Lessons in sustainability from the jungles of Ecuador

Children in Guayaquil, Ecuador, receive computer training in their new learning center.

Children in Los Bancos, Ecuador, receive computer training in their new learning center.

By Rob Wood, past president of the Rotary Club of South San Francisco, San Francisco, USA

A few years ago, I learned valuable lessons in sustainability trying to help the people of Los Bancos, a community of about 100 villagers living in extreme poverty in the jungle near Guayaquil, Ecuador.

As president of my club in 2007, I was expected to come up with an international service project and had heard about a new club in Guayaquil looking for an international partner. When I asked them what the villagers needed, they answered “They need everything!” 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

Rotary coordinators come together to help feed hungry children

Video

Rotary Coordinators and Rotary Public Image Coordinators put service into action on 5 March during a training event at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinois, USA.

The coordinators formed teams to bag 16,000 packages containing rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables, and 21 vitamins and minerals for Kids Against Hunger, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to reduce the number of undernourished or starving children in the world. The Fox Valley chapter of Kids Against Hunger is sponsored by four Rotary clubs in Rock County, Wisconsin.

See photos from this project

Preparing for the future

Incoming Rotary leaders receive training in the new grant model in January.

Incoming Rotary leaders receive training in the new grant model in January.

By Rotary Foundation Trustee Ashok M. Mahajan

Buddha said “do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” This, in my opinion, is a call for service.

But for Rotarians to undertake projects that change lives, seeing the future is important. We work for a future where people everywhere can live in peace and harmony, enjoy a decent standard of living, and know that their children are safe and have a bright future. Continue reading

Rotary on the world stage at World Economic Forum

John Hewko

John Hewko

By RI General Secretary John Hewko

I recently had the privilege of representing Rotary International at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Every year, the economic forum brings together in Davos several thousand of the world’s leading figures from the private sector, government, and academia. The forum also invites a select group of 40 non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Following the concerted efforts of senior Rotary leaders, Rotary has been fortunate to be chosen as one of those NGO invitees. Continue reading

Rotary opens doors, provides access to leaders

Past RI President Frank Devlyn and his wife dance during last year's International Fellowship Dinner and Dance.

Past RI President Frank Devlyn and his wife dance during the Fellowship Dinner and Dance at last year’s International Assembly.

By Past RI President Frank Devlyn

Like many Rotarians, I’ve often reflected on the moments that made me feel proud to be a Rotarian. Usually a highly successful project will come to mind, one that enabled us to help one or even thousands of people live better lives, all because of one special project. I’ve also experienced inspired moments while participating in Rotary projects.

However, I have something to confess: I joined Rotary to take advantage of the networking opportunities it offered me because I felt they would benefit my businesses. Continue reading

Service transforms lives

Paula Caldeiram

Paula Caldeiram

By Paula Caldeiram, a member of the Rotaract Club of St. Paul Espro, Sao Paulo, Brazil

This is my “Rotary Moment.” I became an Interactor in 2008, and after a year of activities found myself transitioning to Rotaract as a member of the St. Paul Espro club. One of our service projects is a campaign to help provide warm clothing for the homeless.

I was taking part in this project this August when something special touched my heart. Continue reading

Close out Vocational Service Month by spearheading a project with your local Goodwill

Jim Gibbons

By Jim Gibbons, President and CEO of Goodwill® Industries International

In October 2009, more than 10 percent of the general U.S. workforce was unemployed—marking the highest rate we had seen in 26 years. While the national unemployment rate is now less than 8 percent, there is still ample room for improvement. Fewer than 22 percent of persons with disabilities are in the workforce. The jobless rate for veterans who served since September 2001 was more than 12 percent last year. And youth unemployment remains at an alarming 50 percent. Continue reading

Seeking new horizons

John Davis

By John Davis, past governor of District 9800 (Australia) and district Rotary Foundation committee chair

After two years of working with the Future Vision pilot, we are certainly aware that change and sustainability are important concepts to Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.

But some may ask: Why change a formula that on the surface appears to be producing results? Is it simply change for change sake? Most certainly not. As an organization, we are not attracting young adults in the numbers we would like. Continue reading

My Rotary moment

Nick and Silvia Phillips

By Nick Phillips, Rotary Coordinator for Zone 20A South and a member of the Rotary Club of Eshowe, South Africa. 

RI President Sakuji Tanaka, in his August message, encourages Rotarians to share those special experiences that stand out as their “Rotary Moment.” Sharing these personal stories can go much farther, sometimes, than facts and figures in attracting prospective members. Continue reading