R. I. President & TRF Chair's Messages

Rotary International John Kenny's September 2009 Message

September 2009

My fellow Rotarians,

Lord Byron wrote, "The days of our youth are the days of our glory." For me, that is the line that springs to mind whenever Rotary's youth programs are mentioned. In Rotary, September is New Generations Month – a time to focus our attention on our programs for youth and the role they play in shaping the Rotarians of tomorrow.

Our youth programs – Interact, Rotaract, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, and Rotary Youth Exchange – are some of the most important programs of Rotary. I say this because of the unparalleled potential they have to influence young minds and souls toward peace, goodwill, and harmony. That potential is the greatest in youth because the experiences of our early years never leave us; they shape who we later become. In the words often attributed to St. Francis Xavier, "Give me a boy until he is seven, and I will give you the man." For myself, I would give it a bit longer than that – but there is no doubt that the experiences of our youth have a greater formative power, and a greater ability to shape character, than any we may have in our adulthood.

When a teenager from the United States has the chance to travel to India to participate in a National Immunization Day, or when a student from Brazil spends a year studying in Japan, that person will be forever changed. These young people will have formed connections and affections that will endure. They will never think about their own country, or the world, in the same way again. Their perspective, their priorities, and their values will have been permanently shaped by that experience in a way that no later experiences will have the power to do. Your hard work ensures that these experiences continue to be possible – that these programs continue to be available, to be well run, and to earn the trust of the participants and their families.

The impressions of youth are strong, and they are lasting. There is never a second chance at them. We may grow and change as we get older, and we are surely changed by all of our experiences. But there is never another chance to build who we are. That happens only once: in our youth.

The days of our youth truly are the days of our glory – but through Rotary's youth programs, those days become the glory of all of Rotary.

The Future of Rotary Is in Your Hands.
John Kenny
President, Rotary International

TRF Chairman's September 2009 Message

A Strong Foundation to Conquer Need

Mother Teresa, a longtime friend to Rotary, was once asked why she did the work she did. There would always be so many she could not reach. Why did she pour herself so fully into her self-appointed task, knowing that she could never come close to meeting all the needs?

Her answer was simple. She said, "I do what I can, where I am, with what I have."

In Rotary, we strive to do the same. We know very well that the world's needs are endless, and that we can never attempt to meet them all. Two billion people live in poverty. One billion people live without access to clean water, and 2.6 billion without adequate sanitation. Every day, 26,000 children die needlessly.

What can Rotary hope to do in the face of such overwhelming need?

To this I answer, we must do what we can, where we are, with what we have. We must make the best possible use of our resources, where they can do the most good. We must identify the needs that we can realistically meet, and invest the care and planning to make sure that our service is successful. And we must steward our Rotary Foundation well, so that we will be able to help the greatest number of people possible, in the ways that make the greatest difference.

In Rotary, we see how much more we can achieve when we all work together. Through our Foundation, we are able to pool our resources and achieve even more. And the stronger our Rotary Foundation becomes, the greater the scope of the tasks we will be able to undertake successfully. We will be able to do far more good, in far more lasting ways.

So much of the good we do in Rotary happens with the support of our Rotary Foundation. I ask each of you to continue your support – this year, and every year – so that our good work may continue.

Glenn E. Estess Sr.
Foundation Trustee Chair

Source: Rotary International

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