Why not spice up your next installation dinner?

Participants pack sack lunches during the event at Harvesters, a Kansas City area food bank.

Participants pack sack lunches during the event at Harvesters, a Kansas City area food bank.

By Jerry Venters, a  member of the Rotary Club of Kansas City Plaza

I’ve been a member of Rotary since 1989, and I have never heard of or participated in a changing of the guard ceremony like the one held in District 6040, Missouri, USA, this year. It had more energy and enthusiasm, participation, and fun than any I’ve attended!

The district governor for 2014-15, Cassy Venters (full disclosure here: my wife) began thinking two years earlier about how she could make the event different and uphold the Rotary ideal of Service Above Self. She chose to make it a service project with our local food bank, Harvesters – The Community Food Network. Continue reading

What Rotary is doing to feed the hungry

Doing Good in Seattle from Rotary International on Vimeo.

By Rotary Voices staff

Rotary First Harvest, a program of Rotary District 5030 (Washington, USA), diverts millions of pounds of fruit and vegetables from food waste into the hands of those in need. Rotary members play a crucial role at every level. In honor of World Food Day 16 October, watch the video above, and read more from the program’s director, David Bobanick, a member of the Rotary Club of Mercer Island, Washington, on Rotary Service Connections.

These women of Rotary are changing the world

Rotary's Women of Action in Washington D.C. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

Eight of Rotary’s Women of Action in Washington D.C. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

By Julia D. Phelps, RI director

As I sat in the audience at the White House on 7 October, listening to 10 amazing Rotary women tell the stories of their volunteer efforts, two quotes kept running through my mind. First, “Be the change you wish to be in the world” (Mahatma Gandhi) and second, “Never underestimate the power of a small group of people to change the world. In fact, it is the only way it ever has” (Margaret Mead).

In fact, these 10 women took these two quotes, put them together and created projects, foundations, and fundraising efforts that changed their world and the world of others. It struck me that all of their efforts started with one woman who saw a need, a problem, and then went about addressing the situation. They didn’t get permission, they didn’t write a business plan; they just got busy. They were brave and courageous as they stepped out to make a difference. And as their idea grew into reality, they realized that they couldn’t do it alone. That’s where their Rotary club members, their networks, and our Rotary Foundation, came into play. Continue reading

A Day at the White House with Rotary

Honorees speak during Rotary's Women of Action event at the White House 7 October. Alyce Henson/Rotary International

Honorees speak during Rotary’s Women of Action event at the White House 7 October. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

By Adam Ross, Web Content Manager for Rotary.org

When I lost my state identification card while writing about Rotary’s Women of Action event at the White House on Tuesday, I didn’t have to panic by myself. A Rotarian was there to aid and comfort me.

I’m not surprised, but I’m thankful. Thankful we found my ID together so I could fly home to my family, and thankful to have made a new friend.

I had never been on the White House campus before, but the site was far less impressive than our Rotarians. Ten of them were honored as Rotary’s Women of Action, and they gracefully shared their stories. There are too many amazing projects to write about here, but we documented them on Rotary.org. Continue reading

Roundup: Must-read posts of the month

By Rotary Voices staff

Here are some of our favorite blog posts from the past month, which focus on the transforming power of Rotary Youth Exchanges, the good work being done by Rotary Scholars around the world, and how to make the most of social media.

Share a link to your favorite blog post in the comments section below.

Treating your club like a start-up business

Elaine Lytle at a school in the Philippines her club is supporting through a service project.

Elaine Lytle, second from left, at a school in the Philippines her club is supporting through a service project.

By Elaine Lytle, Rotary Club of Como-Jannali, New South Wales, Australia

As a small Rotary club, we were on the road to extinction when we decided to hold a series of meetings as a whole club. We reviewed the usual list of strengths and weaknesses, action plans, and brainstorming ideas that we have done in the past with no real follow up.

But what really made a difference was when we looked in depth at the new means of communication and technologies available to us. One of our members is a financial consultant and another an accountant and we had them lead a session on approaching our club like it was a start-up business. Continue reading

Why social media can’t be left to your PR director

A social media post is like a stone skipping across a pond. Each comment or retweet makes new ripples.

A social media post is like a stone skipping across a pond. Each comment or retweet makes new ripples.

By Kate McKenzie, Rotary Club of Randwick, New South Wales, Australia

I have often met Rotary leaders who have nodded thoughtfully when I have explained the benefits of social media and then said “I will get my PR director to do that.” Although it is important to have division of labor and leaders with the right skills concentrating on the right tasks, social media doesn’t work if it is the sole responsibility of one person alone. Continue reading

Philippine Rotary Day shines a light on Rotary Community Corps

A member of the Rotary Community Corps Calawis harvests rambutan.

A member of the Rotary Community Corps Calawis harvests rambutan.

By Jesse Allerton, supervisor of Rotary Service Programs at Rotary International World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA.  

On 22 August, I had the opportunity to attend a national Rotary Day in Manila celebrating the accomplishments of Rotary Community Corps (RCCs) and other community service partners. The event was held at the Tuloy Foundation’s Don Bosco Streetchildren Village, an amazing nonprofit institution that has provided residential care and vocational training to more than 17,000 disadvantaged youth over the past 20 years. More than 600 Rotarians, RCC officers, and civic leaders came together for the event. Continue reading

Using social media to show the lighter side of Rotary

One of Evan Burrell's selfies from the Rotary International Convention in Sydney.

One of Evan Burrell’s selfies from the Rotary International Convention in Sydney.

By Evan Burrell, a member of the Rotary E-Club of Greater Sydney

I like to present a lighter, more fun, more humorous side to Rotary on social media. I find it grabs people’s attention, member and non-member alike.

I come up with new, sometimes silly, ideas that inspire people and make them laugh — like using photo editing software to post a picture of Paul Harris taking a selfie, or posting a video of Past RI President Ron Burton dancing Gangnam Style, or posting an eye-catching image using #WeAreRotary. It’s all meant to get a response or reaction. Continue reading

The richness of belonging

140820_riley_adamsBy Renée Riley-Adams, a member of the Rotary Club of Ashland, Oregon, USA

Recently, I received a blue name badge from my Rotary club. Initially, when a member first joins, my club issues a red badge with a ribbon that identifies them as new members. As we take part in a series of tasks that include things like joining a committee, attending a district meeting, and participating in a club service project, we get our blue badges.

During a short ceremony, I looked out into the crowd, and realized how much these people have become my community. Eating lunch with them every Thursday since last September and hearing about their children’s sports wins, new grandchildren, trips far and wide, and professional achievements, I have a new way of locating myself in this little town of 20,000 people. Continue reading