Our Speaker on Tuesday, April 21st was Kate Wilinski speaking by Zoom on the history of disabilities and how mentally and physically challenged people were treated.  Kate noted that 6% or 7 to 8 million have disabilities.  The history of disabilities is sad starting way back in the 1850’s when the disabled were put in boarding schools, asylums and even jailed.  Between 1900-1950 institutionalization became big business with over 80 institutions and also work farms.  Many challenged people were sterilized through fear and ignorance. 
Between 1950-60’s Minnesota came to the forefront for progressive action on treating the disabled with the same rights as normal people.  Governor Youngdahl brought this to national attention that the mentally and physically challenged have the same rights as anyone and that parents are not at fault for the disability.  This started the national reform movement to modernize institutions, services for handicapped and humane treatment.  President Kennedy working with Attorney General Robert Kennedy championed the rights of the disabled and in 1972 Geraldo Rivera showed the deplorable conditions of state schools and this became the turning point that state schools didn’t work.  By 1974 over 90 institutions had closed and then in 1975 The American Disabilities Act was passed affecting some 43 million people.
Kate ended with some information about Opportunity Partners of which she is the V.P. of Advancement.  Opportunity Partners started in 1953 with the missions to give challenged people the opportunity to be as independent as they can be.  O.P. offers day training, residential and vocational training.  Their staff of 550 provide clients and employers with valuable assistance and support service to help the disabled.  The disabled are great workers and bring a lot of joy to their work place.
Our Opening Marshal was Karen Frazier who informed members that there is a Rotary Prayer and she delivered it to the members and followed it with a quote from Abe Lincoln –“Live a good life and in the end, it’s not the years in life, it’s the life in years”. 
Russ Michaletz our District Governor joined the 25 of us to let us know that lots of clubs are doing meetings by Zoom and District 5950 is also engaging members through Zoom and also all events are recorded so that members can take part in things at their own convenience.  The District Conference has been postponed until the Fall. Also the District has applied for a Food Shelf Grant of $25,000 of which $5,000 will go to ICA.
Tuesday, April 28th we will have Happy Hour on Zoom starting at 4:00 in the afternoon.  Look for Michelle’s email with the access code.  Our last Happy Hour had 8 of us so join in the fun on Tuesday.
The Make A Difference Scholarships will go to four MHS students this year by Board vote and each of the scholarships are for $1,000.
STRIVE met online last week and the students are doing fine and healthy but bummed-out about their senior year’s school, sports and activities being cancelled.  Other STRIVE news from Dick Glover is that the STRIVE Scholarships have been selected and that the high school will have a virtual Awards Ceremony later in May.
On the advice of the MN Department of Transportation Karen Frazier is notifying members that there will be no Spring Highway Clean-up.  ‘We’ll double our efforts in the Fall as we do not want to put any of our members at risk’ said Karen.
Finally as we look forward to May we have Tyrone Carter giving his Bio on May 5th and Heidi Busch from Many Hands Many Meals on May 19th.  So, have a great Rotary Week!