By Ann Marie Ellis, Rotary Club of Austin, Texas, USA
I had been to Serbia in 2019 before as a tourist, but I didn’t expect that I’d develop a life-long relationship with the people, the country, and its traditions through Rotary. However, that’s exactly what happened.
In the spring of 2020, I received an email from former Governor Vladimir Matic in District 2483 (Serbia & Montenegro) asking if my club, the Rotary Club of Austin, would participate as the international partner on a global grant. The grant would be part of a new initiative called Hearts of Europe, which is a collaboration between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Rotary International.
By Mary Shackleton, Empowering Girls Initiative Ambassador for Zone 32 (Bermuda; Northeastern USA) and Nikita Williams, Empowering Girls Initiative team member for Zone 28 (Canada; Michigan, Washington, and Alaska, USA)
Teenage girls all over the world struggle with self-confidence. Recently, a team of Rotary members and Toastmasters in our Rotary zones set out to help girls build their leadership skills. Both Rotary and Toastmasters International are committed to helping girls embrace their full potential.
We decided to use Toastmasters’ time-tested Youth Leadership Program (YLP) to benefit younger members of the Rotary community. Our effort, which we call the Empowering Girls YLP program, gives girls a space to discover and amplify their voices and ideas over eight weeks. The program’s unique, workshop-style design lets the girls develop speaking and leadership skills in a safe space. They learn about topics like Public Speaking; Using Body Language & Gestures; Active Listening; Giving Feedback; and Impromptu Speaking.
By Randy Bretz, Rotary Club of Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
A woman from Africa and her six children will soon have a new home in Lincoln, Nebraska, thanks to our Rotary club and Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln.
Construction will begin soon on the home for Martha and her children, giving them a place to live that isn’t cramped and even with a yard for the family to enjoy. Martha’s salary can only afford a two-bedroom apartment, but with the help of nearly $40,000 from our club, Habitat for Humanity will be able to construct a three-bedroom home on a lot in Lincoln that she can afford to buy.
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.
By Michael Collins, Executive Director Americas, Institute for Economics and Peace
In June, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) released its 15th annual Global Peace Index, one of the leading measures of peacefulness globally. Since 2017, the IEP and Rotary have been in a strategic partnership, providing members with new tools to effectively build peace in communities around the world. It has been my pleasure to work with Rotary members as I have been involved in the process of creating a number of global peace indexes.