Rotary’s Making A Difference in New Jersey and All Around The World
When people ask me what Rotary is, I usually say, "we're ethical professionals who give time and money to help people in need." A friend of mine usually responds, "we're do-gooders." A new Rotary campaign is launching to say that we are "people of action."
No matter what quick description people give, the fact is that the organization is 1.2 million members strong. With clubs all around New Jersey, the USA and in most of the countries in the world, they're truly doing a lot of good, locally and globally.
About 35,000 Rotarians were recently in Atlanta and it was an exciting, energizing, exhausting experience.
Here are some of my take-aways:
People are resiliant: We saw a presentation by Minda Dentler, paralyzed by polio and abandoned by her mother, who eventually learned to walk and compete in an Ironman competition. We also heard from a woman who got sucked into a life of sex slavery, then later escaped and is now helping others turn their lives around.
Young people are ready: Despite talk about how lazy millennials are, those who spoke at Convention seem ready to work hard to right wrongs and make the world a better place. They will use social media to communicate and will put their talents to good use.
Partnerships are powerful: I watched the crowd erupt as Bill Gates pledged a huge amount of money to help finish the job of eradicating Polio. This is on top of the millions of dollars he and his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have already given. (They partnered with Rotary years ago, offering a matching grant for each dollar that Rotary raised to buy vaccines for children so they will never get the crippling disease.)
Volunteering feels good: I was inspired to learn about all kinds of projects that are working to help people. Rotarians are building water systems, they're providing healthcare, they're teaching, they're providing shelter. Locally Rotary volunteers do things like help feed the hungry, clean up parks, and give winter coats to school kids in need.
It feels really good to help, even in a small way. Whether buying a ticket to a pancake breakfast, writing a check for the End Polio Now campaign, or volunteering time to help others.
Are you a member of Rotary or some other service organization? What's one of your favorite things about it?