Doing Good with Rotary.
Home Page Stories
Nathaniel Smith and Kristin Post met on a walking tour of Dupont Circle, a lively neighborhood in Washington, D.C. That's where things got a little creepy -- in a ghoulish sort of way.
The Halloween-inspired walk featured ghost stories and neighborhood history. It also replaced a regular meeting of the Rotary Club of Dupont Circle Washington. It's just the kind of activity that can attract young people -- or the young at heart -- to Rotary.
"This type of club meeting not only shakes up the tradition-bound notions of Rotary, it also creates an event to show off our club to younger prospects," says Post, a founding member of the Dupont Circle club.
1. Organize interesting meetings
Post says her club has found that organizing at least two special meetings a year creates a unique experience for attracting new members and cements friendships among club members. Explore your community for activities that you can use to create a different kind of club experience.
2. Look at your traditions
Smith says newer generations aren't impressed by pomp and circumstance. He points to the Rotary Club of Crawley in Western Australia, whose membership is one of the fastest growing and most diverse. They no longer sing the national anthem or fine their members.
"Some tradition is important, but too much time spent on these rituals may prevent a younger member from feeling at home in your club," he adds.
3. Update how and where you talk about Rotary
When the Rotary Club of Bondi Junction started referring to itself as a "social enterprise that delivers social change," it saw an immediate uptick in interest from younger members. Choosing the right communication channels for your club is equally important, whether it's Facebook, LinkedIn, or your website.
"The trickiest part is keeping it updated, but this is also critical. If your presence on these sites becomes stagnant, you'll lose the opportunity to hook a younger audience," says Smith.
4. Examine your club dues
The Dupont Circle club decided to offer appetizers and a cash bar rather than a full meal at its meetings to keep dues affordable for young professionals. You might also consider offering reduced dues to younger members for their first year.
5. Provide alternatives to weekly attendance
"Attendance is another challenge," says Post. "Members in our club often travel for work, plus they have family or other personal commitments that vie for their time."
The Dupont Circle club makes make-ups easier by counting participation in service days, committee meetings, district trainings, and club social events.
6. Plan events that members can attend easily
In many urban areas, young people rely on public transportation to get around. Choose meeting locations with that in mind. And hold some events on the weekend so members with full-time jobs and young families can attend.
7. Involve young members early to build club loyalty
Involve new members in club projects right from the start. Seek their input. Give them responsibilities so they feel a sense of accomplishment and worth. And assign them mentors in the club to ensure that they feel valued.
8. Plan family-friendly projects and activities
Plan club meetings, service projects, and events that appeal to young families. For instance, the Dupont Circle club threw a baby shower to celebrate three upcoming births. The shower was held in a space that offered plenty of room for the children of other club members to play together.
Beginning 23 June, Rotary will join 37 NGOs, non-profits, philanthropies and businesses in supporting the 5th Birthday and Beyond celebration that recognizes the leading role the U.S. government plays in improving children’s health worldwide.
And believe me, there is much to celebrate, especially the incredible improvement in childhood mortality rates over the past quarter century. Experts tell us that in 2014, six million fewer children will die before their fifth birthday than was the case 25 years ago.
In 1985 Rotary International took on the challenge of wiping polio from the face of the earth. In 1988 we were joined by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. To date, the United States has been the most generous donor country to the initiative with total contributions of more than $2.4 billion.
When we advocate on behalf of polio eradication, we emphasize to our elected officials how effective our efforts have been and why it is so vitally important to finish the job now and make polio only the second human disease to be totally eliminated (smallpox was the first).
Since we began, polio cases have plummeted by more than 99 percent, from about 350,000 cases per year to fewer than 420 in 2013. Today, polio remains endemic to only three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan, although cases will continue to occur elsewhere until the wild poliovirus is stopped for good.
