R. I. President and Trustee Message - September

RI President 2022-23 Jennifer Jones
Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland
Ontario, Canada

Dear Fellow Rotarians, Rotaractors, and friends,

Recently, Nick and I spent time in Guatemala, where we met wonderful fellow Rotary members and families who unofficially adopted me as “Tía Jennifer.” On the third day, after visiting Patzún in the mountainous western highlands, we set out for Lake Atitlán, which we needed to reach by nightfall. If we took a back road we could get there faster. Locals told us it had just been repaved and assured us, “You’ll have no problem.”

At first, it was a breeze. We wound through misty-green coffee and corn fields covering the hillside like a patchwork quilt. But at a river crossing, we found a bridge washed away. The only way to continue would be to ford the river in our small bus. There were a few tense moments, but we decided to give it a try and, thankfully, we made it across safely.

This adventure reminds me of two important truths in Rotary. One, we rely on local, on-the-ground expertise to do what we do best. And two, sometimes you have to take uncomfortable chances to reach important goals.

Every day, I am honored to learn from our Rotary family. Every lesson is an opportunity to grow, and each story adds a chapter to our collective Imagine Rotary year.

Jennifer Jones
President 2022-23

Trustee Chair's Message - September 2022

Ian H.S. Riseley
Trustee Chair 2022-23
Sandringham, Victoria, Australia,

Trustee chair's message

One of my favorite books, A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, muses on the creation of the universe and how a tiny speck of it we call Earth went from being a fiery ball with seas of molten rock to the lush green-and-blue home we know today. Bryson’s argument is that it is a miracle that we — our planet and our species — have survived. “We enjoy not only the privilege of existence,” Bryson writes, “but also the singular ability to appreciate it and even, in a multitude of ways, to make it better.”

We are fortunate to be able to read his words or any others. And we are fortunate to be part of an organization that is making our world a better place by helping those who can’t read them. There are an estimated 773 million illiterate adults — most of them women — who can’t read these words or write their own name. They are at a clear disadvantage in life, with limited opportunities to work. And this situation isn’t their fault.

Rotary has not forgotten them. In September, let’s celebrate Basic Education and Literacy Month by looking at the long-term impact Rotary and The Rotary Foundation are making and how we are finding ways to lend a hand in the effort.

Last year alone, The Rotary Foundation approved 104 global grants totaling $6.3 million for basic education and literacy projects, according to preliminary figures. This is on top of decades of work in our clubs and districts. As an Australian, I’m especially proud of the work of Dick Walker, a past district governor from Queensland, who used a Foundation matching grant to develop the concentrated language encounter method that has been adopted by educational leaders around the world.

At the community level, our clubs are well known for book drives that have changed the lives of so many children. But when we gather many clubs and districts together and work on large-scale Rotary Foundation projects, we have the potential to impact entire communities for generations.

The opportunities for Rotary to make a difference in literacy are boundless. Once basic reading and writing is achieved, it opens a path to other types of literacy, such as numerical literacy, digital literacy, and financial literacy.

Let’s not squander our opportunity to improve our corner of the universe. I encourage you to think big about literacy and education and change the world — this month and beyond.


Ian H.S. Riseley
Trustee Chair 2022-23

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