Who is that poster girl?

Francine Falk-Allen

By Francine Falk-Allen

One of the first misconceptions that confronted me as a handicapped child was that people – children, adults, everyone – would often say, “I saw your picture on the March of Dimes poster!!”  The March of Dimes was a campaign initiated to pay for polio vaccinations and patient care. Most of the patients were young children, who were the most prone to severe aspects of the disease. People were asked to send in “even a dime” and there were coin collection placards put out in stores, churches, gas stations, anywhere that people might be able to spare a dime. (A dime in 1950 would be worth about ninety cents in 2018.) Continue reading

How we set up a Rotaract club in a refugee settlement

A Rotary team visited the Nakivale Rotaract Club in January (select cc for English subtitles)

By Francis Xavier Sentamu, District 9211 (Uganda) governor-elect

When I first saw a story on BBC in the spring of 2016 about the Nakivale Refugee settlement, I didn’t give it much thought. It was distant to me. Somewhat coincidentally, I attended a “changemaker” event that November organized by the American Refugee Committee, where 13 youth from the Nakivale Refugee settlement were being honored for their project ideas to impact the refugee community. Continue reading

How accessible is your club?

Shogo Williams-Matsuka, left, attends a club event in 2016. Williams-Matsuka says he joined Rotary partly to improve the representation of people with disabilities in community groups.

By Shogo Williams-Matsuoka, president-elect, Rotary E-club of Western Australia

My life as a Rotarian began in 2014, when I became a member of the Rotary Club of Cockburn in Western Australia. Since then, I have joined the Rotary E-club of Western Australia and am the current president-elect for 2019-2020. My involvement in Rotary is motivated by the need to do more to improve the representation of people with disabilities in community organisations. Often people with disability are portrayed as the passive recipients of charity, undermining our capability to provide meaningful contributions to society. Continue reading

Changing public perception of homelessness

Rotaractors deliver Bento Boxes

Rotaract members in the Taipei Tin Harbour club talk with a homeless person as they deliver a single-meal home-packed “Bento Box.” Members are trying to change people’s stereotypes of the homeless.

By Elyse Lin, Rotaract Club of Taipei Tin Harbour, Taiwan

Being a part of the Rotary family for years, I’ve learned to be more aware of social issues in our community. Having taken part in a number of service projects, I started to think about what we could do to make sustainable change in the city.

Homelessness is a complicated issue in Taipei. Most people have a stereotype of the homeless that makes it difficult for them to find a job or break out of the vicious cycle they are in. We decided to take action to meet the basic needs of people living on the street and change people’s perceptions about the homeless. Continue reading

What value does your club have for young professionals?

Michael Walstrom

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of blog posts celebrating Membership Month.

By Michael Walstrom, president of the Rotary Club of Downtown Boca Raton, Florida  

Rotary, like any business, has customers. For us, those customers are our members and we must provide value to assure satisfied customers. The key to attracting and retaining young professional “customers” is presenting a Value Proposition that is attractive. Continue reading

Bringing the Rotary family closer together

Albert E. Kafka, Founder Intarconnect, Rotary Club of Wien-Oper

Change is the only constant in life. No matter how prepared we think we are for it, transition can be challenging. Closing the exciting chapter of our lives as members of Rotaract and moving on to the new adventures that await us in Rotary can be difficult. As a young person, how do we fit in?

I recently joined the Rotary Club of Wien-Oper, in which the average age is high, and there are many experienced people in the club. A desire to help others through this difficulty and to promote true unity among Rotarians led Peter Rabensteiner and I to create Intarconnect. Continue reading

Everyone’s safer when a fight is avoided

Rotary Peace Fellow and Vancouver police training instructor Bryan Nykon demonstrates some low-risk judo moves that can avoid escalating violence.

By Chris Offer, Chair, The Rotary Foundation’s Peace Major Gifts Initiative Committee, and a member of the Rotary Club of Ladner, Delta, British Columbia, Canada

I had the opportunity recently to visit the Police Tactical Training Center in Vancouver, British Columbia, a state-of-the-art facility complete with firing range, simulation rooms, gymnasium, and classrooms. My guide was Rotary Peace Fellow Bryan Nykon, who graduated in 2010 from the Rotary Peace Center at Bradford University. After graduation, he joined the Vancouver Police and worked as a patrol constable before his transfer as an instructor in the training center. Continue reading

Is it time for a re-read of Rotary?

Elizabeth Usovicz

By Elizabeth Usovicz, Public Image Coordinator for Zone 31

English was not my father’s first language. And like a lot of second language learners, he was an avid reader. He especially liked Conrad and Melville and read their bodies of work not once but several times during his life. As a young man, it was not uncommon for him to drop my mother off at her home after a date and head for a neighborhood diner, book in hand, to read and drink coffee until the night waitress closed up and shooed him home. Continue reading

Are you ready for the online challenge?

Members of the NoBorders Rotaract Club meet.

By Patricia Mackenzie, 2017-18 president of the Rotaract Club of NoBorders

As a young professional, I found myself being short on time. I was starting my career, making new friends, and I really didn’t have time to meet in-person multiple times a week. I tried a traditional Rotaract club for just over three years, but always felt guilty when I missed a meeting because I was traveling or working late. I really wanted to be in the Rotary family, but I needed flexibility.

Continue reading

How do you measure peace?

Eduardo da Costa

By Eduardo da Costa, Rotary Peace Fellow and Peace Ambassador for the Institute for Economics and Peace 

The question of how to measure development and human well-being has attracted the attention of economists, policy-makers, researchers, and other social scientists for decades. For example, the Human Development Index  produced by the United Nations seeks to measures a country’s achievements in three specific areas: living standards, health, and education.

But what about peace? How do we measure peace?

Continue reading