1st Edition                                                                               30 March 2020 
Welcome everyone to the new fortnightly newsletter “STAYING CONNECTED”.
This newsletter is for D9810 to “stay connected” and showcase to each other how we are keeping in touch with and supporting each other and our families, friends, neighbours and communities (with appropriate distancing) in this time of emergency response.
The COVID-19 virus impacts all of us.  For factual health updates visit the Department of Health and Human Services website for details https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19-daily-update. For some the impacts are more severe than others and we need to remember that we are all in this together and to look out for each other.  We have been asked to practice “Social Distancing”. I would like to see us use the phrase “Physical Distancing” as this is more accurate.  We need to remain social in many different ways, but at a physical distance.
Each fortnight I would like to showcase what you, the D9810 members have been doing to keep in touch with each other, and the wider community. This is the time for innovation and creativity something that Rotarians of D9810 have in abundance.  An example of this is the Virtual Art Show from RC Bayswater, see there flyer later on.
Please send your photos and articles to editor Michael Ellinger (highlights9810@gmail.com), for inclusion.
This first edition will have articles on how you can keep in touch with your fellow Rotarians.  There are numerous ways, Zoom, What’s App, FaceBook messenger, Microsoft Teams, Email, phone calls, Teleconference to name a few. The ways of staying connected with each other are endless.
It has been great to see clubs take up the concept of Zoom meetings. I was invited to my first club Zoom meeting, and it was a very well run and well attended meeting. Feel free to invite me to your Zoom meetings, as I would love to join in with the fun.
The Assistant Governors (AG’s) met on Friday via Zoom and are there to help you and provide any support you may need, so please do continue to include them in your club activities.
The District website, has added a new tab in members called “Staying Connected” (https://www.9810rotary.org.au/page/staying-connected). This is where you will find this newsletter and other helpful tips about the different ways to meet up remotely and staying connected, being healthy and relevant to your community.
Stay safe, by positive and have FUN.
DG Family Project – Books for Kids
Great News – D9810 was awarded $10,000 from Ansvar Insurance as part of their Community Education Program grants scheme.  With the contributions received from Rotary and Rotaract Clubs we have raised nearly $30,000 which equates to 1,500 primary school children receiving 2 books of choice to keep.
Due to the COVID-19 virus, the book giving ceremonies at the Primary Schools will now be occurring within Term 1, 2021, on the assumption that all schools are back to normal by then. Clubs will be notified when dates with the schools have been confirmed.
Ride for Research
Raises over $40,000 for Australian Rotary Health.
Those intrepid men and women on their cycling machines, left Melbourne on a cold and dark morning (prior to social distancing coming in) to embark on 6 days of cycling around Victoria to raise money for Australian Rotary Health in the name of D9810.  Over the years these cyclists have raised over $1M dollars and this year they added another $40,000+.  Being a supporter of one of these riders, I am very happy to give my money (tax deductable as well) rather than ride over 400 kms in a week.
As you can see they enjoyed themselves and are a well oiled machine in regards to how they get themselves and their bikes around.
Non-Conference – weekend 21st – 22nd March 2020
On the weekend of the 21st-22nd March, over 100 Rotarians from D9810 travelled up to Echuca/Moama the venue for the District Conference.  Rotarians had a wonderful weekend away.  As the food had already been purchased the caterers Two Tarts, very kindly agreed to put on canapes Thursday night at the Rosie Rattler at Moama on Murray Resort (what was supposed to be the Conference Committee’s canapes with the RIPPR).  Saturday they enjoyed a boxed lunch and a ride on the magnificent Murray on the Mary Ann and dinner (not a Masquerade dinner) but still a lovely dinner on Saturday night at Dungula.
I would like to thank the conference committee for all the wonderful work they put into the conference and I am glad they were able to enjoy a weekend away and some of the fruits of their labour.
Drought Relief for Cobar Farmers
In early March, two members from Rotary Club of Mount Waverley, made the nine-hour drive to the town of Cobar in remote New South Wales. They made the trek to deliver $6,000 towards purchasing groceries, meat and fuel vouchers for distribution to drought-affected farmers.
The Club partnered with their own District 9810, who provided a matching grant, and Melbourne based businesses to work with the Rotary Club of Cobar’s drought relief program.
“Helping our farmers who are really doing it tough out in the bush is something our Club and local community wanted to get behind,” Beth Merkus, President, Rotary Club of Mount Waverley explained. “Travelling to Cobar to see first-hand the conditions our farmers are enduring was eye opening. We understand that while there’s green grass around, these are still difficult times and many farmers will generate next to no income.”
Providing vouchers purchased from local businesses in Cobar had a two-fold impact - helping stimulate the local business economy while providing much-needed essentials to farmers, both of whom are the backbone of the community.
“Members heard some really sad stories of the impact of the drought,” Beth said. “Meeting with farmers and families that were so grateful, that pretty much had nothing left, but that opened up their hearts and homes to welcome us was a very humbling experience.”
Rotary Club of Mount Waverley is now more committed than ever to supporting the Cobar community through these tough times and into the future. We look forward to the day when we can all celebrate the end of the drought.
Thank you to everyone for their donations towards making a small difference in the lives of these Cobar farmers. A special thanks to Gordon and Therese Hill of Cobar Rotary for their hospitality and connecting us with farmers.
Finding calmness, whilst social distancing:
  • Limiting news consumption to trusted sources like The World Health Organisation
  • Walking
  • Reading
  • Listening to quality podcasts
  • Daily gratitude, writing, sharing (start a WhatsApp group called ‘daily gratitude’ with your closest friends/fellow Rotarians)
  • Helping vulnerable people in our community
There are incredible resources out there for free for us all to use. Here are some free tools that have been recommended:
New way of fundraising – The Virtual ART Show.
Have a look at the Knox Art Show entries and purchase the artwork you like
Click the image to visit the 2020 Virtual Art Show

Our Knox Art Show has gone Virtual

Thanks to the Knox Council and our many sponsors we have been able to proceed with our 46th Art Show on-line.

You are able to browse through our many entries of paintings and photographs as if you were at the Art Show in person. Have a great time over the next few days appreciating the work of our great artists.
And to finish off the First Edition of this newsletter, click on the image above for some light entertainment to cheer up your day
Hi to all.
Hope you are well.
Just a reminder as mentioned above by Shia and if you would like to be part of "Staying Connected", please send me your photos and articles 
at highlights9810@gmail.com prior to the next edition which will sent out on the 13th April.
All the best
Michael Ellinger 
Rotary Club of Oakleigh Clayton Huntingdale
Highlights Editor