4 ways to celebrate Youth Service Month virtually

By Erika Emerick, RI programs and promotions specialist

Youth Service Month is a special time in Rotary. Throughout the month of May, members of Rotary clubs, Rotaract, Interact, and those involved in Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and Rotary Youth Exchange celebrate the opportunities Rotary provides to connect, grow through service, develop leadership skills, mentor or be mentored, and have fun.

The outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, may alter the way we observe Youth Service Month this year. But it need not dampen our enthusiasm, excitement, and gratitude for these programs and the volunteers who make them possible. Here are four ways you can safely celebrate: Continue reading

7 reasons young people should join Rotary

Ryan Bell explains what Rotary has to offer young people, including exciting service opportunities that will connect you to others in your community.

By Ryan Bell, Iowa City District 6000 Public Image Co-Chair

I have a message for all you young people out there who may never have heard about Rotary. Or if you have, it was from a parent or grandparent who spent more time talking about the lunch menu or how great the salad bar is. If that’s all you’ve heard about Rotary, then you’re missing a lot. And let me tell you why, in the middle of this pandemic, Rotary is more relevant than ever. It’s definitely something you want to know about. Continue reading

Rotary, Peace Corps working together

Students in Santa Lucia, Guatemala, are making soap from volcanic ash as part of the district grant project to empower students and keep them in school.

By Maureen Duncan, a member of The Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisers and a returned Peace Corps volunteer 

As a member of The Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisers, I evaluate projects in Central and South America. I am also a former Peace Corps volunteer stationed in Brazil (from 1966 to 1968). These two organizations have great potential for working together to achieve amazing results. Recently, I was able to combine these two networks for a grant project that is advancing education and providing economic opportunities for youth in Guatemala. Continue reading

New Programs of Scale grants for new year

Using global grant funding, Rotary members provided a well, water tower, and new fountains to a village in Benin.

By Victor Barnes, Director of Programs & Grants

In 2013, Rotary set out on its new grant model under the Future Vision Plan, in the hopes that the approach would enhance the scope, impact, and sustainability of humanitarian projects. More than six years later, and with over $460 million invested in almost 7,000 projects across the globe, Rotary is ready to augment these critical investments with a new grant type. Beginning January 2020, Rotary International is introducing a highly selective, competitive grant model that empowers Rotarians to implement large-scale, high impact projects with experienced partners. Continue reading

Scholarship program in Japan pays dividends

Yoneyama alumni

Alumni of the Rotary Yoneyama Memorial Foundation work with Rotary members on a clean up project.

By Masa Kato

As a regional communications specialist for Rotary International, I get excited when I hear stories about students who have had their lives changed by Rotary scholarships. Lasitha Eriyawa, a Sri Lankan, came to Japan in 2001 to pursue his college education. During his senior year, he received a scholarship from the Rotary Yoneyama Memorial Foundation, a program administered by an independent foundation named after Umekichi Yoneyama, the Father of Rotary in Japan. Continue reading

Gosha-e-Ilm: A Ray of Hope

Faisalabad Rotaract club members lead an evening class for child laborers.

By Ebadat-ur-Rehman Babar, 2019-20 secretary, Rotaract Club of Faisalabad, Pakistan

Our idea started back in 2018, when I and two other members of my Rotaract club began looking for an innovative, sustainable project. We wanted to submit an entry for the Rotaract Outstanding Project Awards and we came up with an idea of starting a school for child laborers who do not have enough resources for their education. Continue reading

Leadership library transforms community

The inside of the new Leadership Library in Mare Tabac, looking through the reading room.

By Frederic Nullathemby, 2018-19 president of the Rotary Club of Rose-Belle, Mauritius

If you want to be a leader, you have to read. If you want to develop leaders, you have to provide a place for young people to read. When we took on our project to develop the Leadership Library, we very much had the words of Margaret Fuller, a 19th century American journalist and women’s rights advocate, at heart: “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” Continue reading

Paying it forward through Rotaract

Georgi Kardzhaliyski at the Coney Island half marathon.

By Georgi Kardzhaliyski, a member of the Rotaract Club of Boston, Massachusetts, USA

My love affair with Rotary started when I was a junior in high school and was selected by the Bulgarian-American Fulbright Commission for their United States Achievers Program. One of the participants told me about Interact during the break of an SAT prep course and sparked my interest in getting involved. Feeling inspired, I went on to start my high school’s first ever Interact club, which I ran successfully with my co-president and about 10 members for a year until I graduated. Continue reading

Bridge to success in The Gambia

The project team from left Lamin Manneh, Beth W. Kealy, Maggie Peterson, and Randy Hutchins.

By Maggie Peterson, Rotary Club of Edmonds, Washington, USA

Four members of our club left Seattle on 1 February and flew some 30 plus hours to The Gambia, arriving on the evening of 2 February. The purpose of the trip was to identify a site in the remote area of the Central River Valley for a “pure” science lab. This crucial component for Secondary Schools does not currently exist, effectively cutting off access to college or even high school graduation, as this science lab work is required for both. Continue reading

Rotary-supported story contest gives Tacoma youth a voice

The first-ever Tacoma Ocean Fest Youth Story Contest invited youth to write about the ocean and what it means to them.

By Rosemary Ponnekanti

At first, Hope was reluctant. She was on the verge of flunking school through poor attendance. But when Kathleen Figetakis, literacy chair at Tacoma Sunrise Rotary, Washington, USA, asked the Tacoma senior for one little favor – to put up posters in her school for the Tacoma Ocean Fest Youth Story Contest – Hope agreed. Six months later, she had not only won second prize in the contest, but she also graduated from high school – and helped the inaugural contest to be a wave of success. Continue reading