Posted by Alexa Rundquist on Jan 27, 2019
Katie Williams - A person of Action in our Community
Past President, Committee Chair, 2016-2017 Rotarian of the Year
Katie's impact on Minnetonka Rotary can not be measured but this article takes a look at some of the work she has done for in community and in our club.
In 2016-2017 Katie was given the Minnetonka Rotarian of the Year Award:
Minnetonka Rotary's president asked Rotary members to nominate the person that they think deserves the award and that in 2016-2017 the consensus was close to unanimous that Katie Williams was the member of the Minnetonka Rotary that always seems to be giving time to several service avenues in our club. Katie helps to chair the International Youth Exchange Program for both incoming and outgoing high school students. She makes sure that foreign students have host families inside the Hopkins or Minnetonka School districts and she has been a host parent for an exchange student as well. And she can speak from experience about outgoing students because her daughter went to Brazil. You can read about these in the links below. Katie and her involvement in Hopkins School system feels strongly about the safety and growth of young people and is very supportive of the Minnetonka Rotary’s motto of “Building Responsible Youth”. 

Katie is also a past president of the Minnetonka Rotary. Her actions in support of the Minnetonka Rotary and its youth program also shows that she believes in the Rotary motto of “Service above Self” by her actions. Congratulations to Katie …. she is a role model for all of our members, in that people don’t try for rewards and acknowledgment, but because she cares about being of service and is doing the right things and having fun at the same time. 
 
District Life Changer is Katie: 
 
Katie's work on the Hopkins Race and Equity Initiative is highlighted in the Royal Report: 
 
Katie is awarded Education of Excellence:
 
Katie's daughter was a youth Exchange Student and Katie opened her home to a Youth Exchange Student:

Neal E. had an opportunity to share a cup of coffee with Katie. It started out being a discussion, but turned into an interview. She told of her experience as a host parent for a 17 year old girl, Salomé, from Switzerland. The discussion expanded to cover the bigger picture of the Rotary International Youth Exchange Program. As a result of hosting Salomé from Switzerland, her daughter, Becky, decided to become an outbound American Student in the Rotary International Youth Exchange Program. Katie knew that it was scary to send a student to another country for ten months, but the Rotary Program had safeguards in place. If things went wrong, there was a recovery plan in place. In fact, the Rotary Guidelines are the same for all students. The student’s choose three locations that they would be interested in living for ten months. Rotary reviews the requests and matches them up as best as possible. Becky ended up being placed in Recife, Brazil. Not all host parents are Rotarians, but all of the people who are involved have a relationship with someone in Rotary. Those of us hosting incoming students take it very seriously that we will be their guardians for the coming school year. And we expect the people at the other end will take care of our students as well.

Becky had a wonderful time in Brazil, but it didn’t start out that way. The email contact with the club in Brazil was not effective and the communication with my daughter revealed that she was pretty much on her own and it made me feel uncomfortable. I went to District 5950 and the North Star Youth Exchange for help. They in turn went through Rotary channels to Brazil and found us a different Rotary Club to step in and take over. Recovery took place because Rotary cares and has these guidelines and safeguards. I know that if, for some reason the exchange student / host match don’t work out Rotary International will act as a go between for District 5950 and the other Rotary District to resolve the situation. 

Becky tells her perspective on the experience.... 
After the switch in Rotary Clubs I felt an additional level of support within Rotary. My new club had never hosted an exchange student and the members made extra efforts to include me in meetings and club events. That experience stands out as one of the first times I spoke up about my desire for things to improve. My sponsoring Rotary club and host Rotary District worked together in facilitating a change to better my experience. What I loved most about the Rotary Exchange Program is the opportunities Rotary provides. The chance to live with three host families, to travel internationally, and to volunteer attributed to my ever expanding global perspective and I will always be grateful for the experience. 

 

Katie's fellow Rotarian's share a few words about her:

"Katie is one of the solid pillars of the Hopkins Public Schools community. She has spent her career enriching the lives of so many of our students and their families. She will be missed by all but the programs and activities she put in place during her tenure in the District will last for many years to come." Jennifer St. Clair, Fellow Rotarian, Executive Director - Hopkins Education Foundation

 

"Katie is one of the best. She lives Rotary's motto of service above self. She was an incredible mentor to me during my Rotary Presidency and has always been a role model for me as a mom, community member, child advocate, and friend." Alexa Rundquist., Fellow Rotarian