Rotary International Kalyan Banerjee's December 2011 Message
RI president's monthly message - December 2011
My dear brothers and sisters in Rotary,
In late August, Binota and I were in Ghana, where Rotary Foundation Trustee Vice Chair Sam Okudzeto and enthusiastic local Rotarians took us to the ribbon-cutting for a water project in a little village, Abutia Teti, about 60 miles from Accra. We arrived at about 11 a.m., and the whole village seemed to be there. Everyone had been waiting since early morning to welcome us. In the past, the women had to walk over 3 miles to carry pails of water from a river. Now they had a supply of safe, clean water from tube wells in the village itself. It was a simple but effective project in which Rotary and USAID had worked together. But what struck us most that day was family: The men, the women, the children were all there together, dancing, singing, and welcoming us. It made me think about how everywhere around the world, people come together in families, and families join together as communities.
And this made me happy that the first of our emphases in this Rotary year is the family, because the family is where everything begins. It is where life begins, it is where our day begins, and it is where our Rotary service must begin. Because it is the family, and not the individual, that is the building block of the community – and of Rotary.
It is one of my great priorities to encourage the involvement of families in Rotary service. I feel incredibly strongly that Rotary should never, ever come between the Rotarian and the family. Rotary service should be something that brings the family closer together. For myself, if I cannot bring Binota with me to a Rotary event, it's simple – I don't go! Rotary is not just for me; it is for both of us. This is why I encourage districts to welcome families at district conferences, to involve spouses and children in service projects, and to plan meeting times with families in mind. The more that families are involved in Rotary, the more Rotary will thrive – today and tomorrow.
What is Rotary about? It's about so many things, but at its core, Rotary is about these words: Love your neighbor as yourself. Rotary is about love, and that love has to start with us – and with those closest to us!
Make giving to our Foundation an annual tradition
Trustee chair's monthly message - December 2011
As Rotarians, we often reduce our words to initials. We talk of GSEs. VTTs, NIDs, and PHFs. Our district officers are DGs, DGEs, and DGNs, and in Evanston we have a GS. We have plenty of PDGs and an occasional PRIP. I am sure you could add many more.
This month, I would like to focus on another set of initials: EREY. The words are Every Rotarian, Every Year , and they encourage every one of us to make an annual contribution to our Foundation. Despite the economic problems and the awful natural disasters, our giving to the Annual Programs Fund last year was the second highest in history. Thank you for your confidence that we are building a Foundation that will be stronger and even more effective in the future.
I read a lot of district and zone newsletters, and I smiled at a quote in a recent newsletter from District 7600, in Virginia, USA. In it, Bill Billings talked about how Rotary became more important to him as he became more involved. He went on to say, "These are my brightest days in Rotary because now I am learning what I can do for Rotary. I give to The Rotary Foundation every year because it feels so good." At this point, his sense of humor came through. I am not sure if every country has telemarketing, but if yours does, you will appreciate Bill's next words: "But I also give to the Foundation because it is the best defense against annoying telemarketers. When they call me I simply say, `I give my money to The Rotary Foundation, but thanks for calling and have a nice day.' Click!"
Bill has made our Rotary Foundation his charity of choice. I hope you will too.
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Rotary eClub NY1 * Updated 2011