Why Rotary?
June 27, 2018
By Dalyn Novak
As I look back on the past week in Toronto for the Rotary International Convention 2018 I am reminded I am part of such a wonderful organization. Service Above Self – the reason we are Rotarians. We serve others worldwide to make our world a better place for all.
25,262 people from 175 countries attended the convention this year. I can’t think of another place where you can start talking with anyone you pass (seriously any fellow convention goer) and feel like you met another friend? We heard so many amazing leaders speak at the convention including Princess Anne of England, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, First Lady Laura Bush, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Director-General of the World Health Organization Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the President and CEO of UNICEF USA Caryl M. Stern, Rotary International (RI) President Ian H.S. Riseley, RI President-Elect Barry Rassin, and RI President-Nominee Mark Maloney, just to name a few.
Rotary is a place where people come together to better our world no matter your race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, country of origin, or political affiliations. None of that matters in Rotary. What matters are our six areas of focus: 1) Prevention & Resolution of Conflicts & the Promotion of Peace, 2) Mother & Child Health, 3) Prevention & Treatment of Disease, 4) Water Cleanliness, 5) Basic Education & Literacy, and 6) Economic & Community Development.
Have you ever wanted to travel to a poverty ridden country and administer vaccines to children? Rotary can help you do that. Rotary also sponsors high school student study exchanges and group study exchanges for professionals. Rotary is creating peace builders. Rotary awards Global Scholarships, has Interact for high school students and Rotaract for college aged students and young professionals. Rotary does SO many more things than listed here!
I hear all the time, Dalyn, why are you in Rotary? Rotary is an old man’s club, they say. Well, to be honest, at first I thought it was for networking. I won’t lie, that’s what I thought. Networking is inevitable but the more active you become in Rotary the more you see that is the small picture. Service above self is the big picture. My company pays for my membership but after being a member for six years now and seeing what we can and have done locally, nationally, and internationally I will always be a member of Rotary. Rotary is changing and evolving to create the best experience for all of its members including those 80 year old men as well as me, a 35 year old woman.
Have you ever felt that immense feeling of amazingness (not sure what other word to use!) after helping someone in serious need? Seeing the change you made even if you only affected one person’s life is truly one of the best feelings! The feeling is addicting. THAT is why I’m in Rotary and THAT is why I am broadcasting why I love Rotary.
Rotary is service organization but also needs monetary donations to support the vast things we do around the world. Rotary asks each member to donate (EREY – Every Rotarian Every Year) $100 to the Rotary Foundation. If you can’t give $100, give what you can. This is important and I am a Paul Harris Fellow as of the 2016-2017 year. Rotarians donate millions of dollars annually towards our causes, especially eradicating polio so no child ever has to suffer from that horrible disease ever again. We are so close to making polio a thing of the past.
You know your money is in great hands when you donate money to the Rotary Foundation or to your local Rotary club. We are a volunteer based organization with more than 1.2 million members in 35,000+ clubs worldwide. THAT is one amazing network of people! Think of us next time you want to donate to a good cause!
I will be my club’s President starting July 1st. I have goals aligned for the year; things I know we, as a club can accomplish together. Rotarians do not work alone; we do everything together. I invite you to join me for a meeting at Parkville Rotary at Park University Fridays at noon or our Third Thursday Happy Hour. If Parkville isn’t close to your location I am positive I can help find a club near your work or home that fits your lifestyle. Clubs are evolving and not all are the same. Be part of something so much bigger than yourself. 
This is my why. What will yours be?