Taking the law to the streets

Students in Washington, D.C., USA, learn basic legal concepts from the Street Law curriculum.

Students in Washington, D.C., USA, learn basic legal concepts from the Street Law curriculum.

By Divya Wodon and Naina Wodon, Interact Club of Washington International School, and Quentin Wodon, Rotary Club of Washington, Washington D.C., USA.

Why do you teach the children to jump up at our throat? This question was once asked by an unhappy South African high school principal to Ed O’Brien, a long-time member of the Rotary Club of Washington, D.C., USA, and founder of Street Law, a nonprofit that strives to teach individuals and communities, especially in underserved areas, about the law. Continue reading

Safe drinking water for every child

Rotary members tour one of the schools that received water coolers and purification systems.

Rotary members tour one of the schools that received water coolers and purification systems.

By Nosherwan Khalil Khan, a member of the Rotary Club of Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan

Earlier this month, Rotary members from Pakistan and India joined together to provide clean drinking water to two government-run schools in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Continue reading

Empowering young minds by promoting reading

Books Feeding Minds project participants. Photo courtesy of Judy Backlund

Books Feeding Minds project participants. Photo courtesy of Judy Backlund

By Judy Backlund, past president of the Ellensburg Morning Rotary Club, Washington, USA, and chair of International Reading Association-Rotary International Special Interest Group.

First and foremost, I am a teacher. I have also been a member of the International Reading Association for 20 years. And I’m a member of Rotary. My involvement with Rotary began about eight years ago when I attended a fireside event with my husband, also a Rotary member. One of the presentations described Rotarian-led U.S. and international literacy related projects. As a teacher I sat in awe and by the end of the presentation my head was spinning by possibilities. I said “sign me up.” Continue reading

What kind of a doctor are you?

Don Messer with students from Stanton Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

Don Messer with students from Stanton Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

By Divya Wodon and Naina Wodon, Interact Club of Washington International School, and Quentin Wodon, Rotary Club of Washington, D.C.,USA

How come you know so much? What kind of a doctor are you? The child who asked this question to (Dr.) Don Messer is from the Stanton Elementary School in Washington, D.C. The school is located in Anacostia, one of the poorest parts of the city. Until recently, few children passed the mathematics and reading tests, but things have improved, in part because of a tutoring program run by Don. Continue reading

Rotary, a matter of the heart

Manaka

Manaka Kuwabara

By Joseph Batory, past president of the Rotary Club of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Six years ago, I agreed to serve on my district’s scholarship committee. I now have many fond memories of helping 12 students attain fully subsidized Rotary International scholarships abroad. I have also counseled and befriended 23 Rotary scholars from around the world who have studied in Philadelphia.

I could easily highlight some of the “scholar characters” I have met or even some marriages that have occurred among Rotary scholars studying here in Philadelphia, but I would rather emphasize just one story that illustrates the magnificence of Rotary. Continue reading

How to tell your Rotary story

Roy Gandy, left, members of the Rotary Club of Madison, Georgia, and volunteers stand by a ramp they built for a 47-year-old woman who had suffered a severe stroke in January.

Roy Gandy, left, and volunteers stand by a ramp they built for a 47-year-old woman who suffered a severe stroke in January.

By Antoinette Tuscano, Rotary International staff

As manager of Rotary International’s social media channels, I’ve heard from Rotary members who say they don’t have a good story to tell about their club. But everyone has a story to tell. And I’ve heard some good ones from Rotarians.

You might look at a ramp outside of a house, and just see a wooden ramp. I see a lot of heart – as well as a way to help attract members and donations to a Rotary club. Continue reading

Reading program bridges continents

Elementary school students in Durham, North Carolina, take part in a teleconference with students in India.

Elementary school students in Durham, North Carolina, take part in a video conference with students in India.

By Mark Lazenby, a member of the Rotary Club of Durham, North Carolina, USA

Sixth-grade students from Y.E. Smith Elementary School traded big smiles and stories about school work and home life with counterparts in India during a big-screen video conference at the headquarters of Duke Corporate Education in downtown Durham. Continue reading

Visiting orphans in Nairobi

Cleaning utensils after feeding the children.

Cleaning utensils after feeding the children.

By Thaddeus Bah Masika, president of the Rotaract Club of Nairobi Parklands, Kenya

In November, we visited children at Mother Teresa’s Home of Mercy, run by the Missionaries of Charity. For just a one day visit, it had a profound effect on our club and members, some of whom were moved to tears.

After meeting at 8 a.m. we traveled by public transportation to Huruma, a slum on the northeast edge of Nairobi, and walked the few meters to the home. We had three main goals in mind: clean the place, feed the children, and play with the children.

Continue reading

Vanakkam from southern India

Thomas Smith in the Bay of Bengal with Pondicherry, India, in the background.

Thomas Smith in the Bay of Bengal with Pondicherry, India, in the background.

By Thomas Smith, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Palm Springs, California

People everywhere. Horns blowing. Never-ending rushhour. Color. Activity. Passion. These were a few of my first impressions of India.

I feel very fortunate to have been selected recently to take part in a vocational training team from California, USA, to southern India, supporting education and literacy initiatives. Our district is committed to helping India achieve its goal of becoming 100 percent literate by 2018. Continue reading

Rotaract, Rotary go hand in hand

President Ron Burton joins participants in forming the largest human image of a hand in India.

President Ron Burton joins participants in forming the largest human image of a hand in India.

By Ramkumar Raju A., Rotaract Club of Madras Central, Tamil Nadu, India

Last April, I was asked by  RI Director P.T. Prabhakar to form a team and help gather 10,000 Rotaractors for a Presidential New Generations Conference to be held in Chennai, India, for then President-elect Ron Burton. We have more than 25,000 Rotaract members in our district but I was overwhelmed by the request. Continue reading