Wise Words from Mark Twain 2023-08-08 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary projects around the globe
August 2023

United States

At Folsom State Prison in California, small groups of inmates have shifted gears through a project of the nearby Rotary Club of Cameron Park. Since 2007 the club in the Sacramento area has collected used bicycles and delivered them to Folsom, where inmates repair them. Rotarians deliver as many as 500 of the refashioned rides each year to school children from low-income households and to organizations serving homeless people, veterans, refugees, and families displaced by wildfires. “The bike refurbishing program not only provides valuable skills and opportunities for our inmates, but it also allows them to give back to our community in a meaningful way,” notes Tracy Johnson, Folsom’s acting warden. “Although it’s a step toward rehabilitation, it’s a big leap toward creating positive change.” The club spends about $1,200 a year on the project. “I look at this as a win-win program,” says Don Fuller, the club’s immediate past president. “We’re picking up bikes that people don’t want. The inmates get a sense of satisfaction.”

The Rotary Club of Fray Bentos scooped up 320 servings of paella during a cook-off that has raised thousands of dollars for activities since 2016. Under the guidance of chef Eduardo Casales of La Tomasa restaurant, 23 of the club’s members peeled and cut vegetables to fill giant pans with the rice dish in April during this year’s event, which raised about $2,800. The secret ingredient? “The high quality of the inputs used added to the flavor that maintains this traditional paella,” along with the charitable deeds enabled by the proceeds, says Alfredo Batista Fernández, a past club president. The club, which maintains a bank of wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, and canes loaned at no charge to people in need, has devoted the proceeds from the food sales to related causes, including the construction of 16 wheelchair-accessible ramps throughout the city of Fray Bentos, as well as at schools.
Rotary projects around the globeAugust 2023 2023-08-08 04:00:00Z 0

Fitness project promotes health for Oglala Lakota schools

By Martin Cohn, Rotary Club of Springfield, Vermont, USA
This project was supported by district 7870

For more than a decade, members of Rotary District 7870 (New Hampshire, Vermont, USA) have been helping residents of Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The district’s service projects have ranged from making upgrades to the local nonprofit radio station, to providing laptops for students, to delivering materials for traditional quilts. District Rotarians have also partnered with South Dakota Rotary clubs to fund a makerspace for native artists.
Fitness project promotes health for Oglala Lakota schools 2023-07-23 04:00:00Z 0

When it comes to fundraising, Interactors are crushing it


By Paula M. Bodah

Mehreen Rosmon isn't even out of high school, but she's already having a big impact on her community and the world. The senior from Fremont, California, leads Interact District 5170, one of Rotary's larger Interact districts. Launched in 1962, Interact brings young people ages 12-18 together to develop leadership skills and serve their communities.
When it comes to fundraising, Interactors are crushing it  2023-07-14 04:00:00Z 0

Milestone for Rotary club in South Africa

By Ifechukwude Rex Omameh, 2023-24 president of the Rotary Club of Blouberg, South Africa
Editor's Note: PDG Venu Rao and I visited this club and its projects for 2 days last December. Unfortunately, the President-Elect was in Johannesberg on business at the time.
In July, I became the youngest president in the history of my Rotary club, and the first president of color.
Milestone for Rotary club in South Africa 2023-07-08 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary magazine’s 2023 Photo Awards

Rotary magazine’s 2023 Photo Awards

See the world courtesy of this year’s award-winning photographers

Writing in this magazine in 1946, Paul Harris remarked that “travel is a good corrective for … mental near-sightedness.” The same holds true for photography, especially if, like Rotary itself, the photographer takes a global perspective.

To verify that observation you need look no further than this issue of Rotary magazine, where we reveal the finalists in this year’s Photo Awards. Including the cover, there are a dozen photographs that carry us from Egypt to Idaho, from Nigeria to Taiwan. Along the way we see everything from an intimate moment as a medical team prepares for surgery to a sweeping nightscape illuminated by an aurora borealis.

Though they are shot in different parts of the world, employ distinct palettes, and evoke different emotions, all of these photographs have in common an unseen beauty. These days we’re constantly bombarded with images — and in an era of AI and CGI, it can be difficult to know if what we’re seeing is real. But in these 12 photos we have the privilege of standing in the photographers’ shoes and experiencing an honest understanding of a particular moment.
That generosity of spirit is another Rotary trait.

By sharing their pictures, the photographers enable the rest of us to join them on their journey.
— Jacqueline Cantu, art director, Rotary magazine
Photographer: Edward Uhalla Rotaract Club of Ikate, Nigeria

In Lagos, Nigeria, I was trying to document the introduction of District 9110’s 2022-23 Rotaract representative. In the thick of the chaos, this happy Rotaractor locked eyes with me, and I captured this celebratory moment in time. Judges say: The photo captures the jubilance of the occasion and the excitement of the crowd of Rotaractors. Technically, the photographer’s command of the image’s sharpness and its excellent monochromatic shades are superb!
Winner: People of action
Photographer: Dan Milham Rotary Club of Metairie, Louisiana

Dr. Dan Jacob (top left), co-founder of New Orleans Medical Mission Services, prays with nurses and assistants, including Rotarian Jennifer Esler (bottom left), before heading to the operating room for surgery during a medical mission in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, on 23 May 2022. Judges say: The moment, the composition, the light. Very simple and very, very impressive.
Honorable mention  
As the first light of dawn breaks over the horizon, people make their way from fishing boats to the shores of Nungwi, a coastal village in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Judges say: The eyes are on a target and not on the photographer. Where is he going, where is he coming from? The picture arouses curiosity about another being.
Luca Venturi, Rotary Club of Siena Est, Italy
Rotary magazine’s 2023 Photo Awards 2023-07-01 04:00:00Z 0
Kayak Raffle 2023-04-17 04:00:00Z 0
Small Rotary club in Ecuador’s Andes delivers big on water project 2023-04-08 04:00:00Z 0

Girls speak up through Rotary/Toastmaster alliance

Mary Shackleton
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.
Nikita Williams

Nikita Williams, a member of Rotaract in District 7070 and a Toastmaster from Toronto, held a pilot program in Canada, while I worked with Interactors in Bermuda. It’s hard to put into words how happy I was to see the participants grow, hear them speaking with more confidence, and observe how their voices and ideas were amplified even amid the “likes” and “so yeahs.” Our pilot programs were incredibly successful: At least 85% of the girls completed the programs and recommended them to others. We’re finishing a second round now. As one participant said:

“There’s no such word to describe how wonderful this program is to me. When I was in the meeting, I didn’t feel afraid of being an international student who might pronounce something awkwardly. I wasn’t afraid of people judging my beliefs. I feel love and appreciation because of who I am.”

If you’re a member of both Rotary and Toastmasters, you can ask your local Toastmasters District about starting YLP sessions with Interact clubs, schools, or community organizations in your Rotary district. If you don’t have any Toastmasters members in your club, you can reach out to a Toastmasters club near you that might be interested in collaborating. Toastmasters International has published a YLP Workbook and a Coordinator’s Guide with the key elements of a YLP. Our team is also developing tools and templates to help you get started. Contact us for more information.
Girls speak up through Rotary/Toastmaster alliance 2023-04-01 04:00:00Z 0
Small Rotary club in Ecuador’s Andes delivers big on water project 2023-03-26 04:00:00Z 0

In RYLA, I’ve glimpsed new horizons of opportunity

Kennedy Brooks, right, and two other members of her small group, give the thumbs up during an activity at the a multi-district Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Academy in Missouri in July 2022.

By Kennedy K. Brooks, a participant in Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Academy in Missouri, USA. Photos by Monika Lozinska/Rotary International

Last July, I attended a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) Academy in Missouri, USA, that changed my life. I found myself in the right place at the right time. In the span of less than four days, I made unbelievable friendships, met mentors who were willing to give me wise counsel, and learned skills that I can use to explore a future of endless opportunities.
In RYLA, I’ve glimpsed new horizons of opportunity 2023-03-19 04:00:00Z 0

Partnering with parks department yields Miracle Field

The Miracle Field has a rubberized, barrier-free turf that allows children with disabilities to play baseball safely.

Editor’s Note: In 2010, the Fargo-Moorhead Rotary Foundation, which is supported by five Rotary clubs in the Fargo, North Dakota, and Moorhead, Minnesota, USA, area, raised 100 percent of the funds needed to build a Miracle Field in Moorhead. Keith Brokke shares how they were able to make an impact with their project.

By Keith Brokke, past governor of District 5580 (Minnesota, North Dakota, USA) and a member of the Rotary Club of Fargo-Moorhead AM

In the spring of 2010, a Rotary member came to us with the idea to build a Miracle Field, a special field with a rubberized, barrier-free turf that allows children with disabilities to play baseball safely. We had previously built a universal playground five years before in Fargo to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of Rotary. We felt a Miracle Field was a good fit for our Fargo-Moorhead Rotary Foundation.
Partnering with parks department yields Miracle Field 2023-03-11 05:00:00Z 0

Saving Babies in Ukraine

Dr. John Philip with some of the medical supplies the International Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals has collected for Ukraine.

By Dr. John Philip, a member of the Rotary Club of Newbury, Berkshire, England, and Chair of the International Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals

I recently traveled 1,350 miles from my home in Newbury, South England, through France, Germany, and Poland to the Ukraine border. My role was mainly one of providing navigation for the relief supplies we were delivering. I was joined by two Scottish colleagues, each driving a van packed tight with 120 boxes of vital medical equipment.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some trepidation about the journey, but it was one I felt compelled to make. I felt a deep sense of personal responsibility, both to the Rotary members who’ve generously supported the International Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals’ relief work, and to all the Ukrainians whose lives this equipment could ultimately save.
Saving Babies in Ukraine  2023-03-03 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary members find good deeds in good reads

By Anne Stein

When Rotarian Todd Bol built the first “Little Free Library” – a small, decorated wood box mounted on a pole that allows anyone walking by to take a book to read or add a book to share – he didn’t imagine it would grow into a global phenomenon (his work was profiled in the March 2014 issue of The Rotarian). Now Bol and his not-for-profit group based in Hudson, Wisconsin, USA, have launched Action Book Club, a program that encourages readers to pick a book, discuss it, then do positive works inspired by their reading.

“Everyone has read a book that has inspired or changed them,” says Margret Aldrich, manager of the Action Book Club program at Little Free Library. “We wanted to give wings to that feeling and turn it into real action.” The Action Book Club site has a recommended books list – although clubs can read whatever they like – as well as discussion questions and service project ideas.

The Rotary Club of Hudson, where Bol is a member, immediately signed up. “I think of Action Book Clubs as ‘read, talk, and then do,’” explains Past President Kari Rambo, who’s heading the club’s effort with President Brian Hinz. “For us as Rotarians, that’s what we do.”

The 40-member club is reading “All the Things We Never Knew: Chasing the Chaos of Mental Illness,” by Sheila Hamilton. Rambo and Hinz chose the book in response to their community’s recent focus on recognizing and destigmatizing mental illness.

The club’s action projects include giving presentations on mental health to alert the community that people shouldn’t be afraid to discuss depression, anxiety, and other health conditions. “We’ll also be placing four Little Free Libraries in local parks and stocking them with books on mental health, including the one we’re reading,” Hinz explains.

“Rotary has always been about serving the community and making it better by funding things that act as seeds to produce change,” adds Bol. “I think Little Free Library and Action Book Clubs are a natural fit for the Rotarian approach to the world.”

Rotary members find good deeds in good reads 2023-02-26 05:00:00Z 0

Gratitude over grief

ARES provides education materials for rural schools in Kenya
Two teachers in Kenya look at educational content on one of the laptops set up by the ARES project.

By Sean Hogan, past governor of District 5050 (British Columbia, Canada; Washington, USA) and member of the Rotary Club of Pacific Northwest Passport. ED Note: Sean is a DG classmate of your editor, Class of 2012-2013 Governors, and he and his now-deceased wife Carol Liz, and I counted as friends.
I lost my wife, Carol, to cancer last June. It was unexpected and quick – two weeks from diagnosis to when she passed, the day before her 61st birthday. We had 42 wonderful years together and three children who grew into amazing adults.

Rotary has been a big part of our lives since I joined at age 27. It’s given us friends and opportunities that we would never have had otherwise, including when I (we) served as District Governor in 2012-13 (Peace Through Service). One of those opportunities was to be part of Rotary service projects in Kenya starting in 2009. Each of our children joined us on separate trips, and it was life changing for all of us.
Gratitude over grief 2023-02-11 05:00:00Z 0

Freedom of Speech in This Day and Age

This is the winning speech from the 4-way Test speaking contest for this year. Mei spoke at the district conference
By Mei Dasgupta
We all know our right to free speech. But online, where is the line?

This is a message from Clark Middle School. We have been notified that we are currently under the threat of a school shooting and will therefore be closed tomorrow, Friday, December 17th.
Freedom of Speech in This Day and Age 2023-02-02 05:00:00Z 0

New passport club points to bright future



Marcy Ullom
By Bob Hyde, Rotary Club of Miami Brickell and Miami Brickell Passport,  Florida, USA

About two years ago, Marcy Ullom and her husband sold their longtime home in Miami and relocated to Brevard County, Florida. That took Marcy away from her Rotary Club of Miami Brickell, but also well above District 6990’s northern boundary. She attended a few club meetings near her new home, but “nothing clicked” and she “missed her peeps.” She considered what to do.
New passport club points to bright future  2023-01-29 05:00:00Z 0

6 Rotary members honored as People of Action: Champions of Inclusion
Their commitment shows how inclusion makes an impact


By Etelka Lehoczky

Rotary honored six members as People of Action: Champions of Inclusion in January to recognize their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion around the world. The distinction was announced to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the U.S. holiday that honors the slain civil rights leader. These members and their work exemplify Rotary’s core values and illustrate how inclusivity can make a transformational impact on individuals and communities.
An example from Canada
6 Rotary members honored as People of Action: Champions of InclusionTheir commitment shows how inclusion makes an impact  2023-01-21 05:00:00Z 0

Why Rotary is growing in Ukraine during a war

By Tom Gump, member of the RI Membership Growth committee and past governor of District 5950 (Minnesota, USA), and Mykola Stebljanko, public image coordinator in Zone 21A and past governor of District 2232 (Ukraine)

Membership has grown 23.5% in Ukraine since Russian forces invaded the country on 24 February 2022. The region, which comprises Rotary District 2232, has added four Rotary clubs and five satellite clubs. The reasons behind this growth hold important insights for any Rotary club interested in increasing its membership or any district looking to add clubs.

The clubs in Ukraine became more visible in their communities in the days and months after the war began. People are witnessing the positive impact members are having and want to join in on making a difference.

One club, for example, had their members learn to become volunteer firefighters so they could help put out fires, literally, when local building are hit by shelling.
People are drawn to the opportunity to find meaning and purpose when they see real positive change taking place.

The example in Ukraine essentially confirms the results of the three most recent Rotary International annual surveys – the all-member, programs and offerings, and leadership surveys. These found that club experience is the single most important indicator of member satisfaction. A Rotary member who does not have a positive club experience won’t find enough value in the club to stay. New members who join a club but find it doesn’t meet their expectation frequently leave. And new members who are never integrated into club activities are most likely to leave no matter what else Rotary has to offer beyond their club.

In the surveys, Rotary International membership staff used attitudinal questions and resulting answers to cluster members into four distinct types.
    1    Inclusive-friendship engagement
    2    Disengagement
    3    Exclusive-professional engagement
    4     Hyper-engagement
Each type had implications for satisfaction and retention. The scariest part was that 24.9% of members worldwide, the second highest, fell into the disengagement type. These members are the most likely to terminate their membership from dissatisfaction.

Impact clubs

We believe the growth the Ukraine clubs have experienced is not a fluke, and has important lessons for all clubs. The “impact clubs” that are forming in North Carolina, USA, do more service projects and have less meetings and are growing in their membership.
We conclude that no one joins a club, Rotary or otherwise, to sit around and do nothing. People join because they want to become engaged with a cause and do something real. Rotary matters and engaging our members in service opportunities that create lasting change matters.

If you want to grow your membership, create a club experience that allows your members to be people of action. Let’s learn from the example in Ukraine and grow Rotary by engaging our members.
Why Rotary is growing in Ukraine during a war 2023-01-06 05:00:00Z 0

Stories from Santa

Bruce Templeton, a longtime member of the Rotary Club of St. John’s in Newfoundland and Labrador, has also been a member of the Santa Claus Hall of Fame since 2014. Geoffrey Johnson, senior editor at Rotary magazine, profiled Templeton for the magazine’s December issue. Here, in Templeton’s own words, are a few more stories from Santa’s gift bag.
Bruce Templeton, aka Santa, a member of the Rotary Club of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, and the only living Canadian Santa in the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame.
In 1979 – when I was 34 – an aunt of mine, the head of crafts for our province, asked if I would appear as Santa at a child’s event. I told her I would think about it. I went to various places and looked at Santa suits. I didn’t like the looks of any of them, so I called her back and said “No.” And she said, “Bruce, if I make the suit, will you do it?” Well, you don’t turn down the director of crafts for your province. What arrived at my house were a suit made of velvet and lambswool, a beard made of real hair, and prescription glasses. It was absolutely flawless. And that was the beginning of my Santa journey.
When I started, I was acting as Santa. But over time, you become so comfortable in a room with children that you begin to believe that you are Santa. Your behavior changes. You’re aware that there are some very serious responsibilities that come with this. I grew into being Santa. It’s something that becomes a part of your life.
Stories from Santa 2022-12-30 05:00:00Z 0

Taking the global stage in Ghana

Rotaract members at the Global Citizen Live event in Accra, Ghana.

By Tetteh Kojo Boampong Adesa, charter president, Rotaract Club of Accra-Airport

I would never have thought I would get so much enjoyment out of a concert and be so exhilarated to be part of leading the charge for global change. Before the Global Citizen Live concert in Accra, Ghana, 24 September, Rotary International President Jennifer Jones, who was in our country visiting Rotary clubs and projects, encouraged all Rotaract members to be a part of the buildup to this big event by creating excitement. Our charge was to step on the world stage and join with artists and leaders around the world in creating awareness for the need to protect our planet and end extreme poverty.

I was more than eager to do my part and use my social media accounts and one-on-one engagements to spread the word, posting and reposting content about the festival on Twitter and Instagram. We urged as many people as we could to take part in the festival at the Black Star Square in Accra.

The stage was significant. This year’s event was the 10th anniversary for Global Citizen Festival and the first time the event was held in Ghana. Ghana is the first African country to gain its independence from colonial rule. The Black Star Square ceremonial grounds are where all our major celebrations take place. Being able to share the stage for Rotary at this significant gathering highlighted the important work that Rotary is doing in fighting hunger, preventing disease, providing clean water and sanitation, promoting peace, supporting education, and ending polio.

Truly, Rotary and Rotaract members are joining with global citizen and changemakers to take action and improve lives. I have just begun in my own small ways to create positive change. I hope our efforts before and after this event will inspire others to do their part as well.
Taking the global stage in Ghana 2022-12-11 05:00:00Z 0

Iron lung’s third life builds awareness for End Polio Now

ED. Note
Capital City Sunrise and Concord Rotary jointly display light post banners celebrating Rotary week and World Polio Day (October 24) in downtown Concord.
The Rotary Iron Lung Education Exhibit (RILEE) makes a stop at Rotary International World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, on World Polio Day, 24 October. Photo by Leann Arthur

By Suzanne Gibson, 2019-20 governor of Rotary District 6440 and a member of the Rotary Club of Barrington Breakfast, Barrington, Illinois

While planning a youth assembly in the fall of 2017, Rotary leaders in my district were looking for a fresh way to connect young people with the story of polio. Their generation is largely unfamiliar with this disease because it has not been endemic in our part of the world for decades. They have little memory, aside from photos in history books, of polio scares and children in iron lungs.
Iron lung’s third life builds awareness for End Polio Now 2022-10-30 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation extending fundraising partnership to eradicate polio

Partnership will infuse an additional US$450 million into global polio eradication effort

EVANSTON, Ill. (October 18, 2022) – Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are renewing their longstanding partnership to end polio, announcing a joint commitment of up to $450 million to support the global polio eradication effort.

“We’ve made tremendous progress, but the world is facing multiple pandemics, and vaccine hesitancy is on the rise. Recent polio outbreaks in Malawi and Mozambique, plus detection of poliovirus in Israel, the UK, and the United States prove that if polio exists anywhere, it threatens children everywhere,” said Ian Riseley, chair of the Rotary Foundation and Past President of Rotary International. “Partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation helps us ensure that children in polio-affected countries get the lifesaving vaccines they need to be protected from polio for life.”
Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation extending fundraising partnership to eradicate polio 2022-10-22 04:00:00Z 0

A moment with Rotary that changed my life

Rotary Foundation Trustee Dean Rohrs with a child during a National Immunization Day trip in northern Nigeria several years ago.

By Dean Rohrs, Rotary Foundation Trustee and past RI vice president

A few years back, I was taking part in a polio immunization field trip in northern Nigeria, vaccinating children against the disease. After a dusty trip on non-existent roads right into the northern Nigeria countryside, I was dropped off under a tree with a Rotaractor translator, one other Rotary member, and the local polio immunization team. This is an area frequented by Boko Haram and although I grew up in Africa, and am adventurous, I wasn’t sure that I would ever be found again.
A moment with Rotary that changed my life 2022-09-23 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary statement on recent polio detections in U.S., Europe

The recent detection of the vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 case in New York, USA, and isolates in several environmental samples collected in London are stark reminders that as long as polio exists anywhere, it is a threat everywhere. It also highlights the importance of vaccination as the only form of protection against polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases and the work that needs to be done in our communities to encourage the uptake of vaccines. Also, as the world gets closer to zero wild poliovirus cases, it is increasingly important to track all forms of the virus wherever they may appear, including in polio-free regions.

Learn more and donate to End Polio Now

The U.S. is still considered low risk for paralytic outbreaks of polio due to the high level of vaccine coverage across the population. If a child has received the entire course of vaccines, the risk of becoming paralyzed by polio is negligible. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 92.6% of children aged 24 months are fully vaccinated against polio, slightly below the 95% World Health Organization target.

The best things countries can do to protect themselves from polio until the disease is eradicated from the world are to: maintain high vaccination coverage and robust disease surveillance and be ready to respond in the event of an outbreak to minimize the risk and consequences of polio re-introduction or re-emergence anywhere.

The world currently has a unique opportunity to stop virus transmission for good. Still, all parties, including donors and country governments, must re-commit to polio eradication by fully supporting the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) 2022-2026 strategy. This focuses on adopting an emergency posture while generating greater accountability and ownership from country governments to eradicate wild polio and end variant poliovirus (cVDPV) outbreaks.

Rotary, a global service organization with over 1.4 million members, has been at the center of the worldwide effort to eradicate polio for over three decades. Every year, through our funding partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary commits $150 million to the global effort to eradicate polio. We have contributed more than $2.6 billion and countless volunteer hours to end polio forever. Together with our partners, we engage communities everywhere to encourage high vaccination rates, immunizing over 400 million children annually. More than 20 million people are walking today who otherwise would have been paralyzed because of our efforts and those of our partners in the GPEI.

The time for urgent action is now. A new vaccine has been deployed – novel oral polio vaccine 2 (nOPV2) – which is more genetically stable to stop outbreaks of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus effectively. With sustained political and financial commitments, the GPEI is confident that we can achieve a world in which no child is paralyzed by polio again.
Rotary statement on recent polio detections in U.S., Europe 2022-09-15 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary, Lions team up to serve in Brazil


The Rotary Club of Marília Coroados, Brazil, teams up with the Lions Club of Nova Geração to pack meals for three charities in 2021.
By Marcos Farto, president of the Rotary Club of Marília Coroados, Brazil

As a member of Rotary for 11 years, I’ve seen how members put Service Above Self. Never has this been more evident than during the COVID-19 pandemic, when we all became aware of how vulnerable life can be and how much we depend on each other.

Many have stepped forward. And out of that need to help, a beautiful story of collaboration and partnership emerged.

In 2021, our then club president established a partnership with the Lions Club of Nova Geração. In August, we packed approximately 100 meals to help three charities that no longer had food in their pantries and were depending exclusively on donations. APAE (an association for people with disabilities) in Marília, a city in the state of São Paulo, offered us their kitchen. It was wonderful to see everyone united, focused, and committed to preparing meals.

In February 2022, the Rotary Club of Marília-Pioneiro joined us on our next service project. In Marília, a public school was dedicated but it had no trees. Hundreds of children attended, but not a single tree had been planted. After consulting with the school principal and the environment secretariat, we obtained and planted 400 tree seedlings.

These efforts demonstrated something very important: regardless of the organization you belong to, being surrounded by good people with a shared purpose is very motivating. We — the members of Rotary and Lions clubs — worked together to address hunger and help the environment. We share common goals, so through our partnership, we can leave the world a better place and set a good example for others.

We are people of action — that is our mission.
Rotary, Lions team up to serve in Brazil  2022-09-10 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary statement on recent polio detections in U.S., Europe

The recent detection of the vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 case in New York, USA, and isolates in several environmental samples collected in London are stark reminders that as long as polio exists anywhere, it is a threat everywhere. It also highlights the importance of vaccination as the only form of protection against polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases and the work that needs to be done in our communities to encourage the uptake of vaccines. Also, as the world gets closer to zero wild poliovirus cases, it is increasingly important to track all forms of the virus wherever they may appear, including in polio-free regions.

The U.S. is still considered low risk for paralytic outbreaks of polio due to the high level of vaccine coverage across the population. If a child has received the entire course of vaccines, the risk of becoming paralyzed by polio is negligible. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 92.6% of children aged 24 months are fully vaccinated against polio, slightly below the 95% World Health Organization target.

The best things countries can do to protect themselves from polio until the disease is eradicated from the world are to: maintain high vaccination coverage and robust disease surveillance and be ready to respond in the event of an outbreak to minimize the risk and consequences of polio re-introduction or re-emergence anywhere.

The world currently has a unique opportunity to stop virus transmission for good. Still, all parties, including donors and country governments, must re-commit to polio eradication by fully supporting the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) 2022-2026 strategy. This focuses on adopting an emergency posture while generating greater accountability and ownership from country governments to eradicate wild polio and end variant poliovirus (cVDPV) outbreaks.

Rotary, a global service organization with over 1.4 million members, has been at the center of the worldwide effort to eradicate polio for over three decades. Every year, through our funding partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary commits $150 million to the global effort to eradicate polio. We have contributed more than $2.6 billion and countless volunteer hours to end polio forever. Together with our partners, we engage communities everywhere to encourage high vaccination rates, immunizing over 400 million children annually. More than 20 million people are walking today who otherwise would have been paralyzed because of our efforts and those of our partners in the GPEI.

The time for urgent action is now. A new vaccine has been deployed – novel oral polio vaccine 2 (nOPV2) – which is more genetically stable to stop outbreaks of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus effectively. With sustained political and financial commitments, the GPEI is confident that we can achieve a world in which no child is paralyzed by polio again.
Rotary statement on recent polio detections in U.S., Europe 2022-09-02 04:00:00Z 0

Simple ideas for creating international connections

An international student marks her home country on the map during a picnic organized by the Rotary Club of Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.
By Randy Bretz, Rotary Club of Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

If you think there’s not much your local Rotary club can do to foster international relations, think again. I have some ideas for you that are relatively simple and can help establish positive relations not just among individuals but entire countries.

My club is located in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska, home of the University of Nebraska. In fact, we have four universities and colleges in Lincoln. Each semester and often during the summer, these institutions host international scholars and students. Typically, people visiting or studying at a local institution are very interested in connecting with people in the community.

Our club is involved in “incidental international relations” in several ways. For example, each fall after the academic year begins, we work with representatives at the campuses in our area and invite international students to participate in a picnic. We cook hot dogs and hamburgers, baked beans and corn on the cob, organize a few activities and games and just enjoy a fun Sunday afternoon at a local park in Lincoln.

One activity is to give each student an ear of corn still in the husk and ask them to prepare it to be boiled for the meal. After all, we ARE known as the “Cornhusker” state. Our members often make friends with some of the students and those friendships last even after the international students have returned home. We’ve shared some videos of picnics on our Youtube channel.

Another activity has been to invite international students to visit our club meetings. Recently, the University of Nebraska has hosted a number of African leaders as part of the U.S. State Department’s Mandela Washington Fellows project. Each year, our club invites the 25 Mandela Fellows to join us for a meeting, and we spread them out at different tables to mingle with our members. Without a doubt, lasting friendships are made which result in ongoing communications between young African leaders and Rotarians willing to offer an idea or suggestion.

Like clubs around the world, our club and District 5650 participate in Rotary Youth Exchange programs. These exchanges have resulted in life-long family like relationships not only for the visiting students, but for the host families on both ends. It’s not at all unusual for us to have visitors to our club from young men and women who were exchange students, returning to visit their Rotary families.

Bob Rauner, who helps coordinate District 5650 Rotary Youth Exchange noted, “One of the best ways to world peace is building international relationships, and Rotary Youth Exchange builds lifelong relationships between countries. It’s amazing how connected former Rotary Youth Exchange students become. The Rotary Youth Exchange students develop an extensive network of connections with students from around the world during their exchanges.”
Simple ideas for creating international connections 2022-08-26 04:00:00Z 0

Cap City Raffle - 11 Chances to Win

PLEASE NOTE  Enter Capital City's Raffle and you have 11 chances to win. Only 300 tickets sold! Drawing soon on September 5, Monday.
1-$1000 prize and 10-$100 prizes
Capital City Sunrise Rotary $1,000 SUMMER
Gas prices getting you down?  Want to take the family on a summer vacation?  Have a home improvement project to pay for?

 WOULD $1,000 HELP????

Capital City Sunrise Rotary Club of Concord, NH is hosting a raffle with a top prize of a $1,000 Visa gift card.   Spend your winnings how and when you would like.

10 runners up will also be drawn to receive a $100 Visa gift card.


Winners Drawn on Labor Day Monday September 5th, 2022.
Help the Capital City Sunrise Rotary Club of Concord, NH with their mission to support community and international projects by caring for others and sharing fellowship with all. 
**All winners will be selected via random drawing on Monday September 5, 2022.  Winners will be notified via email.**
Cap City Raffle - 11 Chances to Win 2022-08-21 04:00:00Z 0

Pixels, Wood and Clay

A three Rotarian Exhibit at the Two Villages Art Studio in Contoocook, NH - Friday, August 12th – Friday,  September 9th Thursday through Sunday 12-4.
Pixels, Wood and Clay 2022-08-07 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary Fellowships amplify Ukrainian relief efforts

By Arnold R. Grahl
In the festive atmosphere of a gala dinner, Rotary members raised glasses in toasts and kindled friendships in Lviv as they welcomed a group of Ukrainians to the International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians. The next day, the Ukrainian members showed visitors former Eastern Bloc aircraft at a military base that had become a general aviation field.

Just a few months later, Russian forces invaded Ukraine — and the new friendships became critical connections for support and supplies.
Rotary's global network has sent millions of dollars' worth of relief and medical supplies to help the people of Ukraine. Rotary Fellowships, which bring together members who have a shared interest or hobby, have amplified the impact of these efforts.

Members of the flying fellowship leapt into action to help their fellow pilots as soon as the war began. George Chaffey, then-world president of the fellowship, says he and other members quickly contacted the Ukrainian members, who have been instrumental in identifying the most effective ways to channel the assistance.

One of them has been Olha Paliychuk, a member of the Rotary Club of Cherkasy, Ukraine. Paliychuk, who is a doctor and working toward her pilot's license, has helped coordinate response plans through both the flying fellowship and the International Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals.

"Within a week we raised more than $12,000 and a large volume of medical supplies, all cleared through Olha," Chaffey says. "We collect what the Ukrainians tell us they need and direct it to exactly where it is needed."

Chaffey says the fellowship members based in Hong Kong have arranged the delivery of more than $25,000 overall in medical supplies. At one point, they raised more than $10,000 in just four days for urgently needed medical equipment. Fellowship members worked out the details of the shipment in a message chat that spanned multiple time zones.

"Talk about speed and how technology has made the world a small place," says George Ritchie, the 2022-24 world president of the group. "I'd like to think our fellowship was one of the quickest out of the block to help."
Rotary Fellowships amplify Ukrainian relief efforts 2022-07-31 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary responds: support for Ukraine

The Rotary Foundation and Rotary clubs around the world have hurried to provide funds, supplies, and services to Ukrainians displaced by the war.
Rotary members and other volunteers pack donated supplies at a rented warehouse in Zamosc, Poland, a major hub for refugees and a centralized coordination location for aid from clubs in Europe.
Monika Lozinska
The Rotary Foundation has raised more than $15 million in contributions that are already helping provide people in Ukraine with essential items such as water, food, shelter, medicine, and clothing. Donations made to the Disaster Response Fund after 30 April will be available to all communities around the world that need assistance recovering from disasters.
Rotary responds: support for Ukraine 2022-07-18 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary awards its highest recognition to HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales

KIGALI, Rwanda (June 24, 2022) – Celebrate Community, a joint initiative of the four major volunteer service organizations, will launch this year with a focus on local community service during the week of October 10 to 16. In recognition of his longstanding focus on nature-based solutions to address the climate crisis, Rotary today presented HRH Prince Charles with its highest honour: The Rotary Award of Honour.
Rotary awards its highest recognition to HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales 2022-07-09 04:00:00Z 0

Capital City Sunrise Rotary $1,000 SUMMER

Capital City Sunrise Rotary $1,000 SUMMER
Gas prices getting you down?  Want to take the family on a summer vacation?  Have a home improvement project to pay for?

 WOULD $1,000 HELP????

Capital City Sunrise Rotary Club of Concord, NH is hosting a raffle with a top prize of a $1,000 Visa gift card.   Spend your winnings how and when you would like.

10 runners up will also be drawn to receive a $100 Visa gift card.


Winners Drawn on Labor Day Monday September 5th, 2022.
Help the Capital City Sunrise Rotary Club of Concord, NH with their mission to support community and international projects by caring for others and sharing fellowship with all. 
**All winners will be selected via random drawing on Monday September 5, 2022.  Winners will be notified via email.**

Capital City Sunrise Rotary $1,000 SUMMER 2022-07-06 04:00:00Z 0

A Rotary Fellowship that shreds

Paulo Melo of Pacific Beach Rotaract Club, from left, with Derren Lechuga of the Rotary Club of San Diego Coastal, Karla Prieto, Brett Morey, Founder of SURF, and Robert Chamberlain of the Rotary Club of San Marcos during the 2022 Switchfoot BroAM

By Raquel D’Garay-Juncal, president of the Rotary Club of Worldwide Impact (District 1550) and a member of The Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisers

In June, I had the chance to revisit with Brett Morey of Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship and review all of the exciting activities the fellowship has been up to.

I first met Brett at the Rotary International Conference in Atlanta back in 2017 when he was strolling through the House of Friendship with a surfboard under his arm. Brett, a native San Diegan and Past President of the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle, recalls that the moment we met “I knew we’d become friends and that we needed her on board.”
A Rotary Fellowship that shreds 2022-07-03 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary in Australia on the road to reconciliation

Mickey O’Brien, senior Kaurna Man, welcomes Rotary members to Kaurna country during a July 2021 event launching the Rotaract Club of Adelaide City, South Australia, Reconciliation Action Plan.

By Katey Halliday, Rotaract Club of Adelaide City, South Australia, Australia, and a member of Rotary International’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce

As a leading community service organisation, Rotary absolutely has a role to play in advancing reconciliation efforts. We exist to serve the community, and to do this well, we must have an understanding and appreciation for Indigenous communities.
Australia is made up of hundreds of different Indigenous nation groups; each with their own culture, customs, language, and laws. Based on Kaurna land on the Adelaide Plains, the Adelaide City Rotaract Club are the first within Rotary to have developed a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), endorsed by the not-for-profit organisation Reconciliation Australia.

Since 2006, these reconciliation plans have provided an avenue for organisations to sustainably and strategically take meaningful action to advance reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Our plan outlines a number of tangible actions to increase our members knowledge of Indigenous peoples, including Kaurna people, and elevate their commitment to building relationships that will lead to meaningful opportunities to serve alongside Indigenous peoples. We seek to ensure that our service projects, initiatives, and membership opportunities are inclusive of, respectful of, and extended to Indigenous peoples.

Our club had already taken the step of Acknowledging the Indigenous Country we’re based upon at meetings a few years ago; an Australian custom demonstrating respect for First Nations peoples. But with the guidance of the reconciliation framework, we wanted to do even more.

We launched our plan at an event in July 2021 with support from Mickey O’Brien, Senior Kaurna Man, who welcomed us to Kaurna country and congratulated us on our commitment to reconciliation. We were joined by Rotaract and Rotary members from District 9510 who wanted to celebrate with us and learn more about our vision and plan to support reconciliation not only in our club, but within other clubs as well.

As community service leaders, Rotarians and Rotaractors have a role to play in contributing to reconciliation and ensuring our service projects, initiatives and membership opportunities are inclusive of Indigenous peoples
Bernadette Barret, Inaugural chair

The vision and principles of Rotary encourage us to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. Reconciliation action plans are an incredible resource to support this in Australia. More broadly, taking a strategic look at how our clubs could be more inclusive of not only Indigenous peoples, but underrepresented groups such as LGBTIQ+ communities, is a great way to take strides towards improving cultural safety within our clubs and reaffirming that we are people of integrity.
Rotary in Australia on the road to reconciliation 2022-06-26 04:00:00Z 0

My Rotary youth exchange: Venezuela to the United States

Anniela Carracedo took part in a 2019-20 Rotary Youth Exchange from Venezuela to Mississippi, USA.

By Anniela Carracedo, member of the Rotary Club of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, USA, and a Rotary Youth Exchange Alumna

When I decided to become a Rotary Youth Exchange student, I had no idea how much it would change my life and the lives of everyone around me.

In 2017, I was invited to the Interact Club of Valencia, Venezuela, following my parents, who joined the Rotary Club of Valencia. I joined the club because I wanted to make a difference in my local community. I had seen Venezuela go from being one of the healthiest countries in Latin America to experiencing one of the worst humanitarian and economic crises in the modern world.
My Rotary youth exchange: Venezuela to the United States 2022-06-17 04:00:00Z 0

Through Rotary’s shared efforts, ‘peace will come’

Dr. Olha Paliychuk, a gynecologist and Cherkasy Regional Oncologist in Ukraine, speaks at the general session of the Rotary International Convention in Houston 6 June. Photo by Monika Lozinska/Rotary International

By Olha Paliychuk, Rotary Club of Cherkasky, Ukraine

I live and work in central Ukraine, not far from Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv. It was a long journey getting to convention: first by bus to the border of Poland, and then across the border and taking a long flight. But all the efforts are worth it.  As we say in Ukraine, “To see a friend, no road is too long.”
Through Rotary’s shared efforts, ‘peace will come’ 2022-06-10 04:00:00Z 0

Open Door, Full Heart: Granite Stater Serves Meals to Penacook Community

When Capital City Sunrise Rotarian, Mike Manning saw a “Free Meals” sign outside the United Church of Penacook in 2015 and decided to venture in, he had no idea how much that decision would impact his life.

Mike connected with the chair of Open Door Community Kitchen, and learned about their mission of serving meals to communities in and around Penacook. Later that year, Mike became the kitchen’s co-chair, organizing volunteer shifts, food orders, and donations.
The two Mikes from Capital City, Mike Dunn and Mike Manning
In his first years as co-chair, Mike made sure that Open Door Community Kitchen provided three free sit-down meals a week, with extra food for people to bring home and last them the following days. Mealtimes provided a sense of camaraderie and togetherness among volunteers and attendees alike.

Yet when the COVID-19 pandemic began, Open Door Community Kitchen was hard hit. Many of the volunteers were older and started to stay home at the onset of the pandemic because of the risk to their health. With limited capacity, the kitchen had to reduce its three free meals per week to two. In addition, the dining hall space had to close, and Open Door transitioned to making to-go meals.
Nevertheless, Mike put every effort into making sure that Open Door Community Kitchen was able to keep running during the entire pandemic, never missing a week. Even with a skeleton staff and rising food prices, Mike has worked around the clock to continue serving meals. And now, he’s working to re-start Open Door’s in-person meals, which provide an important sense of community.

Mike’s efforts to serve his neighbors during a time of need, and under unprecedented challenges, are commendable.

As Mike himself says, if everyone could just help each other, the world would be a much better place. His actions exemplify the best of the Granite State spirit of working together to support each other, no matter the obstacles, and we are lucky to have him in our midst.
Mike with fellow Rotarian, Jim Spain.
Open Door, Full Heart: Granite Stater Serves Meals to Penacook Community 2022-06-03 04:00:00Z 0

Little bit of salt


A surgeon in Spain finds a way to treat patients in Nigeria
By Steve Almond

Even as a child growing up in Owerri, Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Elenwoke had a penchant for surgery. “I remember my mom would buy a chicken for us to eat, and she would ask me to prepare it for cooking,” he says. “I would cut into the bird very carefully, trying to understand its insides. My mom got mad at me for wasting time, but gradually she realized that I was doing this for a reason.” As a teenager, Elenwoke was taken to a nearby hospital to visit a family friend. He promptly wandered away from his mother to see patients on a nearby ward, feeling an instinctual desire to heal them.

With his family’s support, Elenwoke, 39, attended medical school and now works as a neurosurgeon in Barcelona, Spain. He still goes back to Nigeria to perform surgeries when he can, but his desire to help patients and doctors in his homeland prompted Elenwoke in 2016 to help launch Docotal Health, which uses an international community of doctors to remotely help patients in underserved parts of the world.

Sometimes, this consists of Elenwoke dispensing medical advice directly to a patient via email or video chats. Just as often, Docotal offers support to health professionals on the ground. “Our community of doctors has different specialties,” he explains. “We have a cardiologist who can help if there is heart pain, a radiologist who can read X-rays and scans. Our core group consists of 11 doctors, but each of us has our own network we can reach out to.”

Elenwoke’s devotion to service dates back to his teenage years in Nigeria, where he joined Interact, following in the footsteps of his brother-in-law, a longtime Rotarian. Rotary and Docotal recently collaborated on a campaign to provide personal protective equipment for health workers in Nigeria, and future projects are in the works.

“To be successful,” Elenwoke says, “you have to surround yourself with a team that helps you succeed. You also need ‘a little bit of salt,’ which means a little bit of luck. For me, finding Rotary, having them as part of my team, has been that little bit of salt.”
Little bit of salt  2022-05-21 04:00:00Z 0

Lessons in generosity from rural Africa

Members of the Rotary Club of Yumbe, Uganda, participate in a community clean-up project in Achiba village.

By Helene Dudley, past president of the Rotary Club of Coconut Grove, Florida, USA

My eyes filled with tears as I attended  a Zoom meeting of the Yumbe, Uganda provisional Rotary Club discussing a service project they were planning to help a nearby village. I reached out in chat to another participant of the meeting who admitted she too was tearing up. The club is not yet officially recognized by Rotary International and the women are well below the poverty line but they are already doing service projects.
Lessons in generosity from rural Africa 2022-05-13 04:00:00Z 0

Suddenly, the war knocked on our door

Oksana Havryliv takes a selfie with some of the volunteers bringing medicine, food and other relief supplies to be reloaded and distributed. Photo by Oksana Havryliv

By Oksana Havryliv, Rotaract Club of Lviv International

Before the war, I was a student in international relations at the university in Ukraine and had been pursuing a master’s degree in political science through the University of Vienna. I dreamed of becoming a diplomat and representing Ukraine. I was busy with studies, planning my life, and hanging out with friends, especially those in Rotaract. That all changed on 24 February when Russia invaded my country and the bombs began to fall.
Suddenly, the war knocked on our door 2022-05-08 04:00:00Z 0

Austrian aid convoy drives all night to deliver supplies for Ukraine

Members of the Rotaract Club of Klagenfurt-Wörthersee, Austria, collect medical supplies, food, sleeping bags, and generators for transport to the Polish-Ukrainian border.

By Sebastian Adami, Rotaract Club Klagenfurt-Wörthersee, Austria

On the evening of 2 March, I set out with a team of Rotaract members and colleagues from six nations to deliver relief supplies to contacts waiting for us near the border of Poland and Ukraine. Our five-vehicle convoy traveled through the night to get there. But we were heartened by the response we saw all around us, people flashing their lights or giving us other signs of encouragement as they saw our relief supply convoy marked by flags that identified what we were doing.
Austrian aid convoy drives all night to deliver supplies for Ukraine 2022-04-07 04:00:00Z 0

A virtual club

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

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.
A virtual club 2022-04-03 04:00:00Z 0

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

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.
Editor of Rotary magazine in Ukraine thanks Rotary network for its help 2022-03-24 04:00:00Z 0

Ukrainian describes leaving Kyiv, using Rotary network to help others


Iryna Bushmina
By Iryna Bushmina, District 2232 (Ukraine) Rotaract Representative

I left Kyiv in the first hours of the war. My sister, her husband, her 3-month-old baby and a cat were in the car. When we reached the border, men were already not allowed to leave the country, so I went on with my sister and a little nephew. We were five days in the car, six days until we got to Vienna.

We stayed for the night in different countries three times. These were not hotels but homes of Rotary and Rotaract families. I used to just say that Rotary International is a big family, now I really believe it. And I am convinced that this is a family that will stand by you. These are no longer beautiful words to me, this is reality.
Ukrainian describes leaving Kyiv, using Rotary network to help others  2022-03-19 04:00:00Z 0

The Rotary Foundation creates channel for direct humanitarian support in Ukraine region

In response to the deepening humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, The Rotary Foundation has created an official channel for donors around the world to contribute funds to support the relief efforts underway by Rotary districts and has designated its Disaster Response Fund as the main avenue for contributions.

To this end, The Rotary Foundation has approved:

    •    Now through 30 June 2022, designated Rotary districts that border Ukraine and the Rotary district in Ukraine may apply for grants of up to $50,000 each from the Disaster Response Fund. These expedited disaster response grants can be used to provide relief to refugees or other victims of the crisis including items such as water, food, shelter, medicine and clothing.
    •    During this same period, other impacted Rotary districts that wish to offer support to refugees or other victims of the crisis in their district can apply for $25,000 grants from the Disaster Response Fund.
    •    Now through 30 April 2022, Rotary districts can transfer unallocated District Designated Funds (DDF) to support the Disaster Response Fund, directly supporting these Ukraine-specific humanitarian grants.
    •    Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund in support of Ukraine can be made here. All funds need to be received into the Disaster Response Fund by 30 April 2022 in order to qualify for use in support of the Ukrainian relief efforts.
    •    Although the Disaster Response Fund will be the main avenue for Rotary Foundation support, Rotary and Rotaract clubs are also encouraged to create their own responses to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
In addition to support provided through the Disaster Response Fund, the Foundation is coordinating with partners and regional leaders, exploring effective solutions to the increased humanitarian needs.
    •    We are in contact with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees – USA to prepare for and respond to the needs of those being displaced in Ukraine and to neighboring countries.
    •    ShelterBox, our project partner for disaster response, is in communication with Rotary members in Eastern Europe to explore how it may offer support with temporary transitional housing and other essential supplies.
    •    The Rotary Action Group for Refugees, Forced Displacement, and Migration is also mobilizing its resources to assist in this crisis.

