Rotaractors make a splash for Australian charity
Krissie Bredin, past president of the Rotaract Club of Crosslands, swam 342 laps during Splash for Cash in 2010. The Rotaractors are aiming to raise US$100,000 with this year's event in April. Photo courtesy Rotaract Club of Crosslands
By swimming thousands of miles in their annual Splash for Cash swim-a-thons, Rotaractors in Australia have helped raise more than US$557,300 to aid children with severe sensory impairments.
Started in 1984 as a joint venture between Rotaract clubs in District 9680 and the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, Splash for Cash has become one of Australia’s longest-running fundraising events.
In its first year, 40 swimmers raised nearly $10,000 for the institute. Since then, the event has attracted more than 200 participants each year. During the 28th annual Splash in April, the Rotaractors aim to raise $100,000.
Swimmers and teams receive sponsorships for the number of laps they complete during the event, held at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Center. All funds raised from the sponsors go directly to the institute's Teleschool, which provides educational programs to children with hearing or visual impairments in remote areas of Australia.
"My club is always very supportive of each other’s passions. What began as an event to participate in soon became an annual event to challenge each other to raise as much money as we can," says Krissie Bredin, past president of the Rotaract Club of Crosslands. The institute "is now easily the organization that has benefited the most from the work of our club."
In 2010, Bredin swam 342 laps for the cause. To up the ante this year, she will be swimming with blacked-out goggles to call attention to the challenges that blind children face daily.
Bredin says Splash for Cash was a major reason she joined Rotaract in 2006. The popularity of the event has helped her club’s membership quadruple since 2008 and strengthened its reputation within the community.
"If you told me five years ago that I would raise tens of thousands of dollars for my favorite charities [through Rotaract projects], I wouldn’t have believed it," says Bredin. "With the support of my fellow Rotaractors, we will keep taking the world by storm."
Evan Burrell, district Rotaract representative, says delegates from the district will attend the 2011 RI Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, to promote Splash for Cash and encourage other districts to adapt it for their own use.
Like the young Australians, Rotaractors worldwide are involved in their communities. Each year, World Rotaract Week honors the chartering of the first Rotaract club in 1968. Rotaractors this year can decide the best way for their club to celebrate the program by completing one, two, or an entire week’s worth of activities 7-13 March. After the club has completed its commemorative events, the sponsor Rotary club or district Rotaract chair can download a certificate of recognition.
Here are other examples of projects sponsored by Rotaract clubs:
- Rotaractors in Chennai, India, raised $8,800 to help construct a home for children with HIV/AIDS.
- Rotaract clubs in Hong Kong held a walkathon to raise $10,000 for a local food bank while generating awareness of hunger in the community.
- Rotaractors in Tokyo raised $3,000 and traveled to Nepal to help local Rotaractors construct a well for a rural village.
Upload a photo of your World Rotaract Week celebration to our Family of Rotary Flickr group, or share your club’s plans for the week in the comments section below.
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