Editor’s note: This is part of a series of blog posts from Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month.
By Nicolas Silva, member of the Rotaract Club of Trenque Lauquen, Argentina
Four years ago, our club undertook a project called “Todo Sirve,” which literally means “’everything serves.” We collected donations in our city, including food, drinking water, clothes, children’s toys, bikes, and beds for an aboriginal low-income community, the Qom village, located in Formosa, a northern province of Argentina.
I will never forget hearing the word “gnashek” (Qom for ‘thanks’) from a woman who I was giving a box of donations to.
In that moment, my whole world stopped, and I understood how interconnected we all are. So many things that I take for granted, others need and sometimes have to do without.
More than friendship
I joined the Rotaract Club of Trenque Lauquen in 2013 looking for new friendships, but I’ve come to realize that Rotaract is so much more. I’ve been president, vice-president, and currently treasurer of my club. And I find that being in Rotaract is also a way to feel; to enjoy; to share; to serve; and above all, to learn with friends.
In spite of all the hard work that this project took – organizing meetings, sending letters, searching for people who want to join, receiving and sorting donations – I came to understand better the opportunities Rotaract provides. When we traveled within the community, we were accompanied by our fellow Rotaractors from Formosa, making the project easier and more enjoyable. Traveling 1,400 kilometers (about 870 miles) became like nothing, because we were going to serve alongside our friends.
The project taught me that we need to work together to change lives. I can assure you that if you make someone smile through service, it will change you forever. It certainly changed me – that’s when I fell in love with Rotaract.