We also make clear to our elected leaders that we do not expect national governments alone to pay the freight. Rotary members worldwide have contributed more than $1.2 billion and countless volunteer hours to polio eradication. Currently, the Gates Foundation is matching two-to-one every dollar Rotary contributes to polio eradication up to $35 million a year through 2018.
Let’s make sure that every child in the world celebrates his or her fifth birthday protected for life against polio.
In May, we held a special play to promote polio awareness in Shamsabad, Rawalpindi, with the help of the Pakistan National Polio Plus Committee and the Rawalpindi Arts Council.
The play portrays a young woman at an engagement party who becomes the laughing stock of the celebration when she cannot dance like the other young women. Her left leg is crippled from the effects of contracting polio as a child.
At the cruel remarks from her peers, the girl, Kiran, bursts into tears and proclaims “It is not my fault. My parents are responsible because they did not give me the polio vaccine. I can never live a normal life and cannot enjoy the company of friends. No one will marry me.”
Her mother tells the gathering that it is, indeed, her fault. “Please don’t ridicule my child. It is a burden on me, not on anyone else. But don’t repeat our mistake, give the polio vaccine to your children so they will not have to suffer in this way.”
The play ends with the boy who was set to be engaged to another woman choosing to marry Kiran instead, after overhearing the conversation.
The performance is aimed at sensitizing the audience to the dangers of polio, and the peril of not letting your children receive the vaccine. It is perhaps the first attempt to raise awareness in the city since the World Health Organization’s vaccination recommendations for travellers from polio-infected countries.
Our district governor handed out certificates to the artists following their fine performance of the play, written by the former resident director of the art council, Naheed Manzoor.
We would strongly encourage other clubs to find creative ways to promote polio awareness. Two drops of vaccine can protect a child for life. What can be more important than that?
In 2005, HonorAir founder Jeff Miller asked me to help realize his dream of taking all surviving American WWII vets to their national memorial in Washington D.C. What started as a small local project has now spread nationwide, thanks in no small part to many Rotary clubs that made it their own project.
About a year ago, Jeff had another dream. This time it was to take all surviving Normandy Invasion Campaign (D-Day) veterans to their national memorial for the 70th Anniversary Commemoration of D-Day. Through the partnership of the Asheville and Hendersonville Rotary clubs, a team was pulled together to turn this idea into a reality.
For nine months, this team of Rotarians has worked tirelessly to identify every surviving D-Day vet throughout western North Carolina, in hopes of loading them on two buses and taking them to the commemoration events in Bedford, Virginia, on 6 June. Rotary clubs throughout District 7670 have worked to find eligible vets as well as donated money to the project to ensure that the veterans and their spouses travel at no charge.
So what is my take away on this Rotary experience? Recently, I spent time with my family floating and camping down a local river. One morning as I sat on the riverbank watching the sun creep over the mountain tops, my mind drifted to the beauty surrounding me and the freedom I have to enjoy public lands and come and go as I please. It reminded me of the brave sacrifice of millions of soldiers, sailors, and airmen; the terrible cost of war; and the importance of working to build peace.
This Rotary project has given me perspective in ways I could never have imagined. In preparing a video As we talked, I viewed him in the same way I viewed my grandfather, full of wisdom and experience, a man to be respected.
In post-production a few days later, we found a photo of Mr. Murf with his squadron standing in front of their plane. A shiver ran down my spine as I saw this grandfatherly figure from a few days before in the form of a teenager, only a year or two older than my own kids. A young man with an entire life of dreams in front of him. He was one of the lucky ones; the ones that made it home to realize those dreams.
The gigantic, brooding monoliths of Easter Island have been impressing visitors to the remote island, 2,000 miles off the coast of Chile, for years. We [District 4349 of Chile] wanted to illuminate some of these statues with an End Polio Now message, but it proved to be no easy task.
The stone statues are known as moai, the living faces (aringa ora) of deified ancestors of the Rapa Nui who inhabited the island. The Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen came upon the statues on Easter Sunday in 1722. The island has several ceremonial platforms, called ahu, upon which statues are displayed, and each is associated with a family of nobility.
