Rotary honors UK Prime Minister Theresa May

Rotary recognizes UK Prime Minister Theresa May with polio champion award

By Ryan Hyland

Rotary honored Theresa May, prime minister of the United Kingdom, with the Polio Eradication Champion Award for her leadership and political support toward ending polio. 

Rotary International President Barry Rassin presented the prestigious award to Alistair Burt, the UK minister of state for international development and minister of state for the Middle East, at a roundtable discussion on polio eradication on 27 November in London, England. 

Rassin told Burt, who accepted the award on May’s behalf, that the UK has repeatedly demonstrated an unwavering commitment toward a polio-free world. 

Alistair Burt, left, the UK minister of state for international development and minister of state for the Middle East, accepts the Polio Eradication Champion Award from RI President Barry Rassin.

“Britain’s leadership in making multiyear commitments in support of global polio eradication has been an example for other countries to follow,” Rassin said. He added that flexible funding from the UK has given the Global Polio Eradication Initiative  more resources to respond quickly to “dynamic needs.”

Under May’s leadership in 2017, the UK pledged about $130 million to the GPEI for 2017-19, bringing the country’s cumulative support for polio eradication to $1.6 billion — second only to the United States. May has also been a strong advocate for other countries in the G-20 and G-7 to maintain their financial and political support for a polio-free world, Rassin said. 

Rotary established the Polio Eradication Champion Award in 1996 to recognize heads of state, health agency leaders, and others who have made significant contributions to ending polio. Past recipients include Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, and former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Tips for starting Rotaract club on college campus

6 tips for starting a Rotaract club on your campus

By Arnold R. Grahl

When Taylor Huie arrived to start her first year at Duke University in fall 2017, she was surprised to learn that the campus didn’t have a Rotaract club.

After all, Rotary’s program for young leaders started just 120 miles away in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. And Rotaract clubs did exist on many nearby campuses.

Huie grew up attending meetings of the Rotary Club of St. Joseph & Benton Harbor, Michigan, USA, with her mother, Jackie, a club member and the founder of a student mentoring program that has helped hundreds of teenagers clarify their career aspirations. Huie had already helped the Interact Club of St. Joseph High School grow to more than 140 members and served as its membership chair for three years and president for one year. She also took part in two Interact service trips to the Dominican Republic to install water filters.

Given her background, it was only a matter of time before Huie launched Duke’s first Rotaract club. More than 360 students responded to her Facebook invitation to join. In September, the Rotaract Club of Duke University received its charter.

“Because my family is so involved in Rotary, I feel like Rotary is part of who I am,” Huie says. “The idea of going off to college and not having Rotary was beyond my comprehension.”

The biomedical engineering major offers advice on how to start a university-based Rotaract club and what appeals to college students.

1. Start with Rotary clubs

Rotaract Club of Duke University secretary Ana Martinez and vice president Moses Makangila pass out information about the new club and answer questions during the University’s fall activities fair.

Photo coutesy of Rotaract Club of Duke University

Huie spent her first year at Duke getting to know the campus and the city of Durham, where the university is based, before filing paperwork to charter a club. She also attended meetings of several local Rotary clubs and connected with a member of the Rotary Club of Durham who agreed to serve as the new club’s adviser.

Huie says working with the local Rotary clubs gave her the foundation she needed to approach the university. “It shows you’ve done work behind the scenes; you already have support.”

2. Recruit an executive board

Having talked about Rotaract extensively with friends and classmates, Huie recruited a classmate who expressed interest in being vice president. And she asked friends she knew she could trust to serve as treasurer and secretary.

“I think it would be very difficult — if not impossible — for a person to do this on their own,” she says.

3. Prepare

During the summer between her first and second years at Duke, Huie read the Rotaract Handbook, the standard club constitution, and the recommended bylaws. She had her executive board read them as well. Huie already knew a lot about Rotary after having served as an Interact officer, but she spent time on adding to that knowledge and learning more about Rotaract. 

