Message from 2015-16 Rotary International President

presidentJust as Rotary brings out the best in each of us, so too you, as an officer, will bring out the best in your club. Your passions and strengths will energize your fellow members, which will only increase your club’s effectiveness. As a leader, you have a rare opportunity to motivate others in your club to greater integrity, compassion, and Service Above Self. It is not just a responsibility, but a gift to be able to have such an impact.

Each club officer has a vital role to play in the continued success of Rotary. Dedicated members are the bedrock of our service. During your term, your innovative and committed leadership will be the fuel that powers the Rotarians in your club and the good work they do. Rotary is only as strong and vibrant as its clubs, and local officers are the heart and soul of Rotary.

The work you do this coming year will not only improve Rotary, it will improve you and the world around you. I look forward to the unique ways that you will encourage your fellow members to Be a Gift to the World.

K.R. Ravindran
2015-16 President, Rotary International

Message From Maria Kalapati, Rotary Club of North Port Central President

mariaBe a Gift to the World –   This is Rotary International President K.R. Ravindran’s theme for this coming Rotary year. He is a member of the Rotary club of Colombo, Western Province in Sri Lanka and his message is simple. “All of you- have been given so many gifts. And you have now been given this great gift: one year to take all your talents, all your gifts, everything that you are and can become – and Be a Gift to the World.

In a world consumed with self centeredness and self gratification, we, Rotarians stand out as a special breed of people. We joined Rotary because we wanted to take the focus off of ourselves and do some volunteering work at the local, district and international levels in a true dedication of our motto of SERVICE ABOVE SELF. As Rotarians, our club has contributed thousands of dollars towards service projects with funds raised through fundraiser events, and through the efforts and contributions of each and every one of you.

SERVICE ABOVE SELF – That is what Rotary is all about – A vision to see; the faith to believe and the courage to act. It is your spiritual salary here on earth – one that impacts our working colleagues, family and friends- who see the difference we are making and our going to make in the community and in the world. We will bring hope this year to a hurting world – the hope that throughout this year, YOU will be giving to the many who will come in contact with you.

For Rotary to thrive, members must face current and future challenges and opportunities with “passion, enthusiasm, perseverance, and above all, integrity.”

I envision that this year our Club will boldly and creatively engage the success of polio eradication, membership and identity issues, strengthening our club with RLI training and introduce a Rotary Minute at our luncheon meetings We will work with youth (through Interact) – our future lifeblood, and a signature fundraiser event to fund community, district and international projects.

We currently have several community projects that we will continue to fund. One of them is the Dictionary Project.

The object of the Rotary Dictionary Project is to give every student a personal dictionary of their very own that will serve them at least through elementary and middle school.

Many teachers see this as a key to better reading, speech, and writing.  These skills will improve student performance in other subjects as well.

Receiving the dictionaries from Rotary members is beneficial to students as well.  The young people meet successful adults in their community who care enough about them to purchase these dictionaries and come to their school to present them personally.

The brief explanation of Rotary service in the community and around the world gives students a lasting positive impression of Rotary and the ideal of service.

CHARITY CHALLENGE

Initiated by our outgoing President Vince Giuffre and with the invaluable help of Daryl Keys, of the Charlotte Harbor Rotary Club, we have been able to build community and help several non profit organizations with monetary funds together with a night out for everyone on the 4th Wednesday of every month to have fun. (our own Christine Zagrabelny, owner of Olde World Restaurant plays an integral part with her support and help.)

What I would like to add is the following projects:

JOSH THE OTTER Project

The introduction of the Josh the Otter project to the PreK, K and grade 1 students encompasses water safety for the very young children. Tragically a large number of small children (10 deaths per day) drown each year in the safety of their own backyards. This can be prevented through awareness and action and Josh the Otter is a great first step in building awareness for children and parents alike. This project was undertaken under my first time presidency and it was very successful, and with the members help, we can do it again. We wish to do this project in the April timeframe under the theme month of Maternal and Child Health. .

HOMELESS COALITION: We will plan to work with the Homeless Coalition by providing a meal and serving it to the homeless. The set date for this year is September 29th so note your calendars for that afternoon. What better way to teach our children, family and friends about Service Above Self.

