Becoming a Rotary alumni is just the beginning

Members of the Rotaract Club of Birmingham attend The Rotary Club of Birmingham’s Annual Rotary Trail Party in May. From left: Erica Murphy, Mary Meadows Livingston, Jeris Gaston, Amanda Martin, and Uma Srivastava.

Jerris Gaston

By Jeris Burns Gaston

If you told me twelve years ago upon finishing my Rotary Ambassadorial Program year in Dublin, Ireland, that this was just the start of an adventure, I would have been hard pressed to believe you. The program itself was such a unique and enriching experience that improving on this worldview changing year seemed impossible. However, as I enter my thirteenth year as a member of the Rotary family, I now realize that being an alumnus is just the beginning. 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

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

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

Paying it Forward through Rotaract

Members of the Rotaract Club of Pudu participate in a service project.

Editor’s note: This is the first 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.

Shannon Chow

By Shannon Chow, Rotaract Club of Pudu, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I first joined Rotaract when I was studying at Taylor’s University in Malaysia, and have now been in my club for close to eight years. Rotaract is a great platform to learn, practice, and exhibit leadership skills, and to be mentored by Rotarians and other Rotaractors. In addition to the professional development I have experienced, I have built so many friendships, including my best friend (now boyfriend) of seven years.

Rotaract has opened up many doors in my life. Continue reading

How we added younger members with an evening group

Stratford-Upon-Avon club members prepare for the Shakespeare Duck Race.

By Jonathan Craig, secretary of the Rotary Club of Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England

Our club meets at lunch and has a membership that is mostly retired. We do have a few younger members who have their own businesses or retired early, but gone are the days when employers encouraged their local bank managers to take two hour lunches. We began to be seen as a club that wasn’t a good fit for young working people. So it became a strategic goal for our club (and also for RIBI) to attract younger members and also more women. Continue reading

Rotary alum turns trash into treasure

Binish Desai’s company makes bricks from industrial waste otherwise destined for the landfill.

By Binish Desai, a member of the Rotary Club of Bulsar, India, and a former Rotary Youth Exchange student 

I started my journey in Rotary as a Youth Exchange Student in 2009-10, hosted by the Rotary Club of Waukegan, Illinois, USA. I’m now a member of the Rotary Club of Bulsar, India, and Rotary helps me live out my dream, a dream I have had since age 11 – giving back to my community in service.

In 2005, I created my first brick using industrial paper waste and chewing gum. Similar bricks of recycled materials would go on to make thousands of stand-alone toilets for rural communities by 2015. Continue reading

The opportunity that changed my life

Jireh Mabamba, second from left, with members of Rotaract in Minnesota.

By Jireh Mabamba

Sometimes, all you need is a chance – that one opportunity of a lifetime. Rotary gave me that chance.

I grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where human life has little value. Children are taken from their families and forced into the army, women are raped daily, and men are killed in front of their loved ones. Massacre is the norm. The only way to survive this brutal environment is to flee the country, and when I was nine, that’s what my family and I did. Continue reading

Our new vision statement: why should you care?

Stephanie Urchick

By Stephanie A. Urchick, chair of Rotary’s Strategic Planning Committee

We are now more than a year into the process of revisiting Rotary’s strategic plan, a process that will allow us to examine our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in order to move the organization in a direction that will allow Rotary to thrive in the years ahead. Our new vision statement is the first lap in that three-year journey.

You may have seen the vision statement and wondered what its relevance is to you. Continue reading