By Richard Hartwig, Rotary Club of Kingsville, Texas, USA
One day in 1964, during my junior year at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, USA, I was approached by Professor Frank Klingberg, who asked if I would like to be nominated for a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship (the predecessor of today’s global grant scholarships.) Two years later, I was off to Argentina, arriving just after a military coup, which was excellent training for a budding political scientist.
I owe much of my career as a political science professor to Rotary. The last few years, I have had a chance to give back as international services director for our Rotary Club. One of our two international projects is a scholarship program for poor students in Mexico.
Before coming to Kingsville in 1993, I taught for three years in Monterrey, Mexico, and attended an English-language Episcopal Church called The Holy Family. Once a year, Susan Moreira, Tati Duke, and other church members would organize a dinner-dance, Pub Night, to support a zero-overhead scholarship program called “Dar y Servir” (Give and Serve). About 250 poor students now have high school and/or university diplomas thanks to their efforts.
Four years ago, I heard that Dar y Servir was in danger of folding. Monterrey had become dangerous and many of the expatriates who had supported the scholarship program had left Mexico. I immediately thought of Rotary.
The Rotary Club of Kingsville — with initial support from District 5930 — has partially supported Dar y Servir for the last three years. Every year, at least one of us flies down to participate in selecting the scholarship students. Dar y Servir is incredibly cost-effective. A little over US$500 per year is enough to keep a student in high school or in the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon, which is tuition-free.
We have received dozens of thank-you letters from students like Patricia Lizeth de la Rosa Castillo, who writes (translated from Spanish):
“From all of my heart, many thanks for this great effort. I don’t have words to thank you. Perhaps for you it is just a sum of money, but for us it is our future.”
Learn more about global grant scholarships