The author, far right, and her daughter with a former Rotary Youth Exchange student from Chile.
By Linda Mulhern, a member of the Rotary Club of St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
When you become a Rotary Youth Exchange student, you never imagine how it might affect you in the long term. In my case, my exchange has connected my family in more ways than one.
As a Youth Exchange student to Sweden in 1979-80, I learned a lot about what I was capable of doing on my own, my strengths and weaknesses, and what it took to overcome obstacles. I had an incredible year in Sweden, and still speak Swedish fluently. I have contacts with many friends and communicate regularly with my host parents and host sisters. Continue reading
Participants in the summit draw their ideas on paper.
By Anabella Q. Bonfa, District 5320 membership chair
How do you breathe new life into your Rotary club? We held a young professional summit recently in southern California, USA, attended by 52 members of Rotary and Rotaract — some new and some with many years of experience — who came together for half a day to share their thoughts. Everyone had fun, and many creative ideas surfaced. Here are just a few:
Plan events that are family-friendly to engage members with young children. Continue reading
The leadership team of the Rotary Club of Metro Savannah with the author (seventh from left in white shirt).
By Gordon Matthews, past governor of District 6920 (Georgia, USA), Rotary Club of Savannah East
A panel of three young members spelled out for us the issues that block young people from joining Rotary during our spring assembly a few years ago — scheduling, cost of dues, and rules.
I’ve been active in developing leaders in our community and have worked with our Group Study Exchange teams in the past, so I know the energy and potential in this “under 40” generation that we need to tap for Rotary. But I’ve also seen several Rotary clubs try to do this with limited results, because they stayed too close to the traditional model and dues structure. Continue reading
Rotary Youth Exchange student Ronan Morgan holds up the South African flag.
By Ronan Morgan
I had just arrived in Denmark after a 13-hour flight from South Africa, tired, but not exhausted. I was excited and ready to face a year of surprises and challenges as a Rotary Youth Exchange student from District 9400. It was not until I moved into my new home where I would spend the first five months of my exchange that it fully hit me – I was not in Johannesburg anymore, or anywhere familiar. Continue reading
Rotaractor Fernanda Luz Moraes entertains a child during a club outing. Happiness, she says, is an essential part of Rotaract.
By Fernanda Luz Moraes, president of the Rotaract Club of Cachoeirinha, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
When I began participating in Rotaract in 2012, I viewed it as a way to spend my weekends doing something good in my community. But then I realized it is so much more than that.
I have met many other members of Rotaract who have a hard time explaining the passion that comes over them for doing volunteer work. The best way I can put it is this: We think globally, then act locally.
I want to change the world, and in order to make it happen, I know I need to develop my Continue reading
Kathleen Plaza’s own This Close portrait
By Kathleen Plaza, Rotary Scholar
I was born and raised in a rural barrio (neighborhood) in Mindanao, Philippines. I moved to Guam when I was about 18 years old. I became a member of the Rotaract Club of the Marianas in Guam when I was completing my undergrad degree in biology, and served as secretary in 2011-12 and as youth services director in 2012-13.
I moved to Hawaii in August 2015, and with a Rotary Scholarship funded by a global grant, began taking classes in public health, focused on disease prevention and treatment. I will finish my program in May 2017. Continue reading
By Kyle J. Gomes, member of the Interact Club of Hugh Boyd Secondary
Every year, my Interact club — located in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada — looks forward to creating a video for Rotary’s Interact Video Awards. Last year, our video (above) was selected as the Best Video, earning our club $500 to use toward our service projects. One project very close to our hearts is Operation Christmas Child, and we were able to ship even more gifts and necessities to children in need this year.
Making these videos has been an amazing motivator for our whole club. The best part in making a video is being able to see the real and tangible differences that we make with the projects we support. The other Interactors and I all agree that the experience gave us a perspective on our projects, and showed that although we may be only high school students, we are making a difference. Continue reading
Members of the Rotaract Club of Phulbari, Nepal.
By Hari Chandra Satyal
I am a civil engineer by profession and have been a member of the Rotaract Club of Phulbari, in central Nepal, since 2008. I consider myself a youth volunteer and young entrepreneur.
After completing high school in my remote village, I had a big question in front of me: How do I find interest and satisfaction in life beyond my studies? Each day, I had virtually the same schedule and contact with a limited pool of friends. I was not happy with the routine and wanted to expand my horizons. Continue reading
Ally Vincent, center, with her Scottish hosts.
By Ally Vincent
Although I am just 23, I already have nine years’ experience with Rotary. I joined the Interact Club at Crystal River High School in Florida when I was 14. When I began pursuing an undergraduate degree at Saint Leo University, I felt a bit lost, and I missed the connection I had to Rotary. So I became involved in chartering a Rotaract Club on campus, eventually becoming club president in 2013-14. I saw Rotary’s good work both on a local and international scale through projects we worked on with the Rotary Club of Belize Sunrise, in Belize, and the Rotaract Club of Islamabad Green City, in Punjab, Pakistan. Continue reading
Members of Interact deliver the durable soccer balls in Vietnam.
By Sallyann Price, Rotary staff
At the Rotary International Convention in São Paulo this summer, a group of American high school students kicked a funny-looking soccer ball around the House of Friendship. The Interact club members from high schools in the Bay Area of California, USA, were raising money to send a volunteer team to Vietnam to give away 2,400 of these balls.
On assignment for The Rotarian, I traveled to Vietnam in July with a team of Interactors and Rotary members. The balls, produced by One World Play Project, a nonprofit Continue reading