By Misha Garafalo, president of the Rotary Club of Shorewood, Illinois, USA
As a former Rotary Youth Exchange student to Sweden more than a quarter century ago, one of my fondest possessions is my beloved passport filled with sought-after stamps from countries I visited so long ago.
Although I haven’t had the opportunity to travel internationally in many years, every now and again, I would come across the passport, flip through the pages, and reminisce about the sights, smells, and sounds which stirred my global awareness, curiosity, and perspective.
When I became president of my club this year, the only African-American club president in Will County, Illinois, USA, I decided to incorporate the theme with my love of that impactful experience by creating Rotary-themed passports.
At my installation ceremony, each member received a “Passport To Rotary.” The “visa” on the inside had to be signed by me and the member as an understanding of their commitment to care. Subsequent stamps would be provided to help them engage Rotary through specific activities and projects within the club, community, district, and beyond.
At the end of my term, I will personally award Rotarians who have filled their passports with service and, hopefully, memories of how they changed lives.