My Rotary Youth Exchange — this year has opened my eyes

22 Jul

Originally posted on Rotary Voices:

Victoria Alvarez and other youth exchange students during their trip to the West Coast of the United States.

Victoria Alvarez and other youth exchange students during their trip to the West Coast of the United States.

By Victoria Alvarez, a Rotary Youth Exchange student from Argentina to the United States

Most of you have probably heard of Rotary Youth Exchange, and maybe some of you have even been involved with the program. I recently completed my exchange year in the United States, and wanted to share the perspective of someone who has just taken part in one.

I come from Argentina, a little country on the edge of South America that you may have heard of recently because of the World Cup. It is in many ways very different from the United States. In signing up for an exchange to America, I stepped out alone into a culture unlike any I had experienced, in an unfamiliar environment, in a house I did not know, to live with people…

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Art provides a universal language of peace

18 Jul

Originally posted on Rotary Voices:

Hands of Peace students during their visit to California.

Hands of Peace students during their visit to California.

By Kelly Mellos, fine artist and member of the Rotary Club of Encinitas Coastal, California, USA

People don’t get along because they fear each other. People fear each other because they don’t know each other. They don’t know each other because they have not properly communicated with each other.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

These words deeply resonated with me when the director of Hands of Peace came to speak to my club, explaining his dream of launching a grassroots peace project in our area, an expansion after 10 years in Chicago. Two years later, after our club’s initial alignment with Hands of Peace, the program is off the ground! Countless hours went into raising funds, recruiting volunteers and host families, and creating a three-week program, based on our mission of building peacemaking and leadership skills through the power of…

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Speaking up for Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

1 Jul

Originally posted on Rotary Voices:

Darren Luong, left, and Matt Pomeroy receive cetifications from District 7090 for their work with youth service.

Darren Luong, left, and Matt Pomeroy receive certificates from District 7090 for their work with youth service.

By Darren Luong, a member of the E-Club of Southern Ontario, Canada & Western New York

Sixteen years ago, as a student at Cardinal Heights Middle School in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, I received an award from the local Rotary club at my graduation. I didn’t know what Rotary was or even why I had received the award. Time went by and it was forgotten at the bottom of some boxes packed away.

Eight years later, I was sponsored to go to a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event in my district. This life-changing week and the support from Rotary throughout my life has convinced me that this organization is full of amazing people that can really change the world for the better.

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A reason to wear your Rotary pin

27 Jun

Originally posted on Rotary Voices:

Ron Nethercutt

Ron Nethercutt

By Ron Nethercutt, past chair of the Rotarians on the Internet Fellowship and a member of the Rotary Club of Mabalacat, Pampanga, Philippines

One of my unexpected surprises as a member of Rotary came during a large chamber of commerce meeting held at the Trade Center in New Orleans.

A young lady approached me and said “I want to thank you.” I asked “Why? Have we met?” She responded by saying she saw my Rotary pin that I was wearing and that she gave thanks to every Rotarian she saw. 

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From poetry to polio eradication

25 Jun

Originally posted on Rotary Voices:

The Rotary Club of Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India raised $7,500 for polio eradication through album sales of Gujarati Gazals.

The Rotary Club of Bhavnagar Royal, Gujarat, India raised $7,500 for polio eradication through album sales of Gujarati Gazals.

By Chirag Trivedi, president of the Rotary Club of Bhavnagar Royal, Gujarat, India

Since 1985, Rotary has been at the forefront of the effort to eradicate polio from the world. Here is a unique way a member of my club has been supporting this monumental effort with his own individual talent.

Himal Pandya has been a valuable member of our club since its chartering, having served as an assistant governor, past president,

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Fifth birthday and beyond

24 Jun

Originally posted on Rotary Voices:

John Hewko

John Hewko

By John Hewko, Rotary International General Secretary

Next week, 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.

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Taking the law to the streets

19 Jun

Originally posted on Rotary Voices:

Students in Washington, D.C., USA, learn basic legal concepts from the Street Law curriculum.

Students in Washington, D.C., USA, learn basic legal concepts from the Street Law curriculum.

By Divya Wodon and Naina Wodon, Interact Club of Washington International School, and Quentin Wodon, Rotary Club of Washington, Washington D.C., USA.

Why do you teach the children to jump up at our throat? This question was once asked by an unhappy South African high school principal to Ed O’Brien, a long-time member of the Rotary Club of Washington, D.C., USA, and founder of Street Law, a nonprofit that strives to teach individuals and communities, especially in underserved areas, about the law.

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