October 2019
Upcoming Events
Club Information

The Rotary Club of Amigos Milwaukee After Hours is a multilingual club with a passion for diversity in Milwaukee

Amigos Milwaukee

Service Above Self

We meet Tuesdays at 5:45 PM
MAC on Water ; 1st Tues @ month Antigua Latin Inspired Kitchen 6207 W. National Ave., West Allis
731 N. Water St.
Milwaukee, WI  53202
United States of America

(262) 488-4747
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Thank you to our supporter:
The Milwaukee Athletic Club
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Programs & Upcoming Community Events Amigos Rotarians Are Encouraged to Attend




Tuesday, October 8 - No Meeting / Event Cancelled

Thursday, October 10 - 6 - 8 p.m. - On the Table in Partnership with Milwaukee Rotaract - at Interval - 1600 N. Jackson St., Milwaukee

REGISTER at the Rotaract Meet-Up by clicking here
Rotary Amigos are supporting Milwaukee Rotaract On the Table.
Click here to learn more.

Tuesday, October 22 - 6-7 p.m. at MAC on Water - Club Assembly - Planning

Developing goals for this year and meeting with Victory Gardens Montana Morris to finalize grant performance dates related to our partnership and grant.

Tuesday, November 5 - District Governor Steen Sanderhoff Official Visit and Presentation at Antigua Latin Inspired Kitchen

If you are not a Rotarian, but interested, this is a great meeting to learn more.



Prior meetings

Saturday, September 21 - Bay View Bash Service 

Saturday, Sept. 21 - Amigos Adopt-A-River Service Project 

Tuesday, September 3 - at Antigua - Project Rise - Milwaukee County Health & Human Services Dept of Youth and Family Services -

Mark Mertens, MSW (Administrator)

Tuesday, August 27 - Habitat for Humanity - Andy Heuer, Development Director

Tuesday, August 20 - Melissa Rickey Classification Talk - Learn more about Melissa's Path to Today, Both Personally and Professionally 
at MAC on Water

Tuesday, August 6 - Guatemala Literacy Service Project Q&A - Erik Moesser, ElmBrook Rotary Club

at Antigua Latin Inspired Kitchen - West Allis

Come learn more about the service project that ElmBrook Rotary has been doing in Antigua, Guatemala.  Ask questions and get answers to how you can help and / or personally participate....here or THERE (January 2020).  Learn more about their past success and partnership by clicking on this link to their newsletter.  Scroll down on the newsletter to see more about the project.

Tuesday, July 30 - Rotary Amigos Board Meeting

Amigos Rotarians attended  in person and via a Bridge Line had full attendance  of the Board of Directors at the Milwaukee Athletic Club on Water.  

Tuesday, July 23 - Amigos - Complete a community meeting or service thru August 6th for it to count as your July 23 Rotary make-up

Options include any community service activity or event.  Take a photo of yourself at the event / meeting / conference and submit it to Secretary Patti Lynch for credit.

Tuesday, July 16 - New Member Intro - Erik Carranza

Erik has a wonderful story of misguided youth, hanging with the wrong crowd, seeking acceptance, living the consequences, and rising above that.  Erik found his passion in exercise and competition and joy in helping others find it as a personal trainer.
This meeting enjoyed the "attendance" in-person and via conference line.

Tuesday, July 9 - CELEBRATED and Welcomed President 2019-20 Edwin Nyakoe Nyasani 


Tuesday, July 2 - 6-7 p.m. - Meeting was via CHIME Internet Teleconference

2019-20 President Edwin Nyakoe Nyasani took the helm as the new president and announced his chairs and board positions.

Tuesday, June 18 - Polio - Why We Need to Eradicate It - Peter Bosch (held at Antigua Latin Inspired Restaurant)

Peter Bosch, Principal Engineer and Founder of Highpoint Software is also a Rotarian.  He has been engaged in the efforts to eradicate polio and has developed a visual mapping to demonstrate why we can't stop short of complete eradication of the polio virus.  This was a very engaging and enlightening presentation and conversation for Rotarians, Visiting Rotarians, and guests.



