How RYLA changed my life

Daniel Eduardo Zavala is a District Rotaract Representative. Taking part in a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event set him down a path of Rotary service.

By Daniel Eduardo Zavala, Rotaract Club of San Joaquin, Venezuela

In 2010, I had my first exposure to Rotary during a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) event in San Cristobal, a beautiful city in my country of Venezuela. A secretary at the university I was attending recommended that I would get a lot out of the event scheduled for the following weekend, and being up for adventure, I said yes. I remember that day like it was yesterday.

I didn’t know what the future held for me. But taking part in that RYLA led me down a path that would change my life forever. I learned how many people around the world were working to make this world a better place. I met people my age or younger who were committed to improving their communities. And it made me want to do the same.

After that RYLA, I returned home with a desire to do all I could to help eradicate polio and bring about positive changes in my country. I joined Rotaract, and began taking part in international service projects. In all, I probably traveled to more than 28 countries, helping out in cities all over the world.

Rotary has given me the best experiences in my life. I traveled to Guatemala to provide food, clothes and toys for children living near a garbage dump. In Venezuela, I built and repaired parks for children. In India, I learned many new things about their culture, and following that, made trips to Argentina, Costa Rica, Spain, Italy, Sri Lanka and other countries. I always tried to give of myself and leave the communities I visited with more than when I had arrived.

In serving alongside members from other countries, I learned that we are all different but equal, sharing a common goal of making a difference in the world.

When I began serving through Rotaract, I was an IT student. Now I am a lawyer and programmer, a proud Rotary program alum, and a  District Rotaract Representative. This is my Rotary adventure. I now have family around the world. And I am looking forward to the day when I join Rotary.

What is your story? How has Rotary changed your life?

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