Global Service

ANNUAL PURPLE PINKIE DAY at Chautauqua Elementary on Vashon Island
November 19, 2015 and coming again in the Fall of 2016!!!

Fifth grade students at Chautauqua show off their purple pinkies that signify their donation to eradicating polio

Fifth grade students at Chautauqua show off their purple pinkies that signify their donation to eradicating polio

Fifth grade students will be encouraged to donate $1 toward global polio eradication work, and in turn will participate in having their “pinkie” finger stained purple.  The 150 kids contributed $900 last year.  Over the past ten years of this project at Chautauqua, about $7,000 has been raised, enough to immunize about 20,000 children. 

One of the original organizers, Gene Lipitz, commented “Chautauqua, under Doug Swan’s leadership, conducts a unique program on Polio that culminates in Purple Pinkie Day.  Rotary members, educators and children can be a powerful force for good in this world.  We would love to see Vashon’s program replicated by other schools and Rotary clubs.” 

In low-resource countries where polio is endemic and where Rotary International is conduction community-wide polio eradication efforts, immunized children have their pinkies stained purple so that the volunteer teams can easily find non-immunized kids in the villages or by going house to house.  Polio is endemic in just two countries, and the World Health Organization is now looking toward eradicating even the live virus in oral vaccines, and moving soon to an injectable vaccine with a dead virus.

Rotary International is committed to fully end polio worldwide and is very close to the finish line.  Challenges remain in areas where immunization teams can not gain access due to war, internal battles or lack of cultural acceptance….see details at

Two physicians in Vashon Rotary are taking the lead in helping a community in Guatemala improve their domestic water supply.  Go to the sub-page above (under the International Service tab) for an overview of a recent Rotary grant that Drs Kathleen and Chris Davis are facilitating.

In addition, we are partners on other recent projects for which Rotary grants have already been approved:

Clean water system in El Sargento, Guatemala was funded by 3 local Rotary clubs including Vashon, in the summer of 2016.

Uganda, Young Rotarian Leadership & Travel Grant supported an exploratory group of District 5030 Rotarians to develop relationships with Ugandan Rotaries to prevent and treat malaria and Burkitts Lymphoma. We are partnering with the Queen Anne Rotary in Seattle on this program.

Safe Water, Clean Hands for Ethiopian Kids will partner with local Rotary Clubs and a nonprofit, SPLASH, to provide clean water and hygiene education in 12-25 schools in Addis Ababa. We are partnering for this grant with Lake Union Rotary, where former Vashon Islander, Gene Lipitz, is a member.

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