“You want to present your ideas in the best light possible,” she notes. “If someone has questions, you want to know how to answer them. It also shows you’re invested.”

4. Use social media

“Facebook is a really good resource for connecting people with Rotary,” Huie says. She used Duke’s Facebook pages for first- and second-year students to post her initial invitation to join. Her executive board also used Google Hangouts to spur further interest and answer questions. Huie says it’s important to make it clear what your club will do and how people can join. 

5. Use time wisely 

The Duke Rotaract club’s meetings are working meetings, where members split into groups to discuss projects and club business. 

“It’s important for college students, or young adults in general, to feel like they’re spending their time wisely,” she says. “They want to be actively engaged in doing something to better themselves and their community.”

6. Promote networking and mentoring 

Give members opportunities to network and find mentors. These are two benefits young adults seek, Huie says. The Duke University Rotaract club is working with Rotary and Rotaract clubs in the area to plan a career fair and may even launch a mentoring program like the one Huie’s mother started in St. Joseph.

“It’s not every day you have a club that connects you to 1.2 million people in the world who are all motivated to change the world for the better,” says Huie.

5 reasons to give to Rotary on Giving Tuesday 2018

5 reasons to give to Rotary on Giving Tuesday

By Arnold R. Grahl

You have many choices where you donate this Giving Tuesday, 27 November. Why should Rotary be your charity of choice?

Here are five reasons to give to Rotary.

1. Accountability

Our accountability and transparency have earned The Rotary Foundation 11 straight years of four-star ratings — the highest possible — from independent evaluator Charity Navigator. Ninety-one percent of Foundation funds are spent directly on programs. No high administrative costs dilute your gift. 

2. Impact

We partner with other organizations to increase our impact and make your donations work even harder. When you give to PolioPlus, for example, you have the satisfaction of knowing that every $1 Rotary commits to polio eradication is matched by $2 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Thanks to this partnership, all donations to end polio (up to $50 million per year) are tripled, providing critical funding toward creating a polio-free world. 

3. A record of success

Rotary unites leaders who have the skills and resources to tackle some of the world’s most difficult problems and deliver sustainable, long-lasting results. For decades, Rotary has been a leader in the battle against polio and has caused cases to plummet from 350,000 in 1988 to only a handful this year. Rotary members have also achieved notable results in other areas, like eradicating Guinea worm disease in Ghana.

4. Global reach

Our 1.2 million members span the globe, uniting people who have a common desire to serve others. From teaching children to read in Ecuador to a microcredit program in Indonesia, Rotary members identify local problems and use Rotary’s vast network and the resources of The Rotary Foundation to take action in their communities.

5. Bringing about peace

Each year, the Rotary Peace Centers train some of the world’s most dedicated professionals to resolve conflicts and promote national and international cooperation. Rotary Peace Fellows study in a two-year master’s degree program or a three-month professional certificate program at Rotary’s partner universities. Rotary members themselves also address the underlying causes of conflict, including poverty, inequality, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources.

Honoring ingenuity

Rotary honors 6 who are changing the world

By Ryan Hyland
Photographs by Alyce Henson

Innovation was the theme at Rotary Day at the United Nations on 10 November. Nearly aMore than a thousand Rotary leaders, members, and guests from around the world met in Nairobi, Kenya, to hear about creative solutions to challenging world problems.

The annual event, held at the only UN headquarters in Africa, recognizes Rotary’s long-standing special relationship with the United Nations . UN officials and humanitarian experts inspired participants to find innovative strategies for addressing humanitarian needs both locally and globally.

View Slideshow

Nearly a thousand people attended Rotary Day at the United Nations in Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday, 10 November 2018. The event honored young innovators and their role in creating change.

Six Rotaract and Rotary members age 35 or under were also honored as Rotary People of Action: Young Innovators. All of these leaders spoke about how they used ingenuity to launch efforts that brought about measurable and lasting results.

General sessions and workshops covered the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the technology revolution, and young people’s role in creating change. A special session on the environment emphasized the importance of sustainable development and suggested concrete actions that people of all generations can take to build a clean and healthy future.

