Jen Reider, newly elected Rotary District 7630 governor, urged Lewes-Rehoboth Rotarians to `light it up’ this year as they develop and implement their community service plans. The theme for 2014-15 is Light up Rotary. “Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness,“ she said.“Rotarians make a difference. They do good work in the world and change people’s lives. Leave nothing undone. Finish what you start.”
Reider talked about a life-changing Rotarian trip she made to Guatemala several years ago. She was part of a team sent to help villagers install a water system that delivered clean drinking water to the town’s inhabitants.
“That trip changed my life,” she said in telling how Rotary did more than just bring clean water to the village. “I met an elderly woman there who spent a large part of her life hauling pails of water from area wells and streams to her family home. Imagine that. The water, used for drinking, cooking and bathing, was miles away and several trips a day had to be made. They had clean water, but that responsibility kept her from attending school as a child and kept her from working as an adult. It also helped keep her family in poverty.”
Reider also met a young girl who had a different future. Because clean water was now available in the village, the little girl was attending school and would be able to pursue a job when she was of age. “She had a completely different future just because they had access to clean water. So it’s not only the initial benefit, but the secondary benefits that Rotary gives people.”
Another example she cited was Rotary’s impact on polio eradication. Projections estimate a total eradication of the disease by 2018. “For every dollar the Rotary raises, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will donate $2,” she said.
She ended by reminding the group that Rotary of Wilmington will celebrate its centennial in 2015 and must continue to evolve as it enters the future. “Rotary must change with the times, and attract new and diverse members. That diversity will result in new ideas that will make our organization stronger.”