Posted by Cheryl Scott on Oct 11, 2023
The Beacon
The official weekly publication of The Rotary Club of Bakersfield Breakfast
for October 11, 2023
by Cheryl Scott
Reporter for the week: Cheryl Scott 
Pictures by: David Perkins
Art Esparza and the ever-faithful fill-in Stephanie Baker greeted everyone on the first cool morning of the season.  (Mike Turnipseed, we missed you!)
Neil Walker delivered the invocation, Karen Bonanno the Flag Salute, and Carol Smith led us in perhaps the best rendition of God Bless America. 
We had no visiting Rotarians but again had a whole gaggle of guests, including:
Brenna for a repeat visit; Anne Galvez, who found us on the website; Willie G. brought Ryan Drako; and, of course, our soon-to-be-a-member Shannon O’Brien.
Today’s Program:  Dr. Jason Watkins, Director of Basic Needs & Lecturer in Psychology at CSUB
Dr. Watkins came to us from CSU Bakersfield, where much emphasis has been placed over the past six years on ensuring that students have their most basic needs met.  This means creating conditions necessary for students to survive and thrive.  We’re talking housing, food, mental and physical well-being, and financial well-being, too. 
We learned that 10 percent of students are either at risk of being homeless…or they already are homeless, usually “couch surfing” and staying wherever they can find a place to land.  This is especially the case with first-generation college students and also students of color.  Many students work multiple jobs to support themselves and also to help their families.  It’s hard to focus on learning and to stay enrolled when students’ most basic needs are not met.
Last week alone, 711 students received support thru CSUB’s Pantry!  Much of that food comes from the university’s own Edible Garden, which produces seven thousand pounds of produce per year!
How can we help?  Dr. Watkins reminded us of some simple ways that we can make an impact, ranging from simply encouraging people we know are attending college to donating to CSUB’s pantry. 
We’re on the Grow Again!
We have another new member!  It’s always a great day when our BBRC family grows, and everyone was excited to welcome Shannon O’Brien to the club, brought in by Karen Bonanno.  Shannon owns O’Brien Technologies.  Welcome!
Celebrating the Good Stuff
Happy Birthday to our favorite “Chartarian” Char Vega!  And Happy Club Anniversary to Jeff Bell (14 years in BBRC…and that’s just his post-South Rotary years!), and Happy Anniversary to Pete and Michelle Leveroni on October 12!
Happy Bucks & Well Wishes
Everyone offered a huge WELCOME BACK to Dale Bender, whose simple surgery turned into a much bigger endeavor.  We’re so glad to have him back, and Dale made a donation of $48 bucks, which is the same number of signatures from club members that were on his Get Well cards. 
Our thoughts are also with Maria Theresa, who is recovering from surgery.  We can’t wait to get you back, Maria Theresa!
Finally, yours truly was super happy to announce that Darren’s scholarship at Bakersfield College has reached our first goal of $10,000, thanks in part to donations from members of BBRC.  Darren’s business sale was also final over the past week, and we’re thrilled to keep it in the family.  I donated $30 in honor of the two milestones.
Important Things to Remember!
District Conference is in Bako on Oct. 20 and 21, and Frank W is Sargeant at Arms for the event.  He needs five people to say YES and help out on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.  Give him a holler if you can help.
Wine Place & Show is coming up on November 11 at the Luigi’s Warehouse.  We need sponsors, tickets to be sold, wine donations, and raffle basket donations.  Let Denise know how you can help.
Past Pres Mike O’D will be heading north to Spokane very soon to start his next chapter in life, so stay tuned for a big send-off!  (Gosh, we’re going to miss Mike.) L 
Sandra Parnell was the big winner for the day, walking away with $70 from the weekly drawing!