How your gift to The Rotary Foundation changes lives

Construction on a new school in Masaya, Nicaragua. Photo courtesy Leonor Fraser

Construction on a new school in Masaya, Nicaragua. Photo courtesy Leonor Fraser

By Rotary staff

Leonor Fraser and other members of her Rotary club arrived in Masaya, Nicaragua, ready to deliver shoes to the elementary schoolchildren and play with them.

It immediately became apparent that the school, located near a diesel plant, had bigger problems. The plant emitted pollutants into the air, which made the children and teachers lethargic, and the cracked building had no sanitation facilities. Fraser had difficulty breathing during her visit. Continue reading

My Christmas wish list

131224_huffEditor’s note: The following was adapted by Meg Huff, a member of the Rotary Club of Bloomfield, New York, USA, from a poem appearing in the Dear Abby advice column.

If you were to ask me, with the holidays drawing near,
“What would you like for Christmas; what should I get for you this year?”
If I say that I want nothing, you might get me something anyway,
So here’s a list of what I’d like, please believe me when I say: Continue reading

Invite the media to join your next international project

Vince Dooley, former University of Georgia head football coach and athletic director, with children in Honduras during a Rotary service project. Photo courtesy Rotary Club of Atlanta

Vince Dooley, former University of Georgia head football coach and athletic director, with children in Honduras during a Rotary service project. Photo courtesy Rotary Club of Atlanta

By Bob Hope, a member of the Rotary club of Atlanta, Georgia, USA

I am a longtime veteran of the public relations business in New York and Atlanta and a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta. For the past 17 years, I have organized a group of business leaders who travel to rural Honduras to work on schools and medical clinics as well as in small mountain villages. Our efforts in Honduras have been supported generously by The Continue reading

Rotary’s power transcends words

Construction on a new school in Masaya, Nicaragua. Photo courtesy Leonor Fraser

Construction on a new school in Masaya, Nicaragua. Photo courtesy Leonor Fraser

By Leonor Fraser, a member of the Rotary Club of Soldotna, Alaska, USA

“Even the world’s mightiest rivers have humble beginnings.”

Earlier this year, I was part of a team of Rotary members from my district who visited a school in San Jeronimo, Masaya, Nicaragua, to play with the children and deliver shoes. But what we discovered very quickly is the children needed much more than shoes.

Their school is located near a diesel-fuel plant that emits pollutants into the air. Continue reading

Using your vocation to mentor students

Students take part in a field trip as part of the Pathfinders program, a project of the Rotary Club of Rappahannock Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA.

Students take part in a field trip as part of the Pathfinders program, a project of the Rotary Club of Rappahannock-Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA.

By R. Scott Lyons, a member of the Rotary Club of Rappahannock-Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA 

How can you use your vocational skills to help students prepare for life after graduation? Three years ago, our club set out to answer that question with the help of Germanna Community College, the Spotsylvania Education Foundation, and our local high school. Here’s what we discovered. Continue reading

Sculpting stories in the sand to raise money for education

Members of the Rotaract Club of Long Beach pose in front of signs during the sculpture contest.

Members of the Rotaract Club of Long Beach pose in front of signs during the sculpture contest.

By Katie Gaston, a member of the Rotaract Club of Long Beach, California, USA, and the 2013-14 Rotaract and Interact Committee

Picture a beach full of sun and sand. Now picture a giant whale rising out of the sand, and an equally impressive captain Ahab figure leaning against the whale. Further down the beach is a giant head with a pyramid on top, and a rather odd assembly of pipes and gears representing some kind of mechanical contraption.

These were just a few of the impressive sights from my Rotaract club’s recent two-day event, “The 81st Annual Great Sand Sculpture Contest.”  Continue reading

Rotary files looted by Nazis end up back in the Netherlands

130916_glickmanBy Mark Glickman, rabbi of two synagogues in the Seattle area and a religion columnist for the Seattle Times. His book Burnt Pearls: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Nazi Jewish Library, will be published by the Jewish Publication Society next year.

My wife is a past-president of the Rotary Club of Duvall, Washington, USA, and I’ve had the opportunity to participate as her sidekick ever since she joined. During those years, I’ve come to know Rotary as a group of wonderful people doing important work and showing deep commitment to bettering their communities and the world.

That’s why I was surprised to see Rotary listed as a subversive organization and an enemy of human progress.  Continue reading

Lessons I learned in teamwork

130912_enricoBy Enrico Giuseppe Ferro, past president of the Yale University Rotaract Club, New Haven, USA, winner of the 2013 “Rotaract Outstanding Project Award for the USA, Canada and Caribbean Districts” 

In 2009, I took part in a Rotary Youth Exchange to Canandaigua, New York, USA, which taught me many things about teamwork.

I worked side by side with Rotarians and other exchange students to develop strategies to enhance our service efforts. We held themed-cuisine nights where we cooked and sold food native to our home countries to raise money for projects and shared ideas on how to promote each other’s good works. I realized how through Rotary I could work with people from many different perspectives to tackle urgent problems in our communities.

Continue reading

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