Tuesday, June 11 - Beevangalist - Charlie Koenen

We enjoyed an amazing awareness building of the importance of bees and all that we will lose should we lose the bees.  They are an incredible species that has survived through time but may not be able to survive mankind.  Click here to learn more at this recent interview with Mike Strehlow.


Tuesday, May 21 and Tuesday, May 28 - District Grant Submissions

These meetings reviewed potential District Grant submissions (grant submitted and now awaiting review for hopeful acceptance)

The May 28 meeting was also the club's second time utilizing web based software to include those unable to physically attend the meeting, to do so.  We have some bugs to work out including better acoustics, however, all in attendance agreed that it had worked.  We look forward to further experimentation and use.

Things considered;

1. Is there a completed needs assessment?

2. What will the project be?

3. Who from our Club is and will be involved?

4. What resources are needed? 

5. Anticipated impact and how will you know? 

We heard from those wishing to submit a project for consideration and the club used the decision making criteria developed at a previous meeting to determine what would move forward.

Image may contain: 9 people, people smiling, people standingThursday, May 23 - 7 - 8:30 a.m. - Rotary District Friendship Exchange Team from District 9125 Nigeria and District 9211 Uganda

All Rotarians and those non-Rotarians interested in learning more about this part of the world are invited to attend Milwaukee North Sunrise Rotary Club at St Ann’s at 7am 

St. Ann Center - Bucyrus Campus
2450 W. North Avenue
Milwaukee, WI  53205
United States of America

Tuesday, May 14 - Not Without My Father: One Woman's 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace - Author Andra Watkins

Our meeting was fun, interesting, and enlightening.  New Rotarians were inducted, including one who we had missed in previous official induction ceremonies .  Erik Carranza and Melissa Rickey were formally inducted, as well as, Bonnie Lee.

We  celebrated Amigo Rotarian Daniele Calasanzio naturalization that occurred in Atlanta on May 10, 2019.

Our presenter was Rotarian Andra Watkins, featured in the January 2017’s Rotarian Magazine and is a New York Times best selling author. She is one of the only living persons to walk the 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She had a life-changing adventure with her 80-year-old father. Her NYT best selling memoir Not Without My Father chronicles that experience.  We LOVED her presentation!  Her honesty, her humor, her wisdom.

Tuesday, May 7  - Catching Up - LOCATION - CORE El Centro 

Members had an opportunity to catch up on where we are, where we have been, and what we have learned from "being out in the community" and hearing about issues and initiatives in the community.  Newest Future Rotarian, Ronald Rickey, was also in attendance. 
Marta is developing a tool for Rotarians to indicate where they wish the club to focus resources in the community. Rotarians who wish to make a recommendation for the use of a District Grant will need to complete and submit to Angie by May 20 for the board to make within that next week.  Remember, a criteria for a grant request is a recently conducted needs assessment showing the community need and desire for the given project.  More information can be obtained at the District web site via this link.  Two Amigos Rotarians must also complete the training for District grants and if you are suggesting application then you must do so as well for the club.

Thursday, May 2 - Rotary Amigos Table Sponsor and Attendance at CORE El Centro - CORE Momentum - 17th Anniversary -

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people sitting and indoorRotary Amigos is sponsoring a table at this wonderful event. 
It was a FREE event though CORE El Centro hoped to enlighten everyone about their programs and purpose to inspire donations for their programs.
According to attending Rotarians, they successfully shared their mission, purpose, and results!
Paul Berger served as Table Host.

Saturday, May 4 - 8:30-11:30 am - SERVICE DAY at Hunger Task Force Farm 

Rotarians came together and made a big dent in the spreading of wood chips on trails to help the farmers and volunteers grow food.  This was a Rotary Partner Service Project with Rotary Clubs of Mitchell Field, New Berlin, West Allis, and Whitnall Park. 





