Rotary is 40 Strong, Committed Men and Women . . .

. . . making the world a better place

FIGHTING POLIO Rotary Club members and local high-schoolers who are part of Rotary’s teen program called Interact have conducted several campaigns for funds to eradicate polio.  The Vashon group of teens and Rotarians often tows an old Iron Lung up the highway to launch the campaign.  To date, Rotary International has raised many hundreds of millions of dollars and helped reduce polio to only 2 countries and a handful of cases so far this year (2017).  Africa was recently declared polio-free.

SERVING VASHON ISLAND
Rotary has done countless projects for Vashon non-profits, the school district, park district and often obtained grants to help fund those efforts.  The highlight for 2016-17 has been a new project, Music Mends Minds, launched to bring music to people with dementia, and a support group to their caregivers; this group now gathers weekly at 1:30 on Tuesdays at VCC to sing, play instruments and have fun with music.  Champion of this project is Amy Huggins, who is now at work regionally to launch similar bands and singing groups in other areas.

HELPING TO FEED THE HUNGRY
* We support the Vashon Food Bank in earnest, with regular cash and food donations from our club members.
* Two grants in the past few years:  $5,000 for a fence around the first ever garden at the Food Bank, and $2,500 for a security fence for their truck.
* Three of our members drive regularly for the Food Bank’s pick-up and distribution system
* Quarterly we prepare and serve Wednesday Night Dinner, a free community meal for anyone in need of that support. All community members are welcome to this meal at the Episcopal Church that graciously hosts this event; the dinner is not a faith event however.

BUILDING CLEAN WATER SYSTEMS IN GUATEMALA
Vashon Rotary has contributed numerous grants and the expertise of our members to help communities build and improve drinking water systems.  Click on the Global Service tab above for details.

SUPPORTING EDUCATION
Rotary provides dictionaries to every third grade student every year, sponsors several foreign exchange students each year, gives college scholarships to six graduating seniors, and supports the drama program and student Interact (service) Club.  Vashon Rotary also helps send several local high school juniors to foreign countries for a year of study or a short summer exchange, and we host one or two foreign students on Vashon for a year of high school.  Shorter summer-only exchanges are hosted for several students each year.

AND MUCH MORE
A current project is to raise funds and forge partnerships to support a maternal and child health program in Myanmar.  The Vashon club is also supporting other Rotary projects for clean water in Guatemala and Ethiopia.  Join us to be part of a powerful and effective force for Vashon Island and communities around the world.

MEMBERSHIP IS FLEXIBLE…
Businesses and couples can now be part of Rotary’s team with unique, flexible memberships.

Polio – Only TWO Countries Left

The world’s campaign to eradicate polio is almost over in terms of two countries and just a handful of cases occuring there. But the fight is not over; the toughest battles in the hardest to reach locations remain, and even after no new cases of polio appear, vaccinations will need to happen for many years to come.

In honor of World Polio Day on October 24, Vashon Island Rotary holds an annual educational program at Chautauqua Elementary school, teaching fourth and fifth grade students about polio and adding a fun way for them to participate in global eradication efforts.  Each student who donates $1 gets their pinkie finger painted purple, just like the process in developing countries when teams of health workers visit villages to vaccinate everyone

Since 1985, Rotary has contributed nearly $1.2 billion and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than two billion children in 122 countries. The disease remains endemic in just two countries — Afghanistan and Pakistan — although other countries remain at risk for imported cases.   Last year, India was declared polio free with no new reported cases for three years, and in August of this year, there were no reported cases of polio in the entire African continent for one year.

The message from Rotary to world leaders is clear: support the final push to achieve eradication now while the goal has never been closer, or face the potential consequences of a new polio pandemic that could disable millions of children within a decade.

One dollar pays for vaccine to immunize three children. As the PolioPlus campaign says, “We are this close!”

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