//Rebuilding the Appalachian Economy From the Ground Up

Rebuilding the Appalachian Economy From the Ground Up

Meeting for the week of April 06 – April 12, 2020

This Meeting at a Glance:

Program: Rebuilding the Appalachian Economy From the Ground Up

Speaker: Brandon Dennison

Is this your first time to visit us? If so, welcome to our weekly online meeting! To complete our meeting, please continue reading from here to the bottom of this page.

Each Monday our week’s meeting is posted early in the morning, U.S. Pacific Time. These meetings are designed so that you can read and watch what we post anytime during the week. The entire meeting takes about 60 minutes to complete, with the video conference recording of the program being the bulk of the time.

Note that you can easily read this meeting with your favorite device, so feel free to take our meeting on the go with you. Please also make sure to complete the attendance form at the bottom and leave a comment. Enjoy!

To properly attend this meeting, please:

  1. Read and watch the content below in its entirety.
  2. Complete the attendance survey.

Everyone is also encouraged to leave a comment in the Disqus section at the bottom of the page.

Table of Contents

Welcome to the Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley!

Here’s a message from Tzviatko:

ReCSV President’s Message for the week of April 6, 2020

President Tzviatko

Guests, we are happy to have you join us this week!

As we see it, our flexibility as an online, asynchronous club allows a special type of service to Rotarians around the world: we make it easier for anyone to strive for and maintain 100% attendance. That keeps you engaged with Rotary’s events and ideas, and provides a moment of inspiration for devoting your creativity, talents, and resources to good causes.

You are certainly not required to pay anything in order to attend our meetings. However, if you would like to make a small contribution to our service efforts, you are welcome to do so in our secure Happy Dollars section down the page. This could be what you normally pay at your own club’s meetings for lunch, for example. Any amount is welcome, but first and foremost, we’re happy you’ve joined us, and hope you will share with others who we are and what we do to help inspire Service Above Self.

And don’t forget to fill out our attendance form so you get an email you can pass on to your club’s secretary!

The Four Way Test

The Four-Way Test is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships.

Of the things we think, say or do

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Rotary's Four-Way Test

Members of the Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley from around the world

Weekly Funny with the Lady of Laughter (LOL)

We believe laughter is an important part of life, and we should all make time to laugh a little. This segment of our meeting is meant to tickle you just enough. These funnies are curated by member Yvonne Kwan, our “Lady of Laughter!”

We are hopping into Easter this weekend! (Or, as the world of Animal Crossing calls it, Bunny Day!)

Did you hear about the bunny who sat on a bumblebee?
It’s a tender tail!

Where does the Easter Bunny get his eggs? 
From an eggplant!

What’s the best way to make Easter easier? 
Put an “i” where the “t” is!



Weekly Inspiration

Every week we start our meetings with a short video highlighting innovation, inspiration, entrepreneurship, or social change.

Hear that swish? That’s the Salam Stars crushing it on the court. The all-female varsity basketball team is made up of Muslim students from the Salam School, an Islamic school in Milwaukee.

All the players wear hijabs and modest athletic wear. In an ideal world, that wouldn’t be a big deal, but they often face judgment based on their outfits and their religion. But these athletes ignore the haters. The Salam Stars are focused on the game. They play to win while making space for other girls to do the same.

The Salam Stars Are the Changing Face of Basketball


Member  Spotlight

This week’s Member Spotlight is Tanya Martin! Here is what they have been up to lately:

Like everyone else, I have been trying to navigate my way through this coronavirus crisis. Fortunately, since I have been working from home for 17 years, there hasn’t been much change in my day-to-day activities. The two biggest differences are Starbucks is closed in Atlanta and my medical facility has canceled all of my medical appointments, which means my health issues are on hold. The bright side is this crisis is forcing me to really focus on my goals, including my service goals. I am proud of how this crisis is causing people to step up and really help others. Unfortunately, this trend doesn’t continue once a crisis passes.

As I look around and see millions of people being laid off and furloughed, I am thankful I am able to continue my career as an online editor without interruptions…so far. However, I always have to be in adaptability mode because things are changing by the second. As I see industries struggle such as travel and retail, and others grow such as delivery services, I have been reflecting on an industry I used to work in off and on for 4 years that doesn’t suffer when a crisis occurs. If anything, business booms. Therefore, I am thinking about returning to it in some fashion. It’s an industry full of adventure and mystery with a lot of secrets. Ssh! Please be safe and find lightness and positivity during this time.