For the first time, the event also featured an Innovation Fair where Rotary clubs, businesses, and other organizations exhibited projects and cutting-edge technology designed to address humanitarian challenges.

Keynote speakers included RI President Barry Rassin, who is a member of the Rotary Club of East Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas, and Sushil Kumar Gupta, Rotary International president-nominee and a member of the Rotary Club of Delhi Midwest, Delhi, India.

Rassin said the Innovation Fair inspired him to pair Rotary’s older generations’ resources  and experience with the energy and ideas of young people.

“We want to take you on as equals, as colleagues,” Rassin told the young audience members. “You bring to the table your ideas, your ambitions, your perspective on the world’s problems. We help you to enlarge your horizons, to think big, and to make your innovations practical.” 

He added, “Youth innovators and Rotary can make the impossible possible.”

With more young people in the world today than ever before — more than 50 percent of the population is under age 30   — it’s imperative for them to harness their talents, said Hanna S. Tetteh, director-general of the United Nations Office at Nairobi. 

“For a more peaceful and more sustainable world for all, we need the active participation and leadership of young people,” said Tetteh. “I’m grateful Rotary is representing that here today.”

  1. Albert Kafka, Albert Kafka , of the Rotaract Club of Wien-Stadtpark and Rotary Club of Wien-Oper, Austria, who launched Intarconnect, an online platform for establishing mentorships and encouraging service across generations, including helping to build houses for the poor. He was assisted in the project by Phillip-Sebastian Marchl, Peter Rabensteiner, and Rotary clubs in Austria and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

  2. Charlie Ruth Castro, of the Rotary E-Club of Sogamoso Global, Boyacá, Colombia, who leads a program that teaches vocational and business skills to women in prison in Colombia. Castro, who visited prisons across Colombia for her project, said education is the way to empower women, even those who are imprisoned. “In prison, there are seeds of peace and reconciliation. We are teaching these women how to create a new beginning and how to use their skills to create innovation even with very few resources.” 

  3. Christina Hassan, of the Rotary Club of Calgary Fish Creek, Alberta, Canada, who launched the nonprofit FullSoul, which trains midwives and supplies safe, sterile childbirth equipment to hospitals in Uganda. Recounting her experience witnessing a mother die while giving birth in Uganda, Hassan emotionally spoke about how her project, with Rotary’s support, has safely helped 65,000 mothers deliver healthy babies. 

  4. Paul Mushaho, of the Rotaract Club of Nakivale, who organized a Rotaract club in a Ugandan refugee settlement; the club conducts service projects in the camp and fosters a sense of family among the refugees. “Our refugee community realized our local challenges needed local solutions. And that we can solve them ourselves,” said Mushaho. “We are not beggars, we are a generation of change and inspiration.”  

  5. Shadrack Nyawa, of the Rotary Club of Kilifi, Kenya, who traveled to remote areas of the country to supply toilets and handwashing stations to schools most in need.

  6. Ludovic Grosjean, of the Rotaract Club of Melbourne City, Victoria, Australia, whose Ocean CleanX company is developing technology to monitor pollution and remove it from waterways. Calling it a “scary statistic,” Grosjean noted that each year 8.8 million tons of plastic gets into the ocean, causing continual distress to marine life. “I always wanted to save the oceans. We have to stop the pollution at its source,” he said, adding that the effort must start with removing plastic from the land. 

 Watch a video of Rotary UN Day 2018

[embedded content]

Jack Nicklaus to play golf with Rotary donors

Play golf with legend Jack Nicklaus

Jack Nicklaus

Twelve generous supporters of Rotary’s polio eradication efforts will have the opportunity to play golf with legend Jack Nicklaus, a Rotary ambassador for polio eradication.

Nicklaus plans to thank the next 12 individuals who make a new donation of $250,000 or more to the PolioPlus Fund by inviting them to play golf with him at the Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Florida, USA, on 12 March 2019. There, donors will be divided into three groups of four, and each group will play 18 holes of golf – six with Nicklaus. Donors who prefer not to golf may allow one friend or family member to golf in their place.

