ImageAt last week's meeting on Friday October 17, Club Member Bonnie Bertram announced that the Community Service Committee was kicking off this year's fundraiser for St. Aemilian-Lakeside or SaintA involving the Boston Store Community Days Coupon Book. Our Club has participated in this successful program over the last several years, raising thousands of dollars.

According to Bonnie, funds raised over the next month will be used to support programs at SaintA which is a place specifically for the young boys in short-term residential treatment. These are the same boys, ages 5 to 17 that Elmbrook Rotary hosts the annual Christmas party.


ImageFor those who aren’t aware, SaintA’s history dates back to 1850 as an orphanage. They are non-profit, non-sectarian and their subsidiary is Capitol West Academy which is the tuition-free charter school that our club supports with many activities including Diane’s dictionaries and tutoring.    

Saint A provides child welfare and family services and services to foster children; they also operate the “Transitions Therapeutic School” which is the school our resident kids attend and in recent years they have become a national leader in the practice of “trauma informed care” which recognizes the negative effects of abuse and neglect on brain development and behavior. “Trauma informed care” includes the use of rhythmic, repetitive activities such as drumming and drums are used therapeutically.  

For example, we are told by Jeff Stephani, Director of Clinical Services that Challenger Unit which is the 8-12 yr. olds has expressed an interest in creating a drum circle for relaxation. In addition, SaintA receives services from Express Yourself Milwaukee, an arts program, which comes in once a week to work with the kids using drums and other instruments, and they have made some specific suggestions on which drums to purchase.

This is where we come in and where 100% of the proceeds from the fundraiser will go this year.  

Thanks to Club Member Linda Edelstein, we have been in touch with Chris White of White House of Music to obtain special pricing for the drums which we received yesterday. Suffice to say that Jan Constable, Mike Schmeling and Bonnie Bertram are learning a lot about drums!  They are expensive.

We are also thinking that perhaps Santa will be able to present the drums to the school at the Christmas party this year. And to continue with the drumbeat theme, we are very fortunate that Linda has offered to coordinate either the MYSO steel pan band or one of their jazz ensembles to provide music at this year’s Christmas party.

ImageA word about the fundraiser, we use the Boston Store Community day coupon books and will begin selling them after today’s meeting and for the next few meetings. They are $5.00 and the coupons inside can be used at Boston Store November 14 and 15. If you cannot use a coupon book and would like to donate to the drums, we very much welcome your donation of any amount and you can make checks payable to Elmbrook Rotary Foundation with Saint A on the memo line.  

Last year we raised $800 and the prior year we raised $1,000. The more we raise, the more drums we can buy. It takes 2 books per Rotarian to come within reach of goal together with our efforts to sell books at Mayfair Rotary and inside Boston Store.  This is very much a grass roots effort!
In past years, some of you have taken books to you place of work to sell which is most helpful. For retirees, consider soliciting your family members, your friends, neighbors or anyone you think that might be interested! If soliciting by e-mail, make sure to include the SaintA and Elmbrook Rotary Website links along with an invitation to one of our Friday breakfast meetings. It’s a great way to show friends and family one small way in which we provide a community service.  

In addition to selling the books here, Jeanne Allen and Bonnie will be making “the ask” at Mayfair Rotary and we will also be setting up our Rotary flag and selling the books inside Boston Store Brookfield Square at the Moreland entrance on several upcoming Saturdays on October 25 from noon to 2 and November 8 from 2 to 4.  If you’re interested in volunteering for either day, please contact Bonnie at

Thanks to everyone for your support of this worthwhile program. I look forward to handing out your Coupon Books and seeing you on December 11 at the SaintA Christmas Party!.

Bonnie Bertram
Community Service Committee