Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of blog posts from the 2018 Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month.
By Ismael Cadeno Nieto, Interact Club of Manta, Ecuador
When I was 10 years old, my parents became involved in Rotary. Since that moment, I’ve assisted in club activities as the son of a Rotarian, and at first, I didn’t like it all that much. But four years later, something changed, and it became one of my favorite hobbies. I was inspired to take action through the needs I discovered in my community.
I looked for an Interact club to join, but there wasn’t one in my city. The next year, I received the opportunity to take part in a short-term Rotary Youth Exchange in Wisconsin, USA. On that exchange, I visited an Interact club that motivated me to create one in my own community. My youth exchange experience gave me a new and bigger perspective that opened up a door of opportunity.
I helped charter the Interact Club of Manta with the help of my mom, a Rotarian, and friends, and became the charter president. We started many service projects to help our community, my favorite being one that assisted children living in shelters after the 2016 earthquake. Also, I organized a PolioPlus fundraiser which raised $500.
Representing Interact in my district, I have visited most of the Interact clubs in Ecuador, motivating them toward greater service and engagement. I have also organized district events with the objective of giving other teenagers the opportunity Rotary has given me.
All these Rotary service and leadership experiences have changed my life. I’ve had the opportunity to meet people from different cultures and dream bigger dreams to make the world a better place. Rotary is giving me the leadership tools to make these dreams come true.