A South African’s Youth Exchange to Denmark

Ronan Morgan and South African flag

Rotary Youth Exchange student Ronan Morgan holds up the South African flag.

By Ronan Morgan

I had just arrived in Denmark after a 13-hour flight from South Africa, tired, but not exhausted. I was excited and ready to face a year of surprises and challenges as a Rotary Youth Exchange student from District 9400. It was not until I moved into my new home where I would spend the first five months of my exchange that it fully hit me – I was not in Johannesburg anymore, or anywhere familiar. Continue reading

3 secrets of Rotaract

Fernanda Moraes entertain child

Rotaractor Fernanda Luz Moraes entertains a child during a club outing. Happiness, she says, is an essential part of Rotaract.

By Fernanda Luz Moraes, president of the Rotaract Club of Cachoeirinha, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

When I began participating in Rotaract in 2012, I viewed it as a way to spend my weekends doing something good in my community. But then I realized it is so much more than that.

I have met many other members of Rotaract who have a hard time explaining the passion that comes over them for doing volunteer work. The best way I can put it is this: We think globally, then act locally.

I want to change the world, and in order to make it happen, I know I need to develop my Continue reading

Rotary Scholar urges alumni to stay connected

Kathleen Plaza's own This Close portrait

Kathleen Plaza’s own This Close portrait

By Kathleen Plaza, Rotary Scholar

I was born and raised in a rural barrio (neighborhood) in Mindanao, Philippines. I moved to Guam when I was about 18 years old. I became a member of the Rotaract Club of the Marianas in Guam when I was completing my undergrad degree in biology, and served as secretary in 2011-12 and as youth services director in 2012-13.

I moved to Hawaii in August 2015, and with a Rotary Scholarship funded by a global grant, began taking classes in public health, focused on disease prevention and treatment. I will finish my program in May 2017. Continue reading

Why create a video for the Interact Video Awards?

By Kyle J. Gomes, member of the Interact Club of Hugh Boyd Secondary

Every year, my Interact club — located in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada — looks forward to creating a video for Rotary’s Interact Video Awards. Last year, our video (above) was selected as the Best Video, earning our club $500 to use toward our service projects. One project very close to our hearts is Operation Christmas Child, and we were able to ship even more gifts and necessities to children in need this year.

Making these videos has been an amazing motivator for our whole club. The best part in making a video is being able to see the real and tangible differences that we make with the projects we support. The other Interactors and I all agree that the experience gave us a perspective on our projects, and showed that although we may be only high school students, we are making a difference. Continue reading

Rotaract allowed me to expand my horizons

Members of the Rotaract Club of Phulbari, Nepal.

Members of the Rotaract Club of Phulbari, Nepal.

By Hari Chandra Satyal

I am a civil engineer by profession and have been a member of the Rotaract Club of Phulbari, in central Nepal, since 2008. I consider myself a youth volunteer and young entrepreneur.

After completing high school in my remote village, I had a big question in front of me: How do I find interest and satisfaction in life beyond my studies? Each day, I had virtually the same schedule and contact with a limited pool of friends. I was not happy with the routine and wanted to expand my horizons. Continue reading

Rotary made me feel right at home in Scotland

Ally Vincent, center, with her Scottish hosts.

Ally Vincent, center, with her Scottish hosts.

By Ally Vincent

Although I am just 23, I already have nine years’ experience with Rotary. I joined the Interact Club at Crystal River High School in Florida when I was 14. When I began pursuing an undergraduate degree at Saint Leo University, I felt a bit lost, and I missed the connection I had to Rotary. So I became involved in chartering a Rotaract Club on campus, eventually becoming club president in 2013-14. I saw Rotary’s good work both on a local and international scale through projects we worked on with the Rotary Club of Belize Sunrise, in Belize, and the Rotaract Club of Islamabad Green City, in Punjab, Pakistan. Continue reading

Delivering indestructible soccer balls to children in Vietnam

Members of Interact deliver the durable soccer balls in Vietnam.

Members of Interact deliver the durable soccer balls in Vietnam.

By Sallyann Price, Rotary staff

At the Rotary International Convention in São Paulo this summer, a group of American high school students kicked a funny-looking soccer ball around the House of Friendship. The Interact club members from high schools in the Bay Area of California, USA, were raising money to send a volunteer team to Vietnam to give away 2,400 of these balls.

On assignment for The Rotarian, I traveled to Vietnam in July with a team of Interactors and Rotary members. The balls, produced by One World Play Project, a nonprofit Continue reading

Looking (way) back at a big adventure

Katherine Ward (middle) and her daughter (behind, left) in Turkey.

Katherine Ward (middle) and her daughter (behind, left) in Turkey.

By Katherine Ward

Thirty years ago, at the age of 18, I started a grand adventure and boarded a plane on my own toward Istanbul, Turkey. I was headed off on a yearlong Rotary Youth Exchange.

Before I left, I attended several camps that prepared us for culture shock and gave us a general sense of some of the changes we could expect. My high school wouldn’t accept any credits from Turkey, so I had accelerated my course schedule, completing all but one required course to graduate.

I spoke absolutely no Turkish but, despite my struggles with language learning at the Continue reading

Breaking stereotypes in the Neelum Valley, Pakistan

Students in Pakistan’s Neelum Valley display the backpacks they received from members of the Rotaract Club of Jhang Saddar.

Students in Pakistan’s Neelum Valley display the backpacks they received from members of the Rotaract Club of Jhang Saddar.

By Talha Mushtaq

Many nonprofits are working hard to increase social welfare programs. Being unified in their approach, some may focus on one issue, such as improving the literacy rate, while others concentrate on employment. Our Rotaract Club of Jhang Saddar has made a name for itself in our community by being multifaceted.

One of over 8,000 Rotaract clubs around the world supported by Rotary, we are committed to not only supporting education but to other efforts, including the fight to
eradicate polio. These efforts have Continue reading

Summit in California unites young professionals

Participants in the young professional summit held in Berkeley, California, USA.

Participants in the young professional summit held in Berkeley, California, USA.

By Katie Coard

This summer in Berkeley, California, I joined a group of Rotary young professionals and district leaders from the western United States and Canada at a summit to discuss the future of Rotary. Reflecting one of Rotary’s strengths, this event brought together many diverse perspectives to focus on what younger Rotarians are looking for in Rotary.

I’ve been a part of the Rotary family since joining Rotaract in 2010, and it has changed my life in many ways. I am a founder and co-president of a provisional Rotary club in my hometown of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Rotary taught me how to lead, engage, and manage groups of people, projects, and events. These are skills I use in my daily work. Continue reading