What Rotary is doing to feed the hungry

Doing Good in Seattle from Rotary International on Vimeo.

By Rotary Voices staff

Rotary First Harvest, a program of Rotary District 5030 (Washington, USA), diverts millions of pounds of fruit and vegetables from food waste into the hands of those in need. Rotary members play a crucial role at every level. In honor of World Food Day 16 October, watch the video above, and read more from the program’s director, David Bobanick, a member of the Rotary Club of Mercer Island, Washington, on Rotary Service Connections.

How we survived the Mississippi River in a kayak

Ken Robertshaw and Grace during their trip down the Mississippi River.

Ken Robertshaw and Grace Alsancak during their trip down the Mississippi River.

By Ken Robertshaw, Rotary Club of Halifax, Yorkshire

On 7 August, my friend Grace and I set out on an expedition to kayak the length of the Mississippi River. We completed the journey on 4 October.

Our goal was to raise funds for a charity in the United Kingdom, The Theodora Children’s Trust, that places specialist entertainers in Children’s hospitals and hospices to cheer up ill children and assist their recovery through laughter.

The journey was not without problems. We encountered severe electrical storms, woke Continue reading

All the steps I have taken since polio

Linda at St. Mary's hospital, 18 months old.

Linda at St. Mary’s hospital, 18 months old.

By Linda L. Christianson, polio survivor

I was stricken with polio at the age of 7 months. From 1948 to 1953 the disease crippled 250,000 children a year. There was no vaccine to protect me from the virus at the time. My young parents took me to St. Mary’s Hospital, in Rochester, Minnesota, on 1 October, 1948.

That would become my home for the next 14 months. Fortunately, my three-year-old sister did not become affected by the virus. In many families several children would be stricken. Continue reading

From foot surgery to biking 104 miles to end polio

Catherine Lankford trains as part of the Miles to End Polio team.

Catherine Lankford trains as part of the Miles to End Polio team.

By Catherine Lankford, Rotary staff

My upcoming participation in El Tour de Tucson as part of Rotary’s Miles to End Polio team means a great deal to me on many levels.

My first introduction and connection to Rotary began in Mexico, Missouri, through my paternal grandfather, who was a member and president of the Rotary club in that community. I remember hearing stories from him about his weekly meetings, the work he did with his club, his commitment to polio eradication (both as a Rotarian and medical doctor), and the lifelong Continue reading

These women of Rotary are changing the world

Rotary's Women of Action in Washington D.C. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

Eight of Rotary’s Women of Action in Washington D.C. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

By Julia D. Phelps, RI director

As I sat in the audience at the White House on 7 October, listening to 10 amazing Rotary women tell the stories of their volunteer efforts, two quotes kept running through my mind. First, “Be the change you wish to be in the world” (Mahatma Gandhi) and second, “Never underestimate the power of a small group of people to change the world. In fact, it is the only way it ever has” (Margaret Mead).

In fact, these 10 women took these two quotes, put them together and created projects, foundations, and fundraising efforts that changed their world and the world of others. It struck me that all of their efforts started with one woman who saw a need, a problem, and then went about addressing the situation. They didn’t get permission, they didn’t write a business plan; they just got busy. They were brave and courageous as they stepped out to make a difference. And as their idea grew into reality, they realized that they couldn’t do it alone. That’s where their Rotary club members, their networks, and our Rotary Foundation, came into play. Continue reading

A Day at the White House with Rotary

Honorees speak during Rotary's Women of Action event at the White House 7 October. Alyce Henson/Rotary International

Honorees speak during Rotary’s Women of Action event at the White House 7 October. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

By Adam Ross, Web Content Manager for Rotary.org

When I lost my state identification card while writing about Rotary’s Women of Action event at the White House on Tuesday, I didn’t have to panic by myself. A Rotarian was there to aid and comfort me.

I’m not surprised, but I’m thankful. Thankful we found my ID together so I could fly home to my family, and thankful to have made a new friend.

I had never been on the White House campus before, but the site was far less impressive than our Rotarians. Ten of them were honored as Rotary’s Women of Action, and they gracefully shared their stories. There are too many amazing projects to write about here, but we documented them on Rotary.org. Continue reading

What young professionals are looking for in Rotary

Rotary members who attended the Young Professional Summit 26-27 September.

Rotary members who attended the Young Professionals Summit 26-27 September.

By Chris Davidson, Rotary Club of Newport News, Virginia

I attended the first-ever Rotary Young Professionals Summit held in Chicago on 26-27 September, which gathered 30 Rotarians under the age of 40 to discuss how Rotary can better attract and engage young professionals.

The summit was a huge success and thoroughly captured the essence of what Millennials and members of Generation Y are looking for — mentorship, friendship, opportunities, and fun. One of my Rotary mentors, past RI Vice President Anne L. Matthews, who I had worked with on district membership projects, had encouraged me to apply.

Joining Rotary as a 32-year-old young professional was a life-changing event. Continue reading

Overcoming all challenges for polio eradication


By Rotary Voices staff

Salman Ahmad, founder of the popular Pakistani band Junoon, is the latest musician to lend his talents to our campaign to End Polio Now, recording this video to mobilize Pakistan’s various ethnic and religious groups in support of eradicating the crippling disease. Pakistan is one of only three countries, the other two being Nigeria and Afghanistan, where transmission of the live polio virus has never been stopped. Continue reading

Back on a bike for Miles to End Polio

Alison Randall and her boyfriend, Jerry, during at a training ride for El Tour de Tucson.

Alison Randall and her boyfriend, Jerry, during at a training ride for El Tour de Tucson.

By Alison Randall, Rotary staff

Being a part of the Miles to End Polio team has been helping rebuild my confidence in bicycling.

A few years ago, I was living in Madison, Wisconsin, riding to class one morning, when another student cyclist I was passing decided to turn left without warning. I crashed and fell off my bike, but thankfully was not seriously injured. Nevertheless, after that incident, I decided to walk to class. No more biking for me.

Time has gone by, and now many of my Continue reading

Dialogue for peace in Norway

Ema Talam address Rotary members in Oslo, Norway, during the program on dialogue as a means of promoting peace.

Ema Talam addresses Rotary members in Oslo, Norway, during the program on dialogue as a means of promoting peace.

By Ema Talam, a university student from Bosnia and Herzegovina

This summer, I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of 16 participants from the Western Balkans to participate in a program for university students and young professionals, age 20 through 30, organized by The Rotary Club of Oslo Vest, Norway, and supported by other Rotary clubs throughout Norway and the Western Balkans.

When I boarded the plane on 15 June, I did not know that this was going to be one of the most interesting summers of my life. I didn’t know much about Rotary and I knew Continue reading