Rotary training team helps the girls of Malawi

The Rotary club’s project trained teachers for an after school program designed to empower girls, like those above, to stay in school.

By Elizabeth Usovicz

Last April, I led a Vocational Training Team (VTT) to Malawi. The global grant project of the Rotary clubs of Limbe (Malawi) and Kansas City-Plaza (Missouri, USA) installed solar lighting in schools and trained primary school teachers in an after-school program designed to empower children, especially girls, to stay in school. Continue reading

Science camp changed my life

Trekking in remote Western Australia as a leadership development opportunity.

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of blog posts from Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month.

By Rebecca Weragoda, Rotaract Club of Sydney, Australia

Twelve years ago, I made a seemingly small decision to apply for a Rotary Australia supported “science camp.” Like so many of my peers in Rotaract, this decision changed the course of my life personally, professionally, and socially. Continue reading

Why vision and mission are critical to a club

Rotary Club of James RIver, Richmond, Virginia

Members of the Rotary Club of James River, Richmond, Virginia, USA.

By Richard Cunningham, Rotary Club of James River, Richmond, Virginia, USA

To be continually successful in membership development through good times and bad, a club must know who it is – its appeal. It is important to have a vision statement (what the “end state” looks like) and a mission statement. Continue reading

My path into Rotary

Kay Fisher, bottom row far right, with her Interact Club in Clemson, South Carolina, USA.

By Kay Fisher, a member of the Rotary Club of North Mecklenburg, North Carolina, USA

Growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta, I never learned how to swim, how to play the piano, or how it would feel to go to church on Sunday mornings. The opportunities were there. The new YMCA offered swim lessons, my grandparents bought me a new piano and offered to pay for lessons, and churches were close to my house. But these were all things my dad felt only “plastic people” did. Continue reading

My mom was a Polio Pioneer

By Richard J. Fox, Rotary Club of Charlotte-Shelburne, Vermont, USA

Since joining Rotary in 2011, I have been impressed by its commitment to eradicating polio from the world through its End Polio Now campaign. That said, polio never resonated with me as a significant cause.

I was generally aware of polio’s impact throughout history: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the March of Dimes, iron lungs, and the polio panic here in the United States. But it wasn’t personal to me; it was something of the previous generation, abstract, to which I had no emotional investment.

And then my mom went and showed me how wrong I was. Continue reading

Paul Harris on kindness

“We humans are creatures of habit, and it is just as easy to acquire the habit of speaking kindly as it is to acquire the habit of speaking unkindly”

— Paul Harris, 1935

When he spoke at the 1935 Rotary Convention in Mexico City, Paul Harris had only recently returned from a journey though Asia and the Pacific. He reflected on the opportunities for friendship he encountered on his trip and reminded members of their duty to act as ambassadors of goodwill. Read the full speech.

Editor’s note: 19 April marks the anniversary of Paul Harris’ birth. Learn more about Rotary’s founder.

How to spend less time managing club data

By Chelsea Mertz, communications specialist, Rotary Service Connections

Does your club manage members and officer updates online? Did your district buy a club management system for the clubs in your district, such as DACdb, but your club uses a different vendor, like ClubRunner? Continue reading

Why host a Rotary Peace Fellow?

Masao Mizuno meets with a Rotary Peace Fellow.

By Masao Mizuno, Rotary Club of Ageo West, Japan

Hosting a Peace Fellow substantially changed my life in Rotary. Since joining Rotary, I have been running a company that imports industrial tools, mostly from Israel and Europe, so I am familiar with talking to people from other countries. Continue reading

Changing the world is possible, through Rotary

Bethany Lerch, right, takes notes while speaking to a female attendee during a national mine awareness conference in Kabul.

By Bethany Lerch, former Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, 2010-2011

I knew little about Rotary eight years ago when my former high school counselor encouraged me to apply for an Ambassadorial Scholarship. He was retired, but still active in Rotary, and knew a master’s was my next step. At the time, I had just graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and knew I needed to go to graduate school. But where and how? Continue reading

Prestigious award to Rotary Peace Fellow in Uppsala

Peace Fellow Lindsey Doyle (far right, first row) and other prize winners with Vice-chancellor Eva Åkesson

By Magnus Elfwendahl, Rotary Club of Uppsala Carolina, Sweden

In January, I had the honor of watching as Rotary Peace Fellow Lindsey Doyle from the United States received Uppsala University’s foremost award to teachers and students supporting human rights. Doyle was awarded the Martin H:son Holmdahl prize at Uppsala’s doctoral conferment ceremony. Continue reading