Members were invited to submit what they might tell someone about Rotary while riding in an elevator. The following submissions were chosen as the top five in the Elevator Speech Contest.
I joined Rotary thinking it would be a great way to make business contacts. I have become a Rotarian because of the personal satisfaction I get from making a difference in my own community, and around the world. I can say that as a Rotarian, my greatest joy has been in improving the lives of children. Among other things, worldwide, we have provided opportunities for education, eliminated diseases with improved sanitation and clean water, and have almost eradicated Polio. Locally, we give out books and read to kids, quietly offering examples of how ordinary people can become successful in life, and experience joy in being assets to their society. For many of these kids, their only role models portray a far different path. The possibility that these might consider pursuing a better course is priceless to me. Rotary is all about service. Different people and clubs do different things, support different causes, and have impact in different ways. The common denominator for over 1.2 million Rotarians, from almost every country, every culture on the planet, is that we are ALL striving to make our communities and world a better place. That’s powerful, and I love being part of it.
What is Rotary and why am I a member? Rotary is the world’s oldest and largest business oriented service club. It brings key decision makers in my community together to accomplish things that we would not be able to tackle alone. From promoting reading to students in the poorest of schools to providing scholarships for students who want to study abroad, Rotary allows me to shape my community. Being a Rotarian allows me to be a part of initiatives on a global scale as well – such as Rotary’s successful efforts at eradicating polio from all but a handful of countries, or providing clean water supplies to communities in third-world countries, or providing shelters for victims of hurricanes and tsunamies. As a college professor, Rotary has given me avenues to serve my students. Nearly every year I will have a student come to me with some crisis or another that they have no solution for – from undiagnosed illnesses to legal problems, from financial questions to needing help with a business idea. I have never been turned away by a fellow Rotarian when I have called and said, “A student needs help, can you help them?” I am in Rotary because it truly follows its motto, “Service Above Self.”
I love being a member of the Rotary Club of Wichita and here’s why. I understand that any personal or business success depends on community. I believe I should be giving back. “Service Above Self” is at Rotary’s center. Core values of honesty, fairness, building rerlationships and adding value are repeated at every meeting. Insights from compelling speakers and rubbing elbows with business leaders, fellow Rotarians, are an added bonus. I was surprised at the joy I get from seeing the expression on the face of a third grader as I hand her a brand new dictionary or the fun of reading a book to a class of elementary school children. This was simply fun. But what really moves the dial is belonging to something bigger than myself. It’s like playing on an all star team where everyone on the team is a winner with unique skills and talents. The ability to leverage our common goal of service is satisfying and makes me feel that we really make a difference. The Rotary Club of Wichita, the world’s 16th largest Rotary club, is simply a force for good in Wichita. I am proud to be a member. May I sponsor you?
Rotary is a worldwide organization of 1.2 million members in more than 200 countries with the motto of “Service Above Self.” We share our time, talent and dollars in projects locally and internationally to change the lives of people we many never see or know. I am a member of the Rotary Club of Wichita and we provide 2,700 colorful hardback dictionaries to every 3rd grader in USD 259 Title I schools. We fund and build a Habitat for Humanity house every other year. Twice a year we read to students in TItle I schools and at the same time give each student a book of their choice. Our club has supported projects in Haiti for many years and we have funded water projects in India and elsewhere. Working with the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and UNICEF, Rotary has been at the forefront of eradicating polio from the face of the earth. The day we can say “Goodbye Polio” will come soon! India has been polio-free for 2 years! If it can be done in India, it can be done everywhere! We meet for lunch every Monday at Botanica for timely programs, great fellowship and fun. Won’t you join us?
What is Rotary and why do I belong? For me, Rotary is a collection of business and community leaders who have discovered the simple pleasures in serving others. Like many, I was drawn to Rotary (quite selfishly) as a means to expand my business contacts at those Monday luncheon meetings. But after becoming a member in 1983, I realized that expanding contacts was not reason enough for me to remain. . .and I pretty much stopped participating. Then it happened! Someone called and asked for my help. The club needed more RIF Readers for its “Reading Is Fundamental” program. Would I commit to reading a book to a class, twice a year, in an inner-city elementary school? “Sure,” I said; and loved it. And, that’s the moment when I became a Rotarian. Since that day, there have been many simple pleasures to remind me “Why I Belong” – from ringing a Salvation Army bell at a grocery store, to helping build a “Habitat Home,” to participating in a Rotary International convention in the UK. I always get back more than I give. Oh, and some twenty years later. . .I’m still reading books at Parks Elementary School at least twice a year!