What is Rotary, anyway?
For me, Rotary International is less about the numbers, and more about the stories and the causes. As a Rotarian, I’m a member of an international service club which encourages members to use their time and skills to make things better.
We can provide hands-on assistance or organize fundraisers.
All Clubs are encouraged to develop and support projects which promote education, particularly literacy education. Communities and countries are strengthened when higher proportions of people can read and write and are more highly educated. Some Clubs donate books or go into local schools, while others support projects overseas. Local Rotary Clubs started up and continue to support the Telling Tales Festival at Westfield Heritage Village in September every year.
Do you know anybody who had polio has a child? If you’re under 60 and grew up in Canada, you probably don’t. But in other countries, polio continues to cripple and even kill children. That’s why, in 1985, Rotary International set a goal of eradicating polio worldwide. The campaign is called PolioPlus and is also supported by the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Only 3 countries are still reporting cases of polio (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria), but if we stop fighting now, polio will quickly spread back around the world.
Clean water is another major goal for Rotary clubs worldwide. The Ancaster Rotary Club has spearheaded over 100 new wells in Haiti, a project that is supported by both local Rotary Clubs. When one Club has a great project, we can pool our money and apply for matching grants. That way, even a small contribution goes a lot further.
So when you see, Rotary volunteers in their red or blue t-shirts at Ribfest, feel free to ask us more about what we do. (Oh, and if you’re interested in the numbers, Rotary International has been around for 110 years and currently has 1.2 million members in 35,000 clubs in over 200 countries.)