Lighting up Rotary, now and then

140509_walkerBy Jill Baldwin Walker, 2014-15 governor of District 6060 (Missouri, USA)

At the age of 13, I attended my first Rotary International Convention, in Dallas, Texas. I remember walking through the halls of the event fascinated by the clothing worn by some of the women — women of Africa in their head wraps and ornate dresses and women from India in beautiful wraps of silk. Continue reading

My Rotary Moment: Emine’s story

140120_alpayBy Şafak Alpay, RI director-elect and a member of the Rotary Club of Istanbul-Sisli, Turkey

About ten years ago, an ambitious literacy campaign was started in our region using the Concentrated Language Encounter (CLE) method. Like all other clubs, my club Sisli participated with great enthusiasm, running a course for women in one of Istanbul’s slum neighborhoods.

On graduation day, one young woman who was among those to receive their certificates captured everyone’s attention. She had both her lower arms missing, and as her certificate was placed under her armpit, Emine timidly asked her instructor to get the sheet of paper she kept in her pocket. It was a thank-you letter written to the person who taught her to read and write.  Continue reading

The chance to build a better world through Rotary

130906_celia_giayBy Celia Elena Cruz de Giay, RI director

In December 1995, my husband, Luis, and I visited Bombay (now Mumbai), India, during his year as president-elect of Rotary International. We were there to participate in a national polio immunization day and were very impressed by the social mobilization that went into it. It was the largest immunization day to that point.

When the day arrived, more than 10,000 volunteers were distributed throughout the country, easily identifiable in their yellow jackets and caps imprinted with the Rotary wheel. Continue reading

Saving Little Hearts

RI Director Shekhar Mehta shares his Rotary moment during the International Assembly. Rotary International/Monika Lozinska

RI Director Shekhar Mehta shares his Rotary moment during the International Assembly. Rotary International/Monika Lozinska

By RI Director Shekhar Mehta

More often than not, each of my days starts with meeting one or more children who need to get heart surgeries done.

Their mothers and fathers wait for nine months for their bundle of joy to arrive but soon after the child is born they realize that the child has got a hole in the heart. And this creates holes in their hearts and their pockets. Their yearly income is not more than US$600 and the expense for a heart surgery is $3,000. It would take them five years to spend all that they earned to try and save the child, but who knows if the child will survive or not. Continue reading

Rotary opens doors, provides access to leaders

Past RI President Frank Devlyn and his wife dance during last year's International Fellowship Dinner and Dance.

Past RI President Frank Devlyn and his wife dance during the Fellowship Dinner and Dance at last year’s International Assembly.

By Past RI President Frank Devlyn

Like many Rotarians, I’ve often reflected on the moments that made me feel proud to be a Rotarian. Usually a highly successful project will come to mind, one that enabled us to help one or even thousands of people live better lives, all because of one special project. I’ve also experienced inspired moments while participating in Rotary projects.

However, I have something to confess: I joined Rotary to take advantage of the networking opportunities it offered me because I felt they would benefit my businesses. Continue reading

Service transforms lives

Paula Caldeiram

Paula Caldeiram

By Paula Caldeiram, a member of the Rotaract Club of St. Paul Espro, Sao Paulo, Brazil

This is my “Rotary Moment.” I became an Interactor in 2008, and after a year of activities found myself transitioning to Rotaract as a member of the St. Paul Espro club. One of our service projects is a campaign to help provide warm clothing for the homeless.

I was taking part in this project this August when something special touched my heart. Continue reading

My Rotary Moment from the peace forum

Peace Fellow Anne Riechert speaks during a panel at the peace forum in Berlin.

Peace Fellow Anne Riechert (left) speaks during a panel at the peace forum in Berlin.

By Anne Riechert, a 2010-12 Rotary Peace Fellow, International Christian University

Saturday morning, Paul Knyff shared his favorite Rotary moment with the more than 1,800 Rotarians attending the first Rotary Global Peace Forum in Berlin. Having been involved with Rotary Youth Exchange, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) and the Rotary Peace Centers program for more than a decade, I asked myself what my favorite Rotary moment had been. It felt a little like picking a favorite child. I would like to share with you, however, my favorite moment from the forum. Continue reading

The most meaningful decision in my life

Alumni Relations Coordinator Diane Lopez surrounded by children in Peru.

By Diane Lopez, former Interactor and Alumni Relations Coordinator for The Rotary Foundation

I frequently contemplate on the impact that Rotary had in my personal life and career and have come to the realization that deciding to participate in Interact was the most meaningful decision in my life.

I clearly remember when I was approached to be part of the Interact Club at St. Scholastica Academy. Continue reading

A polio survivor’s “aha” moment

John Nanni at the UN General Assembly special session to “Unite Against Polio” 27 September.

By John Nanni, a member of the Rotary Club of Hamilton Township, New Jersey, USA

As a polio survivor who was paralyzed from my neck down for six months, and as a Rotarian, I had the honor of being a part of the Rotary PolioPlus delegation to the UN General Assembly special session to “Unite Against Polio” on 27 September.

My day started early – I was so excited and nervous I couldn’t sleep. I was worried about being a good representative of our club and of the more than 20 million polio survivors. Continue reading

My Rotary moment

Nick and Silvia Phillips

By Nick Phillips, Rotary Coordinator for Zone 20A South and a member of the Rotary Club of Eshowe, South Africa. 

RI President Sakuji Tanaka, in his August message, encourages Rotarians to share those special experiences that stand out as their “Rotary Moment.” Sharing these personal stories can go much farther, sometimes, than facts and figures in attracting prospective members. Continue reading