Our top five stories of 2014

Victoria Alvarez and other youth exchange students during their trip to the West Coast of the United States.

Victoria Alvarez and other youth exchange students during their trip to the West Coast of the United States.

By Rotary Voices staff

As the year draws to a close, we recap our top five stories of the year (based on number of views):

  • During her Rotary Youth Exchange to the United States, Argentinian Victoria Alvarez met teenagers from all over the world and learned how to appreciate different points of view. Alvarez shared how her Rotary Youth Exchange opened her eyes.
  • Chris Davidson, a member of the Rotary Club of Newport News, Virginia, joined 29 other Rotary members under the age of 40 during a Young Professionals Summit in Chicago to discuss how Rotary can better attract and engage young professionals. Davidson shared what young professionals are looking for in Rotary.
  • Jurag Gago, a Rotary Youth Exchange student from Slovakia, fell in love with Chicago during his year in the United States, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Aurora Sunrise. Gago shared how Rotary Youth Exchange exceeded his expectations.
  • Bill Wittich, past president of the Rotary Club of Laguna Sunrise, Elk Grove, California, USA, is the kind of guy who hangs out in the local Starbucks. Wittich discovered that the best way to invite someone to join Rotary is to ask.
  • Ron Nethercutt, a member of the Rotary Club of Mabalacat, Pampanga, Philippines, shares his reason for wearing a Rotary pin. Nethercutt was attending a large chamber of commerce meeting in New Orleans when he was approached by a young lady who thanked him. When he asked why, she recounted how her Rotary scholarship allowed her to earn a master’s degree in international banking and improve her life circumstances.

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How your year-end gift to The Foundation does a world of good

Four hundred citizens in northeast China received free cataract surgeries in 2013 thanks to efforts by the Rotary Clubs of Warner Robins, Georgia, USA, and Shanghai, China. Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Shanghai

Four hundred citizens in northeast China received free cataract surgeries in 2013 thanks to efforts by the Rotary Clubs of Warner Robins, Georgia, USA, and Shanghai, China. Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Shanghai

By Rotary Voices staff

There’s still time to make your year-end gift to The Rotary Foundation. Here are a few ways your support is helping change lives all over the world:

Educating children: Rotary members in Maine, USA, and Bikaner, India, are using a global grant to educate hundreds of children in Bikaner who previously were not attending school, and provide professional development for their teachers. Learn more about the project, which also provided desks for the students. Continue reading

Wildlife runs revive South African club

Peter Watson runs in the Savannah Africa wildlife park.

Peter Watson runs in the Savannah Africa wildlife park.

By Judy Brown, a member of the Rotary Club of Parys, South Africa

Raising funds is crucial when you are faced with rebuilding a club. I am an avid runner and enjoy a holiday home in a beautiful area of South Africa, so I decided organizing a race would be a perfect fit.

My partner, Peter Watson, has been a Rotarian for many years. I never joined Rotary in the United Kingdom, where we live. But when we bought our second home in Parys, South Africa, Continue reading

More amazing projects on Rotary Showcase

A boy in Belize holds the solar powered light that replaced dangerous Kerosene lamps, provided by Rotary members in Austin, Texas.

A boy in Belize holds the solar powered light that replaces dangerous kerosene lamps, provided by Rotary members in Austin, Texas.

By Rotary Voices staff

Rotary members in Nigeria banded together to provide 850 children in Nnewi, Anambra State, with medicine to kill a type of intestinal worm transmitted through the soil.

A single 400 milligram tablet of Abendazole deworms the children and kills the parasite, which is prevalent in many areas of Nigeria. The project is an example of Rotary’s work in preventing disease, but also in supporting education, as the parasite affects the children’s ability to concentrate on school work.

Members of the club distributed the tablets in October to an enthusiastic group of school staff and students. The project is just one of many that Rotary members have shared on Rotary Showcase. Continue reading

Finding meaning in life during a Rotary Youth Exchange

"Louis" Liu (right) is welcomed by members of the West Oak High School Interact Club.

“Louis” Liu (right) is welcomed by members of the West Oak High School Interact Club.

