Tag Archives: Burbank Noon Rotary

Burbank Noon Rotary Gives Back This April

By Greg Semay

For Burbank Noon Rotary, April will be the kindest month. The service club will be giving a total of 12 thousand dollars to several local organizations, as well as awarding scholarships and recognizing “Teachers of Excellence.”

Previously, Noon Rotary had made many small donations over the year. “But this time we decided to have more of a concentrated giving effort in line with our theme of youth services and homelessness,” explained Rotary Noon President Brian Volpei. 

·       On April 3, Noon Rotary will be making donations to BCR and Kids Community Dental Clinic.


·       On April 10, Noon Rotary will be recognizing “Teachers of Excellence.”


·       On April 17, Noon Rotary will be making a donation to Family Promise.


·       On April 24, Noon Rotary will be awarding several scholarships to local high school seniors

Although Noon Rotary has a well-endowed foundation, the club depends on its annual fundraising to make significant donations.  “Our fundraising goal is $8,000 for this Rotary year, but our karaoke event alone has netted us $10,000,” said President Volpei.

So it seems it that the melodic mayhem at Nickelodeon last February has turned into sweet music for the Burbank community.

Burbank Noon Rotary meets at the De Bell Clubhouse every Tuesday at noon.

Burbank Noon Rotary Sings Its Way To Fundraising Success

After the doings during one not-to-be-named Saturday night, some people will never again be able to run for office.

Their minutes with the mike will howl and yowl from screens large and small, and across the decades, when those yet unborn will be listening and howling too.

John Volpe, Brian Volpe, and Barry Gussow. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Ordinarily, the deities of a song would’ve turned the stars above into thunderbolts, hurling them toward any perpetrators of melody mayhem.  But that Saturday night they stayed their hand.  The caterwauling was for a good cause.

Blame Noon Rotarian MIKE THOMAS for tempting the wrath of the gods.  It was his idea to inaugurate Burbank Noon Rotary’s first annual karaoke fundraiser.  And it looks like Noon Rotary will be making sizeable contributions on behalf of several worthy local causes, just as soon as they finish counting the coin.  It seems that gales of mirth had lofted the giving spirit to new heights.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mike’s major accomplices included Noon President BRIAN VOLPEI, who translated Mike’s idea into a festive evening at Nickelodeon’s new courtyard, complete with a four-star buffet and bar.  Other Noon Rotary organizers of the event were JESSA FREEMYER, BARRY GUSSOW, RENEE JOHNSON, GREG MADORE, and NATALIE WORSHUM. Noon Rotary gives a special thanks to VICKY FENTON and NICKELODEON for donating the venue.


“The Noon Rotary event owes a huge debt to our amazing sponsors,” said Noon President Brian.  “Their generosity not only gave us a great evening but allowed all the event revenues to go to our foundation.”  Besides Nickelodeon, contributors included CENTANNI TRATTORIA, TONY’S DELI, LINCOLN BEER COMPANY, PORTO’S BAKERY AND CAFÉ, ZACH’S CATERING, GRANADA, SANTORO’S and CALIFORNIA EATERY.

Fundraising success also came from Noon Rotary’s fiendish set of karaoke rules:  You could nominate anyone to sing a song of your choice for only $25.  It’s even better if a bunch of you each contribute $25, and better still if—how to put this delicately—singing is not your target’s signature strength.  Now, the person nominated can avoid singing the song but only if they pay $40 to sing a different one or $50 to get out of singing altogether.

But more often than not, after a glass or two or three of liquid courage, there’s your friend. wailing for all its worth, frightening any stray dogs within a half-mile radius and giving tom cats the wrong idea.  Your friend should’ve paid the $50…but you knew that.

Members of Morning Rotary Belt a tune. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

As befits the Nickelodeon venue, the proceedings got more and more animated as the night wore on.  Several Sunrise Rotarians killed (as in murdered) Bohemian Rhapsody with great enthusiasm.  Others, emboldened by the low bar they had just established (which would’ve been impressive if they had been doing the limbo) thought they could lower it even further.  They came close.

Now to be fair, there were more than a few voices who turned the chairs around and amazed everyone.  A certain Noon Rotarian even acquitted himself well with Hamilton’s opening number, at least in the sense of Rocky Balboa keeping his dignity intact after going the distance with Apollo Creed.

If laughter’s the best medicine, there were several miracle cures that night.  But then, doing good by having fun has always been Noon Rotary’s signature strength.

