Preparing future leaders to pursue peace

Elsa Garcia Soto at the United Nations in New York.

Elsa Soto Garcia at the United Nations in New York.

By Elsa Soto Garcia, Rotaract Club of Mexicali Industrial, Mexico 

Walking through the doors of the United Nations headquarters building in New York was an awesome experience. Sitting in a room full of students from 30 different nationalities, sharing ideas on how to promote the model UN programs in our countries, was even more amazing.

I have been taking part in model UN programs for many years. Continue reading

Rotaract Model UN instills courage

Delegates to the Rotaract Model UN in Romania practice diplomacy.

Delegates to the Rotaract Model UN in Romania learn the discipline of decision-making.

By Alina Cristina Buteica, member of the Rotaract club of Bucharest Triumph, and participant in the first-ever Rotaract Model UN in Romania

The courage to shine and take a stand. The courage to make informed decisions that will impact the world. The courage to find innovative ways for building international dialogue.

These are the things that come to my mind in reflecting on what I learned during the Rotaract Global Model United Nations in  Baia Mare, Romania, 21-25 August. I had just spent a full year working in 10 countries in Africa when a good friend told me about this initiative and encouraged me to apply. I could hardly have imagined what I would experience.  Continue reading

Sculpting stories in the sand to raise money for education

Members of the Rotaract Club of Long Beach pose in front of signs during the sculpture contest.

Members of the Rotaract Club of Long Beach pose in front of signs during the sculpture contest.

By Katie Gaston, a member of the Rotaract Club of Long Beach, California, USA, and the 2013-14 Rotaract and Interact Committee

Picture a beach full of sun and sand. Now picture a giant whale rising out of the sand, and an equally impressive captain Ahab figure leaning against the whale. Further down the beach is a giant head with a pyramid on top, and a rather odd assembly of pipes and gears representing some kind of mechanical contraption.

These were just a few of the impressive sights from my Rotaract club’s recent two-day event, “The 81st Annual Great Sand Sculpture Contest.”  Continue reading

What do you tell your children about Rotary?

Simone and Ariana Collins.

Simone and Ariana Collins.

By Simone Collins, past president of the Rotary Club of Freshwater Bay, Western Australia, Australia

I have never forgotten a conversation I had with a Rotarian who was one of our strongest supporters, back when I was still a Rotaractor. Her own children had never joined Rotary or Rotaract, because they didn’t want to belong to something “boring” like their parents did! I was gobsmacked.

What precisely are we as Rotarians telling our children about Rotary? What do they see? Do they just see you going to “boring” meetings? Or do they see what inspires you about Rotary? Continue reading

Why we don’t want Rotary to be like baseball

David Postic at the 2011 Rotaract Preconvention Meeting in New Orleans.

David Postic at the 2011 Rotaract Preconvention Meeting in New Orleans.

By David Postic, a member of the Rotaract Club of Norman, Oklahoma, USA, and a member of the 2013-14 Rotaract and Interact Committee

Baseball is a sport so historically beloved in the United States that it is called “America’s pastime.” Yet few Americans I know actually watch baseball on a regular basis. Why? Because when you really look at the game, it can seem slow, boring, and it can get old pretty quickly. Most people love the idea of baseball; they just don’t love watching it.

Similarly, there are many young people out there (like me) who love the idea of Rotary. But when you really look at any given Rotary club it can seem, well, slow and boring.  Continue reading

The future of Rotary

Rotaractors talk about what they like about Rotaract, and why it is important to the future of Rotary, during the 2013 RI Convention in Lisbon, Portugal, 23-26 June.

Don’t ask what the world needs

Elsa Soto Garcia

Elsa Soto Garcia

By Elsa Soto Garcia, president of the Rotaract Club of Mexicali Industrial, Mexico

I have recently found a phrase that I want to share with you today. It is “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive and go and do that, because what the world needs is more people that have come alive.”

When I first saw this phrase, I stared at it for awhile slightly confused. Don’t ask what the world needs — that’s a strong statement, and at first seemed to contradict Rotary’s “Service above Self” philosophy. But then I realized the wisdom of asking people to find their real passion, and the power that unlocks. Continue reading

Eyewitness to polio immunization days in Nigeria

Nigerian Rotaractor Obiya Williams (center) with other independent monitors during National Immunization Days. Photo courtesy of Obiya Williams

Nigerian Rotaractor Obiya Williams (center) with other independent monitors during National Immunization Days. Photo courtesy of Obiya Williams

By Obiya Williams, a member of the Rotaract Club of Abakaliki, Nigeria

During the second week of January, I was invited by a friend to a seminar in Abakaliki organized by the World Health Organization to train youth to assist in monitoring immunization efforts. At the end of the program, they conduct a test.

Luckily for me, I received a text several days later congratulating me for my test results and inviting me to serve as an independent monitor with a team taking part in National Immunization Days in February. After four days, I did not want it to end. Continue reading

Empowering tomorrow’s leaders

The Rotaract Club of Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines

The Rotaract Club of Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines

By Cristina Dimaano, a member of the Rotaract Club of Los Baños, Los Baños, Laguna, the Philippines

I became an Interactor to help my community in whatever small ways I could. I had a vision for helping separate out biodegradable trash from non-biodegradable items and cleaning up around our school. As students, our classwork is a top priority, but we moved around whenever possible and responded when the community asked for help. Continue reading

Eye camps help schoolchildren in Mumbai

Students line up for eye screening during one of the health camps.Photo courtesy Rotaract Club of the Caduceus

Students line up for eye screening during one of the health camps.Photo courtesy Rotaract Club of the Caduceus

By Pankaj Jethwani, president of the Rotaract Club of the Caduceus, Mumbai, India. The club’s project, Vision Six by Six, was selected as the 2013 Rotaract Outstanding Project Awards international winner.

In June of last year, I was interacting with a group of kids at a school health camp in Dharavi. There, among uninterested and bored kids, I met Payal. She was bright, talkative, and a lot of fun! But I was surprised with her teacher’s feedback: Payal hated studying.

A quick vision test revealed she had myopia in both eyes. Continue reading