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

Need a great education project for your club?

Students and teachers

Students and teachers from one of the participating schools.

By Quentin Wodon

Last month, I had the pleasure of serving as an essay judge for a great program that strengthened the writing, research, and presentation skills of hundreds of high school seniors in the Washington D.C. area. The College and Career Senior Challenge, organized by the nonprofit One World Education, is a great example of a nonprofit working collaboratively with a public school district to achieve wonderful results for students. My club is thinking of putting together a global grant to expand this project, and would love the support of additional clubs, so let me explain how our effort works. Continue reading

How your year-end gift to the Foundation does a world of good

Students at their desks

Students sit at new desks that were provided through a grant organized by the Rotary Clubs of Bikaner, Rajasthan, India, and Kennebunk Portside, Maine, USA

By Rotary Voices staff

There’s still time to make your year-end gift to The Rotary Foundation. Here are a few ways that your support is helping to change lives all over the world: Continue reading

How Rotary made Jose’s high school graduation possible

Jose with his high school diploma.

Jose with his high school diploma.

By Martha Peak Helman

Rotary members often say that the work we do will change the lives of people we will never have the chance to meet. But nothing could be further from the truth in Jose’s case.

My Rotarian husband and I first met Jose when he was a gawky teen enrolled at Safe Passage, a program that makes it possible for children who live on the Guatemala City garbage dump to go to school and improve their lives. Through Rotary Foundation grants and Rotary involvement, Safe Passage has grown in the past decade into an organization that supports more than 500 children each year, in preschool through high school and beyond.  Continue reading

My Rotary Youth Exchange year in Canada

2014-15 Rotary Youth Exchange students.

2014-15 Rotary Youth Exchange students.

By Gabriela Vessani

I spent a year in Canada as a Rotary Youth Exchange student, and I can’t believe how fast the year went by. On my flight back to Brazil a few months ago, I reflected on the experience, and had so many thoughts.

I remembered arriving with anxiety, and yes, even a little fear. The experience is never entirely what you expect and you can never totally prepare for it. I think that few students go in with a full understanding of how intense and Continue reading

Teaching and touching the future

RI Director Julia Phelps, back left, visits a classroom in the Philippines during a trip to rekindle connections with teachers who benefited from a vocational training team.

RI Director Julia Phelps, back left, visits a classroom in the Philippines taught by one of the teachers who benefited from the 2013 vocational training team.

By Julia Phelps

In May 2013, four science teachers from the Philippines were preparing to return home after a visit to the United States as part of a vocational training team (VTT). They’d spent 30 days observing classrooms, visiting science museums, meeting with policymakers, and making presentations to Rotary clubs in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Continue reading

How a summer day changed everything

Shirey speaking to her club

Andrea Shirey speaks to her Rotary Club about hosting an exchange student.

By Andrea Shirey

On a summer day at my weekly Rotary Club meeting, a simple yes changed everything. A series of events and conversations over several weeks had led a fellow Rotarian to ask me if our family would host an exchange student. Somehow, the word yes fell from my lips as my brain lagged behind just long enough to realize I was committed. Soon, the questions formed:

What if the student is weird? What if my kids don’t get along with her? What if she won’t eat anything I cook and she dislikes America because of me? The doubts were endless, the fears considerable.   Continue reading

5 reasons to give to The Rotary Foundation

Polio immunization activities in Ethiopia. Your generous giving supports our work to rid the world of polio.

Polio immunization in Ethiopia. Your generous giving supports our work to rid the world of polio.

By Rotary Voices staff

When you make a donation to The Rotary Foundation, you are helping Rotary members make a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world, by promoting peace, preventing disease, bolstering economic development, and providing clean water and sanitation.

Here are just a few ways your generosity is changing lives. 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

The child squashed the ant and asked: ‘Is it still an animate object now?’

Students eagerly participate in a classroom where the teacher has received training.

Students eagerly participate in a classroom where the teacher has received training.

By Quentin Wodon

Do teacher training programs make a difference in how much students learn in the classroom? If the training programs are well implemented, they can.

Experience around the world suggests that teacher training programs are most effective when they (1) focus on changing teaching methods and practices and not Continue reading