Saturday, April 27 - 9 am - Noon (Noon - 2 pm After Party) - SERVICE DAY - Annual Milwaukee Riverkeepers Clean-Up Day - Amigos Rotarians did this event last year

Amigos is a partner with Milwaukee Riverkeepers and sponsors a segment of the Milwaukee River in Lincoln Park area.  Despite the cooler than usual weather, Rotarians Dorothy Krupa (volunteer chair / organizer on behalf of our club), Marta Carrion, Edwin Nyakoe Nyasani, Daniele Calasanzio, Angela Rester, and newest  member Erik Carranza cleaned up on Saturday. Dorothy noted that despite the amount of trash, there was about 1/3rd as much as the same time last year.  Noted was the large amount of plastic and styrofoam, along with candy and cigar packaging, as well as, needles and things we won't mention.  Clearly people need to clean up after themselves and their friends and family!
Afterwards several of us went to the FREE celebration with Rock the Green in Estabrook Park .  We got to hear great music and visit numerous ecology-minded services and nonprofits serving our greater Milwaukee region.
Tuesday, Sept. 25


Rotary Foundation Global and District grants for District 6270 have been very successful in the past because they have involved members like you and I.  MANY decades ago, Past District Governor "Ozzie" Oswald created opportunities for clubs to give for wells in Haiti and India.  Today, Past District Governor Rick Debe is bringing new opportunities to our clubs as our 2018-2019 District 6270 Water and Sanitation Chair.

Rick shared the following, "We are embarking on some larger Global grants for Water and Sanitation around the world. Our Clubs in #6270 are joining together to leverage and maximize our efforts.

Tuesday, September 18 - District Governor Kola Alayande 

District Governor Kola is a 2nd generation Rotarian and is a former Interactor, Rotaractor, AND Rotarian and may well be the only one in our District. He spoke to the club about growing the membership and staying true to Rotary without being so rigid that we don't grow or fulfill mission. As a change agent he hopes to inspire our clubs and individual Rotarians to stretch and do things differently so we remain vital and meaningful.  The board then met with Kola and reviewed what makes us an awesome club and how he and the district can better serve our club.  

Pictured from left to right - Past District Governor, Amigos Founder and current President Angela Rester
Daniele Calasanzio, Amigos International Director
Kola Alayande, District Governor 2018-2019
Edwin Nyakoe Nyasani - Amigos Secretary and President Nominee for 2020-2021
Thursday, September 13 - Rotary New(er) Member Orientation 
This orientation was a collaborative effort of the Rotary Clubs of Amigos Milwaukee After Hours, Mitchell Field, New Berlin, West Allis, and Whitnall Park.
Three Amigos Rotarians participated in this orientation that was very well received.

Tues, September 11 - Farewell to Gustavo de Arriba

Sadly we said farewell to Gustavo de Arriba.  He only recently learned that he has been hired at a new company based in Denmark .We know we will see him again but will miss his leadership, his joy, and warm welcomes at our wonderful little club.


Tuesday, August 28 - 6 - 8 pm - Service Night - Cathedral Center Dinner Service

Our club's 4th time serving dinner to the women and families residing at Cathedral Center. We had a lot of fun and one of our Rotary members volunteered with his family and a friend.



Rotarians - People OF Action

 A special report prepared for Rotary International by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies estimated the value of Rotary member volunteer hours at $850 million a year.


Rotary International News

Rotary International has partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support lasting, positive change in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH).

This unique public-private partnership leverages the business skills and community leadership of our volunteers with USAID's technical expertise and government relationships.

Rotary-USAID Partnership

Rotary volunteers work with USAID and governmental agencies as monitors, inspectors, facilitators, mentors, advocates, and instructors in communities, schools, and clinics.

Building on an initial collaboration in the Dominican Republic, Ghana, and the Philippines, Rotary and USAID together have committed $4 million for work in each of three countries: Ghana, Madagascar, and Uganda. As part of Rotary’s commitment of $2 million per country, Rotary clubs in each country are responsible for raising $200,000.

Read more by clicking here.

