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

What Fairwold is saying about Interact

Fairwold Interact members and advisors.

By Steve Bass, Fairwold Interact Club advisor

Fairwold Academy serves children that need emotional support from throughout the area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The opportunities we are able to provide these students are amazing. Our members have designed and sold tree certificates to raise money to purchase and plant thousands of trees in our local nature preserves. Our original recycling project, Plastic Planet Savers, won a sustainability award at Temple University’s EarthFest celebration a few years ago. And  the club has earned the Presidential Citation from Rotary International each of the past three years. 

But better than all of that is what they say about how Interact is shaping their lives. Here is just a sampling: Continue reading

The best way to find yourself

Younis Sebaggala takes part in a service project.

Younis Sebaggala takes part in a service project.

By Younis Sebaggala, professional leadership and development chair and president-elect of the Rotaract Club of Kampala North, Uganda

Common wisdom tells us that when you help someone else, you help yourself. But what does that mean? What does it mean to find yourself, or for that matter lose yourself? In the busy world we live in, we are becoming more and more isolated from our friends, neighbors, and family.

I believe that by using our time and talents to help people, we can reverse that trend. I believe that there is value in being connected to other people, and the volunteers I meet professionally and every day through my Rotaract club continuously strengthen this belief. Continue reading

Learning a common language of respect

Youth exchange and deaf students

Rotary Youth Exchange students share stories and ideas with students from a high school for the deaf.

By Daladiana Cunha Lima, co-chair of the Youth Exchange committee for District 4500 (Brazil)

Rotary Youth Exchange is my favorite Rotary program. From my experience, I found the challenges of Youth Exchange are fairly universal. Among these, I believe one of the most important is connecting the students’ exchange year with Rotary’s mission of providing service. Continue reading

Are you an inspiration, and more?

Immy Julie Nakyeyune Musoke

Immy Julie Nakyeyune Musoke

By Immy Julie Musoke Nakyeyune, Rotaract Club of Kampala South, Uganda

Last January, Rotary International President Barry Rassin’s presidential theme for 2018-19, Be the Inspiration, asked us to inspire change in the world and in each other. I believe that each of us is an inspiration because we accepted to join Rotaract, we joined to put Service Above Self. However, I keep asking myself, do we inspire other people to join Rotaract? Inspiration is evoked spontaneously without intention; through the stories we share, the pictures we post, and the books we read, to mention just a few ways. Continue reading

Mt. Pleasant to Munich: a Rotary Youth Exchange journey

Eva and Tara

Eva (Breuer) Stahl and Tara Nicoll in the Mecuris showroom with 3D-printed pediatric feet.

By Tara Nicoll

Mt. Pleasant, Pa., USA

Had it not been for my Rotary Youth Exchange to Munich, Germany, in 1994-95, I am positive that I would not be where I am now: Living and pursuing a career in global business development at an innovative German medtech startup. I work with another former Rotary Youth Exchange student, Eva, who happens to be my best friend from my exchange year.

The later challenges of working life in Japan and Argentina would have been impossible without the experience of being thrown into strange daily life situations with just a dictionary and persistence. Continue reading

5 ways to reconnect with alumni in 2019

Attendees of a young professionals event held by the Rotary Club of Milwaukee in 2016.

By Logan Johnson, Communication Specialist for Rotary Alumni Relations

For the past few years, Rotary International has been promoting Reconnect Week as a time to remind Rotary clubs of the value of reaching out and “reconnecting” with alumni of Rotary programs like Interact, Rotaract, scholarships, Rotary Peace Fellowships, youth exchange and other regional programs. But celebrating alumni and making them feel welcome to your club is something you can and should do year-round. Alumni of Rotary make great leaders and innovators and may possess the skills you need for your next service project. Continue reading

How RYLA changed my life

Daniel Eduardo Zavala is a District Rotaract Representative. Taking part in a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event set him down a path of Rotary service.

By Daniel Eduardo Zavala, Rotaract Club of San Joaquin, Venezuela

In 2010, I had my first exposure to Rotary during a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) event in San Cristobal, a beautiful city in my country of Venezuela. A secretary at the university I was attending recommended that I would get a lot out of the event scheduled for the following weekend, and being up for adventure, I said yes. I remember that day like it was yesterday. Continue reading

New Rotaract club creates community in Ohio

Packing potatoes

Members of the Rotaract Club of Canal Fulton, Ohio, USA, clean and pack potatoes at a regional food bank.

By Evelyn Aaron, Communication Director, Rotaract Club of Canal Fulton, Ohio, USA

If you ask any one of the members of the Canal Fulton Rotary Club why they joined, they will tell you it’s the sense of community that binds us all together. Many of us have spent significant portions of our lives in the greater Canal Fulton area, and we want to provide our children and our town with the same helping hands that we have been offered our entire lives. Continue reading

Living life forward in Rotary

Hudson and husband

Alexandra Hudson and her husband at her graduation from London School of Economics.

By Alexandra Hudson, former Rotary Global Grant Scholar

Looking back on my year in London as a Rotary Global Grant Scholar, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all that Rotary has enabled me to do. On one level, I was born into a family of Rotarians: my grandmother was a founding member for her club in Streetsville, Ontario, and my grandfather was a Paul Harris Fellow.

On another level, I chose to become part of Rotary when I was asked to reinvigorate my community’s Rotaract Club in Langley, British Columbia. Continue reading