Becoming a Rotary alumni is just the beginning

Members of the Rotaract Club of Birmingham attend The Rotary Club of Birmingham’s Annual Rotary Trail Party in May. From left: Erica Murphy, Mary Meadows Livingston, Jeris Gaston, Amanda Martin, and Uma Srivastava.

Jerris Gaston

By Jeris Burns Gaston

If you told me twelve years ago upon finishing my Rotary Ambassadorial Program year in Dublin, Ireland, that this was just the start of an adventure, I would have been hard pressed to believe you. The program itself was such a unique and enriching experience that improving on this worldview changing year seemed impossible. However, as I enter my thirteenth year as a member of the Rotary family, I now realize that being an alumnus is just the beginning. Continue reading

My journey to Hiroshima: reflections on memory

Rotary Peace Fellows from International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan, visit the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.

By Lorena Rodriguez, 2017-19 Rotary Peace Fellow, International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan

Last March, I visited Hiroshima with other Rotary Peace Fellows from International Christian University, hearing stories from survivors of the atomic bomb. Thanks to the Rotary Club of Hiroshima, we also saw the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. Hiroshima is full of stories told and illustrated in various ways: in the images, monuments, poems, and human and nonhuman survivors. All these stories made me reflect in different ways about my commitment to memory and peace. Continue reading

How our club attracts and retains alumni as members

Members of the Dupont Circle Rotary Club at a tree planting event.

By Mandy Warfield, president, and Emma Satzger, membership coordinator, Rotary Club of Dupont Circle, Washington D.C., USA

The Rotary Club of Dupont Circle was started six years ago by a group of Rotary alumni, and since then, the club has grown to include many other facets of the community, including individuals who have not had any previous experience with Rotary. Continue reading

Rotary Youth Exchange changes lives

Dave White

Editor’s note: This is the fifth and last in a series of blog posts from the 2018 Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month.

By Dave White, Rotary Club of Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada

I was inspired to become involved in the Rotary Youth Exchange program in the 1980s while I was a secondary school principal and the school hosted our first international exchange student. A young lady, an Inbound Exchange student from South Africa, spent the year at our school. She had never been taught by a non-white teacher and had some hesitations about attending his classes. The trepidations soon disappeared. She grew to know and respect the teacher as a person and thoroughly enjoyed his classes. Continue reading

Dreaming bigger dreams through Interact

Ismael Nieto reads to children during one of his Interact club’s service projects.

Nieto

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of blog posts from the 2018 Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month.

By Ismael Cadeno Nieto, Interact Club of Manta, Ecuador

When I was 10 years old, my parents became involved in Rotary. Since that moment, I’ve assisted in club activities as the son of a Rotarian, and at first, I didn’t like it all that much. But four years later, something changed, and it became one of my favorite hobbies. I was inspired to take action through the needs I discovered in my community. Continue reading

Women helping women through Rotaract

Rotaract Ladies At Work visit schools and orphanages to empower girls to grow into their full potential.

Immy Julie Nakyeyune Musoke

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of blog posts from the 2018 Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month.

By Immy Julie Nakyeyune Musoke, president of the Rotaract Club of Kampala South, Uganda

My father spoke often of Rotary when I was a teenager. But I never had much interest until after he died in June of 2011, just a few weeks before his scheduled installation as president of the Rotary Club of Mengo. The support and comfort we received from the family of Rotary was remarkable. I couldn’t help but wonder, who are these incredibly amazing people who loved my father this much? Continue reading

Why would I turn down a six-figure salary?

Members of the Silverton Rotaract Club at one of their projects fixing up a playground.

Rhett Martin

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of blog posts from the 2018 Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month.

By Rhett Martin, Rotaract Club of Silverton, Oregon, USA

Everyone comes to a crossroad at least once in their life. As a young adult, I have actually already faced two big-time choice moments. The first came six years ago when deciding whether or not to quit school in order to start a career I knew nothing about. The second came twelve months ago as I was presented with a job offer from one of the world’s biggest, up-and-coming tech companies. The job would pay over six figures, offer great health benefits and stock options, as well as a chance to expand my professional experience. The catch? I would have to leave the quaint little town I love for the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. Continue reading

Trust unlocks creativity at European youth seminar

Participants in the RYLA from the Netherlands and Germany collaborate to develop a strategy.

By Cédric Schad

I am a 19-year-old law student at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. Through the Rotary Club of Bad Bederkesa, Germany, I had the chance to take part in a Dutch-German Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) seminar in Nordhorn this year. It was an amazing experience. When I arrived on that Friday for the “Proud to be European” seminar, I didn’t know what to expect. But luckily, I wasn’t the only one. Continue reading

Paying it Forward through Rotaract

Members of the Rotaract Club of Pudu participate in a service project.

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of blog posts from the 2018 Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month.

Shannon Chow

By Shannon Chow, Rotaract Club of Pudu, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I first joined Rotaract when I was studying at Taylor’s University in Malaysia, and have now been in my club for close to eight years. Rotaract is a great platform to learn, practice, and exhibit leadership skills, and to be mentored by Rotarians and other Rotaractors. In addition to the professional development I have experienced, I have built so many friendships, including my best friend (now boyfriend) of seven years.

Rotaract has opened up many doors in my life. Continue reading

Rotary alum turns trash into treasure

Binish Desai’s company makes bricks from industrial waste otherwise destined for the landfill.

By Binish Desai, a member of the Rotary Club of Bulsar, India, and a former Rotary Youth Exchange student 

I started my journey in Rotary as a Youth Exchange Student in 2009-10, hosted by the Rotary Club of Waukegan, Illinois, USA. I’m now a member of the Rotary Club of Bulsar, India, and Rotary helps me live out my dream, a dream I have had since age 11 – giving back to my community in service.

In 2005, I created my first brick using industrial paper waste and chewing gum. Similar bricks of recycled materials would go on to make thousands of stand-alone toilets for rural communities by 2015. Continue reading