Have you seen the blue and yellow Rotary Club signs around Lakewood and other communities? There are 14 different Rotary Clubs in Pierce County and they generate numerous unique projects to support and enhance the local communities and improve the quality of life for all of us.
Remember the Playground @ Ft. Steilacoom Park that was built under the guidance of the Lakewood Rotary Club with assistance from about 3,000 local residents? In University Place, a group, including the Tacoma Narrows Rotary Club, is working on a similar project at Chambers Bay Golf Course.
But Rotary also operates on a worldwide basis … big time!
This international organization is one of the most effective humanitarian organizations in the world with 1.2 million members in 32,000 clubs in 200 countries. Its motto for individual members is “service above self.” And wherever there is suffering or misery or just people in need, Rotary is usually there.
Rotary’s worldwide efforts promote health and literacy, reduce poverty and hunger, fight pollution, assist in disaster situations, and attempt to build peace and goodwill internationally.
As a matter of fact, the Rotary Club of Clover Park in Lakewood formed an international group aimed at helping find a way to regenerate hearing, a project that will ultimately enhance life for millions of people around the world.
The global impact of Rotary has been and continues to be staggering.
Most people are unaware as recently as 1985, more than 1,000 persons were being victimized by polio each day. Since that time, Rotary has expended $757 million worldwide to immunize 2,000,000,000 children resulting in 210 countries now declared polio free. Not only have Rotarians raised funds, but also they have personally participated in the immunization projects by traveling around the globe for hands-on efforts.
Indeed, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention have become Rotary partners and have urged Rotary to finish this job in the four remaining countries where polio is still active. And Bill Gates has also joined this battle with more than $300 million of his own money given to this Rotary cause.
Rotary conducts the largest independently funded scholarship program in the world. With the idea of building goodwill internationally, 673 Ambassador Scholars from 72 countries received Rotary scholarships last year at a cost of $14 million. Since 1947, 39,000 of these scholars from 115 countries have been subsidized with more than $500 million.
Rotary is also educating Peace Fellows with a master’s degree program to create highly competent individuals in the art of mediation and compromise.
In addition to all of this, since 1978, Rotary International’s Health, Hunger and Human Development grants have launched 324 humanitarian outreach projects in 77 countries.
And in the area of cultural exchange, since 1965, Rotary has sponsored 13,541 teams of four-six different individuals on goodwill visits to 106 countries to exchange vocational, professional and cultural information.
Rotary is good people doing good things for good people in need, something to feel good about in a world with far too much violence and despair. Rotarians are business and professional people in our communities. Interested in learning more or joining a club? Please contact me so I can get you in touch with a club in your immediate area.