Business class: Microloan project boosts entrepreneurs in bankruptcy-era Detroit

From the September 2014 issue of The Rotarian

Levi Johnson Jr. makes a mean barbecue sauce. Born in western Tennessee and raised in Detroit, he developed a taste for Southern cooking during childhood vacations in his mother’s hometown. She was the first in her family to pack up and head north in search of work, so he was the odd one out on those trips as the only city boy. But he felt at home in the kitchen, where he would watch his grandfather cook and savor the distinctive twang of his signature sauce.

Johnson has lived in Detroit ever since. He raised a family of his own here and worked for years as a mechanic servicing school buses for the Board of Education. He’s kept busy the rest of the time by playing music with local bands, helping out at church, and cooking up batches of Mr. Levi’s My-T-Fine Soul Sauce for family and friends.

In 2010, amid the economic crisis, a quarter of the city’s public schools closed, and Johnson was laid off from his job with the school board. He eventually found another opportunity to do the same work for a private company, but he’s not making what he used to, and the benefits aren’t as good. “Nineteen years on the job and I was faced with being out of work,” he says. “I’m not old enough to retire. So I said, ‘Well, I’m going to have to dig deep within myself and see what I can do.’ That’s how I wound up getting serious about this sauce business.”

Johnson is one of 13 entrepreneurs working with Launch Detroit, a project of Rotary District 6400 (parts of Michigan and Ontario) that provides microloans and free business education to small-business owners and pairs them with Rotarian mentors. He heard about the program through a community kitchen for food entrepreneurs at Eastern Market, one of the largest historic shopping districts in the country. “I was talking with someone there about what steps I would have to take to start manufacturing larger quantities of my sauce,” Johnson recalls. “Then I got an email the day before the first Launch Detroit information session.” He’d looked into other small-business development programs, but many had steep entry fees or required attendance at classes during his workday. “When I heard what Rotarians were talking about doing, it sounded like it was tailored to where I was trying to go. It was that spark that I needed.”

The Launch Detroit planning committee accepted Johnson’s application and granted him a $1,000 loan in January. He used it to sign on with a local packaging business that manufactures and distributes small batches of craft condiments in the Great Lakes region. The company is working with Johnson to adjust the recipe for wider distribution, redesign the labels, and test the sauce for USDA approval, aiming to get his product on shelves in 60 stores. In the meantime, Johnson’s Rotarian mentor is helping him bring his Soul Sauce into high-end suburban delis.

“I’ve still got a lot to learn, but I’m closer to my goal than I’ve ever been,” Johnson says. “When you have somebody who’s willing to get behind you, somebody who believes in what you’re doing, there’s no reason not to succeed.”

ROTARY CLUBS have played a large role in promoting microfinance programs in the United States. Based on the premise that small-scale private loans paired with education and support services can have an outsize impact on troubled communities, the concept has flourished in developing countries and gained popularity stateside in the wake of the Great Recession. And it’s a natural fit for Rotarians, who represent a cross-section of business and community leaders with a wealth of experience and connections.

In 2012, Marilyn Fitzgerald, a member of the Rotary Club of Traverse City, brought the idea for a microloan project in Detroit to leaders of District 6400, which encompasses Detroit; Windsor, Ont.; and the suburbs along both sides of the Detroit River. She’d implemented similar projects in the developing world and had adapted that model to help rural farmers in northern Michigan.

“If we can do microloan projects abroad, why can’t we do them in Detroit?” Fitzgerald asks. “People are starting to recognize that the economy isn’t ever going to be what it was, but it can become something different – even something better.”

Larry Wright, chair of the Launch Detroit planning committee, knows that it doesn’t take a lot of money to get a business up and running. In the late 1970s, he and his wife, Sarah, started a landscaping company out of their home with a $2,500 bank loan, which helped them buy equipment. Like many small-business owners, the Wrights encountered some setbacks, but they repaid the loan and have since developed a successful operation, thriving despite the region’s lagging economy.

“We’re all pained by what we see happening in our metro area, and we know it can be better,” says Wright, a member of the Rotary Club of Taylor, a suburb downriver from Detroit. “The timing was right for this type of project. We felt we had an opportunity to step in and do something positive, to try to help rebuild in our small way.”

