Flying high with Rotary Fellowships

The author on an intercontinental flight to Texas.

The author on a cross-country flight to Texas.

By Michael Graves, member of the Rotary Club of Plainview, Texas, USA, past district governor, and world president of the International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians

In the summer of 1990, while I was in Washington and Oregon with my young family, I made some new friends, members of the International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians, who became an extended family to me. Continue reading

Multi-club project honors D-Day veterans

Chris Burns

Chris Burns

By Chris Burns, Rotary Club of Hendersonville, North Carolina, USA

In 2005, HonorAir founder Jeff Miller asked me to help realize his dream of taking all surviving American WWII vets to their national memorial in Washington D.C. What started as a small local project has now spread nationwide, thanks in no small part to many Rotary clubs that made it their own project.

About a year ago, Jeff had another dream. This time it was to take all surviving Normandy Invasion Campaign (D-Day) veterans to their national memorial for the 70th Anniversary Commemoration of D-Day. Through the partnership of the Asheville and Hendersonville Rotary clubs, a team was pulled together to turn this idea into a reality. Continue reading

Bridge climb eclipses record

Rotary members from all over the world on top of the Harbor Bridge in Sydney, Australia.

Rotary members from all over the world on top of the Harbor Bridge in Sydney, Australia.

Reposted from the 2014 Convention Insider

The massive turnout from Rotary members eclipsed Oprah Winfrey’s world-record climb in 2011 when she marched up the bridge alongside 315 of her most ardent fans. But for Rotary, the record paled in comparison to the experience, and the opportunity to take a step closer to ending polio forever. The event raised AU$110,000.

“It made me even prouder to be a Rotarian,” says John Avakian from Healdsburg, California. “It was an incredible experience of tremendous camaraderie.” Continue reading

Safe drinking water for every child

Rotary members tour one of the schools that received water coolers and purification systems.

Rotary members tour one of the schools that received water coolers and purification systems.

By Nosherwan Khalil Khan, a member of the Rotary Club of Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan

Earlier this month, Rotary members from Pakistan and India joined together to provide clean drinking water to two government-run schools in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Continue reading

Lighting up Easter Island with an End Polio Now message

Two moai on Ahu Tongariki illuminated with an End Polio Now message.

Two moai on Ahu Tongariki illuminated with an End Polio Now message.

By Roberto Manuel Silva Pérez, public image project leader for District 4340 (Chile)

The gigantic, brooding monoliths of Easter Island have been impressing visitors to the remote island, 2,000 miles off the coast of Chile, for years. We wanted to illuminate some of these statues with an End Polio Now message, but it proved to be no easy task. Continue reading

Mediation in the life of a peace builder

Dimitra Messini, left, discusses mediation with another participant of the workshop.

Dimitra Messini, left, discusses mediation with another participant of the workshop.

By Dimitra Messini, a 2013-15 Rotary Peace Fellow at International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan 

Having chosen to pursue human rights as a lawyer, mediation has been a major part of my life. Even in my home country of Greece where mediation is not a popular practice, I have used mediation to resolve issues, helping married couples in prolonged disputes or companies with substantial lawsuits. Every kind of law, from criminal to civil, has a place for mediation.  Continue reading

Funding a million polio vaccines through social media

World's Greatest Meal event.

World’s Greatest Meal event.

By Susanne Rea, past president of the Rotary Club of Cairns Sunrise, Queensland, Australia 

I was day dreaming on the couch one day after taking a new position as polio chair for my Rotary District, 9550 (Australia), when an idea hit me.

What if we held a social media driven event similar to the Rotary Global Swimarathon, only made it about meals and eating! The World’s Greatest Meal. I had worked with Paul Wilson on his excellent Facebook promotion of the swimming event, and was very impressed with what he and supporting Rotary members were able to accomplish for polio eradication. Continue reading

Operation Life Jacket saves lives

Donated life jackets in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.

Donated life jackets in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

By Sergio Santi, International Commodore of the Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians

In September of 2012, we heard from Bill Kosar, a new member of the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians from Kenya, that fishermen or ferry passengers were drowning in local waters every week because of a lack of life jackets. We knew we had to do something to help. Continue reading

Home doesn’t have just one name: lessons from a youth exchange

Rotary Youth Exchange students from several countries in Paris.

Rotary Youth Exchange students from several countries in Paris.

Elizabeth, a Rotary Youth Exchange student from District 6080 (Missouri, USA) to France

I used to think that the sky only stretched on for as far as I could see, and then where my vision became blurred, the world ceased to exist.

I used to think that happiness came from surrounding myself with things that brought me comfort. I used to think the best friends I would ever have were the ones I’d known forever. I used to think that in order to call someone family meant they had to be related by blood. And I used to think that home only had one name. Continue reading

Empowering young minds by promoting reading

Books Feeding Minds project participants. Photo courtesy of Judy Backlund

Books Feeding Minds project participants. Photo courtesy of Judy Backlund

By Judy Backlund, past president of the Ellensburg Morning Rotary Club, Washington, USA, and chair of International Reading Association-Rotary International Special Interest Group.

First and foremost, I am a teacher. I have also been a member of the International Reading Association for 20 years. And I’m a member of Rotary. My involvement with Rotary began about eight years ago when I attended a fireside event with my husband, also a Rotary member. One of the presentations described Rotarian-led U.S. and international literacy related projects. As a teacher I sat in awe and by the end of the presentation my head was spinning by possibilities. I said “sign me up.” Continue reading