Ralph’s Rickshaw Ride for Polio

Ralph Zuke with a passenger in his cycle-drawn rickshaw.

By Ralph Zuke, president of the Rotary Club of Fairview Heights, Illinois, USA

I am often asked, “Why Rotary?” The short answer is: Rotary allows me the opportunity to do things I never dreamed I could do.

The Rotary symbol is a cogged wheel. I view every member in Rotary as a cog in that wheel (about 1.2 million). When I first joined Rotary I learned that I, as one person, could move that wheel forward. Continue reading

Why you want to risk

Visalia Rescue Mission in Visalia, California, USA.

By Ryan Stillwater, a member of the Visalia County Center Rotary, California, USA

On my walk to work on a recent morning, air crisp and clear after an overnight rainstorm, I walk past a man sitting on the street corner. I immediately recognize him as a former resident in our Life Change Academy, who left early on in the program. I nicknamed him Logan, due to his striking resemblance to one of my favorite X-Men comic book characters — with his muscular frame and prominent dark sideburns and stubble. This morning, he is angry and making loud threats against a man (not present) who had very personally wronged him. “Are you ok?” I ask. “No!” he screams, eyes fixed on an invisible enemy. I am standing with Wolverine – the enraged persona of the gentle man I had known. Continue reading

Rotaractors: Find your road to Rotary

Rebecca Fry will be presenting a workshop on the Road to Rotary at the Rotaract preconvention.

By Rebecca Fry, a member of the Rotary E-Club of Silicon Valley

In 2005, I made a seemingly small decision to apply for “science camp.” It happened to be the Rotary-sponsored, National Youth Science Forum. Fast forward 13 years and I’ve been heavily involved in the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), Rotaract and most recently I took the next exciting leap and joined the Rotary E-Club of Silicon ValleySelecting the best Rotary club to join was an 18-month journey. Continue reading

Rotary Youth Exchange changes lives

Dave White

Editor’s note: This is the fifth and last 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 Dave White, Rotary Club of Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada

I was inspired to become involved in the Rotary Youth Exchange program in the 1980s while I was a secondary school principal and the school hosted our first international exchange student. A young lady, an Inbound Exchange student from South Africa, spent the year at our school. She had never been taught by a non-white teacher and had some hesitations about attending his classes. The trepidations soon disappeared. She grew to know and respect the teacher as a person and thoroughly enjoyed his classes. Continue reading

Thousand Flags event connects community

High school students work on posting flags for the event.

By Cheryl M. Scott, a member of the Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary Club, California, USA

Imagine a sparkling lake, surrounded by rolling hills dotted with red, white, and blue flags flapping in the gentle breeze. Picture a three-year-old boy with a miniature flag, running beside the patriotic spectacle…or a high school senior in cap and gown, smiling proudly for her picture-taking mom in front of the colorful backdrop. Now, imagine an Army veteran, dressed in a beret and fatigues, leaning on his cane for support in his slow, deliberate walk among the sea of American flags. Continue reading

Dreaming bigger dreams through Interact

Ismael Nieto reads to children during one of his Interact club’s service projects.

Nieto

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. Continue reading

Literacy center dedicated to Pakistan Rotarian

Children at their school in Jhang, Pakistan, before the project provided new chairs, blackboard, and books.

By Michelle Tanner, past president Rotary Club of Matamata, New Zealand

A random Facebook message with an invitation to present at a Rotary polio conference in Lahore in 2014 was the start of an amazing journey that took me from rural New Zealand to Pakistan and culminated in a project to improve the education of children of garbage pickers in Jhang, Pakistan. Continue reading

Women helping women through Rotaract

Rotaract Ladies At Work visit schools and orphanages to empower girls to grow into their full potential.

Immy Julie Nakyeyune Musoke

Editor’s note: This is the third 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 Immy Julie Nakyeyune Musoke, president of the Rotaract Club of Kampala South, Uganda

My father spoke often of Rotary when I was a teenager. But I never had much interest until after he died in June of 2011, just a few weeks before his scheduled installation as president of the Rotary Club of Mengo. The support and comfort we received from the family of Rotary was remarkable. I couldn’t help but wonder, who are these incredibly amazing people who loved my father this much? Continue reading

Assisting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Eric Lee and his wife hand out supplies to refugee children in Bangladesh.

By Eric Lee, a member of the Rotary Club of Cheat Lake, West Virginia, USA

Service above self was the underpinning theme of our aid project for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh this year. The project was a colorful example of how Rotary works around the globe in the service of others. Clubs from the United States and Bangladesh delivered dry goods to Rohingya refugees in the Bahlukali camp along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in February. Continue reading

Why would I turn down a six-figure salary?

Members of the Silverton Rotaract Club at one of their projects fixing up a playground.

Rhett Martin

Editor’s note: This is the second 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 Rhett Martin, Rotaract Club of Silverton, Oregon, USA

Everyone comes to a crossroad at least once in their life. As a young adult, I have actually already faced two big-time choice moments. The first came six years ago when deciding whether or not to quit school in order to start a career I knew nothing about. The second came twelve months ago as I was presented with a job offer from one of the world’s biggest, up-and-coming tech companies. The job would pay over six figures, offer great health benefits and stock options, as well as a chance to expand my professional experience. The catch? I would have to leave the quaint little town I love for the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. Continue reading