. Lebanon, Dormont and the Pittsburgh area received funding.

The money comes primarily from the Sunrise Rotary’s successful Art in the Park event, now in its 12th year. Held the first weekend in October, the two-day art festival typically draws 5,000 to 6,000 people.

Art_in_Park1In addition to organizing and hosting Art in the Park, Sunrise Rotary  lends a hand with events such as the Mt. Lebanon Police Association’s annual Classic Car Show and Martha’s Run. Most of the help involves assistance with registration and finding volunteers. In addition, Rotary supports a high school club called Interact. Rotary members also have participated in local Habitat for Humanity efforts.

“We are your neighbors,” says President Nate Nevala. “We make a difference.”Adds Rosenfield, “If the community needs something done, they know they can count on us. We put on our capes and come to the rescue.”

If you are interested in joining, come to a meeting or contact Nevala, 724-322-4395.

Photos by Judy Macoskey