Create Hope in the World. That is Rotary’s international theme this year. The Rotary Club of Downtown Gainesville had their weekly meeting to see the new Rotary Kitchen at the GOC. GOC Members got to share their stories regarding their journeys of perseverance, strength and hope. The common things that were heard was that through the GOC, Members have real friends, pride in their work, and a feeling of accomplishment. Thank you to everyone who participated. Our kitchen renovation came together from funding through the Rotary Club of Gainesville Foundation, Inc. which is made up of all four Rotary Clubs in Gainesville. This includes Gainesville Rotary Club, Sunrise Rotary Club of Gainesville, Rotary Club of Greater Gainesville, and Rotary Club of Downtown Gainesville. Even the Rotaract Club of Gainesville was involved in this project. Thank you to everyone who participated. It makes a huge statement that the GOC is an important part of our community and our Members matter. Thank you also to Rotarians involved with Gainesville Carpets Plus Colortile, Quality Plumbing, DR Baker Construction for your hard work to make this happen. Thank you to our community partners at City of Gainesville, FL – Government, Gainesville Police Department, Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. for your daily support to our organization and Members.

We are all in this together. Our fabulous leader, Stephanie Esposita, opened our official meeting at the GOC. Officer Bill Gough shared what it means to be a GPD Co-responder. Bill rides with a licensed mental health professional (Victoria Blass) to respond to cases involving a mental health crisis. They make sure people get the support they need, which often means recommending the GOC when they recover from crisis. Joevan, who just achieved his personal trainer certificate, served the Rotarians. Joevan came to the GOC when he was 25. He got his first job ever at age 27. We had garlic bread. Yum! Our Members come here because what they do here is important. Look at this beautiful kitchen! Kim Sugar and Susan are busy preparing a meal for 40 people. Our new facility and equipment make it even better to participate in our program. Akeem and others made sure the GOC was ready to host our Rotary friends. Michael and Stephanie were among the first to arrive. We even had a cake! Thank you Karen D. from First Federal Bank for personally baking our cake! Thank you to Rotary and individual Rotarians for making this happen. This permanent plaque adorns our walls. Look what we can accomplish when we work together! We set forty seats for this visit.