Rotary is a family that unites

Wilson in South Africa

Mark Wilson during his Rotary Youth Exchange in South Africa.

By Mark Wilson, Rotary Club of London

After a long flight from London, I arrived in Durban, South Africa, in 2011 to begin a short-term Rotary Youth Exchange, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Canterbury Sunrise and hosted by Westville Rotary. I did not know what or who would be greeting me, so I had a bit of anxiety which I can clearly remember to this day. Continue reading

Pedaling for polio in three countries

Dave Stumpf and Christian Pepera during a training ride at the Wisconsin border.

Dave Stumpf and Christian Pepera during a training ride at the Wisconsin border.

By Christian Pepera, Rotary staff

In true Rotary fashion, my training for the Miles to End Polio ride has been an international affair. During the last three months, I have logged more than 700 miles. By the time we reach Tucson, I will have pedaled my way through five U.S. states (Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin), along the shores of two Great Lakes (Michigan and Ontario) and in three countries (Canada, Spain, and the US). Continue reading

It’s not “your” project

161115_tusu_headsht2By Dr. Francis “Tusu” Tusubira, a member of the Rotary Club of Kampala-North, Uganda

How many times do we hear Rotary members say, “we have our project in Kireberebe Kisunkaana?”

Let us get one thing right when dealing with economic and community development. And I will call this lesson one: it is not YOUR project. Continue reading

UN, Rotary work together for peace

Vincent and Khusro

Doug Vincent, right, and Syed Khusro, President of the UN Association in Canada Toronto Branch.

By Doug Vincent, Rotary Club of Woodstock-Oxford, Ontario, Canada

We celebrated a great United Nations Day at Toronto City Hall on 23 October, hosted by the United Nations Association in Canada Toronto Branch. President Syed Khusro did an excellent job of coordinating the event and including Rotary.

A highlight for me was the outdoor ceremony, where the flag of the United Nations was raised over Toronto accompanied by the Canadian national anthem. Yes, the UN flag now flies over the city of Toronto. The release of several white doves symbolized our hope for world peace. Continue reading

Pushed to the limit, for a good cause

Jose Zambrano on a recent training ride.

Jose Zambrano on a recent training ride.

By Jose Zambrano, Rotary staff

It’s been almost two months since I started my training as part of the Miles to End Polio team. I can honestly say training for El Tour of Tucson has pushed me to my limits, but has also been an unbelievable experience.

Although I love outdoor activities, and am a very active person, my longest previous ride had been 40 miles. So trying to accomplish 104 miles is a huge challenge for me. Continue reading

6 ingredients for membership growth

Festival booth

One public event the club organized included a booth at a neighborhood festival.

By Quentin Wodon, a member of the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., USA

Let’s admit it: achieving a high growth rate (negative or positive) is easier with a small club. Still, after more than five years of almost continuous decline in membership, my club was excited to report a 60 percent growth in membership from July to October. We had 18 members on 1 July. Now we have 29, with 11 new members inducted in the first trimester of the new Rotary year.

How did we do it? Let me share our recipe: Continue reading

What does it mean to be human?

Misaki Otani

Misaki Otani, an Interact member in District 5170 (California, USA)

By Misaki Otani, member of Interact in District 5170  (California, USA)                 

Interact members in my district are raising $120,000 this year to aid Syrian refugees overseas and refugee resettlement in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are also raising awareness, planning service projects, and working to break the stigma associated with refugees.

Why did we chose this project? Continue reading

104 miles? I got this!

Nora Zei and team mates.

Nora Zei, right, and fellow team members Christian Pepera and Courtney Drew near the halfway mark of an 80-mile training ride. We are “This close” to ending polio — and the Wisconsin border.

By Nora Zei, Rotary staff

When I was selected for the Miles to End Polio team, I was both nervous and excited. I’ve loved cycling since I was a kid. But the longest ride I’d ever completed in a single day was 60 miles. I signed up to do 104 miles? Yikes!

But I’ve learned a little fear actually helps me, driving me to take my training seriously. Continue reading

When I give to Rotary, I get so much more back

161027_witkowski1

Stephanie Witkowski, middle in blue shirt, during her Rotary Youth Exchange in Slovakia. 

By Stephanie Witkowski, Rotary Club of Honolulu Pau Hana

At 28 years old, I decided to become a Rotarian, because Rotary changed my life.

I grew up in a small town in Oregon, USA, and was a young leader in my school. When I was 15 years old, I applied to attend a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event in Rotary’s District 5110 to learn more about myself and what leadership meant to me. During that amazing week-long experience, I learned not only about how to be a better leader for my school and community, but about Rotary itself.  Continue reading

Everyone should be protected from polio

Dave Stumpf during a training ride.

Dave Stumpf during a training ride.

By Dave Stumpf, Rotary staff

On one of my travels for Rotary, I visited our offices in New Delhi, India, in 2002. One image has always stuck with me since – that of a little girl begging on a train platform.

She was clearly afflicted with something terrible, impacting her ability to stand much less walk. My local hosts explained that she likely had polio. Now, I have my own 12-year-old daughter, and to know that she is safe from the scourge of polio, just because she had the good fortune to be born in the United States Continue reading