This is what we have for local projects so far and I am sure that we will ensure that we will also provide scholarships as in the past to a deserving High School Graduate and any other local need that you as members should bring to the Board of Directors’ attention.

The 2015-2016 Rotary year offers a tremendous opportunity for Rotary International and the Foundation partnership unified and thriving through global grants, on all levels, via the six areas of focus: PROMOTING PEACE, FIGHTING DISEASE, PROVIDING CLEAN WATER, SAVING MOTHERS AND CHILDREN, SUPPORTING EDUCATION, GROWING LOCAL ECONOMIES. As a Club we would try to give towards at least one of these areas of focus partnering with perhaps other Rotary clubs on the international level. So, let’s summarize these areas of focus. Think about this as a club and bring your ideas to the Board.

Promoting peace

Today, 42 million people are displaced by armed conflict or persecution. Through our partnerships with several leading universities, Rotary Peace Fellows develop the skills to strengthen peace efforts, train local leaders to prevent and mediate conflict, and support long-term peace building in areas affected by conflict. We provide up to 100 peace fellowships per year at Rotary Peace Centers.

Learn how Rotary projects address the structural causes of conflict

Fighting disease

More than 100 million people are pushed into poverty each year because of medical costs. We aim to improve and expand access to low-cost and free health care in underdeveloped areas. Our members educate and mobilize communities to help prevent the spread of major diseases such as polio, HIV/AIDS, and malaria. Many of our projects ensure that medical training facilities are located where the workforce lives.

See how Rotary projects provide low-cost health care

Providing clean water

More than 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation facilities. At least 3,000 children die each day from diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe water. Our projects give communities the ability to develop and maintain sustainable water and sanitation systems and support studies related to water and sanitation.

See how Rotary is building sustainable clean water and sanitation facilities

Saving mothers and children

At least 7 million children under the age of five die each year due to malnutrition, poor health care, and inadequate sanitation. To help reduce this rate, we provide immunizations and antibiotics to babies, improve access to essential medical services, and support trained health care providers for mothers and their children. Our projects ensure sustainability by empowering the local community to take ownership of health care training programs.

Watch how Rotary helps bring health care to mothers and newborns in rural Haiti

Supporting education

Sixty-seven million children worldwide have no access to education and more than 775 million people over the age of 15 are illiterate. Our goal is to strengthen the capacity of communities to support basic education and literacy, reduce gender disparity in education, and increase adult literacy.

Watch how a Rotary grant helps bring tablet technology to students in Fiji

Growing local economies

Nearly 1.4 billion employed people live on less than $1.25 a day. We carry out service projects that enhance economic and community development and develop opportunities for decent and productive work for young and old. We also help strengthen local entrepreneurs and community leaders, particularly women, in impoverished communities.

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No one should ever have to ask, “What is Rotary?”

We will enhance Rotary’s public image by successfully and enthusiastically marketing who we are, what amazing things we are doing, and incredibly, have done locally and globally.

With the global economy still unpredictable, Rotary must make participation affordable and “also be unfailingly diligent in efforts to ensure we spend every dollar effectively and efficiently.

Rotary will adapt to a rapidly changing world by embracing innovation within the guidelines of our tradition and values. By aggressively embracing new technologies, social media, and new opportunities, individuals and businesses will see that Rotary helps promote a good civic and public image while adding credibility to their people.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST…we will have fun working together – it won’t be all work and no play. Plans to have activities inviting perhaps other Rotary groups to have dinners (for example the Mystery Train in Fort Myers) or other ways we can create fellowship amongst ourselves will be an integral part of our year.

I am excited about this year and look forward to a successful fulfillment of all the anticipated projects – but it can only happen with everyone’s participation.

In closing, I would like to pass on a quote that I have had in my office for many years by Ralph Waldo Emerson – a 19th century American poet, lecturer and essayist that reads…

“DO NOT FOLLOW WHERE THE PATH MAY LEAD…GO INSTEAD WHERE THERE IS NO PATH AND LEAVE A TRAIL.” This is my wish for each and every one of you – To be a Gift to the World.

Now, I would like you to please turn to the back of your program …….and say this phrase out loud with conviction

I AM NOT IN ROTARY – ROTARY IS IN ME!

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