Conceived as a pilot for up to six businesses, the program first targeted female entrepreneurs in Southwest Detroit, which has a large Mexican population. But extensive outreach efforts drew applications from all over the city, and the planners accepted twice as many as expected. The final mix of 13 entrepreneurs ranged from urban farmers to computer repair technicians, running start-ups from kitchens and basements to century-old storefronts, all aiming to grow, to move up, to build a business worth investing in.

Fitzgerald helped Wright and his team configure a multipronged approach. In addition to loans of $1,000 to $2,500, to be repaid with 5 percent interest over one year, the program would provide education, one-on-one mentorship, and networking opportunities. “Networking as we know it in Rotary is so valuable,” Wright says. “We can bring a lot of those resources from our own networks to our entrepreneurs. That’s vocational service at its core.”

THE FIRST STEP was fundraising. A dozen clubs in the district contributed, and Baker College of Allen Park, whose president is a Rotarian, gave $30,000. These donations helped pay instructors for business classes, which participants were required to complete before receiving their loans. The group gathered at the Baker College campus for a series of five sessions in the fall of 2013. Each one focused on a different aspect of business management, such as accounting and legal issues, and the series culminated in a business-plan workshop. Prospective mentors came to the classes to observe and mingle, and after a few sessions they were bonding with the borrowers.

Irma Fuentes, a hardware store owner from Southwest Detroit, tended to hang back at these gatherings. She and her husband settled in Detroit after the Mexico City earthquake in 1985 and raised their two sons here, but she’s still self-conscious about her English. She was nervous about going back into the classroom, but with an ailing business, she knew she couldn’t afford to pass up the opportunity.

“Education is not cheap, and when you go back to school at my age it’s not easy,” Fuentes says. “But if you have somebody like a mentor to encourage you, then you can do it. And if you can do it, maybe your neighbor can do it, and maybe people from other cities can do it.”

A yellowed page from an old magazine under the glass countertop in her hardware store traces the building’s history to 1897, when the area was mostly Polish. The economic downturn of the late 2000s hit the neighborhood hard. And though you wouldn’t guess it from Fuentes’ easy smile, it’s been a hard road for her too. She’s run the store by herself since her husband died in 2005, and she battled breast cancer in 2009. But Fuentes has found solace and inspiration in her two sons, her three grandchildren, and the tight-knit community her store serves.

“I always remind my kids, if I can walk one step, they can walk two,” she says. “And I love to be the first in my community to start something new.”

Fuentes completed the business courses and graduated alongside the 12 other entrepreneurs in January. She used her loan to stock up on inventory, and she’s been working with her mentor, Roberto Sanchez, a Spanish-speaking former chief financial officer and past district governor, since the classes ended. He drops by the store occasionally to see how things are going, and this summer he led a volunteer project with local Rotary clubs to freshen up its appearance and draw in some new business.

Sanchez and Wright are among several Launch Detroit board members serving as mentors, and their experience will help shape future stages of the project. “We went in with some initial training for the mentors, but we’re going to put more energy into developing that relationship in the next cycle,” Wright says. “It’ll be easier now that we have been mentors in this program.”

THE WRIGHTS have been working with Brianna Bridelle Williams, 26, the youngest entrepreneur in the Launch Detroit program. For three years, she has run D’Created, an online baby boutique she started in her mother’s basement while working concessions at the Detroit Zoo and raising her daughter.

“When we started out, it was just a laptop, a sewing machine, and me and my mom,” Williams recalls. “Today we’re shipping orders to New Zealand and Brazil.” Yolanda, her seamstress mother, does the sewing and pattern-making while Williams handles the business side. She shops for fabric, processes orders, promotes the boutique on social media, and responds to late-night emails from expectant mothers who have questions about her products, which include handmade baby clothes, booties, blankets, diaper bags, and accessories.

“I know there are things I don’t know. I’m learning as I go along,” Williams says, though she projects the passion and self-discipline of a seasoned professional. “Larry and Sarah have more experience than I do, so if I find myself in a situation that I’m not sure about, I know I have someone I can call and ask for advice. That’s tremendous.”

