Volunteering Matters: The Rotary

DenaJanuary 16, 2012
Students at Fundaninas, an orphanage in Guatemala City, Guatemala. With support from The Rotary Foundation through several Matching Grants, the orphanage houses, nourishes, and educates girls ages 2-18. Rotary Images/ Monika Lozinska-Lee.

A note from Dena: This is a guest post from my good friend, Lou Mello. Lou is an active member of the Rotary Club. For a long time I’ve wanted to know more about this organization. I knew that it must be a great thing because Lou is an amazing guy & he is deeply involved. I asked Lou to write this for me & my Evolution You family. Enter Lou…

So, how to start a post about myself and Rotary and make it a little interesting for getting us all from Darkness to Light? First, I should let you know that I don’t much like talking about myself, please see this post on Andra Watkins blog for that. I try to live the Golden Rule and my experience in Rotary is the closest I can come to living that daily.

Rotary came into my life nearly 13 years ago and it’s all about the things we should care about. Rotary’s motto is “Service Above Self” and that is all about giving of your time and treasure to help others. We help folks in our own local communities as well as people around the world who need clean water, education, food and shelter and a multitude of things that Rotarians can provide by working together.

My local Rotary Club meets weekly for lunch and we have about 70 members. We have fellowship events, hold an annual Soccer Classic fundraiser and do a number of projects locally. Some of them are giving all third graders in our area dictionaries, we also provide free shoes for needy school children in our area as well as backpacks of food weekly for those students that may not get food at home on the weekend. We also provide 7 scholarships annually for high school students to attend colleges. Here is a link to our Rotary District Facebook site. Our Rotary District consists of 79 Clubs in South and Eastern South Carolina.

A little history of Rotary, founded in 1905 by Paul Harris in Chicago, he was looking for that small town network of friends that one could associate with. Paul and three others attended that first meeting and they rotated to one another’s offices and that begat the name “Rotary”. Rotary began spreading across the country in the U.S. and then internationally with the first Club outside of the U.S being in Winnipeg, Canada. There are now over 34,000 Clubs worldwide in over 200 countries consisting of 1.2 million Rotarians. See more details at this link.

Rotary supports programs for young people with Rotary Youth Exchange, Rotaract, RYLA and the Ambassadorial Scholar program. Youth Exchange sends high school age students abroad for a year at another high school and they stay with a Rotarian Host Family.

Rotaract is a Club for young folks between the ages of 18 and 30 and often associated with a university. They run their Club just like a regular Rotary Club with meetings, service projects, fellowship and just having fun. See more info on New Generations activities here.

The Ambassadorial Scholars program sends selected Scholars abroad for a year of study, service and voluntary project work with Host Rotary Clubs. They are usually just getting out of college and going abroad for some post graduate work. Moving forward, these Scholars will all be in one of the Six Areas of Focus of the Rotary Foundation. Namely, Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution, Disease Prevention and Treatment, Water and Sanitation, Maternal and Child Health, Basic Education and Literacy and Economic and Community Development. More on that when we look at the heart of Rotary, the Rotary Foundation. The Rotary Foundation has funded over 41,000 Ambassadorial Scholars since 1947.

The Rotary Foundation is the heart of Rotary and funds humanitarian programs all over the world, primarily in the Six Areas of Focus. The History of the Foundation can be found here. Our number one Rotary priority is to eradicate Polio from the face of the earth. This is our PolioPlus program and in place since 1985. When it started, there were 165 countries worldwide with endemic Polio. Now there are only four, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria. We just celebrated an entire year without a single new case of Polio being reported in all of India, so we are nearly down to just three countries. There have been over 2 billion children immunized over the years and Rotarians have contributed nearly a Billion Dollars to fund this program. Bill Gates values Rotary’s role in this so much that he gave $355 million dollars to the PolioPlus fund. This will be only the 2nd disease ever wiped out on earth with smallpox being the first. Check out the Rotary PolioPlus Facebook site.

Get Involved
How does one get involved in Rotary? It is made up of business and professionals worldwide with a like mind to serve others, promote peace and understanding and do good in the world. Find a local Rotary Club and get involved, it will truly change your life. Here is a link to Rotary Basics, a quick introduction to Rotary.

We let our Rotary Four Way Test guide our lives, both professionally and personally. Of the things we think, say or do, we ask ourselves:

  1. Is it the Truth?
  2. Is it Fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build Goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be Beneficial to all concerned.

These twenty four little words, taken to heart, can change the world. Check out Rotary at www.Rotary.org for all the details.

A huge thank you to Lou Mello for sharing this guest post! I’ve learned a lot about the Rotary & I hope that you have, too. If you’re looking for a positive way to get involved and spread love & light—look no further.


Comments (4)

  • Anonymous

    January 16, 2012 at 6:42 am

    Love the pics you added, Dena, thanks so much for asking me to guest post.

  • Helen Diehl

    January 16, 2012 at 7:07 am

    My friend Jesse  is President of the local Rotary ( http://www.hatbororotary.org/)
    & they do wonderful things. It’s a great organization – thanks for the post about it!

  • Dena Botbyl

    January 16, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Thank you so much for this post, Lou! Like I said in my notes, I truly learned so much through your words. The Rotary sounds like an incredible organization. Perhaps it’s time for me to think about getting involved…!?! Thanks again. :o)

  • James Moffitt

    January 17, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Wow, this was very informative and inspiring to say the least.  I learned some things about the Rotary that I have never known. 🙂  I do want to join but I have some time and financial constraints that are limiting me at this time.  Once I can overcome those obstacles I will make this happen.  

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