Medford Sunrise Rotary hosts guest speakers

CASA recruiter, Burlington County Library System director among guest speakers

Kathy Hiltner of the Moorestown Rotary Club was a recent guest speaker at the Medford Sunrise Rotary meeting. Hiltner, a past district governor of Rotary District 7500, spoke about the upcoming Winter Gala fundraiser for Gift of Life International, to be held on Feb. 10.

Gift of Life provides lifesaving cardiac care to children around the world, and is a major Rotary initiative. The program provides healthcare professionals who not only perform surgeries, but also provide equipment and training to local health workers so that the program is sustainable.

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Harry Cassidy, an advocate recruiter for CASA for Children of Mercer and Burlington counties, also recently spoke at the breakfast meeting of the Medford Sunrise Rotary. Cassidy explained that CASA volunteers are appointed by family court judges to advocate for children who have been removed from their homes because of neglect or abuse.

According to Cassidy, in New Jersey alone, approximately 50,000 children are part of the child welfare system because of allegations of abuse or neglect, and about 13,000 end up in foster care each year. Cassidy said the opioid crisis has made the problem even worse, and the longer a child remains in foster care, the worse their chances of future success.

CASA volunteers are trained to advocate for the children, help reunite them with their families or to find them “safe and permanent” homes. CASA’s Burlington office is on High Street in Mount Holly. To find out more about the non-profit organization, call (609) 265–2222 or contact hcassidy@casamercer.org.

Ranjna Das, the director of the Burlington County Library System (BCLS), and Michelle Martin, the county library’s community engagement manager, also recently visited the Medford Sunrise Rotary Club and talked about the modern day findings and offerings at the county. Additionally, they spoke about the 15 local libraries it oversees, including the large, modern facility in Evesham and the older building in Medford, Pinelands Branch. In addition to books, the BCLS offers DVDs, CDs, e-books, audio books, streaming videos, games, research resources, meeting spaces, notaries, proctoring services, museum passes, business consulting, job search services, tax help and an App called “Libby.”

The county facility, at 5 Pioneer Boulevard in Westampton, houses a 254-seat auditorium, which features concerts, plays, speakers and films. They also sponsor innovative events like the Maker’s Fair, which focuses on hands-on endeavors and initiatives like “A Thousand Books Before Kindergarten,” which encourages reading to young children.

For more information about BCLS, go to bcls.lib.nj.us.

The Medford Sunrise Rotary meets each Wednesday morning at 7:15 a.m. at the Pop Shop on Main Street in Medford. Newcomers are welcome.

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