A passport to Rotary

Misha Garafalo created passports for her club members to fill with "visa" stamps of their service activities.

Misha Garafalo created passports for her club members to fill with “visa” stamps of their service activities.

By Misha Garafalo, president of the Rotary Club of Shorewood, Illinois, USA

As a former Rotary Youth Exchange student to Sweden more than a quarter century ago, one of my fondest possessions is my beloved passport filled with sought-after stamps from countries I visited so long ago.

Although I haven’t had the opportunity to travel internationally in many years, every now and again, I would come across the passport, flip through the pages, and reminisce about the sights, smells, and sounds which stirred my global awareness, curiosity, and perspective. Continue reading

The future of Rotary

Rotaractors talk about what they like about Rotaract, and why it is important to the future of Rotary, during the 2013 RI Convention in Lisbon, Portugal, 23-26 June.

Don’t ask what the world needs

Elsa Soto Garcia

Elsa Soto Garcia

By Elsa Soto Garcia, president of the Rotaract Club of Mexicali Industrial, Mexico

I have recently found a phrase that I want to share with you today. It is “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive and go and do that, because what the world needs is more people that have come alive.”

When I first saw this phrase, I stared at it for awhile slightly confused. Don’t ask what the world needs — that’s a strong statement, and at first seemed to contradict Rotary’s “Service above Self” philosophy. But then I realized the wisdom of asking people to find their real passion, and the power that unlocks. Continue reading

Empowering tomorrow’s leaders

The Rotaract Club of Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines

The Rotaract Club of Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines

By Cristina Dimaano, a member of the Rotaract Club of Los Baños, Los Baños, Laguna, the Philippines

I became an Interactor to help my community in whatever small ways I could. I had a vision for helping separate out biodegradable trash from non-biodegradable items and cleaning up around our school. As students, our classwork is a top priority, but we moved around whenever possible and responded when the community asked for help. Continue reading

Leading the way for a clean, healthy world on Earth Day

Members of the Rotary Club of Duluth Superior Eco clean up debris along the St. Louis River.

Members of the Duluth Superior Eco Rotary Club clean up debris along the St. Louis River.

By Mary Kay Bates, a member of the Duluth Superior Eco Rotary Club, and Karen Anderson, club president

We will be spending Earth Day, 22 April, as we have the past several, with members of the Duluth Superior Eco Rotary Club cleaning up debris along our “adopted” river, the St. Louis, which separates Duluth, Minnesota, from Superior, Wisconsin. Continue reading

A tribute to film critic and Rotary Scholar Roger Ebert

By Stuart Cleland, RI Senior Video Producer. From 1987-2003, Cleland worked with film critic Roger Ebert on the television programs “Siskel & Ebert” and “Ebert & Roeper.” Ebert, who died 4 April, was a Rotary Scholar to South Africa in 1965 and taped a tribute to Rotary in 1998, portions of which are above.

I started reading Roger Ebert in the 1960s. I started watching him in the 1970s. And much to my surprise, I started working with him in the 1980s.

I was lucky enough to join the “Siskel & Ebert” show during its golden age. With their trademark “Two thumbs up/down” reviews, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were certainly the most well known and arguably the most influential film critics in America. The show appeared in almost 200 markets. Gene and Roger were quoted in newspaper and television ads, and regularly appeared on Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” and David Letterman’s “Late Night.” Continue reading

Eye camps help schoolchildren in Mumbai

Students line up for eye screening during one of the health camps.Photo courtesy Rotaract Club of the Caduceus

Students line up for eye screening during one of the health camps.Photo courtesy Rotaract Club of the Caduceus

By Pankaj Jethwani, president of the Rotaract Club of the Caduceus, Mumbai, India. The club’s project, Vision Six by Six, was selected as the 2013 Rotaract Outstanding Project Awards international winner.

In June of last year, I was interacting with a group of kids at a school health camp in Dharavi. There, among uninterested and bored kids, I met Payal. She was bright, talkative, and a lot of fun! But I was surprised with her teacher’s feedback: Payal hated studying.

A quick vision test revealed she had myopia in both eyes. Continue reading

Invite a young person on a service project and change a life

The above video shows images from Danae Cooney’s service project trips to Fiji and to Cambodia with Habitat for Humanity.

By Danae Cooney, a Rotary scholar and former Interactor from Hamilton, New Zealand

Sometimes all it takes is one; one person willing to open a door, offer an opportunity and lead another.

In August 2011, I was 16 years old. I was given the opportunity to participate in a Rotary service project in Fiji. I traveled with a team of Rotarians, including my stepfather, to a small, remote village in Fiji called Saqani, where we refurbished a rotting, unusable preschool. Continue reading

Interactor inspired by Vancouver peace forum

Interactors and Rotarians discuss bullying and gang violence during the peace forum.

Interactors and Rotarians discuss bullying and gang violence during the peace forum.

By Anushka Kurian, a member of the Interact Club of Hugh Boyd Secondary School in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

As an Interactor, I gained a deeper respect for Rotarians and a renewed admiration for their dedication to service last Saturday, 23 February, when I had the privilege of attending a peace forum in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, sponsored by districts 5040 and 5050.

It was an empowering experience to be in a room filled with such positive vibes from both Rotarians and Interactors. Continue reading

Hawaii peace forum builds bonds

Rotaractors Andrea Tirone, left, and Jennifer Petrichenko, right, with RI President-elect Ron Burton at the Rotary Global Peace Forum in Hawaii.

Rotaractors Andrea Tirone, left, and Jennifer Petrichenko, right, with RI President-elect Ron Burton at the Rotary Global Peace Forum in Hawaii.

Editor’s note: Rotaractors Andrea Tirone and Jennifer Petrichenko were among more than 1,800 participants in the Rotary Global Peace Forum in Honolulu, Hawaii, 25-27 January. The forum held a special focus on getting youth involved in the peace process. We asked Tirone and Petrichenko to share what inspired them about the event.

Tirone: Having been involved with Rotary as a Rotaractor and Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar, I have had many opportunities to see how peace is built through club and district projects, events, and initiatives around the world. I’ve also had many opportunities to attend conventions, and sometimes ask myself “will I benefit from attending yet another?” Continue reading