Women in Rotary make it happen

Editor’s Note: In celebration of International Women’s Day, which is 8 March, we are running a week-long series of blog posts from women who are making a difference in their communities and around the world through Rotary.

Celia Cruz de Giay

Celia Cruz de Giay

By Celia Cruz de Giay, 2014-15 Rotary vice president

If anyone had told me that I would be writing a blog post today as vice president of Rotary International extolling the impact of women, I would have thought that person was dreaming. But when I think about it a little longer, I can see how the idea of service modeled for me since my childhood through my Rotarian father, and then through my Rotarian husband, Luis, led to this day, and I recognize that Rotary was always part of my life. That is why I am a Rotarian committed to serve. Continue reading

Why I am sharing my story as a polio survivor

Kerry Jacobson

Kerry Jacobson

By Kerry Jacobson

I feel more urgently than ever the need to share how polio impacted my life. In 1952, I contracted bulbar-polio, the rarest and most dangerous of the strains of the polio virus. I had just turned 7. I caught the virus from a neighborhood friend of my older sister who had been playing at our house and then was admitted to the hospital with polio.

A week later, I was in our family doctor’s office to hear the diagnosis: bulbar polio — very critical. My mother and I were sent on to Mercy Hospital. I remember being quickly taken from my mother, put in a wheelchair, whisked away to a nearby room with other children, and then wheeled past a group of onlookers, including my mother, who were kept separate from us behind a rope to prevent contact. Continue reading

Paul Harris on the need for Rotary

Paul Harris, soon after he started practicing law in Chicago in 1896.

Paul Harris, soon after he started practicing law in Chicago in 1896.

By Rotary Heritage Communications staff

In My Road to Rotary, Paul Harris recalled how his longing for friendship like that he had known in Vermont was one of his inspirations for founding Rotary in 1905. But in 1935, in This Rotarian Age, he wrote of the need for Rotary, from a wider perspective:

“It is conceivable that Rotary might have been born under sunnier skies, in a climate more equable, and in a city of mental composure; but many will contend that there could have been no more favorable birthplace for Rotary than paradoxical Chicago, where the battle for civic righteousness was being so fiercely waged.” Continue reading

Clubs celebrate Rotary’s anniversary, 30 years of PolioPlus

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This week marks 110 years since Paul P. Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram E. Shorey gathered in Loehr’s office in Room 711 of the Unity Building in downtown Chicago for what would become known as the first Rotary club meeting. It also is 30 years since Rotary launched its campaign to rid the world of polio.

Rotary clubs are celebrating the milestones in a variety of ways. The Rotary Club of Mt. Warning AM, New South Wales, Australia, gave away pancakes and handouts on the village’s main street. Continue reading

Why we need to share Rotary’s good news

Nisha Kotecha

Nisha Kotecha

By Nisha Kotecha, president of the Rotaract Club of Hampstead, Hendon and Golders Green, England

I know a Rotary Club that has changed the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of young people over the years. I know this because I have attended some of their meetings. And because I am one of the lives they have changed.

The Rotary club I am referring to is one of the largest in London, so they don’t need to generate publicity around their activities. Or do they? Continue reading

Ten years of changing lives in Honduras

A woman in Chaguiton, Honduras, pulls the string to turn on her new ceiling light. Photo courtesy Neal Beard

A woman in Chaguiton, Honduras, pulls the string to turn on her new ceiling light. Photo courtesy Neal Beard

By Neal Beard, past president of the Rotary Club of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, USA

Rotary members from District 6760 returned from Central America on 5 Feburary, after completing a 59-home electrification project in Chaguiton, Honduras. This was the tenth leg of a journey that began in 2006 for my club.

Over the course of the last ten years, the most exciting and rewarding moments of our lives took place not in the office, or on the shop floor, or while sitting in front of a computer screen, but in the remote mountain villages of southern Honduras.

Those moments have been filled with pure emotion. Like the time when a mother and her children looked on as we built a water storage tank and laundry table that would eliminate their Continue reading

How will you celebrate 30 years of PolioPlus?

Rotary members in Panama City, Panama, celebrated Rotary's anniversary last year by lighting up the Biodiversity Museum with the End Polio Now logo.

Rotary members in Panama City, Panama, celebrated Rotary’s anniversary last year by lighting up the Biodiversity Museum with the End Polio Now logo.

This year marks 30 years since Rotary launched its campaign to rid the world of polio.

During a speech at Rotary’s annual training event for leaders in February 1985, then President Carlos Canseco announced what he called “the biggest news in Rotary,” an organized campaign to eradicate polio by working alongside the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Prior to that, Rotary Foundation grants had supported immunization activities in individual countries.

Leading up to Rotary’s anniversary, 23 February, we will have coverage of our progress in eradicating polio, and what Rotary clubs are doing to celebrate, on Rotary.org and endpolio.org. Send photos of your club’s celebration to blog@rotary.org to be included in a special gallery here.

Replacing classroom and library books in the Philippines

Volunteers from several clubs in Hawaii help collect and store books to ship to the Philippines.

Volunteers from several clubs in Hawaii help collect and store books to ship to the Philippines.

By Charlene Santala Gearing, public relations chair, Rotary Club of Kapolei Sunset, Hawaii, USA

Are you familiar with the word serendipity? That certainly seems like what has happened for the Rotary Club of Kapolei Sunset, Hawaii.

We started the project to support libraries in the Philippines, but it has turned into a mission of hope and recovery for schools impacted by the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan. Our efforts coincided with Hawaii public schools replacing textbooks as they adapted to a changed curriculum.  Continue reading

What is your image of Rotary?

150209_burrellBy Evan Burrell, a member of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia, and a regular contributor to this blog

If you are a member of Rotary, you probably already know that it’s one of the largest and oldest service organizations, that we try to attract good people and equip them to be even better, and that we are all about doing good works in our local communities. But what does the general public think about Rotary? Continue reading

Discussing maternal health in Canada

Laureen Harper, wife of Canadian Prime MInister Stephen Harper, addresses Rotary members in Canada during a recent Rotary Day.

Laureen Harper, wife of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, addresses Rotary members in Canada during a recent Rotary Day.

By Douglas W. Vincent, Rotary Club of Woodstock-Oxford, Ontario, Canada

In January, the Rotary Club of Mississauga Meadowvale hosted a Rotary Day event exploring what we as Rotary members can do to improve the health of mothers and their children, through our club projects and working with the United Nations. Rotary has had a long-standing relationship with the UN dating all the way back to its formation, and improving maternal health and reducing child mortality are two of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

We invited a special guest, Laureen Harper, wife of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Continue reading