More than 2 million people have fled Ukraine and are in dire need of emergency aid. The United Nations estimates that number could grow to as many as 5 million people displaced. Rotary clubs in Europe and around the world have stepped up their relief work, some working on the ground to help displaced families.

We will continue to monitor the situation in Ukraine and neighboring countries. Visit My Rotary and follow Rotary on social media to stay updated on how clubs can get involved and what actions Rotary members have taken and the impact it has had for people in the region.

For all other questions and to obtain more information, please contact the Rotary Support Center at rotarysupportcenter@rotary.org.
The Rotary Foundation creates channel for direct humanitarian support in Ukraine region 2022-03-13 05:00:00Z 0

Here are 7 positive stories coming out of what’s happening in Ukraine:


1. Russian citizens are protesting the actions of their government

As conflict rages on between the Russian government and the people of Ukraine, many Russian citizens are making it clear that they do not support Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

Protests against the invasion began in Russia on Thursday, February 24 and have continued since, according to TIME. Demonstrators are marching between city centers throughout Russia, chanting “no to war!” despite the threat of arrest.
Since protests began, over 2,000 people have been arrested, and over 5,500 have been detained by Russian police, according to Reuters.
Here are 7 positive stories coming out of what’s happening in Ukraine:  2022-03-06 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary International statement on Ukraine conflict


It is a tragic and sad time for the people of Ukraine and the world.

At Rotary, we are deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in Ukraine and the escalating loss of life and humanitarian hardship there. Continued military action against Ukraine will not only devastate the region, but also risk spreading tragic consequences across Europe and the world.

As one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations, we have made peace the cornerstone of our global mission. We join the international community in calling for an immediate cease fire, withdrawal of Russian forces, and a restoration of diplomatic efforts to resolve this conflict through dialogue.

In the past decade, Rotary clubs in Ukraine, Russia and nearby countries have transcended national differences and have actively engaged in peace-building projects to promote goodwill and to marshal assistance for the victims of war and violence. Today, our thoughts are with our fellow Rotary members and others in Ukraine coping with these tragic events. Rotary International will do everything in its power to bring aid, support and peace to the region.

Rotary International
Rotary International statement on Ukraine conflict  2022-02-26 05:00:00Z 0

The power of the Rotary logo

By Charles Pretto, 2022-23 governor of District 5340 (California, USA)

I like the Rotary logo — the one with the wheel and the word “Rotary” next to it. It’s not always a popular opinion though. Some members prefer the old Rotary wheel and continue to use it, even though it was retired nearly a decade ago. In some ways, I get it. We Rotary members can be traditionalists.

The modern Rotary logo has something that the old one doesn’t though: name recognition — literally. The word “Rotary” (or Rotaract) is in big letters. It’s easy to read and most importantly, it’s easy to identify. I experienced that difference first-hand when I started wearing the modern Rotary logo on my lapel pin.

From my dental hygienist to the person bagging my groceries, I was getting asked about Rotary everywhere. I never had this level of engagement before! You know why? Because we aren’t a big corporation like Starbucks with a logo you just know. The wheel doesn’t mean anything to the public. By adding “Rotary” to the wheel, our logo becomes much more identifiable. And because of that, I’ve had many delightful conversations with people. Some have even joined our club meetings to learn more about Rotary. It’s been a great recruitment tool.

Recently, the RI Board of Directors began asking Rotary and Rotaract clubs to update their club logo to include the Rotary logo and their club name. I realized that if every club did this, it would tie us all together as one global Rotary network.
When I begin my term as district governor, my goal is to get all 60 clubs in my district to update their club logos. I’ve already started talking about it with my district public image chair and presidents-elect.  

I know public image can’t be a priority for every club — they have other issues and challenges to focus on. So for those clubs who need additional assistance, but lack the resources to do it, I am starting a program in my district that will connect Rotaract members who are studying marketing or a related field with clubs that needs help with their branding and public image. It’s a win-win situation! Rotaract members who need real world experience will get it by using their talents to help clubs increase their public image in the community.

If your club wants to update their logo but you don’t know where to start, I recommend reaching out to your district public image coordinator to see what resources might be available from your district.

When we all use the Rotary logo, it really pops! And the awareness of our logo can help engage more individuals, welcome more people into Rotary, and do good in the world.

Recently, the RI Board of Directors began asking Rotary and Rotaract clubs to update their club logo to include the Rotary logo and their club name. I realized that if every club did this, it would tie us all together as one global Rotary network.
When I begin my term as district governor, my goal is to get all 60 clubs in my district to update their club logos. I’ve already started talking about it with my district public image chair and presidents-elect.  

I know public image can’t be a priority for every club — they have other issues and challenges to focus on. So for those clubs who need additional assistance, but lack the resources to do it, I am starting a program in my district that will connect Rotaract members who are studying marketing or a related field with clubs that needs help with their branding and public image. It’s a win-win situation! Rotaract members who need real world experience will get it by using their talents to help clubs increase their public image in the community.

If your club wants to update their logo but you don’t know where to start, I recommend reaching out to your district public image coordinator to see what resources might be available from your district.

When we all use the Rotary logo, it really pops! And the awareness of our logo can help engage more individuals, welcome more people into Rotary, and do good in the world.
The power of the Rotary logo 2022-02-20 05:00:00Z 0

The secret to increasing club giving

Flood victims in Kerala, India, receive job training under a global grant by the Rotary Club of Kalamassery. The $100,000 grant project benefited 500 families. N. Bhaskaran Pillai used examples like this one to encourage members to give to The Rotary Foundation.

By N.Bhaskaran Pillai, Rotary Club of Kalamassery, India

When I became treasurer of my club last year, I learned through Rotary Club Central that only 25 of our 39 members were Paul Harris Fellows (PHF). I also saw that our club had transferable Foundation Recognition Points that had been lying dormant for several years.

I saw an opportunity to rally our club around an effort to earn a 100% Paul Harris Club recognition using these points and collecting affordable contributions from members who were not yet PHF.
The secret to increasing club giving 2022-02-05 05:00:00Z 0

2022-2023 Presidential Theme Explained

By Gundula Miethke, Specialist, Regional Content and Communication • Europe/Africa at RI Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA

“Imagine Rotary” is the 2022-23 presidential theme that RI President-elect Jennifer Jones revealed on 20 January. She is asking Rotary members to dream big and take action: “We all have dreams but acting on them is a choice. Imagine a world that deserves our best, where we get up each day knowing that we can make a difference.”
The logo for the theme was designed by Riki Salam, an Australian artist and graphic designer specializing in contemporary Indigenous art, design, and communications. He also created the 2023 Rotary International Convention logo which will be held in Melbourne, Australia, thus connecting the two by a shared visual language.

Meaning of the design elements

There is, of course, a deeper meaning behind each element of the design. The circle in aboriginal culture for instance, signifies our connections to one another. The dots around it represent people and there are seven because of Rotary´s areas of focus.

The circle and the dots together become a navigation star – our guiding light. The solid line underneath is what is referred to as a digging stick and it is used when doing hard work. And since Rotary members are people of action – it represents a tool for getting things done.

The colors

The colors green, purple, and white are not necessarily connected to aboriginal culture. President-elect Jennifer Jones asked the new crew of Governors to use one, two, or all three when dressing for official events instead of using a theme jacket. “As we celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion, I wanted all of us to be able to express ourselves differently in what we wear, but still have connection”, Jones explained.

There are several ways to interpret the colors: Purple for example stands for polio eradication, green for the environment, the newest addition to our areas of focus, and white for peace, our core mission. Together, they are the colors of the women’s movement, the Suffragette – a subtle nod to this history as Jones pointed out, since she will be the first female RI president.
2022-2023 Presidential Theme Explained 2022-01-29 05:00:00Z 0

RI president-elect announces 2022-23 presidential theme

by Ryan Hyland
Rotary International President-elect Jennifer Jones wants members to imagine the possibilities in the change they can make to transform the world.
Jones, a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland, Ontario, Canada, revealed the 2022-23 presidential theme, Imagine Rotary, as she urged people to dream big and harness their connections and the power of Rotary to turn those dreams into reality.
RI president-elect announces 2022-23 presidential theme 2022-01-23 05:00:00Z 0

Supporting education for girls in Bangladesh

Esara and school supplies provided by the Rotaract Club of Dhaka Orchid
By Abdullah Al Fahad, immediate past president, Rotaract Club of Dhaka Orchid, Bangladesh

Esara is a seven-year-old girl who lives in the Habiganj district of Bangladesh with her mother. She lost her father three years ago when he was killed in a traffic accident. They live on the income of her mother, who barely makes enough to put food on the table.

After the death of her father, Esara couldn’t attend school because they had no money for school fees, supplies, transportation, etc. She became so upset after leaving school that she lost all interest in learning. That’s when her situation caught the attention of our Rotaract Club of Dhaka Orchid.

Club members assured her mother that they would pay for the expenses of allowing Esara to return to school. When she heard the news, Esara jumped for joy and a beautiful smile unfolded across her face. Her mother was so happy she thanked the club over and over for giving her daughter this opportunity.

We all know how critical reading and writing are for success in life. Basic Education and Literacy is one of Rotary’s areas of focus. Enhancing literacy reduces poverty, improves health, encourages economic and community development, and promotes peace.

An educated person is more likely to develop better moral and ethical values as compared to an uneducated person. Lack of education creates problems including superstition, domestic violence, poor health, and poor living standards. Education is an integral part of human society. And gender equality in education contributes to a better, more just society.
Supporting education for girls in Bangladesh 2022-01-14 05:00:00Z 0

The Honest Kid

A short story on the honesty of a young boy was run in the sports illustrated in 1989. 7-year old Tanner Munsey was playing first base during a T-Ball game in Wellington, Florida. He tried to tag a runner going from first base to second but couldn’t. The umpire, although called the runner out. Tanner then went to the umpire and told her that he had not succeeded in tagging the runner. She reversed her call.

Two weeks later, in another match, the reverse happened. This time Tanner had tagged the player but the umpire called him safe. She looked at Tanner and asked if he tagged the runner. He told her he had. She immediately called the player out. When the audience retorted, she told them that she believed the kid’s honesty enough and told them the last game’s incident.


“Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living and truth loving.” ― James E. Faust

Honesty isn’t something that is bound by age or social status. The result may not be immediate, but the universe doesn’t lose even a single good deed. It’s remembered and properly rewarded.
The Honest Kid 2022-01-09 05:00:00Z 0

Is it the truth?


Editor’s Note: Jeremy Opperman is a member of Rotary’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion taskforce and a regular contributor to this blog on issues related to disability inclusion.

By Jeremy Opperman, Rotary Club of Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa

Like countless others I imagine, I watched the compelling events to celebrate the birthday of Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu, or as he is also fondly known, “The Arch.”

What struck me almost immediately was how the messages from the internationally respected leaders departed from the usual gushy sentimental birthday tributes so loved by celebrities. After short heartfelt tributes to their dearest Arch, South African Professor Thuli Madonsela; Graça Machel, widow of two heads of state (Nelson Mandela and Mozambique’s Samora Machel); and Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and past UN Special Advisor on the Environment, all leapt straight in with some serious no holds barred truth telling.

Global challenges such as corruption, crime, climate change, and poverty were the order of the day. No mincing of words or diplomatic fluffiness. Just hard facts and straight talking.

I know some people were surprised and even disappointed, expecting perhaps a glamorous biopic of the Arch, made the more memorable by the presence of such deservedly vaunted personalities as the above larger than life three women and also including the Dalai Lama, a great friend of the Arch.
But I loved it!
The truth telling reminded me of a little controversy I witnessed recently while attending a high-level organisational strategy discussion. Essentially, is it wise or appropriate to highlight past mistakes and to regretfully acknowledge an organization failing in the past? The context in this instance was Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). It was interesting that not everyone agreed with the idea, preferring rather to downplay the past and highlight future inclusive practices.

When asked, I categorically agreed that disclosure and acknowledgement of past failing was essential if you wished for change in matters of diversity and inclusion. I used the analogy of getting directions to visit someone.

The first thing they will ask when directing you is, “where are you coming from?”

It is normal for people to feel uncomfortable when they face up to the past if they wish to progress in an unfamiliar area. The problem all too often lies in people’s genuine or wilful ignorance of issues making up the status quo.

This must be confronted with hard facts to jolt them into realising that change is paramount, simply because it would be totally unacceptable to continue with the status quo.
In a word, the truth.

The sluggish uptake of DEI in so many organizations and societies can absolutely be attributed to both wilful and genuine ignorance. It is essential that this be met with facts and realities to create a working baseline upon which you can drive practical change.

Which is why in my work as a diversity practitioner, I spend a lot of time on dispelling myths and showing the facts and realities of the situation. How else would they know for instance that within South Africa, 65% of children with disabilities don’t go to school; or that there are only 400 special schools in the country and that less than 70 of those go all the way to Grade 12; or that less than 1% of people with disabilities are employed; or that there is near total inaccessibility of public transport; or in the world, less than 6% of books and media are accessible to people with print handicaps such as being blind.

These realities are not stated to solicit pity, they are used to wake us up and to demand change just as Thuli, Graça, and Mary called for change with regards to poverty, corruption, and the climate crisis.

As long as it’s the truth, I applaud truth telling.
Is it the truth?  2021-12-13 05:00:00Z 0

Why vaccinations matter

Vaccines are one of the safest and most effective ways to protect people from life-threatening and preventable diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted life-saving vaccine campaigns. As a result, there is a growing risk of resurgence of vaccine preventable infections including polio, measles, and tuberculosis.

Rotary has advocated, distributed, and administered vaccines to help reduce polio cases by 99.9% worldwide. Clubs globally are using the same strategy to help end the COVID-19 pandemic. Here we show the importance of vaccines and why it’s one of the most reliable ways to protect yourself and future generations from infectious disease.
Why vaccinations matter 2021-12-04 05:00:00Z 0

From GSE to leadership, my journey into Rotary

Vivek Khandelwal (left) and the 2009 Group Study Exchange team to Switzerland.
By Vivek Khandelwal

In 2008, I happened to see a newspaper ad promoting Group Study Exchange through Rotary. Intrigued, I applied for the program never suspecting the many ways this simple action would impact my life.

Dharmendra Gangrade, a Rotary member who had previously taken part in a Group Study Exchange, oversaw training me and other applicants. The path forward was full of twists and turns, but after a year as an alternate, I was selected for a trip to Switzerland the following year.

I experienced many different aspects of my trade as a retail professional in Switzerland. Our team leader did everything he could to enhance our experience and allow us to gain new insights. The affection and kindness that I received from our host families spoke volumes about the program. I was amazed by every single aspect from the level of training that went into it to all the different presentations we gave and received at clubs both before and after. The generosity of Rotary to offer this level of professional development to non-members astounded me.

Not long after, with all these experiences still fresh in my mind, I received an invitation from the Rotary club that hosted my exchange to join their club. The decision was easy – I wanted to give back in any way I could. But in reality, I have always received as much as I have given or more.
I later had a chance to get involved with another club that spun off of that club as charter secretary and eventually president. I now serve the Rotary Club of Deonar in District 3141 as director of public relations working together with club leaders, something I truly enjoy. I write on a variety of topics and maintain a monthly blog that keeps our community and members informed.

I have also had the good fortune to visit RI World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, and meet the amazing people who provide support to clubs and districts.

What has kept me in Rotary these many years is the level of engagement that I am able to have with like-minded people who enable me to take part in truly amazing projects. I completely agree with RI President Shekhar Mehta, who has said that the rent we pay to stay on planet earth is the service we provide to our community. I am a Rotary member for life because of the opportunity it provides me to continue impacting the world in meaningful, fun, and engaging ways.
From GSE to leadership, my journey into Rotary 2021-11-26 05:00:00Z 0


Our own Rotarian Mike Dunn and Granddaughter Ashley

Excerpted from The Concord Monitor

There is a place we go, a place that fills a void in our hearts and provides faith in our fellow citizens. This place is simple, a place where people gather to spend time with one another and share meals to provide nourishment.

The Capital City Sunrise Rotary Club visits this place often, Rotarian Mike Manning is in fact a regular at this place. The Open-Door Community Kitchen located at the United Church in Penacook is a place we like to spend hours helping those in need. Friends wander in each week in search of a meal and a little companionship, simply looking for a friend to converse.

As Rotarians, we embrace each and every person equally while “placing service above self.” That’s just what Rotarians do.

The Capital City Sunrise Rotary Club is honored to have donated $2,000 to the Open-Door Community Center during the month of November. Mike Manning and his team of Rotarians have spent many hours in this place that we go to nourish the hungry.

If you have some time available and would like to join us at the Open-Door Community Kitchen, please contact Capital City Sunrise Rotarian Mike Manning at 603-496-8814.
FEEDING A NEED 2021-11-16 05:00:00Z 0

District Treasure Award 2021 - PDG Rich Berryman

District Treasure Award 2021 - PDG Rich Berryman

Intro Remarks From IPDG Steve Puderbaugh:

“In 2006, District 7870 initiated a special honor for extraordinary Rotarians in our District called the Rotary Treasure Award.
The rst recipient was Al Kerr who exemplified every aspect of Rotary; be it attendance, Foundation support, attracting new members, new club creation and attending District and Rotary International Conventions as well as demonstrating solid participation in community and international humanitarian projects.
The recipients of this award are definitely a Rotary Treasure!

Each year District Clubs nominate candidates for the Award with selection being made by a committee appointed by the District Governor.
The successful candidate needs to emulate and has shown Al Kerr’s level of involvement and dedication to the ideals of Rotary and his focus on ‘Service Above Self.’

This year I am honored to give this award to an individual who has exemplified the ideals of this award.

A quick overview of how this year’s recipient has served Rotary and our district include:
  • Rotarian since 1976 Many leadership positions in the Concord Rotary Club
  • Past President Concord Rotary 1988-89
  • Current President of Capital City Sunrise Rotary District Governor 2014-15
  • Current Chair of District Grant Committee
  • Past-President of District Executive Council
  • Chair of District Golf tournament Committee past 5 years
  • Dental Mission with Amigos de Honduras 2009
  • Dental Missions to Holy Spirit Clinic, Maggotty, Jamaica 2015,2018,2019, 2020
  • Initiator of a Global Grant of Dental/Medical Equipment ($90,000)and supplies to Holy Spirit Clinic, Maggotty, Jamaica
  • Several years as the local chair for the Rotary Leadership Institute
  • An avid supporter of the Rotary Foundation
Without further ado, join me in honoring this year’s recipient of the District 7870 Rotary Treasure Award: Dr. Rich Berryman”
District Treasure Award 2021 - PDG Rich Berryman 2021-11-15 05:00:00Z 0

Doubling down on COVID recovery, ending polio

The Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Ride to End polio team.

By Kristin Brown, past president, Rotary Club of Evanston Lighthouse

We ride so that others may walk. I don’t know who said it first, but the phrase has become a tagline for Rotary cyclists around the world, pedaling for PolioPlus, logging miles, and raising funds in the global effort to fully eradicate this disease.
Doubling down on COVID recovery, ending polio 2021-11-12 05:00:00Z 0

Assembly information 11-4

Treasurer’s Report - Mike Manning - $54,000. In 3 acc’ts.  The two District Grant projects (ODCK supplies $2000. And Penacook Community Center $4000. Will reduce our funds to $48,000.)
State House Holiday Tree Lighting - November 26th - 4 pm.  We are good for a table to serve HOT CIDER.  Pres. Rich to get there early to save parking spot.  Cider to be heated at Salvation Army at 2pm.  Larry P. To check with Salvation Army to confirm kitchen use.
Pittman Dinner - Jack Prendiville - shooting for December 8.  Cooking at Salvation Army starting at 2pm.
Wreaths Across America - Jim Spain - December 18, 10 am - Maple Grove Cemetery.
Salvation Army Bell Ringing - Larry Phillips keeping sign up list.  Pres. Rich and Mike Manning have volunteered to cover this while Wreaths        Across America being completed.  Reverend Ed will not be able to attend due to health problems.
Speaker List and Assigned Dates - Rich Berryman. All members are obligated to find speakers…when you do:
                 Get their Agreement to speak - in person or by Zoom?
                 Have speaker email or text Pres. Rich for date assignment and I will get all date,
                 contact info and Audio/visual info to Tony.
Children’s book donations to CPL in Speaker’s name - Jack Prendiville (assisted by Tony Gilmore when Jack in Florida and unavailable on Zoom.
Penacook Village Business Association - Pres. Rich to sign us up as members and find out next meeting.  Larry, Tony, both Mikes, and Geof. Interested in attending.
Concord Chamber of Commerce - we are already members so need to find meeting dates and have a CCSRC (or multiple) attend
Main Street Rotary Week Banners - Geoff Souther - have been up for a week and will stay up until City of Concord has banners to replace them so our one-week payment may be good for two or more weeks!!
Assembly information 11-4 2021-11-06 04:00:00Z 0

Lessons in disability inclusion: Does he take sugar?

By Jeremy Opperman, Rotary Club of Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa

I had just finished keying in my pin number on the card reader at the supermarket checkout counter recently when the cashier turned to my friend and asked, “how does he know which buttons to press.”

Being completely inured to this sort of thing, I watched with interest to see how my friend would react. It is peculiar that when encountering a person with a disability, many people very often address the person accompanying them rather than addressing us directly.
Lessons in disability inclusion: Does he take sugar? 2021-11-06 04:00:00Z 0

How to bring in new member

By Tom Gump, immediate past governor of District 5950 and a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Edina / Morningside, Minnesota, USA
Rotary’s recently launched Membership Society for New Member Sponsors has created a high level of enthusiasm for bringing new members into our organization and forming new and innovative Rotary and Rotaract clubs. How do you attract new members into your club? Or form a core of people interested in launching a new Rotary club? As someone who has brought in more than 50 new members (Membership Society Gold Level), I want to share a few thoughts.

Know why people join Rotary

A great starting point is to review the research we already have for why people join Rotary. Data from Rotary International’s last global survey shows that a majority of respondents said they joined Rotary or Rotaract for local community service and friendship. Respondents also listed personal growth, professional development, and professional connections as important reasons for joining. With this in mind, it’s good to make sure your club can provide these things, and that you advertise them to prospective members.

You have to Ask!

This might seem obvious. But you know what, if you don’t tell them about Rotary AND ask them to join, most people won’t. The survey showed that more than 85% of new members found out about their clubs because a Rotary member personally invited them. Don’t miss out on the opportunity. Ask your family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and other acquaintances to come to a meeting or event, and then follow up on any interest with an invite to join.
How to bring in new member 2021-10-31 04:00:00Z 0

Tips for Keeping Kids Safe

This is excerpted from the website - Human Trafficking in our backyard
Our speaker this week will address this issue
Tips for Keeping Kids Safe
1. Educate your kids about human trafficking. That it is here, what it looks like and to talk to you or another responsible adult if they think they see it. If they are able, have them read In Our Backyard. It will help them recognize the indicators.

2. Communicate with your kids, and let them talk to you without judgment. They need to know they are safer with you than anywhere else. One rule we had with our children was that if they did something wrong and they told us before we found out, they might have some consequences but their punishment would be less than if we found out another way.

3. Technology is a big part of how sex trafficking happens with youth. Know your kid’s passwords, know what is on their phone. A good rule is “as long as you live under our roof, we have access to passwords, emails, texts, etc.” Your child’s privacy is important but so is their safety. If you talk to parents whose children have been sex trafficked, without exception, they will all tell you they wish they had monitored their computers, cell phone and activities on social media.

4. Technological devices now exist which include: GPS tracking devices which can be placed on phones, clothes, and in backpacks which help parents and authorities track your child and find them when they first go missing. DNA scent kits which can be used to help authorities and dogs track a scent trail.

5. Know your kid’s friends. Have them over to your home. Feed them a pan of brownies, a batch of cookies and sit down and talk with them. Know where they hang out and what they are like.

6. Get youth involved in positive things, community groups, sports, music, community service, and church youth groups. Surround them with positive peer pressure.
Tips for Keeping Kids Safe 2021-10-23 04:00:00Z 0

Using Raise for Rotary to support polio eradication is a breeze

Jayne Hulbert and her husband, Gene, get ready for the District 5150 Road Rally to End Polio in 2020.
Ed Note: World Polio day is October 24, Capital City Celebrates with banners on the streetlight poles in downtown Concord, NH
By Jayne Hulbert, past governor and Rotary Foundation chair, District 5150

The eradication of polio is personal to me. My sister and my husband’s father both were victims of this dreaded disease when they were only 5 years old. I joined Rotary because of our fight against polio.
Last year, when I learned that Rotary had created the fundraiser site, Raise for Rotary, I immediately knew I wanted to use it. I am always looking for ways to make it as easy as possible for people to donate to The Rotary Foundation. As part of District 5150’s PolioPlus fundraising campaign we set up our first Raise for Rotary website. It was a huge success.

The set-up of the Raise for Rotary site was especially easy – something I am always looking for.  Shortly after I established the site, one of the Raise for Rotary staff got in touch with me to be sure things were going well. I was really impressed!

Useful features

One of the neat things about the Raise for Rotary site is that I am notified immediately when a donation is made. Then I drop a special note of thanks to the individual. Remember, The Foundation sends the official thank you donation notification. It’s great being notified of “surprise” donations.

Another great feature is that other donations can be added to the Raise for Rotary site.  These donations are typically major gifts that I know about.  I check with the donor to be sure we can use their name and donation amount on the Raise for Rotary website. This is a fantastic way to inspire others to donate.

We have now set up this year’s Raise for Rotary polio fundraiser. Kirsten at the Raise for Rotary staff was terrific assisting me in re-naming this year’s fundraising campaign. It’s actually easier for a donor to go to our Raise for Rotary page instead of logging in through My Rotary. We have added flyers for two of our upcoming events: Truffle Shuffle to End Polio on 3 October and the Rotary Race to End Polio to coincide with World Polio Day, 24 October.

Easy updates

The site can easily be updated with thank you notes, flyers, photos and videos, or just about any information you’d like to include. It’s so easy to keep the site updated with new information. Adding those major gifts is a breeze.

We use the Raise for Rotary web link on a variety of announcements, emails, etc. This is a great way to market events as well as to fundraise for PolioPlus. We have a Rotary Foundation event in November – Up and Away with EREY (Every Rotarian Every Year) – and we are seriously considering doing another Raise for Rotary site to support the fundraising efforts at the event.

The Raise for Rotary website is one of the best fundraising innovations Rotary has developed.
Using Raise for Rotary to support polio eradication is a breeze 2021-10-16 04:00:00Z 0

RI President-elect Jennifer Jones announces Rotary’s $97 million pledge for sustainable projects during Global Citizen Live

RI President-elect Jennifer Jones, right, announces Rotary’s $97 million pledge for sustainable projects during the Global Citizen Live event on 25 September in Paris, France. She’s joined on stage with British actress Carmen Ejogo.
by Ryan Hyland
RI President-elect Jennifer Jones, right, announces Rotary’s $97 million pledge for sustainable projects during the Global Citizen Live event on 25 September in Paris, France. She’s joined on stage with British actress Carmen Ejogo.

Rotary International President-elect Jennifer Jones took the stage at the Global Citizen Live concert on 25 September in Paris, France, and pledged $97 million in grant funding from the organization next year for sustainable, Rotary club-led projects.
RI President-elect Jennifer Jones announces Rotary’s $97 million pledge for sustainable projects during Global Citizen Live 2021-10-02 04:00:00Z 0

Empowering girls in Mexico

Sofia Brega founded Activators de Paz Ciudad Juárez, a group that trains other agents of change and develops Positive Peace content for schools.

By Sofía Brega, Rotary Positive Peace Activator and member of the Rotaract Club of Juárez Centro, Chihuahua, Mexico.

Growing up in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, I always knew I wanted to work on girl empowerment and the rights of women. I wanted to be an activist for women’s rights, and learned about Girl Up, an organization that strives to advance opportunities for girls to be leaders. It’s a club-based initiative that supports projects that focus on women’s rights and builds awareness of current challenges for women in Mexico and elsewhere.
Empowering girls in Mexico 2021-09-25 04:00:00Z 0

5 ingredients of a successful Rotary club

By Barton Goldenberg, immediate past governor of District 7620 (Maryland and Washington D.C., USA)

Running a successful Rotary club is a bit like baking a cake. You need the right ingredients.

If you’re a baker, you know that a great cake is made up of individual ingredients that come together to produce something special. A great Rotary club is like that, in that it is made up of a unique mix of ingredients. Here are the five that I have found in most, if not all, successful Rotary clubs.
5 ingredients of a successful Rotary club 2021-09-20 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary Peace Fellow reflects on Afghanistan, helping others in crisis

Kiran Sirah Singh at the International Storyelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee, USA.

By Kiran Singh Sirah, a 2011-13 Rotary Peace Fellow and president of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee, USA
The news coming out of Afghanistan has been painful to watch. So many of these images of suffering — the cargo plane filled with refugees, and especially the image of the baby being passed over barbed wire to a soldier — reminded me of my own family’s experience as refugees. Forty-nine years ago, they were forced to flee their home in Uganda along with 50,000 others, when a murderous dictator threatened them with genocide.
Rotary Peace Fellow reflects on Afghanistan, helping others in crisis 2021-09-12 04:00:00Z 0

New club makes disability advocacy a priority

By Ken Masson, President, The Rotary Club of World Disability Advocacy

The need for human rights for people with disabilities is worldwide. From the largest to the smallest countries, there are opportunities for Rotary to improve the dignity, respect, and quality of lives for people with disabilities. That is why we chartered the Rotary Club of World Disability Advocacy. We saw so many possibilities of what Rotary could do.
New club makes disability advocacy a priority 2021-09-03 04:00:00Z 0

Africa Marks One Year Polio-free

by Ryan Hyland

Rotary joined its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to mark the first anniversary of a historic public health milestone: the World Health Organization’s African region being certified free of wild polio.
Africa Marks One Year Polio-free 2021-08-29 04:00:00Z 0
Capital City Sunrise New Time and Location 2021-08-24 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary projects around the globe August 2021

South Africa
South Africa
Our DGE Randell Barclay is an honorary member of the Blougberg and participated in the sandwich making when he and his wife, Diane were last there recently.
When COVID-19 shutdowns heightened hunger in his country, Rex Ifechukwude Omameh turned his family’s living room into a sandwich assembly area to prepare food for those in need. Omameh, who is a member of the Rotaract Club of Blouberg and the Rotary Club of Blouberg, and his family members made the effort a Friday tradition. Fellow Rotaractors sometimes help prepare the sandwiches, and most of the food is given to the Milnerton Community Action Network for distribution. Omameh has spent more than $1,500 on food, and a bread company has also pitched in to provide some of the bread and soup. Omameh also received contributions to defray the project’s costs as a birthday present.
Rotary projects around the globe August 2021 2021-08-22 04:00:00Z 0

First outbound Rotary Youth Exchange from Nepal

Seema Tamang, third from left, with other Rotary Youth Exchange students
First outbound Rotary Youth Exchange from Nepal
From The Rotary Blog, November 1, 2017

By Seema Tamang, Rotary Youth Exchange student from Kathmandu, Nepal

During the 2016-17 school year, I was thrilled to be the first outbound exchange student from Nepal. Being blind, I have to admit I was a bit scared at first, as home life in the US was much different than in Nepal. I was used to sleeping in the same room with my sisters and with other girls in the dormitory at school. With my host family, I had my own room. But it did not take long to adapt, and enjoy an amazing experience during which I grew in many ways
First outbound Rotary Youth Exchange from Nepal 2021-08-14 04:00:00Z 0

Be a role model for Each One, Bring One


By Elizabeth Usovicz, Rotary International Director, Zones 30 and 31

Rotary connections are powerful, for both current and future members. After 16 months of lockdown, online business and virtual Rotary meetings, I recently met a longtime client for lunch. The restaurant we chose was quiet that day, and the dining area was empty except for one table. 

Our fellow diners were two young men of different races. They seemed to be talking about business as my client and I were seated at a nearby table. We didn’t focus on their conversation until our ears perked up like hyper-alert terriers when we heard one of them say, “Rotary.”
Be a role model for Each One, Bring One 2021-08-06 04:00:00Z 0

My Rotary Youth Exchange to Spain


Rotary Youth Exchange student Mia Henderson and a host sister in Madrid, Spain, on National Day of Spain.

Mia Henderson, 2019-20 Youth Exchange Student from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to Madrid, Spain

When I was 16, Rotary offered me a chance to experience life beyond anything I had known before. After attending a meeting about Rotary Youth Exchange, I decided to apply to study in Spain.

It took months of hard work to prepare. But before I knew it, it was time to pack up my things and leave. I arrived for my 2019-20 exchange in an unfamiliar country, meeting people I didn’t know, who spoke a language I didn’t speak well. But even though this was my most difficult path yet, I was at peace.
My Rotary Youth Exchange to Spain  2021-07-31 04:00:00Z 0

“Saving the future of our children”: The women fighting polio in Pakistan

Zubaida Bibi leads a team in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the country’s north. © WHO/EMRO
Pakistan is one of two countries where wild poliovirus remains endemic making it essential that the entire country supports the successful implementation of every polio campaign. Women play a critical role, often working at polio’s frontline.

Health interventions and immunization activities are most effective when delivered by women.  During each nationwide polio vaccination campaign in Pakistan, women make up around 62 percent of the 280, 000+ frontline workforce vaccinating millions of children across the country.
“Saving the future of our children”: The women fighting polio in Pakistan 2021-07-24 04:00:00Z 0

How to talk to someone who is vaccine hesitant

Tips to have that talk

by Elizabeth Schroeder

As COVID-19 vaccinations are administered around the globe, you’ve probably seen your social media feeds fill up with joyful vaccine selfies and excited appointment updates. Chances are, you also have someone in your life who’s skeptical. Most of us do — and that has public health officials concerned.

Vaccine hesitancy is often fuel for heated public debate, but conversations about vaccines don’t have to be contentious. In fact, being willing to have them is one of the most impactful ways we can influence global health. As with many emotionally-charged topics, knowing how to start the conversation can be the hardest part. These tips may help you open up a dialogue and get your loved ones thinking differently about being vaccinated.
How to talk to someone who is vaccine hesitant 2021-07-18 04:00:00Z 0

Food bags fill void left by pandemic

Members of the Rotary Club of Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras, check names off a list as they distribute food bags on the island of St. Helene.

By Roger Bjoroy-Karlsen, Rotary Club of Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

I am on a small boat fully loaded with food bags headed for the people of St. Helene, a small island about two miles long and one mile wide, separated by a canal from the island of Roatan. Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands located off the northern coast of Honduras.
As the waves are striking our boat, my thoughts wander to the approximate 1,000 people in 218 households who are in need of the food we’re delivering. Many of whom have no income because they lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. St. Helene has no roads and no infrastructure. Its people are descendants of African slaves brought by the British to Jamaica and the Cayman Islands who then migrated to Roatan after gaining their freedom in the 1830’s.

Last year they got electricity for the first time. And 14 months ago, as the first part of a Rotary global grant, members completed a fresh water project. Phase two of the grant has been approved.

We landed on a Friday in September 2020 at a dock that was built by grant money and the effort of Rotary members. Our trip could not have happened without funds from the Rotary Club of Oakville Trafalgar (Ontario, Canada) and the Rotary Club of Evergreen (Colorado, USA).
    •    600 masks
    •    250 face shields
    •    bags with food for roughly 30 days
In addition to the food, we provided 600 N95 masks and 250 face shields to residents of St. Helene thanks to a donation from Michael McCarry of Mount Sinai Hospitals in New York City, New York. A special thanks to Sterling Lucas and his boat captains who brought us to the island.

The islanders received their bags of provisions as they were checked off of a list. They then loaded into their boats and flipped up their umbrellas and went back to their homes either by sea or along crooked paths around the island. The bags will provide each family with enough food to live on for about a month.

It was great to see their renewed hope for the future as the supplies gave them the ability to look beyond this pandemic. This is what Rotary is about, Service Above Self and bringing new hope to parts of the world.
Food bags fill void left by pandemic 2021-07-09 04:00:00Z 0

Volcanic ash in West Indies puts animals in need

By Elizabeth Guybert, Rotary Club of Grande Terre Pointe Des Châteaux, Guadeloupe, French West Indies\

Rotarians organized a large-scale collection to feed, shelter, and provide medicine for animals affected by the volcanic ash that destroyed pastureland.

In April, the successive eruptions of the Soufrière volcano devastated part of the island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, leading to an urgent evacuation of the population from the affected areas.
Volcanic ash in West Indies puts animals in need 2021-07-02 04:00:00Z 0

Polio outbreak in Papua New Guinea

In 2019, there were 554 cases of paralytic polio globally. In 2020, that figure more than doubled to 1,216.
On 21 June 2018 it was confirmed that poliovirus is circulating once more in Papua New Guinea after 18 years polio-free. As polio is a highly infectious disease which transmits rapidly, there is a potential for the outbreak to spread to other children across the country, or even into neighbouring countries, unless swift action is taken.

Organizers of the outbreak response are calling for the full support of all sectors of society to ensure that every child is protected. Parents are being encouraged to bring their children to their health centre or vaccination posts to receive the vaccine, free of charge, during a series of immunization campaigns. Disease surveillance is also being strengthened to detect any further transmission of the disease.

The World Health Organization is working with the other partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to support the National Department of Health and the Provincial Health Authorities in controlling the outbreak.
Polio outbreak in Papua New Guinea 2021-06-20 04:00:00Z 0
Staycation Raffle 2021-06-13 04:00:00Z 0

Keeping children safe from polio

The author immunizes a child against polio in India. Ed Note: I have been fortunate enough to visit S.R. Yogananda in his home and have attended his club Rotary meeting.
By S.R. Yogananda, past governor of District 3190 and 2011-14 regional Rotary Foundation coordinator

I had just come back from an assignment overseas in 1987 when I rejoined the Rotary Club of Bangalore East after an absence. I enjoyed the fellowship before meetings when I could connect with all my friends in one time and place. At one such meeting, one of our club leaders talked about Rotary’s top priority to eradicate polio and mentioned an upcoming immunization drive that Sunday.

But that Sunday, I had a wedding to attend of a friend of the family, who I knew would notice if I arrived late. At 06:30 that morning, I received a call from our polio committee chair, reminding me of the event. He was so convincing that I should volunteer that I said yes, even though I was not happy I would be missing the wedding.
Keeping children safe from polio 2021-06-12 04:00:00Z 0

Vaccination education for all our neighborhoods

Members of the Rotary Club of Plano West, Texas, USA, spend Saturdays distributing information about vaccinations on door hangers in Spanish-speaking neighborhoods.

By Alex Johnson, President of Rotary Club of Plano West, Texas, USA

From my town of Plano, a suburb of Dallas, Texas, we see the virus devastating lives in India. Last year, COVID-19 affected people overseas, and then took hold in America. We can counter the threat and stay safe by getting people vaccinated.
Vaccination education for all our neighborhoods 2021-06-05 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary members lead effort to transform childbirth care in Mongolia

Editor's Note: In 2014 Capital City led a global grant providing almost $800,000 in medical equipment and supplies to support maternal and child health for five barely equipped clinics in sparsely populated rural Mongolia.
Julie Dockrill, recipient of Rotary’s People of Action: Champions of Health, led a team of midwives in training health care professionals as part of a comprehensive well-being program that’s saving mothers and babies
by Ryan Hyland

When Julie Dockrill was approached by the Rotary Club of Waimate, New Zealand, to train medical workers in Mongolia in safer childbirth practices, she wasn’t sure how much of a difference she could make — despite her 20 years of experience as a midwife and childbirth educator.

At the time, Dockrill wasn’t very familiar with Rotary’s work, nor was she aware of the high infant mortality rate in Mongolia, an Asian country located between Russia and China. But she agreed to participate if it meant saving the life of even one child.
Rotary members lead effort to transform childbirth care in Mongolia 2021-05-29 04:00:00Z 0

5 reasons to give to The Rotary Foundation

The Rotary Club of Andong-Central, Korea, provides horticultural training for students with special needs as part of a global grant made possible by your donations to The Rotary Foundation.

When you make a donation to The Rotary Foundation, you are helping Rotary members make a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world. Here are five reasons to make Rotary your charity of choice any time of the year.

    1.    Accountability

Our accountability and transparency have earned The Rotary Foundation 12 straight years of four-star ratings — the highest possible — from independent evaluator Charity Navigator. More than 90% of Foundation funds are spent directly on programs. No high administrative costs dilute your gift.

    2.    Impact

We partner with other organizations to increase our impact and make your donations work even harder. When you give to PolioPlus, for example, you have the satisfaction of knowing that every $1 Rotary commits to polio eradication is matched by $2 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Thanks to this partnership, all donations to end polio (up to $50 million per year) are tripled, providing critical funding toward creating a polio-free world.

    3.    A record of success

Rotary unites leaders who have the skills and resources to tackle some of the world’s most difficult problems and deliver sustainable, long-lasting results. For decades, Rotary has been a leader in the battle against polio and with the help of our partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, we have reduced cases by 99.9% since 1988. The infrastructure developed to facilitate both immunizations and eradication is being used to fight and protect against other diseases as well. For example, the method known as contact tracing was critical to containing an Ebola outbreak in Nigeria in 2014.

    4.    Global reach

Our 1.2 million members span the globe, uniting people who have a common desire to serve others. From teaching children to read in Ecuador to a microcredit program in Indonesia, Rotary members identify local problems and use Rotary’s vast network and the resources of The Rotary Foundation to take action in their communities.

    5.    Bringing about peace

Peace holds a unique status in Rotary.  We approach peace not as an abstract concept, but as a living, dynamic expression of human development. As a humanitarian service organization, it is both a cornerstone of our mission and one of our six areas of focus – one of the main ways in which our members make their mark on the world.

Each year, the Rotary Peace Centers train some of the world’s most dedicated professionals to resolve conflicts and promote national and international cooperation. Rotary Peace Fellows study in a two-year master’s degree program or a professional certificate program at Rotary’s partner universities. Rotary members themselves also address the underlying causes of conflict, including poverty, inequality, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources. Our collaboration with the Institute for Economics and Peace is providing free, self-guided training to individuals who want to be peacebuilders in their communities.
5 reasons to give to The Rotary Foundation 2021-05-22 04:00:00Z 0

Sewa International to Distribute 7482 Oxygen Concentrators and 250 Ventilators in India; Jack Dorsey of Twitter Donates $2.5 million


Rotary International is not well organized to support ongoing disasters. District 7870 is working with Sewa International to provide donations in support of the Covid19 crisis in India. Here is what Sewa is doing.
Houston, TX (May 13, 2021) – Sewa International has procured 7,482 oxygen concentrators, 20,500 pulse oximeters, 250 ventilators, 256 co-ventilators and other much needed medical equipment and has shipped most of these to India via UPS over the past two weeks. Working with its partners in India, Sewa International has distributed more than 4,000 medicine kits, and 5,000 essential kits. As Indian hospitals and care agencies struggle to meet this dire medical emergency, Sewa volunteers have been working across the country, in small towns and big cities to offer information about hospital bed availability, medical equipment distribution, vaccinations, and testing for COVID-19. Sewa International has already spent more than $7.5 million procuring and shipping equipment, and helping distribute needed medicines, food, and other supplies.
Sewa International to Distribute 7482 Oxygen Concentrators and 250 Ventilators in India; Jack Dorsey of Twitter Donates $2.5 million  2021-05-16 04:00:00Z 0

A day in the life of a vaccination volunteer


By Jill Johnson, member communications team lead, Corporate Communications, Rotary International

My cheeks hurt from smiling, which was weird because I wore a mask all day. It’s not as if anyone saw my smile, but I couldn’t help it. It was a great day.

I volunteered at the COVID-19 vaccination clinic in my town on 15 April. I worked the registration desk, checking people in for their appointments. It’s a fun assignment because you interact with so many people. There was the young man who told me he just woke up — it was 1:00 p.m! There were the teenagers born the year I graduated high school who didn’t laugh at my lame attempts at jokes. And there was the young man with autism who, as his mom filled out the paperwork, sang me a song and showed me how he could dance.

I’ve always wanted to volunteer but struggled with finding the “right thing.” When Rotary members were encouraged to work with their local health organizations to support vaccination clinics in their communities, I thought, “I could do that.” I may not be a Rotarian or a Rotaractor, but I am a part of the Rotary community. And this felt like the “right thing.”

While the registration desk is fun (and busy), I also liked being a vaccination assistant on previous volunteer shifts a week earlier. There’s more time to chat than at the registration desk, so you get to interact with people in a different way. I’ve listened to residents talk about how excited (and nervous) they are. I’ve seen their faces light up when the vaccination is over and they didn’t feel a thing. I’ve heard more people say “thank you” than I can count.

While it’s mostly a joyful and positive experience, there have been some challenges. There was the patient who was there with her caregiver. She had a disability and was deaf, and was also very afraid — she really wanted her mom. Another man arrived in a wheelchair with his parents and started to get angry when he realized he was getting a vaccination. As a non-medical professional who works behind a desk all day, it was an eye opening experience.

When my shift was done, I was exhausted, but in a good way. I still had work to do and two kids to take care of, but I felt accomplished and happy. I had no idea volunteering would have this effect on me. I’m already looking for more clinic shifts to volunteer for.
A day in the life of a vaccination volunteer  2021-05-08 04:00:00Z 0

The logistics of shipping and storing vaccines

by Elizabeth Schroeder

A mass, worldwide vaccination effort is crucial to defeating the COVID-19 pandemic — but the logistics of getting it done are incredibly complex. Two of the most complicating factors? Storage and transportation. 

Distributing vaccine doses is much more elaborate than simply putting vials in a box and loading them onto a truck. From the time a vaccine leaves the manufacturer to the time it’s administered to a patient, it needs to be kept in ideal and highly specific conditions. For example, Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine needs to be stored at a frigid -70° C.  That’s why the success of large-scale immunization efforts is dependent on a reliable cold chain: a system of safely storing and transporting vaccines at recommended temperatures.
What makes up a cold chain?

A seamless cold chain combines three equally important elements:

    •    Equipment: in most cases, the best storage option is a pharmaceutical-grade unit, specially designed for housing vaccines. Unlike the freezer where you keep your ice cream, these can cost upwards of $15,000. Specialized portable coolers are also important for moving vaccines from one location to another.

    •    Personnel: staff and volunteers tasked with handling vaccines must be thoroughly trained on safe storage and transportation practices. This is particularly important because different vaccines require different conditions.

    •    Processes: vaccinating facilities must have clear, detailed, and up-to-date instructions for vaccine handling — plus contingency plans in case of emergency. What if the facility loses power? What if there’s a weather event? These questions and more should have thorough answers.

What happens if the chain breaks?

Vaccines can only protect against disease if they’re delivered safely. Overexposure to heat, cold, or light can compromise vaccine quality. Not only does this diminish the vaccine’s effectiveness; it also leads to wasted vaccine supply and financial loss. Between spoiled vaccines, replacement costs, and administrative expenses, cold chain errors cost healthcare shippers billions of dollars a year. 

How we help

For more than 30 years, Rotary members have been supporting the safe transport of polio vaccines to every corner of the globe. When it comes to COVID-19, we’re just as committed to bringing vaccines to all. Learn more about how we’re playing our part: http://on.rotary.org/covid19efforts.
The logistics of shipping and storing vaccines 2021-04-30 04:00:00Z 0

What every Rotary club should know about running Virtual/In-Person meetings

This week the club Zoom meeting will include the 25-minute video meeting referenced in this story.
By Jim Marggraff, Entrepreneur and Member of the Rotary Club of Lamorinda Sunrise, California, USA

Four years ago, my wife MJ surprised me with an unearthly question. “How can we keep Mars-bound astronauts connected with their loved ones on Earth?”

