Editors note: The following blog post was written before COVID-19. It has been edited with permission to reflect the impact of social distancing and meeting virtually. Please visit the Rotary and Toastmasters websites for further info about how these organizations are keeping members safe and connected during the pandemic.
By Alfred Brothers, governor of District 6540 and a member of the Rotary Club of Anthony Wayne (Fort Wayne), Indiana, USA
I had heard of Toastmasters, but never got involved with the organization until last year, when Rotary members from our area and I attended the 2019 Rotary International Convention in Hamburg, Germany. There we heard about Rotary’s collaboration with Toastmasters. Continue reading
Hall full of food purchased by the Rotary Club of Newlands for distribution to 17 Early Childhood Development Centres in Langa, Cape Town, South Africa.
By Vanessa Rousseau, Rotary Club of Newlands, South Africa
As members of the Rotary Club of Newlands in Cape Town, South Africa, we could not stand by watching the devastating effects of COVID-19 on food security in our country and our city.
Soon after the initial lockdown period was announced, we jumped into action to do what we could to alleviate the suffering. To ensure that we provide what is needed to those most in need, we have drawn on our longstanding relationships with community leaders who have worked with us on projects over many years. Continue reading
The Degree 33 Surfboard Team consists of a half dozen members of Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship who raised more than $400,000 last year in the 100 Wave Challenge. This year due to COVID-19, participants can take part around the globe during an extended two-month period.
By Brett Morey, chair of Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship and past president of the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle, California, USA
The world could use some more positivity. And we’re going to give it to them with a fun-filled global Zoom event Thursday evening, 3 September featuring former World Champion of Surfing Shaun Tomson of Durban South Africa. Continue reading
By Cyndi Doragh, Zone 34 assistant Rotary coordinator and member of the Rotary Club of Fort Myers South, Florida, USA
Nearly three decades ago, I wanted to join Rotary. The first club I tried to join told me they weren’t accepting any more bankers. (In those days, it was common for Rotary clubs to limit the amount of people based on their profession.) A month later, I learned they welcomed a new member – and he was a banker.
I really wanted to be a Rotarian, and I soon found a club that welcomed me with open arms. I have been a proud member for 28 years. During that time though, barriers still exist for women who want to join a Rotary club. Only 23% of our global membership is women! We can do better. We need to be leaders and show our communities that everyone is welcome in Rotary, no matter what.
By S.R. Yogananda, past district governor, past regional Rotary Foundation coordinator, and a member of the Rotary Bangalore East, Bengaluru, India
The year was 1987. I had come back from the Sultanate of Oman and was running a consumer products distribution company in Bangalore, India, when a business executive came to my office one evening. He said “I have been watching the way you do business. You are not taking short cuts, you have asked your staff and accountants to follow all the government regulations. I would like to invite you to join my Rotary club.” Rotary, he said “amongst other things, stands for integrity” Continue reading
Members of the Rotary Club of San Antonio, Texas, sort items for a food drive in a school parking lot.
By Nathan Rizzo, Rotary Club of San Antonio, Texas, USA
I have been a member of my club for two years, but it was in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that I learned what it truly means to be a Rotarian. When my state of Texas went into quarantine, our club president, Brandon Logan, set up a ‘virtual happy hour’ on Thursday evenings. It was amazing to see all of the friendly, smiling faces of my fellow Rotarians. We spent an hour catching up; and then our conversation turned to service, and what we could do to help during the pandemic. Continue reading
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
By Rotary International’s Youth Exchange and Youth Protection staff
As the world faces extraordinary challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Rotary Youth Exchange students worldwide are facing unique challenges of their own. Rotary International has been working in tandem with Youth Exchange club and district leaders to ensure that the health and safety of students remains the priority whether in their host country or returning home. Continue reading
By Akio Nishikiori, member of the Rotary Club of Hiroshima Southeast, Japan, and an atomic bomb survivor
My Rotary club, Hiroshima Southeast, has actively promoted peace for its entire 60-year existence. We built a house for orphans who lost their families during the atomic bombings in 1945 and in 1982, became a sister club with Rotary Club of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USA. Our two clubs continue to exchange friendship and organize joint service projects. Continue reading
Portland Rotary members at a Toastmasters meeting.
By Terry Beard, Rotary Club of Portland, Oregon, USA
You may have heard that most people would rather die than give a speech. Public speaking is the number one fear for many people.
For 49 years, I too had a fear of public speaking. It was so bad, I would break out in a sweat. I’d leave the room. I’d find excuses, or ask other people to stand up and speak for me. Anything to avoid having to speak in public. A couple of bad experiences early in my life built up this fear, but I made it my goal to overcome it. Fifteen years ago at the age of 50, I was introduced to Toastmasters by a good friend, and I’ve been a member since. Continue reading