By Darren Luong, a member of the E-Club of Southern Ontario, Canada & Western New York
Sixteen years ago, as a student at Cardinal Heights Middle School in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, I received an award from the local Rotary club at my graduation. I didn’t know what Rotary was or even why I had received the award. Time went by and it was forgotten at the bottom of some boxes packed away.
Eight years later, I was sponsored to go to a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event in my district. This life-changing week and the support from Rotary throughout my life has convinced me that this organization is full of amazing people that can really change the world for the better.
Starting the week at RYLA with a group of strangers that eventually become some of your closest friends still astonishes me every year we run the program. The Speak-ups are by far the best activity during the week. Each participant has five minutes to talk about a defining moment in their lives. It is always the most dreaded activity at first, but the most valued by the time we get to the end of the week.
Today, I’m proud to be a member of the Rotary E-Club of Southern Ontario, Canada & Western New York in District 7090, marking my first anniversary on 11 July. I serve as the youth service chair for my club and district, striving to make the same change in future generations that Rotary has made in me. Thank you Rotary.
- Learn more about organizing a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event
- Read about Rotary’s other programs that empower leaders
This is a great way to encourage the youth in our districts. I am so blessed to have been my Club’s Chairperson for Future Generation. I have served as our district’s Interact Chairperson for several years and have been to several RYLA conferences in the past. I do the youth services training in my club and we have two successful Interact Clubs. We send young people on Youth exchange programs and they return home wiser and stronger. We are sorry that GSE is no longer a Rotary International Program. I was told that we can continue it if we wanted to do it with our club and the district. Continue the good work that you are doing for the Youth of the world. They will be the leaders in future years.
In January 1997 I was the GSE team leader to India from Dunedin, Florida. We had a great time there and will never forget the impact of being part of Polio Immunization day in Jaipur, India. 750, 000 volunteers immunizing 33 million kids. How Awesome is that? No other organization can meet our standard of “Service above self”.
Rotary has been a part of my life only most recent. My sister is a Rotarian and has gotten me interested due to the End Polio Now campaign. I follow all the new information regarding polio eradication and like wise get all the up dates and stories regarding everything else. Amazing that they can do so much in so many places. Awesome organization.
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