Burbank Noon Rotary Hosting First Karaoke Bash at Nickelodeon Studios

On Saturday, February 24 at 6:00 pm, Burbank Noon Rotary will be hosting its 1st Annual Rotary Karaoke Bash at Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank.

This event will have a new twist on Karaoke. As part of the event’s fundraising objective (and to provide tons of entertainment for all of the attendees), for $25 any attendee can nominate any other attendee to sing a song of their choosing. That individual can then sing the nominator’s song choice at no cost to them, or for $40 they can select a different song, or for $50 they can opt not to sing at all. 

Each attendee can only be nominated one time so if you are going to nominate someone, make sure you choose a great song.

This fun musical evening will be emceed by Lisa Donahey (lisadonahey.com, facebook.com/ LisaDonaheyMusic,twitter.com/LisaDonahey).

A cash bar (soft drinks, wine, beer, and liquor) and savory appetizers will be available throughout the evening.

Proceeds from this fantastic event will benefit non-profit organizations and schools in Burbank.

Guest must be on the entry list prior to the event. When you buy tickets you will be added.

Tickets are $75.00 and are available for this event here: https://squareup.com/store/burbank-noon-rotary-foundation/item/fundraiser-ticket-burbank-noon-rotary  

Burbank Police Hosts Annual ‘Heroes & Helpers’ at Target

Every year around the Holiday Season, the Burbank Police Department, in conjunction with local partners such as Noon Rotary and community members, puts together a small event meant to benefit less fortunate children in our city. The program began in 1980 and has since continued every year. The Burbank Police Department teamed up with the Boys and Girls Club and a local Target store to grant less fortunate children the opportunity to receive and give during the holiday season.

A group of thirty children is selected from the Boys and Girls Club based on their family income and needs. From there, a date is set to shop at a local store. This year, Target, located in the Empire Center, partnered with the Burbank Police Department and the Boys & Girls Club to sponsor and host the event.

According to Officer Angela Burrows, “approximately 20-25 uniformed personnel who have volunteered their time to take these kids on a shopping spree.” The personnel range from police officers, cadets, and explorers. The spree begins when each child is given a $200 gift card to shop at Target. From there, “the Officers will then take them shopping and help them select gifts for their families. After the shopping event,” explains Officer Burrows, “they are then invited to a catered dinner by Wood Ranch at a local church.”

During the dinner at Wood Ranch, the children are treated to special appearances and entertainment by both McGruff the crime dog and Santa Claus. Along with support from the Burbank Police Department, Target, and the Wood Ranch Grill, organizers of the event “rely on private donations from Citizens in addition to donations from clubs, organizations and businesses throughout the city of Burbank.”

For Officer Burrows, this ‘Heroes and Helpers’ is a special event. “Christmas is my favorite time of year, so this event holds such a special place in my heart. Let’s just say my role is rewarding and I am extremely fortunate to participate this year.” Furthermore, this event also bridges the community directly with the Burbank Police Department. “I know it is significant in these children’s lives,” explained Officer Burrows, “Their opinion of the police is forever influenced in a positive way.” As to what Officer Burrows looked forward to the most for this year’s ‘Heroes and Helpers’ event? “Seeing the look on their faces is priceless.”


The Burbank Police Department explains that the “goal of the ‘Heroes and Helpers’ event is to provide less fortunate children with a friendly holiday experience they won’t soon forget. Although the event is for the children, Burbank Police personnel are deeply affected by each child’s circumstances and are always touched by their interaction with them.”

This year’s ‘Heroes and Helpers’ proved to be a success for everyone involved. It should also be noted that along with Target, the Burbank Rotary also sponsored the event.


To find out more about the Boys and Girls Club, as well as upcoming events, you can find more information on their Twitter profile.


Burbank Noon Rotary Honors Teachers Of Excellence

The Burbank Noon Rotary hosted its second annual Teacher of Excellence Awards ceremony recently and recognized three outstanding middle school teachers in the Burbank Unified School District.

The purpose of the Teacher of Excellence award is to  foster and encourage excellence in teaching and dedication to education, explained Rotary President Jessa Freemyer.

“Burbank Noon Rotary wishes to demonstrate in a concrete way, that the community cares about the quality of public schools by conducting a competition to select those exceptional teachers that deserve special recognition,” she said.

Cari Knight, Helen Quayle and Lynn Rothacker were recognized by Burbank Noon Rotary as Burbank Unified School District Teachers of Excellence.