Tanya Martin
Rotarian since 2018


World of

Please welcome Rotarian Ebrin Ngoran from the Rotary Club of Abidjan Excelsior who stopped by during a previous meeting!

I am currently writing you from offshore rig in Gabon. We are drilling oil well. I am rotarian and member of Rotary Club Abidjan Excelsior, Rotary District 9101. I assist our district ARPIC in promoting Rotary.  I am working in oil and gas wells drilling industry.

My current work does not allow me to physically attend to my club meetings. I was looking for solution then I discover Rotary eclub of Silicon Valley.

Thanks again for the opportunity that you give to rotarians to interact. I enjoyed my first experience!


Through a Rotarian’s Lens

Sometimes a photo can capture an amazing moment. In this section Member Keith Marsh shares his incredible photography!
If you’d like to submit a photo for this section please contact Keith.

The Coronavirus shut down is having a profound impact on local businesses. I live in San Anselmo (North of San Francisco) where there is (was) an active downtown business district of restaurants, banks, retail and coffee shops. On one of my walks on the mostly deserted streets, I saw this coffee shop employee updating their sign. It says a lot about what is going on.

For impact, I decided to convert the image to Black and White, but retain the pink lettering that tells the story. For you techies, I used Nik Silver Efex and a layer mask.

Learn Something New

This section is curated by members Shags Shagrin and Rushton Hurley and aims to teach our members and guests something new, fun and useful! If you have any ideas on a fun trick or skill you’d like to share please contact Rushton or Shags.

5-Minute Crafts

How to make a character snow globe — something to do while you’re stuck at home!

How to make a character snow globe in less than 5 minutes! l 5-MINUTE CRAFTS

Coffee With a Rotarian

A natural part of Rotary is the networking and the fellowship you get out of meeting other Rotarians. Coffee With a Rotarian is a monthly program of our club where we match participating club members for one-on-one virtual (or in some cases in person) coffee meetings, so they can learn more about each other. This program is organized by member Tzviatko Chiderov.

This week we have Emily from Cincinnati, OH, USA reporting on a chat with Rushton from San Jose, CA, USA

CWR Report: Rushton + Emily

We encourage all club members to participate in Coffee With a Rotarian. You can sign up here!

Relay for Life

Hello, eclub folks!

As you know, our club is engaged in its annual drive to help in the fight against cancer. We raise funds for research, support, and educational programs. We buy luminaria to honor and remember those affected by cancer. We walk as part of the Wild Walkers team in the Santa Clara Relay for Life.

We also share messages like the ones below.

We want every member of our club to take part! You can send an email to Rushton with a message, plan to join the team when the postponed event takes place in October, or send a donation via this page: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/rushton

Next week we’ll share a list of all who have joined in so far – we hope you’ll be part of it.

Service Report

Tell us about service you’ve done recently in your community.
Click here to fill out The Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley Service Survey


Gildart, Nate
I organized and MS-ed a music fundraiser/awareness raiser for a mental health care non-profit called TELL in Tokyo.

D’Garay-Juncal, Raquel
Assisted with the creation of an extensive and detailed logistics plan for all Secretariat members of the Future We Want MUN to ensure that the conference ran smoothly for the participants at the UN General Assembly Hall, hotel venues, and delegate social venues.
Planning committee for the Rotaract Pan-American conference.
Volunteer at the 2020 AmpSurf ISA World Para Surfing Championship

Tuberty, Sarah
Planning Meeting: Camp Winning Hands

On the first meeting of every month, we feature service reports from club members for the previous month. Thanks for your service everyone!

Club Announcements

Our Events & Projects

We hold our meetings online, but we do regular service projects and social events in the Silicon Valley! This section is updated every week with our upcoming events. We welcome guests to all of the events and service projects listed here.

Past Events:


Upcoming Events:

All times are Pacific Time! (San Francisco time)

District 5170 Events

All times are Pacific Time! (San Francisco time)



More events coming soon! All events are open to guests, unless otherwise mentioned. Feel free to join us! If you ever have questions, please email inquiries@siliconvalleyrotary.com

Happy Dollars: Do Good by Sharing Something Good

Each week we ask our members to share stories with the club and toss in a few dollars to support our efforts. The primary goal of this section is to provide a fun way of getting to know each fellow members and guests, while giving back to a good cause.


