The Rotary Club of Chappaqua held its annual Charter Night on Wednesday May 3 at Crabtree’s Kittle House. Attendees enjoyed a delicious dinner and an awards ceremony highlighting the accomplishments of our four wonderful honorees. The Rotary motto is “Service Above Self”, and this sentiment extends to every member, in every town. The Rotary Club of Chappaqua has been proud to carry that banner for 40 years, with many community service projects including our annual New Castle Community Day, as well as Pancake Breakfasts, Drive In Movie Night, Day of Service, and Charter Night.
Charter Night is an important event, as we honor both a Rotarian and a Community Member for their acts of service. In addition, we also recognize one or more local high school students for their community involvement, providing them with a scholarship. Each of this year’s honorees were given special certificates of recognition from the Rotary Club, as well as our State Assemblyman Chris Burdick, and by Michael Weinberg on behalf of our State Senator Pete Harckham.
The 2023 Community Honoree is Dawn Greenberg, the founder and Executive Director of the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival. Dawn has long been involved in working for our community, including co-founding the organization which became 914 Cares, along with many other endeavors. The CCBF, now entering its tenth year, has grown to become the largest children’s book festival on the East Coast, and continues to get bigger and better each year. One key aspect of CCBF is the fact that they donate a significant number of books to schools, libraries and other deserving recipients as well. As Assemblyman Burdick said, “Dawn is truly a pillar of the community, and that’s a phrase I use very judiciously”.
We are also honoring Rotarian Marlene Canapi as our 2023 Paul Harris Fellowship Award Winner. The Paul Harris Fellowship award is the highest honour the Rotary Club can bestow upon a person, and represents a combination of fellowship and extraordinary service to the community. Marlene is the Immediate Past President of our local Rotary Club, and led the Club through the throes of the Pandemic, when meeting in person–a core tenet of our commitment to fellowship–was all but impossible. Her extraordinary commitment and work ethic helped keep Chappaqua’s Rotary Club alive. Outside of Rotary, Marlene is the Executive Director for ARC Stages, in Pleasantville. ARC Stages is a community based arts organization and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Marlene was unable to attend the ceremony due to international travel, but will be formally recognized at an upcoming Rotary meeting.
Last but certainly not least, this year we are proud to honor the exceptional achievements and community service of two local high school students, who will each receive a Scholarship from the Rotary Club of Chappaqua. Our recipients are Nathan Dang, and Netra Easwaran, both seniors at Horace Greeley High School. Nathan is a 4.0 student who will be attending Cornell University in the fall, but closer to home, he helped organize the first TedxYouth talks at Greeley, volunteers at the Mt. Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry, works as an English teacher for students in Vietnam, as well as working as a kids’ gymnastics coach at World Cup.
Netra is also an exceptional student, who will be attending Yale in the fall. She has served as a student panelist on the CCSD Hiring Panel, a student speaker of TruthSquad, and has served our local, county and state communities by interning in the offices of Senator Pete Harckham, County Executive George Latimer, and US Senator Chuck Schumer. Netra also serves as a volunteer on the White Plains Community Youth Court, which provides alternative adjudication for youth misdemeanors, and as the Head of Tutoring Services at Youth4Better, a 51(c)(3).
Both Netra and Nathan related some of their experiences as students and as volunteers. Nathan’s story was touching as he relayed how personal his community service efforts are, as someone who immigrated to the US as a young child. Netra was eloquent and polished as she spoke of the depth of meaning she felt when working with the youth courts.
It was a truly beautiful evening, filled with gratitude and celebration. Please join us in congratulating each of these extraordinary individuals and thanking them
for their service to our community!
The Rotary Club might just be the quietest multi-billion-dollar organization you’ve never heard of, it is made up of remarkable people doing remarkable things in communities all over the world. Rotary International has over 1.4 million members worldwide in nearly 50,000 individual clubs. The Rotary Foundation has over $27B assets under management, funded entirely by its membership, and every year thousands of service projects are completed. Nevertheless, since many people aren’t very familiar with the organization, we cordially invite you to learn more about Rotary of Chappaqua and consider joining us at an upcoming meeting. More information can be found at rotaryofchappaqua.com. We hope to see you soon!
Editor’s Note: This story and several of the photos were submitted by Cynthia Schames on behalf of the Rotary Club of Chappaqua.