I met Les Grossman, Esq. several years ago and noticed that he had many different Rotary plaques in his office. One day my Uncle Bob, who later I found out was a part of Rotary decades ago when he was working as a park ranger, came into Les’ office with me. When my uncle saw the Rotary plaques on the wall he was surprised and told me that Rotary is a wonderful organization that helps a lot of people. This planted the seed.

Years go by and then the 2020 pandemic hits. I was working inside of a store and I saw all of the shelves being emptied by customers. Section by section completely gone in a state of panic as if locust had come through. My immediate concern was that my neighbors were not going to be able to feed their families. I called them and tried to urge them to get the things they needed right away. Unfortunately my neighbors didn’t know what was happening and felt no urgency. They told me they would go to the store the following week. Knowing that they wouldn’t find the needed items, I shopped for them and shared everything I was able to get. I felt good about being able to help. A week or so later I wasn’t really doing much except for working. I started feeling a bit hopeless about the things going on around me like the Pandemic, social injustices and not knowing what the future held or my part in it. I quickly figured out that not finding a way to be productive and be involved was taking me down a rabbit hole. I asked myself, “What can I do?”. Then I asked, “How can I help?”. With the second question I came to the conclusion that I could listen learn and look for different items that people needed and that this would help. So that’s what I did. I found that a few of my neighbors had lost their jobs when the businesses were forced to shut down so I would bring them groceries with the understanding, that when they were able to, they would help someone else by paying it forward.

As time went on money came in for my neighbors and they were able to shop for themselves. I still would look for the difficult to find items(like rice, flour, tp, Lysol and other different things at different times)for people. People would tell me that they couldn’t find something and I would be guided to that needed item.

I’m still listening and learning. I know that my Purpose is to help others and that this means different things at different times. I find that opportunities to help cross my path all of the time and sometimes I miss them or make the wrong choice because I am busy thinking about my own things but I have grown and become more aware now.

I recently bought some of the “hard to find” items by Les’ office and was looking at his Rotary plaques again. The seed that was planted had grown. I asked him about Rotary and he told me some of the wonderful experiences that he was able to be involved with and how he had grown from his involvement. I asked him how I could be a part of that. I wanted to be a part of his club, the Greater Van Nuys Rotary, because I wanted to grow and get to know his family and to have him as my mentor.
On behalf of Greater Van Nuys Rotary, congratulations and welcome on board.