Thousands of Davis youths enjoy a better quality of life and improved hope for the future, thanks to the annual efforts of the Davis Sunrise Rotary.
“Davis Sunrise Rotarians continue to develop ongoing projects to help kids because we believe youth deserve a better future,” said club president Susanne Rockwell.
Projects include presenting Student of the Month awards, building garden boxes for high school gardeners, conducting a career day, developing vocational scholarships and the club’s signature contribution for Davis’ Grad Night. In addition, the club contributes scholarships for at-risk students in high school, Davis Adult School and elementary school.
Since 1996, Sunrise Rotary has partnered with parents of graduating seniors for the Davis Grad Night. The club constructs a major entertainment space at Emerson Junior High, bringing electric drills and hammers to transform part of the junior high into a place where students have safe fun till the early hours of the morning following their commencement ceremonies.
“Grad Night provides a drug- and alcohol-free environment for graduates to celebrate their achievements and create lifelong memories,” said club member and longtime project leader Jack Latow. “We believe that Grad Night saves lives and hope to continue to be able to support this wonderful event.”
In addition, in an effort to take advantage of Rotary’s members with a wide variety of vocations, the club held its first career day in February.
High school and UC Davis students participated in the event organized by Davis Sunrise Rotary, the Campus Rotaract Club of Davis, Da Vinci Charter School and the Society for Human Resource Management. More than 40 students spent the morning gaining job skills and connecting with Rotarians for informational interviews about careers they are interested in.
Club focuses on students who face adversity
High school students who persevere, boys fostered in a group home and migrant children are all under the Davis Sunrise Rotary Club’s wing.
Since 2003, the club has honored more than 1,000 students in front of their parents and other family members at a Student of the Month ceremony. The program has expanded to include Davis High School, Da Vinci Charter School and King High School.
Teachers and counselors select students whom they believe contribute to their schools and classmates, and who have shown perseverance in the face of difficult obstacles. Students receive certificates and hear from their teachers as to why they are deserving of this community honor. Their stories are published in The Davis Enterprise.
Sunrise Rotary also is dedicated to supporting Progress Ranch, a group home in Davis for boys ages 6 to 12. Over the years, club members provided the muscle to help the program move its contents to new homes or help with renovations. Most recently, club members installed a playground fort and built a wood-chip safety pad to keep the children safe.
Children living in the Yolo County Migrant Centers are also under the club’s wing. In the past few years, Sunrise Rotary has supplied migrant youngsters with soccer uniforms, backpacks and school supplies.