Sebastopol and West County is a special place.  The club has long committed to directly addressing community needs through its own volunteer activities, as well as providing financial support to other organizations that address important local problems and goals.
               - Community Grants – The club’s Community Grants program funds many worthwhile and needed projects throughout West County communities.  Much of the funding for these grants comes from our annual gala event, which in 2016 is the Oct. 1 Lobster Boil.  In the 2015-16 year, Sebastopol Rotary gave $34,000 in grants to 21 projects.  Here is a sample of our support:
               - Centro de Graton/Graton Day Labor Center – Chromebooks for adult education and workforce readiness ($800)
               - Forestville Youth Park – Materials to construct and install new storage cabinets at new Youth Center ($1239)
               - Mr. Music Foundation – Sponsorship of the Peacetown Summer Concert Event ($2500)
               - Rebuilding Together – Supplies for community building project to revitalize homes of low-income homeowners ($1000)
               - West Sonoma County High School District – Provide Chromebooks for all 38 students at Laguna High School who live below the poverty level ($8170).
If you want to apply for a grant, click here.
               - Learn to Swim – Learn to Swim, one of our signature programs, strives to teach every second grade child in Sebastopol basic water safety/swimming skills.  While the immediate goal is water safety instruction, the program also alleviates the fear of water found in about 20% of the students.  We employ student water safety instructors who are teamed up with Rotarians, spouses, and community volunteers, making this project truly inter-generational.
               Through the years Sebastopol teachers have supported this highly-valued program for their students.  Learn to Swim educates 370 youngsters per year and involves 75 instructors and supporting volunteers.  Since its inception 32 years ago, over 10,000 students have gone through this program.  We are proud of how much joy we have given to kids who have taken to swimming pools and the beach after learning how to swim, and we rejoice in how many lives we have saved because of the lessons we have taught.
               - Rotary Summer Camp (aka Cool Kids Camp) ­– In 2000, Sebastopol Rotarian Tom Farrell believed it was important to create a program to aid in the healing of children who had been abused sexually, physically, emotionally, or exposed to family violence.  By 2008, the six-day resident camp had evolved into a District-wide project with nine Rotary Clubs in District 5130 sustaining its work through generous donations.  The camp now annually serves from 40-60 youth at the Cloverleaf Ranch in Santa Rosa.  The campers participate in such activities as craft projects, environmental studies, horseback riding, swimming, archery, and hiking.  For these kids, the best week of their year is often their stay in this idyllic, peaceful setting.
               - Backpack Lunch Program – Sebastopol Rotary financially supports the Backpack Project, a joint effort of Sebastopol Sunrise Rotary and the Redwood Empire Foodbank.  Every Friday during the school year at the end of the school day, 48 families receive a bag of staples, typically 5-8 different items including, fruits, vegetables, and packaged food. 
               Volunteers deliver the food to Park Side School, where other volunteers unload it and repack it into 15 pound bags that children or parents pick up when the students are leaving school.   The goal is to assure that these children, whose nutritional needs during the week are often met primarily through the breakfast and lunch that they have at school will have food to carry them through the weekend.

          -  Family Safety/Domestic Violence Awareness - Current estimates are that one in three families in West County are subject to some form of domestic violence and that three women on average are killed by their significant others every day in the United States, according to the American Psychological Association. The Committee supports those who are harmed by domestic violence and tries to raise community awareness of this horrific problem in order to curb what has become a rising and disturbing trend.


The Committee is aggressively pursuing its education agenda, providing outreach and education through public forums and presentations both at the Club and in public forums. The Committee has reached out to organizations like the YWCA, Family Justice Center, and Verity, all of which work with those subject to violence and abuse, to support their efforts and to coordinate anti-violence awareness programs.


The Committee has, among other things, created and distributed “business” help cards, in both English and Spanish, to give key information and phone numbers about resources available to those in need.


It has also joined the District 5130 and International Rotary Action Group for Family Safety,, as well as the state and national organizations dedicated to ending domestic violence. By becoming part of the larger movement, the committee can draw on broader resources as it builds up its awareness and referral campaign.


Please join us! Explore actions you can take. Learn about - and advocate for - family safety and domestic violence prevention.


If you have been harmed by domestic violence and live here in Sonoma County, call 546-1234 for help now.