Make someone smile, and see how it changes you

Members of the Rotaract Club of Trenque Lauquen donate toys during a community breakfast attended by 100 children.

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 Nicolas Silva, member of the Rotaract Club of Trenque Lauquen, Argentina

Four years ago, our club undertook a project called “Todo Sirve,” which literally means “’everything serves.” We collected donations in our city, including food, drinking water, clothes, children’s toys, bikes, and beds for an aboriginal low-income community, the Qom village, located in Formosa, a northern province of Argentina.

I will never forget hearing the word “gnashek” (Qom for ‘thanks’) from a woman who I was giving a box of donations to.
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Deeply wounded world needs Rotary Peace Centers

Maire-Paule Attema, right, and her husband, left, with host Rotarians in Brisbane, Australia.

By Marie-Paule Attema, a Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

After months of anticipation, I finally arrived in Brisbane, Australia, where I will be for the next 18 months while I pursue the Masters of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland Rotary Peace Center.

I quickly felt at home after being picked up by our “Australian parents,” who have been extremely helpful in our transition.  I have enjoyed the pros and cons of Australian living as I have quickly adapted to 30 Continue reading

Why the good you do will do good to you

Ambanpola, second from left, packing 10,500 food packets for Haiti with members of Rotaract.

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 Nipuna Ambanpola, a member of the Rotaract Club of Armstrong State University and former member of Interact

Volunteering has been a very satisfying component of my life. When I volunteer, it’s always about contributing my time and skills to enhance the quality of life of others in my community.

I joined the Interact Club of Royal College, the second oldest club and the oldest continuously functioning club in Sri Lanka in 2009. Continue reading

How I gained friends through Rotary’s programs for young leaders

The Rotaract Club of Dhaka Orchids distributes school supplies.

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 Md. Saddam Hossain Roni, Rotaract Club of Dhaka Orchids, Bangladesh

Before joining an Interact club in 2010, I had a difficult time dealing with people I didn’t know. That’s probably why I didn’t have a lot of friends in school. But as a member of Interact, I learned a lot about fellowship. 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 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

From Rotary Scholar to Peace Corps

Jasmine Segall, right, and her best friend in Monterrey, who entertains children as a clown.

By Jasmine Segall, former Rotary global grant scholar

I have heard a variety of interesting stories about why the rural Costa Rican town I live in as a Peace Corps volunteer is called Monterrey. My favorite is the literal translation: “King of the Grass,” explained by a wizened elderly gentleman as the place his family settled to farm cattle because of its nutritious vegetation. On a good day, I can get a clear view of the Arenal Volcano and see the lush farmland that stretches endlessly below. The view is breathtaking. It truly is a green kingdom. Continue reading

Bringing about reconciliation

A community reconciliation event in the Solomon Islands

A community reconciliation event in the Solomon Islands.

By Nadia Mahmood, Rotary Peace Fellow, University of Queensland, Australia

Over the past two and a half months, I have been working with Prison Fellowship Solomon Islands (PF), a grassroots peace-building organization which runs conflict resolution, restorative justice,and reconciliation programs and provides support for families of inmates.

It is honestly hard to put into words how inspiring and engaging it is to work with this team of local volunteers who exemplify everything that Rotary stands for. Continue reading

A larger than life youth exchange experience

Youth Exchange Students on European Tour

Youth Exchange Students take part in a year-end European Tour.

By Joel Dzuba, Rotary Exchange Student from Ontario, Canada, to Lower Saxony, Germany

It would be impossible to pick a favourite memory from my exchange in Germany due to the sheer number of opportunities I had and dreams I lived. From sailing in the Baltic Sea, to walking in the North Sea, to swimming in the Mediterranean, there are simply too many experiences to pick a favourite. Continue reading