As part of their official duties, sitting district governors for Rotary International visit each club in their area to enumerate goals and objectives for the upcoming year.
Rotary District 5100 Governor Dennis Wickham paid the Peninsula Rotary Club a visit Oct. 14th.
“This year’s theme is “Make Dreams Real,” said Wickham, who is also Clark County Medical Examiner. “Under this theme, Rotary International has established goals in three areas: health and hunger, literacy and water.”
Rotary programs have focused on these areas for many years at the local level. Therefore, Wickham tossed out kudos to the ongoing efforts to provide community service.
“This club has a lot of projects and does a lot for this community,” he said. “But, we must not lose sight of the fact that Rotary is the single largest community service organization in the world.”
Global thinking is what Wickham wants local clubs to incorporate into their daily activities.
“Many of us take clean drinking water for granted,” he said. “But I remember being in Honduras and watching children carry home 2-liter bottles of brown water from a small stream they called a river, liquid I would never drink. I’m happy to say that, thanks to Rotary, there is now clean water in that village. We need to support well projects and clean water projects in these areas.” he added.
Recently Peninsula Rotary teamed up with a club in South Africa to implement a childhood reading program using primary readers in the native language.
“You’ve all heard the statistics about illiteracy and poverty rates,” Wickham explained. “We can’t do anything about poverty until we do something to improve literacy. Whether it’s Vancouver, Long Beach or Bangladesh, a child who can’t read usually doesn’t have a favorable outcome,” he added. “Aside from its three central goals for the upcoming year, Rotary will also focus on Polio Eradication.
“Instances of polio world-wide were roughly 350,000 new cases a year when Rotary decided to attack this terrible disease. New cases last year numbered 1,115. That’s a 99% decrease, something we can be very proud of. There are still four countries that have polio and, thanks to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation matching grant, Rotary can finish this huge and important undertaking.” he said. “I encourage you to make donations to Rotary’s Polio Plus fund, so we can match the Gates’ generous and significant contribution.”
Wickham also urged local clubs to help increase membership, particularly in the U.S.
“We need more young people, more women and people of color in Rotary,” Wickham said. “They are some great workers who can help us out.”
Finally, Rotary International will seek to enhance its image by letting the world know what it does in greater detail.
“Now we need to get the word out more about what we do not because we seek any credit, but to attract new members to the organization,” Wickham said.
SW Pacific County Peninsula Rotary meets Tuesday mornings, 7:30 am, at the Lightship Restaurant in Long Beach. Contact Carol Lynn Ockfen for more information: 360.665.5806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.