Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Foundation Of Our Work

I arrived at the Holiday Inn in Kulpsville, Pennsylvania just as the sun was coming up. Coffee was not an option. (Photo by Rick Trivane)

Yesterday was training day. Not the Denzel Washington type rather a day comprised of proper procedures, deadlines, and requirements in order to apply for Rotary Foundation grants. Nine hours later and I am finally able to apply for and utilize funds to help the community. Needless to say, this is a useful and necessary ability for every club and one that I hope to apply in the near future.

However, there was much more to the day than simply information. Much of the time was spent inspiring those in attendance with the accounts of fellow Rotarians who have seen their work come to fruition. From securing medical equipment for a community in desperate need and ensuring that fresh water is available to people who live without running water to founding a new industry in West Africa that allows the people to support themselves with skills taught by committed Rotarians. All of these projects took hard work, dedication, and funds provided, in part, by the Rotary Foundation.

A room full of Rotarians.

It really is awe inspiring to see the work that has been done and to meet the people that have brought those projects to fruition. It is what keeps me motivated to continue to raise the funds needed for our own educational projects in West Philadelphia. Yesterday in particular it pushed me to sell more tickets for our fundraiser and brainstorm with other clubs about what we might be able to achieve in the near future by working together.

Hearing about the projects, listening to the long time Rotarians in attendance, and learning from the district and international leadership is a means to give us all a common experience. Regardless of the communities we each live in and the focus that each of our clubs may have, we are all Rotarians and we are all taking the steps in our own ways to better the world. We all may have different backgrounds and varying years of Rotary service, from Rotary International Past President Wilf Wilkinson with nearly 50 years to someone like myself with just over a year, we are all equal. We are all contributors to peace in this world.

(L-R) Rotarians Frank Hollick, Rotary District 7450 Paul Harris Society Chair, Wilf Wilkinson, Past President Rotary International and Sean Teaford, President-Elect Rotary Club of Bala Cynwyd-Narberth. (Photo by Rick Trivane)

These kinds of events are an opportunity not just to ensure that we have the proper training but that we are able to discuss with other clubs about the work that we are doing. We are able to find a common ground and in many instances find partners in our endeavors. This is a time to do the behind the scenes work that makes our projects so effective and ensures the longevity and sustainability of our efforts.

These are the types of moments that reinforce my decision to spend a rare day off in a conference room at a Holiday Inn. This is what gets me out of bed at five in the morning and out the door by six. This is why we give so much of our time and energy. Knowing that we are able to accomplish such great things not as individuals but as a part of something greater than ourselves is the reason why we are Rotarians.