Mike Norkin leads District 5330’s RYLA as camp director.
By Mike Norkin, RYLA camp director for District 5330 (California, USA)
I attended my first Rotary club meeting as a 24-year-old guest of a member, and sat in complete awe. Students and members who had attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards program the weekend before were sharing their stories. I will never forget the feeling I had as I listened to the accounts of how lives were being changed. I knew, at that moment, that I would be a lifelong Rotarian if I was able to participate in this program.
The author, third from left, on her Rotary Youth Exchange in Thunder Bay, Canada.
By Xolisile Sithole, former Rotary Youth Exchange student to Canada
It has been more than eight years since I embarked on a Rotary Youth Exchange to Thunder Bay, Canada, from South Africa. In many ways, it still seems like yesterday. It was an incredibly big year for me, having finished high school and qualified for university, and It remains one of my most treasured memories. Continue reading
Rotaract members talk to students about thalassemia.
By Ali Raza, president of the Rotaract Club of Bahauddin Zakariya University, Punjab, Pakistan
We live in a society where people call themselves humans before they know the need of being human; where they wish for a long life before they wish for healthy life; and where they work for wealth before they work for health. But I believe being human means being responsible. And that includes not just shutting our eyes when segments of our society are suffering and need our help. Continue reading
RI President Barry Rassin and Rotary directors with Rotaractors at the Rotaract Turns 50 Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.
By Alexandria Ritchie, a member of the Rotaract Club of Virginia Commonwealth University and the Rotary Club of James River, Richmond, Virginia, USA
Both Rotary and Rotaract have contributed so much to who I am as a young person. The spirit of innovation that I’ve found in this family has been instrumental to my journey.
During my very first meeting as a member of an Interact club, I listened as our faculty adviser talked about the project the club had just finished. They had raised funds to provide livestock to a family in South America. The livestock would benefit the family for years to come because it would help provide goods that they could sell in a local market for profit. I remember thinking how amazing and different this type of service seemed. Looking back, I now realize that I was falling in love with this idea of sustainability. Continue reading
Christian Miguel da Silva and other Youth Exchange students at a Rotary conference in Mexicali in 2004-05
Christian Miguel da Silva
By Christian Miguel da Silva, alumnus of Interact and Rotaract clubs, Rotary Youth Exchange program, and the New Generations Service Exchange program.
Watching the news today can create a lot of anxiety. Have you noticed how upside down the world can seem at times? But whenever I find myself feeling the darkness of the world we live in, I remember the positive experiences I have had in Rotary programs, and how they have made me an optimist.
I’m 30-years-old, and my first experience in Rotary was at 13. Invited by friends, I went to my first Interact Club meeting, and didn’t want to leave. Continue reading
Cassady Shaw, left, and Tamara Larson at the Nelson Mandela Exhibit in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
By Tamara C Larson, Youth Services Chair for District 5370 (West and Northwest Canada)
For the past two years, I have had the privilege of being a chaperone and working with many young leaders as they attend the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg as part of our district’s program to introduce young people to human rights. As youth service chair, I find working with these young leaders to be very inspiring. They have a strong investment in social justice, in creating positive change, and are willing to tackle tough issues without compromise. Continue reading
By John Hewko, Rotary International General Secretary
The desire to give back, become involved in your community, create connections, and use one’s skills to benefit others is a cornerstone of civil society. But how can young people find these opportunities while facing the challenges of a widening skills gap, lost personal connections through digital isolation, and an uncertain future?
Let me begin with a description of a young person who may sound familiar. Continue reading
John Marvin Leonor has fun in a foam pit during a fellowship event including the Rotaract clubs of New Rise Kalookan North and Zamboanga City West at the ABS-CBN Studio Experience in September.
By John Marvin Leonor, Rotaract Club of New Rise Kalookan North, Philippines
The first word that comes to mind when I think about our sponsor Rotary club is family. It is our greatest honor to serve our community alongside the Rotary Club of Kalookan North. Whenever anyone asks me what our greatest strength is as a Rotaract club, I can proudly say it is the active and strong partnership with our Rotary club.
The importance of this partnership cannot be underestimated. Rotary clubs have the ability to make Rotaractors feel they belong to this huge family of Rotary and are an integral part of it. I feel fortunate our Rotary club has made it such a priority, and hope by sharing this it will inspire other clubs to do the same. Continue reading
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
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