Posted by Leigh Carpenter on Jan 29, 2018
 Andy Short. Managing Director of Improbable Players 
Carl shared words of wisdom from friends in Haiti.  One Love
Positive things going on:
  • Lots of thank you notes still coming in from Thanksgiving basket recipients 
  • Mary shared pictures from Ray's Global Grant that built a mid-wifery college 
  • Steve D'Agostino is a 'shining light' on Dog Fest.  Encourages everyone to 'invite' people to the event through Facebook. Call Steve if you need help using the invite feature.  
    • Logo concept for DogFest came from a former student of Mary's!
  • DECA has round 2 of interviews on 2/13.  Mary, Rich & Laura attending.  7-8 from our club attended the first round and all had a great time
  • Visioning committee met for the first time last week to identify projects/goals/etc (strategic planning is the new name of the group) 
  • Holiday party on 1/19 was great!  Shout out to Fatima for all the delicious food she prepared
  • Two big events took place on Jan 20th
    •  Repair cafe had approx. 60 guests which is in higher range
    • UMass Lowell is interested in women's engineering group to start a Repair Café and Newburyport also interested. 
    • 21 groups in MA right now, up from 7 just a few years ago.  Great work Ray! 
    • May 19th second one schedule  in Sudbury.  Kids from high school robotics may volunteer. 
    • Bolton next June 2nd
    • Laura reminded to share service hours  
    • RLI training was wonderful.  Jacky, Rich and Mary attended and Laura was a facilitator presenter.  This is a place to be challenged, learn more, develop ideas and so much more.  Next one scheduled for 3/31 in Providence.
  • Hurricane Relief funds update - 3 people from our district going to Puerto Rico in February
  • Leigh watched from Facebook Live (thanks Chris!) and virtually shared she is sad to be sick again but happy for Richard and Fatima's party
  • Rich was sad because 2 weeks ago went to church and it was flooded but grateful for RLI and holiday party
  • Maryann is happy to be at a meeting and that we're doing so well
  • Ellen sad she will miss so many events but happy going to Hawaii
  • Laura great time at holiday party, passed as RLI facilitator, grateful to Steve for help with PR, excited that her daughter leaves for Netherlands in less than a week, and. happy for home repairs 
  • Howard happy to see grandson play hockey
  • Carl is thankful to holiday hosts
  • Steve happy for wonderful holiday party, great time at Bolton repair cafe and has 1st flu shot ever
  • Brian happy rotary dues cleared account, happy/sad that slipped on ice and cracked head (feeling better now_!  Great time at holiday party where ood was amazing and nice to have connections with everyone
  • Bob sad missed holiday party but was in SC without snow
  • Karin sad missed holiday party but had the cold/flu - loves being DG and being a paet of all the good
  • Ray is sad that his tennis buddy passed away but enjoyed meeting his family
  • Chris was doing facebook life and also pleased that home repairs are taken care of, thanks to Ray for helping fix Christmas tree

New foundation minute – Rich, ‘Foundation Minuteman’
  • Combined international projects have come back to us, shared with club on the ground.
  • so far amounts to approx. quarter-million dollars
  • As we know, one of major projects is polio eradication which was in 25 country’s and now only is in 3
  • 25 million children were afflicted, or had potential to be -- now down to a handful (or two)
  • Question: since 1985 how much has Rotary Foundation contributed?  ANSWER $1 billion!
Upcoming Events
  • Like last year, we will do another casual membership recruitment evening at Slaters on 3/6.  Think about who to invite.  Last time we gained two new members, Glen & Andrew
  • End Hunger Now food packaging is now 5/12 NOT 3/17 at Nashoba Regional HS 
  • Reality Fair on 4/6 and is planning underway.  Let Laura know if you can lend a hand.  We have a few obstacles with a new lead at the high school and at the bank
  • Stow community supper was cancelled due to weather and rescheduled for 2/2.  Clean up crew approx 6-8.  Let Chris or Mary know if you can help
  • 5/4-8 is the conference at Mount Washington with 5 other districts attending.  This is great networking and learning opportunity. 
  • RI conference in Toronto is in June .  Rotarians in Toronto inviting visitors to their homes for dinner.  Next one is in Germany! 
Improbable Players Speaker Presentation
Andy Short, Co-Director of Improbable Players shared his experiences with marijuana and alcohol addiction.  He started using in high school because of stress and anxiety and found he didn’t understand addiction and had a preconceived notion of what an alcoholic looked like – essentially he could defend his use of drugs and alcohol because others were “worse” than he was at the time. 
Andy was “politely asked to leave by college administration” but did go back to school to become a drama teacher after becoming sober (thanks to a treatment center).  But after three years sober he was in his deepest depression because not all of his problems went away (he was shocked by that!) because he could no longer use as the solution anymore.  This is why people relapse; they no longer have a solution to the problems they were solving by using drugs or alcohol.  He needed fellowship and something else to break the cycle. Here is where he found Improbable Players, a theater company founded in 1984 who hires sober actors to work with youth on prevention through theater performances & workshops.

Addiction prevention work/education in the goal for middle schools to try to delay use.  Why this age group?  Most who develop an addiction will start using in middle school.  The show models positive behavior through theater because the attention span at that age is not there to sit through a lecture or video.  It has proven to be an effective approach.  Performances are 25-45 minutes long followed by a talkback/Q&A. Workshops are designed to give students the space and tools to combat social pressures and find coping strategies that work for them. All plays are based on true stories and performed by people in recovery.
Powerful that all actors are in recovery. 
Andy touched on the fact that opioid epidemic is everywhere.  Most are dying or overdosing in Boston/Worcester so people can pretend the problem isn’t in towns like Stow.  The shows provide a moment to reflect BEFORE someone dies in the community.  To on what can be done to help people before it’s too late.

Andy had us raise hands if we know/knew someone who shows addictive before and then told us that middle schoolers (grade 6 and up) have the same percentage of hands in the air (at least 80%).  They’re so young to know that.
Leigh found his presentation incredibly well done and encourages you to learn more about their work, where performances are done and how to be involved visit