Program - WowJam

Rob Granger introduced our Speaker Stephen Tavani and his wife Linda “Peaches” Tavani.  Stephen is a graduate of Wheaton College.  Known as a songwriter and musical producer (Stephen) and singer (Linda), they make Gospel Albums together, reaching thousands all over the world with their music.  Over 25 years ago they were inspired to unite local communities, churches and businesses to reach the lost and broken, where they live and work.  Their focus of their effort is to host a party in the park, known as WOW JAM.

The WOW in WOW JAM stands for Winning our World.  The goal of each WOW JAM party is to bring civic, business and faith organizations together with their neighborhoods, to get kids and adults together, and to have children grow up as productive citizens.  It is more than a short-term event; it has lasting impact. 

Stephen complimented Rotary’s mottos of “Service Above Self: and “We are People of Action”.  We live in a time of a polarized and fragmented society. There are 47 million people wondering IF they will get to eat.  WOW JAM has attracted more than 1.3 million attendees, and 150,000 volunteers.

It is a FREE event, to be held in our Escondido Community on October 14, 2017 at 1.00 p.m. in Grape Day Park.  He is expecting from 3000 to 10,000 people to attend. 

A key element is the detailed training that volunteers receive.  The direction to volunteers is to be flexible and kind.  Another key element is the follow up strategies created by WOW International for local churches, community organizations, businesses and city officials  to continue building relationships.  In this way, WOW JAMS create lasting change with their impact.  They bring together the local people who need assistance, and the local organizations who can help.

Components of the event include a Kid’s Corner.  Today kids, don’t dream anymore, they just want to be alive.  The Kid’s Corner encourages them to dream about what they want to be when they grow up.  They can dress up in that costume and have a photo taken, placed in a magnet frame for keeping.   They repair bicycles, do face painting, provide hot meals, haircuts, and give away bicycles, toys, groceries and TVs.  There is also a stage, with singing, dancing and music, beach balls, confetti and contests for the audience.  

Rotarians are invited to come to volunteer.  This is an event which changes volunteers as well as people in need.  Funding comes from different streams:  city coordinators, pastors, donations including gifts in kind such as bicycles, groceries, grants, records and T-Shirt sales. 

The event has multiple purposes:  to reach out with unconditional love, to unify and bring people together, and build networks.  Other cities and organizations have studied our approach.  People need a community, or they become disconnected.  Gangs offer a community that disconnected people can belong to.  They need caring people to surround them.    There is no racial or political agenda.  The event works through local leadership and has local accountability.  Money stays in the local community.