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November 15, 2019

Sister Cities honors Rotary Club

Morgan Hill’s link with Ameca, Mexico thrives

Sister Cities of Morgan Hill is celebrating and honoring Rotary Club of Morgan Hill for its “invaluable support” in 2019 as the Sister Cities organization established a new international relationship with Ameca, Mexico, according to a press release.

Sister Cities named the local Rotary Club as its 2019 Outstanding Philanthropist, and will honor the club at the Morgan Hill Community Foundation’s annual Philanthropy Night celebration Nov. 15.

“Rotary Club welcomed Sister Cities into its existing relationship; its connections and guidance were invaluable for us during the entire yearlong process. Simply put, we could not have done it without them,” says Amy Whelan, president of Sister Cities of Morgan Hill. “All of our members are very excited to have the opportunity to publicly thank and raise a glass to Rotary’s generosity, community spirit and thoughtful energy.” 

Rotary Club of Morgan Hill’s connection rests mainly with the Rotary Club of Ameca, and includes a range of community service projects that are planned and executed in partnership, reads a press release from Sister Cities of Morgan Hill. For example, the two Rotary Clubs have worked together since 2009 to provide computers, technology and infrastructure improvements to all of the primary schools in Ameca’s inner city.

The annual Morgan Hill Community Foundation (MHCF) event brings together a long list of community leaders who deserve praise for their time, effort and commitment to Morgan Hill’s excellence, reads the press release. MHCF’s annual Philanthropy Celebration honorees come from any non-profit in Morgan Hill that wishes to honor a person, company or group that has made a significant contribution to the nonprofit in the current calendar year.

This year’s event is scheduled for Nov 15 at the Morgan Hill Community & Cultural Center, 17000 Monterey Road. Tickets are available for purchase at mhcf.ticketspice.com/philanthropy.

Sister Cities & Ameca

Sister Cities added its relationship with Ameca, Mexico, to its roster of city-to-city connections in late 2018. The process of formalizing the relationship culminated in a Sister City delegation traveling from Morgan Hill to Ameca this past September.

Representatives from both Rotary Club and Sister Cities made up the delegation, as well as representatives from Kiwanis Club of Morgan Hill, the City of Morgan Hill and the Morgan Hill Unified School District.

The next phase of the relationship includes a reciprocal program between elementary schools. Sister Cities’ vice president John Kelley traveled in September to deliver 50 letters from fifth-grade students at San Martin Gwinn Elementary, and returned with 125 letters from students at five different grammar schools in Ameca.

The Sister Cities and Ameca relationship also served as the basis of a proclamation at the Morgan Hill City Council regular meeting Oct. 23. The proclamation recognized those who were instrumental in establishing the relationship with Ameca: Rotary Club of Morgan Hill, David Allen, Lesley Allen, Peter Anderson and John Kelley.

The Mizuho Student Exchange Program

In addition to its growing relationship with Ameca, a cornerstone of Sister Cities is the Mizuho Morgan Hill Student Exchange Program, a reciprocal travel program for middle school students that has operated since 2008.

Morgan Hill students stay with host families in Mizuho, Japan, and then host those same Japanese students in Morgan Hill the following summer. The group is preparing to send Morgan Hill students to Mizuho in the summer of 2020.

That trip is significant because the summer Olympics is scheduled July 24-Aug. 9 in Tokyo, very near Mizuho, according to the Sister Cities press release. The Olympic torch is scheduled to pass through Mizuho during the same timeframe that Morgan Hill students usually travel for this program, although 2020 student travel dates are not yet confirmed.

This ceremony presents an added opportunity for Morgan Hill students to witness a worldwide event, in addition to the excellent cultural and educational opportunities already built into the exchange between Mizuho and Morgan Hill.

About Sister Cities of Morgan Hill

Sister Cities is an all-volunteer, membership non-profit formed in 2002. It hosts relationships with five international cities: San Casciano, Italy; Seferihisar, Turkey; Mizuho, Japan; Headford, Ireland; and Ameca, Mexico. Morgan Hill’s Sister City program is modeled on Sister Cities International, a worldwide organization fostering connections between cities, counties or states.

Anyone interested in learning more about Sister Cities can attend member meetings at 7pm every fourth Thursday of the month at the Morgan Hill Centennial Recreation Center, 171 W. Edmundson Ave.

Visit morganhillsistercities.com for more information.


Rotary Club of Morgan Hill members and Sister Cities of Morgan Hill representatives pose in front of a historic hacienda in Ameca, Mexico during a September trip to the city.

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