The Courier asked Dr. Sharona R. Nazarian, outgoing President of the Rotary Club of Beverly Hills, to share some of the highlights of a most unique year.
As we embarked on uncharted territories and unusual times, my goals for the new year were to care and support our local community. Community caring for community as we UNITE AS ONE. We set goals to focus on local programs for youths, veterans, the elderly and those displaced from their homes; the most at risk and vulnerable members of our society. I’m proud to share the new heights our club reached through our new programs and initiatives. Rotary has a very rich history. As one of the first service organizations in the world, we proudly support local and international projects to promote peace, fight disease, homelessness and hunger. We thrive to promote education and provide clean water wells. That’s just a fraction of what we do!
In this past year, we used the Zoom platform to host speakers from all over the world! Our speakers were timely, relevant, intellectual, cultural and, most of all, inspirational.
We are nearing our 100-year anniversary for the Rotary Club of BH. As part of my planning for the future, we started the President’s Club and adapted a Long-Range Plan. We created and launched a new website, updated our social media platforms, created a monthly newsletter and started promoting the #UnitedAsOne #ServiceAboveSelf and #bhRotary hashtags.
One of my goals was to have as many members engaged and involved in our club as possible so we launched several new groups and committees. We now have a Real Estate Roundtable, a Women’s Roundtable, a COVID Task Force, a City Occurrences Committee, a 50 and Under Club, Walk and Talk Tuesdays, a Wine Club, a Social Action Club and a Sunshine Club.
I am especially proud of our fundraising efforts, which took off with a $50,000 gift from an anonymous member. Despite the challenges of this year, our fundraising goals reached all-time highs through our Holiday Party that featured comedian Jay Leno. Our International Foundation and Local Charitable Foundation awarded tens of thousands of dollars in grants to worthy recipients that were recommended by our members. Our Women’s Round Table awarded close to $30,000 toward programs to combat Child/Human Trafficking, a cause very dear to my heart. Our member-supported BH Rotary Charitable Foundation also contributed nearly $100,000 to a number of worthy causes, and we donated almost $80,000 to programs directly impacted by COVID-19.
Rotary is about service, and I am proud that we launched the Shawn Saeedian Service Above Self Award and had Shawn as the first recipient. We collected blankets and toys for those in need and we passed out masks and hand sanitizer to our most innocent and vulnerable population, when those items were sparse, high in demand and hard to find. We continued to provide school scholarships to students at both Beverly Hills High School and The Buckley School where we sponsor their Rotary Interact Clubs. We look forward to celebrating our Annual Vocational Service Awards given to local Police, Fire, Postal, City and members of BHHS or Buckley School staff this Monday.
As my tenure draws to a close, I am in awe of the meaningful relationships that we managed to foster during a pandemic. As Rotarians, service above self is our motto and a way of life. I am grateful to and proud of my Board and club members for stepping up and working hard to selflessly serve our community, #UnitedAsOne.
Sharona R. Nazarian
Rotary Club of Beverly Hills
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