This question sparked a journey, though not yet to Mars… Instead, I embarked on a journey to understand social isolation on Earth, to develop new ways to connect remote loved ones using advanced technologies, to found another company, my seventh, Kinoo.family, and to become even more deeply engaged with Rotary!

While few Rotarians are likely to find ourselves hurtling toward the red planet, many of us do understand the feeling, if not the risk, of social isolation, and the desire to remain close to our friends and families.  Strikingly, within months of COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020, nearly 80% of Rotary clubs embraced Zoom, or other video conferencing software, to host virtual club meetings and stay connected.
What every Rotary club should know about running Virtual/In-Person meetings 2021-04-22 04:00:00Z 0

Mount Washington Foliage Season Raffle

Capital City Sunrise Rotary is raising funds for its Concord, NH area and international projects.
Win a fall foliage stay for two nights and tickets on the steam powered Mt. Washington Cog Railway
Nights of October 2 & 3, 2021 at the 4-star Omni Mount Washington Bretton Arms in Bretton Woods
• Two day stay for two persons, in a luxurious room with two queen-size beds and a nicely appointed seating area
• $250 for meals and incidentals
• Two front-row seat tickets on the Mount Washington Cog Steam Locomotive Railway for Saturday, October 3rd
• Magnificent Mount Washington autumn foliage scenery
All proceeds will benefit the charities of the Capital City Sunrise Rotary Club, Concord, NH and its international service projects.
Only 300 tickets to be sold
One winner will be drawn on Tuesday, September 7, 2021. The winner will be notified by email. Prizes are not exchangeable.

Mount Washington Foliage Season Raffle 2021-04-11 04:00:00Z 0
Fall Foliage Staycation Raffle 2021-04-05 04:00:00Z 0

My best day as a vaccination volunteer

Steven Sanbo registers people at a vaccination center in Yavapi County, Arizona
By Steven Sanbo, past governor of District 6690 and Zone 30 assistant Rotary coordinator

What I recall most are the hundreds of faces. Faces of hope. Faces of relief, gratitude, fear, joy, excitement, desperation, anxiety and yes, faces with tears all hidden behind masks during my volunteer shift at a mass vaccination center in Arizona, USA, on 26 February.

The only other time I had seen hundreds of faces filled with so much emotion was leading a Rotary mission trip in Guatemala in November 2014 to open a trade school. That morning an earthquake measuring 7.4 magnitude hit the San Marcos region 40 miles from where we were working. It was the largest earthquake to hit Guatemala since 1976.
That afternoon I and two other Rotarians volunteered to be first responders with Shelter Box leaving at 04:00 the following morning for San Marcos. You could see it on their faces. The villagers cried for help, support, food, water, shelter, hope for missing family members amid the destruction and crumbled houses. I was there to provide hope.
My best day as a vaccination volunteer 2021-04-03 04:00:00Z 0

Peace: Today for tomorrow


By Maria Kliavkoff

What difference can one conversation, one action really have? As a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada living and working in the border area between Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia, I have always had a passion for peace. By good fortune, I have had the opportunity to meet four RI presidents, and I asked each what polio eradication has taught Rotarians about peace. The answer that inspired me most came from past RI President Barry Rassin, who told me “peace happens one conversation at a time.”

I chose to reflect on this answer in one of my favorite places, the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (WGIPP) – the first International Peace Park created by U.S. and Canadian Rotarians in the early 1930s. It is truly a “place of peace,” as the first peoples of the area called it centuries ago. As a director of the park’s association, I had been attending annual meetings and having peace conversations with other Rotarians.
Peace: Today for tomorrow  2021-03-27 04:00:00Z 0

Paroles sages de Mark Twain

Une femme mariée française ne peut même pas entrer dans une ménagerie sans mettre en doute la pureté de cette ménagerie.
Mark Twain

Paroles sages de Mark Twain 2021-03-21 04:00:00Z 0

Le Rotary et la vaccination contre le COVID-19

Six gouverneurs de district des zones 33 et 34 ont collaboré avec le ministère de la santé et les services sociaux de Caroline du Nord (États-Unis) pour contribuer aux efforts de vaccination contre le COVID-19. Les gouverneurs ont créé une liste de contacts de chaque Rotary club de leur district qu'ils ont fournie au ministère de la santé de l'État, qui l'a à son tour communiquée avec les services de santé locaux. L'État a également dispensé aux membres du Rotary de tout l'État une formation sur les vaccinations, afin de leur permettre de sensibiliser le public. Les membres se sont portés volontaires sur les sites de vaccination locaux pour aider les agents de la santé en matière de logistique, y compris la saisie de données, l'organisation des files d'attente et l'enregistrement des patients. Découvrir cet article sur Rotary Voices et partagez ce que font vos clubs pour contribuer aux efforts de vaccination sur Rotary Showcase.

Le Rotary et la vaccination contre le COVID-19 2021-03-21 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary clubs fight COVID-19 in a big way

Quentin Wodon

By Quentin Wodon, Rotary Club of Washington Global, USA

How do we measure the magnitude of the investments made by Rotary clubs in the battle against COVID-19? This is not an easy question to answer, but in my Rotary and professional life, I often deal with assessing impacts. So the question intrigues me.

Back in June of 2020, Rotary International released a statement that it had allocated $20 million in grants to fight the pandemic. (Read how Rotary is encouraging clubs to cooperate with local governments and health organizations on the rollout of COVID vaccines). But we all know that that amount is just the tip of the iceberg.

Club foundations

A few years ago, I estimated that there were close to 4,000 local foundations at the level of Rotary clubs and districts just in the United States alone. At the time, the assets of The Rotary Foundation were just above one billion dollar. Local Rotary foundations filing forms 990 with the Internal Revenue Service had close to $775 million in assets. This did not include assets owned by 1,854 local Rotary foundations that did not file a form 990 because they have gross annual income/receipts of less than $50,000.

It is likely that annual charitable donations by local Rotary foundations in the U.S. exceed those of The Rotary Foundation simply because they distribute a larger share of the funds they raise the same year. And many club and district foundations focused their charitable work on the pandemic in the last year. Hence the total funding provided by the Rotary community was undoubtably much higher than $20 million.

A few examples

I can share a few examples anecdotally of what Rotary clubs in my area of Maryland and Washington, D.C., have been doing:
    •    The Rotary Club of Metro Bethesda provided $53,000 to support three local nonprofits on the frontlines.
    •    The Rotary Club of Columbia Town Center donated nearly $60,000 worth of personal protective equipment to local senior care facilities, nine of which are in Howard County.
    •    The Rotary Club of South Frederick County aimed to give $60,000 to meet the county’s needs.
    •    The Rotary Club of Annapolis organized its yearly crab fest as a drive through. It typically raises each year $45,000 to $65,000 depending on the weather for nonprofits around Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, again in the past year with some focus on COVID-19 responses.
    •    The Rotary Club of Baltimore launched a $30,000 initiative to help feed first responders during the crisis.
    •    As for the Rotary Club of College Park, it mobilized hundreds of volunteers to distribute meals.

It would be interesting to know what the total amount donated by Rotary organizations and Rotarians globally to fight COVID-19 has been so far, as well as how many volunteer hours have been committed by members in their community’s response toward the pandemic. I would not recommend sending a survey to all Rotarians, or even to all clubs, as we already receive enough surveys, and there is no need to run such “censuses” where everybody is asked to respond. Rather, at the level of a country or internationally, sampling methods could be employed.

The big picture

But the more important take away is this: Rotary has been contributing in a big way to the fight against COVID-19. And we all have a role to play in communicating the good that we are doing. Apart from statistically measuring what we are doing, we should share our stories. Rotary leadership is encouraging clubs to share your efforts on Rotary Showcase. And you can promote what you are doing through your local media.

We belong to a great organization. Let’s continue to roll up our sleeves and help the world turn the corner on this pandemic. And let’s invite others to join us.
Rotary clubs fight COVID-19 in a big way 2021-03-12 05:00:00Z 0

Myanmar refugees charter new club in Indiana

Members of the Southport International Rotary Club in Indianapolis load boxes of food for a food drop.

By Jeff Lake, Rotary Club of Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

I began to work with the nonprofit organization Chin Community of Indiana in 2016 after our club’s foundation granted them $250,000 over five years, with a three-year extension through 2023. Many Burmese Chin, fleeing persecution in their home country, have chosen Southport as their new home. Almost 20,000 Chin live on the south side of Indianapolis, making it one of the largest concentrations of Chin people outside of Myanmar.

I was asked to be the liaison to the Chin organization and one of the first things I did was to create a Chin Support Committee. This committee meets quarterly to determine what type of additional assistance the Chin residents need. All along, I have worked closely with their leadership. It was decided a couple of years ago that starting a Satellite Club of Chins and non-Chins would help them assimilate into the greater Indianapolis community.

The satellite club meets at The Chin Center, which is the heart and soul of the Chin community. It took some time but in the fall of 2020, they had 22 members and applied to receive a charter to be their own Rotary club. Importantly, the president of this new club, Southport International, is a Chin. Though I’m a member of the Rotary Club of Indianapolis, the host club, I attend most of their meetings, whether in-person or via Zoom.

The Chin club members take great pride in telling people that they are Rotarians. They will hold a Charter Night as soon as all of us are able to meet in-person once again. The Executive Director of the Chin Community of Indiana, is a member. I have done some volunteering at the Chin Center to help them with questions that their five-person staff aren’t able to answer.

When I talk about the Chin community, I find myself saying “we”, because I have developed a deep relationship with the Chins, who are honest, hard-working, and very grateful to be able to live in the Indianapolis area.

Six months or so ago, I was asked to be a member of their Board of Directors, which includes five others, who are all Chin leaders in the community. As Rotary continues to create innovate new clubs, hopefully clubs will reach out to invite those who are from different countries. While there may be a language/cultural barrier at first, with patience, those barriers can be minimized and Rotary’s reach in the U.S. can expand greatly.
Myanmar refugees charter new club in Indiana 2021-03-06 05:00:00Z 0

Safety committee supports clubs through pandemic


Juliet Altenburg

By Juliet Altenburg, DGN, District 7390 (Pennsylvania, USA)

Last June as I ended my term as president of the Rotary Club of Mechanicsburg-North and started my role as a district governor-nominee, I was feeling the enormity of COVID-19 in my paid job, personal life, and Rotary club.

In my professional job as a nurse, I am the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation (PTSF). PTSF oversees hospitals that are trauma centers in Pennsylvania. Hospital staff shared with me the stress of caring for patients while trying to protect themselves and their families. They were often the “family” of patients that died alone and were physically and emotionally exhausted.

Meanwhile in my mother’s nursing home, the virus swept through the facility at an alarming rate. Among 86 residents, over 70 tested positive and 11 died. I received daily messages of more and more staff being impacted which contributed to staffing shortages. Meanwhile in my club, we pivoted to online Zoom meetings but were still unsure of when and how we should reconnect in person. Furthermore, how should we keep risk at a minimum while doing service activities in the community?

With this in mind, I asked District Governor John Anthony if we could form a committee focused on supporting the district’s clubs on how to serve safely. We would educate Rotarians on how to be safe with any in-person events including fundraisers, service activities, and club meetings.

With DG John’s enthusiastic support, the District 7390 Safety Committee was launched. Within two weeks of asking for volunteers, 12 Rotarians with expertise in education, food handling, childcare, public health, nursing, contact tracing, and public relations came together to form a plan. The result of that plan was the formation of a COVID-19 Safety Guidance document for all clubs that would teach them principles of meeting and serving safely. That document was part of an overall communications plan that included enhancing the district website by forming a COVID-19 page.

That page not only contains a guidance document, but signage, guest information, and the most current CDC, Pennsylvania Department of Health, and Rotary International announcements related to COVID-19. As news spread on depth of expertise on the committee, various Rotary committees requested support to provide recommendations for implementing risk mitigation strategies for events including RYLA, Youth Exchange, and the Multi-District Conference. As committee work continues plans include:

    •    Conducting webinars for Rotarians and the public related to COVID-19 safe practices and scientifically based information regarding COVID-19 vaccinations.
    •    Collaborating with local public health organizations in providing vaccination support
    •    Increasing public media presence including messaging on digital billboards
    •    Forming a subcommittee to develop District Crisis Management Guidelines

Our goal is to one day focus on other aspects of safety as we serve the public, but for now, we are proud to be supporting our clubs and the world at large in advocating for safe practices and vaccine distribution as COVID-19 ravages the planet. One day we will be together without masks, but for now we will serve the public and each other proudly as we support one another during this challenging time.
Safety committee supports clubs through pandemic  2021-02-28 05:00:00Z 0

A 'Blue Baby' Returns to The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Mike speaks to Johns Hopkins Hospital President Redonda Miller.
Editor's note: Mike Edenburn spoke to Capital City from Cebu, the Philippines on 2-18-2021
by Gary Logan.

On a recent August morning, Hugh Michael Edenburn walked into the atrium of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center at his usual swift pace. When information receptionist Elyse Geber learned who the 76-year-old visitor was, however, she had to catch her breath.

“Oh my God,” she greeted him, placing her hand on her heart. “You’re history.”

On Oct. 2, 1945, Edenburn, then 2 years and 7 months, underwent the “blue baby” operation to repair a congenital heart defect that had taken the lives of thousands of infants until the groundbreaking surgery was developed and introduced at Johns Hopkins in 1944. As a former respiratory therapist at the Children’s Center, Geber knew all about tetralogy of Fallot, the deadly condition marked by a bluish or “cyanotic” tint to the child’s skin due to the lack of blood flow to the lung. She also knew the history of the landmark surgery led by Alfred Blalock, of the essential diagnostic work by pediatric cardiologist Helen Taussig and of the critical laboratory studies by surgical technician Vivien Thomas. To have a patient in front of her three-quarters of a century later, Geber felt, was astonishing. Colleagues aware of his arrival were equally thrilled.

“As a heart surgeon at Johns Hopkins, it’s a fantastic honor to meet you,” said Robert Higgins, director of the Department of Surgery. “This is the place that initially gave us the ability to treat people with heart disease. To be in the presence of somebody who was treated by the person who started it all is pretty remarkable.”             “You are an example and a reminder of our past, of innovations in cardiac surgery and how pediatric cardiology came to be a specialty,” said Shelby Kutty, co-director of the Blalock-Taussig-Thomas Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. “Your visit has helped me think through the history of the Blue Baby operation and the extreme collaboration that made it possible.”

“Amazing!” added Johns Hopkins Hospital President Redonda Miller, shaking her head as Edenburn, trim and beaming with energy, approached her in the lobby of the Billings Administration Building, the home of the original hospital. “Do you feel well?”

“Yes, of course,” answered Edenburn. “My doctors tell me my blood chemistry is that of a very healthy 25-year-old. I got the results in my computer; I can show you,” he added, leaving Miller doubled over with laughter.
When Edenburn was a toddler in Waterloo, Iowa, his health was dramatically different. Without enough oxygen to reach his lungs, doctors informed his mother, he would be bedridden by 3 years old and dead by 5 or 6. Prepare yourself, they said.

Instead, after reading an article in Collier’s magazine about Blalock’s revolutionary surgery, she prepared to take her son to Baltimore. He was a candidate for the procedure that provided a second chance at oxygenation by joining an artery leaving the heart to an artery leading to the lungs, a procedure that came to be known as the Blalock-Taussig shunt. Taussig logged Edenburn into her patient registry as Blue Baby #44.
A 'Blue Baby' Returns to The Johns Hopkins Hospital 2021-02-18 05:00:00Z 0

For a Majority of Americans, ‘Carpe Diem’ is the New Motto in 2021

From Good News Network
Nearly six in 10 Americans are planning to make ‘carpe diem’—Latin for seize the day—their new mantra after the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new poll.

The survey asked 2,000 Americans about the impact COVID-19 had on their lives and what lessons they’ve learned. It found 68% are planning to emerge from quarantine as new people. In fact, seven in 10 polled are planning to live each and every day to the fullest post-pandemic.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Life Happens, a nonprofit educating consumers about the importance of life insurance, the survey found that 71% of respondents value the little things in life more than ever because of the past year.
Some of the ‘small wins’ Americans are pursuing at this time included speaking to their families more (45%), speaking their minds more truthfully (43%), and taking more vacation time when it’s safe to do so (42%).

Four in 10 respondents also shared they plan to be more confident and express themselves creatively as a part of this small-win revolution.

This isn’t to say respondents aren’t focusing on big life decisions during this time, however, as three quarters of those polled said it’s important for them to get their finances in order in 2021.

In fact, achieving financial security is the most important milestone for Americans to achieve for the second year in a row (38% in 2021 compared to 36% in 2020).

Faisa Stafford, President and CEO of Life Happens said: “Traditional milestones and outlooks on life have been upended, leading many to reevaluate what’s important in life and their relationships. For many, the past year has emphasized that there is no better financial security for your loved ones than life insurance, with our survey showing that more than a quarter (29%) consider getting life insurance a ‘small act of love.’”

Another important milestone for Americans includes becoming debt free—up 8% compared to last year’s survey (26% in 2021 compared to 18% in 2020).
For a Majority of Americans, ‘Carpe Diem’ is the New Motto in 2021 2021-02-14 05:00:00Z 0

Open Door Community Kitchen

The Capital City Sunrise Rotary Club gathered on January 27th and fed those in need of a nourishing meal. We shared food, conversation and even smiles. Each month our club comes together for the common good of people that are in need. During these challenging times it is so very important to remember the way that it used to be. As you travel about each week please take a moment to converse with a lonely person, hold a door, pay for a meal or just smile. Nice really does matter.
~ Jim Spain
Open Door Community Kitchen 2021-02-07 05:00:00Z 0

Cap City Participates in 2 Million Mask Donation

In coordination with the Rossi Family Foundation’s Rotary 2 Million Mask Project, The Capital City Sunrise Rotary picked up 2000 masks on January 12th in Bedford, NH.
These masks were distributed to five of the Concord, NH schools.  The number of masks distributed were as follows:  Merrimack Valley HS and Elementary school (800), Bishop Brady HS (400), Concord Christian Academy (250), Parker Academy (250) and St. John’s Regional Elementary/Middle School (300). 
Each of the schools receiving masks expressed their sincere gratitude for these donations in this time of the Covi19 Pandemic. 

Cap City Participates in 2 Million Mask Donation 2021-01-23 05:00:00Z 0

Italian Rotarians screen homeless for COVID-19

Healthcare workers apply rapid serology tests to consenting homeless individuals on the streets of Palermo, Italy, to help stop the spread of COVID-19 among the homeless and those who help them.
Italian Rotary members through a partnership between the Rotary Club of Palermo, the Associazione Francesca Morvillo, and Karol Strutture Sanitarie, launched a screening campaign to help stop the spread of COVID-19 among the homeless population of the City of Palermo. It is part of the ongoing efforts of Italian Rotarians to use their skills and connections to counter this pandemic.

Volunteers of the Morvillo Association who usually take turns in the distribution of meals and care packages to the homeless, went to the locations where those packages are typically passed out. Serology rapid tests were conducted on samples of capillary blood (a drop obtained by pricking the fingertip) collected from homeless individuals. The samples, taken on a voluntary basis by a health worker operating out of a camper provided by the Morvillo Association, helped identify individuals infected with the virus.

Rotary Club of Palermo president Vincenzo Autolitano explained the purpose of the project is to identify COVID positive individuals for the protection of the homeless and volunteers who serve them. He also thanked Karol Strutture Sanitarie for embracing the project and providing the health workers and tests needed for the screening.

The President of the Morvillo Association, Giancarlo Grassi, also expressed his appreciation for the attention shown in this time of health emergency to volunteers and the marginalized. (See this post in Italian on Voci del Rotary).
Italian Rotarians screen homeless for COVID-19 2021-01-23 05:00:00Z 0

3 ingredients to keep members happy

Members of the Metro Bethesda Rotary Club enjoy a service project.
By Barton Goldenberg, member of the Metro Bethesda Rotary Club, Maryland, USA
I had the pleasure to be invited recently to an online Rotary discussion regarding member apathy. We were two past district governors, an assistant governor, two past club presidents – one from a large club and one from a smaller club— and a community service chair from a large club.

The topic was why some (many?) Rotarians are reluctant to participate or get involved in Rotary activities. Based on a district-wide survey of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic I facilitated in June at the end of my governor year (results are posted on our district website), we knew we would be facing membership challenges this Rotary year, particularly around member engagement.

Many clubs are honorably focusing on member acquisition by pro-actively reaching out to all parts of their local community. These clubs realize diversity is critical for long-term club health and engagement. Many of these clubs also have created a welcome process to ensure prospective members have a great experience when visiting a club or participating in a service project.
3 ingredients to keep members happy 2021-01-09 05:00:00Z 0

Our long history of giving

Coit House, shown after 1874, in Dunbarton Road (now Clinton Street) location across from the intersection with Silk Farm Road. Courtesy of Ohrstrom Library
By Jim Spain, President of the Capital City Sunrise Rotary Club
For The Monitor
There are times of the year when giving becomes very popular and the heart grows fond for those in need. Our community has always been fortunate to be home to many kind individuals and businesses that set annual objects and budgets that include many charitable causes. To this very day, the kindness bestowed upon the less fortunate is still very relevant and practiced by many. As Christmas approaches, we witness donations on so many levels: a hot dinner for the hungry, warm clothing to ward off the cold New Hampshire winter, services provided by professionals to those that are unable to pay, colorfully wrapped Christmas presents left under the Christmas tree for a child.

During the Civil War era in Concord, there were many children who found themselves unfortunate victims. These children, commonly referred to as War Orphans at that time, were destined for poverty and hardship due to circumstances that they were not able to control.

Many women did not survive childbirth and the children were raised in single-parent households by the surviving fathers. With life somewhat transient and the ability to travel limited, some single-parent households did not benefit from extended family where they could find help raising children. The mortality rate documents the life expectancy of the era to be much younger than it is today, eliminating grandparents in some cases.

As the War of the Rebellion grew and each community was required to meet a quota for enlistments, many young men, single parents, were destined to become soldiers during this Civil War. Short term arrangements were made, but the war lasted longer than any expectations at enlistment time. Sadly, many of the young soldiers who boarded the train south and left their children behind in Concord never returned. The children became casualties of war and consequently bequeathed the name orphan to the young children they left behind.

Many communities such as Concord rallied behind their local war orphans with much kindness and support. Sadly, some children were left on the streets to fend for themselves while others were fortunate to find families. The people of Concord, under the auspices of St. Paul’s School, were quick to organize and create a safe home for the orphaned children in April 1866 and the Concord Orphanage was both established and maintained for many years after the Civil War.

The orphaned children of Concord were fortunate to find support from St. Paul’s School where the rector and Mrs. Coit supported them. It was in 1874 the orphanage home was transferred from St Paul’s School to a board of trustees becoming an institution under the diocese.

The original charter for The Orphan Home of Concord that was approved on June 26, 1874, was amended in 1897 in the New Hampshire Senate and House of Representatives changing the name to Coit House and finding the orphanage to be free from taxation.

As funding continued through the generosity of the citizens of New Hampshire, a new brick building was constructed for the children on Dunbarton Road just across from Silk Farm Road.
As each and every Christmas approached many local clubs and organizations provided good cheer to the children at the Coit House. Clothing was provided, medical and educational support was donated, and there were entertainment and gifts along with a visit from Santa Claus.

At this special time of the year, it is important to reach deep within our hearts to help those in need. Food and shelter, gifts for the children or perhaps just a conversation with the elderly is appreciated more than you will ever know. Kind words from a kind person at Christmas hold much meaning for us, just as they did for our ancestors so very long ago.
Our long history of giving 2021-01-02 05:00:00Z 0

A Change of Pace - Travel Photos

This week, as a change of pace, your editor is going to show a few photos taken during his travels.
A young girl in Trojes, Honduras just after her family had a Pure Water for the World household water filter installed.
A Change of Pace - Travel Photos 2020-12-12 05:00:00Z 0

Oil Company Surrenders 15 Land Leases on Sacred Native American Land

During a ceremony in Washington, DC this Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Interior announced it was canceling 15 energy exploration leases on land that is sacred to Native Americans.

The Badger-Two Medicine area is an expanse of wilderness stretching along the Montana mountain line that is home to the Blackfoot people. For the last 10,000 years, Blackfoot members have found cultural identity in the 130,000 acres of the Badger-Two Medicine land. The tribe has vehemently protested and opposed the land leases since they were signed without their consultation almost thirty years ago.
The oil and natural gas company in question, Devon Energy Corp, acquired the land leases after merging with another company. Company president David Hager surrendered the land after acknowledging that the pristine landscape was not theirs to invade. The process of fracking that would have gleaned the natural gas could also have harmed the water supply which is in close proximity to the leased parcel.

There are two land leases left on the holy land that are still owned by other energy companies, but the U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary, Sally Jewell, is determined to prevent them from drilling on the Blackfeet territory.
“This is the right action to take on behalf of current and future generations,” said Secretary Jewell. “Today’s action honors Badger-Two Medicine’s rich cultural and natural resources and recognizes the irreparable impacts that oil and gas development would have on them.”
Oil Company Surrenders 15 Land Leases on Sacred Native American Land 2020-12-06 05:00:00Z 0

Bring sunshine to a stormy day

Taking part in a service project in Manila.

By Maria Elena “Marilen” Tronqued-Lagniton, past president of the Rotary Club of Cubao Edsa, Quezon City, Philippines

I shall pass this way but once. Any good that I can do or kindness I can show let me do it now.

But what if today was the last day of your life? Would you be fulfilled with how you have invested your time? Would you have any regrets? Time is the currency we begin each day with. It is our most valuable and most limited asset.

Rotary has taught me how fortunate I am, and how blessed I am to be able to make and deepen friendships by working alongside others in service. It is like sunshine on a rainy day. And as Rotarians, we need to share our story with others, so they, too, can see that sunshine and join us.

I was urged to join Rotary by family members. Like many, I approached Rotary with some hesitation. Too much was going on in my world as senior vice president of two major hospitals in the metro area. Rotary was at the bottom of my priority list. That is until my eyes and heart were opened.

The chair of the Board for the hospitals I worked for was Robert Kuan, past governor of Rotary District 3830. He had none of that hard-hitting, arrogant harshness that clouds power and success. This man was at his best and most inspiring when he talked about Rotary. From Banaue, the mountains in the northern Philippines to Korea to China – it seemed like all he ever did was Rotary. But no, it’s just that ALL he ever wanted to talk about was Rotary.

Medical mission opens eyes

One day, I took part in a medical mission to a province north of Metro Manila to feed a group of indigenous people. They had to travel all night from their homes in the mountain just to have access to care. This level of effort was more than I could comprehend.
As the children started chasing balloons around an open hall, I was struck by how simply things like a napkin or a glass of drinkable water, were an extravagance for them. As a breeze carried the stench of garbage from down the street on this humid summer day, I wondered how they could really get used to that smell.

I knew then why I needed to go on that medical mission. Even though I work at a hospital and see people in need, I still find myself irritated by simple annoyances, like a cup of coffee gone cold, or a computer that freezes up on me.

As I began to take part in my Rotary club’s service projects in poor areas of our city, I increasingly saw how often I take for granted basic necessities — a roof above my head, a refrigerator to keep food cold, and clean running water. Things like air conditioners, smartphones, cars, even hepa filters to purify our air during this pandemic, are luxuries that simply don’t exist a few short miles away.

Telling your Rotary story

I met past district governor Lyne Abanilla when I was a new Rotarian. Neither of us knew at the time how our careers would intertwine. She was vice president of a national English-language newspaper and I was a frequent source for healthcare reporters – not because I knew so much but because I was accessible and willing to return phone calls. I also met past governor Chit Lijuaco, editor of a popular magazine. Through Rotary, both these relationships became deeper and stronger as we served together.

Lyne, Chit, and I get invited to speak at many workshops on public image, because of our background in storytelling. We know the work that goes into doing it well. So we frequently encourage other members to tell their Rotary stories.

By sharing your Rotary story, you might be bringing sunshine to someone’s stormy day. And maybe that’s just what they need to begin a journey in Rotary that will change their perspective on life.
Bring sunshine to a stormy day 2020-11-29 05:00:00Z 0

Turn your fundraiser into a socially-distanced moneymaker

Rotarian Mike Pollard confers with volunteer Janie Griffin about the price of an item at the barn sale.
Editor's Note: Marty and I are District Governor mates of the 2012-13 class
By Marty Peak Helman, Rotary Zone 32 Innovative Club Associate

The Rotary Club of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, in my district has held an annual fundraiser every summer, selling donated items during a live auction the first weekend in August. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the club, like many others, faced a problem:

How can a club hold a fundraiser during the pandemic, when traditional sponsors are facing economic hardship, community members have little extra to share, and social distancing alters the rules of what is possible?
During a typical year, the club stores donated items – furniture, boats, cars, bric-a-brac, tools, and books – in a barn until the auction, when members rent trailers and use sweat equity to move it all to a playing field where the items are sorted and priced. The top 200 items are sold by a professional auctioneer while everything else is sold tag-sale-style. The club typically nets over $50,000.

But when the pandemic began in March, the club stopped accepting donations. By May, it was clear the auction and flea market couldn’t take place. Then the club had an idea, and their experience holds a lesson for us all.

Club members realized that they could turn the storage barn into a sales venue, with appropriate masks and social distancing. Tentatively at first, the barn became the scene of an ongoing fundraiser every Saturday morning, averaging $2,000 to $4,000 in profit every week.

“We’ve always gotten calls for donations all year long,” club president Irene Fowle explains. “But now, we tell our donors that we can’t pick up until we sell enough to have space in the barn to take the new stuff.”

Because the donations are coming in more slowly, club members have a better opportunity to value and price the items.

“For example, we were donated two mid-century bureaus by a woman whose mother is moving into a nursing home,” club member Mike Pollard said. “I sent pictures of them to a dealer whom I’ve met through the auction, and we ended up selling them to her for $200 apiece.”

In the live auction, they would have gone for a fraction of that price since it was unlikely two bidders would be present who appreciated that style of furniture.
Other specialty items have sold on Facebook Marketplace and other online venues.

How can your club follow their example?

The first step, club members say, is to think beyond the logistics of the event to determine what makes your traditional fundraiser a success.
Is it the spirit of community the event engenders, or the thrill of finding a bargain? Is it the excitement of the venue itself? Once you’ve decides what makes the event tick, then you can think about how to duplicate that feeling in a virtual world. For example:

    •    A sporting event that includes a shot-gun start (golf tourney, 5K walk or run) can be rethought to take place at specified times over a two or three-week period.
    •    A spectator sport (duck race, polar plunge) can be moved to Facebook Live or videotaped and replayed later on the club or district website.
    •    A fundraising dinner can morph to take-out only, or maybe eat-in-your-car in a parking lot or town park, perhaps with piped-in music or other entertainment displayed on a big screen or building wall.
    •    An indoor event can move to a larger venue; tickets can be sold for specific entry times, or the event can be re-run multiple times for smaller audiences.
If none of these ideas “fit,” club members can think of new fundraising activities that by definition require social distancing: A road rally (where participants remain in their own car); a scavenger hunt (where participants move about in their own “pod”).

By mid-September the Boothbay Harbor club had met and exceeded the highest net that it had ever made at the one-day event, and the club plans to continue barn sales through Christmas. “This is so much better,” auction co-chair Laurie Zimmerli said. “We’re not hauling all that furniture to the schoolyard and back, and we’re getting better prices. We’re never going back to the old auction.”
Turn your fundraiser into a socially-distanced moneymaker 2020-11-21 05:00:00Z 0

Polio - What to Know

Nigerian family on a motorcycle receiving the polio vaccine. By Lisa K. Esapa. View this image or search images by topic on the Public Health Image Library (PHIL)

Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease caused by a virus that spreads from person to person invading the brain and spinal cord which can lead to paralysis. 1 in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis. Of those paralyzed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized. Additionally, even children who seem to fully recover can develop new muscle pain, weakness, or paralysis as adults, 15 to 40 years later. This is called post-polio syndrome. (ED note: there are at least two District Rotarians who have suffered from post-polio syndrome that we know of).
There is no cure, but there are safe and effective vaccines to prevent polio infection. Polio vaccine protects children by preparing their bodies to fight the polio virus. Almost all children (99%) who get all the recommended doses of vaccine will be protected from polio. Therefore, the strategy to eradicate polio is based on prevention by immunizing every child to stop transmission and ultimately make the world polio free.
Polio - What to Know 2020-11-15 05:00:00Z 0

Why I finally joined a Rotary club

Erin Maloney watching a recording of the 2020 Virtual Convention on her laptop. (On screen is her brother, 2019-20 Rotary International President Mark D. Maloney
By Erin Maloney

Until this summer, I had never really thought about joining a Rotary club. Even though I have been involved with service – from anti-domestic violence issues to giving music lessons – for all of my adult life, I was not interested in the traditional model of Rotary (with weekly meetings).

Living in Turkey, I was becoming more interested in reducing human trafficking, as I was concerned that female university students from abroad were being “groomed.” After the COVID-19 pandemic, however, it became more difficult to address this issue.

Meanwhile, I noticed that Rotary was becoming less traditional, open to a “new” kind of Rotarian – someone like me.

Perhaps the opportunities had been there for a while, but I first noticed them while attending the 2020 Rotary Virtual Convention (led by my brother, Mark Maloney, then Rotary International president). I saw three things that convinced me to join.

At the Convention’s first general session, I was impressed by a video about how communities like “Anytown” could have more Rotary clubs, if they broadened from the traditional model of meetings to a different sort of model, so that more “people of action” could participate.

Then, at the Convention’s second general session, I saw an example of a just such a non-traditional Rotary club. I had never seen one like it! It met only twice a month, on Sundays, in a coffee shop – with their children!
Finally, I looked carefully at the “booths” in the Virtual Convention’s House of Friendship. There, I learned about RAGAS (Rotary Action Group Against Slavery), and decided to attend a “Zoom” meeting to learn more about the work of the organization. I was impressed! With Zoom-chat, I asked if there was an international Rotary club devoted to ending modern slavery. I was immediately given contact information for the Rotary Club to End Human Trafficking in Minnesota, with Karen Walkowski as its Rotary Club president.

And the rest is history! I have now been a member of this Rotary club for three months, attending twice monthly meetings, online via Zoom. While a majority of its members live in the US, there are others like me who live around the world. I am impressed with the work and direction of the club.

I am happy that Rotary has broadened its meeting model, to include people of action like me.
Why I finally joined a Rotary club 2020-11-07 05:00:00Z 0

The future of the fight against polio

Concord and Capital City sponsor banners to end Polio in the Capital City
By Ryan Harland
Rotary’s challenge now is to eradicate the wild poliovirus in the two countries where the disease has never been stopped: Afghanistan and Pakistan. Routine immunizations must also be strengthened in Africa to keep the virus from returning there.

To eradicate polio, multiple high-quality immunization campaigns must be carried out each year in polio-affected and high-risk countries. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s necessary to maintain populations’ immunity against polio while also protecting health workers from the coronavirus and making sure they don’t transmit it.

Rotary has contributed more than $2.1 billion to polio eradication since it launched the PolioPlus program in 1985, and it’s committed to raising $50 million each year for polio eradication activities. Because of a 2-to-1 matching agreement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, that means that, each year, $150 million goes toward fulfilling Rotary’s promise to the children of the world: No child will ever again suffer the devastating effects of polio.
The future of the fight against polio 2020-10-30 04:00:00Z 0

Club Named Shelterbox Bronze Hero

Congratulations on receiving ShelterBox HERO recognition for Rotary Year 2019-2020.

Your support is very much appreciated.

Your club is listed on our HERO page www.shelterboxusa.org/hero

1.6 million people have been sheltered since 2000, we could not have reached them without clubs like yours.
COVID 19 has not stopped our efforts, your help has provided aid to over 87,000 people so far in 2020.

Thank you for being a ShelterBox HERO!

Club Named Shelterbox Bronze Hero 2020-10-18 04:00:00Z 0

PDG Paul Bordeleau

Paul played for the Capital City Charter night in 1982 at the Old Highway Hotel. He was Governor in 1984-5.
Paul E. Bordeleau, 96, passed away September 27, 2020 at the CMC after a brief illness.

He was married to Wilma Sloan Bordeleau who predeceased him in 2010 after 62 years of marriage.

Paul was born in Lowell, MA, raised his family in Framingham, MA, and moved to Bedford, NH in 1971 where he spent the rest of his life. He was a D-Day veteran in WWII, and also served in the Korean War. He earned his BA at New England conservatory and a Masters at BU, and was a music teacher and band director for 16 years in Chelmsford, Framingham, and Dover-Sherborn schools in Massachusetts.

He moved his family to New Hampshire in 1971 and worked as a salesman at Darrell's Music Hall in the Bedford Mall until 1973 when he opened his own piano and organ teaching studio, and taught over a thousand students over the years, finally retiring from teaching in 2019. He was also a great musician and entertainer, and led a number of bands over an 80 year career, as well as being a church organist for most of that time, finally retiring from performing altogether in August 2020.

In addition to his music he was also a very active member of the Bedford Rotary Club for 47 years and served as both a club president and district governor, and was a major donor to the Rotary Foundation. He was also a member of the Washington Lodge of the Freemasons.

Paul is survived by his sons Edward, a piano technician in Bedford, NH and owner of Pianoarts, and Phil Bordeleau, music director at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, CO, and a daughter, Jan Bordeleau, a church organist and piano teacher at Bordeleau Keyboard Studio in Bedford, NH.

There are no calling hours or funeral per his wishes. He will be interred at the NH Veterans Cemetery next to his wife Wilma, also a WWII veteran.
PDG Paul Bordeleau 2020-10-09 04:00:00Z 0

Capital City's Grant Benefits CFD and CPD

District Governor Steve Puderbaugh, NH Food Bank Exec Dir, Eileen Groll Liponis, Grants Writer, PDG Tony Gilmore
Capital City has just received a check for $4080 for the Concord Fire and Police Departments to purchase decontaminating foggers and supplies for its ambulances and other emergency vehicles as part of our Rotary District's Covid-19 grants. Additionally, the Concord Friendly Kitchen has received a $1700 credit from our donation to the New Hampshire Food Bank as a part of our district’s nearly $73,000 donation.
Thirty-four clubs in Southern NH and VT participated, donating almost $114,000. With the Foundation's matching, the three grants totaled almost $341,000 for PPE; specialized equipment and supplies for first responders; donations to the VT and NH Food Banks in the name of local food pantries and shelves, and other charitable organizations affecting more than a million beneficiaries in New Hampshire and Vermont.
We, as Rotarians have reason to feel proud about supporting our communities!
Capital City's Grant Benefits CFD and CPD 2020-10-04 04:00:00Z 0
ShelterBox HERO recognition for Rotary Year 2019-2020. 2020-09-19 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary acknowledges the most credible person in the pandemic.

Derek Moore‎Rotary E-Club of World Peace, D5330, USA
Rotary acknowledges the most credible person in the pandemic. It is the Truth? Will it be Fair to all Concerned? Will it Build Goodwill and Better Friendships? Will it be be beneficial to all concerns? Are we sure others could pass this test to save lives and bring Peace and a sense of calm to our World. Thank you Dr Fauci
Rotary acknowledges the most credible person in the pandemic. 2020-09-19 04:00:00Z 0

The magic of Rotary: touching lives in Indonesia

Eva Kurniaty harvests a paddy field that was turned into productive land through a global grant.
By Eva Kurniaty, Rotary Coordinator, Past District Governor, and member of the Rotary Club of Jakarta Sunter Centennial, Indonesia
When I was a district governor in 2013, there was a Rotary club in my district, in Cilacap, Central Java, that only had a few members. My senior leaders advised me to terminate the club since they were inactive, held no meetings, conducted no projects, and never contributed to The Rotary Foundation. But I was determined not to end it; I knew it was possible to revive it.
During a visit, I found out this club was project-oriented, and their members said they were interested in serving their local community. Yet, they were not engaged in any service projects which would help keep members or attract new ones.
Cilacap is a rural area with over 2,000 households in 12 villages, whose residents are dependent on fishing in the Segara Anakan lagoon. The monthly household income is only around $80.
Over the years, the water started to dry up, turning the area into swampland that also became breeding grounds for mosquitoes that spread diseases such as Malaria and Dengue Fever. With the water dried up, the fishermen became farmers with an assurance of a more regular income. However, this “appeared” land was not productive, so we needed to transform it.
I decided to help the club set a long-term strategic plan for conducting a service project that would use existing members’ skills and expertise in agriculture and engineering. The plan was to build canals from Cimeneng River to reclaim the fertile mud (sediments) brought down by runoff water from the mountains to the river. This mud would act as a fertilizer for the unproductive land. We decided to start with our first global grant in one of the 12 villages.
Rotary members join villagers in constructing canals as part of the global grant project.
I managed to secure enough District Designated Fund from International Partners and with their support, the Rotary Club of Cilacap’s first global grant was approved. We worked together with the villagers, local government, and a Catholic foundation. As the club members got involved with building the canals and monitoring the project, they became engaged, active, and vibrant. Eventually, they began to attract new members as well.
The project was a huge success; the land became productive, and the villagers soon turned them into paddy fields. During its first year of harvest, these new-formed paddy fields yielded an income of over $1 million. As more sediment was reclaimed and the total area of productive land grew, the income also slowly increased and it now yields over $3 million per year. With this new income, families in the village are now prospering and able to afford basic needs such as education for their children. The value of land has now also increased to 20-times its original price.
This project also enhances Rotary’s public image in remotes areas. I love visiting Cilacap hearing, the villagers tell me “Long-live Rotary!” Everywhere you go, you can see paddy fields that stretch far and wide. The Cilacap Rotary club is now a cause-based club focused on expanding this livelihood project to the remaining villages, and they regularly contribute to the Foundation.
The magic of Rotary: touching lives in Indonesia 2020-09-13 04:00:00Z 0

No use crying over spilled milk

ED Note: This is a repeat of a story run early in August. Rotary Voices | Stories of Service has just published it. Marty is working to clone this success for New Hampshire at the NH Food Bank, financially assisted by a District 7870 Rotary Covid-19 global grant.
by Martin Cohn, Brattleboro (VT) Rotary Club, President 2012-13
In the early days of COVID-19, Vermont dairy farmers were in trouble. With the close of colleges and restaurants, there was too much supply of milk. This excess milk was headed to be spilled into mudholes. At the same time, the need to help food-insecure families was increasing. How could food that was being wasted reach people who needed food?
That’s when I heard about a project where the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets was coordinating an effort to recover raw milk from being disposed of while creating a new, temporary food supply for Vermont Foodbank.  In collaboration with the Vermont Community Foundation, $60,000 had been made available to purchase this milk for the benefit of Vermonters. These efforts were particularly important as Vermont’s dairy industry, like all sectors, had been challenged by COVID-19 but remain essential to Vermonters’ food supply. However, more money was needed.
When I heard about the need to recover raw milk from local Vermont dairy farms while creating a new, temporary food supply for Vermont Foodbank, I sprang into action to help Vermont farmers, children, and food-insecure families. I sent out emails to fellow Rotarians and within days an additional $10,500 was raised. These monies came from eight Rotary clubs, a donation from the District 7870's Youth Exchange, and the District 7850 Foundation. This helped cover the cost of 32,000 gallons of milk, ingredients, and processing to create 48,000 cups of Green Mountain Yogurt, 11,500 gallons of Hood Dairy 2% Milk, and 440 pounds of Ploughgate Creamery butter.
Secretary Anson Tebbetts of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture said, “This is what Vermont is all about. Neighbors helping neighbors. Thank you Rotarians, farmers, and businesses. You and so many are helping those in need.” Media reports identified Rotary as being a good collaborator in finding a solution.
But wait, there is more to the story.  Our neighbor to the east, New Hampshire, had similar issues.  The difference this time was that the cost of milk had gone up; making the filling of tankers too expensive. The solution was to have the NH Foodbank buy dairy products directly from NH dairy farmers. Calls were made to the NH Agency of Agriculture, the Granite State Dairy Promotion Board, the NH Foodbank, and the NH Charitable Trust. Again, emails and presentations to Rotary clubs resulted in close to $18,000, coupled with monies from NH Charitable Foundation, enough money to set the project in motion.
For me, this is another example of Rotary in Action. I am proud to be part of an organization of committed community problem solvers. This Rotary Dairy Project was a success and one that could be replicated anywhere that you can ask, “Got Milk?”
As I have been presenting this project to Rotary clubs in Vermont and New Hampshire, I was reminded of the time my mother would give me a quarter every Friday to give to my teacher to buy containers of milk for the following week in school. If every Rotarian donated one dollar each week and then gave all the money to their local food bank or pantry, more milk could be purchased for food-insecure folks while helping local dairies. Perhaps this is a project for another day.
No use crying over spilled milk 2020-09-06 04:00:00Z 0

What Rotary has to offer young members

Tory Paxson and her family

By Tory Paxson, vice president, Boothbay Harbor Rotary Club, District 7780, Maine, USA

What’s life like for people between the ages of 18 and 35 in the Boothbay Region of Maine? Through Rotary, young people take on leadership positions that expand their skills while they serve. Rotary does more than help during a crisis like COVID-19; it provides experiences that translate into a better future in any career.

The Rotary Club of Boothbay Harbor created a new membership level to make joining more accessible for those under the age of 35. In addition, generous club members have chosen to pay the first year membership costs for the first five new members in this category.
We call it the Rule of 35 and it reduces dues by more than 50% for those under the age of 35. It’s a commitment by our club to keep growing and learning, and to keep inviting young people to see what skills they can develop and add to their own resumes. It’s an invitation to make a difference.

Through Rotary, I have discovered what is possible when a group of like-minded individuals get together to make a difference. It matters not at all that we come in many shapes and sizes, backgrounds, or age-ranges. After a short few years, it’s apparent to me that what we have in common is more important than our differences. We believe in Service Above Self.

It’s more than a motto, it is what compels our club. While we’re known for our annual benefit auction (on hiatus, due to the pandemic), our club works year-round to help our local community and communities around the world. We have given out bikes to seasonal and international workers, organized the Soup Bowl Supper and Derby Party fundraisers, run mock job interviews for high school seniors to practice for future careers, and created care packages for veterans, among many other things.

Rotary has also enabled me to become capable, confident and powerful as I worked alongside change-makers. I have gained project management skills that you can only get through organizing and managing a 200 plus person event with three different organizational crews and over 40 donors and vendors. I’ve became a better, more confident public speaker and learned to use my voice to create change both in Rotary and in my career. I used that voice to convince my fellow members to support our new club membership level for other young professionals like me, the first of its kind in our Rotary district.

At age 25, joining Rotary changed the trajectory of my life. Now 30, I am vice president of our club and have discovered the many ways that I can make a difference.

More than that, I joined a family of people who have rich histories, have a lot of love to give, and are committed to their community. Many of them are business leaders with fascinating careers. I learn and laugh with them at our meetings, taking a break from my busy life to connect with people that I would have never had the chance to get to know otherwise. It’s the reset button I need after a challenging day. Some of my best friends are twice my age, and my life is twice as rich for having them in it.
What Rotary has to offer young members 2020-08-30 04:00:00Z 0

First Grader Turns Her Dream of Feeding Homeless People Into Reality –By Launching Her Own Foundation


Paris Williams is six years old. Like many of her first-grade peers, she’s adorable, but this little girl is also driven by a mission to help others who are less fortunate. So driven in fact, that she’s launched her own nonprofit foundation, Paris Cares, to feed the homeless in her area.

