Connecting with others through Ukrainian virtual club

Editor’s note: The following personal account is an excerpt from a story about Rotary in Ukraine compiled by Rotary Magazin for Germany and Austria. Past and current conflicts have had a significant impact on Rotary in Ukraine, making members there more resolute.

By Tetiana Godok, president-elect of the Rotary E-Club of Ukraine

Tetiana Godok
Tetiana Godok

My history with Rotary began when I was a senior in high school. The newly formed Rotaract Club of Yalta ambitiously set out to establish an Interact club, and I was fortunate enough to be a part of it.

I didn’t know much about Rotary, and the complex club organization befuddled me at first. But over several months, we visited Interact clubs in Kharkiv and Cherkasy, and I came to learn more about Rotary and gradually immersed myself in the ideas and values of this service organization. With strong convictions about the role I might play, I joined the Rotaract Club of Yalta, serving as president and treasurer, and set a goal to get to know Rotaract all over Europe.

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Editor of Rotary magazine in Ukraine thanks Rotary network for its help

Mykola Stebljanko
Mykola Stebljanko

Editor’s note: The conflict in Ukraine has displaced millions of people and has created a humanitarian crisis across Europe. The following is an interview between Rotary magazine and Mykola Stebljanko, editor of Rotary magazine in Ukraine.

Q: What’s your situation there now?

Stebljanko: I’m now living in Odesa. It’s the third most populist city on the southwest of Ukraine, an important port city on the Black Sea coast. Currently, there’s no military action here yet, but we live under the constant threat of bombs and missiles. Often, air raid sirens will wake us up in the middle of the night. We have to get up and hide in a safe place. You know, in my apartment, the safest place is the bathroom. We huddle together and spend the rest of the night there. Occasionally, we experienced a few rocket attacks, but most of the time, it’s a safe place.

Most of the military actions now center around Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, and Kharkiv. More than a dozen smaller cities are also under attack. The city of Mariupol in the Southeast of Ukraine is under siege. More than 2,500 civilians have died there and close to 400,000 people are trapped in the city. The Russian army stopped anyone from escaping. Many are without electricity, water, and heat.

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Nonprofits need to embrace strategies for success from the for-profit world

Lisa Greer
Lisa Greer

By Lisa Greer, Rotary Club of Beverly Hills, California, USA

“WE ARE NON-PROFIT. We are not a business!” As someone who has served as a board member, adviser, and donor for nonprofits, I’ve heard a version of this sentiment more times than I can count. At a meeting, it might be someone’s response while discussing a financial or organizational governance issue of the nonprofit. The statement often carries a whiff of disdain.

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Restaurant venue dilemma

By Rotary staff

Your club has been meeting at a restaurant for 35 years. Your meeting contract extends for another five years, and your members like the venue and say the location is convenient. You recently learned that several restaurant staff members resigned and that the management is being investigated for serious discrimination allegations. What would you do?

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Young mother wants to serve on your club’s board

By Rotary staff

A meeting of the Rotary Club of Decatur, Alabama, in 2018.

During a discussion of candidates for an upcoming club election, a member objects to one candidate on the grounds that she’s a mother of young children and wouldn’t have the time to commit to Rotary. What would you do?

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Engaging Rotaract members in your district conference

By Rotary staff

You are on the planning committee for your district conference that will be held in-person and virtually. Part of your committee’s job is to decide how to involve members of Rotaract. Someone suggests they be asked to manage the Zoom registration and provide technical support for virtual participants to leverage their tech skills. However, others mention there could be more meaningful ways to engage Rotaract members in your conference. What would you do?

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Background checks for friendship exchange

By Rotary staff

A friendship exchange.

Your club members have generously volunteered to host Rotarians from a district in another country as part of their Rotary Friendship Exchange program. Your club’s Rotary Friendship Exchange committee wishes to require all host families and visiting families to complete a background check as a precautionary measure of security. Other club members protest that only individuals of good standing become club members, so a background check is costly and unnecessary. What would you do?

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Creating inclusive service projects for immune-compromised members

By Rotary staff

During the pandemic, your club service projects have been coordinated virtually partnering with local groups that provide community resources. Now your area is allowing in-person gatherings, but you have several members who are immune-compromised or cannot get vaccinated for health reasons. How can your club plan inclusive service activities that won’t exclude these members.

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What would you do? Paying a member’s way at convention

By Rotary magazine staff

The House of Friendship at the Rotary International Convention 2019.

A prominent business leader recently joined your Rotary club. They run a global business and their customers are primarily Rotarians. Your club’s leadership team decides to pay this new member’s way to the next Rotary International Convention; they think the experience will inspire the new member to get more involved in club activities. The member mentions that they plan to have a booth promoting their business in the House of Friendship during the entire convention and probably will not have time to attend sessions. What would you do?

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What would you do? Partnership dilemma

By Rotary magazine staff

Your club president is on the board of a local organization. The organization wants to partner with your club, but it doesn’t have many resources that would enhance your club. In fact, you believe your club would end up providing resources and network connections without getting anything in return. Your club president is insistent on creating the partnership, and wants you as service chair to find a way to make it work. What would you do?

Every month, Rotary magazine showcases answers to an ethical question that members might face in their Rotary clubs. Above is the ethical challenge we will tackle in the October issue of the magazine. Share your suggestions below and send them to magazine@rotary.org