Youth programs pave the way into Rotary
Rotaractor Andrea Tirone of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, has also participated in her district's RYLA and is a former Ambassadorial Scholar. She plans on becoming a Rotarian after Rotaract. Photo by Xavier Vahed photography
Rotary youth programs have prepared Andrea Tirone well.
As a current Rotaractor, a past participant in her district's Rotary Youth Leadership Awards(RYLA) program, and a former Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar, she is hoping her experiences serve as a springboard into Rotary.
"In Rotary, I will have a variety of service possibilities available to me, locally and internationally," Tirone says. "There is so much diversity in the work Rotary does. It can give you exposure to so many different areas, and help you find what your interests really are."
Tirone was introduced to Rotary during the District 7070 (Ontario, Canada) RYLA in 2004. She describes it as one of the best weeks of her life, and says she was impressed by the planning that went into it.
"Learning about each other through different workshops and activities, I formed these incredible, lifelong bonds," she says. "I thought to myself, if Rotary can put on such an amazing week, then imagine what it would be like to be part of the whole organization."
When she enrolled at the University of Toronto in the fall of 2004, she sought out its Rotaract club and joined, becoming club president in 2005-06. Her club volunteered in the community but focused much of its time and resources on raising funds for a literacy project in India, working with a sister club and Rotarians to help implement the effort.
"Being involved with Rotaract opened my eyes to the ability to connect with Rotaractors all over the world," says Tirone. "Finding out that Rotary has very strong ties to the rest of the world was very appealing."
In 2008, Tirone became an Ambassadorial Scholar, majoring in political science at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. During that time, her host Rotary club helped establish the Rotaract Club of Durban Berea.
As an honorary member of the Durban Berea club, she embarked on an international project with 19 other club members, raising US$2,000 to help renovate a school in Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique. The Rotaractors spent a week cleaning and painting classrooms and installing a vegetable garden.
Tirone says she plans on becoming a Rotarian but wants to stay in Rotaract as long as possible.
"Rotary for me is for life, so I want to be able to experience as much of Rotaract as I can," she says. "Because of it, I have friends all over the world."
Tirone says Rotaract is good for Rotary.
"When it comes to encouraging new members or bringing in new and innovative ideas, Rotary can always rely on Rotaractors to be the people who bring those types of ideas to clubs."
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