Space is limited to the first 12 donors. To qualify, donors need to complete a gift intent form and make the full donation by 22 January 2019. Contact Harvey Newcomb III, director of principal gifts at The Rotary Foundation, for more information. Please see the gift intent form for details.

If they wish, the donors will also be inducted into the Arch Klumph Society in recognition of their support for Rotary’s polio eradication efforts.

Rotary Foundation receives Charity Navigator rating for 11th year

Rotary Foundation receives highest rating from Charity Navigator for 11th year

By Rotary International

For the 11th consecutive year, The Rotary Foundation has received the highest rating — four stars — from Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator of charities in the U.S.

The Foundation earned the recognition for demonstrating both strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency.

“We are extremely honored to be recognized,” says Foundation Trustee Chair Ron Burton. “It represents the hard work and dedication of countless Rotarians throughout the world.  They know their gifts will be used for the purpose for which they were given and that they will, indeed, make a real difference.”

The rating reflects Charity Navigator’s assessment of how the Foundation uses donations, sustains its programs and services, and practices good governance and openness.

World Polio Day lauds historic partnership, success 

Rotary and GPEI have put polio on the brink of global eradication

By Ryan Hyland
Photos by Monika  Lozinska

After 30 years of bold action, historic achievements, and sometimes discouraging setbacks, Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) have nearly brought polio to an end. 

This groundbreaking public-private partnership and its innovative strategies were celebrated Wednesday during Rotary’s 6th annual World Polio Day event, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia

  1. Dr. Ujala Nayyar, left, a WHO surveillance officer in Pakistan, discussed with Alex Witt about how thorough tracking of the wild polio virus will help eradicate the disease. 

  2. Ina Pinkly, celebrity chef and cookbook author, spoke about her experience of contracting polio and how she overcame obstacles to succeed. 

  3. Hundreds gathered to celebrate World Polio Day at at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

  4. Cable journalists Ashleigh Banfield, left, host of HLN’s “Crime and Justice,” and Alex Witt, host of “MSNBC Live With Alex Witt,” moderated the Rotary’s 6th annual World Polio Day on 24 October in Philadelphia, USA. 

Hundreds of people attended in person, including representatives of all five GPEI partners, and thousands more worldwide watched it live online. Cable news journalists Ashleigh Banfield, host of HLN’s “Crime and Justice,” and Alex Witt, host of “MSNBC’s “Weekends Live With Alex Witt,” moderated the event. 

Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Ron Burton began the program by noting that Philadelphia is where Rotary announced, at its international convention in 1988, that it doubled its fundraising goal of $120 million and raised $247 million.

The moment showed Rotary’s strength as an organization capable of tackling the challenge of ending the disease globally and spearheading one of the most ambitious public health initiatives in history, the GPEI. The other partners of the GPEI are the World Health Organization, UNICEF, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“We knew then that the war against polio would be long, and it would have its challenges,” Burton said. “But we knew then, as we do now, that we could do it. Thirty years ago, I was proud to be part of the organization that took on the job, and the promise, of eradicating polio.”

Since its formation, the GPEI has trained and mobilized millions of volunteers and health workers, gained access to homes not reached by other health initiatives to immunize children, brought health interventions to underserved communities, and standardized timely global monitoring for polio cases and poliovirus, a process also known as surveillance. 

The results have been monumental. Thirty years ago, the paralyzing disease affected 350,000 children in one year. Because of massive vaccination campaigns around the world, cases have dropped more than 99.9 percent, to only 20 reported so far this year. Polio, which was endemic in 125 countries in 1988, now remains so in just three: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. More than 2.5 billion children have been vaccinated, and more than $14 billion has been invested in the fight to eradicate the disease worldwide. 

Lea Hegg, senior program officer of the vaccine delivery team at the Gates Foundation, gave an update on polio around the world. Despite tremendous progress, challenges remain before we can claim victory, she said in a video interview with Mark Wright, news host at an NBC television station in Seattle, Washington, USA. 

