Happenings in Rotary
“Changing lives in a changing world”.
Development practitioners would revel in the story of Canadian Humanitarian, now Real Humanitarian. Why? Because this is not an organization that goes in for dependence-creating and maintaining handouts. It is a non-profit that believes in and does hands-up work.
Here’s a very brief summary of the story, as presented by Co-Executive Director Deborah Northcott.
Canadian Humanitarian was ‘born’ in September 1994, when Dick and Deborah Northcott adopted two Ethiopian children. Their thinking shifted from “Someone needs to do something” about the lives and living conditions of children in Ethiopia, to “What can I/we do?”.
Deborah described the dire living conditions of families, both urban and rural, as well as the under-resourced school contexts. Ethiopian education statistics reveal that 68.1% of students leave school before completing high school, 35% enter post-secondary studies, with a 8% graduation from tertiary education.
In 2003, Dick discussed with the Ethiopian ministries responsible for children, the kind of assistance what would be best to lift children and their families out of extreme poverty. There was consensus that moving children out of the workforce into school and helping them to complete their high school education – or at least some level of education - would likely have the most impact on their personal economic status, as well as the country’s future.
Deborah then presented the United Nations 2030 Social Development Goals to Club members, pointing out that the primary focus of Real Humanitarian, is Goal #4: Education, under which they address, inter alia, poverty, gender equality, health and well-being, and hunger.
Unpacking and outlining the services and support of Real Humanitarian in Ethiopia, Deborah described what is offered in the school context, the involvement and participation of the families of the children with whom they work, and the role of local government.
There are eight afterschool projects, established, run and maintained by Real Humanitarian. There is also a vocational training campus, and three scholarship programs. All these services are staffed by 92 Ethiopian staff.
Deborah showed photos and shared the phenomenal stories of a number of the alumni of the Real Humanitarian program.
Real Humanitarian aims to help the children with whom they work to:
  • Develop life skills
  • Live independent lives
  • Become active, contributing citizens and community members
Over the two decades of development work carried out in Ethiopia, raising over $11.8m, Real Humanitarian offers the following impressive statistics related to the children who have been involved in their programs:
  • Average number of years in school: 9
  • Depart from program: 10% (7% move away and 3% decide to leave education)
  • Pass grade annually: 92%
  • Go on to post-secondary education: 91%
  • Complete post-secondary education: 93%
  • Employed after graduation: 72%
  • Number of teen or unplanned pregnancies during education and child marriages: 0%
This is evidence of a meaningful impact on the lives of the children with whom Real Humanitarian works – a hand up and not a hand out.
We salute you, Deborah and Dick Northcott, and all the staff and volunteers involved in the life-changing development work done by Real Humanitarian.
Thank you for the significant contribution your organization is making to the achievement of the 2030 Social Development Goals of the United Nations.
The Rotary Club was very happy to welcome the new City Manager, Ann Mitchell to our meeting today.  She was introduced by Dave Panabaker, who provided the club with a short view of her CV, and welcomed her to our gathering.  She has been in her position for approximately 6 months, and is getting settled into her task.  She mentioned how much she and her husband value to size and makeup of the community, how "walking to work" is a wonderful idea and that many of the social intangibles of our community are very attractive.
She spoke about how local government is the "closest one to the people" and how satisfying that can be.  Her "mandate" would be to have a cohesive and properly functioning administration, with superior department co-ordination and comprehensive long term plans.  That's a big task and in order to accomplish that she will need the right people in the right positions.  She spoke about the recent recruitment efforts, in Economic Development, in HR and at the City Clerk position.
She also spent time talking about the need for role clarity, how Council/Senior Administration/ Organization all have specific roles to play, and making sure those are well understood is vital.  Also managing expectations, from all sides, is important.
She spent time answering questions on change, utility costs, Strong Towns, growth and other issues.
Ann was thanked for her talk by President Bruce Shepard and presented with a Rotary coffee mug, manufactured locally at Medalta.  A great presentation and thanks!
The Rotary Club welcomed our guests today from the Charitable Society that runs the annual Music Festival.  Our guest speaker was Delynne Lorentzen, who is the Executive Director of the Rotary Music Festival.  She was introduced by Don Davis, Chairman of the Festival.  Don also welcomed the President of the Rotary Music Festival Society, Cathie Catalano.  The charitable society has operated the Music Festival for the past few years and is transitioning to a public society to allow parents, teachers and those interested in youth and music to participate in running the event.
Delynne spoke about the value of the Festival, which has been running for 68 years.  The Medicine Hat Rotary Festival is the longest continuous running music festival in the province,  Delynne spoke about the long term benefits of the festival experience on all the youth that perform, they gain confidence, discipline and creativity in performing in public and that carrys into their adult lives.  Sometimes you don't know exactly what the impact will be, but many local adults speak very fondly of their time in the Rotary Music Festival.
"There is nothing that builds into the foundation of a local community more than investing in its young people.  When you think about your community and ways to make it better, some people look at infrastructure or amenities but I think that foundation is the children".  Delynne also spoke about seeing the progress and maturing of local music students, some who go on to do great things, not always in music.  But music training is quite literally one of the top predictors of general success in life.  
Delynne also spoke about some of the very accomplished students who have grown out of our Festival into the professional music business, and how we are known as a community that seems to generate a very high level of performer.  As a club we should be very proud of the impact and lasting benefits of the Festival on youth.
Our current leadership of the Rotary Music Festival Society, Cathie Catalano - President of the Society, Delynne Lorentzen - Executive Director of the Festival, Anne Carrier - Past ED of the Festival and Don Davis - Chairman of the Festival.  Thanks to all of you for your hard work.
Upcoming Events
September 2023
Medicine Hat

We meet In Person & Online
Mondays at 11:45 AM
Medicine Hat Lodge
1051 Ross Glen Dr SE
Medicine Hat, AB T1B 3T8
The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat has returned to meeting in person. We have regular face-to-face meetings at least twice each month. A ZOOM link will still be available for those who are cautious, ill or are away on vacation.
Club Contact Info
Rotary Club of Medicine Hat
PO Box 1058
Medicine Hat, AB, T1A 7H1