How your gift to The Rotary Foundation changes lives

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Construction on a new school in Masaya, Nicaragua. Photo courtesy Leonor Fraser

Construction on a new school in Masaya, Nicaragua. Photo courtesy Leonor Fraser

By Rotary staff

Leonor Fraser and other members of her Rotary club arrived in Masaya, Nicaragua, ready to deliver shoes to the elementary schoolchildren and play with them.

It immediately became apparent that the school, located near a diesel plant, had bigger problems. The plant emitted pollutants into the air, which made the children and teachers lethargic, and the cracked building had no sanitation facilities. Fraser had difficulty breathing during her visit. Continue reading

New England Rotarians bring Christmas to Lac Megantic

Rotarians deliver Christmas gifts in Lac Megantic. Photo courtesy of Marty Helman

Rotarians deliver Christmas gifts in Lac Megantic. Photo courtesy of Marty Helman

By Marty Helman, past governor of District 7780 (parts of Maine and New Hampshire, USA) 

Lac Megantic in southern Quebec made headlines for all the wrong reasons last July when a train filled with crude oil derailed in the town’s central business district. The resulting fire destroyed the town’s economic base, killed 47, and 24 local children lost one or both parents. In the wake of the disaster, Rotarians in District 7780 across the border in southern Maine and coastal New  Hampshire geared up to help.   Continue reading

Three reasons to strengthen Rotary’s image

131008_jonesBy Jennifer Jones, a member of the RI Communications Committee

Over the past two years, Rotary has undertaken an unprecedented amount of research to study the effectiveness of how we communicate with each other and also to look at perceptions about the organization from the community at large.

What’s likely not surprising is that we determined we have all of the strengths necessary for greatness in our second century of service. However, when we looked at awareness about our organization in the greater public arena, they quite simply don’t know about us. It is very easy to ask the question – how can this be true? Continue reading

Why I’m looking forward to Sydney!

Mark Mahoney gets around Sydney on a Segway.

Mark Maloney gets around Sydney on a Segway.

By Mark Maloney, chair of the 2014 Sydney Convention Committee, and a member of the Rotary Club of Decatur, Alabama, USA

I am looking forward to the 2014 Rotary International Convention in Sydney, Australia, for many different reasons. Conventions are a wonderful opportunity to make and renew friendships with Rotary members from around the world, a chance I’ve had many times. And it never really grows old. But also, Sydney is a stunningly beautiful city. The venue, Sydney Olympic Park, is clearly one of the world’s best facilities for a convention of 20,000 or more attendees. Developed for the 2000 Olympic Games, it is exciting and unique.  Continue reading

Milwaukee club celebrates its centennial with an arboretum

The stone arch has become  a signature icon of the new arboretum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. Photo courtesy Rotary Club of Milwaukee

The stone arch has become a signature of the new arboretum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. Photo courtesy Rotary Club of Milwaukee

By Jim Barry, member of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

In 2007, when I was president of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee, we started to look ahead to celebrating our 100th year in 2013. We put out a call to our members to identify a grand gift we could make to the community to commemorate our centennial.

That seed grew into the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum, which opened this past September – a beautiful new natural space in the heart of the city, reclaimed from post-industrial land.  Continue reading

How do you use your skills to benefit others?

Bisan Michael (right) during the ceremony in his honor.

Bisan Michael (right) during the ceremony in his honor.

By Edoja Sowho, Rotary Club of Effurun GRA, Delta State, Nigeria

The airport road junction in Effurun-Warri, Delta State, Nigeria, is a very busy and strategic location in the oil-rich city of Warri. The government of Delta State constructed a roundabout to ease traffic congestion, but it’s had little effect.

At the center of this hotspot, you’ll find Bisan Michael, a rather remarkable young man who volunteers his time and talent to keep traffic moving, rain or shine. He has been doing this work, with no reward for himself, for years. Continue reading

Seeking a world record for longest clothesline

The shirts strung out on cable between pontoon boats.

The shirts strung out on cable between pontoon boats.

By Elsa Venter, past president of the Rotary Club of Vanderbijlpark, South Africa

More than 6,700 shirts fluttered in the breeze on the Vaal River, suspended from three-miles of cable that zigzagged back and forth between floating pontoons. It was an amazing sight, and one we hoped would earn a world record for longest clothesline stretched across a river. Continue reading

Many reasons to attend a Rotary convention

Paul Wilson hangs with polio survivor Ramesh Ferris during the Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal.

Paul Wilson hangs out with polio survivor Ramesh Ferris during the Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal.

By Irvin Metcalf, president of the Rotary Club of Grantham, Lincolnshire, England

Other Rotary members often ask me why I and my Rotary Club of Grantham colleague Paul Wilson attended the 2013 Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal. There were so many good reasons!

First and foremost we both wanted to see and meet other Rotary members from all around the world to find out more about Rotary and the inspirational work going on around the globe. Continue reading

Rotary’s power transcends words

Construction on a new school in Masaya, Nicaragua. Photo courtesy Leonor Fraser

Construction on a new school in Masaya, Nicaragua. Photo courtesy Leonor Fraser

By Leonor Fraser, a member of the Rotary Club of Soldotna, Alaska, USA

“Even the world’s mightiest rivers have humble beginnings.”

Earlier this year, I was part of a team of Rotary members from my district who visited a school in San Jeronimo, Masaya, Nicaragua, to play with the children and deliver shoes. But what we discovered very quickly is the children needed much more than shoes.

Their school is located near a diesel-fuel plant that emits pollutants into the air. Continue reading

How do you get free ad space for Rotary?

A digital billboard advertises Rotary near the George Massey Tunnel in Vancouver, Canada.

A digital billboard advertises Rotary near the George Massey Tunnel in Vancouver, Canada.

By Penny Offer, Rotary Public Image Coordinator for Zone 24

Have you noticed how digital flat screen signs are popping up in banks, fast-food outlets, airports, sports areas and numerous other locations? They are replacing traditional fixed printed billboards on highways. This new media offers opportunities for Rotary.

In August, the Rotary Club of Ladner (Delta) in suburban Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, invited a sales rep from one of the major digital billboard companies as a speaker at a regular meeting of the club. At the end of his presentation he was asked if he would give comp space to Rotary, and he quickly agreed. Continue reading