“The fact is in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where we are still seeing cases, we have tremendous challenges that we’re facing: conflict and insecurity,” Hegg said. “We have to come up with new ways to solve those problems.”

Hundreds gathered to celebrate World Polio Day at at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

She praised the brave polio workers who go to insecure areas to vaccinate children and also noted the importance of vaccination sites at transit posts outside these areas. 

Hegg added, “We still have the tools, we have the persistence, and we’re still really confident that we’ll get there.”

In a question-and-answer session with Witt, Dr. Ujala Nayyar, a WHO surveillance officer in Punjab, Pakistan, discussed the importance of tracking the ever-circulating virus. Nayyar said that health workers need to be a step ahead of the poliovirus to interrupt its transmission. She also noted that Pakistan has the world’s largest network for environmental surveillance of polio. 

“It’s a tough job. We have a network of government, private doctors plus informal health care providers, plus community mobilizers,” Nayyar said. “We are very confident on one thing — that we are detecting every polio case.” 

 Speakers also included award-winning chef, author, and polio survivor Ina Pinkney, who talked about her experience of the disease.  Jeffrey Kluger, senior editor at Time magazine, spoke about his recent experience traveling to Nigeria with Rotary to report on polio eradication.

Entertainment included a sneak peek from Rotary’s documentary “Drop to Zero” and a showing of its latest virtual reality film, “Two Drops of Patience.” 

Banfield highlighted several End Polio Now activities that clubs organized to raise awareness of polio and funds for eradication efforts, including a rally in Delhi, India, where 2,000 members drove cars or bikes decorated with informational flags and stickers through the city. In Egypt, Rotary members hosted an End Polio Festival, which included a road race, a blood drive, and a concert that attracted thousands. 

Rotary has contributed more than $1.8 billion to polio eradication since it started its PolioPlus program in 1985. The effort got a boost in August when Rotary announced it would provide an additional $96.5 million in grants to increase immunizations and surveillance.  Most of the funds were allocated to the three countries where polio remains endemic; Afghanistan ($22.9 million), Nigeria ($16.1 million), and Pakistan ($21.7 million). The rest was spread across 12 countries in Africa that are vulnerable to polio. 

Rotary has also committed to raising $50 million a year over a three-year period for eradication activities. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match up to that amount 2-to-1, which could bring the total as high as $450 million.

The next wave in fellowship

Love of surfing brings together more than 450 Rotary members from 20 countries

By Arnold R. Grahl

Renata Valente is trying to keep her marshmallow from falling into the fire. The Brazilian-born Rotaractor, who spent a year in Indiana as a Rotary Youth Exchange student and now attends San Diego State University, is at the beachside Crown Point Park for an event organized by Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship (SURF), one of Rotary’s newest fellowships. 

Rotaractors and guests roast marshmallows at a Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship event at beachside Crown Point Park, San Diego, in April.

Photos courtesy of Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship

The sun has set, but the faces of more than 30 attendees — Rotarians, Rotaractors, Interactors, and guests — glow in the light of the bonfire as they make s’mores and enjoy some music.

“It’s Friday night, and this is exactly what my friends and I wanted to do,” says Valente. “It’s exciting knowing you are going to be able to have fun and be with your friends, but also do something that impacts your community.”

Valente learned about SURF in October 2017, when volunteers from her Rotaract club traveled to Ensenada, Mexico, to help fix up an orphanage. One morning, SURF founder Brett Morey and other members of the fellowship took the volunteers and orphans surfing. Valente has been an active member ever since. 

Morey, a member of the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle, California, grew up bodyboarding and surfing on beaches from Huntington Beach to Del Mar. Last year, he decided Rotary needed a fellowship centered on surfing. He assembled a prospective leadership team, and at the 2017 Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, he collected the necessary signatures — on his surfboard — to petition the RI Board. 

