'Discover Your Neighbors' fundraiser needs neighbors

Rotary event aims to connect residents with original citizens of community

Though the first two fundraisers held by the Rotary Club of Magnolia had strong turnouts, the upcoming "Discover Your Neighbors" fundraiser seems to have slipped under the radar.
"We've got 25 folks now, but we really need 100 to break even," said Robert Gaston, Rotary Club of Magnolia president-elect. "I'm anticipating this will be an annual event and that when word gets out people will be looking forward to it every year, but it may not be as successful a fundraiser as we wanted this time around."
With the goal of connecting Magnolia residents with their neighbors, Rotary partnered with the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation to put on the first-ever salmon bake dinner fundraiser from 3 to 6:30 p.m., Saturday, May 1, at the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center in Discovery Park.
"I want people to understand their neighborhood, get connected, appreciate the diversity we have here and honor the original citizens of this community," Gaston said. "I want to inspire neighbors to appreciate where they live and build relationships with the original citizens of this community."
In addition to the salmon bake dinner, there will be traditional native dancing, drumming and singing by the Haida Heritage Dance Group, and renowned flautist Gary Stroutsos will perform too. The evening also includes storytelling for children, arts and crafts displays, and a silent auction.
"It was always our intention to reach out to the community, get more involved and to see how we can support each other," said Marty Bluewater, executive director of the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation who joined the Rotary Club of Magnolia a couple months ago. "We want to make sure the community is aware of us and we want to maintain good relations with the surrounding community."
Magnolia Rotarians extended their philanthropy to the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center by painting and doing landscape work last weekend, but Gaston hopes the fundraiser will raise awareness in the greater Magnolia community about the Center that's tucked away in Discovery Park.
"Besides the fact it's going to be a fun event," Bluewater said, "it is a good awareness event for both United Indians and Rotary. It's a win-win situation."
Apart from building bridges between neighbors, "Discover Your Neighbors" is the last of three major fundraisers the Rotary Club of Magnolia hosts to boost its bank account for the next fiscal year. So far the club's raised $7,000, but Gaston hopes the bank account will reach $10- $15,000. All the money supports charity causes, and almost all of the funds cycle back into the community.
"We're here to serve the community we live in," Gaston said. "The motto we follow is service above self, outreaching to serve the needs of those who can't do it all for themselves."
The only portion of the funds that leave the community are given to research for polio, which is a donation mandated by Rotary International. Magnolia Rotary donates to neighborhood schools to help students pay for materials and school outings, and gives money to support need-based scholarships at private schools like Our Lady of Fatima.
The club also supports the Music for Life Foundation, which provides scholarships for private music education to needy elementary and secondary school students; a couple years ago, the club spent more than $20,000 to install 12 automated external defibrillators in the community.
But the catch for Rotary clubs is their philanthropy directly depends on fundraisers, like "Discover Your Neighbors." Though the event has not sold many tickets yet, Bluewater and Gaston expect the fundraiser to eventually become a popular annual event.
For information on ticket sales contact People's Bank in the Village, 3300 W. McGraw St., at 206-352-5960. Tickets for the May 1 fundraiser are $15 for children and $40 for adults.[[In-content Ad]]