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

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

Unexpected lessons from my disaster relief experience

Yannis Comino with ShelterBox aid supplies.

By Yannis Comino

Over my summer break at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, I decided to trade in the warmer weather of Australia for an English winter. Why, you might ask, would I do such a thing? Well, the only way I can explain it is — I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. During my New Generations Service Exchange at the headquarters of ShelterBox International in Truro, Cornwall, I gained priceless insight and first-hand experience in disaster relief management. Continue reading

What I love about Rotaract

Rotaractors from all over the world gather at Interota 2017 in Taipei, Taiwan.

By Elyse Lin, a member of the Rotaract Club of Taipei Tin Harbour, Taiwan

I can never forget the most life-changing dinner I ever attended. It was June 2013, and members of the Rotary Club of Taipei Tin Harbour invited me to a special reunion. The  Rotarians, who sponsored the student service club I belonged to on campus, wanted to start a new Rotaract club with all the college students they helped. My experience since I joined that new club almost five years ago has far exceeded my expectations.  Continue reading

Rotaract runs in the family

Spelling out Rotaract with visiting Rotaractors in Sri Lanka.

By Jumana Amiruddeen, Rotaract Club of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Whenever I meet my mother’s close friends, whom we affectionately call aunties and uncles, their stories always begin with “during our time in Rotaract … ”

I didn’t fully understand and appreciate what Rotaract was all about until I found myself attending my first meeting of the Rotaract Club of Colombo, Sri Lanka, at age 23 to support the club president, my cousin Hussain Akbarally (my mother’s sister’s son), with an annual fundraiser. As the meeting progressed, I learned about the club’s long, proud heritage, and my family’s intertwined role in it.

Continue reading

New shoes delight children in Uganda

Children try on shoes as part of the Rotaract Club of Kampala South’s service project.

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

A mist was rising over the meadow when I arrived early in the morning at Nyakishumba with members of my Rotaract club, brimming with excitement for the day ahead. Located in the hilly Kabale District of western Uganda, Nyakishumba is colder than most of the surrounding region. So we were bundled in our heavy coats this September day as we hurried to set up the medical camp in time; coordinating with the health care workers, arranging the necessary medicines, and establishing diagnostic stations and areas for HIV testing.

It has been almost three years since we first visited the community to do our needs assessment, discovering their unique concerns and needs. The first phase of our project in 2016 had focused on supporting education at the primary school. Now, we were addressing disease prevention, maternal and child health, education, and economic and community development. We were all excited at the opportunity Rotaract was providing us to work with members of other clubs to help this community. Continue reading

How we started a new Rotaract club

Members of the Sewanee Rotaract Club visit Pelham Elementary School to promote physical exercise and serve as role models.

By Samuel R. Kern, Rotaract Club of Sewanee, Tennessee, USA

I was walking out of my accounting class this summer when I received a message from the dean of students asking if I would be willing to start a Rotaract club at the university for the fall semester. I knew nothing about Rotaract and very little about Rotary but Dean Gentry assured me he would be our club adviser and provide support, so I accepted. Sewanee does not have a plethora of clubs with the national or international recognition that Rotaract has, and I felt confident that students would be interested. Continue reading