The fellowship has already grown to more than 450 members in over 20 countries. Its mission: introducing people to surfing, attracting young people to Rotary, building connections, and mentoring.

At the Standup for the Cure event, paddleboarders participate in a 5K race.

SURF members span the globe from Argentina to New Zealand, including countries that have no access to oceans, such as the Czech Republic and Hungary. Members don’t have to be near oceans or seas to capture the spirit of the fellowship, which is bringing together Interactors, Rotaractors, and Rotarians for fun events.

“The thing I think about is making Rotary relevant to this generation,” says Morey. “We talk all the time about bringing youth into Rotary. This is the type of social event that allows us to grow our Interact clubs and Rotary.” Rotarians can join SURF for $20 a year; Interactors and Rotaractors join for free. Members host events that range from surf outings to fundraisers.

“When I started to think about a fellowship, my whole vision was to take some of the things I was already doing in San Diego and bring that to a global scale,” Morey says. “Anybody who is near water can hold a bonfire event or do a stand-up paddleboard event or a learn-to-surf event. It’s all about building understanding between people. And that is exactly what the purpose of Rotary is.”

In May, SURF members took part in Standup for the Cure in nearby Newport Bay, taking to paddleboards to raise money for breast cancer research. They’ve also volunteered at Life Rolls On events, which give people with disabilities a chance to surf by means of adaptive surfboards. 

View Slideshow

At a Life Rolls On event, Brett Morey’s friend Leo Berg gets a chance to enjoy the ocean.

A Life Rolls On event in September 2017 held special meaning for Morey; a childhood friend, Leo Berg, was assisted into the water. A snowboarding accident in 1993 left Berg paralyzed from a brain stem injury. Morey recalls it as “a difficult but spiritually uplifting time” that cemented relationships with those he had grown up with as they held a bedside vigil for their friend.

Now, he says, “taking Leo and others surfing through Life Rolls On is very rewarding. It gives them an opportunity to enjoy something we take for granted.” 

At the Crown Point Park bonfire, Morey works the crowd, introducing Interact members from different schools, connecting Rotarians with Rotaractors, and otherwise playing emcee of the beach party. A Rotaractor from San Diego State who is applying to medical school and a Rotarian who is a retired orthopedic surgeon discover they have a common bond in Romania, where the student’s family lives and where the Rotarian’s grandfather came from. Before long, the Rotaractor is getting advice about navigating the medical school application process.

Johnny Lee joined SURF after moving to San Diego from Fremont, California, and attending the La Jolla Golden Triangle club with Morey.  

“I’ve done quite a few Rotary events, but this is especially fun,” says Lee. Shortly after joining, he learned to surf at one of the fellowship’s events.

“It was both harder and easier than I expected,” he says. “Harder, because I didn’t realize I would be nearly drowning a good bit of the time. But easier because, once you stay above the water, it’s not hard to ride the wave.

“As a young Rotarian, I want to do things both globally and locally. This is helping out our community, and it is creating something exciting,” he says. “Surfing is a great activity for bringing in young people.”

— Arnold R. Grahl

• Read more stories in The Rotarian

The Rotary Foundation inducted into University of Oxford’s Chancellor’s Court of Benefactors

  • adaptmarket
  • Rotary News
  • Comments Off on The Rotary Foundation inducted into University of Oxford’s Chancellor’s Court of Benefactors

[unable to retrieve full-text content]’s-chancellor’s-court-benefactors

Turning teens away from crime

Rotary clubs in Canada invest in the PACT program, an urban peace initiative that aims to break the cycle of youth crime

Akeem Stephenson wanted to go to jail. He believed it was the only way he could free himself from a life of crime — a life he desperately wanted to change. 

After being arrested for a fourth time more than 10 years ago, for aggravated robbery, the teenager in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, was set to go to prison. But the judge saw something in Stephenson that suggested that he could redeem himself. So he gave Stephenson a choice: participate in an 18-month youth program, or serve the six-month sentence. 

[embedded content]

Akeem Stephenson used the PACT program to turn his life around and launch his music career. 

