Christina Novak, Communications and Development Coordinator of the Dutchess Country SPCA, visits the RadioRotary studio to describe the work of her organization, which is much more diverse than most persons realize. While the letters SPCA stand for Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals, most people think of the Dutchess County SPCA largely in terms of pet adoptions (and they do handle this for all kinds of pets, including birds, rabbits, rats, and Guinea pigs, as well as dogs and cats), but there are many other services. A low-cost clinic, open to the public, provides routine veterinarian care for all sorts of pets. There is outreach to schools, humane law enforcement, a pet cemetery and crematorium, and a lost and found service. There is even a Pet Pantry, a food bank for pet food. Learn about this and more, as well as how to become one of the more than 200 volunteers that make the Dutchess SPCA work.
Rhinebeck Rotarian David Ives is the Executive Director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute, but that is just the tip of the iceberg for Ives’ many activities promoting worldwide peace and health. When he was 16, Ives took a trip to Latin America, where he was devastated by the poverty he encountered, and Ives determined to devote his life to helping others. After a stint in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua, he mixed an academic career with work for nonprofits, including Rotary International. A polio victim himself, he has volunteered to administer vaccine in Africa. He has worked with Rotary to organized peace forums in ten countries around the world. From his Nicaragua connection, he helped start the major commitment that Rhinebeck’s Interact Club has made to schools, pure water, and other improvements in rural León Province. A truly remarkable Rotarian.
In recent years, the proliferation of prescription opiate painkillers, such as Percocet, Oxycontin, Vicodin, and others, has spurred an increase in opiate addiction. When addicts can no longer obtain their pills, they often turn to heroin, a cheaper street opiate—in fact, it is so cheap that many who could still purchase prescription pills also switch to heroin. Among the many problems caused by using either kind of opiate is overdose, which frequently leads to death. Susan Salomone’s son Justin, who struggled with opiate addiction for ten years, was among those who died from an overdose, leading Mrs. Salomone to start “Drug Crisis in Our Backyard,” a community action organization that provides resources for dealing with addiction. In this RadioRotary interview, Mrs. Salomone tells Justin’s story and presents the facts about opiate addiction.
RadioRotary interviews Marisol Rodriguez, Executive Director of Literacy Connections of the Hudson Valley, a nonprofit using local volunteers to help people to read, write, and reach their potential. One in five Americans are functionally illiterate, which means that their reading and writing skills are at a sixth-grade level or lower. Literacy Connections trained volunteers work one-on-one with the functionally illiterate to teach them the specific skills they need for a given goal, such as passing a driver’s test. They also can teach English as a Second Language (ESL). Before a learner enters the program—which is free—they are evaluated by certified testers to determine the specific source of their difficulties. In a separate program called “Book Buddies,” volunteers read to children in schools. Volunteers for either program can be anyone who is able to read and write comfortably.