Roundup: Must-read posts of the month

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.

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 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

Rotary scholarship is helping me realize my dream

Rotary Scholar Badruz Zaman with his bicycle in Delft, Netherlands.

Rotary Scholar Badruz Zaman with his bicycle in Delft, Netherlands.

By Badruz Zaman, Rotary Scholar from Indonesia

When I was selected to receive a scholarship to do a master’s study at UNESCO-IHE in The Netherlands, a brand new chapter in my life began.

Since October, I have been studying hydroinformatics, water science, and engineering at the Delft campus. Starting a new phase of one’s life is not always easy, and so it has been with me. When I arrived at the airport in the Netherlands, it was so cold I could feel it in my bones. Cooking for myself has been an experience, and of course many things have tasted terrible since I have never cooked before. Continue reading

Bridging the gulf to protect our valuable water resources

Emmanuel Umolu, with scarf, and his host counselor Tanny Agustinus, second from left, at a welcoming event for the second class of Rotary scholars at UNESCO-IHE.

Emmanuel Umolu, with scarf, and his host counselor Tanny Augustinus, second from left, a member of the Rotary Club of Delft-Koningsveld, at a welcoming event for the second class of Rotary Scholars at UNESCO-IHE.

By Emmanuel Chinedu Umolu, Rotary Scholar from Nigeria

Three months have gone by since I began my master’s program in Hydraulic Engineering – Land and Water Development at UNESCO-IHE as a Rotary Scholar. The pace of learning has been quite intense. Indeed, most students realized within the first few weeks that the rector was right when he warned us during opening week that the suffix IHE does not mean  “International Holiday in Europe.” Continue reading

Rotary at its best, raising up leaders to solve the world’s water problems

By Henk Jaap Kloosterman, a member of the Rotary Club of Voorburg-Vliet, The Netherlands, and district UNESCO-IHE coordinator

We made this video recently about the strategic partnership between Rotary and UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education.

UNESCO-IHE is the only international water management graduate school in the world. Rotary is sponsoring up to eight students a year for any of three master of science programs at the institute in Delft, the Netherlands. Continue reading

A tribute to film critic and Rotary Scholar Roger Ebert

By Stuart Cleland, RI Senior Video Producer. From 1987-2003, Cleland worked with film critic Roger Ebert on the television programs “Siskel & Ebert” and “Ebert & Roeper.” Ebert, who died 4 April, was a Rotary Scholar to South Africa in 1965 and taped a tribute to Rotary in 1998, portions of which are above.

I started reading Roger Ebert in the 1960s. I started watching him in the 1970s. And much to my surprise, I started working with him in the 1980s.

I was lucky enough to join the “Siskel & Ebert” show during its golden age. With their trademark “Two thumbs up/down” reviews, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were certainly the most well known and arguably the most influential film critics in America. The show appeared in almost 200 markets. Gene and Roger were quoted in newspaper and television ads, and regularly appeared on Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” and David Letterman’s “Late Night.” Continue reading

Invite a young person on a service project and change a life

The above video shows images from Danae Cooney’s service project trips to Fiji and to Cambodia with Habitat for Humanity.

By Danae Cooney, a Rotary scholar and former Interactor from Hamilton, New Zealand

Sometimes all it takes is one; one person willing to open a door, offer an opportunity and lead another.

In August 2011, I was 16 years old. I was given the opportunity to participate in a Rotary service project in Fiji. I traveled with a team of Rotarians, including my stepfather, to a small, remote village in Fiji called Saqani, where we refurbished a rotting, unusable preschool. Continue reading