June 22, 2021 Meeting Preview

Ashley Holmer, Founder, Red Sweater Project

In 2005, when Ashley Holmer committed to teaching and coaching soccer for a year in a rural village in Tanzania, she had no idea it would be a life-altering move.  Over the course of the year, she lived and worked among the Maasai people. Living with no running water or electricity, she learned local customs, attended tribal rite of passage celebrations and ceremonies, and became fluent in Swahili.

Her leadership as a teacher and an athlete earned the respect of local leaders as well. By the end of 2005, Ashley was asked to start a school in a nearby community. Coming from a family of educators, she understood the exponential benefits of a good education. She said yes.

The reality of a level playing field for girls in Tanzania and other East African countries was aspirational at best. But Ashley took on the community’s ask, raising funds to build and open Orkeeswa, the first secondary school in Lashaine Village, in 2008.

There’s an entire generation of children being left behind in Tanzania. Providing high school education and support—particularly for girls between the ages of 11 and 17—improves individual lives and entire families. Even more important, it has more impact in changing the next generation for the better than any other cause.

Ashley founded Red Sweater Project in 2011, with the goal of putting as many kids in school as possible. In 2012, Red Sweater Project opened the Mungere School, which welcomes a new class of students each year. The organization is dedicated to developing quality, sustainable, and accessible schools for East African children. 
Duty Roster 09/28/21 - 10/12/21
 September 28thOctober 5thOctober 12th
GREETERLori ThruneRoy TerwilligerJosh Swanson
INSPIRATIONRick GetschowJohn GoergenRobb Hiller
VOCATIONALJosh SwansonSusan LeddickRoy Terwilliger
CHECK INJacob StonesiferKurts StrelnieksBob Star
DOOR PRIZEDan O'BrienGlen OlsonAaron Orwick
June 22nd Meeting Notes
    Patrick Mader wrote the books Minnesota Gold and More Minnesota Gold, which are both about athletes from Minnesota who have participated at the highest level. Patrick Mader started off his presentation by giving background information about Olympians from Minnesota. First, there are more than 300 living people who spent their formative years in Minnesota and who have also competed in the Olympics. Second, there have been more hockey players from Minnesota than any other sport. Some Olympian qualities include being inspired, self-directed, determined, intelligent, and modest.
    There have been several Olympians from Eden Prairie. They are Susan Rapp, a three-time Olympian and 1984 silver medalist in swimming; Rachel Bootsma, a 2012 Olympian in the backstroke who was a member of the gold medal-winning 4 x 100 medley relay team; Ben Husaby, a 1992 and 1994 Olympian in nordic skiing. Additionally, Allison Pottinger, who is a two-time Olympic curler as well as the USA Curling Female Athlete of the year in 2008 and 2012, is also from Eden Prairie. 
    Next, Mader spoke about athletes from cities in Minnesota, excluding Eden Prairie. These include Amy Peterson, Jerry and Jay Martin as well as Wendy Anderson. Amy Peterson is a speedskater and Minnesota’s only 5-time Olympian. She was also voted flag bearer by her teammates at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Jerry and Jay Martin from Golden are Olympians from Golden Valley, and they both participated in the Ski Jump. Lindsay Whalen was the leading scorer in the gold medal basketball game at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and is now the head coach of the U of Minnesota women’s basketball team. Wendy Anderson of St. Paul was an Olympian on the 1956 hockey team. Wendy later became a state legislator and finally served as the nation’s youngest governor from 1970-1976. 
    Later, Patrick Mader spoke about Lindsay Nielsen, who has overcome difficulties to do what she loves, which is running. When she was thirteen, Nielsen’s foot got trapped and crushed while hopping a train, which led to her left foot becoming amputated. Lindsay returned to her love of running at age 40, and she became the first female amputee to complete an Ironman Triathlon and placed 5th in the 200-meter run at the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney. Additionally, Lindsay Nielsen battled substance addictions as a teenager. Currently, Lindsay has been sober for 40 years, and she is now a licensed clinical social worker.
Aaron Orwick grew up in Michigan, North Dakota. He attended The University of North Dakota for both his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration. Currently, Orwick is a Director of Data Engineering at Target. He is building a team of Data Engineering professionals to build Data Products at a scale that will further accelerate Target’s growth. 
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  • The EPAM Rotary Meeting on June 22nd will be done via Zoom. The meetings at Bearpath will be resumed on June 29th. 

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