Rotary Scholar urges alumni to stay connected

Kathleen Plaza's own This Close portrait

Kathleen Plaza’s own This Close portrait

By Kathleen Plaza, Rotary Scholar

I was born and raised in a rural barrio (neighborhood) in Mindanao, Philippines. I moved to Guam when I was about 18 years old. I became a member of the Rotaract Club of the Marianas in Guam when I was completing my undergrad degree in biology, and served as secretary in 2011-12 and as youth services director in 2012-13.

I moved to Hawaii in August 2015, and with a Rotary Scholarship funded by a global grant, began taking classes in public health, focused on disease prevention and treatment. I will finish my program in May 2017. Continue reading

Rotary Scholar runs for clean water

A team of walkers carry a ladder rigged up with water jugs to simulate the burden that women and children in some parts of the world must bear to fetch water.

A team of walkers carry a ladder rigged up with water jugs to simulate the burden that women and children in some parts of the world must bear to fetch water.

By Hai-Ryung Sung

Access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation should be a right for all people. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Many people still suffer and die from waterborne diseases they contract because of an inadequate supply of water, lack of sanitation, or poor hygiene. In many developing countries, women and children are forced to carry heavy bottles of water for many miles.

As a Rotary Scholar, I had the pleasure of taking part in the GlobalRun4Water recently in North Carolina, USA, raising awareness and money for water- and sanitation-related projects. My scholarship was funded by a global grant sponsored by Districts 3640 (Korea) and 7710 (North Carolina), my host district, which also organized the run. Scott Rossi, a member of the Cary-Kildaire Rotary Club, came up with the idea for the event, and has earned the affectionate nickname, the “Water Guy of District 7710.”  Continue reading

Rotary made me feel right at home in Scotland

Ally Vincent, center, with her Scottish hosts.

Ally Vincent, center, with her Scottish hosts.

By Ally Vincent

Although I am just 23, I already have nine years’ experience with Rotary. I joined the Interact Club at Crystal River High School in Florida when I was 14. When I began pursuing an undergraduate degree at Saint Leo University, I felt a bit lost, and I missed the connection I had to Rotary. So I became involved in chartering a Rotaract Club on campus, eventually becoming club president in 2013-14. I saw Rotary’s good work both on a local and international scale through projects we worked on with the Rotary Club of Belize Sunrise, in Belize, and the Rotaract Club of Islamabad Green City, in Punjab, Pakistan. Continue reading

Rotary taught me how to be a socially conscious entrepreneur

Cynthia Salim models her brand of socially responsible professional wear for women in New York City.

Cynthia Salim models her brand of socially responsible professional wear for women in New York City. Photo by Monika Lozinska/Rotary International

By Cynthia Salim

At the age of 21, I was a fervent student activist at Loyola Marymount University, walking picket lines to advocate for a living wage in Los Angeles, California, USA. I never would have imagined that at 28 I’d be starting a fashion label in New York City and doing social change work through a lifestyle brand. That’s the power of the Rotary experience — it widens perspectives and inspires change from every industry. Continue reading

Little Rotary moments that transformed my life

Heidi Resetaritis at a 5K walk/run to promote health and fitness and raise money for PolioPlus.

Heidi Resetarits at a 5K walk/run that raised money for PolioPlus.

By Heidi Resetarits

Little moments of connectivity in life — who you talk to, who you share with — can completely change your trajectory. A few years ago at a holiday work party, I met my friend and future mentor, Ann Tull. The party was dull, but our conversation sparked a little light in me that transformed my life.

Ann introduced me to Rotary, and eventually encouraged me to apply for an Ambassadorial Scholarship. I realized that working toward higher education and a future that revolved around Service Above Self was what I was looking for. A year later and I was on my way to the United Nations University for Peace in Ciudad Colon, Costa Rica, as an Ambassadorial Scholar from Rotary District 5450. Continue reading

Dialogue for peace in Norway

Ema Talam address Rotary members in Oslo, Norway, during the program on dialogue as a means of promoting peace.

Ema Talam addresses Rotary members in Oslo, Norway, during the program on dialogue as a means of promoting peace.

By Ema Talam, a university student from Bosnia and Herzegovina

This summer, I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of 16 participants from the Western Balkans to participate in a program for university students and young professionals, age 20 through 30, organized by The Rotary Club of Oslo Vest, Norway, and supported by other Rotary clubs throughout Norway and the Western Balkans.

When I boarded the plane on 15 June, I did not know that this was going to be one of the most interesting summers of my life. I didn’t know much about Rotary and I knew 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

Taking Rotary into the next generation

Members of the recently chartered Rotary Club of Plaza Matriz in Montevideo, Uruguay. Photo courtesy of Erin Mills

Members of the recently chartered Rotary Club of Plaza Matriz in Montevideo, Uruguay. Photo courtesy of Erin Mills

By Erin Mills, Rotary Scholar and charter member of the Rotary Club of Plaza Matriz in Montevideo, Uruguay

A little over six years ago, I packed my luggage and boarded a plane for Montevideo, Uruguay, as an  Ambassadorial Scholar from Arizona, USA, to that tiny corner of the world I now call home. It’s where I teach future English language educators at the University of Montevideo, where I teach middle school children from around the world at the American International School, and where 24 young professionals and I are taking Rotary into the next generation.  Continue reading

A reason to wear your Rotary pin

Ron Nethercutt

Ron Nethercutt

By Ron Nethercutt, past chair of the Rotarians on the Internet Fellowship and a member of the Rotary Club of Mabalacat, Pampanga, Philippines

One of my unexpected surprises as a member of Rotary came during a large chamber of commerce meeting held at the Trade Center in New Orleans.

A young lady approached me and said “I want to thank you.” I asked “Why? Have we met?” She responded by saying she saw my Rotary pin that I was wearing and that she gave thanks to every Rotarian she saw.  Continue reading

Rotary, a matter of the heart

Manaka

Manaka Kuwabara

By Joseph Batory, past president of the Rotary Club of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Six years ago, I agreed to serve on my district’s scholarship committee. I now have many fond memories of helping 12 students attain fully subsidized Rotary International scholarships abroad. I have also counseled and befriended 23 Rotary scholars from around the world who have studied in Philadelphia.

I could easily highlight some of the “scholar characters” I have met or even some marriages that have occurred among Rotary scholars studying here in Philadelphia, but I would rather emphasize just one story that illustrates the magnificence of Rotary. Continue reading