Rotaract is a collegiate level club rooted from the international club called Rotary. Our slogan is service above self and we do many projects locally and internationally. For example, last year the Rotaract club made a ball field for a local trailer park. This year through the organization I was able to make blankets for a local homeless shelter. Also, we sent books to the Philippines and made a mini library for a local trailer park. Not only do we do a lot of service projects, but we get a lot of guest speakers that offer individual volunteer opportunities.
I joined Rotaract because of learning about Rotary in high school. Junior year I was selected to go to a leadership camp called RYLA, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. I was selected along with one other student and we were both funded by the communities Rotary club. Who or what is this Rotary club? Well, let me tell you! Many Rotary clubs can be seen in communities around you and even in other countries! There are over 1.2 million Rotarians in the world. The first service project of the first Rotary club was in Chicago where they worked on the installation of public toilets in the city. Also, Rotary and it’s partners are the reason for reducing polio cases by 99.9% worldwide. At the time I did not know what Rotary was and how much this organization does for their city and world. I would say Rotary is like a hidden gem, many people do not know about it, but they pass things that were made by the local Rotary club. For instance, here at CMU I was walking through a park and I went over a little bridge with a roof on top and it had a sign on it saying sponsored by the local Rotary club. Other places you could see this hidden gem is even on highways, many Rotary Clubs like to adopt highways and clean them up or even build little libraries. Rotary clubs do so much for the community, but they do not get the appreciation or even awareness they deserve.
After the RYLA camp I found that there was a thing called Rotary Interact. Most of the students at the camp came for their high school’s Rotary Interact Club. That is when I began to ask my self, why do we not have one! I came back senior year determined to get a Rotary Interact club. I was able to present to the local Rotary about the camp and thank them for the opportunity, but also ask them to partner with me and the new Rotary Interact club I wanted to start at my school. In different terms, Rotary is the international organization’s name and this club is made of community members. Rotary Interact is the high school name for the club it is just high school students. Lastly, Rotaract is the college level of Rotary made up of college students. After a few months of promoting the club, getting members, getting approval of the city, and partnering with another high school by us we finally started our Rotary Interact club. Since, it was all new to us and we started later into the year, we decided to just do a local service project, in which fulfills part of the club’s requirement to do a local and international service project each year. We actually were able to do two local service projects the first was to help out the local businesses. I come from a small town and most of any funds we need at the school come from the community. I wanted to do this project because all the support and donations the local businesses have done fore us. What we did was contact a few businesses and asked them what we could do to help them. What we ended up doing at some of the businesses was mostly sweeping the parking lot and picking up trash, it may not have seemed like a big deal, but you could see the difference and the owners were very appreciative of the work we did. Secondly, I wanted to bring education and passion back to the outdoors. My home town is located on the Saginaw Bay. Many people in the community do not even know that we have a county park on the bay. For me I love nature and it was sad to see people not appreciate what was in their back yard. This is when I had the idea to have a nature day camp, free for the children in the surrounding county’s. I worked very hard in getting donations so that the children would have a provided lunch, as well as fun activities to do. Through this organization I found my passion(s). I learned that the youth is important because they will soon be our working generation, so I make sure I can be a role model for any child. Also, I learned that service for others can make a huge difference in individual lives, as well as for the community. If we all take a little less and give a little more we can be the ripple effect of the change we want to see.
When I graduated I knew that I had to find a Rotary club in college and did. I mentioned some of the service projects we have done this year in Rotaract and I am excited for all the new service opportunities for next year. I have such a strong passion for this club. It has brought me joy to give back to the community, as well as internationally. You get to give and be a part of something bigger than yourself. I hold the values of the club close to mine, especially service above self. Rotaract inspires me each day to better the lives around me and help change the world. I learned through the club the importance of service and I got to first hand see the impact it makes for others.
While, the year is coming to a close I decided to run for an e-board position. I was elected the social chair meaning I am in charge of making social for the group members and with meeting other Rotaract clubs. I am excited for this position because I feel that the club members internal cohesion with others is important to the success of the club. Also, by being able to socialize with other clubs we will be able to learn new ideas and opportunities we can take back to the club or even partner with them and make an even bigger impact on the world.
I am incredibly excited for the future and being able to have a voice on the e-board. I want to do more service projects. I also want to do a project that brings nature appreciation to Mount Pleasant. I want to raise more funds than we ever have before, so we can help more people. In the future I am going to live a more self-less life because I know the importance of service and a living a life that is beyond just my own. Lastly, it is my mission to educate the community on what Rotary is and what is had done for others and myself. It is important for others to know about this great opportunity in order from them to be a part of a great club devoted to service.