Dolly, Rotary put books into the hands of children


Above: Dolly Patron talks about the Imagination Library and the partnership with Rotary during the 2010 Convention in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

By David Dotson, president of the Dollywood Foundation

The wonderful partnership between Dolly Parton and Rotary International continues to flourish in communities both large and small all across the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, and most recently Australia.

Although every community approaches the program in its own way, one thing impresses me much more than dollars raised or even time invested –and this is the enormous influence Rotarians exert in their communities. Continue reading

Texas Rotarians light the way to a better future

By Steve Welch, president of the Rotary Club of Northwest Austin, Texas, USA

In the squatter’s village of San Mateo, Belize, my Rotary club is providing solar lights for more than 100 school children who previously attempted to study by candle light. We are working in partnership with the Grid Earth Project, which was founded by members of our club, a charity dedicated to providing solar powered lighting to replace other dangerous light sources used in remote areas of the world. Continue reading

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

Portuguese Rotarian helps teens in Timor-Leste

Manuel Cordeiro, center, with primary school children in Timor-Leste. Photo courtesy of Cordeiro

Manuel Cordeiro, center, with Timorese students. Photo courtesy of Cordeiro

By Manuel Cordeiro, a member of the Rotary Club of Vila Real, Portugal

In the 12 years since I joined the Rotary Club of Vila Real, my enthusiasm for Rotary has grown constantly. I work Rotary into everything I do and consider myself first and foremost a Rotarian. Through Rotary, I have been blessed with seeing lives changed in Timor-Leste. Continue reading

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

Incoming district governors discuss 2013-14 RI theme

The 2013-14 RI theme, Engage Rotary, Change Lives

The 2013-14 RI theme, Engage Rotary, Change Lives

By Daniela Garcia, RI editorial staff, reporting from the International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA

Incoming district governors broke into applause as RI President-elect Ron Burton announced the 2013-14 RI theme, Engage Rotary, Change Lives, during the first plenary of the International Assembly, Rotary’s annual training event for future leaders.

I asked several of the future leaders their thoughts about the theme, moments after it had been announced here in San Diego, California, USA. Here is what they said: Continue reading

Hats that make kids smile

Harriet “Pepi” Noble

By Harriet “Pepi” Noble, a member of the Rotary Club of Mechanicville, New York, USA

There were a lot of happy, smiling faces out there in our community recently, as the beautiful and colorful Hats For A Purpose were distributed to local schools to help warm the hearts and heads of kids who needed them. Continue reading

Birthplace of Interact celebrates 50 years

Melbourne High School Interactors and Rotarians from the sponsoring club of Melbourne, Florida, USA. Photo courtesy Rotary Club of Melbourne

By Kevin Arter, a member of the Rotary Club of Melbourne, Florida, USA

Fifty years ago, my club sponsored the very first Interact Club at Melbourne High School. The Interactors at Mel High, as it is known locally, received their charter on 5 November, 1962.

More than half of our Rotary club’s members today were not yet born when Interact began. But the youngest members of our club, who are in their 20s and 30s, recognize the enormity of our club having started something so important, and are excited to celebrate the 50th anniversary. Continue reading

Bracelets for children in Peru

Justin Bodin with some of the bracelets he made. Photo courtesy of Holmen Area Rotary Club.

By Steve Johnston, a member of the Holmen Area Rotary Club

When it comes to giving, Justin Bodin excels.

Justin, 24, became a member of the Holmen Area Rotary Club, Holmen, Wisconsin, USA, three years ago and quickly found a way to help children in a community in Peru enjoy a better Christmas. And it all started with something as simple as making a friendship bracelet.

Justin was born with a congenital heart disorder and was a special needs student through school. At 14, a friend of the family taught him how to tie friendship bracelets. Continue reading