Rotary EcoClub offers diversity, variety

By Steve Solbrack –District 5950 New Club Development Chair and a member of the Twin Cities Rotary EcoClub, Minnesota, USA

We chartered our new Rotary club in February 2019 with 25 members and a focus on the environment. The EcoClub is a non-traditional format designed to attract a segment of the population not currently served by traditional clubs. We began with 48 percent of our members as women, 44 percent under the age of 40, and an average age of 42. In North America, those demographics are unheard of in a service organization of any kind. Continue reading

A Rotary Peace Fellow’s journey to Antarctica

Women scientists on Antarctica

Emilse Anabella Palacios joined other women scientists as part of the Homeward Bound expedition to Antarctica.

By Emilse Anabella Palacios, Rotary Peace Fellow 2009-11

My relationship with Rotary began as a Rotary Youth Exchange student and member of a Group Study Exchange. Later as a Rotary Peace Fellow at Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009-11, I began a process of learning about leadership that will continue throughout my life.

On the last day of 2018, I set sail for Antarctica with 89 other women scientists from 26 countries as part of Homeward Bound, an initiative that aims to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape our planet. On board the former research vessel MV Ushuaia, we represented the largest female expedition ever to that continent. Continue reading

Family of Rotary helps after wildfire

At the District 5160 conference

Pam Gray and her husband, Brian, (third and fourth from right) at the District 5160 conference in 2018.

By Pam Gray, Rotary Club of Paradise, California, USA

I grew up in a small family. My parents were both only children – that means I have no aunts, uncles or first cousins. As a child, my entire immediate family could sit around a dining table set for eight. My four grandparents, my parents, my sister and I filled the table. There was no additional ‘kids’ table!

Fortunately, my dad was a member of the Rotary Club of Paradise. Our Rotary family consisted of five families, all of similar age, so we had plenty of celebrations with this extended family growing up. Continue reading

Rotaractors raise awareness of thalassemia

Students

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

Rotary makes it a small world after all

Jordan Koletic and Robert Smayda

Jordan Koletic, left, and Robert Smayda Jr. at Rotary Day at the United Nations in 2014.

By Kamlesh Chandan, Rotary Club of Lake Norman/Huntersville, North Carolina, USA

In 2015, I was working at one of the largest Fortune 500 banks in the United States when I read an article on our internal website about a team member traveling to eastern Africa. I found the story intriguing, and reached out to her for more details about the trip and to see if it had a connection with Rotary. But at the time I did not hear back. Continue reading

Innovation through Rotary

Rotaractors

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

Rotary changed the way I see the world

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

10 things we can all do to grow Rotary

Gary Bennett

By Gary Bennett, past president of the Rotary Club of Kelowna and current member of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

I read with great interest what President-elect Mark Daniel Maloney had to say about growing Rotary in the March issue of The Rotarian. He is spot on. Healthy membership is the life blood of any organization and Rotary is no exception. Because we all benefit from a thriving membership, all of us share a responsibility to help grow Rotary and bring in new members. President-elect Mark’s emphasis on growing Rotary is a welcome reminder of our opportunity to help. Continue reading

Introducing young leaders to human rights

Cassady Shaw and Tamara Larson

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

Returned Peace Corps volunteers make great members

Chief Matari and Charlie Masilae Hunt

Charlie Masilae Hunt, right, and Ben Matari, chief of the village in Vanuatu where Hunt served as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

By Charlie Masilae Hunt, Rotary Club of Denver LoDo, Denver, Colorado

Imagine increasing your club membership by 50 percent in just one month. That is what my club did this past January. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) and a member of Rotary, I have had a dream for some time now of recruiting returned Peace Corps volunteers into our club. It is a natural fit. The focuses of both organizations are almost identical. So recruiting returned volunteers is certainly logical. Our club just had an induction ceremony adding ten newly returned volunteers to our membership. Continue reading