By Kim Hutchison
“Service above self” is a motto you may be familiar with. It is the motto of Rotary International, an organization bringing business and community leaders together who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. It is a global network of volunteers who address today’s challenges including literacy, disease, hunger, poverty, a lack of clean water, youth development and education to name just a few of the many.
The first club began in 1905 and there are now 1.2 million Rotarians enrolled in 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries worldwide, but there has never been a club one in Ponoka – until now that is.
Gord Friesen is starting a Rotary Club in Ponoka and needs help from members of the community to make that happen.
“When we want something to happen in our community we tend to say ‘somebody should do something about that’ and then it clicked that we are those somebody’s who can make a difference,” said Friesen. “Ponoka deserves to have an international service in its boundaries. We are a little too far from Red Deer and a little too far from Wetaskiwin- it’s time we introduce a program of our own,” he said.
Belonging to the Rotary club gives men and women a way to give back to their community and to make an impact in the global community as well.
While individual groups can concentrate on the progression of local programs of their choice, every club aims to eradicate Polio. PolioPlus is a project that began in 1985 and funds are still being raised to end the disease. The hard work has paid off because since then, polio cases have dropped by 99 per cent and is currently an epidemic in only four countries. Rotary scholarships and youth exchange programs are also highly recognized. They give students the chance to study or practice abroad, thus providing them with experiences that are invaluable.
Rotary clubs are nonreligious, nonpolitical, and open to every race, culture and creed.
“I love the idea of inclusion this club represents,” said Friesen. “Rotary is a way to provide a link between the various sectors of Ponoka. Rotary can act as the spider web that can bring us all together to better our community,” he said. “With a new club we have a clean slate meaning the opportunities are limitless.”
A second Rotary Club information session will be taking place on the second floor of the Provincial building tonight at 7 p.m. for anyone interested in becoming a Ponoka Rotarian.
For additional information with regards to membership, Gord can be reached by e-mail at GordF@sfsgroup.ca or by phone at 403-783-4636.
To learn more about rotary in general, visit www.rotary.org.