District governors-elect recall time as Interactors, Rotaractors
Carlos Enrique Giraldo, Julia Gereda de Carlin, Rajyalakshmi Vadlamani and Virgilio Farcon pose for the camera during the International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA. Rotary Images/Monika Lozinska-Lee
Four Rotary alumni who are now district governors-elect say they’re proud of their youth programs experience, and they’ve been hooked on Rotary ever since.
Virgilio Farcon, Julia Gereda de Carlin, Rajyalakshmi Vadlamani, and Carlos Enrique Giraldo recall how their early Rotary experiences shaped them into the leaders they are today.
Several were “raised in Rotary” by parents and other relatives who were Rotarians and encouraged them to get involved in Interact.
“I couldn’t understand why my parents would like me to be involved until I personally experienced it, and it was my experience that caused me to move on to the next level,” says Farcon, of District 3800 (Philippines). He recently passed down the tradition of participating in Rotary’s youth programs to his eldest son, who is a Rotaractor.
Gereda de Carlin, of District 4450 (Peru), says she wanted to join Interact at a time when women were not allowed. A few years later, when the first Rotaract club in Peru was chartered, she became its secretary and later met her husband, another Rotaractor.
“For me, Rotary is a way of life, one that my husband and I have lived our whole lives,” Gereda de Carlin says. “The Rotaract program showed us just how good Rotary is.”
Vadlamani, of District 3150 (India), says she got started in Interact because of her father, a Rotarian, who sponsored her high school’s Interact club. She became the club’s charter president and led service projects to help elderly and indigent community members. She even met her husband through Rotary Youth Leadership Awards.
“To share our time rather than money is what Interact taught me. It is the time and compassion with which we do small deeds that is important,” she says.
Giraldo, of District 4280 (Colombia), also was encouraged by his Rotarian father to join Interact and Rotaract.
“Some of the most important elements of Rotaract and Interact are the fellowship and friendship. They make you feel welcome. That’s not common among other organizations,” he says.
All four agree on the importance of getting involved in Rotary at an early age.
“It’s what the family of Rotary is all about. When we involve children, there is almost a guarantee that they will be involved in Rotary, especially as leaders,” Farcon says.