RI President 2018-19 Barry Rassin
- May 2019
Dear Fellow Rotarians,
The people who know me best — my family — know that
my passion for Rotary is boundless. They also know that I don't
expect them to get involved in Rotary the way I have. It's a choice
that's up to them. But I must admit, I can't help smiling when I
see them making the right choice.
At the end of the Toronto convention last year, my 12-year-old granddaughter
turned to me and said, "I'm inspired to do something. What
can I do?" Naturally, I did what any other Rotarian grandfather
worth his salt would do: I asked her if there was an Interact club
in her school. When she discovered there wasn't, she attempted to
set one up. Unfortunately, her principal had other ideas, but we
should not be deterred from helping Rotary youth programs whenever
we can, because their value is beyond question.
Take Rotary Youth Leadership Awards as one example. It transforms
young people into more confident, focused individuals with a better
understanding of the world around them — changes I was pleased
to see in my 16-year-old grandson after he participated.
My family is just the beginning. Everywhere I go, I meet people
of all ages whose lives have been changed by our youth programs.
They tell me how, five or 15 or 25 years ago, Rotary Youth Exchange
taught them a new language or introduced them to a new culture.
Their eyes light up when they talk about how New Generations Service
Exchange helped them advance in their career, or about how membership
in Rotaract first ignited their passion for giving back to the community.
Rotary's programs for young leaders extend our ideals of service,
friendship, and leadership development beyond the doors of our clubs
to hundreds of thousands of young people each year. And when we
serve with and for those young people — as sponsors, project
partners, and mentors — it brings out the best in us, and
it brings out the best in Rotary.
May is Youth Service Month, and there are many ways your Rotary
club can celebrate. Sponsor an Interact club or Rotaract club, and
your Rotary club will give young people in your community the tools
they need to take action, become leaders, and gain a global perspective.
Team up with your local Rotaract club for a service project. Get
to know the participants in Rotary's programs for young leaders
and share their stories with your community. You'll find more ideas
in this year's Rotary Citation brochure, located under the Awards
section of the Member Center at my.rotary.org.
This month, let's Be the Inspiration to the young leaders
in our communities by mentoring them, engaging them, and working
side by side with them on meaningful projects. It's an investment
in their future and in the world they will live in after we're gone.
And it's work that will forever enrich their lives, and our own.
Trustee Chair's Message - May
Ron D. Burton, Trustee Chair
Trustee chair's message
Many good fundraising ideas come from you, Rotarians in
the field. Over the years, I can think of a couple that
have caught on. They both began in the creative minds of
committed, dedicated Rotarians who saw a need to raise awareness
of The Rotary Foundation and took action.
One is the Paul Harris Society. In 1999, Rotarian Wayne
Cusick from District 5340 in California had the idea of
creating a special group of individuals who would contribute
$1,000 to the Foundation on an annual basis. That first
year, 55 members signed up. The number doubled the next
year. Today some 119 districts have a Paul Harris Society
program with a membership in excess of 22,000. For more
information, go to rotary.org/paulharrissociety.
Another is the White Hat Society. While attending a Rotary
institute in 2004, Ed Mullen and Bill Bryce from District
5870 in Texas challenged each other to contribute $5,000
and recruit another Rotarian to do the same. They raised
$75,000 in one day. Today, there are some 450 members in
38 districts in five countries. Contributions have exceeded
$5 million. Various giving levels are available, and each
one is eligible for special White Hat Society recognition.
Membership does not require an annual contribution. Visit taptrain.com/rotary to
find out how you can join.
I would like to share with you one more opportunity that
is of special importance to me. It is the preservation of
the longtime home of Paul and Jean Harris. Rotarians involved
in the Paul and Jean Harris Home Foundation have acquired
the property and are renovating it. The project has been
spearheaded by RI Director Robert C. Knuepfer Jr., a member
of the Rotary Club of Chicago, so that this piece of Rotary
history is preserved. Learn more about this worthy project
by visiting paulharrishome.org.
Please consider joining me in becoming a member of the Paul
Harris Society or the White Hat Society, and in supporting
the Paul and Jean Harris Home Foundation.
Ron D. Burton
Trustee Chair 2018-19
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