The construction of the moai was quite an event. They average 10 to 16 feet in height, and weigh about five tons, although some are as heavy as 10 tons. Archaeologists have registered more than 1,000 statues around the island.
Our goal was to light two of the 15 moai on Tongariki, the biggest ahu on the island located about 40 minutes from the town of Hanga Roa. The two figures we wanted to light are both unique, the second from the right is the only one with a hat, and the fifth from the right is the largest of the set.
But doing so is complicated. Besides the lack of electricity, the ahu are protected sacred sites. For our event, we needed authorization from the governor of Easter Island, the mayor of Hanga Roa, the National Corporation of Indigenous Development, and the senior council for the Rapa Nui.
On 6 May, permission and equipment secured, about 45 members of Rotary and 70 Rotary Youth Exchange Students from Chile, all wearing red End Polio Now T-shirts, traveled to the island and gathered in front of the Tongariki with local residents for our effort to raise awareness for polio eradication and publicize just how close we are to ending this disease.
Once everything was ready, we went to the ahu and sat down for the official picture. We finally made it!
(Port Angeles) – High honors last night for many graduating Port Angeles High School seniors.
More than two and a half million dollars in scholarships and grants were handed out during the annual awards ceremony.
Of that, more than 500-thousand dollars came from local organizations.
Several students received large endowments to attend prestigious schools including nearly full-ride scholarships to Harvard and Dartmouth.
Once again KONP broadcast the event live last night.
By Tamika Doubell, model, actress, and an ambassador for Brooklyn Fashion Week
Thanks to my family’s involvement with Rotary, I’m never short of a community project to get involved with. My mother is the assistant governor for District 9370 (South Africa) and I’m proud to be associated with Rotary through projects of the Rotary Club of Algoa Bay in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Recently Rotary initiated three days of free healthcare to communities across South Africa through the Rotary Family Health Days, sponsored by Rotarians For Family Health and Aids Prevention. I covered social media, public relations, and marketing for the event in the Eastern Province. I shot several photos that I submitted to Rotary’s photo contest on Instagram. One in particular spoke to my heart — a photo of a man named Samuel from New Brighton township here in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Samuel was in his shack listening to the radio when he heard an interview about the health days. Leaders from the Rotary Club of San Rafael Harbour in San Francisco, USA, had flown in especially to take part and hand out prosthetic hands. Samuel happened to need one. He gathered up some coins, got in a taxi and made his way to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium where he received immediate attention and was fitted with a new hand.
For the first time since 1982, he held a cup of coffee in his dominant hand. He was beaming from ear to ear and it brought tears to our eyes and to his. Because of the collaborative effort of all Rotary members at the stadium when he arrived (near closing time!) to work speedily and effectively to give him his hand, he was full of a hope and joy he hadn’t experienced in over 30 years, not since losing his hand during Apartheid.
Rotary is about teamwork, human rights, making a difference and – most importantly — giving people back their dignity and self-respect. Nelson Mandela believed in this too. Rotarians in Nelson Mandela Bay did just that every day during the three-day initiative. Because of it, we are all Rotary “heroes” in my eyes.
Well, fear not, for although some or most of these plants may be slightly early this year, they all indeed bloom in winter, and we are already at midwinter, so these plants are predictably in bloom roughly for their time. However, many folks are asking me if it is time to prune because they see new growth on their roses, hydrangeas, vines, area ornamental shrubs.
NO! (The exceptions are fruit and nut trees.)
All pruning is stimulating, and here on the North Olympic Peninsula we reliably and historically get heavy frosts and cold the last half of February or early March. New growth manifesting itself as new shoots, newly forced leaves or breaking buds are extremely vulnerable to hard frost their first week or two. To prune now is to simulate this scenario, and many, if not all perennial plants, rely on their exterior mass to shade them, creating a windbreak to aid them in overwintering.