Paris’s mom, Alicia Marshall, says her daughter’s inspiration to become a hands-on good Samaritan was the title character of Cari Chadwick Deal’s children’s book, “One Boy’s Magic,” who also uses his powers to feed the homeless.

“She was reading books at school about giving and she came home one day, and she was like, ‘I want to give back to the homeless. What can we do to help the homeless?’ Marshall told KTVI FOX 2 News. “We kind of brainstormed some ideas and we came up making care packages.”

“I wanted to give something to the homeless,” Paris explained, “like the boy in the book.”

Paris might not have had a magic wand, but she didn’t let that stop her.

Turning instead to more practical magic and the help of her parents, Paris assembled and delivered (via non-contact drop off) more than 500 care packages containing food and other essentials to downtown St. Louis’s homeless, as well as handing out approximately 250 meals to essential workers.

But Paris wasn’t satisfied to simply donate goods. It was important to her to forge a bond with the people she was trying to help. After filling each package herself, Paris drew a picture or wrote a personal message on each one to create the kind of human connection so many of the homeless sorely lack.

First Grader Turns Her Dream of Feeding Homeless People Into Reality –By Launching Her Own Foundation 2020-08-22 04:00:00Z 0

Soup Brigade - One of America's 50 Nicest Places

When New Yorker Julie Snarski first moved to the picturesque community on the Delaware River, she felt like she had wandered onto a television set. From Yardley’s charming downtown, with buildings dating back to the 18th century, to St. Andrew’s Parish, the beautiful Episcopal church next to a tree-lined pond and historic graveyard, it’s easy to see why Snarski had trouble believing the town near Trenton, New Jersey was real.

Not only is Yardley, Pennsylvania real—it’s really kind, too, and its been named one of America’s 50 Nicest Places by Reader’s Digest.
For nearly four decades, on the third Sunday of every month, St. Andrew’s parishioners have been meeting in the church parish house and assembling meals for elderly and shut-in residents of the five-county Philadelphia area.

The coronavirus ended their proud 37-year streak. But church members figured out a way to continue their essential service, just as the need skyrocketed.
Caring for Friends, the organization that distributes the meals, came up with the idea for the parishioners to make meals in their homes. They enlisted neighbors to help, and pretty soon the volunteers were cranking out 1,000 meals and 400 containers of soup each week—almost ten times more food than before.
Soup Brigade - One of America's 50 Nicest Places 2020-08-15 04:00:00Z 0

Why The Four-Way Test is my ethical guide

Editor's note: I have been very fortunate to have met PDG S.R. Yogananda a number of times in Bangalore and was invited to visit him at his home.
S.R. Yogananda
By S.R. Yogananda, past district governor, past regional Rotary Foundation coordinator, and a member of the Rotary Bangalore East, Bengaluru, India

The year was 1987. I had come back from the Sultanate of Oman and was running a consumer products distribution company in Bangalore, India, when a business executive came to my office one evening. He said “I have been watching the way you do business. You are not taking short cuts, you have asked your staff and accountants to follow all the government regulations. I would like to invite you to join my Rotary club.” Rotary, he said “amongst other things, stands for integrity”

After attending a few meetings, I was inducted into the Rotary Club of Bangalore East during a colorful event in a lovely atmosphere. I attended all club and district events and began to gain a deeper understanding of this wonderful organization. I was delighted to learn that Rotary does not endorse any particular religion and is beyond boundary restrictions. Integrity is a pillar on which Rotary stands.

Herbert J. Taylor, 1954-55 RI president, in his office holding a large copy of The Four-Way Test. circa 1954-55.

The story of Herbert Taylor, the past RI president who created The Four-Way Test, fascinated me, so much so that when I became president of my club I put up a large sign of the test along a busy road in Bangalore. I got it printed on a silver plate and gave it as a memento to every speaker at our meetings. I also gave it to our members on their birthdays and wedding anniversaries.

I served as the national coordinator and awards administrator for a national essay competition on The Four-Way Test held all over India, administered through Rotary clubs. This project, held for five years, was sponsored by District 6400 and the Rotary Club of Windsor, Canada.

Many times in my business, I made decisions that to an outsider might have looked unwise. There was an occasion when we could have bought a product without the taxes and sold it to make a handsome profit. When this proposal was brought to my attention, I put my foot down and said no. It failed The Four-Way Test. It was not fair to the tax authorities and to other dealers who did not have this advantage.
Another incident etched in my memory, even before joining Rotary, I was heading the special equipment division of a leading company in the Middle East. I was handling global tenders and multimillion-dollar deals. I was sitting with a top ranked bureaucrat from an important ministry who was a major customer, and he asked about the delivery of a piece of equipment that had been delayed due to a problem at the loading port. I was tempted to lie to avoid embarrassment, but working up my resolve, decided to tell him the true reason for the delay. Surprisingly, in my future dealings with him, he seemed to treat me with increased respect. Now I see this as validation of the principles behind The Four-Way Test.

The Four-Way Test is one of our great benefits as members of Rotary. It is a trustworthy ethical guide. And we have an opportunity to share it with eager young minds to the benefit of all.
Why The Four-Way Test is my ethical guide 2020-08-02 04:00:00Z 0

Discovering the power of Rotary during a pandemic

Members of the Rotary Club of San Antonio, Texas, sort items for a food drive in a school parking lot.

By Nathan Rizzo, Rotary Club of San Antonio, Texas, USA

I have been a member of my club for two years, but it was in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that I learned what it truly means to be a Rotarian. When my state of Texas went into quarantine, our club president, Brandon Logan, set up a ‘virtual happy hour’ on Thursday evenings. It was amazing to see all of the friendly, smiling faces of my fellow Rotarians. We spent an hour catching up; and then our conversation turned to service, and what we could do to help during the pandemic.

Our club had adopted a local elementary school, the Martin Luther King Academy, for the 2019-20 Rotary year. We had already created a Rotary Reading Room at the school to provide a quiet place for the students to read and do homework. We also made improvements to the campus through a program we call Kingdom for Kids. We knew we could not abandon the school during this time of need. When we reached out to the school principal to ask how we could help, her answer was succinct. They needed:

    1.    Food
    2.    Access to food drives
    3.    School supplies.

It was in organizing an event to meet those needs that I learned about the power of Rotary. Our club had connection with the San Antonio Food Bank and the United Way. Within a week, we had a project confirmed and scheduled. We had offers of trucks, boxes, and anything else we needed to run the food drive, and it all came from our members.

Three weeks later, we had 60 Rotarians, 10 other volunteers, and staff at the school ready for our first Saturday delivery. The plan included sorting food pallets dropped off by the San Antonio Food Bank in the parking lot of the school, creating separate stations for individual food items. Volunteers would then drive by each station while other volunteers loaded the items into vehicles.

We had a well-thought-out plan. But then 250 cars showed up, more than double the number we anticipated. Fortunately, our club has so many outstanding leaders that we were able to pivot in a short period of time and rearrange the drop off site, repacking food to feed as many families as possible.

Each family received meat, vegetables, fruit, non-dairy milk, bread, flour, and other staples. Through our third distribution, we have delivered over 100,000 pounds of food to serve approximately 5,000 people.

I knew our club was more than just a “lunch” club but I was amazed at how quickly we were able to come together to serve our community in such a meaningful way. I truly believe that when Rotarians unite in a mission, we can do anything.
Discovering the power of Rotary during a pandemic 2020-07-24 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary Supports NH Food Bank

Our club and many other other clubs in our district are supporting the NH Food Bank through a Global Grant. The food bank will receive more than $100,000 through the grant.
Rotary Supports NH Food Bank 2020-07-19 04:00:00Z 0

Small grant leads to big changes for Tanzanian girls

Kisa mentors on a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro with Curt Harris in 2018.

By Curt Harris, past governor, Rotary District 5450

Although I joined Rotary in 1997, it wasn’t until I had the opportunity to travel to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro as a Rotary-sponsored fundraiser three years later that I really felt I had become a Rotarian.

This was my first opportunity to visit a developing country and see first-hand what poverty looks like. It is quite an eye-opener. I also got to observe some of the great things that Rotary was doing in the area. On that trip, our team of 11 climbers raised nearly $300,000 to support the Selian Hospital in northern Tanzania. Three years later, I returned with a smaller team, raising $125,000 to help build Selian Hospital’s new sister facility near downtown Arusha.

Kisa mentors

Some might think climbing Kilimanjaro five times a little strange, and they might be right! But the last two times, in 2016 and 2018, I led teams that did something truly special. On each of these climbs, we were joined by some young Tanzanian women who were graduates of the Kisa Project, a program sponsored by AfricAid. It provides robust mentorship opportunities that help secondary school girls learn skills like confidence, leadership, and resilience in order to succeed in school and beyond. In fact, 97 percent of Kisa scholars continue to tertiary education, compared with a national average in Tanzania of 3 percent. It’s a remarkably effective program.

The young women who joined us were so excited to be part of our climb. Very few women in Tanzania get to climb Kili – they typically cannot afford it and the culture discourages it. We were also excited for them to join us, because it gave us all a chance to hear firsthand the stories that led them to become the confident, successful, university-educated women who now serve as Kisa Project mentors today.

One of the girls on our 2018 climb was named Ellie. Over dinner one evening, she shared that when she was young, her dream was simply to go to school. Ellie was the youngest of nine children with a single mother in rural Tanzania. Girls in her village didn’t go to school. They stayed home, did chores, hauled water, got married, and had many children.

But Ellie had this dream. She snuck off to school whenever she could. Sometimes the headmaster would send her home. If her brothers found out, they would beat her. But she would always go back. Finally, the headmaster and her family gave in, and Ellie could go to school. She graduated, went to college and now is a Kisa Project mentor. She even started her own nonprofit, Her Journey to School, through which she works to convince parents in Tanzania to educate their girls.

Now, here’s the real takeaway:

Twenty years ago, my Rotary club in Evergreen, Colorado, had invited Ashley, a local 15-year-old girl, to talk about an idea she had for a nonprofit. Our club gave her the chance to speak (and maybe a little confidence), then passed the hat to raise about $900. She used that money to start AfricAid.

Two decades ago, this one small grant from a club halfway around the world helped start a process that has since mentored 10,000 girls, giving them the skills to lead the lives they choose and create a ripple effect of change in their communities.

As Rotarians, we do a lot of good. But, sometimes we don’t always realize the long-term impact of our work. So let’s all remember – especially right now – that even a seemingly small effort can have such a major impact in your local community, or even half a world away.
Small grant leads to big changes for Tanzanian girls 2020-07-10 04:00:00Z 0

Assisting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Eric Lee and his wife hand out supplies to refugee children in Bangladesh.

By Eric Lee, a member of the Rotary Club of Cheat Lake, West Virginia, USA

Service above self was the underpinning theme of our aid project for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh this year. The project was a colorful example of how Rotary works around the globe in the service of others. Clubs from the United States and Bangladesh delivered dry goods to Rohingya refugees in the Bahlukali camp along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in February.

The Rohingya are an ethnic minority who fled violence in Myanmar for refugee camps in southern Bangladesh. More than 700,000 refugees have entered Bangladesh since August 2017, and most came with just the clothes on their back. They are in desperate need of food, supplies and basic sanitation.

Refugees wait in line for supplies.

Cox’s Bazaar is the closest city to the Rohingya refugee camps, and the Rotary Club of Cox’s Bazaar engages other clubs and various non-profits to facilitate the delivery of goods and services. The Rotary Club of Cheat Lake in West Virginia, USA, coordinated efforts with Cox’s Bazaar Rotary to deliver clothing, personal hygiene products, and water purification tablets to the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

Challenges like transferring goods, security on the ground, and obtaining proper authorization were managed between the two Rotary clubs. The goods were purchased and shipped from wholesale markets from the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka. Once the products arrived in Cox’s Bazaar, then our group worked in a small bungalow on the Bay of Bengal preparing separate packages for men and women.

Maji, or tribal captains, are village leaders that manage groups of about fifty families. They were instrumental in helping coordinate with the army and determine fair distribution across thousands of refugees. Many refugees were shaking as they came through the line to receive their package. Some were sick, some were visibly scared.

Distribution went off without a hitch, in part, because members from multiple Rotary clubs made a significant contribution to the project. Together they established resources and logistics for the safe and successful distribution of aid. Rotary clubs around the world should look to examples like this for ideas on future refugee service projects.
Assisting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh 2020-07-04 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary in Kirkintilloch is alive and well

Bob Tomlinson

By Bob Tomlinson, president of the Rotary Club of Kirkintilloch, Scotland

The COVID-19 pandemic is horrifying. The lives lost are not just statistics. Each death is a life cut short and a family and friends left grieving. This reality is something we must never forget. Our way of life has been profoundly challenged.

For organizations, such as Rotary, a common question asked is: “what will Rotary be like if we survive this?” The questioner invariably makes the addendum, “We’ve never been through anything like this before.” As individuals, very few of us have been through anything like this. But Rotary International has, several times, and came through to the other side — 1918 Spanish Flu, the Great Depression of the 1930’s, World War II, Korean and Vietnam wars, etc.

This is the account of how one club is working to survive.

My club, the Rotary Club of Kirkintilloch in Scotland, meets every Tuesday night at the town’s golf club. Rotarians started meeting in Kirkintilloch in 1953, a few hundred meters from the site of a Roman fort built in 142 A.D. which marks the northernmost point of the Roman Empire. After only 20 years, the Romans pulled out. Now tourists come to Kirkintilloch to see the remains of the Antonine Wall.

On the last Tuesday club meeting of February, the world was talking about a virus coming our way, but we knew the health service would deal with it. We arranged for our usual Saturday food collection to donate to households on the breadline, something we did three of four times a year. We had no idea what was ahead of us.

We had six new members in the club and their membership reduced the average age by a good margin. They helped at the food collection. Everyone in the club has a title. Our “transport manager” owns a road building company. He provides a truck for us to carry the donated food for distribution. He said two things that day that brought silence. “Don’t shake my hand” and “I’m just back from Italy and going into isolation!”

He was not a carrier, but the pandemic had become real. We had one more “normal” meeting before Scottish lawmakers in Edinburgh started talking lockdown. Club members decided to have a “Last Supper” meeting at the golf club, where we socially distanced and agreed things had to change. That was 10 March.

Within two days we set up a WhatsApp Group – advice given by our new younger members and grandchildren. But ultimately Zoom worked better for us and we held our first meeting a week later.

However, some members couldn’t handle Zoom or didn’t trust it so we set up a system to ensure every one of us was kept in the loop. There is a secure WhatsApp Group where all members can express opinions or give suggestions. Every Sunday each member, those taking part in Zoom or not, receives the agenda for the upcoming meeting. Any member who cannot take part in the virtual meeting is phoned by a club officer.

Thanks to virtual meetings our attendance has sky-rocketed. Four new young members have joined. One of our youngest member is co-coordinator of our local council’s COVID-19 response team – we are very proud of her. We have four applications from young people who will join us at the start of July, so their subscriptions begin with the new Rotary Year.

In-person fundraisers had to stop, but as we don’t pay for meals, club members have donated thousands of pounds for Childrens Hospices Across Scotland, Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity, Heart Stroke Charities and especially for COVID-19 response.

Our message to the new members is simple –“Tell us where you want Rotary in Kirkintilloch to go and we’ll help you go there.”

Rotary in Kirkintilloch is alive and well – but young and old can’t wait to meet together again in a new and exciting world.
Rotary in Kirkintilloch is alive and well 2020-06-28 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary Feeding Time in Penacook

The Capital City Sunrise Rotary Club has sponsored and served the Open Door Community Kitchen meal at United Church in Penacook every fourth Wednesday. During these most difficult times we are constantly challenged on many different levels: socially, financially and mentally to reference a few. The Capital City Sunrise Rotary Club places service above self each and every month hopefully helping those in need to cope on multiple levels. As we take time to embrace those in need of a conversation or a simple smile, it is our desire to spread friendship and compassion.

Yes, the meal was delicious and we do hope the conversation was nutritious. Our thoughts are with you our friends.
Rotary Feeding Time in Penacook 2020-06-12 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary, polio and COVID-19

Excerpted from The Indian Rotarian
Over the coming months, the extensive polio infrastructure Rotary helped build will be used to support preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Building on decades of experience stopping polio outbreaks, Rotary and our partners have a critical role to play in protecting communities from this global pandemic, just as we did with Ebola, yellow fever, and Avian flu. This truly represents the “Plus” in PolioPlus.

We must take every precaution to ensure that polio eradication activities do not contribute to COVID-19 transmission. In order to observe global guidance related to physical distancing and hygiene, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has advised countries to pause polio immunisation campaigns during the COVID-19 outbreak response.

While responding to ­COVID-19, Rotary and our GPEI partners will take every step possible to continue protecting children and avoid a resurgence of polio. We will maintain essential polio eradication work — including surveillance, immunisation in certain high-risk areas, and maintaining our vaccine supply — so that polio campaigns can begin without delay as soon as it is safe.

Responding to COVID-19 and polio are dual priorities. The most important thing that Rotary members can do to continue the fight to end polio is to sustain our commitment to polio eradication and reach our fundraising goal of $50 million this year for polio — while also supporting COVID-19 response activities.

Districts are encouraged to consider giving District Designated Funds to PolioPlus. Donations to DDF are matched 1:1 by the World Fund, then 2:1 by the Gates Foundation for a total of a 6:1 match.

In the midst of a pandemic, it is understandable that attention to polio eradication will be diverted, but this makes it all the more vital for Rotarians to remain strongly committed to fighting polio and not let our progress erode.
Rotary, polio and COVID-19 2020-06-06 04:00:00Z 0

Touching lives in Lagos

Rotary members Omolara Omotosho and Bolatito Olaboye deliver food in Lagos, Nigeria.

By Michael Effiong, Rotary Club of Ikeja South, Lagos, Nigeria

All around the world, the coronavirus pandemic is changing our lives and creating a new normal. But our members have seen the need and risen to the challenge. Now, more than ever, we need to show Rotary’s goodness as we practice Service Above Self.

Long before a nation-wide lockdown in Nigeria, Lagos had initiated its own stiff measures to stop the spread of the virus. This meant that our usually engaging meetings had to move online. The platform we decided to use was Zoom, and it has been our playground, a place where we share ideas and make plans to help our community.

In our country, hundreds of people congregate in market places, making it a place susceptible to the spread of the virus. We decided to build an awareness campaign to reach the many different levels of society that come to the markets, and encourage social distancing and hand washing. In conjunction with Fatee Mohammed Foundation, we visited three markets, the first being Abbatoir Market, in Agege, a Lagos suburb. Our team used a megaphone to instruct vendors to maintain a distance of two-meters. We also instructed people how to wash their hands for at least 20 second with soap and water, and handed out bottles of sanitizer. It was hectic but we got the job done!

The lockdown forced a lot of people out of work who were just making enough to live on. With this in mind, we initiated an Emergency Food Response Project, with support of a grant from Rotary District 9110. We delivered a week’s worth of food supplies to families on 17 different streets in the Alausa Community.

We also distributed packs of rice, Garri (a local cassava staple), noodles, spaghetti, tomato puree, vegetable oil, sanitizers, and Vitamin C tablets (to help boost immunity). Our feelings of joy and satisfaction surpassed any we have previously experienced, including our participation in Rotary Family Health Days two years ago.

As part of an attempt to embrace the new normal, we launched a Zoom-based health club, which we dubbed ROKEJAS. We meet every morning to exercise and share tips for healthy living. It enables our members to break the monotony of being stuck at home every day.

As our country eases up on the lockdown, it is a dangerous time for Lagos. Roads that were temporarily empty are now busy again. Large crowds form in front of banks. And not everyone is following the instructions to wear masks. As a club, we feel the urgency of helping our government spread health safety information and convince people to  practice social distancing. We are also contemplating a project to collect and donate masks to everyone we can reach.

Our passion and commitment to service must not stop. Now is our time. We as Rotarians must continue to touch lives as we show our desire and ability to do good.
Touching lives in Lagos 2020-05-31 04:00:00Z 0

Using science of resilience to strengthen Rotary clubs during COVID-19

Jenny Stotts

By Jenny Stotts, District 6690 membership chair

Resilience is the process of adapting in the face of adversity. When we experience a traumatic or stressful event, our brains activate a number of pathways to protect us. These biological processes help keep us safe. It’s in the recovery from these events that we grow and change and become stronger.

Many of us are living this reality right now in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is, there are ways to grow our capacity for resiliency. And we can use this time to strengthen Rotary, by working together to grow and foster resilience in our fellow members and our clubs. Here are a few tips:

Connect: A critical building block for resilience is simply connecting with others. Check in with fellow members. Call them, send them a message, work to make sure they can access your virtual meetings. As a club, consider connecting with other clubs to weave yourself further into the global fabric of Rotary.

Perspective: When we experience ongoing adversity, it is far too easy to lose hope. Help members maintain a realistic and positive perspective. Rotary clubs are facing challenges right now including adjusting to new meeting platforms and worrying about membership or giving. Remember that the challenges you face today are not a reflection of your future. How you respond to today’s challenges will shape the future.

Wellness: We are living during a time where words like “quarantine,” “lockdown,” and “zoom fatigue” are common and relatable. Promote and prioritize wellness among your members. Use your virtual meeting to ask members to share ways that they are taking care of themselves and their families. Be gracious when a member needs to take a break, skip a meeting or have an extra few days to respond to an email. Now is not the time to keep points or compete with who is doing more or less. Speak and listen with kindness.

Purpose: When we give energy to others, it has a way of recharging our own batteries. It fosters a sense of self-worth and gives us feelings of purpose and validation. Plan service opportunities with your fellow members that you are able to accomplish and approach. Offering smaller projects concurrent to your larger, ongoing projects gives everyone in your club an access point to service.

Gratitude: We benefit from mindful and intentional reflections in gratitude. It can promote the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which help us feel joy or happiness. Take a moment to share thanks to your fellow members and create opportunities for your entire club to extend gratitude to your community and your partners.

When we collectively care for our members, we help create pathways to grow and foster resilience. When we scale these practices to the organization level, we unlock new potential to strengthen our clubs and enhance the member experience.

The world deserves Rotarians and Rotary clubs that are resilient, adaptable, and strong. Remember to take care of one another. But, take care of yourself, too. You deserve to be your best and most resilient self.
Using science of resilience to strengthen Rotary clubs during COVID-19 2020-05-23 04:00:00Z 0

7 reasons young people should join Rotary

Ryan Bell explains what Rotary has to offer young people, including exciting service opportunities that will connect you to others in your community.

By Ryan Bell, Iowa City District 6000 Public Image Co-Chair

I have a message for all you young people out there who may never have heard about Rotary. Or if you have, it was from a parent or grandparent who spent more time talking about the lunch menu or how great the salad bar is. If that’s all you’ve heard about Rotary, then you’re missing a lot. And let me tell you why, in the middle of this pandemic, Rotary is more relevant than ever. It’s definitely something you want to know about.

Rotary is kind of a big deal. With over 1.2 million members worldwide, it’s the biggest service organization on the planet. If you’re a fan of the planet, that’s just what Rotary wants to preserve. Our members are working on helping save mothers and children, supporting basic education for children, and fighting diseases. Many of those members are now using their connections and resources to help combat COVID-19.

Rotary has no religious or national affiliation. We don’t care what you believe or who you voted for. The way Rotary sees it, the most important thing is that we come together to accomplish some much-needed tasks for a group we like to call humanity.

Rotary efforts have already helped eradicate 99.9 percent of global cases of polio. If you’ve never heard of polio, you can thank a Rotarian for that. Armed with a massive investment and partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary has taken on the incredible task of ridding the world of this crippling disease so no child need get it ever again.

In addition to these large-scale, international projects, Rotary clubs are always working to improve their own communities. Just check out the list of activities Rotarians are involved in to help their communities get through this pandemic.

I would never pressure you to do something that will improve your life in every conceivable way. But let me tell you the benefits I’ve personally seen from being involved in Rotary for seven years.

    1.    You’ll make local connections. During the pandemic, Rotary clubs have been staying connected through virtual meetings, which you can join conveniently from the safety of your home. Even in these unusual times, Rotary is keeping people connected. We all need that sense of connection. You will meet wonderfully diverse people from many walks of life. For many of us, this is the main appeal: local friends, local colleagues, clients and contacts. It’s actually why a group of young professionals in Chicago started Rotary back in 1905. When it comes to networking and advancing your business, Rotary membership isn’t like the fickle, transactional networking and “referral” groups you’ve likely been encouraged to join. It’s authentic and real.

    2.    You’ll make a global impact. Bill and Melinda Gates saw the efficiency and effectiveness of Rotary, and have partnered with us to commit $450 million to eradicate polio. Once we crush polio, we’ll move on to other important challenges facing our world.

    3.    You’ll see your work pay off locally. Sure, the whole “saving the world” thing is cool, but if you’re wanting to make a difference a little closer to home, don’t worry, Rotary does that. We are leaders in our communities. We are a funding source (through a grant program), a volunteer source (because we’re awesome like that) and we even come up with our own initiatives, like in 2018 when we planted over 1.2 million trees.

    4.    You can inspire the next generation. We have amazing youth programs that involve students in service and leadership. Rotary Youth Leadership Awards weekends fuel and shape the potential for greatness that’s already inside these students. They get fired up about making the world a more peaceful, loving place — and have the contacts, plans, and direction to make it happen.

    5.    You can spend time with the Greatest Generation. Rotary includes members of all ages. Sure, Rotary has a reputation for having a lot of members over the age of 50. But there is also a ton you can learn from the Greatest and Baby Boomer generations. If you’re looking for mentoring, or just great stories, look no further.

    6.    You’ll get inspired. No matter what your motive is in considering Rotary, you will be inspired by guest speakers or performances, online or otherwise. I’ve seen  amazing singers, legitimately awesome circus clowns, environmentalists, coaches — you name it. And virtual meetings make it easier for clubs to line up dynamic speakers from even further away.

    7.    You’ll put your energy where it’s really needed. Here’s (perhaps) the best part of getting involved in Rotary: These clubs need you like crazy! We need leaders from every community in the world to join Rotary and amplify our impact. Feel helpless during the coronavirus outbreak? Consider the impact you could have joining a family of volunteers committed to doing whatever is needed to help the community.
7 reasons young people should join Rotary 2020-05-17 04:00:00Z 0

Covid-19 7870 District-Wide Global Grant

Some musings on my role as Grant Wrangler, by Tony Gilmore
Some weeks ago, after I had successfully applied for a $25,000 Rotary Disaster Grant, our incoming District Governor, Steve Puderbaugh, thought that I hadn’t received enough punishment, so he asked if I would be the lead on a Global Grant for us in Southern NH and VT. Caught in a moment of confusion about the immensity of this project, I said yes.
Rotary Global Grants require an international club or district to partner with the host district. The last global grant I did was for Mongolia. I worked with a wonderful host club in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar. This time Rotary rules allowed the international partner to be just that, without any financial support.
Bangalore West, a club that I had presented the Mongolian Grant to when I was in India, agreed to be our International partner.
In simple terms, District 7870 has $50,000 to match the total of all clubs’ giving. With assistance from the Rotary Foundation, every dollar given multiplies three and a half times. A total of $175,000 will be given to our communities for first responders, hospitals, and nursing homes to acquire Covid-19 protective gear and supplies, and to provide financial support for food banks in both states. The key is that $50,000 is the limit available to be matched.
We have had an embarrassment of riches. Our largest club has pledged more than half of the funds available for the match. Smaller clubs have pledged huge sums for their community support. The response is overwhelming.

Such is the magic of Rotary. When there is a challenge, we pitch in. Big time!
Covid-19 7870 District-Wide Global Grant 2020-05-09 04:00:00Z 0

New Hampshire and Vermont Rotary Clubs Donate $25,000 to Food Banks

Rotary District 7870 members wanted to a find a way to respond to COVID-19 and to help people affected by it.  As people of action, Rotary District 7870 is comprised of 60 Rotary Clubs in southern New Hampshire and southern Vermont.  This is not the first time that they have been involved with disaster recovery and rebuilding efforts.  In 2011, these Rotarians provided funds to help with the effects of Hurricane Irene’s devastation.

Although Rotary Clubs throughout both state have been donating to local food pantries, it was felt the most efficient way to help with food insecurity was to support the state food banks.  The New Hampshire and Vermont Food Banks service over 750 local food banks.
"We are excited to be able to use this $25,000 Disaster Response Grant from the Rotary Foundation to purchase food." said Steve Puderbaugh, incoming District Governor.  "Supporting our food banks is vital during this time of uncertainty.  It is important to help families meet their basic needs so they do not have to worry where their next meal is coming from. "
Rotary International has already supported Covid -19 efforts across the world by donating over $7 million so far.  New Hampshire and Vermont Rotarians feel it is an honor to be a part of a worldwide initiative to give where the needs are most pressing. Rotary is also involved in mobilizing 1 million volunteers through the Volunteer Surge initiative.
The District Rotarians are doing many other local projects in their communities in response to Covid-19.  They are currently working on a much larger Global Grant to support local medical workers, first responders and nursing homes with the equipment and supplies they need.
New Hampshire and Vermont Rotary Clubs Donate $25,000 to Food Banks 2020-05-01 04:00:00Z 0

Thoughts & deeds from the Club President

The Capital City Sunrise Rotary Club once again served a meal to the hungry this week at the Open Door Community Kitchen in Penacook, NH.  While practicing social distancing many people remained anonymous behind masks as they arrived for a healthy meal and conversation. The food nourished their bodies as the conversation nourished their souls. People arrived early craving a fine meal as well as a few moments to socialize as they embarked on their individual journeys from isolation to friends. There are times in life when a smile, a conversation, a friendly voice given in a moments time… is the best medicine. The Capital City Sunrise Rotary Club was both privileged and honored to fill the void the people in our community have felt during this pandemic.
We thank you for allowing us to exemplify the true meaning of “Service Above Self”.
Thoughts & deeds from the Club President 2020-04-26 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary Clubs Fight Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads uncertainty and hardship around the world, Rotary members and participants are innovating, caring for those affected, and showing that even at a distance, there are ways to help.
As people of action, Rotary members are engaged in their communities — gathering for projects and offering help to those in need. But in many areas, life is changing drastically. Health experts are urging people to maintain distance from others or even isolate themselves in order to slow the spread of the highly contagious virus.
Fighting disease is one of Rotary’s main causes, so members already support efforts to promote proper hand washing techniques, teach people other ways to stay healthy, and supply training and vital medical equipment to health care providers. Now they’re helping health authorities communicate lifesaving information about COVID-19 and donating protective gear and other supplies to clinics and hospitals that are under strain because of the pandemic.

These are just some of the ways that members are supporting their communities right now:
  •     In Italy, one of the countries that has been affected most, clubs in District 2080 are raising funds to purchase ventilators and protective gear for overstretched hospitals. And when the worst of the outbreak was raging in China, the district’s clubs raised more than $21,000 for protective masks to prevent spread of the disease there.
  •     Clubs in District 2041, also in Italy, raised funds online to buy protective gear for health workers who will care for COVID-19 patients at a 400-bed hospital being built at Milan’s fairgrounds.
  •     In Hong Kong, Rotary clubs have raised funds, packed medical supplies, and visited public housing to distribute masks and sanitizers.
  •     Rotary clubs in Sri Lanka installed thermometers in airport bathrooms and produced posters to raise awareness about the coronavirus for schools across the country.
  •     The Rotary Club of Karachi Darakhshan, Sind, Pakistan, distributed thousands of masks to people in Karachi.
  •     Clubs in District 3700 (Korea) have donated $155,000 to the Red Cross.
  •     Rotary clubs in Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom state conducted a campaign to raise awareness about the threat of the virus. Members shared information about the illness and how to keep safe at two schools and distributed materials about using good hygiene to stay healthy.
Rotary Clubs Fight Pandemic 2020-04-18 04:00:00Z 0

Haitian School Receives the gift of water

After the Hatian earthquake in 2010, the school in Port-au-Prince that these happy young girls attended received a rainwater harvesting potable water system and boys and girls latrines from Save the Children and Pure Water for the World.
Haitian School Receives the gift of water 2020-04-12 04:00:00Z 0

Feeding those in need

By President Jim Spain

Feeding those in need....

The Capital City Sunrise Rotary Club served those in need of a healthy meal this week at the Open Door Community Kitchen.

In these difficult times we served our usual nutritious meal with a special side dish. The side dish was compassion... compassion for the people that dined with us. Yes, they needed a meal, but fear of the unknown can only be satisfied by a person taking time to talk with the lonely.... it just took a minute to tell them - everything will be alright. It was with heavy heart the Rotarian's served this meal and provided this compassion. Sometimes you have to wonder, who is feeding who? The meal was delicious, the conversation very comforting. We left this meal with a better understanding of placing service above self.

Please be safe, take the time to speak to the people. Your conversation might be the only contact a person might have with the world this day. Make a difference by serving your own side dish of compassion - it will be good for your soul.

Feeding those in need 2020-03-29 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary unites more than a million people

We take action locally and globally

Each day, our members pour their passion, integrity, and intelligence into completing projects that have a lasting impact. We persevere until we deliver real, lasting solutions. More than 16 million volunteer hours each year.

No challenge is too big for us

For more than 110 years, we’ve bridged cultures and connected continents to champion peace, fight illiteracy and poverty, promote clean water and sanitation, and fight disease. 2.5 Billion children immunized against polio.
Rotary unites more than a million people 2020-03-26 04:00:00Z 0

How to engage members during the coronavirus pandemic

Keep members engaged through virtual meeting platforms.

By George Robertson-Burnett, Zone 34 Rotary Coordinator and past governor of Rotary District 6890

These are certainly interesting times we live in. None of us could have foreseen these extraordinary circumstances brought on by the pandemic of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Rotary clubs everywhere are wrestling with the question, How do we maintain membership engagement during the pandemic?

Well, this is Rotary and I am sure that these challenges will bring out our considerable strengths – ingenuity, decisiveness, flexibility, and integrity.

Here in Zone 34 (Georgia, Florida, USA and Caribbean), our Rotary Coordinator team has put together a guide to assist clubs in their efforts to maintain membership engagement during these difficult times. The suggestions are not exhaustive, and many clubs will surely come up with new ideas as their ingenuity and adaptability finds new and innovative ways to maintain our fellowship. But we wanted to offer this guide to all clubs as they explore online meetings and other adaptive solutions.

One of our Rotary e-clubs, the Rotary E-Club of the Caribbean, is generously offering to set up online meetings for clubs in our zone at no charge. We suggest you check with e-clubs in your area for help and advice on structuring online meetings.
How to engage members during the coronavirus pandemic 2020-03-21 04:00:00Z 0

3D printable prostheses help child amputees

A youth tests his new prosthesis made through 3-D printing.

By Rafael Vazquez Barragan, Rotaract Club of Monterrey Cumbres, Nuevo León, Mexico

Three years ago, the nephew of one of my best friends was born with a congenital condition that required one hand to be amputated. As a result, he had trouble keeping his balance and when it came to taking his first steps, he fell repeatedly. He was unable to lift himself up with just one hand and would just cry until someone could help him get up.

Watching him inspired me to help. I gathered several of my best friends who, like myself, had knowledge in robotics. Never would I have imagined that I would end up making prostheses, with the little knowledge I had on the subject. But as we began researching, we developed a prototype for our first model prosthetic limb. It was incredible seeing our efforts come together into a hand-crafted prosthesis made out of wood and springs, with sensors carrying signals from the brain to the artificial limb.

The potential impact slowly began to dawn on us, as we realized we could help not only one person, but perhaps hundreds or thousands. In Mexico, there are more than 27,500 amputations a year and only 2,500 prosthetic limbs are produced annually. This means that less than 10 percent of the population has access to one. The problem is not a lack of production, but the high cost.

Experimenting with different kinds of technology, we looked for a bio-compatible material that would let us get away from having to use titanium, a very expensive material typically used in prostheses. We began working with ABS plastic, an opaque thermoplastic and amorphous polymer that can be used with 3D printing. By using thermoplastic polymers, we reduced the cost by more than 90 percent and also adapted our model to be a good fit for children. Our processes let children choose a robotic prosthetic limb with interchangeable superhero designs. To make our effort more sustainable, we began to look for strategic and commercial partners.

We teamed up with our university’s robotics team to present our project during a FIRST Robotics competition in New Orleans and received the Engineering Inspiration Award, which celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school and community. The project was also nominated for a 2019 Rotaract Outstanding Project Awards

We continue to work with different organizations, including Rotary, who have offered us support since the beginning through our host club, to expand our project and help more people.
3D printable prostheses help child amputees 2020-03-12 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary’s peace initiatives at a tipping point

Rotarians, Rotary Peace Fellows, Rotaractors, and Rotary Scholars participate in a Positive Peace workshop

By Chris Offer, Rotary Club of Ladner, Delta, British Columbia, Canada, and chair of the Peace Major Gifts Initiative

I spent three days in Ontario, California, USA, in January with a group of passionate peacebuilders learning to be Rotary Positive Peace Activators.

The goal of the three-day training was to develop a worldwide network of peacebuilders to support Rotarians and Rotaractors in fostering Positive Peace in their communities. By 2024, Rotary will train 150 new Positive Peace Activators in six global regions, prepared to educate, coach, and accompany Rotarians in at least 1,000 presentations and/or workshops, and act as consultants on projects locally and globally.

The training is the next step in a growing list of Rotary peace initiatives that I believe are pushing Rotary to a tipping point. Our peace programs will begin rapidly expanding and will change Rotary forever as we go from being advocates for peace to something grander: active and effective peacebuilders.

In 2017, Rotary and the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) formed a strategic partnership. This alliance builds on IEP’s research into Positive Peace – the attitudes, institutions, and structures that shape peaceful societies – as well as Rotary’s grassroots work in communities globally.

In addition to our partnership with IEP, Rotary’s Peace Centers are expanding, Rotary Peace Fellows are taking on diverse roles, there is an online peace academy, and clubs and districts are increasing their reach with a variety of peace projects. Major positive peace projects occurred in 2019 in Mexico and Colombia.

The 25 activators who participated in the training with me were Rotarians, peace fellows, Rotaractors, and Rotary Global Scholars. We were trained on the IEP positive peace model and on facilitating meetings. We focused on skills that will enable us to lead education programs with Rotary-affiliated groups.

Rotary seeks to create the conditions for Positive Peace by funding and implementing thousands of local and international peace projects. The Rotary Positive Peace Activators will take a lead as advisors to assist clubs and districts.

This is our peace tipping point.

    •    Support Rotary’s work in building peace through your generous gift (select the Endowment-Rotary Peace Centers from the donate menu)
    •    Read more about Rotary’s partnership with IEP
    •    Learn about the Rotary Positive Peace Academy
    •    Contact Summer Lewis for more information on the Rotary Positive Peace Activators
Rotary’s peace initiatives at a tipping point 2020-03-07 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary, Peace Corps working together

Students in Santa Lucia, Guatemala, are making soap from volcanic ash as part of the district grant project to empower students and keep them in school.

By Maureen Duncan, a member of The Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisers and a returned Peace Corps volunteer

As a member of The Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisers, I evaluate projects in Central and South America. I am also a former Peace Corps volunteer stationed in Brazil (from 1966 to 1968). These two organizations have great potential for working together to achieve amazing results. Recently, I was able to combine these two networks for a grant project that is advancing education and providing economic opportunities for youth in Guatemala.

In February of 2019, I joined Mark Balla, an Australian Rotarian and water and sanitation expert, in visiting 15 of 48 schools involved with a water, sanitation, and hygiene project funded by a global grant. One of the schools we visited was the Instituto Mixto Municipal de Diversificado, a high school in Santa Lucia, Guatemala, that prepares students for careers in secretarial science and accounting.
We were impressed by how they have incorporated saving the environment into their curriculum. We watched the students simulating real business solutions as they turned recycled trash into rugs, undertook rudimentary attempts at making renewable menstrual pads, and produced organic soap.

After returning to the US, I applied for and received a district grant for a project we called Keeping Guatemalan Girls in School to help students at the Instituto Mixto Municipal de Diversificado. The grant was made possible by donations from private donors, GoFundMe, and Rotary clubs in San Diego, California, USA and Melbourne, Australia.

The goal is to help girls in Guatemala stay in school. While elementary schools are free of cost and provide free meals, girls often drop out of school when they start their periods because of inadequate products and facilities. Even if they make it to junior high or high school, the costs for tuition, books, and uniforms force 75 percent of Guatemalan children to stop attending school. With this project, we are teaching boys and girls entrepreneurial skills so they can be self-sufficient and contribute to their communities

In September 2019, we hired a local project manager. As a returned Peace Corps volunteer, I searched for local Peace Corps volunteers who could help, and met Lauren Devol. She is working in Guatemala to support community economic development and we developed a strong connection. Lauren is passionate about serving as a connector to empower women, youth, and indigenous populations. Although we are 50+ years apart in our Peace Corps Service and age, we couldn’t be more alike in our fundamental aspirations to help people help themselves.

By working with Peace Corps, I know that Lauren and the local project manager can be there when I can’t. They meet with the 12 students (six boys and six girls), helping them evaluate their goals and providing cheerleading. This is one of the great benefits of partnering with other organizations.

Our project at the Santa Lucia high school has two components:

Reusable menstrual pads

The students decided one of their businesses would be to make cloth-based, reusable menstrual pads, knowing that disposable ones are bad for the environment and too costly for the majority of girls and women. Using a design the students came up with, we are paying a seamstress in the community to cut and sew the protectors and pads, fulfilling the requirement to include the community in economic development. The emphasis of this endeavor isn’t mainly a moneymaking one, but rather education as the students instruct girls and women in Santa Lucia and nearby communities.

Making soap from volcano ash

Volcanoes are everywhere in Guatemala; many of them still active and destructive. We believe, by targeting tourists from nearby Antigua, that we can make a profit by selling soap made with local ingredients, including volcanic ash. Lauren has been most helpful in monitoring the students’ activities: experimenting with local ingredients, packaging, marketing, and sales.  She and the local project manager even went on a hike with the students up a nearby volcano to get some volcanic ash! This will be the students’ first step toward self-sufficiency. The money from sales will buy more materials and cover some of their education expenses, as well as helping the local community,
The grant ends in April 2020 – a short time. But it will provide stimulus for potential future grants. We have changed lives already, which we can see through the smiles on the faces of the students, the enthusiasm of the seamstress, and the positivity reflected in the entire school. But mostly, the lives of Lauren and I have been enriched beyond words.
Rotary, Peace Corps working together 2020-02-22 05:00:00Z 0

New Programs of Scale grants for new year

Using global grant funding, Rotary members provided a well, water tower, and new fountains to a village in Benin.

By Victor Barnes, Director of Programs & Grants

In 2013, Rotary set out on its new grant model under the Future Vision Plan, in the hopes that the approach would enhance the scope, impact, and sustainability of humanitarian projects. More than six years later, and with over $460 million invested in almost 7,000 projects across the globe, Rotary is ready to augment these critical investments with a new grant type. Beginning January 2020, Rotary International is introducing a highly selective, competitive grant model that empowers Rotarians to implement large-scale, high impact projects with experienced partners.

In support of Rotary’s Action Plan, Rotary International’s Programs of Scale grants will award $2 million to one approved project each year that responds to a community-identified need. These projects will benefit a large number of people in a significant geographic area using a sustainable, evidence-based intervention with measurable outcomes and impact. Each grant will support, for three to five years, activities that align with one or more of Rotary’s areas of focus.

This is an exciting opportunity to complement the international service Rotarians already undertake with a larger grant investment over a longer time frame. Time and resources that will be dedicated to help deliver service in communities that will live on beyond project implementation. And by focusing on documenting the metrics of our good works, we get a clearer picture of results, and the good Rotary does around the world.
New Programs of Scale grants for new year 2020-02-14 05:00:00Z 0

Australian Rotarians respond to brushfires

Rotary members cook and serve meals for Emergency Services volunteers fighting the brushfires in New South Wales.
By Ross Wade, Past President, and Issa Shalhoub, member of the Rotary Club of Milton-Ulladulla, New South Wales, Australia

From August through October of last year, residents of the coastal community of Ulladulla, New South Wales, Australia, watched somewhat passively as reports came in about the serious brush fires in other parts of the state and in Queensland.  But they were shaken out of their complacency the last week of November when a serious bushfire began spreading rapidly much closer to home.

For a week, local firefighters worked around the clock to battle the blaze near Batemans Bay, about 66 kilometers (41 miles) south of Ulladulla, while support staff provided food and basic provisions to the firefighters. By the afternoon of Friday, 29 November, authorities realized that more support was required. An urgent call was sent out to the Rotary Club of Milton-Ulladulla to see if Rotarians and provisions could be quickly organized to provide breakfasts and dinners for 50 to 100 firefighters over the coming few days.

Rotarians rose to the occasion: food was organized, barbecues were found and borrowed, the call went out by email for at least seven Rotarians to be support staff for mornings and nights and weary firefighters were offered breakfast and dinner.

The first day, Saturday, went as planned with firefighters working in the bush south and west of Ulladulla. However, the temperatures were rising and the conditions were deteriorating by the hour. On Sunday, the fight was on to protect the nearby communities of Bawley Point and Kioloa.

By Monday, the conditions were even more drastic. The fires had broken containment lines, and in a number of places crossed the Princes Highway that runs roughly north and south, threatening more homes. We fed 200 firefighters that morning. In the afternoon, the firefighters were forced to move the staging post to Burrill Lake on the very outskirts of Ulladulla. Rotarians bravely soldiered on to provide hot dinners to the firefighters.

The time had come to renegotiate our role with the local branch of the State Emergency Service (SES) Australia’s volunteer-based emergency and rescue service. As a result, Rotarians, their families, and now other community members committed to supporting the SES throughout the month of December. As the highway closed, meals were served in various locations until the staging area moved further north beyond our reach.

On New Year’s Eve, the fires had gained an upper hand, destroying a number of houses. An evacuation center was established at the Ulladulla Civic Centre and Rotarians served meals, provided bedding, and gave hugs to evacuees bunked down there.
A local basketball stadium filled with donations.

Once the fires were under control, donations poured in from all over the coast of New South Wales, enough to fill two basketball stadiums. Rotarians were notified by email to unload trucks by hand and with forklifts, and help sort and distribute the goods to those affected by the fires.

Restaurants, coffee shops, and hotels have taken a hit in the coastal area as tourists were asked to stay away during January. Our club has decided to change our meeting venue once a month to support different restaurants.

Rotarians will continue to rally and support those affected. We will now be involved with disaster recovery, putting Service Above Self. The South Coast is safe, open for business, and looking forward to hosting our district conference in March.

    •    Support The Rotary Foundation Disaster Response Fund to help clubs with immediate disaster response where the need is greatest. Contributions are combined into one fund and made available through Rotary Disaster Response Grants.
    •    Learn about and support locally-led club and district response and recovery efforts at rotary.org/disaster-response
Australian Rotarians respond to brushfires 2020-02-09 05:00:00Z 0

What Is Capital City Sunrise Rotary?

