Rotary in Rancho Bernardo

92128 residents interested in making a difference in local or global communities need look no further than our local Rotary Clubs. Enjoy lunchtime meetings with Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo, or join your fellow early birds in Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo Sunrise. Both clubs are enthusiastically dedicated to service and community leadership. Rotary is a chance to collaborate not only with fellow Rotarians but with other organizations from within our backyard to across borders. We spoke with Club Presidents Arilla St. Laurent and Alison Farrin to learn more about how local clubs embody the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.”

Q&A with Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo President Arilla St. Laurent

What is a Rotary Club?
We are neighbors, community leaders, and global citizens uniting for the common good. Our motto is “Service Above Self.”

Can you tell us about the history behind the Rotary Club of RB?
Our club was established in 1964. There were 27 members lead by President John Gray.

cv_rbrotary1How did you personally become involved with Rotary Club of RB?
A friend, Mike Stelman, who was President of the RB Rotary Club invited me to a meeting.

What is your role within the club?
I’m currently president of the club. My duties include leading weekly meetings and keeping the club involved with community needs.

What types of activities is the Rotary Club involved with?
No project is too large or too small to be considered.

Can you elaborate on some of the projects you have worked on in the past?
Through our Dictionary/Thesaurus Project, we give dictionaries to local third graders and thesauruses to local fourth graders. We’ve given $25,000 to the RB Public Library and $25,000 to the remodel of Fire Station 33, plus the station’s state-of-the-art early warning system.

In 1993 we purchased the first car for the Reserve Senior Volunteer Patrol (RSVP). With that first purchase began the RSVP Program that has now gone nationwide.

In 1979 we purchased a van for the American Red Cross. We’ve made contributions to the police storefront, the Interfaith Council, the Spirit of the Fourth Parade, and Clean Foundation, Inc., which was started by Frank Goldsmith, DVM. In 1994 he was named a National Leadership Fellow.

We have supported many of the Senior Service Programs, including the Flu Shot Program, which we started in 1989 and is now funded by Medicare.

We offer many Rotary Youth programs, including scholarships for high school seniors in the Music Camp International Program, the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA), the 4-Way Test Speech Contest, and several more. We support many youth organizations from Boy Scouts to Girl Scouts to Boys & Girls Clubs and more.

The RB Rotary Club founded five additional Rotary Clubs, including RB Sunrise, San Diego North, and three clubs on our military bases. These are the only Rotary Clubs located on any military bases throughout the world.

Global projects include a clean water project in Ecuador, Polio Plus – the project to eliminate Polio in the world started in 1985 and we now have only two countries reporting new cases of polio – Youth Exchange, Micro-Credits, and many more.

By the Numbers

Founded: 1964
Original Members: 27
Current Members: 63
Officers: 7

Which communities do you work with?
We work in Rancho Bernardo, 4S Ranch, Poway, and Escondido.

Do you have any fundraisers you would like our readers to be aware of?
Stay tuned on our website for information about our annual golf tournament, held every spring.

How many members does your current club have?
We have 63 members.

Please tell us about how someone can go about becoming a club member.
You must attend at least three meetings before submitting an application.

Are there certain requirements a person has to meet?
People interested in membership should demonstrate business and professional leadership in the community.


What is the club’s mission?
The mission of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.

What sets the Rotary Club of RB apart from other Rotary Clubs worldwide?
There are 34,000 clubs worldwide with 1,200,000 members and our club is in the top 10 clubs in the world. For the year 2014-15 our club ranked third in giving out of 63 clubs in our district. Two District Governors have been chosen from our club – Jack Mayo and Mike Stelman.

Are there any exciting new projects, developments, or programs coming to the club?
Every year we look at the needs of our community and try to participate to the best of our abilities. We are looking to create a new fundraiser that will enable us to further assist our local needs.

What are your short-term and long-term goals for the club?
To continue to support our community in all areas of need.

What can club members expect when joining the club?
Friendship, fellowship, and information from our weekly speakers on current issues.

What’s the most exciting or rewarding aspect of being a Rotarian?
Knowing you are part of a worldwide organization devoted to helping those in need.

Can you tell us where and when your meetings are held?
Every Thursday at 12 p.m. except the second Thursday of the month, when we meet at 5:30 p.m. All meetings are at the Bernardo Heights Country Club unless a change has to be made.

Where should people go if they are interested in additional information?
Please come to a meeting or call me at 858-485-9041.

Is there anything else you would like to add about Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo?
We love all peoples of the world.

Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo

President At-A-Glance

Name: Arilla St. Laurent
Community: Rancho Bernardo
Education: Some college
Family: Spouse – Chuck, children – Simone and Kevin
Hobbies and Interests: Painting, travel, golf, aerobic dancing, church, and volunteering
Most Memorable Rotary Moment: The day I listened to a guest speaker and learned of the project to deliver a dictionary to every child in the third grade in Southern California. I and a fellow Rotarian (who has moved) started the project for RB Rotary.

Rotary At-A-Glance

Name: Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo
President: Arilla St. Laurent
Phone: 858-485-9041

Q&A with Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo Sunrise President Alison Farrin

What is a Rotary Club?
Rotary is a worldwide organization of business leaders dedicated to service in their community, both locally and internationally.

