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

Home repair project unites community

By Gregg Alexander, Rotary Club of Bozeman Sunrise, Montana, USA

For six years now, my Rotary Club has provided home repair assistance to local residents through the Bozeman Fix-Up Festival. Giving preference to elderly and disabled homeowners, we strive to provide home improvements to low-income residents who either can’t afford them or are physically unable to complete the work themselves. The impact of this one-day event stretches far beyond just benefits to the homeowners: The festival touches many lives and brings the community together. Continue reading

The Big Ride

Gary Hirsch and Marga Hewko, wife of Rotary General Secretary John Hewko, take a selfie during the ride.

Gary Hirsch and Marga Hewko, wife of Rotary General Secretary John Hewko, take a selfie during the ride.

By Gary Hirsch, a member of the Rotary Club of Tucson, Arizona, USA

In many ways, the 2015 Ride to End Polio by Rotarians in District 5500 was “The Big Ride.” Maybe it’s that Rotary members’ commitment grows each year. Maybe it’s just that the fellowship, fun, fitness, and collaborative spirit bring out the best in each of us. Whatever it is, the numbers say that this, the sixth year of our event, was the biggest in every way.

Although overall ridership in El Tour de
Tucson was down about 7,000 cyclists Continue reading

Rotary Club Central helps you lead your club

The Rotary Club of Plympton hosted a Young Chef competition as a new event during Hands’ year as president.

The Rotary Club of Plympton hosted a Young Chef competition as a new event during Hands’ year as president.

By Darren Hands

In 2014-15, I served as president of the Rotary Club of Plympton, Devon, England. For many years, we have had a fairly steady program of activities. But with some of our more-established members leaving or taking on fewer roles, I knew I had to look at my year as a way of pushing the club forward through the newer members. Awareness of The Rotary Foundation and our areas of focus had been declining. And within the club itself, there was no “one-stop” port of call to get a full picture of the club’s activities.

Before our club assembly — and before I was aware of Rotary Club Central — the club council (executive board) had already 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

Why create a video for the Interact Video Awards?

By Kyle J. Gomes, member of the Interact Club of Hugh Boyd Secondary

Every year, my Interact club — located in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada — looks forward to creating a video for Rotary’s Interact Video Awards. Last year, our video (above) was selected as the Best Video, earning our club $500 to use toward our service projects. One project very close to our hearts is Operation Christmas Child, and we were able to ship even more gifts and necessities to children in need this year.

Making these videos has been an amazing motivator for our whole club. The best part in making a video is being able to see the real and tangible differences that we make with the projects we support. The other Interactors and I all agree that the experience gave us a perspective on our projects, and showed that although we may be only high school students, we are making a difference. Continue reading

The tale of two fundraising rides

Kristin Brown, center, her husband, Mahmoud Ajamia -- who will also be riding in Tucson -- and Marga Hewko at the bottom of a steep hill on a recent training ride.

Kristin Brown, center, her husband, Mahmoud Ajamia, — who will also be riding in Tucson — and Marga Hewko at the bottom of a steep hill on a recent training ride.

By Kristin Brown

I am really excited to be returning to Tucson, Arizona, USA, this week for my second Miles to End Polio event and to join forces with the Rotarians cycling so that others may walk.

It has been an eventful year in the fight to End Polio Now. Nigeria achieved a milestone in July when it passed an entire year without a new case of polio caused by the wild poliovirus. And cases in the two remaining endemic countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan, are at an all-time low. But now more than ever, we need to keep the pressure on. One of my biggest concerns is that people will become complacent and fail to recognize the threat that remains if we don’t completely eradicate this disease. Continue reading