10 tips to enhance your next service project

Young professionals and university students may have unique insights into a community’s needs, offer technical skills and expertise as volunteers or fundraisers, and be adept at promoting your project through social media

Young professionals and university students may have unique insights that can assist your service project.

By Ellina Kushnir, Rotary staff

Your Rotary club has decided to do a service project. You’ve met with the local community and determined the needs they identify as the most pressing. You’ve put together a project plan, and are ready to roll up your sleeves and get started. Now what?

Here are 10 practical tips from the webinar, Lifecycle of a Service Project, Part 3, which focus on acquiring the resources you need to carry out an effective and sustainable project: Continue reading

Team captain excited to be part of Miles to End Polio effort

Kristin Brown, left, and Marga Hewko, wife of Rotary General Secretary John Hewko, take a break during the North Shore Century ride.

Kristin Brown, left, and Marga Hewko, wife of Rotary General Secretary John Hewko, take a break during the North Shore Century ride.

By Kristin Brown, Rotary staff

In 1987, I returned home to Evanston, Illinois, for the summer after spending a year at the Istituto Affari Internazionali as a graduate student in Rome, Italy. Rotary International was moving into a new building in downtown Evanston and ramping up efforts to eradicate polio. I didn’t know much about polio then, but Rotary needed temporary staff and I needed a summer job.

Never would I have guessed that more than 20 years later, I’d come back to Rotary as a manager in RI Programs, that I would follow my father and grandfather in becoming a Rotarian, and that I’d be serving as captain of the 2014 RI Staff Miles to End Polio team, training for El Tour de Tucson. Continue reading

Roundup: Must-read posts of the month

By Rotary Voices staff

Here are some of our favorite blog posts from the past month, which focus on the transforming power of Rotary Youth Exchanges, the good work being done by Rotary Scholars around the world, and how to make the most of social media.

Share a link to your favorite blog post in the comments section below.

Treating your club like a start-up business

Elaine Lytle at a school in the Philippines her club is supporting through a service project.

Elaine Lytle, second from left, at a school in the Philippines her club is supporting through a service project.

By Elaine Lytle, Rotary Club of Como-Jannali, New South Wales, Australia

As a small Rotary club, we were on the road to extinction when we decided to hold a series of meetings as a whole club. We reviewed the usual list of strengths and weaknesses, action plans, and brainstorming ideas that we have done in the past with no real follow up.

But what really made a difference was when we looked in depth at the new means of communication and technologies available to us. One of our members is a financial consultant and another an accountant and we had them lead a session on approaching our club like it was a start-up business. Continue reading

Ebola puts dream to educate Liberian children on hold

Samuel Enders with students from the African Dream Academy.

Samuel Enders with students from the African Dream Academy.

By Samuel R. Enders, Rotary Club of Yonkers-East Yonkers, New York, USA

Having grown up in poverty in Liberia, West Africa, I know firsthand both the dire need for better educational opportunities in that country and the empowerment that a quality education provides. I experienced the death of my father when I was just two months old and struggled to survive through the country’s bloody civil war that ravaged the economy, infrastructure, and people.

In 2005, I founded African Dream Academy (ADA) to help Liberia’s youth escape the iron grip of poverty. We have provided counseling to thousands of children in two week intervals several times a year, and in 2012, opened our first fully academic school where we teach 140 children in classes from nursery through fourth grade.  Continue reading

Why social media can’t be left to your PR director

A social media post is like a stone skipping across a pond. Each comment or retweet makes new ripples.

A social media post is like a stone skipping across a pond. Each comment or retweet makes new ripples.

By Kate McKenzie, Rotary Club of Randwick, New South Wales, Australia

I have often met Rotary leaders who have nodded thoughtfully when I have explained the benefits of social media and then said “I will get my PR director to do that.” Although it is important to have division of labor and leaders with the right skills concentrating on the right tasks, social media doesn’t work if it is the sole responsibility of one person alone. Continue reading

Building peace through storytelling

Kiran Singh Sirah at the United Nations during International Day of Peace.

Kiran Singh Sirah (left) at the United Nations in New York during International Day of Peace.

By Kiran Singh Sirah, 2011-13 Rotary Peace Fellow, Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

There are moments in our lives that we remember forever. These moments become our stories and help us understand and connect with a larger global community. When we tell our stories, we inspire others to tell their stories, and that produces positive change. Ultimately, through the power of storytelling, we build healthier communities, more effective workplaces, and schools of learning that enrich our lives. Continue reading

Philippine Rotary Day shines a light on Rotary Community Corps

A member of the Rotary Community Corps Calawis harvests rambutan.

A member of the Rotary Community Corps Calawis harvests rambutan.

By Jesse Allerton, supervisor of Rotary Service Programs at Rotary International World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA.  

On 22 August, I had the opportunity to attend a national Rotary Day in Manila celebrating the accomplishments of Rotary Community Corps (RCCs) and other community service partners. The event was held at the Tuloy Foundation’s Don Bosco Streetchildren Village, an amazing nonprofit institution that has provided residential care and vocational training to more than 17,000 disadvantaged youth over the past 20 years. More than 600 Rotarians, RCC officers, and civic leaders came together for the event. Continue reading

Kayaking the Mississippi River to cheer up sick children

Ken Robertshaw and Grace Alsancak during a stop in the kayaking challenge.

Ken Robertshaw and Grace Alsancak during a stop in the kayaking challenge.

By Ken Robertshaw, a member of the Rotary Club of Halifax, West Yorkshire, England

I had the misfortune of seriously injuring my leg 35 years ago, requiring six operations, and the leg still troubles me. So I know how challenging hospital stays can be, even with the best efforts of the medical staff.

Imagine how much worse it is for a child; frightened, sick, and away from family and friends. A while ago, I learned about a small charity in the United Kingdom called the Theodora Children’s Trust that specializes in sending in trained entertainers to bring mirth and merriment to children in the hospital.  Continue reading

Medical training team saves lives in Gujrat

Specialists on the vocational training team review patient reports.

Specialists on the vocational training team review patient reports.

By Parimal Naik, grants coordinator for the Rotary Club of Gandevi, India

Our Rotary club is located in the southern part of Gujrat State, India. Earlier this year, we had the incredible experience of hosting a series of medical camps, screening  thousands of community members for medical conditions and following up with life-saving surgeries.

A vocational training team of visiting specialists from the Association of Indian Physicians of Northern Ohio (AIPNO) performed 30 angiography procedures, 27 echocardiograms, 11 angioplasty procedures, seven heart bypass surgeries, eight chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and three surgeries to remove cancerous tumors. The project we envisioned as a medical pilgrimage clearly accomplished its goal of changing lives in our local community. Continue reading