The International Service Committees include the Group Study Exchange program or GSE, the World Community Service Committee, the Million Meals Project Committee, and the Rotary Foundation.

Durham Rotary Youth Exchange – Host Families Needed

JaneneFernLighting peace candles is a wonderfully symbolic thing to do but peace itself is built from millions of personal connections. Sometimes making those connections involve sacrifices but few provide a return on investment like hosting a student from abroad. Ask any Rotarian who has hosted a student.  But bringing a stranger into you home and providing room and board can look like a major sacrifice. 

Janene Tompkins introduced our Club again to Fern Piromsantikorn from Thailand, the current visiting exchange student. Janene and her Co-Chair, Shannon Leskin and currently interviewing families to host Fern for 3 months each. Shannon developed the guidelines below. Host families do not need to be Rotary Families. Consider passing the information along to others in your network of friends and families for consideration. 

As you all know from Janene’s presentation at the club meeting Monday, we have had two families back out of hosting Fern.  Both for personal reasons and not because of the program. Janene and I have exhausted our personal contacts, so we are asking our club to reach out to our networks to find host families. The particulars are as follows:

  1. Fern is enrolled at Riverside High School. She is doing well in her academic studies.  The family should be in that district.  One note, Fern is currently in a carpool in Trinity Park and if we can find a familes in that neighborhood she can stay in the carpool. It is not necessary, just want anyone in Trinity Park to know that carpool is not an issue.
  1. We need two families. One for January until mid-March and the second mid-March until June when school is over and she goes home. The dates can be flexible and will be coordinated once we secure the two families.
  1. As you all know, Rotary is affiliated with the ESSEX Youth Exchange: and there is a button on the left side for “host family” information. I have copied the responsibilities from the website, but please go to the site for complete information.
  1. The host families do not have to be Rotarian’s. They do not have to have teenage children. Actually, families with smaller children can be a really rich experience and I think that Fern, in particular, would love to be around younger children.
  1. Fern is a lovely girl, and the family she is currently staying with has told me that she is quiet, loves to try new foods, and has become a part of the family. She is staying with them through Thanksgiving and the Christmas season because they really want her to experience their family traditions.

Host family responsibilities (from the ESSEX website, please see the site for complete details)

As a Rotary Youth Exchange host family, it is your responsibility to provide room and board for your exchange student. You are also expected to exercise general parental supervision over the student just as you would your own children, and involve him or her in daily household chores and activities.

However, most host families’ involvement with their student does not stop at room and board. The families often share their native background while also learning about their visitors’ culture. This does not mean that you have to arrange elaborate entertainment, but simply make the student a part of your family. Give him or her the opportunity to share in the same aspects of your family life that most teenage students experience in your culture.

If you have any questions or an interested family please direct them to one if us: Shannon Leskin, or Janene Tompkins,

Thank you, Shannon and Janene

Foundation News – Dr. Larry Crane Joins Paul Harris Society

LarryCraneDallaswebDallas Stallings presents a plaque recognize Rotarian Dr. Larry Crane as our newest Paul Harris Society Member. The Paul Harris Society recognizes Rotary members and friends of The Rotary Foundation who contribute $1,000 or more each year to the Annual Fund, PolioPlus, or approved global grants. The purpose of the Paul Harris Society is to honor and thank individuals for their generosity of annual support to The Rotary Foundation.

Reunion and Flag Exchange

Atkins3Rotarians Stewart and Christine Atkin  of the Durham Rotary Club of the UK visited the meeting to exchange flags again and emphasized the international nature of Rotary. The Atkins also were also here as part of the Sister Cities award program described in another post this week. If you look closely at the picture accompanying the post about November as Rotary Foundation Month you will notice that the Rotary Club of Durham, UK is noted on the sign with our club that obtained the grant for the Pune Toilet project.Atkins2


The meeting also became an ad hoc reunion for the Atkins with many of the Rotarians who have travelled to the UK and been guests of the UK club.

November is Rotary Foundation Month

Leadership in Pune Toilet Project

November is celebrated as Rotary Foundation Month.  It is a time to emphasize the motto of The Foundation, “Doing Good in Our Communities and Around the World.”

Durham Rotary Club has been working with international partners in  significant ways since 2005 when we joined districts 1030 and 3170 in an “Aqua Filters” project in a village in India.  Since that day, our club has been fortunate to work with clubs and districts all over the world: 13 foreign districts, 13 district governors in those districts, 20 foreign clubs and 14 club presidents from those districts as well as The Rotary Foundation, to facilitate life-saving projects for many of the world’s neediest people.

In addition, we have engaged in multiple district projects such as Crayons to Calculators.  All of these important life-changing projects have been supported by the faithful giving to The Rotary Foundation by members of the Durham Rotary Club.