Cari Knight, who teaches science at Luther Burbank Middle School, “has been an exemplary teacher who is invested in the success of her learners. Cari Knight goes above and beyond to make science come alive. She truly engages students and makes learning fun and memorable while dealing with very complex content.”

David Starr Jordan Middle School Physical Education teacher Helen Quayle “was selected due to her selfless commitment to the Jordan School community. Since she started at Jordan, Helen has been involved in almost every aspect of the school community. She is always there to help staff and students, and is willing to do whatever it takes to help the school succeed.”

Burbank Noon Rotary President Jess Freemyer, Burbank Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Dr. Tom Kissinger, Helen Quayle, Cari Knight and Lynn Rothacker (from left to right.)

English teacher Lynn Rothacker from John Muir Middle School “is an amazing teacher whose passion for teaching English and strong relationships with her students creates a classroom where students are engaged and happy to be learning.”

“I was deeply impressed with each teacher’s dedication to teaching and the creative efforts put forth to make learning enjoyable and challenging,” added Freemyer. “These are the teachers who inspire our students, and we were privileged to recognize them.”

Annual Rotary Holiday Dinner Cheers BCR Clients And Their Families


IMG_4187Last week, holiday magic filled the gym at Emmanuel Evangelical Church for over 60 special needs adults served by BCR. They enjoyed an Italian dinner with their families, sang and danced to songs of the season and received presents from Santa himself.

“It’s our favorite night of the year,” said Burbank Rotary Sunrise President Beth Anderson. “Seeing the joy in the faces of BCR clients reminds me of the joy I felt as a child during Christmas.” For Burbank Noon President-Elect Jessa Freemyer, who has a developmentally challenged relative, the holiday event “is near and dear to my heart. Seeing the ecstatic faces of the people when Santa gives them their gifts really means a lot.”

IMG_4166The Gentlemen’s Octet from Burbank High was a musical highlight of the dinner, as well as perennial favorite Piya Tolani, whose spirited singing always gets BCR clients to put on their happy feet. Piya also doubles as Santa’s number one elf when it’s time to pass out the gifts.

The breakfast Rotary club and Burbank Noon Rotary have been putting on the BCR Holiday Dinners the past 20 years. For the past five years Burbank Sunrise Rotarian Mary Gilbert has been the event’s Chairperson, marshalling Santa’s Rotarian helpers to make sure that Santa has something special for every BCR client. Mary became hooked after attending her first BCR Holiday Dinner, when she saw how happy everyone was. “I’ve had a good life. I’ve wanted to give back to the community, and this is the best way to do it.”


Burbank Noon Rotary Announces High School Art Winners

The 13th Annual Burbank High Schools Rotary Art Contest is held to help Kids develop Arts Skills necessary to enter the highly competitive local industry of Graphic Arts in the San Fernando Valley .

The results are as follows:

Burbank High School

Burbank High first place winner David Faizi with Court Warner and Mike Thomas of Burbank Noon Rotary

Burbank High first place winner David Faizi with Court Warner and Mike Thomas of Burbank Noon Rotary

1st Place David Faizi  (receives $200 Gift Certificate to Swains Art Supply)

2nd Place Jee Soo Shin (receives $100 Gift Certificate to Swain’s Art Supply)

3rd Place Joshua Macapagal (receives $50 Gift Certificate to Swain’s Art Supply)

Honorable Mention

Derek Baer, Eon Cheong, Allison Tiegs, Lauren Yu, Tyler Yu


Burroughs High School

Burroughs High first place winner Karyl Dimaculangan with Court Warner and Mike Thomas of Burbank Noon Rotary

Burroughs High first place winner Karyl Dimaculangan with Court Warner and Mike Thomas of Burbank Noon Rotary

1st Place Karyl Dimaculangan  (receives $200 Gift Certificate to Swain’s Art Supply)

2nd Place Daniel Kerkotchian (receives $100 Gift Certificate to Swain’s Art Supply)

3rd Place Joseph Dasalla (receives $50 Gift Certificate to Swain’s Art Supply)

Honorable Mention

Kyle Abcede, Mathew Geronimo, Jason Hamm, John Kim, Kyle Martin


Community Throws a Garden Party at Jordan Middle School

By Joyce Rudolph

Jordan Middle School was a hub of activity all day Saturday as some 60 volunteers completed the literacy patio and garden dedicated to beloved former principal Betty Steinkolk, who passed away in 2009.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Pictured are partners who helped Saturday L/R Jonathan Taylor, Chris Rizzotti, Principal Stacy Cashman, Mike Thomas and Sue Georgino (Photo by Ross A. Benson)


The 3 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony was the culmination of a yearlong partnership between the Burbank Business Partners, Burbank Assn. of Realtors Community Service Foundation and the Burbank Noon Rotary Club, said Sue Georgino, board member of the Business Partners.

