Scholarship program is Rotary alum’s way of giving back

Keyla with diploma

Keyla receives her diploma through the program.

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.

Student enrolls

A student enrolls in the program with the support check she received from the Rotary club.

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

3 thoughts on “Scholarship program is Rotary alum’s way of giving back

  1. This is a very good example what is our organization about! Congratulations to Richard Hartwig for his efforts to maintain the “Dar y Servir” Program in Monterrey, Mexico. By the way, that city used to have a very active Youth Exchange Program in their Rotary Clubs – possibly they still do it. Worth to check to get them involved as well.

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  2. Pingback: Scholarship program is Rotary alum’s way of giving back | The Rotary Club of Carteret

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