Rotaract and Rotary serving together

Ignacio Gonzales Mendez in front of One Rotary Center
Ignacio Gonzales Mendez in front of One Rotary Center during a meeting of the Elevate Rotaract Task Force in 2020

By Ignacio Gonzalez Mendez, a member of the Rotaract Club of Oriente de Talca, Chile

I must confess, I didn’t set out to find Rotary. Rotary found me. I became involved in Rotary through a series of fortunate events which has changed the way I look at everything.

When I was 13, I volunteered for the Red Cross and that experience led me years later to create a project to establish a first-aid station in my high school. At my graduation ceremony, I was surprised with an award from the local Rotary club for my volunteer work with the Red Cross. The award was in honor of one of my teachers, who passed away unexpectedly. Receiving the award and knowing that my teacher had appreciated my efforts gave me more inspiration to keep volunteering.

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Using our unique talents in Rotaract

Martinez Belo with friend
Maria Valentina Martinez Belo (left) poses with one of the models for the Project Rosa fashion show that benefits cancer patients.

By Maria Valentina Martinez Belo, Rotaract Club of Ing. Boris Walter, Venezuela

We all have different talents. It’s what makes each of us special and unique. I have always felt a strong desire to organize big events and use my creativity to help others and make them feel special. Through Rotaract, I have been able to do that, changing my life and those of the people I have been able to serve.

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Mobilizing volunteers through the power of Rotary

By Lisa Hunter, Rotary Club of Maidenhead Bridge, Berkshire, England

Lisa Hunter
Lisa Hunter

I am so proud to belong to an organization that empowers ordinary people to work together to make a difference in other people’s lives. Through the Rotary network, we come together to use our skills and knowledge to support each other and build up our communities.

Nowhere was this more apparent to me than at the beginning of the pandemic, when our community went into lockdown and people were isolated and shut in. My club formed a Community Response Team to mobilize a network of volunteers to do what we do best: support those who need help in difficult times.

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Performing under pressure

Editor’s Note: Jeremy Opperman is a member of Rotary’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion taskforce and a regular contributor to this blog on issues related to disability inclusion.

By Jeremy Opperman, Rotary Club of Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa

Like countless others, I watched, read, and listened in impotent and morbid fascination at the horrors unfolding in Ukraine. But one rather different interview caught my ear, while listening to the BBC.

It was the manager of the Ukrainian winter Paralympic team, still competing in Beijing at the time. Speaking in fluent English, with exhausted clarity and indelible sadness etched into every syllable, he tried to articulate how the team members were feeling about their country literally disintegrating in their absence.

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Why Each One, Bring One is personal to us

District 6690 web artwork
District 6690’s (Ohio, USA) website provides all the tools members need to invite guests and make the Each One, Bring One campaign personal.

By MaryJane Shackelford, District Governor (Rotary Club of Zanesville Daybreak, Ohio, USA); Jenny Stotts, District Membership Chair (Rotary Club of Athens Sunrise, Ohio); and Matt Wideman, Each One, Bring One Coordinator (Rotary Club of Lancaster, Ohio)

Why are you a member of Rotary? For a lot of people, the answer is you want to help others or build friendships. But why is this important to you? That’s largely a personal question, and every person’s story is unique. That is why we have found the best membership efforts have to start with the personal.

When Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta challenged Rotary members with his appeal of Each One, Bring One, we knew we had to get personal and inspire our members to share their Rotary experiences with others.

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Nonprofits need to embrace strategies for success from the for-profit world

Lisa Greer
Lisa Greer

By Lisa Greer, Rotary Club of Beverly Hills, California, USA

“WE ARE NON-PROFIT. We are not a business!” As someone who has served as a board member, adviser, and donor for nonprofits, I’ve heard a version of this sentiment more times than I can count. At a meeting, it might be someone’s response while discussing a financial or organizational governance issue of the nonprofit. The statement often carries a whiff of disdain.

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How Rotary Community Corps help refugee communities

By Tom Gump, organizer of The Rotary Community Corps (RCC) for the Afghan Community in Minnesota, USA, and a past district governor

If you want to create positive peace in the world, you do not need to go all the way to Afghanistan or Ukraine, you can, together with others, have an impact from your own backyard. Positive peace is not only the absence of violence, but also includes a state of collaboration and support between states, nations, or members of a society.

Rotary and The Rotary Foundation are invested in creating positive peace. But what can we do in our local area to contribute to positive peace?

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Peace within, peace between, peace among

Brian Rusch

Editor’s Note: In September 2020, Rotary formed a task force charged with assessing the current status of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in Rotary and shaping a comprehensive action plan to help us further value and live those principles throughout the organization. This is the fifth in a series of blog posts from DEI Task Force members reflecting on their work on the committee and why it is critical for the organization.

Brian Rusch has managed organizations for Nobel laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama. With the knowledge he learned from them, he has created programs to inspire youth to explore ethics and how to reshape conversations on peace, equality, and forgiveness. A Rotary Youth Exchange student, he became a Rotary member in his 20s and helped create Rotary’s first LGBT-cultured club. Read his full bio.

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Paws for thought

Editor’s Note: Jeremy Opperman is a member of Rotary’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion taskforce and a regular contributor to this blog on issues related to disability inclusion.

By Jeremy Opperman, Rotary Club of Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa

“Ok, left, left, good boy!”
“Find the pole, find the pole, good boy!”
“Wait, ok, forward.”
“Find the kerb (curb), good boy.”
Find the pole, good boy!”
“Forward, find the kerb, good boy!”
“Straight on, no, find the kerb, forward, good boy!”
“Left, left, good boy.”
“Straight on, good boy!”
“No, we are not going right here, straight on, good boy.”
“Clever boy!” “Good boy!”
“Yes! Good boy!”
“Yes, you are such a clever boy!”

And with that, we had arrived at our destination. This is the exact conversation I have with my guide dog Ronnie when we are walking to a Rotary friend’s home every Tuesday and Thursday.

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Double your club in 60 minutes

Rotary club of Henderson
Members of the Rotary Club of Henderson, Texas, spend their Saturday building a wheelchair ramp.

By David Higgs, president, Rotary Club of Henderson, Texas, USA

When I was asked to serve as president of our local Rotary club, I knew I needed to focus on recruiting new members during my term. Our club was down to about 20 members and far too often we would have less than a dozen at our weekly meeting. So, I took some of the ideas I learned at Presidents Elect Training Seminars and molded an approach to enlisting new members. 

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