Rotary is a global network of 1.4 million neighbours, friends, leaders and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change across the globe, in their communities, and in themselves.
The Rotary Club of Powell River was chartered in 1955 and has welcomed hundreds of members into the fold. It is one of more than 46,000 clubs worldwide with a total membership of 1.4 million.
“Together our clubs work together to promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene, save mothers and children, support education, grow local economies and protect the environment,” explains Rotary public relations chair Kelly Keil. “Our local Powell River Rotary presence includes different levels of participation starting with the Earlyact Club (ages six to 12), Interact Club (ages 13 to 18), Rotaract Club (ages 18 to 30), and a Rotary club (30 and over).
Keil says local members provide assistance to many groups and organizations alongside community service projects using funds raised through different initiatives and by volunteers.
“Our clubs offer opportunities for members and those interested in making a difference to become involved,” she adds. “Through meetings, social events and volunteer projects, our members learn about the issues facing our community and communities all over the world, partnering with local, national and global experts to exchange ideas about potential solutions and draw up action plans to respond.”
Along with opportunities to serve, members are also able to regularly network, resulting in lifelong friendships and business connections.
“Solving real problems takes real effort, commitment and vision,” says Keil. “Rotarians work to protect communities from preventable disease, keep women and children healthy, improve education and economic outcomes, create safe water and sanitation infrastructure, and make our community and the world a more peaceful place.”
In the past 18 months, the local club has donated $1,500 to Powell River Search and Rescue for an AED (automated external defibrillator); sponsored a student to film camp as part of Powell River Film Festival; helped two students attend virtual Adventures in Citizenship and two students to RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards); held a virtual Powell River Festival of the Performing Arts; made a donation to Powell River Therapy Dogs; bought gifts for children in Tla’amin Nation during a COVID-19 outbreak; purchased books for the Read to Me program for every elementary age student; made a donation for Everyone Deserves a Smile; provided two $1,000 bursaries to graduates; bought a new dryer for Willingdon Beach Campground; made a $2,000 donation to Christmas Cheer Hampers; and contributed funds for Powell River Community Response Fund.
On the international side, the club continued to support Amarok Society, which trains mothers to teach in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and purchased a Garden Survival Kit with a Hippo Roller to transport water for a South African family.
After being installed as president for 2021/2022 last June, current president Katya Gustafson said she was looking forward to a more normal year with in-person meetings and more opportunities to fundraise.
“I wondered during our virtual PETS (Presidents-Elect Training Seminar) why there was so much emphasis put on increasing membership,” added Gustafson, “and then I realized that the more Rotarians we have the more good we can do at home and around the world.”
For more information about the local Rotary groups, go to portal.clubrunner.ca/757.