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Rotaract art event proves virtual fundraising can be fun

Participant show their art

Participants in the art and wine event show off their creations.

By Tasmain Warren, Rotaract Club of Manhattan New York City, New York, USA

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, our Rotaract club realized the need to stay connected more than ever. We switched to an online platform and started brainstorming ways that we could fight the feelings of isolation that were building up because of social distancing. That’s when we decided to hold a virtual art and wine event as a fundraiser. Continue reading

Event highlights how Rotary members can help refugees

Cristal Montañéz has been working with Rise Against Hunger to provide meals for Venezuelan refugees in Colombia.

By Quentin Wodon, Rotary Club of Washington Global, USA

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are among the most vulnerable people on earth. The latest UNHCR report released ahead of World Refugee Day in June estimates that 79.5 million people were forcibly displaced in 2019. Sadly, the number keeps rising as conflict and economic crises force people out of their home. Syria still has the largest number of refugees globally, but displacement is also affecting millions of people in Venezuela and Central America, generating major economic and civilian challenges for the Latin America region as a whole. Continue reading

A virtual Aloha, Rotary

By Celia Giay, chair of the 2020 Rotary International Convention and a past RI vice president

When RI President Mark Maloney invited me to be the chair of the 2020 Rotary International Convention two and a half years ago, I accepted the honor, aware of the responsibility of being the first woman Rotarian to serve in that position, but motivated by the opportunity to organize such an important meeting. Continue reading

We heal as one

A member of the Rotary Club of Camp Aguinaldo, Philippines, delivers a packet of food.

By Elizabeth P. Directo, Rotary Club of Camp Aguinaldo, Philippines

Knowing that many people have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, incoming club presidents in our district (3780) were looking for a way to spread a little bit of hope to those who lacked it. So we partnered with a mobile kitchen, run by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to make and distribute meals for residents in need. Continue reading

Rotary in Kirkintilloch is alive and well

Bob Tomlinson

By Bob Tomlinson, president of the Rotary Club of Kirkintilloch, Scotland

The COVID-19 pandemic is horrifying. The lives lost are not just statistics. Each death is a life cut short and a family and friends left grieving. This reality is something we must never forget. Our way of life has been profoundly challenged.

For organizations, such as Rotary, a common question asked is: “what will Rotary be like if we survive this?” The questioner invariably makes the addendum, “We’ve never been through anything like this before.” As individuals, very few of us have been through anything like this. But Rotary International has, several times, and came through to the other side — 1918 Spanish Flu, the Great Depression of the 1930’s, World War II, Korean and Vietnam wars, etc.

This is the account of how one club is working to survive. Continue reading

Peace is an inside-out job

Lindsay Griswold participates in a dance as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya in 2006.

Lindsay Griswold as a Peace Corps volunteer in 2006.

By Lindsay Griswold, Senior Specialist for Youth Exchange and Youth Protection
I grew up in a home that was not peaceful. So, I think peace is something I have always unconsciously sought, in my life, work, hobbies, and other interests. The summer after I graduated from university, I joined the United States Peace Corps, and served as a Deaf Education Volunteer in Kenya. This experience changed me in too many ways to count, but the traits I gained then that I still value now are patience, flexibility, and resilience.

Continue reading

Conducting service projects is possible, rewarding during pandemic

The Rotary Club of Novosibirsk-Initiative, Russia, assembled masks for medical workers as a virtual project.

By Ekaterina Tashlykova, secretary, and Julia Fedeneva, president-elect, Rotary Club of Novosibirsk-Initiative, Russia

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our self-awareness. Virtual meetings are now common, but what about doing service projects? Can these be virtual too? As a club, we explored this idea with our first service project since the pandemic hit. Continue reading

The secret to increasing club giving

Flood victims in Kerala, India, receive job training under a global grant by the Rotary Club of Kalamassery. The $100,000 grant project benefited 500 families. N. Bhaskaran Pillai used examples like this one to encourage members to give to The Rotary Foundation.

By N.Bhaskaran Pillai, Rotary Club of Kalamassery, India

When I became treasurer of my club last year, I learned through Rotary Club Central that only 25 of our 39 members were Paul Harris Fellows (PHF). I also saw that our club had transferable Foundation Recognition Points that had been lying dormant for several years.

I saw an opportunity to rally our club around an effort to earn a 100% Paul Harris Club recognition using these points and collecting affordable contributions from members who were not yet PHF. Continue reading

We were built for this

Paddy Rooney

Paddy Rooney

By Paddy Rooney, governor of District 7390 (Pennsylvania, USA)

“We were built for this.” They were just a few words, cast upon a sea of words spoken that evening. But it encapsulated everything that I believe Rotary to be about and what our challenge is for the future. The words were spoken by Rotary International Director Jeffry Cadorette and General Secretary John Hewko at a zoom gathering of district governors and governors-elect. Spoken above the blare of the evening’s business, these words offer a profound vision for Rotary in the months and years to come as we move through this pandemic into the future which awaits us. Continue reading

Finding common ground during the pandemic

Kiran Sirah Singh at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee, USA.

By Kiran Singh Sirah, a 2011-13 Rotary Peace Fellow and president of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee, USA

I’ve been having lots of inspiring conversations with my fellow Rotarians recently. As a Rotary Peace Fellow, I’ve found it so helpful to connect and brainstorm with my colleagues from the program. I think many of us individually and institutionally have had our thoughts crowded out by our focus on survival early in this crisis.

The question marks we all face remain overwhelming. But as we have talked with one another, it has shifted our attention on collaboration and supporting one another. We’ve been focusing on how we can help not just ourselves and each other in our own personal and professional circles, but also make a difference in the wider world. Continue reading