June 2, 2016

Minutes of the Rotary Meeting – June 2, 2016
By: Henry R. Seawell, IV
Invocation, Song, Music and Pledge
Robbie McClure called the meeting to order. Sam Siegel gave the invocation.
Tommy Blankenship led the song and pledge.
Introduction of Guests and Visitors: Tom Martenstein.
Announcements: Rotarians were reminded of the Rotary International meeting, which is scheduled to be held in Atlanta next year. Members of our group are encouraged to attend the conference. Robert Greer reiterated the deadline for early registration to Rotary International was to expire on June 6th. The first 15 members to register would benefit from discounted registration fees and rooms. Additionally, any member who wishes to submit a new photo or roster change should provide the same to Peggy as soon as possible.
Speaker: Kate Carver, Executive Director of Dumas Wesley Community Center, was introduced by John Dukes.
Dumas Wesley Community Center (“Dumas Wesley”) was founded by the United Methodist Women in 1903 as a community outreach program, and has been serving the needs of Mobilians ever since. The primary objectives of Dumas Wesley are to serve the working poor and provide a safe and productive environment for the community’s youth. Dumas Wesley boasts a thriving after-school program for these youths, as well as transitional housing for homeless families designed to bridge the gap between homelessness and housing independence. At any given time, more than twenty families will be housed at the Sybil Smith Family Village (the “Village”), where they will be taught life skills including employment readiness and retention, parenting, budgeting, and other attributes necessary to promote long-term independence.
The services provided to Dumas Wesley consumers are significant in breadth and scope. Each year, over 4,000 individuals receive some form of direct service from Dumas Wesley. Of those, 69% are low income and a full 90% are minority consumers. To date, the Village has served more than 430 homeless families, of which approximately 94% have been able to secure gainful employment and permanent housing. Dumas Wesley has served a quarter-million children since its Youth-At-Risk Program’s inception in 1970. The community center also provides a meal service and transportation to elderly members of the community, which allows the vast majority of these more senior members of our city to remain independent.
Ms. Carver presented several success stories from individuals who have received services from Dumas Wesley while growing up. Corporal D’alo Green availed himself of Dumas Wesley’s services and has become an officer in the Mobile Police Department, as well as an important part of the local FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. Similarly, one of our county commissioners, Ms. Merceria Ludgood, used her Dumas Wesley experience to obtain an education in law and divinity and ultimately her present political position.
Unfortunately, Dumas Wesley was just dealt the blow of a $160,000 cut in funding for the Village, a nearly 50% cut in federal dollars. As such, Dumas Wesley greatly needs the support of the members of our Club and the city of Mobile as a whole. Other needs of Dumas Wesley include men’s and children’s clothing for the center’s clothing closet.
Dumas Wesley provides valuable services to less-fortunate members of our community and has done so for well over a hundred years. With Ms. Carver’s tireless efforts, there is no doubt that Dumas Wesley will continue to thrive for years to come.
The meeting was adjourned.