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.