Posted by Sanjiv Prabhakaran on Dec 07, 2018
 
Today we had a very captivating and emotion-charged talk by Chris Megison, co-founder & CEO of Solutions For Change. He was accompanied by his team members Patty Johnson and Debra Sallaz. Since 1993 Chris has designed and led numerous free market social purpose initiatives and innovations that have solved homelessness permanently for over 4,500 people. His trademark impact is his “get up, suit up and show up” model of leadership in which he leads from the front, a style of servant leadership that he learned as a U.S. Marine.
 
In 1999, Chris and Tammy Megison were helping out at an emergency winter shelter with their two boys, when a 9 year old girl named Jessica pulled Chris’ sleeve and innocently asked, “Hey mister, do you live here too?” Chris looked at the girl and then over to her mother who was preparing a bed on the shelter floor. Chris got down on one knee, looking into the girl’s eyes, and said, “I don’t live here, sweetie, but my wife and I are going to do everything possible so that you, and your family, won’t have to live here too.”
 
The girl’s eyes welled with tears, and so did Chris’s and a vision was born—to solve family homelessness. This one night forever changed not only the lives of Jessica and her family, who solved their homelessness, but also the lives of over 2,600 other children and their parents who have since found their way to Solutions. Through this promise an imperative evolved that is known today as "Solutions for Change".
 
 
 
Chris grew up in the mid-west and after one bad blizzard in Detroit he decided he needs to go west. So, he joined the military and dreamed of getting to San Diego. But then he got positioned in the coldest place in Amchitka Island, west of Alaska. Finally, after few years he was sent to warmer places, such as, the Sahara Desert in Somalia.
 
 
The goal for Solutions for Change is to get these homeless people out of the chain of dependency and denial. Chris then talked about how he met Wolfman Steve 27 years ago, who was a homeless man and he was stuck in addiction. He went to see this guy in action and felt that he could do something to change this man & other homeless people. That is when the "ALPHA" project started and he created this "Social Enterprise". He transformed the scary-looking Wolfman into a guy selling newspapers and Chris went with them to provide the motivation. That led him to the LA fair where he took 20+ homeless folks with an entire truck filled with newspapers and sold every newspaper in that truck.
 
 
He then talked about the university program, where he has 197 families enrolled. It's a 1000 day university program. They teach things like Connect, Trust and Act - the concepts of Servant leadership training. When Katrina hit they were able to mobilize 13 different organizations, loaded up several trucks and sent that to Katrina to help the people that were displaced. They are able to "transform" people and many of these transformed students end up working at the farm. Chris is also serving on the Poverty Reform Team under President Trump.
 
 
 
In the end DMSB Club President Ken Barrett presented the speaker with the Joshua certificate that represents our club DMSB donating school supplies to schools in Malawi in the name of the speaker.
 
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Member of the Club Award - George Sousa
 
 
Ken presented George with the "Member of the Club" award for his dedication and exceptional service to the club. George also requested a moment of silence since today was the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
 
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Thank You Talk by John Van Cleef, Executive Director of CRC
 
 
John Van Cleef recently became the new Executive Director at the Community Resource Center in September 2018. He was very happy to hear that our club donated a new truck and USD 1,500 to support distribution of donated items to needy families. John's goal is to improve the quality of life of many people. He is a Rotarian by history.
 
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"My 3 Things in Life" by Herb Liberman
 
 
Herb shared his 3 exciting events in life.
1. He talked about his life as a school superintendent when he had to make tough decisions about school closures when it is snowing heavily. The politics was bad and so he resigned, packed and moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Later he moved to San Francisco and stayed there for 11 years and sold a company.
 
2. Then he met Bev in San Francisco and have lived together for 31 years.
 
3. Finally, he learned about "giving back". He was a board member of St. Anthony's Foundation, then he was a Rotarian for 20 years and then he started a micro-lending organization in Kenya and offered scholarships to kids. He is also on the board of Second Chance, Alzheimer's Society, and works with the Salvation Army and also volunteers at the jail with the people who are being released to help them cope with the real world.
 
So, the one question from the audience was - "when do you sleep?" :-)
 
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