UN, Rotary work together for peace

Vincent and Khusro

Doug Vincent, right, and Syed Khusro, President of the UN Association in Canada Toronto Branch.

By Doug Vincent, Rotary Club of Woodstock-Oxford, Ontario, Canada

We celebrated a great United Nations Day at Toronto City Hall on 23 October, hosted by the United Nations Association in Canada Toronto Branch. President Syed Khusro did an excellent job of coordinating the event and including Rotary.

A highlight for me was the outdoor ceremony, where the flag of the United Nations was raised over Toronto accompanied by the Canadian national anthem. Yes, the UN flag now flies over the city of Toronto. The release of several white doves symbolized our hope for world peace. Continue reading

Pushed to the limit, for a good cause

Jose Zambrano on a recent training ride.

Jose Zambrano on a recent training ride.

By Jose Zambrano, Rotary staff

It’s been almost two months since I started my training as part of the Miles to End Polio team. I can honestly say training for El Tour of Tucson has pushed me to my limits, but has also been an unbelievable experience.

Although I love outdoor activities, and am a very active person, my longest previous ride had been 40 miles. So trying to accomplish 104 miles is a huge challenge for me. Continue reading

6 ingredients for membership growth

Festival booth

One public event the club organized included a booth at a neighborhood festival.

By Quentin Wodon, a member of the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., USA

Let’s admit it: achieving a high growth rate (negative or positive) is easier with a small club. Still, after more than five years of almost continuous decline in membership, my club was excited to report a 60 percent growth in membership from July to October. We had 18 members on 1 July. Now we have 29, with 11 new members inducted in the first trimester of the new Rotary year.

How did we do it? Let me share our recipe: Continue reading

What does it mean to be human?

Misaki Otani

Misaki Otani, an Interact member in District 5170 (California, USA)

By Misaki Otani, member of Interact in District 5170  (California, USA)                 

Interact members in my district are raising $120,000 this year to aid Syrian refugees overseas and refugee resettlement in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are also raising awareness, planning service projects, and working to break the stigma associated with refugees.

Why did we chose this project? Continue reading

104 miles? I got this!

Nora Zei and team mates.

Nora Zei, right, and fellow team members Christian Pepera and Courtney Drew near the halfway mark of an 80-mile training ride. We are “This close” to ending polio — and the Wisconsin border.

By Nora Zei, Rotary staff

When I was selected for the Miles to End Polio team, I was both nervous and excited. I’ve loved cycling since I was a kid. But the longest ride I’d ever completed in a single day was 60 miles. I signed up to do 104 miles? Yikes!

But I’ve learned a little fear actually helps me, driving me to take my training seriously. Continue reading

When I give to Rotary, I get so much more back

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Stephanie Witkowski, middle in blue shirt, during her Rotary Youth Exchange in Slovakia. 

By Stephanie Witkowski, Rotary Club of Honolulu Pau Hana

At 28 years old, I decided to become a Rotarian, because Rotary changed my life.

I grew up in a small town in Oregon, USA, and was a young leader in my school. When I was 15 years old, I applied to attend a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event in Rotary’s District 5110 to learn more about myself and what leadership meant to me. During that amazing week-long experience, I learned not only about how to be a better leader for my school and community, but about Rotary itself.  Continue reading

Everyone should be protected from polio

Dave Stumpf during a training ride.

Dave Stumpf during a training ride.

By Dave Stumpf, Rotary staff

On one of my travels for Rotary, I visited our offices in New Delhi, India, in 2002. One image has always stuck with me since – that of a little girl begging on a train platform.

She was clearly afflicted with something terrible, impacting her ability to stand much less walk. My local hosts explained that she likely had polio. Now, I have my own 12-year-old daughter, and to know that she is safe from the scourge of polio, just because she had the good fortune to be born in the United States Continue reading

Financing polio eradication and development in Nigeria

A Canadian Rotarian immunizes a young girl against polio in Katsina, Nigeria. Photo by Jean-Marc Giboux

A Canadian Rotarian immunizes a young girl against polio in Katsina, Nigeria. Photo by Jean-Marc Giboux

By Quentin Wodon, president, Rotary Club of Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., USA

As a lead economist at the World Bank, it has been exciting to see my organization step up to the plate and commit resources to the fight to eradicate polio, as we observe World Polio Day.

While the World Bank is not one of the spearheading partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), the organization does work closely with the GPEI, of which Rotary is a leading partner, as well as country governments to provide financing to help end polio. Continue reading

I thought I’d never walk again

: Nancy Wright Beasley, who wrote The Little Lion, sits on one of the motorcycles used in the stage adaptation of her book during rehearsal at Swift Creek Mill Theatre. Photo by Clement Britt

Nancy Wright Beasley, who wrote The Little Lion, sits on one of the motorcycles used in the stage adaptation of her book during rehearsal at Swift Creek Mill Theatre. Photo by Clement Britt

By Nancy Wright Beasley, a polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Brandermill, Virginia, USA

I thought I’d never walk again, but I did.

I thought I’d never talk about polio either, but I’ve regularly shared my childhood memories of the disease since joining the Rotary Club of Brandermill in 2005. I had been  invited to speak about my first book, Izzy’s Fire. That’s where I first learned about PolioPlus, and decided — that day — to join Rotary International’s fight to eradicate the disease. I often say that I’m the only speaker who gave a speech then never left.

I contracted polio in the summer of 1952, in the middle of one of the worst epidemics in U.S. history. Continue reading

Rotary scholarship worth the ‘calculated risk’

Avenida del Libertador, Buenos Aires

Avenida del Libertador, Buenos Aires

By Christine Cloonan, former Rotary Scholar

I first heard about the Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship during a coffee meeting with a fellow member of a women’s business network now known as Ellevate Network. My life path prior to that had been clear, but not always direct.

My goal was to study to get the best education I could with the ultimate purpose of getting a “good job.” But to the bafflement of my older relatives, landing on that good job took a bit of exploring. My first job was with a law firm, which convinced me not to go to law school. Accepting a one year teaching fellowship, I began a five year teaching career and earned a Master of Spanish at Middlebury College. I then developed an “itch” to go abroad to perfect my language skills and explore new places. Continue reading