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

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