The Rotary Club of Santa Monica is busy this month! From reading to local students and awarding its annual Four-Way Test Award, the Rotarians being active in the Santa Monica community.

The Rotary Club of Santa Monica is proud to recognize the Rev. Eric C. Shafer, Senior Pastor of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, with its annual Four-Way Test Award. The presentation will be made at the Rotary meeting on Friday, March 29.

Under Pastor Shafer’s leadership, Mt. Olive has welcomed the Students 4 Students Shelter (formerly known as the Bruin Shelter) to Mt. Olive, the first shelter for homeless college students in the USA. The shelter opened in October 2016 and has attracted media coverage throughout the USA including articles in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times as well as a feature on National Public Radio (NPR) and television news coverage on PBS and, most recently, a feature news story on CBS Sunday Morning. In 2017 Shafer helped lead the shelter through required City of Santa Monica zoning changes and helped solicit grants for the shelter from the City of Santa Monica and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. For his work with the shelter, Shafer was awarded the “Community Service Appreciation Award” for “Interfaith Humanitarian Service” by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 2017.

Pastor Shafer has brought energy, integrity, and a sense of urgency to many other community and faith initiatives. He helped found the new Santa Monica Area Interfaith Council. Following the mass attack on gay and lesbian people in Orlando in 2016, Shafer helped organize a “Love Orlando, Music Heals” benefit concert at Mt. Olive, raising funds for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Central Florida. He serves as Vice President of the Religion Communicators Council (RCC), the “guild” for USA professional communicators of religion. Shafer also serves on the board of the Westside (Los Angeles) Coalition for Hunger, Homelessness and Health and on the Santa Monica Bay Area Human Relations Council. From 2014 – 2019 he was a founding board member and treasurer of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, a California non-profit working for immigration rights and against mass incarceration.

The 4-Way Test was adopted by Rotary International 70 years ago. Its 24 words have never changed and still read, “Of the things we think, say or do: Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR to all concerned? Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?” The 4-Way Test is part of Rotary’s core values that guide its 1.2 million members worldwide in 35,000 clubs who work on community service and humanitarian projects. Each year, the award recognizes an individual who transforms the words into action. Congratulations and thank you, Rev. Eric Shafer!

At the end of this month, the Rotarians of the Santa Monica Rotary Club will be taking part in their annual Rotary Reads program. For several years, numerous Rotarians have teamed up with teachers at seven local schools to share the joy of reading with students in their own classrooms. During this fun day, the students get to read which books are currently their favorites or the Rotarians read their favorite from their childhoods. Some of these reading sessions can even break into sing alongs! The Rotary Club of Santa Monica will also donate over 100 titles from this year’s award-winning books to the school’s libraries, in addition to sharing the joys of reading.

Many local school budgets are unable to support the funding that is needed for these new award-winning books, so it is with much joy that the Rotary Club of Santa Monica gets to participate in supplying brilliant new books to local students.

If you are interested in learning more about Rotary, the Rotary Reads Program, or would like to donate books, please feel free to contact RotaryClubofSantaMonica@verizon.net, or call 310-917-3313. The Rotary Club of Santa Monica’s meetings are held Fridays at noon at the DoubleTree Hotel on 4th St.

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