Durham News: Opinion

Rotary Club celebrating 100 years of ‘Service Above Self’

The Rotary Club of Durham is celebrating its centennial in 2015 by organizing and promoting a yearlong effort of “100 Acts of Service Above Self.”

Service to others is a core value of Rotary International, and in Durham we believe room exists to enhance our city’s rich tradition of volunteerism and civic engagement. You can join.

Centennial planners are organizing volunteer opportunities to collaborate with and support a broad range of groups and causes. Our club and partner organizations in Durham are volunteering to help promote student literacy and enhance historic preservation. Volunteers plan to bring happiness and joy to the elderly through music. We are donating and distributing food, donating and bundling school supplies, even working busy parking lots to help public events like the Bennett Place historic anniversary last April.

In May, nearly 20 volunteers refurbished, weeded, mulched and repainted Cherry Grove Park Playground in East Durham with the East Durham Children’s Initiative. We’ve distributed meals with Urban Ministries at the Durham Rescue Mission and with Duke Corporate Education created a link with school children in India to promote international understanding. Upgrading the interior of the Carolina Theatre is coming up soon.

On of our biggest volunteer priorities is promoting literacy. We’re building complementary literacy programs - at school, home and neighborhoods.

At school, our “Reading Ranger” initiative at Y.E. Smith is in its third year. Volunteer “Rangers” help promote reading skills in one-on-one sessions across the school year. At home, this summer, students at Smith are bringing with them about 4,500 hand-picked books to keep reading skills alive as part of Rotary’s support for “Books on Break.” In neighborhoods, we will soon launch East Durham’s own version of the nationally popular “Little Libraries” initiative. Books can be exchanged for free.

It’s great to witness the human and economic upsides of volunteerism that work. Check out our website at Durhamrotaryclub.org

Find something that interests you. Join us this June, which Gov. Pat McCrory has designated as Rotary month in North Carolina to recognize clubs entering their 100th year of service.

Let’s move our city into the top tier of those with civic engagement that leaves an enduring footprint locally and internationally.

Vandana Dake is president and Lois Deloatch is president-elect of the Rotary Club of Durham. Visit the organization’s website at Durhamrotaryclub.org