Have any current members been with Rancho Bernardo Sunrise Rotary since its beginning?
Our only remaining current member who is a charter member is Harold Dokmo.

cv_rbrotary2How did you personally become involved with RB Sunrise Rotary?
I joined in 1993, when my children had entered school full-time and I wanted a way to become more involved in our community. I was referred by a fellow Le Tip member, who was also an active Rotarian.

What is your role within the club? What duties does that role entail?
Currently filling the role of club president, I am immediately responsible for running our weekly meeting. Longer term, the presidential role is one that reminds us of our mission and vision, acts to choose board members that fulfill that mission, and moves the club forward on activities and projects that service those goals.

What types of activities is the Rotary Club involved with? Can you elaborate on some of the projects you have worked on in the past?
Rotary has five Avenues of Service: Community, Vocational, Youth, International, and Club. Those areas often overlap and our completed projects reflect service in multiple areas.

We have done many support projects for Mary’s house, a “Y” sponsored living arrangement for young women leaving the foster system, as well as working with the YMCA to support many of their youth and special needs projects. For several years, we have done spring cleaning – cutting brush and trimming trees and removing weeds for POVA, Poway Valley Therapeutic Riding at their facility.

Seven Oaks will also find us present helping seniors complete tasks around the home that have gotten overwhelming. We have been active supporters of the Rides and Smiles program for seniors. The Sykes Adobe at the San Dieguito River Park has benefitted from several improvement projects carried out by our members.

School Board member Andy Patapow has been a club member for years, and as a result we do multiple projects to assist Abraxas High School and have a 20-plus year track record of service at Abraxas.

Internationally we work hands-on to build a house in the impoverished areas of Tijuana almost every year, and we also support a couple of orphanages in conjunction with our sister Rotary Club in the Tijuana Valley. We have also contributed funds and assistance to Rotary International projects on almost every continent.


Which communities and areas do you work with?
As you can see from our project list, community is everywhere! But we are most active in Poway and RB, and internationally in the Tijuana Valley.

Do you have any fundraisers you would like our readers to be aware of?
Our annual fundraiser is quickly becoming a signature event in Rancho Bernardo. With the assistance of Urge and Brothers Provisions, Rancho BEERnardo held in early October is the San Diego area’s only IPA beer fest. With over 50 beers and a huge selection of regional wines available for tasting, live entertainment, and beer-related fun and games, this is the place to be in October!

How many members does your club have?
60 currently and growing.

Please tell us about how someone can go about becoming a club member. Are there requirements a person has to meet?
A sense of humor is a definite requirement. Beyond that, a desire to serve the community and an ability to participate in our Tuesday breakfast meetings and active projects. There are annual dues and costs for breakfast.

By The Numbers

Founded: 1988
Original Members: 11
Current Members: 56
Officers: 11
Meetings Per Year: 48
Largest Amount Raised at an Event: $50,000

Please tell us how someone can become a sponsor of the club.
Our sponsors contribute and are rewarded with recognition through our Beerfest. Donations range from $1,000 to $5,000 at the corporate level. Donations to the RB Sunrise Foundation are tax-deductible and welcome in any amount at any time.

What is the club’s mission, and how do you work towards that mission?
Grow the club to 75 members over the next 5 years so we can grow our fundraising level to a minimum of $100,000 annually. Use the funds and the membership levels to become the premier community service organization in our area, especially in terms of youth leadership activities, local and cross-border community improvement projects, and encouraging more members of our community, young and established, to become Rotarians.

What sets the RB Sunrise Rotary apart from other Rotary Clubs worldwide?
RB Sunrise Rotary acts to serve others with a strong local community presence, creating community on a business and social level from the largest corporation to the newest third grade student. With hands, hearts, and wallets, we largely support vocational projects locally and across the border designed to develop future leaders who embody service above self.

What can club members expect when joining the club?
The first word usually used to describe our club is irreverent. We are quite good at laughing at ourselves and enjoy taking our camaraderie along on the projects we do. There are multiple projects every month and chances to get to know one another through projects and social activities.

What’s the most exciting or rewarding aspect of being a Rotarian?
We join for the opportunity to serve. We stay because in serving we become the family you always wish you had!

Can you tell us where and when your meetings are held?
Tuesdays, 7 a.m. at Country Club of Rancho Bernardo, 12280 Greens East Rd., San Diego, CA 92128.

Where should people go if they are interested in additional information?
See more at our website.

Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo Sunrise

President At-A-Glance

Name: Alison Farrin
Community: Work in Poway, live in Ramona, participate in Rancho Bernardo
Education: B.S. from Cal Poly Pomona
Family: Husband – Mark, daughter – Lisa, son – Kris, and granddaughter – Astrid
Hobbies and Interests: Rotary! Endurance riding on horseback, maintaining trails in San Diego, reading, and gardening
Most Memorable Rotary Moment: The year we did a house build in Mexico, when the old house was four garage doors and a tarp and the new house had a door that locked. Handing the family keys and seeing what it meant to them.

Rotary At-A-Glance

Name: Rotary Club of Rancho Bernardo Sunrise
President: Alison Farrin
Facebook: Rancho Bernardo Sunrise Rotary Club
Phone: 858-218-3457