For Stephenson, the choice was clear. He decided to transform his life through the PACT Urban Peace Program.

PACT, which stands for Participation, Acknowledgement, Commitment, and Transformation, is a Toronto-based, award-winning charity supported by Rotary clubs in Canada. It works with at-risk young people and those who have committed crimes to change their direction in life. Entrepreneur and Toronto Rotary member David Lockett co-founded the program more than 20 years ago. 

The intensive, step-by-step program aims to break the cycle of poverty and criminal behavior. Its goal is to determine what the participants need and develop strategies “to put them on a positive path in their life, so they can enrich not only their own lives, but their community,” says Lockett, a member of the Rotary E-Club of Social Innovators D7090. 

Lockett says PACT builds peace in urban communities. “It’s all about looking at the impact of violence and criminal behavior, and understanding the dynamics of the problem, and creating highly effective solutions to make investments for at-risk youth at an early stage,” he says. “It’s really quite simple. If you want to help at-risk youth, you really have to understand the simple needs they have.”

He acknowledges that young people who commit crimes should be held accountable, and for many of them, that includes serving jail time. But for some, those he says come from “squalid and deplorable backgrounds” with very little parental guidance, PACT is a resource that can change their lives and reduce the likelihood that they will commit more crimes. 

The organization works with the judicial system to identify repeat offenders ages 12-19 who may benefit from the program. After a young adult is convicted of a crime, the judge or judicial official refers them to PACT as part of a probation order. 

[embedded content]

Judges in Canada see how the PACT program can reduce youth crime and help offenders stay out of the judicial system. 

Central to PACT’s success is its LifePlan Coaching program, an intense intervention system that pairs a participant with a certified life coach. The two meet each week for 12-18 months to set goals in six key areas: education, employment, health, relationships, contributing to the community, and staying out of the criminal justice system. Life coaching is a conversational process that provides structure and acknowledgement, builds capacity and self-awareness, and fosters self-directed learning and action. This ultimately helps the young person get from where they are to where they want to be in the future. 

PACT’s LifePlan Coaching differs from the traditional model of therapy or counseling in that it does not focus on the person’s past but rather concentrates on the present and future, says Lockett. The innovative program boasts a 65 percent success rate, with success meaning that the young person completes the program without re-offending. 

It was the relationship with his life coach that gave Stephenson the insight and confidence to reshape his future. “The PACT program will change your mindset,” he says. “They’ll give you the blueprint, but it’s up to you to run with it.”

Stephenson has since obtained his high school equivalency certificate and has been working at a call center. He also honed his passion for music through PACT’s Life & Job Skills Community Service Programs, in which participants learn through practical exposure to activities like music and film production, cooking, gardening, and entrepreneurship. 

Rotary brings compassion

To date, nearly 30 clubs in the Toronto area have supported PACT, many with annual commitments of $3,600 or more to fund the program, according to Lockett. 

[embedded content]

PACT participants can hone their skills and passions through the program’s Life & Job Skills Community Service Programs, which gives them practical exposure to activities like music, film production, cooking, gardening, and entrepreneurship.

But Rotary clubs are also playing a more in-depth role in PACT. The two organizations created the PACT/Rotary Youth Mentoring Program, which allows members to connect directly with participants. 

Liz Bosma-Donovan, a social worker and member of the Rotary Club of Wellington in Ontario, is the first Rotary ambassador to PACT. She works with Rotary clubs to find members who are willing to become mentors. 

“After learning about PACT and working with David [Lockett] on projects, I saw there was a missing opportunity for Rotary to create a more meaningful connection,” says Bosma-Donovan. “We want to enhance their sense of belonging, to make them feel more a part of the community. Rotary is uniquely positioned in the community to bring about these connections.”

For instance, members can help a PACT participant find volunteer opportunities, get a driver’s license, or secure job interviews. 

“Our members are caring and compassionate,” says Bosma-Donovan. “Those things are crucial to bring about change and to rebuild their lives.”

Scroll to top