Members of the Burbank Sunrise Rotary welcomed fellow Rotarians from surrounding districts as they hosted this year's Rotary District Foundation luncheon at the Castaway Restaurant this past week.
Co-chaired by Sheri Polak and Suzanne Cox, members and guests were treated to the music of violinist Shelly Ren who was accompanied by pianist Nathan Wang. A musical prodigy, Wang was accepted to USC at the age of 9 to study musical theory and composition.
He then went on to matriculate at Pomona College and received a Fulbright Fellowship to study at England's Oxford University. Today, having composed music for theatrical productions, television, films and interactive games, Wang has also composed for shows at Disneyland and California Adventure.
Following a welcome by Universal City Rotary District Foundation Chairman James Miceli, the afternoon's program included participation by Burbank Rotarians Janice Lowers and Keith Sanneman, and a special recognition of District Governor Drew Frohlich. The event's special guest speaker was Stephen Brown. A past district governor who serves as a trustee to the Rotary Foundation and presides over the organization's humanitarian grants that have benefited the needs of people in more than 40 countries, Brown shared information on the work he has been involved with as a Rotary volunteer in Afghanistan.
This annual event is staged to raise funds for the Rotary Foundation that sponsors community projects including those in the two Burbank districts. Burbank Noon Rotary received a grant of $750 that will be used to provide gifts, dinner and facilities to host the joint club's annual holiday party for developmentally disabled clients of BCR "a place to grow." Burbank Sunrise Rotary received a grant for $633 that will be donated to the Family Service Agency of Burbank to build a library. Once the library has been constructed, every member of the Sunrise Rotary chapter will then fill the shelves by donating books on an ongoing basis.
Along with Glendale Noon Rotary President Bill Knauf and Glendale Sunrise Rotary President Zaven Kazazian, other notables in attendance included Beth Ullman, Alice Muntean, Eli Gauna, Beth Cashen, Rich Miller, Jay and Ferne Saltzman, Pat Modugno, Mike Thomas, Kermit and Marsha Floyd, Jim and Merle Woodburn, Pete McGrath, Katherine Richards, Sheri Polak, Beth Anderson, Bob Piatak, Greg Simay, Dave Carletta, Gary Clark, Lee Stacy, Dave Thomas, Susan Brown and Sondra Frohlich.
Along with BCR "a place to grow" and the Family Service Agency of Burbank, other Burbank organizations that benefit from the philanthropy of the Burbank Rotary clubs are the Burbank Temporary Aid Center, the Coordinating Council's Holiday Basket program, Friends of the Burbank Library, Burbank and John Burroughs high schools, the Kids Community Dental Clinic, Tierra Del Sol and gardening projects at local middle and elementary schools.