Rotaractors promote diversity, equity, and inclusion

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

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

Rotary Scholars stay connected through water diplomacy

Nataliya Chemayeva at her desk at the Scientific-Information Center, Interstate Sustainable Development Commission, International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.

Through The Rotary Foundation, we invest in emerging leaders who are using their skills to make the world a better place. We have the amazing opportunity in Rotary to participate in this work by offering scholarships that enable these young leaders to expand their skills and make connections with other professionals in their fields.

During Reconnect Week 5-11 October, we celebrate these alumni and hold activities designed to keep them connected. These alumni serve as ambassadors for Rotary, joining a growing network of peacebuilders and service-minded professionals who are partnering with us to do good in the world. Continue reading

Engage alumni through service, fun

Rotary Feeding Heroes project

Rotary Feeding Heroes purchases meals from Black-owned restaurants that are in turn donated to health care workers treating COVID-19 patients at local hospitals.

By Jon Blauvelt, president, Rotary District 6970 Alumni Association 

In the spirit of Reconnect Week, I am proud to share how our alumni association is engaging with Rotary alumni and area Rotary clubs through service projects and social outings.

Chartered in 2016, our alumni association has approximately 100 members. Their connection to Rotary ranges from participation in a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event, a Rotary Youth Exchange, to just about any Rotary program. We also have ambassadorial scholars and Rotary Peace Fellows. Since our members’ ages range from in their teens to over, we make an effort to create events and projects that appeal to people, no matter where they might be on their Rotary journey. Continue reading

Who couldn’t use a wave of positivity right now?

Degree 33 surf team

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

Group Study Exchange changed my life

Group study exchange team from India visiting the US

The group study exchange team during a field visit with their hosts in Maryland, USA, in 1990.

By Rakesh K. Gaur, former Group Study Exchange team member

As a citizen of India, I have been troubled by my country’s population growth, economic crisis, poverty, crimes against women, and child abuse. I had the privilege of taking part in a Group Study Exchange, supported by The Rotary Foundation, 30 years ago, and it totally changed my perspective on life, and kindled my urge to do something to help our society. Continue reading

Rotaract art event proves virtual fundraising can be fun

Participant show their art

Participants in the art and wine event show off their creations.

By Tasmain Warren, Rotaract Club of Manhattan New York City, New York, USA

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, our Rotaract club realized the need to stay connected more than ever. We switched to an online platform and started brainstorming ways that we could fight the feelings of isolation that were building up because of social distancing. That’s when we decided to hold a virtual art and wine event as a fundraiser. Continue reading

Rotaractor’s app separates pandemic fact from fiction

Members of the Rotaract Club of Dehli Rajdhani test features of the app, designed to provide users with reliable information through a computer-simulated chat.

By Uday Nanda, past president Rotaract Club of Dehli Rajdhani, New Dehli, India

As a social entrepreneur in New Dehli, India, I have been watching the overload of information coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be hard to sort out good information from bad. People have been misled by false news and inaccurate claims. As a member of Rotaract who has received recognition as a product designer in the fields of education and technology, I wanted to do something to help people sort fact from fiction.

With the support of my Rotaract club, I set out to design a Chatbot that could answer people’s questions about the pandemic. A Chabot is a software application that simulates an online text conversation with a live person. You can ask questions and receive information as if you are chatting with a real person, only via artificial intelligence. Continue reading

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

Coming to the rescue of bees

Huge bee sculpture

Dieter Erhard sculpted a huge bee to draw attention to the plight of bees and the BeeAlive project.

By Gundula Miethke

Every year Rotaract clubs throughout Germany look for a common initiative to participate in on a country-wide basis to demonstrate their commitment to social action. This effort includes hands-on activities, lectures, and public awareness around a single issue. This year, that issue centered on an environmental theme, protecting wild bees.

A Swiss documentary “More than Honey” left a lasting impression on one Rotaractor, who convinced other Rotaract and Rotary members about the menacing problem that these little superheroes find themselves in, one that impacts us as humans as well. The hard-working wild bees are responsible for pollinating more than 75 percent of our crops and wild plants. If they die out, we cannot survive either. Continue reading