How leadership opportunities enhanced my Rotary journey

Owolabi and Rotary members at the Veteran's Restoration Quarters in Asheville, North Carolina.
Isaac Owolabi, third from left, with Rotary members preparing meals at the Veteran’s Restoration Quarters in Asheville, North Carolina.
Isaac Owolabi
Isaac Owolabi

By Isaac B. Owolabi, past governor of Rotary District 7670 and a member of the Rotary Club of Asheville-Biltmore, North Carolina, USA

I am grateful for my involvement in Rotary, not only because it has allowed me to make many friends but to grow in countless ways. My excitement for Rotary has increased over the years because I have been fortunate to have been offered many opportunities to get involved, learn new skills, and lead. This is what is meant by participant engagement, a pillar of our Action Plan. And it is necessary if we want our clubs to thrive and grow.

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Rotary members behind International Day of Peace

By David Wick, President, Rotary E-Club of World Peace

International Day of Peace poster
International Day of Peace poster

As members of the Rotary E-Club of World Peace, we will be joining other members and people around the world in participating in the United Nations International Day of Peace on 21 September. It is fitting for us to do so and follow Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta in focusing on “Girls Empowerment and Peace” as a strategy to achieve our common goal. It’s also fitting because several of our members have been promoters of a Peace Day from the very beginning.

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Rotary Peace Fellow reflects on Afghanistan, helping others in crisis

Kiran Sirah Singh at the International Storyelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee, USA.

By Kiran Singh Sirah, a 2011-13 Rotary Peace Fellow and president of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee, USA

The news coming out of Afghanistan has been painful to watch. So many of these images of suffering — the cargo plane filled with refugees, and especially the image of the baby being passed over barbed wire to a soldier — reminded me of my own family’s experience as refugees. Forty-nine years ago, they were forced to flee their home in Uganda along with 50,000 others, when a murderous dictator threatened them with genocide.

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5 ingredients of a successful Rotary club

By Barton Goldenberg, immediate past governor of District 7620 (Maryland and Washington D.C., USA)

Running a successful Rotary club is a bit like baking a cake. You need the right ingredients.
Running a successful Rotary club is a bit like baking a cake. You need the right ingredients.

If you’re a baker, you know that a great cake is made up of individual ingredients that come together to produce something special. A great Rotary club is like that, in that it is made up of a unique mix of ingredients. Here are the five that I have found in most, if not all, successful Rotary clubs.

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Providing shelter after Hurricanes Iota, Eta

Maria and her family
Maria’s family had to abandon their house in search of safer shelter. The aid they received from ShelterBox helped them rebuild their home after the storm. Photo courtesy ShelterBox

By Céline Chhea Operations Coordinator, ShelterBox

Through my work as an Operations Coordinator at ShelterBox, I have had the opportunity to work with Rotary clubs around the world. But the work together has never been more instrumental than last year during the pandemic.

In November 2020, Hurricanes Iota and Eta brought a wave of destruction across Central America.  ShelterBox responded in Honduras, where an estimated 82,307 homes were damaged and 174,241 people had to shelter in collective centers.  

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New club makes disability advocacy a priority

By Ken Masson, President, The Rotary Club of World Disability Advocacy

Ken Masson
Ken Masson

The need for human rights for people with disabilities is worldwide. From the largest to the smallest countries, there are opportunities for Rotary to improve the dignity, respect, and quality of lives for people with disabilities. That is why we chartered the Rotary Club of World Disability Advocacy. We saw so many possibilities of what Rotary could do.

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Warwick magic adds 15 members in under a year

Andy Rajapaske andGold Coast Passport Rotary Club members at a rally to end domestic violence.
Andy Rajapaske with members of the Gold Coast Passport Rotary Club and friends at a rally to end domestic violence.

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of posts for Membership Month inviting experts to share how they reach out to prospective members, keep existing members engaged, and create an environment that allows new clubs to form and thrive.  

By Andy Rajapakse, assistant Rotary Coordinator for Zone 8 and a past district governor 

Last Rotary year was a year of opportunities for the Rotary Club of Warwick in Queensland, Australia. The club, chartered in 1932, had only seven members when I took office as governor of District 9640 on 1 July 2020. It dropped to three in March 2021. But on 30 April 2021, the club reported 15 members including eight women. It had 11 members under the age of 30 and three were previous members of a Rotaract club. What was Warwick’s magic? 

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Conversations with Rotary’s DEI task force

Valarie Wafer
Valarie Wafer

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 second 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.

Valarie Wafer, task force chair, is 2021-22 Rotary International vice president, and a member of the Rotary Club of Collingwood-South Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada. She has served as an RI training leader, 2018 Toronto Convention Host Organization Committee member, assistant regional Rotary Foundation coordinator, and RI president’s representative. (Read her full bio).

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Want to grow your club? Ask Rotary alumni

Alumni represent an incredible network of leaders engaged in service around the world.

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of blog posts for Membership Month where experts share how they reach out to prospective members, keep existing members engaged, and create an environment that allows new clubs to form and thrive.

By Tom Gump 

I am often asked “How do I grow my club?” or “How do I find members for my new club?” I have a great answer – Rotary alumni. These past participants of Rotary programs are an often-overlooked source of potential members with a built-in understanding of who we are and a past experience with how we take action to serve to change lives. 

Alumni represent an incredible network of leaders engaged in service around the world. Clubs sometimes think about inviting them as speakers or using them as extra hands for service projects. But if we take the time, effort, and willingness to remove a few of the barriers that keep them from joining, we can experience the benefits of their insight and talent to grow Rotary. 

Let me give you three powerful real-life examples. 

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Growth is vital to Rotary’s future

Shekhar Mehta
Shekhar Mehta

By Shekhar Mehta, 2021-22 Rotary International President

To grow is a natural phenomenon for everything. Growth is the only evidence of life. As Harvey Firestone, the American businessman who founded the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, said, “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.”

It is just as true for Rotary. For the last 20 years we had been at 1.2 million members and I think it is time that we add members and grow more. This growth to 1.3 million in 12 months may sound audacious but it is absolutely possible if we work on Each One, Bring One.

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