We are People of Action

Our club offers opportunities for our members — and those interested in making a difference — to get involved. Through meetings, social events, and volunteer projects, our members learn about the issues facing our community and communities all over the world, partnering with local, national, and global experts to exchange ideas about potential solutions and to draw up action plans to respond. Along with these opportunities to serve, members also are able to regularly network, resulting in life- long friendships and business connections.

Our club is a proud part of this community and of Rotary International. Rotary is a global network of more than 1.2 million members who believe that great things happen when dedicated minds come together. We are community and business leaders representing different professions, experiences, and perspectives but with a shared desire to connect with others to address the challenges affecting our community and communities around the world.

We are Making a Difference

Solving real problems takes real effort, commitment, and vision. Rotarians work to protect communities from preventable diseases, keep women and children healthy, improve education and economic outcomes, create safe water and sanitation infrastructure, and make our community and the world a more peaceful place.

Our Events:
• Awarded 7 scholarships to local students for higher education
• Hosted and provided monthly dinners for the Open Door Community Kitchen in Penacook and the Pitman building low cost housing in Concord
• Worked to maintain our Infirmary at Camp Spaulding • Sponsored “Y” student campers at summer day camp
• Held a holiday dinner for residents of the Crutchfield Building, a low-income housing project
• Participated NH Veterans Home Cruise Night
• Rung the bell at Christmas time to raise money for the Salvation Army
• Provided hot cider and cookies at the Christmas tree lighting in front of the State House with all donations given to the Salvation Army
• Participated in the Wreaths Across America, donating and placing 100 wreaths on veterans graves in Concord’s Maple Gove Cemetary
• Funding trees for Blossom Hill Cemetary
• Donated a book in the name of each of our speakers to the Concord Library Children’s Room, a project that has over 500 donated books
• Volunteered for the Capital Region Food Program’s Holiday Food Basket Project
• Volunteered for Intown Concord’s Market Days, Haloween Howl, Midnight Merriment
• Provided financial assistance to:
• Salvation Army
• Friendly Kitchen
• Penacook BackPack Program
• Kimball-Jenkins Estate
• District Matching Grant for batting cage at Merrimack Valley High School
Our Rotary Club works hard to raise funds, In the past years with the generous help of Duncraft, the club has raised $250,000 for our and other non-profits.  
This is just some of what we do and we’re proud to do it. We are the little club that does!
What Is Capital City Sunrise Rotary? 2020-01-31 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary and the Gates Foundation extend funding match for polio eradication

By Rotary International

Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced on 22 January that their long-term fundraising partnership, which generates up to $150 million annually for polio eradication, will continue. Under the agreement, Rotary is committed to raising $50 million a year over the next three years, and each dollar will be matched with an additional two dollars by the Gates Foundation.

In a video address at the 2020 Rotary International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA, Bill Gates told incoming district governors that the partnership with Rotary needs to continue.

“The Gates Foundation’s longstanding partnership with Rotary has been vital to fighting polio,” Gates said. “That’s why we’re extending our funding match, so every dollar that Rotary raises is met with two more.”

He added, “I believe that together, we can make eradication a reality.”

The funding will support polio eradication efforts such as disease surveillance, technical assistance, and operational support for immunization activities.

The partnership between Rotary and the Gates Foundation has yielded $2 billion, and Rotarians have given countless volunteer hours to fight polio since Rotary started its PolioPlus program in 1985.

Be a part of the fight to end polio and have your donation matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Visit endpolio.org to donate.
Rotary and the Gates Foundation extend funding match for polio eradication 2020-01-24 05:00:00Z 0

Woman Who Fostered 600 Kids in 50 Years Took in Anyone—Regardless of Age or Medical Condition

Raising just one child can be a tough job for any parent—which is why this woman is being honored for fostering more than 600 children over the course of five decades.

75-year-old Linda Herring from Johnson County, Iowa has been tirelessly providing food, clothing, love, and medical care to hundreds of foster kids since the 1970s.

When Herring first began fostering kids, she was also running a home daycare and working as a night custodian in a local high school. Additionally, she volunteered as a first responder for 50 years of her life, according to CNN.
Out of the hundreds of foster kids that Herring has taken under her wing, many of them experienced a range of medical conditions and special needs—but that never deterred Herring.

“Linda mostly fostered young children and children with special medical needs and kept bins of clothes in her garage, stacked to the ceiling, labeled by size and gender,” read a statement from Johnson County officials. “No one had to worry about a child going without clothes at Linda’s, even if they arrived with nothing but what they were wearing.”

Anthony Herring, who was just 3 years old when he was adopted into the Iowa family, described his mother to CNN: “It’s hard to say in words her impact. She was always available and ready for a child in need.

“These kids were usually taken from a traumatic situation and she’d take them in, provide a warm bed, clean clothes, warm meals, and love,” Anthony told the news outlet. “She also worked hard to keep families together. Keeping siblings together. Helping biological parents make the changes needed to be able to keep their children.

“She always makes sure a new child in her home was given a professional photograph that was placed on the wall in the living room,” he added. “That seems like a small thing, but it helps them feel like they’re at home.”

In light of how Ms. Herring announced her retirement from fostering new children in October due to health concerns, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors honored her with a special ceremony of appreciation this week.

Additionally, five of Herring’s biological children and three of her grandchildren have been carrying on her legacy as foster parents as well.
Woman Who Fostered 600 Kids in 50 Years Took in Anyone—Regardless of Age or Medical Condition 2020-01-17 05:00:00Z 0

PM begged for water-bombing planes as SA fires declared ‘worst in living memory’

Matt Young (Excerpted from News.com.au)
A “shocked and saddened” South Australian government is asking Scott Morrison for extra water bombing aircraft to tackle fire-ravaged Kangaroo Island.

CFS chief officer Mark Jones declared the fires which have destroyed almost half the island, as well as the Adelaide Hills blazes, to be the state’s “worst season in living memory”.

“Not only has there been tragic loss of life, families have lost homes and properties, people have lost businesses, vineyards, livestock and – for some – their livelihoods,” SA Premier Steven Marshall said.

“We have all been shocked and saddened by the scale of destruction on Kangaroo Island, coming on top of the devastating losses in the Adelaide Hills.

Emergency Services Minister Corey Wingard said SA would be appealing to the Federal Government for further aerial support to tackle the inferno.
A bushfire damaged car (above) by the Playford Highway west of Parndana, Kangaroo Island

“We have had outstanding results from the increased fixed-wing capability after we brought nine extra aircraft into our fleet last summer and having loan of the large aerial tanker from NSW has also helped out already this summer,” he said.

“We know aerial coverage to dump big payloads of retardant or water, combined with our outstanding troops on the ground, are key to fighting big fires like we’ve seen on Kangaroo Island and in the Adelaide Hills.”

The fires on Kangaroo Island have taken two lives and burnt more than 155,000 hectares, destroying at least 56 homes since starting on January 4.
An injured koala is treated at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Zoo on Friday.
CFS chief officer Mark Jones said SA was dealing with an unprecedented bushfire season and praised firefighters and communities for their efforts.

“The state has been remarkably lucky that more people haven’t been killed or injured in what has been the worst season we’ve endured in living memory,” he said

Premier Marshall said constituents had dug deep and contributed $3.5m to the SA Bushfire Appeal and he encouraged them to keep on doing so.
Rotarians and others can help with the fire disaster in Australia, donate here: https://donations.rawcs.com.au/68-2019-20
PM begged for water-bombing planes as SA fires declared ‘worst in living memory’ 2020-01-10 05:00:00Z 0

Why a Satellite Club was right for me

Members of the Rotary Satellite Club of London, Ontario, Canada.

By Heather Macdonald, Rotary Satellite Club of London, Ontario, Canada

I was a recent college grad when I moved to a new city and was looking to join an organization where I could meet people my own age who were at the same stage of life that I was in. My parents are both Rotarians, so Rotary was the first organization that came to mind. But I struggled to find a club where I could fit in.

London, Ontario, Canada has two Rotaract clubs, but both are associated with either the University or the College and require members to be attending. Even if that weren’t the case, I didn’t want to join a club where the members were still focused on school. I was finished with school and really wanted to meet people who were starting careers and had NO money.

The Rotary clubs in the area were inaccessible to young professionals. Most of the members were established in their careers and financially stable. All of the clubs met at breakfast or lunch. As someone who is just starting out in my company, I can’t take the time off for an hour meeting plus travel time. And the meals were definitely out of my price range.

About a year ago, our current district governor, mentioned that the London Rotary Club had started the Rotary Satellite Club of London. This club is made up of younger professionals who are all done with school (approximately 22-35 year olds). The satellite club meets twice a month at a local pub. If we want a drink or dinner we pay the pub directly, and it just happens that we meet on half-price wing night. If money’s tight that week and we can only afford a pop, that’s all we pay for, no judgement.

Our satellite club has adapted to suit our needs. None of us use checks, and instead of having to carry cash, we use e-transfer whether it’s our annual dues (my parents paid mine as a birthday present) or for our Happy Bucks Card (our system of collecting money through good natured “fines.”)

Currently, my time and energy is worth way more than my money. I can’t afford to buy a $55 Rotary shirt, go to a $100 a plate auction dinner or take a whole Thursday off for a golf tournament. That’s why my Rotary club sponsors a local park and we get together twice a year to pick up trash. We help load cargo trailers to be shipped overseas for other area Rotary clubs. And we raise funds for Christmas packages for homeless youth in our city by putting on Trivia and Paint Nights at the pub where we meet.
I’m an active Rotarian and likely will be for life. I’m now on our board of directors, I’ve been to a district conference and a learning assembly. Who knows what the future holds.

I LOVE my Rotary club and the people in it. We have a wonderful time together, it doesn’t cost us much, and we’re making the world a better place.
Why a Satellite Club was right for me 2020-01-04 05:00:00Z 0
From Us to You 2019-12-21 05:00:00Z 0

Value of Rotary volunteering

A special report prepared for Rotary International by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies estimated the value of Rotary member volunteer hours at $850 million a year.
The 15 members of Capital City Sunrise have volunteered 1,157 hours since the beginning of July, a value of $9,375.
That Rotary members log a lot of volunteer hours should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the organization. But a new report just released by Johns Hopkins University provides a powerful look at the impact of all those volunteer hours.

The special report prepared for Rotary International by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies found that Rotary members had volunteered a total of 5.8 million hours within a four-week survey period. Extrapolating those results over an entire year, the report gave a conservative estimate of nearly 47 million hours of volunteer effort generated by Rotary members in a typical year.

The report then analyzed the economic impact of all those hours and estimated the value conservatively at $850 million a year, if communities had to pay for the services that Rotary volunteers provide.

Rotary, with the help of Johns Hopkins University, is the first global service organization to conduct an empirical analysis of its volunteer’s impact using an internationally sanctioned definition of volunteer work. The authors of the report noted in their conclusion that at each stop, the analysis had chosen the most conservative estimates.

“The lesson from this report is clear: volunteer service is not only a feel-good calling – it may provide one of the more powerful, and one of the more fulfilling, avenues through which to reach the ambitious United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” said Lester M. Salamon, director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Studies.

Rotary CEO and General Secretary John Hewko said “this is just the beginning of using the most innovative tools of measurement to capture and enhance our impact. As we better understand the vast contributions of volunteer work, we can mobilize this remarkable, but often undervalued, resource to better the world and thrive in the years to come.”
Value of Rotary volunteering 2019-12-15 05:00:00Z 0

Selma Rotary Club thrives on diversity

The Selma Rotary Club partners with business leaders to invest in youth.

By Jerria Martin, past president of the Rotary Club of Selma, Alabama, USA

Diversity is important to my club, and that’s a big reason why I am a member and past president. My club is a second family to me, one that began investing in me all the way back in 2006.

As a senior in high school, I received a Rotary Scholarship as part of my club’s annual scholarship competition. The program is just one way my club embraces and seeks diversity. We invite a graduating senior from every high school, public and private, from all neighborhoods and walks of life, to share their leadership and service skills with us. Every senior who is chosen receives a scholarship.

I was a recipient of that program. And I knew that Selma’s business and community leaders believed in my vision and were willing to invest in my future. That’s what created in me a desire to be a Rotarian. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that the first organization I’d be joining after returning home from Princeton would be our local Rotary club.

How to achieve diversity

You must be intentional to achieve diversity. Our club takes pride in welcoming new and prospective members from every background. I think the trick is to not make things “weird” but to give every member the respect, support, and love they desire regardless of where they are from. Things will naturally progress and succeed from there. This was my experience, as a 26-year-old African American woman, elected club president at the age of 29, and chosen as an Emerging Leader by our Rotary district this year. I am proud to be part of the Rotary family.

Our club’s Youth Serve & Shadow project which I help oversee is another way we deliberately seek and embrace diversity. The project educates, empowers, and uplifts young men and women throughout the at-risk communities in Selma and Dallas Counties by providing 15-20 public high school students who face adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported, one-to-one mentoring relationships with respected veteran Rotarians. These mentors work strategically for a year to have a positive impact on the student’s life.

Students join us for service projects and shadow us on our jobs. Through our time spent with our young leaders, we as Rotarians become more informed on what we can do to better serve all of our communities, impacting positive change in the areas that need it most. Every fundraiser and service project we’ve had this year has reflected this conviction.

Supporting future generations

I am a proud product of Selma schools. I had the wonderful opportunity to connect and learn with our city’s leaders, especially during an opportunity to shadow one of our state representatives. I also served as student body president and got to know and served alongside our school board members. Because of these experiences, I have made it my primary focus to empower Selma’s youth and give them opportunities I had growing up. I want them to know that Rotary cares.

Not only is this an approach that will help your club grow and thrive, but this is something that we can feel proud about giving to the future generations.
Selma Rotary Club thrives on diversity 2019-12-05 05:00:00Z 0

Artists unite to help The Bahamas rebuild

Julien Believe, singer, songwriter and Rotarian, performs at the Rotary International Convention in Hamburg. Julien is collaborating with other artists and Past RI President Barry Rassin on recovery efforts in The Bahamas.

By Julien Believe, singer, songwriter, entertainer, and member of the Rotary Club of East Nassau

Three years ago, I penned “I Believe in You,” along with my amazing team, with one purpose in mind – to inspire and motivate. It is a timeless song for anyone that needs a moral boost or just a little nudge to say, “you matter.” After the devastation of Hurricane Dorian in both Abaco and Grand Bahama, it was only fitting that I release ”I Believe in You” with a few tweaks. My fellow country mates needed help but most importantly they needed HOPE. This song is designed to create a sense of hope, strength and assurance in knowing that we, as a nation, will live up to being strong.

My team and I got on the phone with some of the Caribbean’s top artists and created the “We Are the World” of the Caribbean. “I Believe in You” represents solidarity and unity amongst each artist and their willingness to band together to help a brother or sister in need. This song declares not only love of country but the Caribbean at large. Almost every island has experienced the powerful force of mother nature and witnessed firsthand the sheer destruction of natural disasters, but we haven’t seen anything of this magnitude in a while, if ever.

Some lost their homes, their loved ones and some lost their lives. Spirits were broken. I did what I do best – I used my voice to spread love, hope and belief in the fact that “this too shall pass.” I sang words that I knew would help ease the blow, if only for a minute. Music has a way of getting you through, a way of hugging you when arms just won’t do, a way of capturing the essence of your emotion when words cannot.
“I Believe in You” drives awareness to the devastation and tugs at your heart for a call for action to help, assist and give to those in need. Many organizations, including Rotary clubs, donated their time, efforts, money, and energy. I figured I must do my part to spread love, hope and inspiration through my voice. This song is a tribute to the resilience of the Caribbean Spirit in the face of insurmountable odds.

I stand hand in hand, side by side, with my brothers and sisters affected by this storm directly or indirectly and I’m asking my fellow Rotarians to do the same. I’m also grateful for Aliv, which has been a major contributor to this effort by donating time, effort, and energy to ensure the Bahamian people understand we are all supporting them. I pray that this song touches the heart and soul of each person. I hope that my message is heard around the world to drive awareness not only to the devastation of Hurricane Dorian but that the lyrics to “I Believe in You” touches anyone going through anything they feel is too hard to bear.
Artists unite to help The Bahamas rebuild 2019-11-15 05:00:00Z 0
. 2019-11-14 05:00:00Z 0

The Price of Polio

This is one of 5 stories  found in the November issue of the Rotarian
Ann Wade
Rotary Club of New Tampa, Florida
I felt like I was entering another world. Beds with paralyzed children lined every wall. I was put into a big room. There were rows and rows of children, probably about 50 children, and three or four nurses to care for us. I was seven when I was transferred to Hope Haven children’s hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, where I spent four months learning how to walk again.
I missed my mother so much. When she would visit, I’d ask her why she couldn’t come more often. But parents were only allowed to visit on Wednesdays and Sundays. I still don’t know why. I’d cry myself to sleep every night. The nurses used to get so mad at me. They’d say I was too old to cry.
I spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and my birthday in that hospital. At first, I was bedridden. Polio had affected my legs, and I couldn’t walk. When I got the virus, I had extreme pain all over my body and a high fever. I couldn’t stand up. That was very scary.
My parents took me to the doctor on a Saturday morning; he examined me and immediately sent me to an isolation ward. I had my own room there, but only the nurses could be with me. There was a balcony that extended around the building, and each room had a window. There were two chairs on the balcony outside every room, and that’s where parents would sit and talk to their child, through the window. No one was allowed into my room, and I was not allowed out.
Once my fever broke and I wasn’t contagious anymore, I was moved to Hope Haven to learn to walk again. The therapies were painful. They would put hot, wet wool towels on my legs and then exercise the muscles. The nurses would also massage my legs with oil. Sometimes they’d use these electrical shock-type things to shock the muscles into use. They would take all of us to therapy once or twice per day. In between, teachers came in and we had school. They’d roll my bed to a huge room, and the teachers would be in there teaching. It was the beginning of second grade for me.
Once I started walking, I was released from the hospital, but I didn’t return to my old school until third grade. After I left the hospital, I tried to put it out of my mind. Then the vaccine was released, and everyone went to get it. It was being given at a school on a Sunday afternoon. They called it Sabin Sunday, after Albert Sabin, who invented the oral vaccine, and I remember standing in a really long line, thinking, “Do I really need to do this? I’ve already had polio.” But my mother was adamant that my brother and I get vaccinated.
Since then, I’ve done most everything I wanted to do in life. I became a teacher. I married a wonderful guy 53 years ago who is also in Rotary. I have three children and 10 grandchildren. Not many people know I had polio, except that one of my legs is smaller than the other and I have a slight limp. About 12 years ago, I fell and broke the hip in my bad leg. After surgery, I was able to learn to walk again, so now I can say I’ve learned to walk three times.
This year, I’m president of my Rotary club. I’m eager to make eradicating polio a priority and to raise money for End Polio Now. Until now, I haven’t told many people my story, but if it can help the eradication effort, it seems like a good time to start.
The Price of Polio 2019-11-07 05:00:00Z 0

World Polio Day cheers major achievements toward global polio eradication

By Ryan Hyland
Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) are celebrating a major milestone this World Polio Day: confirmation that a second type of the wild poliovirus has been eradicated, which is a significant step toward the ultimate goal of a polio-free world.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), announced the historic feat in a video address during Rotary’s Global Online Update on 24 October. He said an independent commission of health experts certified the global eradication of the type 3 strain, which hasn't been detected anywhere in the world since Nigeria identified a case of polio that it caused in November 2012. The type 2 strain was certified as eradicated in 2015.
“That leaves just wild poliovirus type 1,” Tedros said. He also commended Rotary’s long fight against polio. “Everything you [Rotary] have done has brought us to the brink of a polio-free world.”
Tedros balanced the good news with a note of caution, saying that the biggest enemy of global eradication is complacency. He encouraged Rotary members to redouble their efforts.
Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative have helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children against polio in 122 countries.
“We must stay the course. Together, we can make sure the children of the future only learn about polio in history books.”
“If we stopped now, the virus would resurge and could once again cause more than 200,000 new cases every year,” said Tedros. “We must stay the course. Together, we can make sure the children of the future only learn about polio in history books.”
Rotary’s World Polio Day program this year was streamed on Facebook in multiple languages and multiple time zones around the world. The program, which was sponsored by UNICEF USA and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, featured TV presenter and Paralympic medalist Ade Adepitan, supermodel Isabeli Fontana, science educator Bill Nye, and actress Archie Panjabi.
The program also featured never-before-seen footage of three Rotary members working to protect children from polio in their home countries of India, Pakistan, and Ukraine. In Pakistan, Rotarian Tayyaba Gul works with a team of health workers to educate mothers and children about the importance of polio vaccination. Dr. Hemendra Verma of India encourages his fellow Rotary members and our partners to make sure health workers and volunteers reach every child. And Ukrainian Rotarian Sergii Zavadskyi oversees an advocacy and awareness program that uses social media and public events to educate people who are reluctant to have their children vaccinated. These three heroes of the polio eradication effort show what it means to be a dedicated volunteer, and represent the efforts of Rotarians all over the world.
World Polio Day cheers major achievements toward global polio eradication 2019-11-02 04:00:00Z 0

When embracing your weakness helps you succeed


Steve Stirling. CEO of MAP International, with some of the medical supplies the organization provides to people in need worldwide.
By Steve Stirling, a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta, Georgia, USA

They are typical job interview questions: What is your greatest strength? What is your greatest weakness?

But in my case, the interviewer often hesitates. After all, how do you ask a guy who is wearing leg braces and using crutches about his greatest weakness? It seems both obvious and insensitive.

We all have weaknesses. Mine are just a bit more obvious. So I’ve learned to turn the uncomfortable moment around and confront the situation head on.

“My greatest strength is that I am what some people call ‘crippled,’” I say, purposely using the politically incorrect word. “Some prefer to call me ‘handicapped’ or ‘disabled.’ I’ve heard all the terms and I’m not upset by any of them. I’m not easily offended.

“I’ve learned that my physical limitations have helped me build my mental and spiritual strength. I have an Ivy League degree and an MBA from one of the country’s most prestigious schools. I’ve had jobs in top corporations and nonprofits. I have enjoyed great success and yet I never forget what it was like to be a child who couldn’t walk, living in an orphanage. My greatest strength is what most people assume is my weakness.”

My last interview was five years ago when a search committee was looking for the next president and CEO of MAP International, an organization that provides medicine and health supplies to those in need around the world. In some ways, it was a match made in heaven.

You see, I walk with crutches because I had polio as a child. My life would be very different if the polio vaccine – costing approximately $.60 – would have been available to me and my family in Korea where I was born. My passion in life is to help other children receive the medicine they need to avoid life-long illness or even death.

So when I told the committee interviewing me about my strengths and weaknesses, I could honestly say that I had a lifetime to prepare for the job of helping bring medicine to those in need. I knew first hand what it meant to suffer because an inexpensive dose of vaccine was not available.

But I also know that overcoming my challenges each and every day makes me a better leader. It’s true that my daily life is more difficult than most people’s. A simple flight of stairs, a rocky path, a door with a difficult handle … these are typical occurrences that are major obstacles for me. Yet I have to prepare myself each day to handle the unexpected.

Fortunately, I nailed that interview and now proudly lead an organization that brings millions of dollars of donated medicines and medical supplies to people in need around the world. It’s a big job and truly miraculous path for someone who spent his early years as a forgotten child.

During my earliest years, I didn’t even have crutches and had to drag myself around on the ground. At that point my greatest dream was to be able to go to grade school with the “able-bodied” children in the orphanage. I could never have imagined a successful life in the US or that I’d be able to write a book about my journey, “The Crutch of Success.”

It was truly a miracle that I was adopted by a generous American couple who loved me and provided for me, including my special needs. Their love and support changed my life, but, of course, the physical damage had already been done. I have had the wonderful privilege of growing up in a country where I received a great education, married a wonderful woman, raised two terrific children, and had a successful career. But my disability is often the first thing people see about me. I try not to let it define me in their eyes.

I try to put people at ease, explaining the I had polio as a child and while it affected my ability to walk, I am blessedly able in every other way. It’s understandable that they first see my disability as weakness. My goal is that once they know me, they see it as my strength.

I find that many people try to hide their weaknesses. They dodge the question in an interview and spend their lives hoping no one sees where they struggle. They feel sorry for themselves and focus on the injustice of their circumstance.

If you find yourself in that situation, I want to encourage you. Your weakness can become your strength. Whatever your weakness is – lack of education, the inability to speak clearly, a physical trait you consider unattractive, a disability – embrace it today. Decide what you can do to improve yourself. Take an evening class, join Toastmasters, ask for help.

Then dedicate yourself everyday to overcome the obstacles in your path.
When embracing your weakness helps you succeed  2019-10-26 04:00:00Z 0

What the ‘together’ in Rotary’s vision statement means

Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.
— Rotary International Vision Statement

By Paddy Rooney, governor of District 7390 (Pennsylvania, USA)

The word which defines much of our world today is division. We are divided in so many ways by race or creed, ethnicity or belief, by gender or age or sexuality. But the divisions have gone beyond mere realities and instead have become a source of dissention among us with the result that we have sliced and diced ourselves into smaller and smaller groups or tribes which only further exacerbate our  sense of alienation one from the other.

So what does it mean when our Rotary International Mission Statement begins with the word “Together.” Does together mean that we ignore the differences between us, pretend that they don’t exist, make believe that there never was any division among us? I don’t think so.

Rather what together says is that when we become part of this undertaking called Rotary, we intentionally set aside the differences we know exist and figure out ways to work together. We recognize and accept the differences, perhaps indeed celebrate those differences, for there is something beautiful in the wondrous variations among us. And together doesn’t mean that we pretend to agree with each other, for again there is something healthy in having different views and perspectives brought to bear on an issue.

But the intentionality of togetherness says that we are willing to put aside our differences and those markers which divide us. It says that is does not matter where we came from or what education we have or what experience we bring. When we are come together in Rotary it is not just service above self but Rotary first and the individual second.

Because unless we are willing to embrace and embody this understanding of “together” we will never be able to achieve our goals, serve our communities or change the world. On the card I had printed for my year as district governor in Rotary I put the phrase “Doing together that which we cannot do alone.” For it is only together that our work can be accomplished and only together that we will Connect the World.
What the ‘together’ in Rotary’s vision statement means 2019-09-27 04:00:00Z 0

Reaching the unreached in India

K V Mohan Kumar with a recipient of a prosthetic hand.

By Koorapati Venkata Mohan Kumar, member of the Rotary Club of Bangalore Prime, India  

A boy who had lost both his hands in an electrocution spoke to a service committee meeting of our club. His parents left him after the electrocution and a local nongovernmental organization was taking care of him. This boy was our first recipient of a prosthetic hand. And seeing his joy after he started using a pen to write for the first time, we have never looked back.

We were first approached by The Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation at one of our district events while I was secretary of my former Rotary club. They were looking to partner with Rotary clubs in Bangalore, India, to work on prosthetic hand projects. It was quite an interesting prospect and we immediately agreed to a partnership.

I happened to meet Rotarian Jim Yoder, vice president of The LN-4 Hand Project, at the 2012 Rotary Convention in Bangkok, Thailand. We discussed the possibilities of extending our partnership to the needy through our outreach programs in India.
No cost to recipients

Ernie Meadows, an industrial engineer, designed the inexpensive, below elbow prosthetic hand in memory of his daughter Ellen, who died in an automobile accident at the age of 18. In 2006, Ernie gave the LN-4 (LN is short for Ellen) to the Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation specifying the hand be provided at no cost to recipients. Since 2007, over 45,000 hands have been provided free to recipients in more than 92 countries.

I have traveled across India speaking at district conferences, district assemblies, and president-elect training seminars working collaboratively with Rotary clubs and NGOs in India to provide more than 16,000 of the prosthetic hands.

A few of the results:
    •    A mother is able to hold her baby.
    •    A school student scored 73 percent on his 10th grade writing exams.
    •    A barber is able to hold a comb in one hand, scissors in another hand and get back to his vocation.
    •    A boy who had lost both his hands and was fed by his parents is now eating on his own using a spoon in his hand.
    •    A woman who had completed a Bachelors in Business Administration found a job in a bank after her confidence was reinforced upon receiving this hand.

As an ambassador for the program, I helped search for potential beneficiaries throughout South Asia. One of our greatest assets in Rotary is the ability to mobilize our volunteer network. We conducted one day camps in every corner of India where recipients were fitted for prosthetic hands. Rotary and Rotaract members and their family offered their time and service. When a club got trained, it trained other clubs, spreading the movement.

Transforming the world

In the 2018-19 Rotary year, 46 camps were conducted resulting in over 6,000 beneficiaries of prosthetic hands.
A project of this scale addresses all of the priorities in Rotary’s Action Plan. Our efforts have been featured in at least 300-400 magazines, newspapers, television channels and radio stations bringing increased visibility to Rotary.

I have met so many amazing people and have been able to see so many places that I would not normally get to see through this journey. I thank Rotary and all the people who participated with us in transforming our world.
Reaching the unreached in India 2019-09-17 04:00:00Z 0

Rotarians respond in the Bahamas

ShelterBox Head of Operations Alf Evans, left, confers with local contacts including Past RI President Barry Rassin, right, in the Bahamas.
Report compiled by Diana White, past district governor, and District 7020 Rotarians

The destruction left behind by Hurricane Dorian is devastating. In parts of the Bahamas, literally everything is gone, replaced by piles of rubble where homes once stood. Roads blocked with debris and thousands on thousands left homeless and in need of supplies.

As Rotarians in District 7020, one of two districts that cover the Caribbean and hard-hit Bahamas, we immediately switched into assistance mode. Significant donations of supplies are funneling in from various local efforts and through international disaster relief agencies.

As this aid continues to come in, Rotary in the Bahamas is beginning to move to longer-term strategies in preparation for helping the economies to recover. We will get in to do a needs assessment as soon as access is possible and work in coordination with the government. We also plan to raise impactful funding to bring these communities back.
It will take time; but that is what Rotary is best at.

In the meantime, here are a few of the local efforts underway that Rotarians in our district have had a hand in:
    •    Rotarians in Nassau have rescued, registered and sheltered more than 3,300 evacuees in New Providence and Eleuthera. Through the receiving and registration process at the airport’s main staging site, we collect information on those needing housing. We are constantly working to assess needs and fill the gap by providing resources, even working to provide non-governmental controlled shelter in private homes and vacant rental spaces. So far, we have been able to place 153 persons in hotels and private homes. We have many Rotarians and Rotaractors who are working at kiddie play area, helping to facilitate expedited processing for those with babies or in wheelchairs.

    •    Nassau Rotarians were also able to purchase eight bunk beds for The Ranfurly Home for Children to assist in preparing a room that will now be home to 17 children evacuated from the Grand Bahama Children’s Home.

    •    In Grand Bahama, the water plant in Freeport undertaken as a global grant 10 years ago was the first water available in Freeport after Dorian.

    •    Following an emergency meeting held on 3 September, Rotary members in the British Virgin Islands, under the leadership of their district governor, will be launching a major fundraising effort to help victims of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. This will include a live telethon to be held on Tuesday, 10 September.

    •    Disaster Aid Canada, Disaster Aid USA and Disaster Aid UK&I are working together with local Rotarians to provide shelter and comfort. Tents that were pre-positioned in Nassau have been set up for evacuees with the assistance of Rotary clubs in the Bahamas. An additional 50 to 100 tents, tarps, water systems, bed packs, and hygiene items have been sent. Rotarians have erected 16 tents at the main receiving site for evacuees. In the near future, international volunteers will use these as their living quarters as they give their time to support national relief efforts.

The Bahamian people are amazingly resilient and will get through this no matter how long it takes. Rotarians here and around the world have surrounded us with love and empathy and an outpouring of well wishes and offers of support. Once again I am inspired by Rotarians and their willingness to step up and make other people’s lives better. I am proud to be a Rotarian.
Rotarians respond in the Bahamas 2019-09-13 04:00:00Z 0

Hurricane Dorian Response


Hurricane Dorian has unfortunately already taken 20+ lives and leaving The Bahamas in destruction and now has moved up the coast.  Disaster Aid USA is collaborating with our partner organization, Disaster Aid Canada, in providing smart aid. We will be keeping an eye on Dorian as it comes up along the Eastern Coastline as inland and coastal flooding is a possibility.
Disaster Aid USA has Domestic Response Trailers prepositioned in Florida (2) Georgia (1) Virginia (1) and Maryland (1). Texas (4) and Louisiana (3) are on standby and DAUSA also has access to a private plane if needed as well. DAUSA is in touch with emergency officials and we are waiting to see where the storm goes just as they are. We will be in touch with our contacts in the Bahamas soon as we have helped them during the past hurricanes to reestablish contacts and communication lines.

As we continue to monitor the situation and prepare our response, please do not forget to share the work we are doing with your local networks and please help us raise funds that will go directly to the people in need.
Hurricane Dorian Response 2019-09-06 04:00:00Z 0

Nigeria reaches crucial polio milestone

Volunteers vaccinate children in Maiduguri, Nigeria, against polio, marking the houses they’ve visited. Photo by Andrew Esiebo
By Ryan Hyland

It’s been three years since health officials last reported a case of polio caused by the wild poliovirus in Nigeria. The milestone, reached on 21 August, means that it’s possible for the entire World Health Organization (WHO) African region to be certified wild poliovirus-free next year

Nigeria’s success is the result of several sustained efforts, including domestic and international financing, the commitment of thousands of health workers, and strategies to immunize children who previously couldn’t be reached because of a lack of security in the country’s northern states.

“Rotary, its Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners, and the Nigerian government have strengthened immunization and disease detection systems,” says Michael K. McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee. He adds: “We are now reaching more children than ever in some of the hardest-to-reach places in Nigeria.”

McGovern says Rotary members in Nigeria play an important role in ridding the country of the disease. “Rotarians have been hard at work raising awareness for polio eradication, advocating with the government, and addressing other basic health needs to complement polio eradication efforts, like providing clean water to vulnerable communities.”

Nigeria is the last country in Africa where polio is endemic. Once Africa is certified as free of the wild poliovirus, five of the WHO’s six regions will be free of wild polio. Polio remains endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which means transmission of the virus has never been stopped.

Dr. Tunji Funsho, chair of Rotary’s Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee, acknowledges the milestone but cautions Rotary members about celebrating too soon. He cites the challenge of making certain that routine immunizations reach every child in Nigeria.

“It’s paramount that we ensure all doors are locked to the re-entry of the wild poliovirus into our country,” says Funsho.

Funsho says to achieve this, Rotary needs to maintain strong advocacy efforts, continue to increase awareness of immunization campaigns, and ensure members raise necessary funds. Rotary has contributed $268 million to fight polio in Nigeria.

“As the first organization to dream of a polio-free world, Rotary is committed to fulfilling our promise,” says McGovern. “Our progress in Nigeria is a big step toward that goal, but we need to maintain momentum so that Pakistan and Afghanistan see the same level of progress.”
Nigeria reaches crucial polio milestone 2019-08-30 04:00:00Z 0

5 ways our work against polio fights other diseases

story Written By:
Daniela Garcia

Polio, and the lifelong paralysis it can cause especially in young children, became preventable when Dr. Jonas Salk introduced the polio vaccine in 1955. Since Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative took on the fight against polio, they have developed systems to facilitate both immunizations and eradication.
This polio eradication infrastructure helps get us closer to a polio-free world. But did you know that it’s used to fight and protect against other diseases, too? Here are five examples of the polio infrastructure at work:

The cold chain

The polio vaccine must be kept cool, or it risks losing its effectiveness. The cold chain system — made up of freezers, refrigerators, and cold boxes — was developed to allow polio workers to store the vaccine and transport it over long distances in extremely hot weather. In Pakistan, a measles immunization program now relies on the same system. With the help of the cold chain, Sindh province recently reached its goal of immunizing more than 7.3 million children against measles.


A critical component in immunizing more children against polio, especially in remote regions, is microplanning. A microplan allows health workers to identify priority communities, address potential barriers, and develop a plan for a successful immunization campaign. The workers collect as many details as possible about communities to help them reach and vaccinate all of the children, and this strategy has helped keep India polio-free for five years. Now the Mewat district of India is using microplanning to increase its rates of vaccination against measles and rubella.

The polio surveillance system helps detect new cases of polio and determines where and how these cases originated. Environmental surveillance, which involves testing sewage or other environmental samples for the presence of poliovirus, helps workers confirm polio cases in the absence of symptoms like acute flaccid paralysis (AFP). In Borno state in Nigeria, the AFP surveillance system is now being used to find people with symptoms of yellow fever and was one of many tactics used during a 2018 yellow fever outbreak that resulted in the vaccination of 8 million people.

Contact tracing

Because polio is a transmittable disease, health workers use contact tracing to learn who has come in contact with people who might be infected. Contact tracing was also critical to containing an Ebola outbreak in Nigeria in 2014. When a traveler from Liberia was diagnosed with Ebola, Nigerian officials were able to quickly trace and isolate the traveler’s contacts, helping prevent the disease from spreading further.

Emergency operations centers

An important part of the polio infrastructure that Rotary and its partners have built is the emergency operations centers network. These centers provide a centralized location where health workers and government officials can work collaboratively and generate a faster, more effective emergency response. The emergency operations center in Lagos, Nigeria, which was originally set up to address polio, was adapted to handle Ebola, and it ultimately helped the country respond quickly to an Ebola outbreak. Only 19 Ebola cases were reported, and the country was declared Ebola-free within three months.
5 ways our work against polio fights other diseases 2019-08-23 04:00:00Z 0

Fighting Poverty on a Small Scale

A collaboration between Rotary and Heifer continues to produce big results, helping small farms provide healthier, locally-sourced food

By Arnold R. Grahl Visuals by Miriam Doan

In the fall of 2015, volunteers from Rotary and Heifer International came together to build hoop houses for a few farmers working small lots in Arkansas, USA. The afternoon outing was part of a larger project that is still reaping benefits four years later, supporting small-scale agriculture in the region and increasing access to locally-grown food.

Heifer has been using the small-scale agriculture model for decades to alleviate hunger and fight poverty around the world. The approach has the added benefits of being environmentally friendly and offering healthier food options.

That mission dovetails with Rotary’s mission to grow local economies and improve health. So it’s not surprising the two groups have teamed up on a number of occasions in the past 30 years to improve communities by helping families escape poverty. Several Heifer employees are or have been members of the Rotary Club of Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, the city where Heifer has its headquarters.
“Our values line up very well,” says Ardyth Neill, a member of the Little Rock club and president of the Heifer Foundation. “With Rotary, it’s Service Above Self and helping to serve others. Heifer has been working with farmers to be accountable, pass on their gifts, train other farmers, and work together in community. It’s learning to share and care, basic things that work well together.”


In the United States and other developed nations, a lot of food production is controlled by large industrial operations, which produce cheaper food by focusing on a single crop and using specialized equipment to cut labor costs.

But according to research into sustainable agriculture, this food model has downsides, including a reliance on commercial fertilizers, heavy pesticides, and other chemicals that can harm the environment.

The trend has also contributed to the failure of smaller family farms, increasing the poverty rates in places like rural Arkansas.

Nationwide distribution networks have also resulted in food deserts in urban areas, particularly in the U.S., England, and Australia, where poor neighborhoods have little access to fresh produce and instead rely on less nutritious fast foods and packaged products.

Small-scale sustainable agriculture, on the other hand, tends to keep things local. The money you spend on food stays in your community and helps your neighbor. Farmers maximize land use by planting multiple crops that replenish the soil and reduce the need for fertilizers and pesticides. And fruits and vegetables grown closer to home keep more of their nutrients.
Consumers are increasingly aware of these health benefits, fueling the market for local produce.

“There’s a phenomenon going on, really nationwide, about people becoming more and more concerned and thoughtful about where their food comes from,” says Sharon Vogelpohl, a past president of the Little Rock Rotary club and a volunteer on the project.
Fighting Poverty on a Small Scale 2019-07-27 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary and ShelterBox celebrate the power of partnership

Displaced families in Malawi
Weekly Bulletin Number 651
Evanston Ill., Rotary International announced on 3 June a three-year partnership renewal with its disaster relief project partner, ShelterBox. For almost 20 years, this unique humanitarian alliance has supported families with a place to call home after disaster.

Rotary is a global network whose members take action to make a lasting difference in their communities – and worldwide. ShelterBox provides emergency shelters and other essential items to support families who have lost their homes in disaster.

What began as a local connection with one Cornish Rotary Club has led to an international movement that’s provided 140,000 ShelterBox family tents or 390,000 ShelterKits worldwide to date (a value of over £54 million).

First adopted as a millennium project by the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard in 2000, the support of Rotary members and clubs around the world saw ShelterBox become Rotary’s Project Partner in Disaster Relief in 2012. Since then, the partnership has helped transform ShelterBox into an internationally recognized disaster relief charity, supporting families with emergency shelter after disaster.

The partnership extends far beyond financial support. Around 1,000 Rotary members are involved in ShelterBox as volunteers, staff or response team members. And clubs worldwide offer valuable, practical assistance to help ShelterBox reach more families fleeing disaster or conflict.

This has recently included support for families in Malawi flooded from their homes by Cyclone Idai and communities in Lombok devastated by the 2018 earthquake and tsunami (quotes and details at the end of this release).

“ShelterBox has been Rotary’s Project Partner in Disaster Relief since 2012, and we are excited to renew the partnership for another three years,” says Rotary International General Secretary John Hewko.

“Through this project partnership, Rotary members around the globe can collaborate with ShelterBox to support communities in desperate need of emergency temporary shelter and vital supplies following natural disasters,” adds Hewko. “Additionally, Rotary and ShelterBox will continue to expand cooperation efforts through preparedness training and stockpiles of prepositioned aide in disaster-prone regions.”

Caroline White, interim Chief Executive at ShelterBox, said: “Whenever disaster strikes, Rotary is beside us. From the earliest planning stages to final evaluations, Rotary members help ShelterBox make community contacts, organize logistics, and reach disaster-affected families in remote areas who might otherwise go without.

This partnership has helped ShelterBox become who we are today. Our global network of 17 ShelterBox affiliates, who raise funds and awareness worldwide, evolved from Rotary relationships.”

Rotary club presidents around the world have also commented:

Ace Robin, President of the Mataram Rotary Club, Indonesia, was caught up in the deadly earthquakes that hit Lombok in 2018. Her home survived, but many around her were destroyed. Through an agreement with the government-led response, Ace’s club was central to bringing ShelterBox aid to Indonesia.

Thanks to their support, vulnerable members of the community received vital emergency shelter, including families with elderly relatives, pregnant women or new mothers.

Ace said: “Working with ShelterBox taught us a lot – they showed us how to build shelter and select families to help. It also gave us a chance to show what Rotary is to local people.”

After floods triggered by Cyclone Idai left tens of thousands homeless in Malawi this March, Rotary members connected ShelterBox with communities in the Blantyre region, helping them understand local needs and culture. Members helped deliver emergency shelter to almost 2,000 families. And ShelterBox supported the Rotary Club of Limbe to join the wider disaster response, enabling the club to deliver food to communities whose entire crops had been destroyed by the floods.

Rotary Club of Limbe President Eric Chinkanda said: “It was a great experience to work with ShelterBox. We have not only walked a mile in reaching out to the many Malawians who faced hardship, but we restored confidence in the displaced people that all was not lost!”

James Kingston, Club President of the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard, in Cornwall, said: “The members of Helston-Lizard Rotary are delighted that Rotary International continues to recognize ShelterBox.

I joined the club a few months before the Millennium Project began, and I’m so pleased we’re still involved. It has been wonderful to see the charity grow into an internationally recognized, professional disaster relief organization.”
Rotary and ShelterBox celebrate the power of partnership 2019-07-21 04:00:00Z 0

Innover pour la campagne Place à l’action

Notre campagne Place à l’action explique au monde entier comment les Rotariens se mobilisent pour répondre aux problèmes les plus urgents. Mais en tant que dirigeants de district, passons-nous à l’action lorsqu’il s’agit d’utiliser les outils de cette campagne ?
Bulletin hebdomadaire de la capitale numéro 650
Par Ron Janssen, gouverneur du district 6980 (États-Unis)

Face à un budget serré, de nombreux dirigeants de district pensent qu’il y a peu de place dans leur budget pour des publicités comme celles de Place à l’action. Cette campagne a pour but de mieux faire connaître le Rotary et nos efforts humanitaires. Le résultat souhaité est la croissance de l’effectif, ce qui se traduit par une augmentation des cotisations et de notre budget. N’est-ce pas contradictoire que ce soit l’une des dernières choses que nous voudrions financer ?

Face à cette question, notre club a trouvé une alternative qui, non seulement permet de financer une campagne d’image publique, mais aussi de générer un profit que nous pourrions utiliser pour autre chose. Nous avons créé un supplément du Rotary qui a été inséré dans le journal américain Sunday Orlando Sentinel dans le but de toucher 114 000 foyers. Et nous l’avons financé à l’aide de publicités.

Un supplément de huit pages et une composante sur les médias sociaux nous a coûté 6 500 dollars. Nous avons établi le prix de la publicité à la moitié des tarifs publiés par le journal. Nous nous sommes cependant vite rendu compte que huit pages ne suffisaient pas. Et quatre pages supplémentaires ne coûtaient que 500 dollars de plus, soit moins que ce que nous facturions pour une publicité d’un quart de page.
Innover pour la campagne Place à l’action 2019-07-12 04:00:00Z 0

New Voices club charts its own course

RI Director Jeffry Cadorette, left, with members of the Rotary Club of New Voices.

By Marty Peak Helman, growth chair for District 7780 (parts of Maine and New Hampshire, USA )
Capital City weekly bulletin 649

A new Rotary club, New Voices, was chartered 15 June in my district with 33 new members. What makes this club unique is that the newly-minted Rotarians – who range in age from 18 to 30 – are all graduates of the district’s phenomenal Rotary Youth Leadership Awards program.

They were introduced to RYLA and Rotary youth leadership at age 15 as high school juniors, and since then, they have stayed active through the district’s RYLA Reset program for grads, RYLA workdays, and RYLA leadership opportunities. What these young people have in common is a love for what RYLA – and by extension Rotary – offers them in terms of positive youth development. But, with high school graduation looming, many of them were expecting to leave the Rotary orbit.

“We have a strong track record of getting RYLA participants into Interact, if they aren’t involved already,” Phil Giordano, executive director of RYLA in District 7780 and past president of the Rotary Club of Scarborough, Maine, told me. “Then they graduate from high school and go off to university, and we tell them to check out a local Rotaract club, or start one if there is none on campus. We lose many of them then – and more when it’s time for them to graduate college and concentrate on their careers.”

Youth pipeline

It’s a common problem throughout Rotary in North America, as RI Director Jeffry Cadorette noted to me at the chartering. “We have the greatest pipeline in the world of young people coming up through RYLA, Youth Exchange, Interact, and Rotaract. Other organizations would kill for a pipeline such as we have. But we are only now beginning to learn to capitalize on it. New Voices gives us a critical tool to do just that and turn our Rotary youth alumni into Rotarians.”

Earlier this year, it became evident to Giordano and me, as the District 7780 Growth Chair, that the changes enacted by the 2016 Council on Legislation meant that the young people could form a club of their own – a club that would focus on youth leadership and which would meet (mostly) on line, with three or four “live” events each year – events which the young people are already involved in.

