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

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

What Fairwold is saying about Interact

Fairwold Interact members and advisors.

By Steve Bass, Fairwold Interact Club advisor

Fairwold Academy serves children that need emotional support from throughout the area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The opportunities we are able to provide these students are amazing. Our members have designed and sold tree certificates to raise money to purchase and plant thousands of trees in our local nature preserves. Our original recycling project, Plastic Planet Savers, won a sustainability award at Temple University’s EarthFest celebration a few years ago. And  the club has earned the Presidential Citation from Rotary International each of the past three years. 

But better than all of that is what they say about how Interact is shaping their lives. Here is just a sampling: Continue reading

3 ways to celebrate World Interact Week

How will you celebrate World Interact Week?

By Erika Emerick, RI Programs for Young Leaders promotions specialist

Interact clubs empower young people ages 12 to 18 to take action in their community, develop leadership skills, and gain a global perspective. Every year we celebrate the accomplishments of an estimated half a million Interact club members during World Interact Week. Connect with Interactors 5-11 November and share the power of Interact!

Interactors around the world will be taking action and sharing how their Interact clubs are making a difference in their communities. How will you celebrate? Here are three ways you can join the party: Continue reading

Bridging the gap between Rotary’s programs for young leaders

Planting a tree

Jessie Case plants a tree with the Coronado Rotary Club.

By Jessie Case, Rotaract Club of Pacific Beach, California, USA

My very first Interact project was picking up trash at a nearby lake and recreation area. It was so simple, yet I was so moved by the idea that if you wanted something to happen, you could take matters into your own hands and get it done. I am still moved by that feeling that comes from identifying a problem, finding a solution, and acting upon it. Continue reading

Who knew installing solar lights could have such meaning?

A Navajo family enjoys their newly installed solar light.

A Navajo family enjoys their newly installed solar light.

By A.J. Holzer

As I landed in the Durango airport, cramped into a small airplane, my entire Rotary career flashed before my eyes. I had joined Interact at the beginning of high school as a way to help my community and connect with others. And for most of my high school years, I was able to do just that, growing as a leader and learning from my peers. The experience was uniquely personal – all I knew of Rotary was my club and the work we did in the community. But in the summer of my sophomore year, my knowledge of Rotary was about to explode to an entirely new level. 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

Rotary’s amazing capacity to bring people together

Exchange students from District 6990 get together.

By Gabriel de Jesus Abade, former Rotary Youth Exchange Student

When I was 16, like most teenagers, I was focused on my own life. I hadn’t really thought about joining a service club or dedicating myself to helping others. But that changed when a high school friend began talking to me about Rotary, and its local and global actions. I was captivated and wanted to learn more. Continue reading

SURF’s up: Who says Rotary can’t be fun?

High school students enjoy a bonfire event in 2016.

By Brett Morey, chair of Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship and past president of the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle, California, USA

Have you ever thought of turning a hobby or passion into something even more beneficial through Rotary? I am a third generation Californian and grew up bodyboarding at Huntington Beach and Del Mar, before starting to surf 34 years ago. Back in May, I got this crazy idea to do something with my interest in surfing. Continue reading