Happy dollars is an opportunity to share something positive that has happened in your life whether it is personal or business. Think of it as your opportunity to brag a little, but also put a little bit into a karma jar. The money donated through happy dollars is put to charitable use, and the message that you leave for happy dollars will be posted in our online meeting the following week for the entire week for folks to see! (Pending that it’s appropriate!)

Here are the happy dollars contributions from last week!
This section is usually updated on the early hours of Saturday, so contributions made over the weekend may not be listed here.

MONIQUE ZIESENHENNE made a $20 donation.
For TRF-Annual Fund! Thanks for keeping up the great work on the site and the meeting content.

Carl Mianecke made a $25 donation.
Happy to be in my California home finishing up some projects before I go to my Wisconsin home.

Rory Olsen made a $20 donation.
Gloomy, sticky warm day. My wife and I are healthy, so no complaints..Please apply mt gift to Polio Plus.

Kelly Ku made a $20 donation.
For Relay for Life. 🙂

Fill out my online form.

Selected Comments

Every week at the bottom of our meetings, there is a comments section for members and guests to tell us what they enjoyed about the meeting or to ask questions to the speaker. We select a few comments every week from last week’s meeting to be featured during this week’s meeting.


Here are the comments selected from last week’s meeting.

Catherinie A said:

Welcome Manouchehr! We are so happy to have you join us. We look forward to your participation and future opportunities where you may share your expertise with our club and visitors. Kudos to Ferheen for her leadership in Membership cultivation. Did I say Ferheen rocks?

Great programs and videos this week! I have to admit, I howled out loud at the home made kabob machine and dubbed audio. It was just what I needed after a few weeks of sheltering at home, wondering what to cook and contemplating how to repair a broken PVC sprinkler pipe in my backyard! 😉 All problems solved, with that one video!

Keith’s photo was awesome and poignant, considering that NYC is the epicenter of the COVD-19 outbreak in the US. Prayers go out to all who are suffering and their families.

Dr. Yen, thank you for your talk on what is often a loaded topic, due to religious and political differences. What all the noise should boil down to is that women have a right to choose their own healthcare and reproductive options, with the aid of a compassionate physician or nurse practitioner. Too often those born without a uterus, when in power, impose rules and judgments based on suspicion and prejudice, preventing women from getting the care and the choices they need and deserve. Best of luck with Pandia Health Dr. Yen; it such a super idea and such a needed service for women, who may hesitate to visit a physician in their area for various reasons.

Brett Sham said:

I’m LOVING the connections that are being formed with other clubs during these challenging times. I hope we can continue to foster these bonds when the world returns to normal. The multi-lingual welcome message really shows how truly international Rotary International really is.

Nate, can’t wait to hear the new album once it’s released – maybe you and your bandmates could do a livestream performance for us as a presentation one day!

Addeline, thanks for coming back to visit again. If I wasn’t part of this eClub, I would definately want to join a club that meets at a brewery! I’d much rather a nice cold beer over a rubbery chicken dinner any day of the week – I’m sure it must help in attracting your younger members. Are you or your members part of the Rotary BREW fellowship group?

Manouchehr, welcome to the club.

Dr Yen, thanks for your presentation. I’m so glad I’ve never had to and never will have to experience a period. It seems so horrible, what with all the blood (which I HATE) and the pain and all the other side effects.

Nick LaGarde said:

Thank you Dr. Yen for your talk. I look forward to opportunities where I can share this knowledge and direct them to your presentation.

Nate, wonderful update! I appreciate the updates from everyone during this challenging time.

Welcome Manou! Excited to have you join!

Be sure to leave a comment at the end of this week’s meeting after you watch the program below, and perhaps you’ll see your comment featured next week!

Program: Rebuilding the Appalachian Economy From the Ground Up

Speaker: Brandon Dennison

Every week we bring to you a new program on innovation, entrepreneurship, and education, and how those contribute to service to others. Special thanks to member Roger Plested for leading our club’s Programs Committee in finding us amazing speakers each week.

The Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley seeks to explore perspectives on service from across the world. The views of the speakers in our programs are their own, and unless stated otherwise, are not necessarily reflective of the views of our eClub nor Rotary International.

If you have an idea for a cool speaker, please feel free to reach out to them directly
or submit THIS FORM so our Program Committee can contact them!

This week, the founder and CEO of a non-profit social-enterprise incubator in southern West Virginia lays out his organization’s blueprint for rebuilding an entire economy in coal country. The presentation will assess the current state of West Virginia’s economy, then pivot to a series of solutions being tested by Coalfield Development to overcome the many challenges faced. Success is not assured, but the country needs Appalachia to succeed, or else many of the deep-seated frustrations that are contributing to America’s political divide today will only deepen. On an even larger scale, the entire planet needs this region to develop as well. Workers in this region have many of the skill sets needed to mitigate the damaging effects of climate change. And the sensitive biodiversity of the region, embedded in some of the largest areas still forested on the East Coast, can serve as a key climate-resilience and carbon-capture area.

Brandon is Ashley Dennison’s husband and father to their boys: Owen and Will. Born and raised in West Virginia, he is Founder and CEO of Coalfield Development, which incubates social enterprises designed to diversify Appalachia’s coal-based economy and cultivate opportunity for people facing barriers to employment.

Dennison graduated from Shepherd University with a B.A. in History and a B.S. in Political Science. He holds a Master of Public Affairs degree from Indiana University. In 2017, Brandon was named West Virginian of the Year by WV Living Magazine. He is winner of the JMK Social Innovation Prize, is a DRK Entrepreneur, and is an Ashoka Fellow. In 2019, he was awarded the Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy, and Employment.

As a college student, Brandon Dennison volunteered with his church to repair homes in West Virginia’s coal country. He never forgot seeing people his own age desperate for paying work. In 2010, Brandon founded Coalfield Development Corporation as a community-based non-profit organization designed to rebuild the Appalachian economy from the ground up. Coalfield Development Corporation offers on-the-job-training, education, and mentoring to people in the southern coalfields. Brandon was quoted in the Bill Moyers “Making Change” series, saying, “Our responsibility is to create opportunity, then to provide encouragement and build the self-confidence necessary for pursuing opportunity.” Coalfield Development has created more than 250 new jobs, over 50 new businesses, and more than 1,000 professional certification opportunities for unemployed people, many of whom were laid-off coal miners.

Members and guests, please welcome Brandon Dennison!

Brandon Dennison presents to the Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley

Additional Resources

Learn more: https://coalfield-development.org

Share your thoughts or ask our speaker a question in the comments at the bottom of this meeting page!

Upcoming Program Recording Schedule

All of our guest speakers and programs are recorded live online over Zoom video conference. We welcome members and guests to join us in one of these upcoming recordings. Recordings are approximately 30 minutes long and are subject to change without notice.

Our online video conference room link for these recordings is always http://zoom.siliconvalleyrotary.com/. You are welcome to join us! Please note the timezone listed for all recordings is US Pacific Time (San Francisco, California, USA).

If you can’t join the live recording, please send your questions for an upcoming speaker to programs@siliconvalleyrotary.com.

You’re Almost Done! Please complete The Attendance Survey…

Thanks for reading and watching this week’s meeting. You have two last things to do before you’re done.

We have a very short attendance survey below for you to fill out to record your attendance.

Visiting Rotarians, this is how you can get an email receipt to pass along to your club’s secretary as proof that you’ve attended our meeting if you need it for makeups.

Non-Rotarian Guests, we would love to see who is dropping by our meetings! This part is optional for you. If you think you may want to join our eClub at some point in the future, we would strongly recommend you fill out the attendance form as it will improve your chances of success for your membership application.

For all members and guests — we strongly recommend and ask that you leave a comment in our comments area below. Tell us how you enjoyed the program. Ask this week’s speaker any questions you might have. Or just stop by and say hello and tell us where you’re from!

Important: Once you submit the Attendance Survey below, please make sure you see the confirmation message. If you get an error message instead, please try the ‘submit’ button again, and if that doesn’t work, please refresh the page and it should work fine. Thanks!

2020-04-06T02:21:39+00:00April 6th, 2020|0 Comments