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September 9, 2015

Rotary International is a global service organization with a 1.2-million-member strong network of people who want to do good for each other, for their local community and for their national and international neighbors. San Diego County is home to over sixty rotary clubs with more than 3,300 members who all meet on a weekly basis to share a meal while they connect, learn about the community and plan service projects.

“Rotary feels like an instant family,” says Angela Kahn, SDWP Board Administrator and member of Old Mission Rotary Club. “When we get together, we know we are all alike and we are sharing in a common goal.”

But what is it that creates such a strong connection among Rotary members? It all comes down to a common desire to help others and impact their communities. The vast majority of funds raised by Rotarians are funneled back into the community. In addition, the Rotary Foundation provides grants that are available to area clubs for additional civic and humanitarian projects.

One such project, Thousand Smiles, provides no-cost medical treatment to children with maxillofacial deformities, such as cleft palate, who, without their help, would go untreated. The two-day clinics operate all over Baja California and also include services such as eye and dental exams. It’s efforts like these, and countless others dreamt up on a local, national and global scale that make
Rotarians the unique group that they are.

Rotarians are encouraged to join committees, some of which include opportunities to further regional workforce development efforts. San Diego Rotary’s Monarch School committee provides work-readiness training through job shadowing, mock interviews and other assistance for homeless and at risk K-12 students. The organization’s STEM committee is dedicated to the enhancement of science, technology, engineering and math education for students for 3rd through 12th grades.

Multiple SDWP staff members are proud to call themselves Rotarians and the positive impact of their network has extended to the entire organization. Kahn organized a Rotary brown bag lunch hosted by SDWP, which led to a conversation with Point Loma Nazarene University. The connection resulted in a series of professional development workshops being offered to SDWP staff. SDWP’s research department was also invited to share their Priority Sector Reports with Old Mission Rotary Club earlier this year.

The motto of Rotary is “Service Above Self” and every Rotarian strives to serve their community and make the world a better place for everyone.

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