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Rotary Is Being Re-Created
 
Throughout the world, Rotarians are finding new ways to serve their communities – and resurrecting some old ones.  Club meetings, typically held in person, are now held on Zoom or other platforms, and a new approach to Rotary fellowship is being found.  Many Rotary friends who had previously moved to warmer climes have started to attend their prior clubs and reinvigorate their club friendships. 
 
Similarly, Rotarians who often were challenged to attend a weekly meeting have found Rotary fellowship from the comfort of their living room.  Our meetings are different, to be sure, but we are adapting well to this new reality.  In fact, many Rotary clubs suggest that their future meetings, even when we can again meet in person, will include a live video feed to broaden the club’s reach.
 
More interestingly, Rotarians have begun to evolve the concept of service.  Typically Rotarians would engage in a service project at the location of the organization which benefits.  In the COVID model Rotarians are designing projects to be done by Rotarians in a socially distant environment.  For instance, Rotarians in Lake George have responded to community needs and have organized a work-at-home Rotary crew that has made over 2,000 face masks, and counting.  They are being provided to first responders and community members who reach out.
 
The Glens Falls Rotary organized a massive drive-through outdoor food pantry.  Over 600 vehicles were filled with 54,000 pounds of food donated by the Northeast Regional Food Bank.  To make that happen, they reached out to every community organization they could think of and asked for volunteer help.  An undertaking this large needed many hands, and the other organizations pitched in and the day was a success.  Social distance policies were observed, along with gloves and masks to allow the safe transfer of food into the car trunks of hungry families throughout the local community.
 
These are just two examples of how clubs locally are responding.  In the Capital Region our 39 Rotary Clubs are stepping up, just as around the world Rotary International is stepping up.
 
As people of action, Rotary clubs around the world are engaged in their communities — gathering for projects and offering help to those in need. 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. For example:
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • The Rotary club of Metro Bethesda, Maryland, USA, is contacting neighbors who live alone and are quarantined. Volunteers are asked to contact at least five of those people each week to ask how they are and if they need anything. Members are also leaving flowers on their doorsteps. 
Rotary Clubs worldwide are also using technology to aid in the fight.  Clubs have leveraged their public profile to invite communities to Zoom based information sessions about the virus, with epidemiologists and public health officials as featured speakers.   Another club used online crowdsourcing to raise funds in support of displaced workers and food pantries.  Clubs have “digitized” their fund raising events, converting live auctions to an online format and donating all proceeds to COVID related efforts. 
 
Maybe you see something that could be done to aid the fight!  Maybe all you need to make it happen are hands, energy and commitment.  If so, we’d love to hear your idea and figure out how our clubs might help.  Contact me with your ideas at dglarry2019@gmail.com.  And, if you would like information about attending a virtual club meeting please reach out to me as well.
 
Rotary is and remains relevant to our communities, perhaps even more now than ever before.  We would love to connect your passion and energy with ours.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Stay well, and stay safe.
 
District Governor Larry Jones
 
RYLA is designed to grow leadership skills in students who have untapped leadership potential. Specifically, we are focusing on juniors in high school. Our program is not for the student who is already utilizing strong leadership skills or students who have no desire to develop such skills. 
 
District 7190 RYLA has been developed to help the committed student with untapped leadership potential. Through our program we will open up that potential and show the student the possibilities that are available to them. This has positive effects on many parts of the student’s life. They will gain self-confidence, add valuable skills that will serve them well into their future, and will teach another generation
about the ideals of Rotary.
 
 

Download the RYLA Program Guide

 
The mission of The Rotary Foundation is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.

The Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world.

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