Giordano reached out to his RYLA leadership team, determined solid interest in a new club, and helped them get organized. First, the young people created their own mission statement: New Voices D7780 will be a new type of Rotary Club that is accessible to people of all geographies, abilities, and ages, and is for folks who share a passion for youth leadership development and service to others; our goal is to expand the traditional model of Rotary to as many people as possible.

A new kind of club

New Voices is a whole new kind of Rotary club, focused on capturing an underserved population that happens to be already excited about Rotary, but who – because of time constraints, school commitments, and job expectations – could never commit to a weekly or biweekly mealtime meeting. In Rotary parlance, the closest existing model is a Passport Club, and certainly, the New Voices Rotarians expect to “make up” with Rotary clubs in communities where they may be studying or working in order to engage with them in service or fundraisers.

Zone leadership – most especially Director Cadorette and Director-nominee Valarie Wafer – have been extremely supportive and are firmly committed to this new concept. Cadorette brought a video recording of 2018-19 RI President Barry Rassin welcoming the club to Rotary. Cadorette has recognized that this model is infinitely scalable and can be replicated anywhere. All it takes is an existing strong Rotary youth program. Access to a database of past members going back at least several years is helpful.
Additionally, a group of seasoned Rotary mentors are needed to help navigate the process, while empowering the new members to create Rotary from a blank canvas.
New Voices club charts its own course 2019-07-05 04:00:00Z 0

Every whiskey contains a story

Rüdiger Niemz. 4 June 2019, Hamburg, Germany.
Capital City weekly Bulletin Number 648
Rüdiger Niemz, Rotary Club of Mondseeland, Austria, as told to Diana Schoberg. Photo by Monika Lozinska

“When I was invited to join Rotary, instead of giving a presentation about my job, as everyone is expected to do, I did a whiskey tasting.

“I became interested in whiskey when I was traveling a lot as a journalist. I was working on travel shows about foreign countries. You would come back very late from the filming and editing, and then you’d meet somebody at the bar. You’d start talking, and start sharing whiskey. You don’t drink whiskey to get drunk. It’s part of an exciting lifestyle.

“I got to know a lot of different places and whiskeys, and after a while I got asked to host curated tastings. I got a master’s degree in food science so I researched a lot about the history and sociology of drinks and food. Every whiskey contains a story. Every cheese contains a story.

“Life is so interesting. You cannot limit yourself. Journalists are always trying to look behind the curtain. We are trying to discover something. We are trying to get new ideas, new perspectives. I also have my master’s in philosophy. Philosophers are quite similar to journalists: We are both curious about life.

“This is the interesting thing about Rotary. You always meet exceptional people. They have different backgrounds, different experiences. It is so exciting.

“I like the worldwide view. In these days where people are developing backwards in a way that we stick to ourselves, our region, to our nationality only — where we are getting more ruthless in terms of how we treat each other in national and especially international politics — Rotary is an alternative.”
Every whiskey contains a story 2019-06-21 04:00:00Z 0

Solar lamp project delivers light in Belize

Residents of a remote village in the Toledo district of Belize use their solar lamps.

By Audrey Cochran, a member of the Rotary Club of Northwest Austin, Texas, USA

Tonight Amelia Ramirez sits with her younger siblings at their kitchen table. A stack of books sit on the table and Amelia smiles as she reads. She no longer fears being burned by a kerosene lamp. The fumes that had irritated her eyes and made her cough are gone. She no longer begs her mother to stop before her school work is done because of the heat, the bugs, and the fumes caused by the kerosene lamp she was previously forced to use. Amelia’s family received a solar lamp from Rotary District 5870.

Nearly one quarter of the world population lives without access to electricity or safe light. As a result millions suffer from burn injuries each year, most of which are children. These families see by kerosene lamps, candles and open flames, all of which are dangerous and toxic.

According to the World Health Organization respiratory illness is the number one cause of death in children under 5 years of age that live in areas without access to electricity. Rotarians are taking action to change this. Working with the Grid Earth Project, a Texas based 501(c)3 Charity, founded by Rotarians from the Northwest Austin Rotary Club, safe solar light is being provided to families forced to live off the electrical grid. It’s a worldwide problem requiring a worldwide solution.

The Northwest Austin Rotary Club has just completed District 5870’s 2016-17 World Community Service Project. Over six hundred families in remote villages of the Toledo District of Belize received household solar lamps. The impact is immediate and the change results in 100 years of progress in a single day. The solar lamps were hand delivered to each of the eleven villages, whether by four-wheel drive trucks, by boats, hiking or pack horses. Every lamp was placed directly into the hands of these families in need.  Seventeen clubs from District 5870 participated in this year’s project.

The club is now kicking off our 2017-18 World Community Service Project. The goal this year is to provide safe solar light to 1,000 families in the Toledo District that are still living in darkness. For as little as $100 your club can become a partner in this district wide project.  Together we can change the world one light at a time.
Solar lamp project delivers light in Belize 2019-06-15 04:00:00Z 0

Rotarians Want to Have Fun!

Pictured from left to right: (1) Gautami Rao, Hollis-Brookline, NH; (2) Gabriel St. Pierre, Rotarian, Charlestown, NH; (3) Katrina Langlois, President-Elect, Raymond, NH Rotary club; (4) Kevin McAllister, Rotarian, Windsor, VT Rotary Club; (5) Venu Rao, DG 7870, Hollis-Brookline, NH Rotary Club; (6) Chris Parkinson, PDG, Bow, NH Rotary Club; (7) Nancy Russell, DGE, White River, VT Rotary Club; (8) Carolyn Meub, PDG, Rutland South, VT Rotary Club; (9) Bill Stevens, Rotarian, Bellows Falls, VT Rotary Club
Carolyn Crowley Meub, Past District Governor, District 7870

Committed to service above self, Rotarians are passionate about making a difference in their local and global communities. Regular meetings bring club members together to share ideas and make plans about how to create positive change. While deeply committed to their cause, with laser-focus on successful impact, a lesser-known fact about Rotarians is that they love to have fun!

Whether it’s celebrating at the club’s annual fundraiser, com- plete with elaborately themed food, music and attire, or simply planting trees in the local park on a Saturday morning, when Rotarians get together there is always fun to be had. Rotarians in District 7870 are taking fun to a new level...10,000 feet above the ground to be precise! Why? Of course, the answer is to serve others.

These adventurous club members will be skydiving out of an airplane, on June 29th at Vermont Skydiving Adventures, hoping to bring attention to the global water crisis. Along with friends of Rotary-founded nonprofit, Pure Water for the World (PWW), the group has a goal of raising $100,000 to provide life-changing safe water programs to children and families living in under- served communities across Haiti and Honduras.

"Having visited Haiti, I have personally experienced the work Pure Water for the World (PWW) does under the leadership of PDG Carolyn Meub. PWW is practically saving lives,” says Venu Rao, District Governor 2018-2019, Rotary District 7870. “World Health Organization (WHO) research shows that when you provide only pure drinking water to a community, the com- munity's health index improves only by 20%. If you also provide them with clean latrines, to eliminate open defecation, the com- munity's health index raises to 50-60%. If you also educate the community members with hygiene and sanitation, the health index of the community goes over 90%. PWW supports the com- munities in both Haiti and Honduras in all the three areas. My wife, Gautami, and I support Carolyn's passion to the extent that we are willing to jump off a perfectly fine plane with her to raise awareness and funds for PWW."

Through the years, hundreds of Rotarians have joined PWW on service trips to Haiti or Honduras, another adventure altogeth- er, where they can gain a hands-on experience of the transfor- mational impact that is taking place in the communities PWW serves. And, true to their nature, these life-changing Rotarian trip-goers combine their passion for serving with lots of laugh- ter and fun! Want to join in the fun? Learn more at www.jumpforsafewater.com or visit www.purewaterfortheworld.org.
Rotarians Want to Have Fun! 2019-06-06 04:00:00Z 0


THREE years ago, prison staff from the industries section of the Tarrengower Prison, in Maldon, Vic, contacted the Days for Girls Melbourne Victoria Chapter Inc. to investigate the possibility of a partnership. They offered to provide labour and machines, if Days for Girls would provide raw materials and training.

The industries section team saw the benefits of inmates becoming involved in such a project, which makes a life- changing difference to girls and women in developing countries. Without the sustainable and washable sanitary kits Days for Girls provides, many girls are forced to cease education or work while menstruating. As a result, many end up leaving employment or schooling to stay home permanently.

As part of their rehabilitation, inmates are asked to select projects to take part in that capture their attention and allow them to develop new skills. Days for Girls volunteers set up a day workshop to show the scope of the work involved to inmates considering taking part.

There were several teething problems at the start, however, the program has
now been running for three years with great success. There is now a strong nucleus team sewing components for the kits up to four days each week.

Quality assurance has been an important part of training, as most inmates have little to no education and limited work experience. Now the more experienced members of the team help carefully check the work of others, fuelled by their desire to help the less fortunate, ensuring everyone is producing an exceptionally high standard of work.

“I feel my skills are being used for something very useful, helping keep girls in developing countries stay in school and complete their education,” said one inmate who is involved.

Their work on the project is helping prepare them to turn their lives around once they return to the community. Many participating inmates have even indicated they wish to continue their work with Days for Girls after their sentence has finished.

“Their sewing skills have grown enormously, their enthusiasm to be involved is inspirational and their self-worth has grown exponentially,” chapter president Margaret Cunningham said.

Days for Girls is supported by many Rotary clubs through sponsorship and fundraising activities. Margaret has given many talks to Rotary and Probus clubs, informing members of the Days for Girls program and activities.
DAYS FOR GIRLS 2019-05-31 04:00:00Z 0

From “over there” to “over here” – access to toilets changes lives

From “over there” to “over here” – access to toilets changes lives
 By Clem van den Bersselaar, member of Rotary Club of Ormoc Bay (Philippines)
Editor's Note - Clem was one of our GSE Team's Hosts when we visited RC Ormoc Bay

If you ask a Filipino living in a rural area of the Philippines where they go to the toilet, they will turn their head towards a non-specific direction and say “over there.” This means that they use any location that gives them some sort of privacy to do their needs. Women generally have to go longer distances to avoid prying eyes and avoid assaults. In fact, when one talks to local community health workers about the risks of open defecation, they tell you about parasitic and bacterial infections while also emphasizing the high percentage of women being molested or harassed.

In November 2013, part of the Leyte province in the Philippines was hit by the devastating typhoon Haiyan, the country’s worst typhoon affecting 25 million people and claiming nearly 6000 lives while leaving tremendous damage throughout the island.

Immediately after the typhoon, Rotary clubs from various countries came to the rescue. Local clubs responded with food supplies and worked with NGOs to begin rebuilding homes. Once immediate relief was provided, the focus shifted to meet sanitary requirements in restoring water supply and the construction of toilet facilities.

The Rotary Club of Ormoc Bay identified the WAND Foundation (Water, Agro-forestry, Nutrition and Development) as having the expertise to construct 20,000 latrines together with various NGO’s immediately after the typhoon in the province of Samar in the Philippines. WAND Foundation’s previous contacts with the Malmö (Sweden) International Rotary Club, provided a natural connection to propose this project at the 8th Multi Club Workshop (MCW) held in Ischia, Italy.  The project was accepted by the MCW and the partners applied for a global grant, which was approved in February 2016.  Seven Rotary clubs and three districts from Italy, the Philippines and Sweden contributed to the US $52,000 project.
The project included constructing 222 toilets in various barangays, six rainwater collectors, seven communal handwashing stations, 20 biosand filters, and community-led training seminars for the beneficiary communities. As a result, this project has provided nearly 1100 people with access to proper toilet facilities and almost 600 people now have a regular supply of clean water. The community-led training seminar included a series of group discussions and a workshop to demonstrate which practices can prevent water contamination and to recognize the interconnection of water, sanitation and hygiene. We also discussed the medical costs related to open defecation in order to help the community understand how much money is spent on treating illnesses resulting from poor sanitation and hygiene.

We are happy to report the beneficiary communities have not had a single case of parasitic or diarrheal infections since the project was completed. Now when asked where they go to the toilet, the proud community members say “over here”!
From “over there” to “over here” – access to toilets changes lives 2019-05-28 04:00:00Z 0

Climate change and The Four-Way Test

Rick Olson visits with children in Tanzania.

By Rick Olson, Rotary Club of Prior Lake, Minnesota, USA

Climate change is an impersonal, ambiguous term, which denotes negative impact on people around the world. But on a recent trip to Tanzania in Africa I met some of the innocents who will be most affected by the increased droughts caused by carbon dioxide emissions.

On a 10-day biking safari to visit Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, we camped in a school yard in a Maasai village west of Arusha, Tanzania. Three boys came to visit, and after giving them some treats, I took their photo with my phone. I showed them the photo, and a boy about 8 or 9 years old gestured to me he would like to hold the phone.

So, I showed him how to take a photo with it and handed it to him. I also taught him how to take selfies and videos. Before long a group of about 15 children were gathered around us, looking at photos he had taken, enlarging the pictures of some of the kids, all to gales of laughter. It was so much fun. Seeing how quickly he learned to use the phone, without our knowing a word of each other’s language, was such a kick.

These Maasai children live in a very dry area. The March-May “rainy” season had not produced a drop of rain by the time I left on 23 March. These young ones and the rest of their tribe are the least capable of adapting to even drier conditions projected by the climate scientists than the desert they already live in, hanging on by a thread. Yet, we in the United States who are in the most wealthy of countries and have produced and continue to produce the most carbon dioxide can’t even agree that human-caused climate change is real, much less agree on what to do about it.

Is it the truth?

As a Prior Lake Rotarian, I join my club weekly in reciting The Four-Way Test. The first two lines are: “Is it the truth?” and “Is it fair to all concerned?” A guest commentary I wrote for the Prior Lake American, Commentary: Acting on climate change can make difference, outlines why it is the truth that climate change is real and caused by humans burning fossil fuel. Is it fair that those least able to adapt to the negative changes bear the greatest impacts while we do nothing? I think not.
We are not helpless in mitigating the consequences of our past and present actions. We as Rotarians can support actions including government legislation that promote feasible measures to effectively reduce carbon dioxide emissions. We can support Rotary projects that seek to alleviate or reduce the impact of climate change.

Join us in minimizing the damage to not only our economy and our lives, but that of the innocents in Africa and India who will be most affected.
Climate change and The Four-Way Test 2019-05-18 04:00:00Z 0

Medical pilgrimage in India treats thousands

A child treated during the Rotary Club of Gandevi’s medical mission.

By Parimal Naik, grant coordinator, Rotary Club of Gandevi, India

In January, our club organized a medical mission to provided life-saving health care to the rural and tribal community of Gandevi in the western part of India. Our mission consisted of 26 visiting doctors and paramedics from an association of Indian physicians of Northern Ohio, USA. It was our third trip to Gandevi since 2010, and among 29 medical missions we have organized with the help of grants from The Rotary Foundation. It was pure pleasure to see the smiles on the faces of thousands of recipients, and on many of the team members as well.

We are a club made up mostly of millennials, located in the Gujarat state of India. In advance of this latest trip, teams of Rotarians from my club organized screening camps in nine villages, selected on the basis of need and availability of local resources.
More than 6,200 patients were examined, diagnosed, and given free medicine during the nine screenings. We have a track record of providing free follow-up care to those screened during our “medical pilgrimage projects.”  A total of 784 patients were identified for further care or checkups at four hospitals including Haria L.G. Hospital, Vapi; Yashfeen Cardiac Hospital, Navsari; Gram Seva Trust Hospital, Kharel; and Jamnaba Hospital, Bardoli. We received a $100,000 global grant from The Foundation which allowed us arrange the care at no cost.

Through 31 March, 97 surgeries or biopsies had been performed to remove gallbladders, treat appendicitis, correct hernias and address kidney problems, among other procedures. In addition, cardiologists performed 11 heart valve replacements, 9 coronary bypass surgeries, and 25 angiograms. Ophthalmologists at Lilavati Mohanlal Shah Eye Hospital in Navsari also performed 151 cataract surgeries.

We are extremely grateful to our friends in the Rotary Club of Bakersfield, California, USA, and to Rotary District 5240, who were our international partners on the global grant. District 3060 also supported us with money from their District Designated Funds, and District 1260 and the Rotary Club of Mississagga Center, Canada, partnered with us.

We do not have the words to properly thank The Foundation, our partners, and all who helped with our medical pilgrimage project. Rotary is allowing us to be an inspiration to others by making a difference in our communities. Thank you Rotary and Rotarians for helping us serve humanity.
Medical pilgrimage in India treats thousands 2019-05-09 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary Youth Exchange expanded my view of the world

The author, third from left, on her Rotary Youth Exchange in Thunder Bay, Canada.

By Xolisile Sithole, former Rotary Youth Exchange student to Canada

It has been more than eight years since I embarked on a Rotary Youth Exchange to Thunder Bay, Canada, from South Africa. In many ways, it still seems like yesterday. It was an incredibly big year for me, having finished high school and qualified for university, and It remains one of my most treasured memories.

Since I was little, I had always been involved with Rotary, as my mother was liaison of her school’s Interact club. Many Saturdays were spent volunteering, whether I wanted to or not. Despite that, I learned to love service and joined the Interact club in my high school. I invested time and poured my heart into the club and served as president my final year.
After high school, I did not want to go to university right away. But I needed to do something as my parents threatened to make me pay rent if I just stayed at home during my “gap year.” Luckily, our host club, the Rotary Club of Azalea, encouraged me to apply for a Rotary Youth Exchange.

Arriving in Canada

I knew deep down the opportunity was going to change my life. But even that was an understatement. I come from a humble family in South African and it was truly a gift that the Rotary Club of arranged to fund my travels.
From the first day I arrived in Canada, hosted by the Rotary Club of Lakehead, I knew it was going to be nothing like South Africa. I instantly noticed the cleanliness of the city. The people were so kind and welcoming. Canada has abundant beauty and the scenery is ever-changing. I loved the autumn leaves so much that my host sister framed them for me to take home. She went out of her way to make my experience there amazing, introducing me to all things Canadian and her own Ukrainian culture. We still keep in touch.

My experience with Rotary was equally unforgettable. I remember speaking at a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event to a full house of Rotarians. I was so nervous, but the reception was so warm that the words practically flew out of my mouth. Every time I feel a little afraid, I think back to how I was able to speak to that full house.

Things had changed

I was a little anxious to return home. I had developed a routine in Canada and loved all my host families. But when I did, I discovered things had changed. I was drawn to a different kind of friend. My view of the world had expanded. And I know the time in Canada prepared me for the next step in my life.
A little more than a year ago, I moved to China to work as an English as a Second Language teacher. My youth exchange year taught me how to appreciate cultures that were different from my own. And I can move fearlessly in the world because I know that as a member of the Rotary family, I have family everywhere.

It is a privilege to be associated with Rotary and to know that I can continue to help people around the world. I encourage anyone who has a chance to apply for a Rotary Youth Exchange. If accepted, you will never be the same again.
Rotary Youth Exchange expanded my view of the world 2019-05-05 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary makes it a small world after all

Jordan Koletic, left, and Robert Smayda Jr. at Rotary Day at the United Nations in 2014.

By Kamlesh Chandan, Rotary Club of Lake Norman/Huntersville, North Carolina, USA

In 2015, I was working at one of the largest Fortune 500 banks in the United States when I read an article on our internal website about a team member traveling to eastern Africa. I found the story intriguing, and reached out to her for more details about the trip and to see if it had a connection with Rotary. But at the time I did not hear back.

Shortly thereafter, I began attending Toastmasters International meetings with a colleague, Robert, from the technology division. We both enjoyed our weekly dose of public speaking, and I learned that he was a young professional looking to become more involved in his community. I shared with him what Rotary clubs had been doing in the Charlotte community, and also told him about our international work. And he expressed interest in joining.

I had put the intranet story to the back of my mind until later that year, when I received my copy of The Rotarian. One of the articles covered Rotary Day at the United Nations and contained a photo of a young lady attending the event and a doppelganger of Robert sitting next to her. In my next Toastmasters meeting, I told Robert about the article and he said it was indeed him and his girlfriend (now wife), Jordan. He went on to tell me about her interest in women’s health issues in east Africa and how she had spoken about the issue at the event.

Two months later, Robert asked me if he could forward my contact information to Jordan, who worked at the bank in the analytics group. She called me, and we talked about her east Africa project. That began a year of conversations. I was shocked she was the same person I had read about on the bank’s website, and I connected Jordan with local Rotary leaders. I was convinced The Rotary Foundation could help her with her interest in pursuing a master’s degree in advanced peace studies at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, with a focus on regions affected by conflict.

The chain of events impressed upon me how small our world can be. You never know when the person sitting next to you could be the next Nobel Prize winner, the individual that cures cancer, or just someone who wants to make a difference in the world.
My Rotary club and District 7680 (North Carolina, USA) applied for and received a global grant to fund a $30,000 scholarship for Jordan, who completed a one-year peace studies program in Human Rights and International Politics at the University of Glasgow in 2017. She is now working for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor within the U.S. Department of State. We stay in touch, and Jordan is considering applying for a Rotary Peace Fellowship.

That day made me a believer in 2019-20 Rotary President Mark Daniel Maloney’s theme, Rotary Connects the World.
Rotary makes it a small world after all 2019-04-28 04:00:00Z 0

Council elevates Rotaract

Representatives from around the world also vote to preserve club flexibility
Photo by Alyce Henson
By Arnold R. Grahl.

Among the most important, the Council elevated the status of Rotaract clubs.  The change broadens the definition of membership in Rotary International to include Rotaract clubs. The change is intended to increase the support that Rotaract clubs receive from RI and to enhance their ability to serve.

“We need to be an inspiration to our young partners, so they will continue doing the great service that they do,” said RI President Barry Rassin when he presented the measure. “This sends a strong message that they are truly our partners in service.”
In many ways, the Rotaract experience will not change. Rotary clubs will still charter and sponsor Rotaract clubs. Rotaract clubs will still have their own standard constitution and their own unique club experience. Members of a Rotaract club will not be called Rotarians. And Rotaract clubs will not immediately pay dues or receive other benefits, such as the official magazine that Rotary members receive. The Board will determine a dues structure over time.

The measure simply expands the definition of membership in Rotary International to include both Rotary and Rotaract clubs.
Every three years, representatives from Rotary districts around the world meet in Chicago, Illinois, USA, to consider changes to the constitutional documents that govern Rotary International. This year’s Council considered more than 100 proposals.

Representatives authorized the Board to pursue changing RI’s charitable status to a section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. It is presently a 501(c)(4). A task force has been studying the possible change for 18 months and says it will offer benefits that include tax reductions and vendor discounts that will reduce expenses.

Dues increase

As for dues, the Council approved a modest increase of $1 a year for each of three years, beginning in 2020-21. The previous Council set dues for 2019-20 at $34 per half year.

With the increase, the dues that clubs pay to RI per member will increase to $34.50 per half year in 2020-21, $35 per half year in 2021-22, and $35.50 per half year in 2022-23. The dues will not be raised again until a future Council votes to change it.

Councils give Rotary members a voice in how our organization is governed. Learn more about the Council on Legislation and the Council on Resolutions on our Council web page or read our live blog of the 2019 Council. 
The Council also changed the name of the General Surplus Fund to RI Reserve, because that more accurately reflects the purpose of the fund. In another vote, the Council approved calling the general secretary a chief executive officer (CEO) in circles outside Rotary, to increase his stature in dealings with other intergovernmental organizations.

A seemingly small but intensely debated action will reduce the number of nonvoting members at future Councils, by removing past RI presidents and allowing only one RI Board director to attend but not vote.

But in some respects, the Council defined itself as much by what it did not do.

This year’s representatives resisted pressure to limit some of the flexibility that the 2016 Council granted clubs, rejecting several measures that would have placed restrictions on clubs. One unsuccessful measure would have required clubs to meet at least 40 times each year.

Many clubs have been using the innovative and flexible club formats to attract new members and meet their current members’ needs.

Representatives also rejected proposals to make it optional for members to subscribe to an official Rotary magazine and to reduce the size of the Council by half and have it meet every two years.

Democracy in action

Several representatives commented on the democratic nature of the proceedings.

“All of the delegates have been very responsible and respectful, no matter what their opinions,” said Adriana De La Fuente, the representative from District 4170 and a member of the Rotary Club of Plateros Centro Historico, Ciudad de México, Mexico. She has attended three previous Councils. “That elevates the trust and respect for our organization.”

Glen K. Vanderford of District 6760, a member of the Rotary Club of Jackson-Old Hickory, Tennessee, USA, said he appreciated the opportunity to represent the people of his district and gather with like-minded people to voice opinions.

“The process allows us to have a road map forward instead of just going day to day,” he said. “I was excited by the outcome of enhancing Rotaract and that we didn’t weaken future Councils, but preserved the ability for everybody to have a voice.”
Council elevates Rotaract 2019-04-19 04:00:00Z 0

Family of Rotary helps after wildfire

Pam Gray and her husband, Brian, (third and fourth from right) at the District 5160 conference in 2018.

By Pam Gray, Rotary Club of Paradise, California, USA

I grew up in a small family. My parents were both only children – that means I have no aunts, uncles or first cousins. As a child, my entire immediate family could sit around a dining table set for eight. My four grandparents, my parents, my sister and I filled the table. There was no additional ‘kids’ table!

Fortunately, my dad was a member of the Rotary Club of Paradise. Our Rotary family consisted of five families, all of similar age, so we had plenty of celebrations with this extended family growing up.

While my biological family grew as I became an adult, so did my Rotary family. Our club had more than 100 members when I joined and there was always something going on.

Family portrait, Christmas.
Helping hands

Club members took action when our home was evacuated in 2008 due to a wildfire. Members went to our home, secured our vehicles and motorcycle, took our animals to their homes and saved our computer with countless family photos stored in memory; all of this while we were at the Rotary International Convention in Los Angeles some 500 miles from Paradise.

After serving as club president, I began working at district jobs which added to my Rotary family tree. Serving several district governors provided tools, and many relationships, that were key to serving as District 5160 Governor in 2014-2015.

Brian and I were involved in a motorcycle accident shortly before the end of our governor year, following a ride for polio eradication. Rotarian friends cared for us and took over Rotary jobs that we were unable to fulfill.

My Rotary path continued on serving our club, district and zone. Again, my Rotary family tree expanded exponentially. The result benefited not only me, but my Rotary club and other clubs in the area.

17 days of wildfire

Then the Camp Fire began on 8 November 2018 and raged for 17 days leaving much of our beloved Paradise as piles of rubble and ash. In less than 24 hours, Rotarians from Santa Rosa, California, were on task to help Paradise. They established a GoFundMe page for our club’s foundation and came to see us sharing their knowledge of rebuilding after a major fire.

Rotarians, not only from neighboring districts, but neighboring states delivered supplies and provided cash aide and gift cards in the tens of thousands of dollars within the first week.

While serving as district governor and visiting 71 Rotary clubs, my Rotarian friends came to know me as “Pam from Paradise” and I chose to share my love for the family of Rotary. Considering all Rotarians as my family, they are returning the sentiment by helping Paradise where they can and providing encouraging words during our darkest days.
Family of Rotary helps after wildfire 2019-04-12 04:00:00Z 0

Council on legislation to review changes to RI policies


Rotary members from all over the world will gather in Chicago 14-18 April to consider changes to the Constitutional documents that guide Rotary International and its member clubs.

The Council on Legislation meets every three years and is an essential part of Rotary’s governance. The representatives — one from each Rotary district — review and vote on proposals that seek to change Rotary’s constitutional documents.

This year, the council will consider more than 100 proposals, including one new item and three recently amended motions from the Rotary International Board of Directors:

1. Authorize the RI board to change RI to a 501(c)(3) organization

Proposed enactment 19-117 seeks approval to change Rotary International's charity status from a 501(c)(4) organization to a 501(c)(3) organization under the United States tax code. As a 501(c)(3) organization, RI would be eligible for benefits, such as tax reductions, vendor discounts, and certain corporate sponsorships.

2. To admit Rotaract clubs to RI membership

Proposed enactment 19-72 would acknowledge Rotaract clubs in the RI Constitution and Bylaws and elevate them to being more equal to Rotary clubs. The Board believes that now is the time to emphasize the important role that Rotaract clubs play in the Rotary family by formally recognizing them in the constitutional documents. Rotaract clubs will continue to have their own standard constitution, maintain their own identity as Rotaractors, and preserve their unique club experience but will receive greater support from RI.

3. To amend the term of reference for the Rotaract and Interact Committee

Proposed enactment 19-75 would remove Interact from the responsibilities of the committee in order to emphasize Rotaract as a membership experience distinct from Interact as a youth program conducted by Rotary clubs. It allows the committee to focus efforts on improving the Rotaract experience, which was identified by the strategic plan as showing great potential as a new channel into Rotary. The RI president may still appoint an Interact committee.

4. Revise policy on financial reserves

The RI Board seeks to modernize RI’s policy for reserves to meet future circumstances, in accordance with principles of good governance. Proposed enactment 19-95 would provide a clearer definition of reserves and specify that the appropriate level of reserves is 55 percent of annual operating expenses instead of 85 percent.
Council on legislation to review changes to RI policies  2019-04-06 04:00:00Z 0

4 dynamite ways to find new members

The Wenatchee Confluence Rotary Club’s new members class of October 2018. Membership chair Rob Tidd says do something to make new members feel special, like framing their certificates and interviewing them during their induction.
By Rob Tidd, District 5060 membership chair and member of the Rotary Club of Wenatchee Confluence, Wenatchee, Washington, USA

In January, we had 61 members in our club, an increase of about 40 percent from the beginning of the Rotary year in July, when we had 43. Our success has been based on two ingredients: encouraging friendships and promoting fun in Rotary.

But just as important to our growth has been a systematic and continuous follow up with potential new members. Too often a potential new member is approached once and then forgotten. Every club needs a champion or champions willing to take the extra time to stay in communication with every potential new member. I am often asked where I find all these potential new members. Our sources grow as we come up with new ideas. Below are some of the practical ways we have found members:

Follow up on RI membership leads:

Prior to my year as District 5060 membership chair, I discovered that some of the membership leads sent to us by RI were never contacted. I decided to work my way back in time through the leads, going as far back as several years, to see if any of these
individuals were still interested in Rotary.

One gentleman in particular had never been contacted and was enthusiastic to be invited as my guest. Not only did he join, but he asked if his business partner could also be considered for membership. Of course my answer was “yes” and now both are members. These are people who took the time and made the effort to contact Rotary International.

Get referrals from other clubs:

I have found that sometimes a member of another club crosses paths with a co-worker who they think would be a good Rotarian, but because they are co-workers, or they have a boss-employee relationship, they don’t want to invite them to be a member of their club. If something were to happen at work, it could create awkward situations in the club.

Yet that person might be a great fit for another Rotary club. So I routinely go through the membership lists for the other clubs in my area and ask for referrals. I know this works because we have Kyle as a member of our club who was referred to us by a member of another club.

Find leads in your local newspaper:

I get excited every day to see who I might find as a potential member in my daily newspaper. Our newspaper includes information about the movers and shakers in our community, the recently retired, new home purchasers, and new businesses. The list is endless. I craft specific letters and follow up in 30 days. Often it is not even necessary to follow up because the recipient is touched by the letter and accepts the invitation for lunch at my club. I know this works because we have Jeff in our club because he responded to my letter.

Keep organized with a spreadsheet:

I created a spreadsheet with a list of potential new members, and set up a schedule to follow up with these people. My list includes recommendations from club members in my club, people who have given presentations at my club, former Rotarians who left other Rotary clubs in my area due to dissatisfaction or lack of engagement with their former Rotary club, and recipients of the letters I mentioned above. Systematic and continuous follow up is so important. This list helps me stay on track to make sure no one is forgotten.

I hope you find this information helpful. May you also be successful in your quest for new members.
4 dynamite ways to find new members 2019-03-08 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary-supported story contest gives Tacoma youth a voice

The first-ever Tacoma Ocean Fest Youth Story Contest invited youth to write about the ocean and what it means to them.

By Rosemary Ponnekanti

At first, Hope was reluctant. She was on the verge of flunking school through poor attendance. But when Kathleen Figetakis, literacy chair at Tacoma Sunrise Rotary, Washington, USA, asked the Tacoma senior for one little favor – to put up posters in her school for the Tacoma Ocean Fest Youth Story Contest – Hope agreed. Six months later, she had not only won second prize in the contest, but she also graduated from high school – and helped the inaugural contest to be a wave of success.

Tacoma Ocean Fest began on World Oceans Day, 2018. The brainchild of arts journalist Rosemary Ponnekanti, the festival celebrates arts, sciences and water fun. When Kathleen mentioned to Rosemary that her Rotary club was looking for youth literacy projects, an idea was born – to create a story contest around ocean awareness and conservation.

Local teachers jumped on board. Some folded it into class curriculum, others encouraged students to attend the free poetry and film workshops held at the local library. Local teens were invited to write a poem, make a short film or – new this year – create a data graph about the ocean, its importance to them and the threats it faces, such as plastic pollution, climate change, and endangered orcas.

And of course, there were incentives: prizes totaling $1,000 from Tacoma Sunrise Rotary, plus other donations and a free pizza coupon for every entrant, generously donated by Rotarian Lance Hungerford.

The reaction at the festival, when students summoned their courage to read their poem or watch their film in front of a public audience, was overwhelming.

“This was so powerful – that young people could speak their thoughts, passions and worries about our ocean’s future, and be heard by our community,” said city councilmember Ryan Mello, who presented the prizes. “I was blown away by their skill and commitment.”  Finalists were also invited to read their poems at a Sunrise Rotary meeting, to warm acclaim.

“Tacoma Sunrise Rotary was excited to support the first Ocean Fest Youth Story Contest this year,” said immediate past president Richard Corak. “The contest hit several of our club’s areas of focus, including literacy and youth education, and for good measure targets environmental concerns. We hope to have a long and mutually beneficial relationship in the years ahead.”

Now, the Tacoma Sunrise Rotarians are busy preparing for the 2019 contest. The most exciting change is three additional Rotary clubs are joining, including the Rotary Club of South Tacoma, Rotary 8, and Passport Club of Pierce County.  Thanks to a partnership with Tacoma Public Schools, each school in disadvantaged areas will get a Rotarian volunteer to support teachers to create more success stories like Grace’s.

“This is so powerful – it’s a gift,” said Hannah Gbenro, Tacoma  Public Schools Director of Innovation. “This is the kind of program that gives our kids a voice and inspires them to learn. It’s so exciting.”
Rotary-supported story contest gives Tacoma youth a voice 2019-03-01 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary clubs blanket Brazil with polio and measles vaccinations
 Members help reverse trend of plummeting immunizations by reaching 11 million children

Brazil Rotary clubs held End Polio Now vaccination festivals, which included food, entertainment, local celebrities, games.
By Luiz Renato Dantas

Rotary clubs in Brazil mobilized to help stave off a potential polio outbreak after dangerously low vaccination rates were reported by health officials last year. More than 11 million Brazilian children were inoculated during a massive two-month vaccination campaign, reversing a trend of plummeting immunization coverage.

Brazil Rotary clubs held End Polio Now vaccination festivals, which included food, entertainment, local celebrities, games.
The government said more than 300 cities in the country had low rates of vaccination against diseases such as influenza, measles, and polio. The Ministry of Health called the situation “extremely serious.”

Measles were spreading in an outbreak that eventually sickened more than 1,500 people in Brazil. Health officials worried that poliovirus could also re-emerge. Brazil’s massive national immunization campaign from 6 August to 28 September aimed to vaccinate at least 95 percent of children ages one to five.

The measles cases were concentrated in the northern states where thousands of Venezuelan refugees have crossed the border to escape economic and political hardships. Many haven’t been immunized, because Venezuela’s health system is in crisis.

Rotary leaders in Brazil found the possibility that poliovirus could resurge frightening, said Marcelo Haick, a regional coordinator for Rotary’s End Polio Now initiative. They knew they had to help health workers reach the millions of children who might be vulnerable to the paralyzing disease.

“The campaign was a success,” says Haick, a member of the Rotary Club of Santos-Praia in São Paulo state. “To our great surprise, clubs throughout the country responded in a way unlike anything we have ever seen.”
More than 11 million children were vaccinated during the initiative, reaching the government’s goal of 95 percent coverage, the target recommended by the World Health Organization.

Rotary members went to events and high-risk communities to announce the vaccination campaign. 
According to Haick, every Rotary club in the country participated in the campaign in some way.
Clubs and districts promoted the vaccinations. A majority of clubs, says Haick, produced leaflets and distributed them at schools and at busy street crossings.

Some used other methods to draw attention to the cause:

    •    The International Fellowship of Motorcycling Rotarians rode through the city of Jundiaí, São Paulo, with End Polio Now banners attached to their motorcycles.
    •    Dozens of clubs held End Polio Now vaccination festivals, which included food, entertainment, local celebrities, games — and oral polio vaccine drops. Health officials vaccinated the children who attended.
    •    Clubs installed lighted signs along major highways.
    •    At a major football game, club members in District 4670 took the field during intermission to display a huge End Polio Now banner. Clubs across the country used other sporting events, including bicycle races and marathons, to promote the vaccinations.
    •    Haick and other End Polio Now coordinators encouraged clubs to adopt vaccination centers. Clubs were also encouraged to contact local politicians and health officials at these centers.
    •    Clubs used Facebook and other social media platforms to post informational ads.
    •    Districts and clubs used trucks to announce information about the vaccination campaign at major social and cultural events and in high-risk communities. 

 Pedro Durão, another End Polio Now coordinator, says Rotary’s awareness campaign was widespread. “It was a mass adoption,” he says. “It was gratifying to see the work done by the clubs and districts throughout Brazil. I’ve been in Rotary since 1991 and have never seen such great enthusiasm.”

Rotary leaders in Brazil hope the success of this effort can inspire clubs and districts, not only in their country but also in others that are at risk of a resurgence of polio, to continue to raise awareness of the importance of polio immunization and other potentially lifesaving vaccinations.
Rotary clubs blanket Brazil with polio and measles vaccinations Members help reverse trend of plummeting immunizations by reaching 11 million children 2019-02-23 05:00:00Z 0

Empowering women in Colombian prisons

Charlie Ruth Castro leads an exercise class for inmates.

Charlie Ruth Castro

By Charlie Ruth Castro, Rotary E-Club of Sogamoso Global, Colombia

I had to go to prison to understand how education for innovation is the path for empowering millions of Latin American and Caribbean women economically. I’ve never committed a crime; I belong to that group of people who believe education is the most sophisticated tool we have to opening any door.

In 2016, I founded MujeresConDerechos.org with the idea of reminding society that all girls and all women are powerful. For this reason, I have dedicated myself to gathering the most influential leaders through summits, marches, and a television program. The attention and support I have received has been converted into generating innovative programs for girls and women most in need.

We had an amazing opportunity in October 2017 to put into practice the methodology of innovation I had created at Harvard University and that I had successfully tested with 1,500 youths living in rural areas of Mexico and Colombia. Now, I would be able to test my theories with 170 women in a medium-security prison in Sogamoso, within Boyacá.

The first day we visited them, the other women who went with me left terrified. A prison is a hell designed to disempower and mutilate human potential daily. However, I insisted we return and begin our program, “Nuevos Comienzos Innovando” (Innovative New Beginnings). The first two months, we dedicated ourselves to working with them on the concepts of confidence, forgiveness, strength, peace, and leadership.

It was incredible to see over a short period of time how these ladies went from being hermits and melancholy, to participating and hopeful with our process. By 22 December 2017, we were capable of laughing, crying, and hugging while we planned powerful goals for a better future.

A prison is a hell designed to disempower and mutilate human potential daily.

My methodology for digital empowerment bases itself on a very simple principle: we are all capable of seeing ourselves as superheroes through the use of innovation when we put our strength to resolving the more general and common problems affecting our community.

These ladies have come to understand that the three problems most affecting women in prison are their separation from their children, the lack of information regarding staying healthy in a highly unhealthy space, and interpersonal disputes about debts owed, that end in shocking punishments, such as the infamous “dungeon” – a dark, cold, and repugnant space where they could be held for up to 72 hours.

With these women, I’ve had the most profound discussions about justice, the economy of crime, liberty, and transcendence. The methodology we used has inspired them to plan their own brand and line of beauty products made from organic herbs. Those least interested in these persons having a decent job and re-entering society are the public servants of the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute of Columbia. The challenges, as well as humiliation, they have produced for the team and the women of our program are innumerable. But advocating for a more just society demands arming yourself with patience, and being creative in order to focus on the solutions and not the problems.

The majority of the women who took part in my program arrived at this prison due to crimes such as drug microtrafficking and theft; some landed here for homicide, kidnapping, or extortion. Almost all of them are mothers, and nearly a third of them are the second generation in their families to commit a crime. Most come from rural areas and bands of poverty within medium-sized cities. Almost all of them chased the fantasy of making money and becoming self-sufficient via the activities that led them to crime. A great many of them know their legal past will mark them and if they do not learn appropriate work skills or work on themselves from within, they are condemned to repeat the same mistake on the outside.

However there are two things that almost all these women share: they come from an impoverished Colombia and they face a culture that is violent against girls and women. My team and I feel grateful these women allowed us to research and work on a reality that affects so many. Despite how difficult it is to believe, we have concluded prisons are where we will find the potential to transform the country. Yes – impossible to believe, but they are.
The women in this prison made it possible for me to understand that the inequality and violence we see in the world today has its origins in gender inequality and lack of access to an empowering education for millions of girls and women.

It is time to invest in the education of innovation for our girls and young women. If we equip them with the tools that allow them to understand problems as opportunities for solution, or go as far as to teach them to use new technologies to create sources of employment, and to achieve excellence in the jobs of today and tomorrow, we can secure their economic empowerment, and we will be supporting the innovative and sustainable industrialization of our countries.
Empowering women in Colombian prisons 2019-02-08 05:00:00Z 0

What it’s like to escape a wildfire

The Gray’s home after the fire.

By Pam Gray, past district governor and member of the Rotary Club of Paradise, California, USA

While 77 days may seem like a long time, it has been a flash for those of us who were living in Paradise, California, and the surrounding foothills on 8 November, 2018.

My husband and I are members of the Rotary Club of Paradise. I was a District 5160 Governor during the 2014-15 Rotary year, and my husband, Brian, is currently club president. Brian was known as the “First Dude” as we traveled to visit 71 Rotary clubs the year I was governor.

The “First Dude” and I made it out safe along with our Saint Bernard and two cats. While our home is gone, like those of most other Paradise Rotarians and residents of the Ridge, the main building of my funeral home is standing. This is wonderful as we had several folks in our care and we were able to get them to my Oroville location so the families could go ahead with various services they had planned for their loved ones – on just 18 January, 2019.
Brian’s business did not survive even though it was standing when we left town.

We did not leave our home until the afternoon of 8 November because we were awaiting the notification that our ‘zone’ was being evacuated. Zones were developed a decade ago after an evacuation resulted in traffic so bad people could not get off the Ridge and just stayed. The final notification I received was at 9:18 a.m. By noon, our son-in-law was calling from Flagstaff, Arizona, telling us to get out immediately. He was watching the news; we had no news. We walked through each room and said goodbye to our home and to our “stuff.” We told our home she had been great and we were sorry we could not stay to keep her safe.

Typically it would take about 10 minutes to get to the next town. We were fortunate on 8 November we made the trip in an hour and 20 minutes when earlier in the day it took people eight hours.

As fate would have it, the Zone Institute was the following week and Brain and I decided to attend after our very gracious hostess offered to keep the pets while we traveled to Reno, Nevada. It was good to be among so many Rotarians.

How to help

Sonoma Rotarians set up a GoFundMe page the day after the fire that will benefit the Paradise Rotary Foundation. We were able to make some great contacts that are of great benefit to the Paradise Rotary Foundation. We are very grateful for our Rotary family. In between sessions, we spent the time returning phone calls from around the country.
We made dozens of calls each day.

The following week, we had a surprise birthday party for our Exchange Student, Val, from Columbia. Val fled Paradise High School with her host brother (an exchange student to Brazil last year) and made their way to Chico. The youth exchange committee then got her to Burney, California, more than 110 miles northeast of Paradise. During the days since the fire began, the Rotary Club of Vacaville Sunrise about 200 miles south of Burney agreed to host Val for the remainder of the year. While Val desperately wanted to remain with her first host family, it was decided that would be impossible. Three generations of her host family had lost all of their homes and businesses. It was sad to let Val go.

Brian was able to find a place for our Rotary club to meet and we began meeting just one week after the beginning of the fire. We had two meetings before the fire was 100 percent contained on 25 November 25, some 17 days after it began.
What it’s like to escape a wildfire 2019-02-01 05:00:00Z 0

Doing good in Vietnam


A young girl washes her hands in the new facilities.

By Shahul Hameed, Rotary Club of Singapore (District 3310)

For some of us, it might be hard to imagine life without clean water. We may have suffered the inconveniences of temporary water cuts due to breakdowns or repairs in the water network. And we may have felt frustration after working out at the fitness center if the shower was broken. But those are just minor inconveniences compared to what people in the Huong Nguyen commune live with. Until recently.

It takes a drive over many miles through tortuous and bumpy roads to reach Huong Nguyen commune. It is located in a very mountainous region, close to the Laos border, in the A Luoi District, Thua Thien Hue Province, one of the most affected areas during the Vietnam War. Through the assistance of a Rotary Foundation global grant, a project provided a water supply system and environmental sanitation benefitting 1,252 people in 316 households.

Visiting Rotarians teach the children safe hygiene habits.

The project also enabled construction of 50 hygienic latrines. These play an essential role in keeping waste away from living spaces, which means less disease and better health for all the affected people.

It is expected that all these measures will have an important impact in the health of the inhabitants of the commune. But they are also expected to have other impacts. It will no longer be necessary to travel long distances to bring clean water home, saving time for the inhabitants of the commune, time that might be spent in other profitable tasks, increasing the economic prospects of the whole area.

It is difficult to describe the atmosphere in the training sessions where those living in the commune learn about the new facilities and are taught hygiene. The smiles on the faces of the attendees and the laughter of the boys and girls says much about the joy and happiness that Rotary has brought to this poor commune almost lost in the mountains of Vietnam.
Doing good in Vietnam  2019-01-25 05:00:00Z 0

Learning a common language of respect

Rotary Youth Exchange students share stories and ideas with students from a high school for the deaf.
By Daladiana Cunha Lima, co-chair of the Youth Exchange committee for District 4500 (Brazil)
Rotary Youth Exchange is my favorite Rotary program. From my experience, I found the challenges of Youth Exchange are fairly universal. Among these, I believe one of the most important is connecting the students’ exchange year with Rotary’s mission of providing service.

My district hosted about 35 exchange students in 2017-18, seven of which were in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, in northeast Brazil. The other students came from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Germany, Taiwan, and Poland.

At the beginning of the year, I started to think of ways we could add more social value to their exchange year. I came up with the idea of having the exchange students visit a local high school for the deaf. The deaf students belong to a Rotary Community Corps sponsored by the Rotary Club of Natal. The exchange students talk about life and culture in their home countries, and all the students learned the John Lennon song  “Imagine” together in Brazilian Sign Language.

Over the period of two months, this initiative had a great impact on everyone.  I realized that the exchange students we were hosting had the extra challenge of not only learning Portuguese, but also a completely different form of communication, sign language. They became more sensitive to the circumstances of young deaf students.

