Monrovia Rotary Club spearheads Ebola relief campaign

Photo courtesy of Wilson Idahor, Rotary Club of Monrovia

Photo courtesy of Wilson Idahor, Rotary Club of Monrovia

By Monique Cooper-Liverpool, Rotary Club of Monrovia, Liberia

We are just past the five-month anniversary of Liberia’s first encounter with the Ebola virus. We are more than 40 days into a declared national health emergency, a month into a national state of emergency, and on the third week of an imposed national curfew, the first since our civil conflict ended in 2003. Nine international airlines have cancelled or suspended service to Liberia, with only two international carriers continuing to operate, overbooked and overpriced. Continue reading

Rotary Scholar helps the homeless through art

Katie (center) with two of her paintings, held by Liz Powers and her brother, Spencer.

Katie (center) with two of her paintings, held by Liz Powers and her brother, Spencer.

By Liz Powers, 2011-12 Rotary Scholar to Edinburgh, Scotland

“You feel like you are on guard 24/7,” shared Scott Benner, a homeless individual in the Boston area.

Scott is one of the many homeless individuals who has shared with me the everyday dangers and fears that he faces. My friend Katie Hickey Schultz faced similar challenges during her 10 years of chronic homelessness. Continue reading

Working for peace in the United Kingdom

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Luke Addison at the PeaceJam conference in Winchester, England.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Luke Addison at the PeaceJam conference in Monaco.

By Luke Addison, a member of the Rotaract Club of University of Winchester, England

Two years ago, two members of the Winchester Rotary Club gave a talk at the University of Winchester. I was so inspired by the work they described and their own personal reasons for joining that I stayed to ask them how I could help out.

Eventually the experience motivated me to seek out other students and form a Rotaract Club. The club took off amazingly, and through our local and international service projects, my eyes were open to the amazing work Rotary and Rotaract members do. I developed a passion for the world outside Winchester and a strong desire to make a difference. Continue reading

Rotary Youth Exchange exceeded my expectations

Jurag Gago visiting the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA.

Jurag Gago visiting the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA.

By Jurag Gago, a Rotary Youth Exchange Student from Slovakia to the United States

I am from the Slovak Republic, right in the heart of Europe. It is a small country bordered by Austria, Hungary, Ukraine, Poland, and the Czech Republic. I grew up in Trenčín with my brother, Martin and my mom and dad.

I just returned from one of the most wonderful experiences in my life. The Rotary Club of Trenčín in District 2240 decided to sponsor me for a Rotary Youth Exchange to Chicago, where I was hosted by the Rotary Club of Aurora Sunrise in a suburb of that great city. I was excited about the exchange because I knew it would challenge me a lot and I wanted to see how far I could grow on a personal and mental level. It gave me all that I could ever have expected. Continue reading

Using social media to show the lighter side of Rotary

One of Evan Burrell's selfies from the Rotary International Convention in Sydney.

One of Evan Burrell’s selfies from the Rotary International Convention in Sydney.

By Evan Burrell, a member of the Rotary E-Club of Greater Sydney

I like to present a lighter, more fun, more humorous side to Rotary on social media. I find it grabs people’s attention, member and non-member alike.

I come up with new, sometimes silly, ideas that inspire people and make them laugh — like using photo editing software to post a picture of Paul Harris taking a selfie, or posting a video of Past RI President Ron Burton dancing Gangnam Style, or posting an eye-catching image using #WeAreRotary. It’s all meant to get a response or reaction. Continue reading

Why we can’t afford to ignore social media

Interactors during a photo break at the Rotary Convention in Sydney, Australia.

Interactors during a photo break at the Rotary Convention in Sydney, Australia.

By Marilyn Axler, a member of the E-Club of South Jersey, and Rotary Global History Fellowship board member

I have been using social media to promote Rotary for three years now, posting on LinkedIn and other platforms to connect with others and share Rotary’s message. From time to time, I hear from members who are uncomfortable with social media. They say they feel it is invasive and they bring up concerns for privacy and safety.

Could it be that they are also afraid to embrace change? I agree the telephone is still the best way to communicate sometimes. But social media is clearly where it is at for younger people. Can we really afford to ignore the “new age of communications?” Continue reading

Rotarians are a powerful force for polio eradication

A child is immunized against polio.

A child is immunized against polio.

By Steve Crane, a member of the Rotary Club of Seattle, Washington, USA, and a polio survivor. Crane has been appointed district polio eradication advocacy chair by successive governors in District 5030.

Rotary members are being asked if recent headlines mean there is some doubt about ending polio for good. Our answer is that the end of polio in India is the headline to remember.

We are at the heart of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), a partnership of Rotary International, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and many national governments. Rotary has contributed $1.3 billion to the GPEI through PolioPlus. And it is committed to adding up to $105 million per year over the next four years through the End Polio Now: Make History Today campaign.  Continue reading

The richness of belonging

140820_riley_adamsBy Renée Riley-Adams, a member of the Rotary Club of Ashland, Oregon, USA

Recently, I received a blue name badge from my Rotary club. Initially, when a member first joins, my club issues a red badge with a ribbon that identifies them as new members. As we take part in a series of tasks that include things like joining a committee, attending a district meeting, and participating in a club service project, we get our blue badges.

During a short ceremony, I looked out into the crowd, and realized how much these people have become my community. Eating lunch with them every Thursday since last September and hearing about their children’s sports wins, new grandchildren, trips far and wide, and professional achievements, I have a new way of locating myself in this little town of 20,000 people. Continue reading

Touching the hearts of thousands through Rotary service

Viral Purohit

Viral Purohit

By Suman Ramesh, a member of the Rotary Club of Lago-Palm Grove Estate, Lagos, Nigeria

For several years, our club has had the privilege of being part of an eye camp that provides free surgeries to patients with limited access to care in Nigeria. There is nothing quite like witnessing the joy on the face of a patient who arrives with limited vision, and leaves with the ability to see.

We team up with the medical staff from the Eye Institute in Navsari, India, to sponsor the camp, treating nearly a thousand patients in the Nigerian states of Lagos and Ogun spread over 10 days. Patients are screened and pre-surgery tests conducted for four to five weeks prior to the camp, drawing crowds of needy people, many of them suffering cataracts and similar eye conditions. It is very common for our club to receive calls from cataract patients inquiring about the dates of our camp. Continue reading

Biking against hunger on Chicago’s South Side

By John Hewko, Rotary International General Secretary

I biked about 25 miles from Evanston to Chicago’s South Side Englewood neighborhood last week with my wife, Marga; Benjamin Rasmus, a Seattle Rotary member and program director for Rotary First Harvest; Rotary member David Bobanick, Rotary First Harvest’s executive director; and a contingent of co-workers from RI World Headquarters.

Through this experience, we learned more about our community and the work Rotary members are doing to address hunger. We saw firsthand the innovative efforts underway in Englewood to provide access to fresh, locally grown produce to families living in what has been referred to as a “food desert.”  Continue reading