My Rotary Youth Exchange to Spain

Mia Henderson and host sister on Spain Day
Rotary Youth Exchange student Mia Henderson and a host sister in Madrid, Spain, on National Day of Spain.

Mia Henderson, 2019-20 Youth Exchange Student from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to Madrid, Spain

When I was 16, Rotary offered me a chance to experience life beyond anything I had known before. After attending a meeting about Rotary Youth Exchange, I decided to apply to study in Spain.

It took months of hard work to prepare. But before I knew it, it was time to pack up my things and leave. I arrived for my 2019-20 exchange in an unfamiliar country, meeting people I didn’t know, who spoke a language I didn’t speak well. But even though this was my most difficult path yet, I was at peace.

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4 ways to celebrate Youth Service Month virtually

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 (RYLA) and Rotary Youth Exchange celebrate the opportunities Rotary provides to connect, grow through service, develop leadership skills, mentor or be mentored, and have fun.

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3 things you should know about advancing youth service-learning

By Caitlin Cangialosi, Rotary International Programs and Engagement Specialist

Every year, over 350,000 youth participate in Rotary’s youth programs. Yet, until recently, Rotary didn’t have resources that directly engaged them in service, a fact that surprised me when I first began working for Rotary International’s Programs for Young Leaders team in the spring of 2019.

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Presidential conference offers relationship building, collaboration

By Alex Ritchie and Taylor Huie, executive co-directors of the Ascension Rotaract MDIO, and Ally Fisher, chair of the RotarActs of Kindness campaign

As life-long members of the Rotary family, our passion for Rotary and Rotaract stems from the deep friendships we have formed and the meaningful service we have taken part in. These last few years have been a whirlwind, from first meeting at the 2018 Rotary International Convention in Hamburg to launching a new Rotaract Multidistrict Information Organization (regional groups of Rotary districts that form for the purpose of disseminating information and facilitating communication among Rotaract clubs in the participating districts). Through this, our friendship with each other and the connections we have made with others have truly been life-changing.

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Celebrate Rotaract by giving

By Clement Chinaza Owuamalam, Rotaract Club of Apo, Nigeria

World Rotaract Week is an annual celebration of the success and significance of Rotaract in communities around the world. This year, from 8-14 March, Rotaractors, worldwide are celebrating the wonderful experiences that inspire them to put service above self.

Members of the 2018-19 Rotary International Rotaract Committee at the One Rotary Center, USA.

I vividly remember that sunny Saturday afternoon in 2014 when our president at the Rotaract Club of Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria, led us to a Rotary Foundation seminar organized by leaders in our zone. I was overwhelmed to discover how donations to The Rotary Foundation, no matter how small, are transformed into life-changing projects in areas where they are greatly needed.

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Nigeria conference celebrates youth, collaboration

By Christian Stephen, Elelenwo Rotaract Club, Nigeria

Recently, a friend asked me what Rotaract was all about, and what benefit it provided. It gave me a moment to reflect. Having been a Rotaractor for more than six years, I can boldly say that there has never been a better time than now to embrace the responsibility that Rotaract offers, and to use it to create innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Continue reading

Pursuing our mentoring moments

Elizabeth Usovicz

By Elizabeth Usovicz, Rotary International director-elect

When I speak with Rotary members about the importance of mentoring future leaders, I often hear, “I would love to be a mentor, but I don’t have the time.”

My response is a question and this story. Continue reading

Join me at the 2020-21 Presidential Conferences

By Rotary International President Holger Knaack

For many years in Rotary, we have talked about the importance of Rotaract and how young people have the potential to reshape our organization. Thankfully, in the last few years we have gone beyond talk and have moved into a time of action. Continue reading

Rotaractors promote diversity, equity, and inclusion

A screenshot of the video Big West Rotaract created for the 2020 Rotaract Post Convention.

Editor’s Note: Learn more about Rotary’s DEI statement, what DEI means, and how you can put it into practice in this 15-minute course in the Learning Center.

By Janel Breen, member of the Rotary Club of Cupertino and Rotaract Club of Silicon Valley, General Secretary of Big West Rotaract Multi-District Informational Organization

Let’s play a game. I’m American. What assumptions have you just made about me? My parents are Filipino immigrants. How have those assumptions now changed? 

Without realizing it, we make assumptions of people on the little we actually know about them. Everyone has some prejudicial beliefs. It’s how society taught us to think. After all, how did societies like mine define lighter skin as the universal truth for “beautiful”? But we CAN change it. We CAN confront these beliefs if we are intentional about it, but we can’t get defensive. We have to accept that our understanding of the world is changing and to do better with our new knowledge. Continue reading

Rotary alumni join members to clean up river

River cleanup

Favour Madu, middle orange vest, and other volunteers clear debris from the shoreline near Lagos, Nigeria.

By Favour Madu, president of the District 9110 alumni association

Reconnect Week 5-11 October reminds us to keep the many participants and beneficiaries of Rotary programs close to us so we can all enjoy the benefits of this extended Rotary family! Our alumni association, like others, strives to build these bridges all year long. Continue reading