Crossing the finish line together for Rotary

Grace and Christina Caruso cross the finish line of the New York marathon together. Photo courtesy of the Caruso family

By Grace and Christina Caruso, daughters of Rotary Club of New York, New York, USA, members Paul and Gail Caruso

It was our first marathon experience, and one we chose to take on together.

My sister Christina and I are not marathon runners, but fitness enthusiasts who believe you can do whatever you put your mind to do! This was our motto that led us to the finish line.

A couple months before the New York City Marathon, our parents Paul and Gail Caruso, members of the Rotary Club of New York, asked us if we would be interested in running the marathon for team NY Rotary. Continue reading

A soggy lobster bake shines with Rotary spirit

Marty Peak Helman with RI President Sakuji Tanaka during the Changeover ceremony in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, 1 July. Photo by Ann Lee Hussey

By Marty Peak Helman, governor of District 7780 (parts of Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, USA)

On his first day as RI President, Sakuji Tanaka joined Rotarians in my hometown of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, taking part in a Changeover ceremony for six district governors and 46 club presidents.

Rotarians came from Quebec, New York, New Jersey, and all over New England – some making a 10-hour drive — in order to shake hands with Tanaka-san, hear him speak, and be formally inducted by him into their new Rotary offices. It was a remarkable honor for all. Continue reading

Giving the gift of a kidney

Scott Dudley after kidney procedure

Rotarian Scott Dudley gives the thumbs up after surgery to donate a kidney to someone he had just met.

By Jane Helten, governor of District 5050 (part of Washington, USA, and British Columbia, Canada) 

A series of coincidences brought Rotarian Scott Dudley and Phil Rosario together. 

On 16 May, Scott, a member of the Rotary Club of North Whidbey Island Sunrise, Washington, USA, donated one of his kidney’s to Phil, who he had met only a week before.  Continue reading

Wipe out polio, now

Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon immunizes a boy against polio during Angola’s first polio eradication campaign of the year. UN Photo/Quintiliano dos Santos

By Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Wild viruses and wildfires have two things in common. If neglected, they can spread out of control. If handled properly, they can be stamped out for good. Today, the flame of polio is near extinction — but sparks in three countries threaten to ignite a global blaze. Now is the moment to act.

During the next two weeks, on two continents, two events offer the chance for a breakthrough. First, the leaders of the world’s largest economies, the G8, congregate at the U.S.presidential retreat at Camp David in rural Maryland. A week later, the world’s ministers of health convene in Geneva. Together, they can push to deliver on an epic promise: to liberate humankind from one of the world’s most deadly and debilitating diseases. Continue reading

Speaking of polio

Marty Helman

Marty Helman during a National Immunization Day in Africa last year.

By Marty Peak Helman, governor-elect of District 7780 and a member of the Rotary Club of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, USA.

I spoke about Polio Plus to a sell-out audience at my parents’ retirement home recently. There was not one member of the audience who didn’t have a personal story to share about polio – they all knew a time in America when every summer brought a new outbreak of the disease. And inevitably, they all remember a sibling or cousin or close friend who survived – or succumbed – to the disease. 

I told the residents that they had done their job too well. I told them that because of their enthusiastic support for the public health campaigns here in North America that followed rollout of first the Salk and then the Sabin vaccine, that young people today frequently think polio is a disease about as antiquated and as far from their consciousness as, for example, yellow fever or leprosy (both of which are also very much still threats in the developing world).   Continue reading

Service projects, motorcycles, and Rotary

Karena Beirman

Karena Bierman races vintage motorcycles for a hobby.

By Karena Bierman, a member of the Rotary Club of Evanston Lighthouse, Illinois, USA, and manager of Gift Planning for The Rotary Foundation.

In 2005, a year after I started working at the Rotary Foundation, I worked on a tsunami relief project with a very active Rotarian – Chuck Remen, from the Rotary Club of Evanston Lighthouse.

He convinced me that I ought to be a Rotarian. (Actually, it didn’t take much convincing, because I liked the organization.) Since, I’ve been on the club’s board of directors every year. It’s not something I do because of my job. It’s something I do because my club is awesome. Continue reading

Joining together to fight hunger

Fruit to School

Children receive fruit as part of a fruit to schools program supported by the Global FoodBanking Network. Photo courtesy of Global FoodBanking Network

By Maurice Weaver, senior project manager for Global FoodBanking Network, a service partner of Rotary International.

Recently, the Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) entered a service partnership with Rotary International  to allow the two organizations to pool their resources to work closely together to fight hunger.

At GFN, we are excited to work with the many Rotarians who have already shown tremendous dedication toward making a difference in this area. Our two organizations share common goals. Continue reading

Interactors light up their high school with an End Polio Now message

Coral Gables Interactors

Members of the Interact Club of Coral Gables High School take part in illuminating their school with an End Polio Now message.

By Sally Baumgartner, a member of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables, Florida, USA

Our Interactors in Coral Gables, Florida, had a dream.

At the beginning of the school year, their faculty advisor told us the club wanted to contribute to Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign, and donate a portion of their profits from a caroling competition to Rotary’s Challenge. They also wanted to take part in Rotary Day by projecting an End Polio Now message onto the side of their high school. Continue reading

Rotaractors, Rotarians working side-by-side in service

Mary Kathryn DeLodder

Mary Kathryn DeLodder is a member of the Rotaract Club of Greater Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

By Mary Kathryn DeLodder, a member of the Rotaract Club of Greater Louisville, Kentucky, USA, for World Rotaract Week 12-18 March.

While it is not unheard of for Rotary clubs to have members under the age of 30, many young people in their 20s may not quite be ready for membership in a Rotary club, whether due to work schedule, finances, or other family obligations.

This is where Rotaract offers the perfect bridge into Rotary. Rotaract provides college students and young professionals with a way to connect to Rotary while conforming to their needs and circumstances.  Continue reading