Brazilian deaf students have never before had the opportunity to meet students from other parts of the world. Both groups learned a lot about each other and about inclusion. For that period of two months, exchange students, deaf students, Rotarians, and staff at the school were all speaking the same language – one of tolerance, respect, and love.

I received a lot of positive feedback when I shared our example at the 38th meeting of Brazilian Youth Exchange Officers later in the year. We had youth exchange officers not only from Brazil, but also other countries like the United States, Denmark, Mexico, and the Netherlands. I am very excited to repeat the project with exchange students we host this year (2018-19).
Learning a common language of respect 2019-01-18 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary recognizes UK Prime Minister Theresa May with polio champion award

Alistair Burt, left, the UK minister of state for international development and minister of state for the Middle East, accepts the Polio Eradication Champion Award from RI President Barry Rassin.
By Ryan Hyland

Rotary honored Theresa May, prime minister of the United Kingdom, with the Polio Eradication Champion Award for her leadership and political support toward ending polio.

Rotary International President Barry Rassin presented the prestigious award to Alistair Burt, the UK minister of state for international development and minister of state for the Middle East, at a roundtable discussion on polio eradication on 27 November in London, England.

Rassin told Burt, who accepted the award on May’s behalf, that the UK has repeatedly demonstrated an unwavering commitment toward a polio-free world.
“Britain’s leadership in making multiyear commitments in support of global polio eradication has been an example for other countries to follow,” Rassin said. He added that flexible funding from the UK has given the Global Polio Eradication Initiative  more resources to respond quickly to “dynamic needs.”

Under May’s leadership in 2017, the UK pledged about $130 million to the GPEI for 2017-19, bringing the country’s cumulative support for polio eradication to $1.6 billion — second only to the United States. May has also been a strong advocate for other countries in the G-20 and G-7 to maintain their financial and political support for a polio-free world, Rassin said.

“The UK remains committed to reaching our goal of eradicating polio and ensuring that no child suffers from polio again,” Burt said. “We are very proud of the contribution we have made to setting polio on the road to becoming history. I want to take this opportunity again to thank all those involved in the fight against polio, especially those on the ground working in incredibly difficult circumstances, and Rotary colleagues all around the world who have helped us reach this point.”

Rotary established the Polio Eradication Champion Award in 1996 to recognize heads of state, health agency leaders, and others who have made significant contributions to ending polio. Past recipients include Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, and former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Rotary recognizes UK Prime Minister Theresa May with polio champion award 2019-01-13 05:00:00Z 0
8,000 Kilometers to Peace 2019-01-05 05:00:00Z 0

The Backpack Program for Merrimack Valley (NH) School District

(December 27, 2018)  While most students from low-income families can count on regular meals through the school district’s free- and reduced-price meals program, many of these children go home on Friday afternoon and will eat little again until breakfast at school on Monday morning. The need is still on-going with approximately 43% of the students in the district being food-insecure.  The Backpack program continues to help meet that need on weekends by sending home a backpack filled with healthy food (three suppers, two breakfasts, two lunches and two snacks).
The Capital City Sunrise Rotary Club is supporting this effort with a $4,000 Rotary District matched donation to continue the program for a number of students through this school year.
Michael Dunn, Capital City Sunrise Rotary Club presenting 50/50 Rotary District Grant to Fran Philippe of the Friends of Forgotten Children and The Backpack Program.
The Backpack Program for Merrimack Valley (NH) School District 2018-12-27 05:00:00Z 0

Holiday Time for Capital City Sunrise

This is the time of year when the Rotarians of Capital City are the busiest, giving back.
It started the day after Thanksgiving when we set up our free hot chocolate and cookies table at Concord's annual Christmas tree lighting on the state house plaza.
The Fourth Wednesday of every month, Capital City Members and friends cook an evening meal for the homeless at the Penacook Open Community Kitchen, Here are the volunteers for the 28th of November:
On December first, the thirteen club members rang the bell for the Salvation Army at the local Market Basket Supermarket and raise a record $1,600 in one day.
On the seventh, President Mark set up his photo gear at Concord Photo Service during Midnight Merriment to offer family portraits and a Christmas ornament, courtesy of CPS.
On the thirteenth, with the help of friends and volunteers and caroling group from The Immaculate Heart of Mary, the club members cooked a ham dinner at the Salvation Army and transported and served it to the residents of the 120 apartment Crutchfield/Pittman place Building - an annual event since  2008.
On Saturday, the 15th, the club participated in the Wreaths Across Ameriaca program - Wreaths were laid on veterens' graves in the Maple Grove Cemetary in Concord.
The Fourth Wednesday in December this year is the day after Christmas, our turn to cook at the Penacook Open Door Community Kitchen. Rotarians Jim Spain, and our two Mikes, Dunn and Manning will be preparing the turkey dinner with all the fixings for the homeless that evening.
Capital City takes a break until the first Thursday in January as will this newsletter. Happy Holidays to all!
Holiday Time for Capital City Sunrise 2018-12-14 05:00:00Z 0

New Rotaract club creates community in Ohio

Members of the Rotaract Club of Canal Fulton, Ohio, USA, clean and pack potatoes at a regional food bank.

By Evelyn Aaron, Communication Director, Rotaract Club of Canal Fulton, Ohio, USA

If you ask any one of the members of the Canal Fulton Rotary Club why they joined, they will tell you it’s the sense of community that binds us all together. Many of us have spent significant portions of our lives in the greater Canal Fulton area, and we want to provide our children and our town with the same helping hands that we have been offered our entire lives.

Canal Fulton’s Rotary Club is tirelessly active in our community. The annual Mother of All Races event, held on Mother’s Day weekend, is a huge hit. And they are currently one of the driving forces behind our town’s forthcoming YMCA (just to name a few projects). In the last two years, the Interact Club they sponsor at Northwest High School has grown from 25 to over 60 student members, taking on countless projects every year. While these are strong clubs and major forces in our community, there was a gap to be filled. There was no Rotary-sponsored club for young adults to stay active in the community.

Our Rotaract Club quickly grew from the one person who started the group to the five people she contacted and met with in just days, to the 15 friends that came to our first meeting. That base of people has encouraged new people to join as members or simply take part in our service projects.

We all serve to the greatest capacities we can manage, and that is what makes our Rotaract club special. We are busy young adults balancing school, careers, and families, as well as the sports leagues and service initiatives we committed to prior to joining this group. And yet we are making this club a huge success by keeping in contact with one another over our Facebook page and in a group chat, constantly throwing out new ideas, and frequently coming together over pot-luck dinners.

Since our first meeting in June, we have volunteered our time at a baseball tournament for the physically and mentally disabled; at the local high school’s Alumni Football Game; at a volleyball tournament to raise money for a child with cancer; at a service day to clean up the facility and property where we and our Rotary club both meet; at a regional food bank where we spend two hours in the early morning cleaning and packing potatoes; and at our local community cupboard. All of this has been possible through a grant we received when we started this group and with the help of our Rotary club, who with their years of service advise us on projects.

In the future, we plan to purchase gifts for a family for Christmas, cook meals at a local soup kitchen next summer, and lend a hand at Canton’s Total Living Center.

By doing these activities as a Rotaract Club, we are creating that sense of community that we all enjoyed as children. We are excited to see all of the help we can offer and the smiles we can create.
New Rotaract club creates community in Ohio 2018-12-08 05:00:00Z 0

Who knew attempting a world record could transform our club?

More than 300 participants fill Palacio Hall for the Beetle game world record attempt.

By Joanna Chrzanowska, president, Rotary Club of Marabella-Guadalmina, Spain

The event planning team from the Rotary Club of Marbella-Guadalmina, Spain, was awed by the first sight of the hall they had to fill. We have drawn 80 people to our walks or events before, but aircraft hangar might be the best description for the room we were looking at. It had been generously donated free of charge by Marbella Town Hall, who have been very supportive of the expatriate community. The space was also free of tables, chairs, a sound system, a stage and several other necessities for putting on a large public event.
Founded in 2010, our club is English-speaking with members from a number of different nationalities, including many new Rotarians. We have been effective at fundraising for local and international charities, but why did we suddenly take this on?

Why we did it

We’d love to tell you it was part of a master plan for growth and community engagement. But the truth is it was more like a ball that started rolling and didn’t stop. A member suggested that we could aim for a Guinness World Record in a competitive game called Beetle, which involves throwing a die and drawing parts of a beetle according to the numbers that fall.  Sounded easy. Get lots of people together for a couple of hours. Give them a paper, pencil and die. And film the record attempt.

Several months later we were still working out logistics, how best to sell tickets, what else we would have to offer, how to promote the event, how to get tables and chairs to the venue, and so on.

There were some dark days, doubts and debates, a mountain of emails, and uncertainty until the very last that we would have enough people in the hall to even make the record attempt valid.  A warning for severe rain on the day of the event didn’t help.

Team dynamics like never before

Just before the event, the team working on it pulled out all the stops; united by a strong determination to do the very best they could for the club. Our Events teams are used to working hard, but this was exceptional. Everyone worked effectively, and somehow managed to not fall over from exhaustion, driven by a unity of spirit that arranged furniture, audio, display stands, crowd control, refreshments, publicity, etc.

And yes, despite the weather, well over 300 people came to enjoy the displays, the entertainment, and to take part in the game, hoping to win the beautifully crafted Golden Beetle.

Reach for the moon. Even if you fail, you will be among the stars.

Things weren’t perfect that day. Yet the atmosphere was positive and we built a great connection with the local community.  Sponsorship had already raised money for a charity for Alzheimer’s no matter what happened. The record attempt has still to be ratified by Guinness World Records, but people left the hall feeling it was a success.

The club has been a different place since this accomplishment. There is a feel-good vibe. Our horizons have expanded and our confidence has increased. We are prepared to be less insular, more organised, more dynamic. There won’t be another Beetle event for sure. But the Marbella Town Hall has said we can have the Palacio again next year. What will we do with it?
Who knew attempting a world record could transform our club? 2018-11-25 05:00:00Z 0
Thanksgiving 2018-11-16 05:00:00Z 0

Driving a junk car across Europe for charity

Konrad Niemann, left, and his son by the junk car they used in the Carbage Run. The car was auctioned off, and combined with funds raised by the run, to benefit the Salberghaus, a home for children.

By Konrad Niemann, President of the Rotary Club of München-Münchner Freiheit, Germany

In February, my son and I were driving in Germany when we began passing a bunch of strange-looking cars on the highway. We discovered they were part of a road rally called the Carbage Run, that is essentially a five-day road trip across Europe in a junk car. For the past 10 years, participants have paid about €350 (about $400) to take part in the event, originating in the Netherlands, with cars that must be more than 18 years old and worth less than €500 ($560). Looking at all these junk cars, my son and I thought “what a funny idea for a father-son activity.”

To make the idea even better, we decided we would do the trip as a fundraiser for a children’s home in Munich. The emphasis of my presidential year is children, because they are our future.

We signed up for a German version of the ride that was launched two years ago, that crosses 2,500 kilometers (about 1,550 miles) from Germany, through Switzerland, France, and Andorra, to Spain. We convinced my Rotary club and the clubs of München Residenz and Bavaria to combine support for our trip with €2.30 ($2.60) for every kilometer we drove.

We drove about 500 kilometers a day through breathtaking landscapes. We would get up at 8 a.m. each day to pack our gear and tent and tackle that day’s journey. Each day, you have a choice between a longer and shorter distance, but we always decided to take the longer. It was an excellent bonding experience organizing our day, charting our way, and figuring out how to tolerate the heat (as our junk car had no air conditioning.)

We were able to complete all five days with no major problems. At the end of the road trip, we auctioned off the car and some memorabilia we picked up along the way for €1,600. Combined with the pledges we had received, we were able to give €7,500 (roughly $8,500) to the Salberghaus, a safe house for children who have been removed from their homes by the government because their lives were in danger from violence, drugs, or abuse.

The trip taught me that it isn’t difficult to come up with fun ways to raise money. We do a lot of things in our lives for fun, and spend a lot of time figuring out how to amuse ourselves. But just think how much good we could do if we put some of that time and energy to planning activities that would also make the world a better place. My encouragement to you is to try and combine fun and charity the next chance you get. Trust me, it makes life more exciting. And if you have a family member who is up for it, bring them along for the ride.
Driving a junk car across Europe for charity 2018-11-16 05:00:00Z 0

Painting the way to peace

Members of the Rotaract Club of Juárez Integra in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, by one of the 10 murals they painted in public spaces.

By Yesenia Uribe, Rotaract Club of Juárez Integra, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

I have always been concerned about the situation in my city. Ciudad Juarez is sadly known for a high crime rate and violence related to drug trafficking which creates an atmosphere of insecurity.

I wanted to learn more about how I could implement peace in my community, so I applied to participate in a workshop called A Stronger Mexico: Pillars of Positive Peace organized by the Institute for Economics and Peace. I learned that peace starts in small communities and that we cannot think about global peace if we do not work on it from the roots.

Art for peace

I live in a city with many abandoned and vandalized parks. My Rotaract club decided to create peace murals in each park to unite communities through art and rehabilitate these common spaces. We needed to recover public spaces so the community has a place to gather in a healthy environment and coexist in parks that are in good condition.

At first, we were afraid to make a single mural. We thought it was going to be expensive. And our neighbors were apathetic. Many people didn’t want to help because they didn’t get something in return. But we were determined. We secured sponsors and some club members also contributed. After we painted one mural, we saw how easy it was – nobody could stop us.
Little by little, more participants joined us. First, it was our neighbors, and then other organizations and even local artists offered to paint murals. They saw the results of what we were achieving and wanted to be a part of it.

It took us practically a year to paint 10 murals. (See a video of one project.) Each park’s mural has a different design, but they all focus on peace and leave a positive message.

What it takes to create lasting change

The project has had a huge impact on our community. Places that looked totally abandoned and vandalized have become meeting spaces for the community. We continue to rehabilitate parks and leave peace murals in each of them.

When I joined Rotaract I had a desire to do something concrete for the world. Thanks to the Positive Peace workshop, I learned a lot about how to use the tools at my disposal to achieve my goals. I learned that carrying out projects with lasting change doesn’t take much, only a firm conviction, clear objectives, and a good team.

I invite all young people to get involved in social projects, to be agents of change in your communities, and leave the world a better place than how we found it. Rotaract provides us with an impressive platform to bring our ideas to reality and to start generating innovative projects with great impact.

Yesenia Uribe is a member of the Rotaract Club of Juárez Integra in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. She is a social entrepreneur, concerned about the current situation in her country and her city.
Painting the way to peace 2018-11-16 05:00:00Z 0

Painting the way to peace

Members of the Rotaract Club of Juárez Integra in Cuidad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, by one of the 10 murals they painted in public spaces.

By Yesenia Uribe, Rotaract Club of Juárez Integra, Cuidad Juárez, Mexico

I have always been concerned about the situation in my city. Cuidad Juarez is sadly known for a high crime rate and violence related to drug trafficking which creates an atmosphere of insecurity.

I wanted to learn more about how I could implement peace in my community, so I applied to participate in a workshop called A Stronger Mexico: Pillars of Positive Peace organized by the Institute for Economics and Peace. I learned that peace starts in small communities and that we cannot think about global peace if we do not work on it from the roots.

Art for peace

I live in a city with many abandoned and vandalized parks. My Rotaract club decided to create peace murals in each park to unite communities through art and rehabilitate these common spaces. We needed to recover public spaces so the community has a place to gather in a healthy environment and coexist in parks that are in good condition.

At first, we were afraid to make a single mural. We thought it was going to be expensive. And our neighbors were apathetic. Many people didn’t want to help because they didn’t get something in return. But we were determined. We secured sponsors and some club members also contributed. After we painted one mural, we saw how easy it was – nobody could stop us.

Little by little, more participants joined us. First, it was our neighbors, and then other organizations and even local artists offered to paint murals. They saw the results of what we were achieving and wanted to be a part of it.

It took us practically a year to paint 10 murals. (See a video of one project.) Each park’s mural has a different design, but they all focus on peace and leave a positive message.

What it takes to create lasting change

The project has had a huge impact on our community. Places that looked totally abandoned and vandalized have become meeting spaces for the community. We continue to rehabilitate parks and leave peace murals in each of them.

When I joined Rotaract I had a desire to do something concrete for the world. Thanks to the Positive Peace workshop, I learned a lot about how to use the tools at my disposal to achieve my goals. I learned that carrying out projects with lasting change doesn’t take much, only a firm conviction, clear objectives, and a good team.

I invite all young people to get involved in social projects, to be agents of change in your communities, and leave the world a better place than how we found it. Rotaract provides us with an impressive platform to bring our ideas to reality and to start generating innovative projects with great impact.

Yesenia Uribe is a member of the Rotaract Club of Juárez Integra in Cuidad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. She is a social entrepreneur, concerned about the current situation in her country and her city.
Painting the way to peace 2018-11-10 05:00:00Z 0

Fighting malnutrition with better corn

Semilla Nueva technician Noe speaks to farmers about their new seed. Photo by Sarah Caroline Müller/Semilla Nueva

By Don Reiman, Rotary Club of Boise, Idaho, USA

Semilla Nueva means “New Seed.” In Guatemala the “new seed” developed by Semilla Nueva is creating new life for some of the world’s most malnourished children.

In March 2013, my wife and I traveled to Guatemala to check out Semilla Nueva, a nonprofit our Rotary club was considering supporting as part of our international service. Our past history with nonprofits taught us it was important to make sure the Rotary club’s resources would be backing a valid and sustainable project. What we found and experienced far exceeded our expectations.

The Problem

In Guatemala, corn has been the staple crop consumed across the country for generations. It’s cheap and easy to grow. But  it also lacks the key nutrients needed in a healthy diet, resulting in widespread malnutrition affecting nearly half of all children in Guatemala. Malnutrition impacts children’s growth, mental development, school attendance, earning potential, and lifelong health. It creates a cycle of poverty among families and communities.
The Solution

Different varieties of corn were tested.

Semilla Nueva realized that in to address poverty in Guatemala, they had to address malnutrition. Our Rotary club and others partnered with Semilla Nueva through a Rotary Foundation global grant.

Through trial and error, Semilla Nueva developed an innovative approach. They entered the Guatemalan corn market, offering farmers a more nutritious corn seed. This seed, called Fortaleza F3, is biofortified with more quality protein and zinc than normal corn; both vital to healthy development. Compared to similarly-priced seeds, it also yields larger harvests at a lower price, helping farmers with their income.

Our 2013 trip allowed us to witness the process Semilla Nueva used to identify and develop the new seed. What we saw convinced us that Rotary dollars were being used in a responsible, productive program. We focused on three major aspects of the Semilla Nueva program:

    1.    We worked on the test farm where multiple varieties of biofortified corn were grown side by side. This allowed for a comparison of seeds to see which ones produced the best corn in Guatemalan soil and climate.
    2.    We traveled to local farms, taking soil and crop samples and spoke to the farmers. One of the brilliant approaches used by Semilla Nueva was to encourage the more progressive farmers to plant a small portion of their farm using the new seed. The benefits of the new seed were irrefutable when seen next to the traditional crop. At harvest, the quantity and quality of the corn proved the superiority of the new seed.
    3.    Finally, we met with Semilla Nueva’s leadership and discussed their vision, business plan, and long-term strategies for sustainability. A key to their success is engaging scientists, local and national politicians, government representatives, and local farmers.

The Impact

At the end of 2017, Semilla Nueva launched their pilot sales season and within five months they sold out their 1,000 bags of starter seed. Farmers loved the high-quality harvest and profits gained from the seed. More importantly, families, communities, and other consumers were eating more nutritious corn. Today, Semilla Nueva helps other seed companies grow biofortified corn. As of May 2018, their nutritious corn reached 105,698 individuals across Guatemala.

Rotary grant dollars are literally “seed money” for growing a sustainable program to eliminate poverty in Guatemala.
After the successful pilot, they are already planning for next season. We’re working on a new global grant so Semilla Nueva can produce and sell more bags and types of seeds. The goal of getting biofortified corn to all communities throughout Guatemala is becoming a reality. With their corn reaching tens of thousands, and ultimately hundreds of thousands of people, Semilla Nueva and Rotary are fighting malnutrition and reducing poverty.
Fighting malnutrition with better corn 2018-11-03 04:00:00Z 0

Protecting against polio in Lake Chad

The innovations making a difference to outbreak response.
Nigeria is one of only three countries in the world with ongoing wild poliovirus transmission, alongside Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Rotary is a part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which is focused on strengthening surveillance to find and respond to the virus, wherever it emerges, and closing immunity gaps to protect the population and stop the virus from circulating. The programme is also committed to advocating for sustained political commitment and ensuring necessary financial resources and technical support for polio eradication at all levels.

Long distances, an ever-changing environment and minimal infrastructure are only a few of the barriers that the Lake Chad Task Team faces as they conduct polio vaccination and surveillance activities in response to wild poliovirus detected in Nigeria in 2016. Overcoming these hurdles isn’t easy, but innovations ranging from geographical information systems (GIS) technology to boat-side vaccination are going far to ensure that every child is reached with lifesaving vaccines.

Traveling via speedboat reduces the time it takes to reach the islands from days to hours. The team has invested in vessels dedicated for polio eradication activities, freeing them to travel at a moment’s notice to investigate a case of acute flaccid paralysis or deliver vaccines. These stable, tough boats are specially chosen for long distance journeys.
Arriving on an island, the team supervises the activities of community-based vaccinators, ensuring that every child receives two drops of polio vaccine and that their finger is stained purple to distinguish from those children not vaccinated. Vaccination activities happen in markets, villages, and nomadic settlements. Recruiting women and men to work in their local communities increases vaccine trust and acceptance. This is one of the key lessons learned over the course of the global polio eradication program.
As temperatures soar, it’s critical that the polio vaccine is kept cool, which is an immense challenge in places where there is little or no electricity. A game changer for the team has been the introduction of dedicated vaccine refrigerators, some solar powered, painstakingly transported and installed on several island villages. This means that vaccines can be kept cold, reducing the amount that must be transported by the team for each campaign, and limiting vaccine waste.
Protecting against polio in Lake Chad 2018-10-27 04:00:00Z 0

Improving sanitation in a school in Ghana

Hand washing demonstration
Vera Allotey demonstrates hand washing to school children in Denkyira, Ghana.

Editor Note: Rotary International partners with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support lasting, positive change in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). This is part of a series of occasional blog posts from local Rotary members describing their visits to project sites.

By Vera Lamiley Allotey, Rotary Club of Accra Dansoman

In July, I left my home with fellow Rotarians to visit Upper Denkyira East in the central region of Ghana to see progress on water and sanitation projects. Despite riding in a very new vehicle, the ride was bumpy due to poor road conditions. But we enjoyed talking and learning about the Rotary-USAID partnership during our more than six-hour journey. I was encouraged by what I saw and the impact Rotary is having in the region.

After a necessary meeting with the municipal assembly in Denkyira, we arrived at a secondary school to inspect latrines that had been built. The headmaster welcomed us and showed us the changing room that had been created for girls. I showed the students how to properly wash their hands using the bucket stands that we donated to the school and two students were asked to demonstrate the proper techniques to their friends. We then moved to the borehole and the project manager led us in a series of stroke tests to determine the water flow from the pump. All was in working order.

Welcome innovations

I learned about some very innovative and creative things the headmaster was doing with the help of the PTA. He had set up a fee to be collected from parents that could be used to purchase toilet rolls, disinfectant and sanitary pads for girls to make sure there would be a continuous adequate supply. Sanitary pads were dispensed according to need, and one male and female teacher were placed in charge of dispensing toilet rolls and pads, cutting down on waste. The facility and supplies have really reduced the rate of absenteeism on the part of girls during their menstruation cycle. This is a very good thing.

We also made a courtesy call to the town chief, because it was in walking distance and we wanted to pay appropriate homage to him as custodian of the land. He had also helped ward off unscrupulous individuals who had wanted to intrude on the facilities before their completion. We conveyed to him our gratitude and he told us how pleased he was with the project and promised to help us make sure it continued.

The next day, we toured the market in Dunkwa before heading to Dunkwaso to visit the second project site, a toilet facility for a special school affiliated with the Methodist Church that teaches children with disabilities. I had many conversations with the head teacher, PTA members, and specially-trained teachers, who explained how they integrate visually and hearing impaired students into normal activities to enhance their emotional, psychological, and social well-being, preparing them for their years beyond school.

Rotary is very good

I was encouraged when the PTA chairman informed us that they would be deducting money from the PTA dues to buy disinfectants for the facility and employing someone to maintain it. I recommended they get in contact with the Community Development Unit of the Assembly, whose mandate is to train youth how to use various disinfectants and soap. They could get the supplies at a cheaper rate and also provide valuable skills to some of the youth that they could use later.
After we bid our goodbyes, we promised to visit within the next quarter to check on the upkeep of the facility. All in all, it was an enlightening trip. And I left feeling that Rotary is indeed very good.
Improving sanitation in a school in Ghana 2018-10-18 04:00:00Z 0

The right to a better life

LA 72 held this commemoration of the mass murder of 72 migrants by the Los Zetas drug cartel in San Fernando, Mexico, in 2010. Photo courtesy Giorgio Algeri

By Giorgio Algeri, 2010-11 Rotary Peace Fellow, University of Queensland, Australia

On a late evening in August, a family of eight migrant persons from Honduras arrived at the refugee shelter where I was serving as a short-term volunteer in Tabasco, Mexico, near the border with Guatemala. The family of three adults and five children, most below the age of 10, had fled their country for security reasons and were renting a tiny room in Tabasco awaiting asylum. The son of the landlord came home drunk and threatened the family with a machete, forcing them to leave all their belongings behind.

Luckily, nobody was injured. Yet, they were still shivering and crying when I welcomed them at the shelter, a safe haven where immigration authorities, federal and local police officers, and scoundrels are not allowed to enter. To calm them down, I highlighted the safety and hospitality of the place before addressing any basic needs such as clothing and personal hygiene kits.

Racism and xenophobia

As a humanitarian and development worker over the past 10 years, I have seen the desperation of those in need in a variety of settings including post-conflict countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. The accounts of the migrants and refugees from the so-called Northern Triangle of Central America (El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala) and the violence they suffered in their country of origin reminded me of similar horrific stories from migrants and refugees traveling along the Libyan migration corridor from Africa to Italy to Europe.

States themselves are ultimately responsible for preventing xenophobic and racist acts that threaten the lives of economic migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and other vulnerable groups. Nowadays, however, an increasing departure from the values of humanity and solidarity is increasingly leading to a rise of violence, discrimination, and human rights violations against these vulnerable groups.

A clear example is the emerging migration crisis in the Mediterranean Sea and the recent tension between Spain, Malta, and Italy over the fate of 630 migrants and refugees that remained stranded between Sicily and Malta for about a week.

Worsening human rights

The decision by the Italian Government to deny NGO ship access to Italy’s ports or not take in migrants and refugees rescued off the coast of Libya denotes an alarming worsening of the human rights situation in Italy. It further represented a violation of international humanitarian law for the repatriation of vulnerable migrants to Libya, a war-torn country in North Africa. Propaganda and anti-migrant alliances are creating a climate of hate and violence against migrants and refugees across Europe.

The one thing most vulnerable migrants and refugees have in common is a desire to live safely with dignity. Existing initiatives and programs such as the above shelter play a crucial role and provide a safe pathway for such vulnerable groups. But everyone has a responsibility to promote acceptance of the rights of others (one of the key pillars used by the Institute for Economics and Peace to measure peace).

You don’t need to be a humanitarian worker to make a difference. Anyone can contribute by raising funds, holding an event to commemorate the rights of refugees, or taking part in social media campaigns. You can also volunteer in service projects that promote a culture of positive peace and create a more constructive dialogue between migrants, refugees, and host communities. It’s time to stand up for the human rights of migrants and take action now.
About the author: Giorgio Algeri is a former Rotary Peace Fellow with a Master’s Degree in Asian Studies from Lund University, Sweden and a Master of International Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution from the University of Queensland, Australia (2010-2011). He has been working with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the United Nations in about 10 countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The right to a better life 2018-10-14 04:00:00Z 0

World Polio Day reviews the bold steps taken to end polio

Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) have had to take bold action in the historic fight to eradicate polio. At Rotary’s 6th annual World Polio Day event on 24 October in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, we’ll highlight the monumental and innovative steps that are getting us closer to our goal. We’ll also celebrate 30 years of achievements by the GPEI.

In 1988, when Rotary and its partners founded the GPEI, the paralyzing disease affected 350,000 children. Our collaboration with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and later the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, local health workers, and national governments has helped reduce the number to just 15 cases of wild poliovirus this year.

This year’s event will be livestreamed from The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, known as the “birthplace of American medicine.” It is one of the oldest professional medical organizations in the United States.

Global health experts and celebrities will discuss our remarkable progress toward a polio-free world. Patience Asiimwe, the protagonist of Rotary’s upcoming virtual reality film, “Two Drops of Patience,” will introduce the movie. A sneak peek from Rotary’s documentary “Drop to Zero” will also be featured. Jeffrey Kluger, senior editor for Time magazine, will discuss his experience traveling to Nigeria with Rotary to report on polio eradication. And we’ll celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the GPEI.

World Polio Day is observed on the 24th of October to honor the birthday of Dr. Jonas Salk, who led the development of the first polio vaccine.
World Polio Day reviews the bold steps taken to end polio 2018-09-21 04:00:00Z 0

Water project unites Lebanon clubs across all divides

A project to provide clean water to all of Lebanon’s schools is uniting leaders from many of the country’s diverse religious, cultural, and political divisions.

In 2011, Rotary members in northern Lebanon decided to install new tanks and water filters in a few nearby schools with the help of a Rotary Foundation grant. The idea caught on and a few other clubs followed suit.

Two years later, District 2452 Governor Jamil Mouawad and other district leaders saw the potential of creating one giant water project that could reach every school and involve all 24 of the country’s Rotary clubs. They formed a committee to handle publicity and gather technical knowledge, while each club was asked to provide volunteers, contribute funds, apply for grants, and secure contributions from outside organizations.

“Every student has the right to drink clean water. It goes without saying that clean drinking water leads to less diseases, healthier students, and consequently, better education,” says Mouawad. “The bigger the challenge, the greater its positive impact on humanity.”

While clean water is the main objective, the leaders also saw the effort as a means of helping heal Lebanon’s long history of sectarian strife. A civil war divided the country from 1975 to 1990, leaving an estimated 120,000 people dead. In recent years, Lebanon’s government is a shifting coalition of religions, political parties, and sects.

Lina Shehayeb, president of the Rotary Club of Aley, is a Druze by faith. Shehayeb says working alongside club members who are Catholic, Maronite, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Muslim to promote the project has deepened her understanding of those with different religious or political views.

 “We are building peace and understanding,” she says. “There has never been anything quite like this in our country.”

Even the distribution of club responsibilities is designed to foster peace. Each club is responsible for a certain number of schools, some in their area but some in a totally separate region. The clubs nominate a project coordinator, find qualified suppliers, arrange for sponsors, and allocate contributions from sponsors, district funds, and global grants to finance the installation of filters in the schools.

“For example a club from Jounieh, a Christian resort town north of Beirut, might be assigned schools in the southern mountains near the Israeli border, an area that is considerably poorer and primarily Shia Muslim,” explains Mouawad. “After all, who — no matter what their political or religious views — could argue with providing clean water for children?”

The effort could not have come at a better time. With the crisis in Syria, Lebanon’s population is ballooning with refugees, including many school-age children. By improving the schools these kids attend, Rotary members are laying the groundwork for future peace in the region.

The committee is working in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, World Vision, UNICEF, and the Red Cross. Red Cross volunteers take water samples in each of the schools a few times a year and send those samples to the Lebanese Agricultural Laboratory Institute for testing.

According to the committee’s technical team, it will cost roughly $2,500 a school to install water tanks, filters, and provide ongoing monitoring. About 200 schools have been covered so far. The goal is to reach all 1,535 schools within three years.

By Arnold R. Grahl
Water project unites Lebanon clubs across all divides 2018-09-15 04:00:00Z 0

Who knew installing solar lights could have such meaning?

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.

As president of my Interact club, I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. I felt like a minnow tossed into the ocean. I was overwhelmed by the colossal reach of Rotary around the world. I learned about projects ranging from complex irrigation systems that allow for farming in Turkana, Kenya, to establishing an array of financial help for poor villagers in Guatemala. I met passionate Rotarians from all corners of the world, and was instantly inspired to look for a way to become involved at this level.

On the reservation

After a year as club president, I decided to do something about this desire. I browsed this blog for information about great projects, and found a write up about the Navajo Solar Lights Project. After hours of research, I emailed founder Joe Williams, who told me more about the project and I discovered a shared passion for Rotary service. He invited me to apply to be a summer intern with their project, to spend a week and a half in the heart of the Navajo reservation. I knew this would push me out of my comfort zone, but I was ecstatic for the chance to have a positive impact on the lives of others.
A.J. Holzer installs a solar light on the Navajo reservation.

During the week and a half, I developed a completely new outlook on service. With other volunteers, I helped install solar lights in more than 15 homes. These lights mean the world to Navajo elders who don’t have access to electricity. Not only does it increase their safety and well-being by eliminating the harmful effects of kerosene lamps, but it provides a measure of  independence.

There is an incredible unity and resiliency on the reservation. During my first install in White Rock, New Mexico, we drove out into the desert past buildings until we came to a small cluster of homes. The elders and children in the community had come together to support each other around food and fun, and I immediately felt welcomed and loved.

Outside your comfort zone

Throughout my internship, the relationships I formed with others transformed me the most. I learned so much about Rotary from Joe Williams and other members of the Durango Rotary Club. And from the Navajo elders, I learned about resiliency and their ability to endure hardships.

There are many ways to serve. But what Rotary offers is the chance to get outside your comfort zone, and expand your horizons. Rotary brings people together across all ages. By working within the boundaries of the Rotary Youth Protection Guide, Rotary clubs provide a perfect environment for youth to explore and for Rotary members to invest in the future.
Who knew installing solar lights could have such meaning? 2018-09-07 04:00:00Z 0

A challenge to clean the world's rivers

In 2009, Salvador Rico stood in the waters of the Russian River in Northern California with other members of the Rotary Club of South Ukiah. They were there for a river cleanup, during which they removed toilets, refrigerators, car parts, and garbage. That event led to an ambitious initiative called Cleaning the Rivers of the World.
After participating in the Russian River cleanup, Rico’s thoughts turned to the Ameca River, which flows past his father’s farm in western Mexico. That was where, he believed, his oldest sister contracted the poliovirus that killed her in the 1960s.
The Rotary clubs of Ameca, Mexico, and of Rohnert Park-Cotati and South Ukiah, California, clean up the Ameca River. “I always hoped that someday I could go home and do something to turn all the sewage into pristine waters,” says Salvador Rico, the Rotary member who organized the clean up.
“My older siblings would play in the river,” he says, “and that particular river carried sewage from the city of Tala.”
Rico also thought of another river, the Lerma, which runs near his old elementary school. His teachers would let children play in a pristine tributary that flowed from a canyon but not in the main channel of the Lerma, which carried trash and toxic waste from Guadalajara.
So when Rico’s district governor, Helaine Campbell, asked clubs to carry out a signature water-related project in 2013-14, Rico proposed a cleanup of the Ameca River.
With the help of Vicente Paredes of the Rotary Club of San Pedro de Tlaquepaque, Mexico, who connected people and worked on logistics, the Rotary clubs of Ameca, Mexico, and of Rohnert Park-Cotati and South Ukiah, California, carried out the first Ameca River cleanup day in April 2014. They have since organized more cleanups of the river.
That project eventually expanded to become Cleaning the Rivers of the World, which has challenged Rotary clubs across the globe to clean up a river. The initiative has been adopted by the Water & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group as part of the Annual World Water Day Challenge, as well as by the Environmental Sustainability Rotarian Action Group. Rotarians have organized cleanup projects in Colombia, India, Nigeria, Peru, Turkey, and Venezuela, as well as in other parts of Mexico and the United States.  
In 2018, Rico joined his fellow Rotarians in a project on the Lerma River. “As a kid, I always hoped that someday I could go home and do something to turn all the sewage into pristine waters,” he says. “Now I can say, with a clear conscience, that I did everything I could to leave a better world for our kids.”
– Frank Bures
A challenge to clean the world's rivers 2018-09-01 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary announces US $96.5 million to end polio

EVANSTON, Ill. (August 15, 2018) — Rotary today announced nearly $100 million in grants to support the global effort to end polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that once paralyzed hundreds of thousands of children each year.

The announcement comes as Nigeria marks two years without any reported cases of wild poliovirus, following four reported cases in 2016.
“The fact that no new cases of wild poliovirus have been detected in Nigeria points to the improved surveillance and rapid response protocols Rotary and its Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners have established, particularly in insecure and inaccessible areas,” said Michael K. McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee. “While this progress is promising, it’s time to redouble our efforts so we can continue to maintain the political and financial support necessary to end polio for good.”

While significant strides have been made against the paralyzing disease, wild poliovirus is still a threat in parts of the world, with 10 cases in Afghanistan and three cases in Pakistan this year so far. As long as a single child has polio, all children are at risk, which underscores the need for ongoing funding and political commitment to eradication.

To support polio eradication efforts in countries where polio remains endemic, Rotary is allocating the majority of the funds it announced today to Afghanistan ($22.9 million), Pakistan ($21.7 million), and Nigeria ($16.1 million).

Further funding will support efforts to keep 12 vulnerable African countries polio-free:
    •    Cameroon ($98,600)
    •    Central African Republic ($394,400)
    •    Chad ($1.71 million)
    •    Democratic Republic of the Congo ($10.4 million)
    •    Guinea ($527,300)
    •    Madagascar ($690,000)
    •    Mali ($923,200)
    •    Niger ($85,300)
    •    Sierra Leone ($245,300)
    •    Somalia ($776,200)
    •    South Sudan ($3.5 million)
    •    Sudan ($2.6 million)

Africa will also see $5.8 million in funding for surveillance activities and $467,800 for technical assistance. Additional funding will go to Bangladesh ($504,200), Indonesia ($157,800), Myanmar ($197,200), and Nepal ($160,500), with an additional $96,300 funding surveillance in Southeast Asia. The remainder of the funding ($6.6 million) will go to the World Health Organization (WHO) for research activities.

Rotary has committed to raising $50 million a year to be matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, yielding $450 for polio eradication activities over a three-year period. To date, Rotary has contributed more than $1.8 billion to fight the disease, including matching funds from the Gates Foundation, and countless volunteer hours since launching its polio immunization program, PolioPlus, in 1985. In 1988, Rotary became a core partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the WHO, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Gates Foundation later joined. Since the initiative launched, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases in 1988 to 22 confirmed in 2017.
Rotary announces US $96.5 million to end polio 2018-08-24 04:00:00Z 0

Who is that poster girl?


Francine Falk-Allen
Falk-Allen is author of the book Not a Poster Child: Living Well with a Disability

By Francine Falk-Allen
One of the first misconceptions that confronted me as a handicapped child was that people – children, adults, everyone – would often say, “I saw your picture on the March of Dimes poster!!”  The March of Dimes was a campaign initiated to pay for polio vaccinations and patient care. Most of the patients were young children, who were the most prone to severe aspects of the disease. People were asked to send in “even a dime” and there were coin collection placards put out in stores, churches, gas stations, anywhere that people might be able to spare a dime. (A dime in 1950 would be worth about ninety cents in 2018.)

At first, when I heard that comment, I thought that somehow my picture was actually being used for the March of Dimes poster, and I was excited to learn this. I looked forward to seeing myself the next time I saw a placard around town. There I’d be, Francine Allen, the poster child. But I soon saw that it wasn’t my picture, though the girl was about my age, around five or six, wore a brace, used Kenny sticks (a half crutch with a canvas arm band), and had hair similar to mine, although hers was not in the meticulous ringlets my mother created to draw attention away from my limp. (If I looked pretty, it helped to make up for my defect, a concept I have never been able to drop.)

I asked Mama if I was going to be the March of Dimes girl, and she assured me that I wasn’t, and that there were no posters out there with my picture on them. I was a little disappointed, but what bothered me more was that people didn’t recognize that it was not me, that any little girl with Kenny sticks and brown hair looked the same to them. It made me a little angry, that that was my identity: The March of Dimes Poster Girl.

It is possible of course that people thought, “What a brave little girl,” when they saw those posters, and that they thought the same of me. But I didn’t think of that when I was five-and-a-half. I was just perturbed that people could not see it was not me, and that I didn’t have a face to them, I had a limp to identify me. That’s one of my too early adult thought processes, required by the disease that took me away from home and into a hospital for six months when I’d barely just learned to run.

I was not a poster child. Not in reality and not in terms of the smiley, optimistic, never-bothered attitude that is often wished for in disabled people. Certainly that winsome courage is more appealing for the purpose of collecting donations!  No, I was “head strong,” independent, ready with a smarty-pants retort, a girl who got out of a wheelchair and onto crutches before I was four years old, growing up a little too soon and missing some of the carefree aspects of childhood.

Later generations in the United States and Europe have not had to face these same issues, at least not with polio, and for this we can be thankful. Wouldn’t it be great if this deadly virus were eradicated once and for all, and all children could live without its specter? It is possible, and with the commitment of Rotary, we are moving toward that goal.
Who is that poster girl? 2018-08-19 04:00:00Z 0

A reason to smile

By Diana Schoberg Photo by Daniela Prado Sarasúa
Román, a member of the Rotary Club of Reñaca, Chile, is the national coordinator of a  program that has helped thousands of children in Chile with cleft lips, cleft palates, and other birth defects – including this stranger who now wanted to give Román a hug.
She told me, ‘This is my Rotarian smile.’ It was a very gratifying moment.

The project got its start in 1993 when San Francisco (California) Rotarians, led by Peter Lagarias and Angelo Capozzi, sponsored a medical mission that performed reconstructive surgeries in Chile. That was the beginning of Rotaplast, a program that evolved into a nonprofit organization that has since sent teams to 26 countries.

In 2004, Rotarians in Chile assumed leadership of the program in their country. Over the years, Chilean doctors became more involved and eventually the program expanded to include breast reconstruction for cancer patients.

“It’s a great commentary on Rotary that you’ve got people in a Spanish-speaking country and people in an English-speaking country working together to get things accomplished,” says James Lehman, a plastic surgeon who joined the Rotary Club of Fairlawn, Ohio, USA, after working with Rotarians in Chile.

In February, Lehman and a team of U.S. surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses visited Iquique, a Pacific port city and tourist hot spot about 80 miles south of Chile’s northern border. With financial help from the nearby Collahuasi copper mine, local Rotarians coordinate and pay for the medical team’s food, lodging, and in-country transportation. (Visiting doctors pay for their flights between the United States and Chile; an Ohio-based nonprofit funds the travel of some support staff.)

More than 250 potential patients lined up early on a Saturday morning outside Ernesto Torres Galdames Hospital to try to get a spot on the team’s schedule. They had come from all over Chile, including a family who had traveled from Concepción, 1,400 miles to the south. About 600 children are born each year in Chile with cleft lips and palates, and though the government established eight centers to treat those abnormalities, the long wait list means corrective surgery can lie years in the future. “The demand exceeds the supply of people to take care of the patients,” Lehman explains.

Using four operating rooms – one for cleft lip or palate, one for ear reconstruction, one for breast reconstruction, and one for other issues – the team got to work. Patients were chosen based on need and on the complexity of the surgery. By the end of their stay, the surgeons and their staff had operated on 82 patients. In many cases, however, the complete reconstruction may take multiple surgeries, and some patients return several years in a row to complete the procedure.

But the final surgery doesn’t always signal an end to the relationship between a patient and Rotary. Román, who has coordinated the program since 2004, recalls an occasion involving the young woman he encountered in the department store. At Román’s invitation, she described her transformational cleft lip and palate surgeries at a Rotary district conference in Chile in 2012. Moved by her story, many in the crowd of 300 broke into tears, dazzled by her Rotarian smile.
A reason to smile 2018-08-11 04:00:00Z 0

‘Gladiator’ stars reunite at End Polio Now event

 Actor Russell Crowe and Italian soccer star Francesco Totti attend a special screening of the Oscar-winning movie "Gladiator" inside the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. Proceeds of the event went to End Polio Now.  Courtesy of CineConcerts/©Musacchio&Ianniello
By Ryan Hyland
Actor Russell Crowe and co-stars of the Oscar-winning movie “Gladiator” gathered 6 June for a special End Polio Now fundraising event inside the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

Produced by CineConcerts and presented by Forum Music Village, Gladiator in Concert: Live at the Colosseum, showed the 2000 movie on a 65-foot HD screen to more than 300 people.

During the screening, conductor Justin Freer led the Italian Cinema Orchestra with vocal soloist and co-composer Lisa Gerrard in performing the entire soundtrack live to picture with the images, dialogue, and special effects preserved. Guests included, Italian actress and Rotary polio ambassador Maria Grazia Cucinotta, celebrity chef Cristina Bowerman, local Rotary members, Italian dignitaries, and “Gladiator” fans who purchased tickets to support Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign. The event was spearheaded by Rotarian Alberto Cecchini, a member of the Rotary Club of Roma Nord-Est, Italy.
More than $500,000 was raised for polio eradication efforts. 

Crowe, who won an Academy Award for his performance, was joined by fellow castmates Connie Nielsen and Tomas Arana. Italian soccer star Francesco Totti and some of his AS Roma teammates attended the event and signed jerseys that were auctioned off.

“The event is not just about reuniting with Russell and other cast members … but also to raise awareness about Rotary International’s work in ending polio forever,” Nielsen said during the event. “I believe we all have the collective power and responsibility to help empower those around the world, and promoting health care is essential.”
‘Gladiator’ stars reunite at End Polio Now event 2018-08-04 04:00:00Z 0

Retreating to advance peace

Participants in the Peace Fellows Retreat represented nine nationalities who had worked in more than 100 countries.
By Mayer Ngomesia, 2006-07 Rotary Peace Fellow, Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

After a two-hour drive from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu along a winding road, 10 Rotary Peace Fellows and I from around the world gathered in the village of Nagarkot, nestled in the Kathmandu Valley at the foothills of the Himalayas for the third Rotary Peace Fellow Leadership Retreat. It was a rare opportunity to step back and reflect on the difficult realities and high-stress environment of our peace work, and to ponder, why the work we do matters.

Made possible by a generous donation from The Benter Foundation, the retreat was both simple and complex. Jenn Weidman and Charlie Allen (Chulalongkorn Class of 2010) from Space Bangkok, an organization working to promote resilience and innovation, facilitated the retreat. On one level, it was a straightforward opportunity to ponder the uncertainties of our field and build our resiliency. Yet, on another, the complicated nature of our work, and the diversity of our perspectives, added a rich complexity to the event.

From cooking to jazz

Collectively, we represented nine nationalities who have lived and worked in over 100 countries. We currently serve on the ground in some of the most intractable situations including ongoing conflicts from Afghanistan to South Sudan or post-conflict Columbia. We manage socioeconomic development and political affairs initiatives across the world, from Laos to Ethiopia. Our stories are even more multi-layered, considering that our experiences include swimming across a Norwegian fjord, performing as a jazz musician, earning respect as a traditional Thai martial artist, and earning national acclaim as a cooking guru.

