SWARTZ CREEK — The Genesee Valley Rotary Club held its annual installation picnic on June 26 at Elms Road Park in Swartz Creek.
During the program, the Rotary Club awarded its Paul Harris Fellow Award, which recognizes an area community member who exemplifies outstanding community service. This year the award went to Kali Weber, a Flushing resident, who founded the Zoie Sky Foundation, an organization that renovates and completely furnishes the bedrooms of needy children in Genesee County.
Genesee Valley Rotary Club President Elect Sharon Fouts said the work Weber has done helping needy children aligns well with the Rotary Club’s goals of service above self.
“She exemplifies this. She is someone who goes beyond to service others,” Fouts said.
The Rotary Club presented the Zoie Sky Foundation with a check for $2,000.
‘It was a surprise,” Weber said.
Weber started the foundation in the summer of 2007 and provides complete makeovers of bedrooms for kids, including paint, curtains, beds, bedding, desks, dressers and night stands.
Since the beginning, the foundation has provided over 150 beds for children in the community.
Weber said the foundation has helped many different kids in many different situations of need, such as sick children and mothers with children trying to escape an abusive home.
“It’s always a different story,” Weber said. “We take for granted that we have a room to go to and we have a comfortable bed.”
Weber said she gets positive feedback from school officials and other community members on how a new bedroom positively impacts the lives of the kids in need. She said she receives reports about how attitudes improve and grades go up.
“It’s an awakening of how important a bedroom is,” Weber said.
The Zoie Sky Foundation is run completely by volunteers and funded by donations, and kids in need are referred to the foundation by social and case workers, as well as DHS employees.
Weber said people don’t always realize the need for beds right in their own community.
“People don’t realize that in their own neighborhood or community a child is pulling a blanket out of a box and sleeping on the floor,” she said.
Also at the picnic, the Rotary Club awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Swartz Creek High School graduate Claire Jess.
Fouts said the criteria for the scholarship included being a positive person, service to the community and school, as well as high academic achievement.
Jess is the daughter of Rebecca and David Jess. Her GPA was 3.885, and she will be attending Kettering University to major in industrial engineering.
The Rotary Club also awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Rachel Ellis of Carman Ainsworth High School in Flint Township.