Making a difference
Some years ago, a new acquaintance asked me what should have been a simple question:
“What is Rotary?” I opened my mouth to reply and then stopped short with the realisation that I simply did not know where to begin.
The problem wasn’t that I didn’t know what Rotary was. The problem was that Rotary was – and is – too large and complex to easily define. We are a member-based organisation, a club-based organisation, and a service-based organisation; we are local, regional, and international; we are community members, businesspeople and professionals, working and retired, active in nearly every country in the world. Every one of our 1.2 million members has a unique set of goals, experiences, and priorities; every one of us has a unique understanding of Rotary.
To me, Rotary is defined not by who we are, but by what we do – by the potential that Rotary gives us, and the ways we realise that potential in meaningful and lasting service. Rotary has been around for a long time: 112 years. In some ways, we’ve changed tremendously, as we’ve grown, matured, and adapted to the changing needs of our members and communities. In our fundamentals, however, we remain the same: an organisation of people with the desire – and through Rotary, the ability – to make a diﬀerence in our communities, and the world.
We answer the question “What is Rotary?” with our actions, by making a diﬀerence through our service.
As an organisation, we recognise how important it is that the world understand what Rotary is, and what we do. At the same time, we know that it is more important than ever to allow our clubs to define Rotary service for themselves.
As Rotarians, we have more ﬂexibility than ever to decide how we want our clubs to meet, work, and grow. We’re focused more than ever on making sure that Rotary reﬂects the people it serves, with more women and a more diverse membership. And we’re working hard to ensure that Rotary remains the world’s pre-eminent volunteer service organisation, by emphasising long-term planning, sustainable service, and continuity in leadership on every level.
In 2017-18, we answered the question “What is Rotary?” with the theme Rotary: Making a Diﬀerence. However each of us chooses to serve, we do it because we know our service makes a diﬀerence in the lives of others. Whether we are building a new playground or a new school, improving medical care or sanitation, training conﬂict mediators or midwives, we know that the work we do will change people’s lives – in ways large and small – for the better.
Whatever motivation each of us had for joining Rotary, it is the satisfaction we find in Rotary that causes us to remain, the satisfaction of knowing that, in 2018/19, week by week, year by year, we are “The Inspiration“. We are part of making a diﬀerence.
Canadian Rotarians Making a Difference
Rotary clubs in Canada invest in the PACT program, an urban peace initiative that aims to break the cycle of youth crime.
Akeem Stephenson wanted to go to jail. He believed it was the only way he could free himself from a life of crime – a life he desperately wanted to change.
After being arrested for a fourth time more than 10 years ago, for aggravated robbery, the teenager in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, was set to go to prison. But the judge saw something in Stephenson that suggested that he could redeem himself. So he gave Stephenson a choice: participate in an 18-month youth program, or serve the six-month sentence. Continue reading
Making a Difference
making a difference. making a difference. making a difference. making a difference. making a difference.