By I-Ting “Louis” Liu

In 2013-14, I took part in a Rotary Youth Exchange from Taiwan to the United States. It gave me the opportunity to see things from a new perspective, think differently, and to gain a better understanding of myself. I made many new friends.

I grew up in a single parent home with my mother, who had lost most of her left arm earlier in life. She was beautiful and strong and took care of me herself. We had no income and survived on the money the government gave us each month. I brought home part of my school lunch to use as breakfast or dinner the next day. This gave me compassion for children who don’t have enough to live on. Continue reading

Funding the fight against polio

A child who has tested positive for polio in Pakistan.

A child who tested positive for polio in Pakistan.

By Jewat Sunder, Rotary Club of Khipro Sunders, Pakistan

I recently traveled to the Sanghar District of Pakistan to meet the parents of a child who had tested positive for polio. Rotary members were taking part in immunizing children against polio during a one-day drive.

Seeing the child reminded me all the more why we must eradicate this disease. The parents cooperated with me in distributing vaccination information, and I handed out End Polio Now caps, pencils, and balls. Continue reading

World’s Largest Human National Flag

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By Rotary Voices staff

Rotary members in Chennai, India, organized the creation of the world’s largest human national flag on 7 December on the grounds of the YMCA during a Rotary Day event. Rotary members joined 50,000 other people, and formed the blue wheel in the center of the human flag, while RI President Gary C.K. Huang, his wife, Corinna, and other Rotary leaders watched from a podium. After breaking the Guinness World Record, local Rotarians flipped over placards to show the Rotary logo and unfurled a large banner that read “Keep India Polio Free.”

Skip a cup of coffee, help educate a child in Nepal

Gail Barlow (third from right) visits with students during a recent trip to a school her Rotary club supports in Nepal.

Galia Barlow (third from right) visits a school in Nepal during a recent trip. Her Rotary club provides scholarships for 30 students to attend the school.

By Galia Barlow

My husband, Robert, and I decided to take one of those lifetime voyages through India and Nepal while we can still travel and learn.

Being a member of the Rotary Club of Branchburg, New Jersey, I was asked by the past governor of our district, Tulsi Maharjan, to visit the school in Nepal our club is supporting. We provide $500 scholarships for 30 students from poor, working families, which pays for books, tuition and other school supplies. Continue reading

Australian Rotary Youth Exchange student warms to Brazil

Courtney (left) meets the Rotary Youth Exchange safari in 2013. Photo courtesy of District 9800

Courtney (left) meets the Rotary Youth Exchange safari in 2013. Photo courtesy of District 9800

By Courtney, a Rotary Youth Exchange student sponsored by Rotary District 9550 (Australia)

Thanks to my Rotary Youth Exchange in Brazil, I now have friends from all corners of the globe. I have made some of the best friends I’ve ever had here, and it has been an amazing experience.

A little more than two years ago, I was sitting along the highway in a small town in the Queensland Outback watching traffic go by, when two members of a Rotary Youth Exchange safari tour walked by and struck up a conversation. Little did I know that simple conversation, and later meeting the entire busload of teens on the safari, would eventually lead to my own Rotary Youth Exchange, with financial support from the Rotary District that covers Queensland and from members and clubs throughout southeast Australia. Continue reading

An update on fighting Ebola in Liberia

Volunteers organized by the African Dream Academy deliver containers of chlorinated water. Photo courtesy African Dream Academy

Volunteers organized by the African Dream Academy deliver containers of chlorinated water. Photo courtesy African Dream Academy

By Samuel R. Enders, Rotary Club of Yonkers-East Yonkers, New York, USA

The rate of infection from Ebola in Liberia is slowly decreasing. It is a great joy to sit in my office, which is right next to the main road, and not hear every hour the sirens of pickup trucks transporting bodies to be cremated. It is a sound Liberians have come to know as the sound of sorrow.

Our campaign to prevent the spread of Ebola and save lives is now in its third phase. I am grateful to the board of the African Dream Academy, members of the Yonkers-East Yonkers Rotary Club, friends, and partners who Continue reading