The Launch Detroit loan helped bring a long-held dream to life for Williams: She used it toward a down payment on a bricks-and-mortar storefront on a stretch of Livernois, nicknamed the Avenue of Fashion for its history of upscale retail. Mother and daughter have worked seven days a week to keep up with demand since they opened their doors in March, and business picks up even more in the summer, when they sell their wares in sidewalk sales and craft fairs across the metro area.

Williams also has found her own path to vocational service, partnering with the Wrights’ Rotary club to support a longstanding maternal health project in Nicaragua. Her business provided 1,800 cloth diapers for layettes bound for new mothers in Chinandega. “We’ve tried to share that Rotary ethos with the entrepreneurs,” Wright explains. “To say, ‘This is what Rotarians do, and we hope that you do the same thing as you grow and become more successful in business – that you’ll be able to give back to the community.’”

Launch Detroit board members hope to begin another cycle of business classes with the next group of entrepreneurs this fall. Wright’s team has visited other Rotary clubs in the meantime, aiming to model an adaptable approach to microfinance and inspire engagement with local business. And the group is far from finished with the first class of entrepreneurs, offering monthly workshops on topics such as advanced accounting and grassroots marketing. They’re also raising funds and exploring partnerships with other business development organizations so that borrowers who pay back their first loans and show success can qualify for bigger loans and keep growing.

This is an especially exciting prospect for a young entrepreneur like Williams. While many Detroiters of her generation have fled the Motor City in search of sunnier career prospects elsewhere, she’s committed to keeping her business local. “I definitely want to keep D’Created here in town,” she says. “The future for Detroit is bright.”


Articles in July/August issue of Milwaukee Ethnic News list 22 ethnic events and involve these groups:

German, Jewish, African American, Welsh, Filipino, Armenian,  Mexican, French, Caribbean, Filipino, African, English, Indian, Southeast Asian, Croatian, Italian, Irish, Chinese, Ukrainian, American Indian, Latino, Kashubian, Quaker, International, and more


Amigos Rotarians Attended Various Rotary Conferences, Conventions, and Trainings

  • President Angie attended the Rotary District 6270 Changing of the Guard ending District Governor Kola Alayande's year and welcoming in District Governor Steen Sanderhoff.
  • President-Elect Edwin Nyakoe Nyasani was sponsored by the Amigos Rotary Club to attend the DualConn District Conference held in May in Wisconsin.  He got lots of great ideas for the club and our membership that will unfold in his year beginning July 1. Photo of the Nigerian delegation at the DualConn is below.
  • Amigos Rotarians Angela Rester and Dorothy Krupa attended the Rotary International Convention in Hamburg, Germany where they met up with former Amigo Rotarians Cecilia Rebuffo and Gustavo de Arriba. Amigos attendees for the Convention are not sponsored or underwritten.  More will be shared on the experience and learnings at a future meeting.  This was Angie's 8th convention and Dorothy's first. The first picture is meeting up with District 6270 Governor Kola Alayande and Past RI Director Mike McCullough. The second photo is of the current RI President Barry Rassin - Bahamas and RI President-Elect Holger Knaack - Germany presenting their flags and yes, that is Cecilia and Dorothy in the front row. The next photo is preparing for a group photo of all who attended from District 6270 and the last photo is Angie, Gustavo, Michel (Cecilia's husband and the founder of the Milwaukee Rotary Club Rotaract Club)
  • President-Nominee Daniele Calasanzio, President-Elect Edwin Nyakoe Nyasani, and Board Director Public Relations/Social Media Marta Carrion participated in the District Grant Seminar to support our club submission for a local project.  We hope to learn in the next month if we qualified for that grant related to food, nutrition, and growing food.
  • Amigos Rotarians Frey Faris and Daniele Calasanzio attended the June 22 Outdoor Festival Celebrating Our Refugee Communities. The last photo is Kai, Frey, Daniele, and Dawn (who was a guest at last week's Rotary meeting).