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May 27, 2017
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The annual Avenue of Flags May 29 at RP Community Center SSU commencement; one for the history books Problem reaching AT&T last weekend? During Rohnert Park City Council meeting protestors unexpectedly take center stage Vehicle pursuit ends with arrest of 14-year-old Ex RP public safety officer pleads no contest to sex offenses Rancho 2017 top 20 Great turnout for RPPSOA pancake breakfast to help Project Grad Gabriella stole the show Town Hall meeting Sheriff's office releases details on SSU officer involved shooting A true celebration of ‘Cinco de Mayo’ Project Grad help in full swing Richard Crane Elementary School Suspect arrested after evading a Cotati Peace Officer Emiri Nomura awarded scholarship Shopping carts ran amok in Cotati last Saturday Ricardo Oliva receives ‘Coach of the year’ for the Northern District Sonoma State University equestrians jump with joy on their way to Kentucky Double Decker Lanes hosts the QubicaAMF Boys and Girl Club employee arrested for child endangerment Armed suspect arrested after resistance RP girl accosted while walking to school And they're off. . . Saddle Up and Ride Community quickly rallies for Project Grad Cotati opposes SB 618 Rohnert Park City Council to host Town Hall meeting on May 3 Graton Tribe makes good on payments Auto burglar arrested by Cotati Police A bit of Uganda RP to replace old trees Engineering with Legos at the Ray Miller Community room Bunkers at Foxtail set for repairs RP man arrested for attempted murder CRPUSD OKs two contracts Credo gets used to new digs at SMV Golf Course Drive Crossing concerns may delay SMART train ‘Quiet Zones’ Man busted for DUI after crashing into tree in RP New hands bring subtle changes to Sharing of the Green fundraiser A traditional dance of Japan Shameful time in history RP rejects new self-storage facilities Survey Says: Rohnert Park Residents Love City, but not Traffic Council amends UDSP Body of missing woman found RAFD names part-time fire chief KRCB garners huge windfall from FCC auction Missing Penngrove woman's body found in Marin County Bunfest was hopping with bunny lovers Nonn expected to sue CRPUSD Credo crew marches to new home Cotati delays vote on Valparaiso The Voice enters into 25th year Cotati-reviews midyear budget Two RP Parks getting upgrades A new look for SSU gym RP man reported missing Padre Town Center changes hands Sonoma County to take a look at immigration issue Bomb scare closes RCHS Local Tech High student chosen for Scholars program RP to conduct survey Man arrested after high-speed chase through 3 cities RP makes changes to city code for ADUs Man gets 11 years in prison for RP knife attack Man who led chase into SF caught Treasurer for Rancho Cotate High Project Grad Arrested for Embezzlement A crab feast at Community Center Taking a pie in her grill RP man busted for possession of meth Cotati OKs water, sewer rate study RP votes to regulate vaping CRPUSD schools now a safe haven for immigrant students RP adds seven to public safety Cotati votes to host shopping cart race Man arrested for attempted murder Defibrillators proving to be invaluable assets Artists ready for art show at library Reilani Peleti Corrections Suspected explosive device at RCHS Seventh-graders in local schools to be taught CPR Voice issues apology to school board, superintendent RP man arrested on drug possession charges

A mission to help

  • Andrea Aviles, left, and Monica Morales are the only two members of the Sonoma State University Rotoract Club who went to India to help with polio vaccinations. Photo by Dave Williams

By: Dave Williams
March 31, 2017
SSU Rotoract Club members Andrea Aviles, Monica Morales relish opportunity to make difference in lives

Andrea Aviles and Monica Morales in the short term simply want to do what they can to help eradicate the wretched polio disease.

Polio (poliomyelitis) reached epidemic status in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s but the U.S. was declared polio-free in 1979. Polio is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. In about 0.5 percent of cases there is muscle weakness resulting in an inability to move. This can occur over a few hours to a few days. The weakness most often involves the legs but may less commonly involve the muscles of the head, neck and diaphragm. Many but not all people fully recover. In those with muscle weakness about 2-5 percent of children and 15-30 percent of adults die. Another 25 percent of people have minor symptoms such as fever and a sore throat and up to 5 percent have headache, neck stiffness and pains in the arms and legs.

The two Sonoma State University students last week embarked on a weeklong trip to India to fight the disease. Aviles and Morales are representing the SSU Rotoract Club, which is an offshoot of Rotary International. For Aviles, this will be her seventh working trip with Rotoract, while it is the first for Morales.

“I was actually first interested because of the international service,” Aviles said. “We went to the Bahamas and there were a lot of service projects going on.”

One of the projects involved helping the women of the Bahamas use sewing machines as a resource to creating profits and becoming more self-sustainable. She also helped a school become more sustainable as well as taking part in the many cultural presentations of different countries Rotoract represents. Rotoract, like Rotary, is an international service group and Aviles said she met students from Iran, China, Germany and Peru.

“That project was an eye-opener to me and showed me what it means to be a Rotoractor and help the world,” Aviles said.

 Morales, a sophomore, has been involved in Rotoract for just a half semester but said she already feels like she’s part of something bigger than herself.

“I would say the biggest reward for me so far is just being able to be with Rotary clubs and feel like a community and feel like so much support around you when you actually go out and do the projects,” she said. “It’s also being able to meet people from other backgrounds I would never have been able to meet. And if I can help just one person, that’s good.”

Aviles and Morales are both Hispanic and harbored some doubts about leaving the country because of the United States’ increased enforcement of immigration laws. But if there are concerns, they both hide them well.

“Some of my friends started saying things like, ‘what if you can’t come back into the country? I’ll just leave it in God’s hands and whatever happens just happens,” Morales said.

Aviles said, “My dad was a little worried, but I think my mom’s just mainly concerned about me experiencing culture shock.”

Aviles is a Political Science major and is working on a minor in German. Morales’ major is biochemistry, with a minor in early childhood studies. Morales said she’s the first person on either side of her family to go to college.