Like most retreats, various tools were used to evoke reflection. As people who are by nature skeptical to any formulaic assertions about our work, it could not be taken for granted that the haikus, wood carving, exercise, poetry, meditation, hiking, introspections, etc., would create their intended purpose. Yet Space Bangkok, the retreat facilitators, made it work. The complex mix of experiences amplified the point that working for peace is indeed multidimensional. This is central to the Rotary Peace Fellowship, which uniquely forges multifaceted, global clusters of Peace Fellows.

Inevitably though, the question that arises is: Why does this even matter? Turns out, that is maybe the simplest part of all. Peace does matter. To you, me, and especially to those for who it matters most. Sometimes, creating the space to ponder our complicated role in it all is one of the most important things we can do.
Retreating to advance peace 2018-07-28 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary Wheel Reef

A giant artificial reef in the shape of a Rotary wheel restores marine life and protects the livelihood of several fishing villages in the Philippines

By Quincy Cahilig

Rotary members partnered with local fishermen to build an artificial reef that helped save the fishing industry in Atimonan, Quezon Province, Philippines.

In the calm blue waters of Lamon Bay lies a source of pride for local fishermen and a submerged salute to Rotary: an artificial reef in the shape of a Rotary wheel.

The wheel has helped restore the local fishing industry, which was devastated by large-scale commercial fishing vessels that used dynamite, cyanide, and fine mesh nets from the late 1990s through the early 2000s.

Fishing is considered the lifeblood of the area’s coastal villages, including Balubad, Lubi, Talaba, and Kilait, and for years, village fishermen fought to protect the waters that fed their families.

In 2005, the fishermen turned to the Rotary Club of Atimonan, Quezon Province, Philippines, for help. They decided to build an artificial reef.

The club partnered with the Rotary Club of Madera, California, USA, on a Rotary Foundation grant to help fund the project, which would cost more than $1 million.

They built the reef in the shape of a Rotary wheel, which just happens to have plenty of surface area for coral to grow on and plenty of nooks for fish to shelter in. Made of steel-reinforced concrete, it’s 600 meters from the coastline, measures about 4 meters tall and 21 meters wide (13 by 70 feet), and weighs several tons.

Today, the wheel, touted as the biggest artificial reef in the Philippines, is covered with coral and has withstood several typhoons. It attracts fish, including jacks, surgeonfish, mangrove red snappers, groupers, longfin bannerfish, flounders, pompanos, batfish, and barracudas, among other marine creatures.

“Before the reef, the fishermen were barely able to catch a kilo [2.2 pounds] of fish apiece,” says Oca Chua, past president of the Rotary Club of Atimonan and the project’s chair. “Today they catch fish weighing up to 2 kilos apiece a day.”

Protecting the fish has been just one benefit of the effort. The reef also became a tourist attraction that boosted the local economy. Fishermen build bamboo rafts and rent them to tourists who visit the reef to eat, rest, dive, and even feed the fishes.
Rotary Wheel Reef 2018-07-20 04:00:00Z 0

Music Camp breaks down barriers

By Sharon Bay, a member of the Downtown Breakfast Rotary Club of San Diego, California, USA

I had only been a Rotarian for a year, and was eager for another opportunity to serve, when I was asked by the committee chair of District 5340’s MusiCamp Youth Exchange if I would be interested in hosting two talented musical students for three weeks that summer. My husband and I had hosted an exchange student from Bolivia several years prior and had enjoyed the experience. This would only be for three weeks, and we felt we knew what to expect, so we enthusiastically said yes.

We hosted two high school boys who both played violin; Jonas from Germany and Jon from Canada. Jonas spoke enough English to have a conversation, but after three weeks he was at ease. We loved having classical music in our home and our neighbors also enjoyed it. The boys quickly became friends with the 18 other members of the Musicamp, and performed in three public concerts, before enjoying the sights of San Diego – theme parks, shopping, and surfing on the beach.

Every evening we ate dinner and talked about Germany, Canada, and the Untied States. As they shared their home experiences, we found many similarities. I tried to introduce them to many different foods.

Two years later, Jonas emailed me that his sister, Paula, one of six siblings, was accepted to MusiCamp and asked if she could stay with us. We felt honored that he had had a good experience with us. Paula arrived with her cello and Isabella, who interestingly was Jon’s sister, from Canada brought her violin. The girls quickly became friends. We again enjoyed their our hosting experience.

A worldwide ensemble

Each year the program is similar. In 2016, we hosted Grace from Ireland (violin) and Sylvia from Spain (cello). This last summer Clara, number three from the same German family, played violin and Hannah from Ireland, played the cello, filling our extra bedroom.

My husband and I were fortunate to go to Germany this past summer and stay with the German family. It was great knowing some of  their close-knit family before we went. Their grandpa spoke a little English while we were there; which the grandkids had never heard him speak before.

The program is now in its fourteenth year. In the past, students have traveled from Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Northern Ireland, Poland, Romania, Russia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Taiwan, Hungary, Mexico and many other countries.

We are hosting number five this summer, but as yet unsure who we will be lucky to host. This music program is breaking down barriers one student at a time. Musical friends are becoming REAL friends.
Music Camp breaks down barriers 2018-07-12 04:00:00Z 0

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accepts award for polio eradication


By Teresa Schmedding and Arnold Grahl Photos by Alyce Henson

Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada, was presented with Rotary’s Polio Eradication Champion Award in recognition of Canada’s contributions to polio eradication.

Trudeau accepted the award at the Rotary International Convention in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
“Let there be no doubt we are winning the battle against polio,” Trudeau said. “I want my children to grow up in a world without polio. Together I know we will make that happen.”

Canada has been a strong contributor to polio eradication efforts for decades.

In 2017, Canada pledged US$75 million to help eradicate polio, bringing its total contributions to roughly $640 million.
“Prime Minister Trudeau has committed Canada to remain a strong partner until polio is completely eradicated,” said RI President Ian H.S. Riseley. “With the unwavering support of the Prime Minister and the Canadian government and their strong assistance with continued vaccination efforts, I’m confident we will rid the world of polio.”

Canadian Rotary members have also contributed more than US$38 million.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accepts award for polio eradication 2018-07-08 04:00:00Z 0

Toronto Rotary Convention

All plenary sessions were held in the Air Canada Center where the Toronto Raptors play.
Thirty-seven Rotarians from District 7870 made the trip
The ususal impressive graphics.
Toronto Rotary Convention 2018-06-30 04:00:00Z 0

Rotaries donating money to help Hondurans

Local News

Jun 16, 2018

Hannah LaClaire
Staff Writer for the Nashua Telegraph
NASHUA – Rotary clubs across New Hampshire and Vermont are raising funds to help families in Honduras meet one of life’s most basic necessities: the access to clean drinking water.

Partnering with Pure Water for the World Inc., (initially a Rotary project in the early 1990s and now a nonprofit), Rotary District 7870 is working to raise $26,000 for Las Trojes, Honduras.

Las Trojes is a mountainous region of the country with over 62,000 people in hundreds of rural, dispersed communities, according to Pure Water.

These families collect water in small streams of runoff from the mountains. This water is also used for cooking, bathing, laundry and livestock, and is contaminated with pathogens such as E. coli and giardia, according to Rotary 7870 Past District Governor Tony Gilmore.

The majority of families in the area only have access to the contaminated water, which increases risk of disease and results in “a persistent cycle of poor health, reduced time in school and at work, and contributes to the cycle of perpetual poverty,” Rotary information states.

Pure Water for the World seeks to break that cycle by installing biosand water filters in homes and building bathrooms with hand washing stations.

While $26,000 may seem like a relatively small feat for 59 different clubs to raise, that money translates to 40 homes with 40 biosand water filters and 38 latrines, a boys and girls latrine and wash station and filter for their school and teacher hygiene training.

The money will also help provide filter testing in the months after installation as well as another trip to help the community remove parasites, Gilmore said.

The Hollis Brookline Rotary club has already donated $5,000, he said, while another New Hampshire club also generated $10,000.

While officials are on their way to meeting the goal, they are still seeking donations.
“The sooner we raise (the money), the sooner we can get to work,” Gilmore said.

For more information on Las Trojes, or to donate, visit https://purewaterfortheworld.org/where-we-work/honduras/trojes/.
Rotaries donating money to help Hondurans 2018-06-18 04:00:00Z 0

Becoming a Rotary alumni is just the beginning

Members of the Rotaract Club of Birmingham attend The Rotary Club of Birmingham’s Annual Rotary Trail Party in May. From left: Erica Murphy, Mary Meadows Livingston, Jeris Gaston, Amanda Martin, and Uma Srivastava.

By Jeris Burns Gaston

If you told me twelve years ago upon finishing my Rotary Ambassadorial Program year in Dublin, Ireland, that this was just the start of an adventure, I would have been hard pressed to believe you. The program itself was such a unique and enriching experience that improving on this worldview changing year seemed impossible. However, as I enter my thirteenth year as a member of the Rotary family, I now realize that being an alumnus is just the beginning.

While in Ireland I was a member of the incredible Dublin Central Rotary Club; a close-knit group I remain connected with to this day. Unfortunately, there was not quite the same type of club experience available for a recent graduate student when I returned to Birmingham, Alabama, USA. After working for a few years and establishing myself as a young professional, a new opportunity arose. To my surprise, the opportunity was not as a Rotarian but as a Rotaractor.

Spirit of Rotary alive and well

Although I wasn’t familiar with this program, I quickly realized that the Rotary spirit was alive and well within Rotaract, especially the new Rotaract Club of Birmingham, Alabama, USA. In the now fourteen years since its founding, this club has gone on to not only enhance my Rotary experience, but also to change the conversation about how Rotaract members can truly partner with Rotary worldwide.

Last year, I was honored to serve as our club’s president. Simply put, the Rotaract Club of Birmingham is a unique establishment to lead. At 300 members, our organization is one of the largest community-based clubs in the world. We have our own non-profit foundation run by our members which funds two internationally award-winning signature service projects. Accolades aside, we are constantly challenging each other to improve on leadership development, service and membership engagement.

During my year as president, I often referenced my days as an Ambassadorial Scholar. While traveling around Ireland speaking to Rotary clubs, I was introduced to different service projects and Rotary customs. I realized that Rotaractors have an incredible amount to learn from Rotarians and vice versa. I was determined to show my club the wide net that Rotary International casts, and did so by challenging the group to “Think Global and Act Local.” I hoped to impress upon the club members the value of broadening their worldviews by learning more about RI Programs, attending conventions and starting the conversation about International Service opportunities.

Rotary Scholar lens

My time as a Rotary Scholar provided me the lens by which to challenge our club to do more within the Rotary framework, while also cementing strong ties with our sponsor Rotary Club and other clubs around town. I am now a member of our sponsor club, The Rotary Club of Birmingham, so my Rotary adventure continues. Ultimately, I want all our members to become Rotarians, to continue within the Rotary family, and to elevate their professional and personal development.

I’ve seen firsthand the outcome and the personal growth that occurs when you put Service Above Self. Without the Rotary ambassadorial experience as a starting block, my Rotary story would have ended before it began. Being an alumnus kickstarts a lifetime of learning, engaging, and bringing about positive change in your community and worldwide through the Rotary family.
Becoming a Rotary alumni is just the beginning 2018-06-16 04:00:00Z 0

How our club attracts and retains alumni as members

Members of the Dupont Circle Rotary Club at a tree planting event.
By Mandy Warfield, president, Rotary Club of Dupont Circle, Washington D.C., USA

The Rotary Club of Dupont Circle was started six years ago by a group of Rotary alumni, and since then, the club has grown to include many other facets of the community, including individuals who have not had any previous experience with Rotary.

Over the last few years, our club has continued to attract and retain alumni members. Sometimes RI finds the alumni and introduces them to our club, and sometimes the alumni find us. We are lucky to have naturally open and social members, and everyone makes a concerted effort to make any visitor feel welcome. One of our Rotary alumni members, Molly, recounts, “When I started attending meetings, no one treated me like a joke or a second-tier Rotarian because I was so young. Fellow members treated me as an equal who had ideas and skills to contribute to the club.”

Our club meets at a neighborhood bar and we meet in the evening. This rather informal environment also allows us to keep dues at a minimum, which is often a swaying factor for younger members. Because we are a small club, we’ve adopted an “all hands on deck” approach in order to execute on our club’s goals; new members frequently become active members of our committees, and even volunteer to step up into the committee chair role. Their fresh insights and perspectives have helped our club grow and have shaped our club over time.

Our service opportunities also reflect this “all hands on deck” approach. Another of Molly’s reasons for joining our club were “the hands-on service opportunities the club offers.” She says, “I like getting to get my hands dirty planting a tree or digging out invasive plant species in a wetlands. Almost all the service events Rotary Club of Dupont Circle does involve that level of activity and commitment.”

What are some tips we have for attracting and retaining Rotary alumni or other young professionals?

    •    Get people involved immediately. New members are interested in your club because they want to make a difference. Ask your prospective member to help plan a service project or take a leading role on a committee.
    •    Explore financing options. If paying dues is the only thing standing in the way of a member joining your club, it is worth sitting down to have a candid discussion to explore other options. Perhaps another existing member would be willing to support a portion of the dues.
    •    Be curious. Ask them questions about their work life and previous experiences with Rotary. Connect them with someone in the club who might have a similar previous experience.
    •    Most importantly– Have fun!
How our club attracts and retains alumni as members 2018-06-10 04:00:00Z 0

Why you want to risk


Visalia Rescue Mission in Visalia, California, USA.


By Ryan Stillwater, a member of the Visalia County Center Rotary, California, USA


On my walk to work on a recent morning, air crisp and clear after an overnight rainstorm, I walk past a man sitting on the street corner. I immediately recognize him as a former resident in our Life Change Academy, who left early on in the program. I nicknamed him Logan, due to his striking resemblance to one of my favorite X-Men comic book characters — with his muscular frame and prominent dark sideburns and stubble. This morning, he is angry and making loud threats against a man (not present) who had very personally wronged him. “Are you ok?” I ask. “No!” he screams, eyes fixed on an invisible enemy. I am standing with Wolverine – the enraged persona of the gentle man I had known.


I became a Christian at the age of 15 and was baptized in the Pacific Ocean a year later with blue-dyed hair and a head full of ambition to do great things. In the years that followed, I would travel to Vancouver, San Francisco, and what is now South Sudan. I saw remarkable (and terrible) things – hopeless drug addicts, prostitutes of all ages, and a desperate mother holding a sick infant miles from medical aid. I imagine these experiences contributed to my becoming a Rotarian at the age of 31.


I’m pretty sure my father hated these trips – not because I was helping others, nor because he is Jewish and these trips were Christian-affiliated – but because he loves me and wants to keep me safe. Also, as he once told me, “There are plenty of people you can help here in your own community.” He was right, which brings me back to Wolverine.


I stood there for just a moment with a decision to make. I could respond with a gracious, yet shallow, apology for his troubles and wish him luck. Or, I could engage. I chose the latter and awkwardly sat down next to him, full cup of coffee in one hand and a stack of papers in the other. I wasn’t convinced he recognized me and I discerned the need to tread softly – to listen and choose my words carefully.


It turns out, his 18-month old daughter had been removed from his custody three months ago. Suddenly, I had a window of opportunity to connect and to encourage. “I would hate for you to make a decision that further separates you from your daughter’s life.” He tears up. “She is young enough not to remember this situation, which means you have an opportunity to get your life together…to become whole and be in her whole life.”


What started as a scary interaction in which I feared for my own safety turned into two grown men (and near strangers) hugging each other on a street corner at 8 o’clock in the morning. I don’t think he hugged me and cried because of my advice, but because I felt led to say, “Logan, I believe in you.”


It would have been easier to move on, but that would have served self way more than another. As you and I pause in these moments and take them as opportunities to build goodwill and better friendships (especially with those hurting in our communities) more Wolverines may remember they have a different name, potential, and purpose.


No matter what you believe or how good of a person you are, you can’t protect yourself or your loved ones enough to avoid the everyday tragedies of life. So let’s risk a bit more in the day to day and seek opportunities for service in the mundane commutes. As Rotarians, “service above self” is not a motto we excuse ourselves from in the face of opposition, or even danger – we press in.


About the Author: Ryan Stillwater is the Director of Development for Visalia Rescue Mission located in California’s Central Valley – which operates a 12-month, residential drug and alcohol recovery program for men and women (Life Change Academy). Ryan serves as the Faith Community Representative on a County Task Force on Homelessness, as well as other local boards and committees.

Why you want to risk 2018-06-03 04:00:00Z 0

Thousand Flags event connects community


High school students work on posting flags for the event.

By Cheryl M. Scott, a member of the Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary Club, California, USA

Imagine a sparkling lake, surrounded by rolling hills dotted with red, white, and blue flags flapping in the gentle breeze. Picture a three-year-old boy with a miniature flag, running beside the patriotic spectacle…or a high school senior in cap and gown, smiling proudly for her picture-taking mom in front of the colorful backdrop. Now, imagine an Army veteran, dressed in a beret and fatigues, leaning on his cane for support in his slow, deliberate walk among the sea of American flags.

These and other heartwarming sights are the reason my anticipation builds each year as Memorial Day approaches. As a 25-year member of Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary Club, this event – Thousand Flags – is my immediate answer when I’m asked, “What’s your favorite club event?” In fact, this is the event that took my Rotary commitment to a whole new level.

As Rotary clubs in the United States consider how to connect people across the generations in order to serve, impact, and improve our communities and our world, Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary Club hit the jackpot in 2014 when we introduced Thousand Flags. The three-day event honors military heroes who have fallen in the line of service (consistent with Memorial Day’s traditional purpose), and also salutes all current and past members of the military, and local first-responders as well.

When Rotarian Becky Brooks approached Breakfast Rotary about the possibility of creating the project, club members were intrigued. But they knew an undertaking of this magnitude would require a lot of planning and many volunteers. Brooks knew it was possible, especially considering our community’s commitment to honoring those who serve. She was right.

Rotarians, high school clubs, cub scout troops, football teams, and even an occasional passerby will spend the first morning of their three-day weekend posting flags in spots carefully selected and marked by a crew of professional surveyors that volunteer for the event.

I especially enjoy the early part of that first day, where small teams – people of all ages and backgrounds – move quickly to complete the project in time for an 11:30 a.m. opening. The conversations are unpredictable! I’ve overheard talk about the weather, the last day of school, college plans.One time I heard a Coast Guard veteran ask a Marine vet “how many people are in a Marine platoon, anyway?” People are brought together at Thousand Flags. They are brought together by Rotary!

When the large center flag is lowered at dusk each evening, a quiet crowd gathers to hear the playing of taps and to watch the high school color guard fold the flag and present it to our club president.

At the end of Monday’s ceremonies, which feature patriotic music and local speakers, many attendees will walk away with a folded flag that they have sponsored in honor of someone they love.

This Memorial Day, Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary Club will celebrate the 5th Annual presentation of Thousand Flags. I can’t wait to see what kinds of connections are made this year!

Thousand Flags event connects community 2018-05-24 04:00:00Z 0

Literacy center dedicated to Pakistan Rotarian

Children at their school in Jhang, Pakistan, before the project provided new chairs, blackboard, and books.

By Michelle Tanner, past president Rotary Club of Matamata, New Zealand

A random Facebook message with an invitation to present at a Rotary polio conference in Lahore in 2014 was the start of an amazing journey that took me from rural New Zealand to Pakistan and culminated in a project to improve the education of children of garbage pickers in Jhang, Pakistan.

While I was in Lahore, Rotarian Khalid Haider invited me to his home city of Jhang, three hours west of Lahore. There he took me to visit the Rotary Education Center Dar-ul-Ehsan, established in 2002 and funded by his Rotary club, Jhang Saddar. I was impressed at the efforts of the local Rotarians, and appalled that, in the 21st century children were educated in these conditions. They wrote on slates! There were hardly any books, almost no furniture, in fact virtually nothing. Just a willingness on the part of the children to learn and of the teachers to teach. The Rotarians were doing all they could but they needed help.

I returned to New Zealand to seek the support of my fellow Rotarians. In July 2016, when I became president, this was our international project, supported by a district grant.

I emailed the news to Khalid who went into action rallying support from other overseas Rotarians who had visited and pledged support and setting up a Facebook page. Building work commenced in January 2017 and was completed in months.

Sadly, Khalid died just weeks before the opening ceremony but he saw the work completed and we dedicated the development to him. The inauguration of the “Rtn. Mian Khalid Haider Block, Rotary Literacy Centre” was a day that I will remember forever. The transformation was stunning. Classrooms renovated and furnished; new classrooms built; and computers, tables, chairs, blackboard, and books installed. In addition, our new Interact club’s first project, a book drive, provided additional books for the pupils. But it was the children that made the day. They glowed with excitement and anticipation. I look forward to following their progress.
Literacy center dedicated to Pakistan Rotarian 2018-05-18 04:00:00Z 0

Assisting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Eric Lee and his wife hand out supplies to refugee children in Bangladesh.

By Eric Lee, a member of the Rotary Club of Cheat Lake, West Virginia, USA

Service above self was the underpinning of our aid project for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh this year. The project was a colorful example of how Rotary works around the globe in the service of others. Clubs from the United States and Bangladesh delivered dry goods to Rohingya refugees in the Bahlukali camp along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in February.

The Rohingya are an ethnic minority who fled violence in Myanmar for refugee camps in southern Bangladesh. More than 700,000 refugees have entered Bangladesh since August 2017, and most came with just the clothes on their back. They are in desperate need of food, supplies and basic sanitation.

Cox’s Bazaar is the closest city to the Rohingya refugee camps, and the Rotary Club of Cox’s Bazaar engages other clubs and various non-profits to facilitate the delivery of goods and services. The Rotary Club of Cheat Lake in West Virginia, USA, coordinated efforts with Cox’s Bazaar Rotary to deliver clothing, personal hygiene products, and water purification tablets to the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

Challenges like transferring goods, security on the ground, and obtaining proper authorization were managed between the two Rotary clubs. The goods were purchased and shipped from wholesale markets from the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka. Once the products arrived in Cox’s Bazaar, then our group worked in a small bungalow on the Bay of Bengal preparing separate packages for men and women.

Maji, or tribal captains, are village leaders that manage groups of about fifty families. They were instrumental in helping coordinate with the army and determine fair distribution across thousands of refugees. Many refugees were shaking as they came through the line to receive their package. Some were sick, some were visibly scared.

Distribution went off without a hitch, in part, because members from multiple Rotary clubs made a significant contribution to the project. Together they established resources and logistics for the safe and successful distribution of aid. Rotary clubs around the world should look to examples like this for ideas on future refugee service projects.
Assisting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh 2018-05-11 04:00:00Z 0

Trust unlocks creativity at European youth seminar

Participants in the RYLA from the Netherlands and Germany collaborate to develop a strategy.

By Cédric Schad

I am a 19-year-old law student at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. Through the Rotary Club of Bad Bederkesa, Germany, I had the chance to take part in a Dutch-German Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) seminar in Nordhorn this year. It was an amazing experience. When I arrived on that Friday for the “Proud to be European” seminar, I didn’t know what to expect. But luckily, I wasn’t the only one.

None of the other 23 participants (ages 18-28), knew each other either. They came from different regions of the Netherlands and northwest regions of Germany. From the first get together, though, there was a great spirit of openness and friendliness.

The first part of the program was designed to stimulate discussions about the European Union. We had the chance to exchange our thoughts about personal and general benefits of the European Union. What I remembered the most was that we all felt proud to represent European values such as democracy, equality, and peace. In addition, we got an idea of how important cooperation between European countries is to solve common problems.

For example, Professor Stefan Kuks, Chairman of the Dutch Waterboard Vechtromen, told us about the collaboration between Dutch and German offices necessary to control overflowing waters in the area of the river Vecht and prepare the nearby area for any possible consequences.

The second part of the seminar was dedicated to teaching us to work together. The challenge was to quickly assemble a team and build trust. Groups of four to five people had to develop strategies for a business game, which involved coming up with ways to make the people living in a fictitious country in Europe the happiest on the continent, and then present those ideas. We were given no limits to our creativity.

Especially in this second part, we faced the challenges of making decisions under pressure while sharing responsibility. But we figured it out quite quickly, and soon gained each other’s trust, which I guess was the case for all the teams. We developed an incredible team spirit and were able to use our different strengths for optimal results. To help our collaboration, one or two coaches observed each team’s interactions and offered constructive feedback.

Participants use different props to work out their strategies.

An added attraction was entertainer Richard de Hoop, who used music to visualize Belbin Team Roles to help us support each other and build on each of our strengths as a team. But most importantly, what will last are the friendships that we built in such a short time through our collaboration and through relaxed conversations during social time at the bar in the evenings.

It is an amazing feeling to get to know so many interesting personalities and to spend some unique moments with them. I hope to stay in contact with them, despite the geographical distance between us. So far, we keep in touch through social media groups and exchange news daily.
Trust unlocks creativity at European youth seminar 2018-05-04 04:00:00Z 0

Rotary.org wins Webby People's Voice Award

By Rotary International

The people have spoken. With a majority of internet user votes, Rotary.org won the prestigious Webby People’s Voice Award for best association website. The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences announced the winners on 24 April.
Rotary International's revamped website has been chosen by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences as one of the best association websites in the world.

This year, internet users cast over 3 million votes worldwide. And with over 13,000 entries from nearly all 50 U.S. states and more than 70 countries, this year’s contest is the biggest Webby Awards ever. Winners will be recognized at the Webby Awards’ 22nd annual ceremony 14 May in New York, New York, USA.

The Webby Awards are the leading international honor for excellence on the internet. Rotary was one of five websites nominated in the best association category. The other nominees were the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, 11th Macau Design Biennial, Trade Works for Us, and the Center for Court Innovation.

Rotary was also nominated for a Webby Award whose winner is chosen by the academy. That award went to the Macau Design Biennial.
Rotary.org wins Webby People's Voice Award 2018-04-29 04:00:00Z 0

The opportunity that changed my life

Jireh Mabamba, second from left, with members of Rotaract in Minnesota.
By Jireh Mabamba
Sometimes, all you need is a chance – that one opportunity of a lifetime. Rotary gave me that chance.
I grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where human life has little value. Children are taken from their families and forced into the army, women are raped daily, and men are killed in front of their loved ones. Massacre is the norm. The only way to survive this brutal environment is to flee the country, and when I was nine, that’s what my family and I did.
We moved to South Africa, a country that was foreign to us on so many levels. The language and the currency were different. We knew no one. Of the few people that showed us kindness, most were Rotarians. They came forward and helped us when we needed it most. At that time, I knew nothing about Rotary. In 2007, Rotary Youth Exchange students from Australia, France, Germany, and the U.S. came to my school for their year abroad and it was through them that I truly became interested in Rotary.
I learned about fellowship, the value of friendship, and what it means to serve. The more I learned of the work of the Rotary Club of Durban Berea, the more my interest grew. When I completed high school, Rotary International gave me the opportunity to be an exchange student in Duluth, Minnesota, USA.
My life changed in so many ways during my exchange. I grew as a leader by surrounding myself with Rotarians who were leaders of action in their professional field and their community. I contributed to hands-on projects that made immediate impact in the community. When I met other youth exchange students, I was exposed to new cultures, traditions, and languages. My experience built my self-confidence, allowed me to be more globally competent, and it gave me an opportunity to make lifelong friends.
When I returned to Durban, South Africa, after my exchange, I joined the Rotaract Club of Durban Berea to be with people my age who knew the value of serving others. This allowed me to further develop my leadership skills, to network, and to continue having fun with like-minded people.
I was accepted at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, allowing me to return to the U.S. in 2013. I built upon the relationships that I had developed during my exchange year with host families and Rotarians to found the Twin Ports Rotaract Club in Duluth. I started this club because I felt empowered by Rotarians from Durban and Duluth. My goal was to form a group of vibrant and dynamic individuals who enjoy serving their community, a group that does not discriminate based on gender, race, or nationality.
Twin Ports Rotaract has done several service projects in Minnesota, South Africa, and recently in Guatemalan communities. When I look back, I can see how my life has been completely transformed by the generosity of the people I met through the Rotary Youth Exchange program. Today, I am more passionate about empowering others and making a significant impact in the lives of the people I meet because of the Rotarians who took the time and believed in me.
The opportunity that changed my life 2018-04-20 04:00:00Z 0

Unexpected lessons from my disaster relief experience

Yannis Comino with ShelterBox aid supplies.
By Yannis Comino

Both my mother and father are members of the Rotary Club of Morisset, and their club’s constant promotion of ShelterBox gave me the idea to seek the exchange. I am currently working on a bachelor’s in Development Studies with the hope of pursuing a career in the aid sector through either community development or disaster management, so I was thrilled when my exchange was approved.

As I walked through the doors of ShelterBox headquarters, I was greeted by a youthful, vibrant, and enthusiastic team. I was impressed by their morning meetings, as they sit in front of four large television screens analyzing the current deployments and tracking global news of the day.

My task was to dive through post-deployment reports to identify contacts. Reading through these reports and generating a contact list the organization can use in future deployments, I got a real taste for the work they do. I was able to work alongside, and gain a deeper understanding of, the affiliates programme. This work was fascinating, but the greatest experience was sitting in on meetings and working will fellow colleagues who share my humanitarian virtues.

As I look back over my six-week immersion in disaster relief operations, and the logistical conundrums that must be resolved for any successful aid deployment, I am more certain than ever of my desired career path.

I truly believe this was the beginning of a lifetime of experiences. This kind of work will enable me to merge my two passions: helping others and exploring new destinations and cultures. My exchange has already led me to become more involved with the Morisset Rotary Club. I shall be going to Tanzania  later this year to help undertake a project to provide needed equipment for a hospital in the city of Morogoro.

I extend a big thanks to the Rotary Club of Truro Boscawen, who hosted me for my six-week exchange, and the Rotary club back home for kick-starting this adventure. But my biggest thanks has to go to Jane and Andrew Parker who put up with a stranger staying in their house for six weeks. It is a good thing I head back as the Australian summer draws to a close, as I dare not get back into a swimsuit after eating all of Jane’s amazing food. This New Generations Service Exchange has ignited my flame for humanitarian service, one I hope will continue to burn brightly for many years to come.
Unexpected lessons from my disaster relief experience 2018-04-15 04:00:00Z 0

Plant trees, we’ll plant seaweed

Plant trees, we’ll plant seaweed

By Parry Monckton, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia

In early March, members of my club joined the Operation Crayweed team at Mona Vale Beach to restore the denuded reef on the Sydney shore coastline. We decided to help plant a Crayweed forest as part of our unique response to RI President Ian Riseley’s challenge for Rotary members to plant trees around the world. Underwater trees, you see, are just as important, if not more so, to restoring the health and vitality of the world’s oceans.

Time and development have not been kind to the Sydney reefs. Pollution killed off a lot of the Crayweed before better sewage treatment and extended outfalls were put in place in the late 1980s. The quality fo water has improved dramatically. Unfortunately, seaweed forests do not return all by themselves. Enter Operation Crayweed, which has already had great success in eight sites around Sydney. The Mona Vale reef site will be the ninth seaweed forest planted.

Club members gather, measure, and record.

Club members gathered, measured, weighed, recorded and observed the quality of marine life on the individual kelp plants. These had been transported there from an earlier collection in the day from well-established reefs south of Sydney. Fifteen healthy plants were then put into each of nine pre numbered labelled green mesh bags then closed and fixed with cable ties. Three scuba divers from the University of New South Wales/Sydney Institute of Marine Sciences of Operation Crayweed (including leader, Dr ‘Ziggy’ Marzinelli and his team) floated them out from the beach to a predetermined reef site and anchored them down with clips and ropes with five preplaced stainless steel anchors to 45 bolts in the reef.
They were placed into about three to four meters of water, which took several. Our members were busily engaged in their scientific activities and sealing the mesh bags and carrying them to waiting divers. After repopulation of the reef, these nets and anchors will be removed.

The sites will now be revisited periodically. The Crayweed ‘forest’ that will emerge in the next 6 to 12 months will gradually take over the reef in coming years allowing the return of crayfish, fish, and all manner of other marine life to restore the natural underwater habitat lost in past years and for future people to enjoy.

Individual plants don’t have the effect a forest will, but clubs or members wishing to help can purchase these underwater “trees” to contribute to a future planting by contacting our club. Look at it as a way of responding to Riseley’s challenge if you wish. There is plenty of shoreline reef off of Sydney in need of restoration.  Operation Crayweed will give us periodic updates on the health of the forest of weed.
Plant trees, we’ll plant seaweed 2018-04-07 04:00:00Z 0

Water is building friendships, changing lives in Sri Lanka

Villagers in Vanni Pallugollewa, Sri Lanka, welcome the visiting Rotary members.

By Katie Conlon, PhD student at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, USA

Winding along the bumpy backroads of Sri Lanka and through intermittent rice fields and jungle, our group took hours of navigation skills to find the last village. But as we turned a corner, we got a first glimpse of the village’s welcoming committee, a 50-deep motorcycle “motorcade” assembled to escort us to the Nawa Teldeniya Water Project.

It was a very impressive entourage for the village to drum up. The bus and motorcycle cavalcade rode with us for the remaining kilometers to the village, and our procession grew as villagers came out of their homes and fields. By the time we reached the entrance of Nawa Teldeniya, the entire village had assembled.

The motorcade passed over the role of leading the procession to the village’s traditional Kandyan dance troupe. Rows of young children dressed in immaculate white temple attire gifted us with flowers and kowtows. The dancers wore colorful, traditional costumes adorned with silver chest pieces and headpieces that glistened in the sun as they whirled, drummed, and danced their way backwards into the heart of the village. This was a magnificent welcome for a newly formed friendship and international partnership involving a Rotary global grant project.

The gift of clean water, a basic human right, sparked this joy and enthusiasm on the part of the villagers. For centuries, rice farming in the north central provinces of Sri Lanka has depended on man-made reservoirs that collect and store water during the rainy seasons. In recent decades, chronic kidney disease is linked to agricultural fertilizers and pesticides that pollute the reservoirs, irrigation canals, and ground water. This ground water in turn fills the community wells that supply drinking water. Hundreds die every year from this disease.

The pollution is irreversible. The only way to remove the dissolved heavy metal ions responsible for the disease is through the process of reverse osmosis. Through a global grant from The Rotary Foundation awarded to the Rotary Club of Colombo, Sri Lanka and eight Rotary clubs from District 6600 in Ohio, reverse-osmosis plants have been built and are now providing clean water in seven rice-farming Sri Lankan villages affected by chronic kidney disease. Each water plant serves 1,400 people. And there is sufficient funding to build five more such plants in the next several months; bringing the grant tally eventually to 13 centers.

Over the course of two weeks in January, the delegation of nine Rotarians from Ohio and eight from Colombo formed a core group, and numerous Colombo and North Central Province Rotarians joined for various stages of the water filtration center tour to see the fruition of the past year’s work and officially commemorate the completed centers.

Committed to the motto “service above self,” these Rotary clubs have partnered to address the crucial overlapping problems of access to clean drinking water and preventing chronic kidney disease, both of which create an unbearable situation for livelihoods and health in the north central province villages in Sri Lanka.

Back in the village, the revelry of the day continues, and smiles and warmth radiate from everyone present. After being entertained by dance and song, the ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the water filtration center begins. The commencement plaque reveals the names of the national and international Rotary groups who partnered for this project. Commemorative photos are snapped. The reverse osmosis machine is fired up and water is poured for a round of cheers. Nothing tastes sweeter than the first sip of clean water after decades of drinking polluted water. For Rotarians and villagers alike, this day of clean drinking water is a day that will not be forgotten.
Water is building friendships, changing lives in Sri Lanka 2018-03-30 04:00:00Z 0

World Water Day 2018: Unlocking Nature’s Potential to Create a Water-Secure World

Wakhan, Afghanistan. Photo credit: John Winnie Jr., WCS-Afghanistan

“Water is the driving force of all nature,” Leonardo da Vinci observed more than 500 years ago. His observation is just as relevant today — water’s role in maintaining the health and balance of natural ecosystems remains as vital as ever. But on a planet that is growing warmer and more crowded, freshwater resources and the ecosystems that depend on them are being strained as never before.

This year, as the world prepares to celebrate World Water Day on March 22, attention is being focused on our relationship with nature. Specifically, how can we interact more sustainably with the natural environments around us to become more effective stewards of water, the world’s most vital resource? USAID recognizes that environmentally responsible water resources management serves a key role in improving everything from economic development prospects and human health outcomes to resilience in the face of intensified cycles of flood and drought. To that end, USAID — along with more than 16 other U.S. Government agencies — declared in the recently released U.S. Government Global Water Strategy that preservation of the planet’s natural environments is a key component to making sustainable improvements to water supply and human health.
World Water Day 2018: Unlocking Nature’s Potential to Create a Water-Secure World 2018-03-22 04:00:00Z 0

Clean water for Fante Mayera, Ghana

Albert Essien, left, visits the stream that is a source of water for the village.

By Albert Essien, Rotary Club of Tema Meridian, Ghana

Fante Mayera is a medium-size rural community of about 800 people in the greater Accra region of Ghana. In August, I visited the community with the manager of the Rotary-USAID partnership in Ghana and other officials to meet with villagers and check on the progress of a borehole and latrine. I had been part of an initial visit with my Rotary club in 2016 to assess conditions there, and it was exciting to return and see the difference this important collaboration is making.

The main occupation of the people in Fante Mayera is farming. The community is connected to the National Electricity Grid so inhabitants have access to a power supply. The community had an existing hand-dug well, which was installed a decade ago. But over time, the quality of the water had become very bad. When we arrived at the well site, the apron was hanging off from erosion and the hand pump was not working. To fetch water, villagers had to use a bucket and rope. The color of the water resembled tea.

In spite of the poor quality, the community still used it. As we stood by the well interacting with residents, I saw children come around with buckets to fetch water. In the dry season, the well dries up, and when that happens, the community shifts their attention to a stream which is some distance away. From the hand-dug well site, residents led us on a 20-minute walk to the stream.

During my earlier visit in 2016, I remembered seeing a snake swimming in the water, an indication of the dangers the people are exposed to meeting their daily water needs. We impressed upon them the need to get a platform people could stand on to fetch water, so they wouldn’t have to walk into the stream. As part of the collaboration, Rotary and UAID are providing the community with a water supply system based on a mechanized borehole.

Next we visited the primary school to inspect construction of two 4-seater KVIP latrines. I was glad that the girl’s latrine had a changing room with a washing trough connected to a water source. This feature is a requirement of my club’s menstrual hygiene program, under which we distribute washable menstrual kits to school girls.

We were shown the existing latrine which was in a very bad shape. We were told that community members used to come to the school to use the existing latrine, but the heads of the PTA and School Management Committee gave us assurances this would not happen with the new facility. The community seemed very appreciative of the latrines being constructed, so we felt convinced they would not allow anybody to mess them up.

The community members are very appreciative of what Rotary is doing for them. It is my hope that in the not-too-distant future, I will return to witness the completed WASH facilities in use, as our club continues to work with Rotary’s partners to support, train and mentor the community in water and sanitation management and hygiene education.
Clean water for Fante Mayera, Ghana 2018-03-17 04:00:00Z 0

Water flows from new borehole in Basari Akura

Villagers in Basari Akura use a newly installed pump.

By Johnson Pewudie, Rotary Club of Hohoe, Ghana

Basari Akura is a predominantly farming community in the Volta region of Ghana. The nearly 1,000 people that live there lack access to sufficient clean water, undermining health, education, and productivity of both adults and children. My club, the Rotary Club of Hohoe, is working with USAID and the government to extend the benefits of the Rotary-USAID Partnership water, sanitation and hygiene program in Ghana to Basari Akura.

On 27 July, I visited Basari Akura with the partnership program leaders in Ghana: Ako Odotei, chair of the project management committee and Theophilus Mensah, the project manager. We were also joined by a member of the Rotary Club of Ho, the other Rotary club in the Volta Region, and a local representative from our USAID partner, Global Communities.

We went with community leaders to the site of a new borehole that Rotary and USAID are drilling about 500 meters from a stream that inhabitants depend on for water. The project manager made us aware that the water test and pump test results were satisfactory. The chair of the community’s water and sanitation committee (WATSAN) who was with us expressed his joy at the addition of a new water source, which in his words, will ease the pressure and struggles for clean water.

We learned that the 935 people living in Basari Akura depend on an existing borehole, which was insufficient for the number of inhabitants. Squabbles and even fights erupt due to misunderstandings about whose turn it is to use the borehole. Students spend most of their after school hours fetching water instead of studying.

The slow-flowing stream that supports the current borehole, as a source of water, is very bad. The water was greenish. We saw and heard frogs around, as well as cattle foot prints in the mud. We were told that the stream dries up in the dry season. I would have never imagined that, within the same country, some have to resort to frog-infested water, which they share with cattle, while others, especially in urban centers, enjoy clean tap water.

The community leaders told us that they used to suffer from Guinea worm until the arrival of the existing borehole. The most common current ailments are malaria and diarrhea.

Despite the challenges, we noted that the community has a very good WATSAN committee of nine members, five of those women. The committee has a good accounting system, collecting a monthly fee from users of the existing borehole, depositing it in a bank, and using it for maintenance. They had already designated two people to be their pump maintenance personnel.

By the end of our visit, we had the rare privilege of witnessing the first flow of water from the new borehole funded by the Rotary-USAID Partnership. It was clean and flows well. It is our intentions and hope to continue working in collaboration with our partners and Basari Akura to ensure that the community maintains good management practices of the water facility, and also explore other avenues we can to make life and health better for the community.
Water flows from new borehole in Basari Akura  2018-03-10 05:00:00Z 0

5 things you may not know about ending Polio

John Cena
The road to eradicating polio has been a long and difficult one, with Rotary leading the fight since 1985. Going from nearly 350,000 cases in 1988 to just 10 so far this year has required time, money, dedication, and innovation from thousands of people who are working to end the disease.

Here are five things you may not know about the fight to end polio:

1. Ice cream factories in Syria are helping by freezing the ice packs that health workers use to keep the polio vaccine cold during immunization campaigns.
2. Celebrities have become ambassadors in our fight to end the disease.
They include WWE wrestling superstar John Cena, actress Kristen Bell, action-movie star Jackie Chan, golf legend Jack Nicklaus, Grammy Award-winning singers Angelique Kidjo and Ziggy Marley, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu, anthropologist Dr. Jane Goodall, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates, and world-renowned violinist and polio survivor Itzhak Perlman.
3. Health workers and Rotary volunteers have climbed mountains, crossed deserts, and sailed to remote islands, risking their lives to vaccinate children against this disease. Rotary has funded more than 1,500 motorbikes and 6,700 other vehicles, as well as 17 boats, to make those journeys. Vaccinators have even traveled on the backs of elephants, donkeys, and camels to immunize children in remote areas.
4. In Pakistan, the polio program emphasizes hiring local female vaccinators and monitors. More than 21,000 vaccinators, 83 percent of whom are women, are achieving the highest immunization coverage rates in the country’s history.

5. Thanks to the efforts of Rotary and its partners, more than 16 million people who otherwise might have been paralyzed are walking today. In all, more than 2.5 billion children have been vaccinated since 1988.
5 things you may not know about ending Polio 2018-02-25 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary gives $53.5 million to help eradicate polio

Rotary gives $53.5 million to help eradicate polio and challenges the world to continue the fight to end the disease.
Photo by Khaula Jamil
Rotary is giving $53.5 million in grants to support immunization and surveillance activities led by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

More than half of the funds will support efforts to end polio in two of the three countries where polio remains endemic:
    •    Afghanistan: $12.03 million
    •    Pakistan: $19.31 million

Further funding will support efforts to keep 10 vulnerable countries polio-free:
    •    Cameroon: $1.61 million
    •    Central African Republic: $428,000
    •    Chad: $2.33 million
    •    The Democratic Republic of Congo: $6.48 million
    •    Ethiopia: $1.82 million
    •    Iraq: $2 million
    •    Niger: $1.71 million
    •    Somalia: $3.29 million
    •    South Sudan: $835,300
    •    Syria: $428,000

An additional $731,338 will fund research to be conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), and another $518,000 will go toward technical assistance in West and Central Africa.
While significant strides have been made against the disease, polio remains a threat in hard-to-reach and underserved areas and conflict zones. Despite a historically low case count, as long as a single child has polio, all children are at risk, which underscores the need for continued funding and political commitment to eradication.

Rotary has committed to raising $150 million over the next three years, which will be matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, yielding $450 million for polio eradication activities, including immunization and surveillance.
Rotary started its polio eradication program PolioPlus in 1985, and in 1988 became a partner in the GPEI, along with WHO, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation later became a partner. Since the initiative launched, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases in 1988 to just 22 confirmed cases in 2017 (as of 25 January). Rotary has contributed a total of more than $1.7 billion — including matching funds from the Gates Foundation — and countless volunteer hours to protect more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries from polio.
Rotary gives $53.5 million to help eradicate polio 2018-02-18 05:00:00Z 0

Incoming district governors prepared to Be the Inspiration

By Hank Sartin, Rotary editorial staff

District governors-elect got their first look at the 2018-19 presidential theme Be the Inspiration Sunday at the International Assembly, an annual training event for incoming district leaders. RI President-elect Barry Rassin urged the audience to build a stronger organization by inspiring a younger generation and by getting the word out to the community at large about the work Rotary does. “I will ask you to inspire with your words and with your deeds: doing what we need to do today, to build a Rotary that will be stronger tomorrow; stronger when we leave it, than it was when we came.”

We caught up with incoming district governors after the theme was announced to get their thoughts on being the inspiration.

Charles Tondeur, Rotary Club of Hazebrouck-Merville, France (District 1520): “I think Rotary needs to be open to new ideas, and this theme encourages us to think about ideas that will inspire our members. Inspiring is about bringing new energy.”
Yoko Hattori, Rotary Club of Tokyo Hiroo, Japan (District 2750): “This theme is clear and direct, which is going to be useful and powerful for the leadership in districts. He’s asking us to think about how we take care of our Rotary family, but also how we inspire beyond Rotary.”
Malcolm Kerr, Rotary Club of Cobram, Australia (District 9790): “I thought the theme was, well, inspiring. I especially like the way he talked about the sea connecting us all. We have to inspire our districts, we have to inspire our clubs, we have to inspire our individual members, and we have to inspire in the world beyond Rotary. It’s a pyramid of possibilities.”
Jim Cupper, Rotary Club of Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA (District 6360): “What I really liked was Barry Rassin’s emphasis on the environment and how we’re going to fit that into the things that Rotary does. Be the Inspiration is easy for most of us to work into our message to our districts and our leadership teams. Part of inspiring our clubs will be training them to use the amazing tools that Rotary has.”
Linda Murrary, Rotary Club of South Everett/Mukilteo, Washington, USA (District 5050): “The theme is so important to Rotary right now, when we all need inspiration. Barry Rassin talked about getting the word out, so I’m going to go post the theme and talk about it on Facebook tonight! His message on membership is so important, urging us to be open to new ideas. ”
Incoming district governors prepared to Be the Inspiration 2018-01-19 05:00:00Z 0

Teaspoons of peace that will last a lifetime

With peace makers from around the world at the International Institute on Peace Education conference in Innsbruck, Austria
By d’Arcy Lunn, 2016-18 Rotary Peace Fellow, International Christian University, Tokyo
Take visiting 15 countries over five months, then add in any number of training events, an internship, research, attending conferences and events, and meeting two Nobel Peace Laureates, and you get an amazing formula for gaining skills in peace building. The final and most important result of this equation, though, will be wha