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

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

Bringing the world together through Rotaract

Members of the Rotaract Club of Manila

Members of the Rotaract Club of Manila

By Karla Patricia Ravida, President, Rotaract Club of Manila

Did you know that when you serve others, you stand to gain as well? This observation was noted by American religious leader and author Gordon Hinckley when he wrote “One of the great ironies of life is this – he or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” For the past five years, I have been part of a Rotaract club and I can say I have had a lot of opportunities to live out that statement and grow as a young professional through serving others. Continue reading

Returning home again: How Rotary Youth Exchange builds resilience

Julia and host father

Julia Chalifoux (right), a member of her host family (center), and a fellow Rotary Youth Exchange student at the Big Buddha statue in Kamakura, Japan, in 1997.

By Julia Chalifoux, former Rotary Youth Exchange student to Japan

In 1997, at 17 years old, I spent a year living and learning in Tokyo, Japan, as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student.

Thanks to Rotary International, my time in Japan afforded me the opportunity to open my heart, mind, and eyes to a new language, land, and culture; all of this has had a profound and subtle impact and influence on the woman I am today.

In the months leading up to my exchange, I prepared myself for a year abroad, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the post-exchange experience – how returning ‘home’ again to my country of origin would also have an impact. Continue reading

Lights, camera, Rotaract!

The Beaches Rotaract Club

The Rotaract Club of Jacksonville’s Beaches, Florida, USA

By Charlie Flynn

When I first walked into a meeting of the Rotaract Club of Jacksonville’s Beaches, I couldn’t have possibly known all the unique and rewarding experiences my involvement would afford me. I had no idea what was in store; the connections I would make, the communities I would serve, and the knowledge I would amass.

At the time, the club consisted of less than 10 people. I admired each and every person in the small group and wanted to get involved. They taught me that groups of all shapes and sizes can make a difference in their local and international community. Since then, the club has seen significant growth and now has a membership of over 80. Continue reading