Georgino has partnered with Jordan and more than a year ago, she took a tour of the school with Principal Stacy Cashman, who outlined her to-do list. Cashman said the patio was a priority because the teachers needed a place to relax and, because it joins the teachers lounge and library, the students can also enjoy the space.

Members of Burbank Noon Rotary Club L/R Mike Thomas, Dr Keith Sannman and David Nos they built benches and worked on gardening Saturday. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Members of Burbank Noon Rotary Club L/R Mike Thomas, Dr Keith Sannman and David Nos they built benches and worked on gardening Saturday. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“Seeing the completed project makes me feel great,” Georgino said. “I tell people all the time that Burbank is a grassroots community in support of the schools. This is an example of this. Two organizations came together on a project. There weren’t any hassles. They raised the money and they got it done. They loved doing it and it looks great!”

Jonathan Taylor, immediate past president of the Burbank Noon Rotary, supervised volunteers putting together the tables and benches.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“To have two organizations like the Burbank Noon Rotary and Burbank Board of Realtors come together and do something good for one of Burbank’s schools is a great thing,” he said. “It is unique and it’s something we hope will inspire other organizations to follow in our footsteps.”

Work on the patio and garden took one day, Taylor said, and with so many people helping, they got done earlier than expected. They started at 8 a.m. and were done by 1 p.m.

Both groups donated money from their general funds, Taylor added. Additional donations came from individuals like city of Burbank retiree Jim Woodburn, who is also a Rotary member and gave $1,000. The total of the project was just under $15,000, Taylor said.

The project had a special meaning for Steve Marx, immediate past president of the Burbank Assn. of Realtors Community Service Foundation. Marx attended Jordan and was ASB president in 1981, he said. Earlier in the morning, he was involved in assembling the tables, benches and umbrellas on the patio.

New garden and lunch area in the front of David Star Jordan Jr. High. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

New garden and lunch area in the front of David Star Jordan Jr. High. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The planning began a year before while Marx was president, and some of the funds used for the project came from the foundation’s fundraising auction.

“It was fun just attending the meetings leading up to the project to see the vision that Sue Georgino put forth and the Burbank Business Partnership and knowing we were going to get to this stage,” he said. “It was a pleasure and fun partnering with the Burbank Rotary as well.”

Christopher Rizzotti, president of the Realtors foundation, put all the plants in place starting at 6:30 in the morning and others planted them. A landscape designer had created the planting plan.

Just some of the local Burbank Realtors that contributed money and labor to change the new area. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Just some of the local Burbank Realtors that contributed money and labor to change the new area. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“From the tables and chairs in the patio to the garden area, we had over 60 people from the community and kids helping here,” he said. “I do these projects because I like to give back. I was born and raised here and my niece goes to Jordan.”

The project completes the Betty Steinkolk Patio that was started by the faculty in 1985, said former physical education teacher Terry Scott. Funds to pour the concrete came from the PITS talent show, he said. Scott remembered Steinkolk was all business when it came to being a principal, but she knew how to have fun when the faculty got together socially.

The patio features a mural designed by English teacher Dana Ragle, who is the Mural Club adviser at Jordan. It was painted by students in the club and parents. Gabrielle McKenna did the calligraphy. Her children attend McKinley Elementary and will attend Jordan in the future.

Jonathon Taylor from The Burbank Noon Rotary addresses the guests in attendance, including Jordan's Cantabile Choir. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Jonathon Taylor from The Burbank Noon Rotary addresses the guests in attendance, including Jordan’s Cantabile Choir. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Kelli Clarke was there to watch her daughter Erin perform with the choir for the ribbon-cutting. Seeing the change was great, she said.

“It looks really dressed up now!” she said. “I love how it’s connected to both the library and the teachers lounge so at different times of the day the students and the staff can use it. And I think the mural is amazing!”

Hannah Park-Worley, 13, an eighth-grader at Jordan, was impressed with the result.

“I think the mural is absolutely gorgeous and the front of the school with the flowers and everything makes it look ten times better than it has before,” she said.