To date, Durham Rotary Club has given more than $541,658. to The Rotary Foundation.  Just this past year 187 of our members have made a gift to The Foundation for its work.  Those gifts have supported not only international projects, but the eradication of Polio as well.  Seventeen non-Rotarians have also given through our club.  All of our projects have fully complied with the specified areas of support for such projects:   World Peace, education and literacy, health care for women and children, polio eradication, and potable water where none exists.

The Rotary Foundation receives the funds that we give and invests them.  After three years The Foundation returns one half of our gifts back to our district for our work both globally and locally.  As we plan projects on the global and local scale and engage our members in supporting those projects, we facilitate the transformation of our gifts into projects that change lives both at home and abroad.

Our International Services Committee works diligently every month to find and engage in projects that fulfill that goal.  Our goal is to find projects that will be sustainable for the long term.  Each project averages about three years from conception of an idea until there are boots on the ground and the soil is turned. PuneToilets

We support the work of our local Peace Scholars at the Duke-Carolina Peace Center in developing projects that will make a difference in their home countries and we include them in our monthly meetings.  Several members of our International Committee are members of our Foundation Committee as well, thus broadening the impact and involvement of our club. We have one goal:  finding solutions that will leave a lasting impact after we complete a project.

Some of the projects which our club has engaged since that first project in India in 2005 include: potable water for schools in India, kitchen, computers and tools for children in Uruguay,  medical equipment in Venezuela, Leprosy surgery and rehabilitation, water filtering systems in Rwanda, toilets in Pune, India, economic support in Guinea-Bissau, Seats to Excel, a project to build desks for schools in Zambia.

Locally we have developed projects including the Hub-Farm at one of  our local elementary schools, Caregivers recognition luncheon for those who work with Alzhiemers patients, Crayons to Calculators for Durham Public Schools, packaging meals for the United Way and supporting another local Rotary Club in their Backpack Buddies project,  just to name a few.

When one takes into account all of the projects since 2005 and the investment of multiple clubs, matching District gifts as well as matching Rotary Foundation gifts, the total value of these projects is in excess of one million dollars.  That is the miracle of joining hands with fellow Rotarians here and around the world to work together to “Do Good in Our Communities and Around the World.”

During Rotary  Foundation Month we will offer a 50/50 matching program for gifts made to The Rotary Foundation.  This matching program will run from November 1 to December 15.  Information is available from The Foundation Committee that will inform each club member what she/he will need to give to The Rotary Foundation in order to reach the next Paul Harris Fellowship level.

Submitted by Foundation Chair Dallas Stallings

Mayor’s Award for “Promoting International Understanding”

Rotary Mayor's Awards 10-15-15

Lois Deloatch represented our club at the Sister Cities of Durham Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony on Oct. 15, when our club received the Sister Cities/Mayor’s Award for “Promoting International Understanding” at City Hall.  This is the second year for presenting these awards, which are a collaboration between Sister Cities and the Mayor’s Office.   All Sister Cities partnership have to be signed by the Mayors of the partner cities.

This award is presented annually to individuals and organizations in the Durham area who have developed programs to help the residents of Durham be more aware of the international nature of our Durham community.

The four Rotary clubs in Durham each received the award for their international projects around the world, especially water and sanitation, health and economic projects, in fourteen countries.  These projects link Durham residents with a Rotary Club in that country, which puts our club in touch with fellow Rotarians around the world.

This was especially obvious at the ceremony with the presence of Steward and Christine Atkin who received the award on behalf of the Rotary Club of Durham, England.  Others who received the award were Star Sampson, Principal of Holt Elementary Language Academy, the Durham Children’s Choir, and Tatiana Podletvikova of Kostroma, Russia.

Pictured are (L-R):  City Councilman Don Moffitt, Mayor Bill Bell, Christine Atkin (Rotary of Durham, England), Lois Deloatch (Rotary Club of Durham),  Phil Harbuck (North Durham Rotary Club), Phil Kearney (Southwest Durham Rotary Club), Bill Wicker (Sunrise Rotary Club), Stewart Atkin (Rotary of Durham, England), B. C. Dash of the Rotary Club of Durham who presented the awards on behalf of Mayor Bell.

Submitted by Brady Surles

End Polio Walk

On Saturday morning, Oct. 24,  50 Rotarians and Friends walked the Duke East Campus to promote awareness of Rotary’s “End Polio Now” campaign.
Other clubs joining us were Southwest Rotary, Sunrise Rotary, E-Rotary, and Interact at NCSSM.  Afterwards, we had good fellowship at Mad Hatter’s for coffee and breakfast.  Rotarians from across the world and the USA joined us in this walk — India, South Korea, United Kingdom, New York City, Atlanta, and Hawaii.  We are expecting more information about others around the world who were walking for End Polio Now.

Submitted by Brady Surles