At 40, Rotaract’s past paves bright future for Rotary
The international winners of the 2008 Outstanding Rotaract Project receive the award from RI President Wilfrid J. Wilkinson during the Rotaract Preconvention Meeting in Los Angeles. From left: Rotaractor Oscar Irmler, Wilkinson, RI Rotaract Committee Chair Irene Lewitt, and Rotaractor Alexander Ruth.
Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary Images
After praising Rotaract’s first 40 years of service, Rotary International President Wilfrid J. Wilkinson honored seven of this year’s most innovative and successful club projects during the Rotaract Preconvention Meeting in Los Angeles.
As Wilkinson spoke, he marveled at Rotaract’s growth. “Forty years ago, I don’t think anyone had any idea how very valuable this program would become. Hundreds of thousands of young professionals from all over the world have come together for fellowship and fun.”
Wilkinson’s address reflected the positive influence Rotaract has had on Rotary’s past, present, and future. “The enthusiasm of Rotaractors is an encouragement to us all,” he said. "The future of Rotary is Rotaract."
“But most important, its members have made an enormous impact on the communities locally and the ones around the world,” Wilkinson said.
Echoing Wilkinson’s sentiment, RI President-elect Dong Kurn Lee told Rotaractors, “The best Rotaract club projects are some of Rotary’s best projects, often with little resources. Rotaract has been a wonderful success.”
Wilkinson presented the 2008 Outstanding Rotaract Project awards, lauding the recipients for their international reach and tangible results.
Seven clubs were selected to receive international and regional awards.
The international award went to the Rotaract clubs of Barcelona, Barcelona Mediterráneo, and Abad Oliba-Condal, all from District 2210 (Spain). Rotaractors provided underprivileged communities in Guinea-Bissau with solar electricity for medical, educational, and vocational uses. They also donated vaccines and other medical health supplies as part of a long-term development project.
The regional winners for 2008 are:
- Rotaract Club of Johannesburg, South Africa -- Members walked 500 miles to create awareness of HIV/AIDS orphans and raise funds for organizations and programs assisting them.
- Rotaract Club of Manila, Philippines -- Club members organized several fundraising events to help provide impoverished children the educational materials and inspiration needed to succeed in school and in life.
- Rotaract Club of Kayseri, Turkey -- The 16-member club teamed up with an eye doctor to provide ophthalmic exams to more than 2,100 elementary schoolchildren. They also raised funds for medication and eyeglasses.
- Rotaract Club of Bangalore Jayanagar, India -- The club organized a sporting event for approximately 350 physically and mentally disabled young adults.
- Rotaract Club of Paranaguá-Rocio, Brazil -- Impoverished schoolchildren received computer literacy training from club members in an effort to improve educational performance.
- Rotaract Club of the University of Lethbridge, Canada -- During the club’s annual dinner and silent auction event, Rotaractors raised more than US$25,000 for a microcredit project in Costa Rica.
See what happened during preconvention