By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Lynn Faust, a past president of the Marlborough Rotary Club, recently went to Washington, D.C., as one of 16 members chosen as a “Champion of Change” finalist. She was nominated by Marlborough Rotarian Dave Brower. The nomination process advanced to Rotary District 7910, which encompasses central Massachusetts.
A two-day celebration began with a reception April 4 at the National Press Club, where the finalists were introduced by Rotary International President Sakuj Tanaka. Faust cited that moment as her favorite memory of the reception.
“President Tanaka, who's from Japan, is a small man with a tremendous presence,” she said. “It was quite an honor to meet him.”
She also enjoyed the unique opportunity to interact with Rotarians from clubs worldwide.
“There were people there representing all kinds of interesting global causes,” she said. “It enabled me to put into prospective how Rotary International is an organization that just happens to have local presence in all of our cities and towns, and how much the local work that's done does impact the international work.”
The celebration continued April 5, when the second annual Rotary Day was observed at the White House. More than 160 Rotarians attended a morning round of briefings presented by government officials on various topics. Later that day, 12 of the finalists were named the “Champions of Change.”
“Most of the speakers from the White House talked about how fighting poverty or mobilizing human resources in our communities is critical to our national strength,” Faust said. “They talked about how much work needs to be done at the local level. Yes, be concerned about the money we'se spending on helping people locally; but think about innovative ways to invest that money into development programs, as opposed to doing simply relief programs.”
Hearing speakers promote that message was confirming for Faust because that's the strategy she uses with two programs she currently directs in the Marlborough area: Second Saturday and the Financial Fitness Center.
Faust started Second Saturday in 2007, based at Grace Baptist Church in Hudson. The program connects people in need of assistance with volunteers who are willing to help for three hours the second Saturday of the month.
In 2012, Faust launched the Financial Fitness Center, a division of the Community Development Committee of which she's a board member. The program offers financial education and coaching, as well as tax filing assistance for people in need.
“I want to reduce the poverty in our area so that people are more self-sufficient and can support themselves better with their own energy and their own gifts,” Faust said. “If someone has a lack of role models or a lack of education, then you give them role models and education. Simply giving them a bailout in terms of money is only helping them for that month. What you need is the face-to-face relationship between a person who cares and a person who is in need.”
In 2010, Faust was honored as the Humanitarian of the Year by former Mayor Nancy Stevens at the Mayor's Charity Ball. The award is presented each inaugural year to a Marlborough resident who exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism and community service.
Two days after the visit to Washington, Faust said, “I feel incredibly invigorated that I was able to talk with my peers who are innovative people, trying to carry their missions and their passions forward. That's why Rotarians get together in these open forums; we want to learn from one another.”
For more information about Second Saturday, visit gracehudson.org; click “Outreach,” then “Local.” For more information about the Financial Fitness Center, call 508-361-6926.