By Erin Hansen
This January, our Rotary Club of Moncton West & Riverview celebrated its 47th birthday. It’s an event we call Charter Night, and the atmosphere always reminds me of a much-anticipated family reunion, despite the fact we see each other at our weekly meetings. Charter Night provides an opportunity to look back on our efforts during the past year and celebrate the exemplary commitment of some of our members, as well as members of our local community.
Non-Rotarian community members who are honoured with a Paul Harris Award often aren’t very familiar with our organization. In fact, they tend to be surprised by how much Rotary does for the planet. This is largely because we Rotarians don’t like to toot our own horns. We do the things we do globally, nationally and in our communities, because we want to make the world a better place (regardless of religion, ethnicity, political affinity, age, gender identity, or any of the other issues that commonly divide the human race) - it’s that simple. However, I think it’s also important we educate others about our organization, and what we stand for. How else can we truly advance world understanding, goodwill and integrity?
As stated on the Rotary International Website, we are a global organization of people who believe we have a shared responsibility to take action on our planet’s most persistent and widespread issues. These include:
  1. Promoting peace
  2. Fighting disease
  3. Providing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene
  4. Saving mothers and children
  5. Supporting education
  6. Growing local economies
We are united in our mission to create lasting change in the world, whether it be globally, locally or personally. Rotary International has almost eradicated Polio from the face of the Earth. Our members design and build infrastructure that allows doctors, patients and governments to work together. Rotarians address the underlying causes for conflict like poverty, inequality, lack of access to education, and ethnic tension. We create opportunities to help individuals financially and/or socially via microloans, training, and agricultural opportunities to break the cycle of poverty. We collaborate with other charities to provide relief during periods of global crisis.
Our local clubs have the flexibility to determine the ways we can best take action, in our own communities, to find solutions aligning with Rotary’s 6 Areas of Focus. The Rotary Club of Moncton West & Riverview promotes local literacy, feeds our most vulnerable school children, and advocates for women at risk. We also organize international youth exchanges to foster increased cultural understanding for world peace. Have you noticed our logo at several of our local parks? Rotarians also build and enhance green spaces for our community to enjoy. That’s not all - we also partner with many other charitable organizations through our fundraising efforts. These local efforts are only the tip of the iceberg. I haven’t even talked about what our club does in the world at large, because that matters to us too.
Rotarians don’t do it for the glory. We believe true leaders are those who empower others, versus those who have the most power. No one is more important than anyone else – we are all part of the same team who share our combined skills and expertise to make our world a better place. We value diversity and a multidisciplinary perspective because that helps us see challenges in new ways to find unique solutions. We believe in Service Above Self and are in it for the long haul. We understand that solving complex problems takes real commitment and vision. We persevere and are passionate about what we believe in. We have been around for the past 110 years or so and are among the most fiscally responsible charities on the planet. Would you like to join our ranks? We likely have a place for you.