"Two years ago approx 36 Rotary wives or partners of our 4 Rotary Clubs in Armidale were members of the Inner Wheel Club of Armidale (Inner Wheel signifying the middle of the Rotary wheel). To be a member of this club you needed to have an association via family with a Rotarian. The Charter dinner for our Club was held 28th February 1987 and we operated as the Armidale Inner Wheel Club for 25 years.
Sadly, due to ill health of some of our ladies, or ill health in their families, we were unable to continue to be able form a Committee to enable us to operate under the rules of Inner Wheel.
After many meetings and discussions we decided to close the Club and become a friendship group calling ourselves FANS standing for Friends Always Need Support. We continue to get together to support one another through good and not so good times and enjoy friendship, good food and fellowship.
We have been meeting once a month at a Restaurant for an early dinner or at member's homes for lovely afternoon teas and lively chatter. We pay $2 each month we attend, which enable us to buy cards or flowers to offer condolence and friendship to our ladies and their families.
When the end of the year arrives, what we have left in this collection we decide what we might do with it to help our community. In 2012 we helped out with a donation to United Church we each year purchases Christmas presents for a Family Support Group and this year needed to buy 140 children's presents. We were able to donate $130 to help them do this.
As Ian and I had decided we were heading back to Brazil to meet up with Luciana in Londrina (we had hosted her when she had been Rotary exchange student in Australia years ago) As we had visited the Creche on our visit in 2010, I started thinking what I might be able to do to help. As the Creche had lost everything in the flood (after we returned home form our last visit in 2010) I knew that no matter how small the donation, it would help. I put this thought to the ladies in the group and they were very happy for us to help in whatever way we could. With the help of members I put together a Hamper of food for our Christmas party and held a raffle. With the ticket sale and donations from close friends and the ladies we were able to raise approx A$390. A very generous donation from the Rotary Club of A$500 enable me to have a total US$780.
It gives the ladies in FANS, our great Rotary Club of Armidale back in Australia, and myself, great pleasure to be able to help in some way your wonderful Creche."
|Luciana, Helen Garkse and the Creche Principal|
|Helen Garske at the shop, buying a water filter, a fridge and a microwave oven to the Creche, representing FANS Ladies.|
|Roberto Ariozo (Luciana's father and the volunteer treasure of APS Down's School) and Ian Garske (Helen's husband) helping to deliver the microwave oven to the Creche.|
|Fridge, water filter and microwave oven when they had just been delivered.|
Some items were also donated to APS Down School, next to the Creche. Several boxes of crayons, materials for Art classes and cards with pictures of typical Australian animals were donated to the Down School.
|Arts materials donated to APS Down School|
|Helen Garske with two arts teachers (standing) and the president of APS Down School.|
|Down students using their new crayons in Arts class.|
|Water filter installed.|
This Creche is located in Londrina, Southern Brazil - Haydeé Coli Monteiro Nursery. It attends 43 children up to 3 years of age while their mothers are working. Most are poor children and four are Down's. Students, Parents, Teachers and the Staff are very grateful to these ladies and also to Rotary Club of Armidale Central.