The power of volun-telling

By Rotary International

Sarah Tuberty, right, and her mother during a visit to Boston last year.

By Sarah Tuberty, president of the Rotaract Club of Sargent College Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

I awoke early on a Saturday morning to the sound of my mother’s voice. “Good morning Sarah, I signed us up for a Rotary service project. You should put on old clothes. We are painting a map on the Alamo Elementary School playground. Quick, we need to leave in 15 minutes”

A form of this conversation occurred more times than I can remember when I was growing up. My mother, Katheryn Tuberty, has been a member of the Vacaville Rotary Club in California, USA, since 1998. Someone recommended to her that as the new administrator of the local assisted living center, it would be a great way to get to know the community. She was hooked from the first meeting. She loved the club, the people, and the community. She is an engaged person of action, a prominent figure in town, and a “mover and shaker.” She is also the queen of “volun-telling.”

“Volun-telling” is when you are volunteered for a role before you even ask. I learned all about taking part in service projects …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

Working together for peace through Rotary

By Rotary International

Rotary Peace Fellows Magdalena Zurita and Phil Gittins.

By Magdalena Zurita with Phill Gittins, Rotary Peace Fellows

My interest in promoting peace brought me to Bolivia, where I am doing my applied field study while earning a master’s degree at the Rotary Peace Center at International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan. I am passionate about the reduction of poverty and inequality, and efforts to address these challenges in ways that promote working together and embracing difference. In May, a Skype call and email exchange connected me to Phill Gittins, a fellow Rotary Peace Fellow, who has been working in Bolivia for many years. Through Rotary two strangers, working on peace separately, are now working on peace together.

Phill’s expertise is in peace education and youth work. Most recently, he has been using what he learned in his doctorate work in International Conflct Analysis to help develop and inform the next generation of peace builders. NewGen Peacebuilders is a global youth peace education programme, designed by Rotary Peace Fellows, endorsed by the Rotary Action Group for Peace, and supported by Rotary clubs and districts, internationally.

Phill put me in contact with Bolivian Rotarians, international organisations and friends working in peace and development here. Some of …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

What excites me about Miles to End Polio

By Rotary International

Kea Gorden before a training ride in Evanston.

By Kea Gorden, planned giving officer

On World Polio Day, I watched Rotary’s livestream event and realized that I really am in the middle of history in the making. As part of the Rotary staff Miles to End Polio team, I will be riding 106 miles on 18 November in the El Tour de Tucson. Riding that far is not something I’ve ever done before. But it gives me a great sense of accomplishment to feel like I can be a part of an effort that is having such a significant impact. As I watched Bill Gates announce his belief that this year will be the one where polio is finally stopped, I realized how close we really all.

The support I have received from family, friends, fellow staff, and fellow Rotarians has been amazing. Beyond contributions, they have asked me about my training and preparation, offered tips on the right gear and proper nutrition to keep me going, and otherwise helped me get ready for what will be a long 8-hour day of cycling through the hills of Tucson.

Peace Corps experience

Kea Gorden as a Peace Corps volunteer in …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

Building peace in Colombia

By Rotary International

Ana Laura Zavala Guillen leads a discussion at the University of Sheffield.

By Ana Laura Zavala Guillen, 2011-13 Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Bradford

Over the last three years, as a doctoral researcher, I have been studying the loss of territory by San Basilio del Palenque, a town located in the Colombian Caribbean, due to the armed conflict, business developments, state demarcations and the war on drugs. San Basilio is considered the last Colombian Palenque, communities built by runaway slaves during the 17th century as shelters.

Land grabs
As a human rights lawyer, my main aim for my research is to serve as evidence that the community can use in their claims against land grabs. On 15 June this year, I arrived in the town of San Basilio del Palenque, just in time for the celebrations that commemorate the Patron Saint of the community: St Basilio. I feared the high temperature and celebration preparations would prevent people from joining the seminar on The Role of the Archives in times of Peacebuilding.

But participation actually beat my expectation, with 40 attendees, including students, academics, activists, campesinos, community leaders and local representatives. They exchanged ideas about the importance of the archives to the current community …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

First outbound Rotary Youth Exchange from Nepal

By Rotary International

Seema Tamang, third from left, with other Rotary Youth Exchange students

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.

I stayed with my first host family, the Roses, during the school year. My second host family, the Camruds, included mom and dad and two younger host brothers. Being in a large home was very different and exciting as I got to explore every room and orient myself so that I could move about safely and quickly. It didn’t take me too long to be able to find everything by myself. It seems funny now that when I first arrived I asked my host-mom where the water bucket and pitcher …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

What makes your Interact club great?

By Rotary International

This week, World Interact Week, we honor the accomplishments of an estimated half a million Interact club members. And we are recognizing the positive impact young people have made through Interact for more than 55 years.

To celebrate Interact we asked clubs around the world, “What makes your Interact club great?” Here are some of the responses:

Interact Club of Carson Graham, Canada

“We are inclusive, motivated, and collaborative. We set goals and work together to fundraise for local and global organizations and charities, such as the Harvest project and World Wildlife Fund. The best part of being an Interactor is giving back to the community, and having fun with friends and like-minded peers.”

Interact Club of Parklands College, South Africa

“We’re always passionate about making people happy and helping as much as possible. We meet new people and help others who cannot help themselves. We get to work with likeminded people and we never look for recognition because their smiles are beyond priceless. We fill others with love and hope and get our whole school involved. We do it to build our future, one kind act at a time.”

Interact Club of Smarties Academy, Philippines

“Our voices may lack the respectability of age, but we have …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

Ready to ride for more in Tucson

By Rotary International

By Chelsea Mertz, Community Specialist, Rotary Service Connections

Since starting at Rotary in August 2015, I have been fortunate enough to support both the 2015 and 2016 Miles to End Polio teams. While supporting these teams, I’ve come to know many Rotarians and staff who are committed to funding the fight to end polio. I admire their hard work and dedication; they’ve inspired me to do more, to finally put myself forward and join the ranks of Rotary’s volunteer army.

To think that we are only a few short years from eradicating polio once and for all is exciting. It was only 50 years ago that polio was still creating public panics across the U.S. as within days a child could find themselves within an iron lung without hope of a cure. Today, within the U.S., we are fortunate enough to take the polio vaccine for granted. But that’s not the end of the story. Children the world over should be granted that same privilege – to live without fear of polio. For the past several decades, Rotary’s million-strong volunteer army has seen the transmission of polio halted in all but three countries. We still need to commit the …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog