As we celebrate Rotary Awareness Month during the month of January, let me ask

you a question. "Why are you a Rotarian?"


As I think about that question myself, I would answer it with one simple answer.


I am a Rotarian because Rotary has changed my life and the lives of people

throughout the world!


We are part of the world's first and one of the largest non-profit service

organizations, founded on February 23, 1905 in Chicago, Illinois.

We are part of a distinguished group comprised of 1.2 million professional and

business leaders in over 32,000 Rotary Clubs in 200 countries and geographic

areas. Our Rotary motto "

Service Above Self " inspires each of us to provide

humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards and promote good will and

peace in the world. We fund club projects and sponsor volunteers with community

expertise to provide medical supplies, health care, clean water, food production,

job training and education to millions in need, particularly in developing countries.

In 1985, we become part of an ambitious program we call Polio Plus to spearhead

efforts with the World Heath Organization, US Center for Disease Control and

Prevention, and UNICEF to immunize the children of the world against polio.

Because of our efforts, polio cases have dropped by 99 percent since 1988 and the

world stands on the threshold of eradication the disease.

We've provided more than 47,000 students from 110 countries the opportunity to

study abroad as Rotary Ambassadorial Scholars as part of the world's largest

privately-funded source of international scholarships. We continue to promote

international understanding through these scholarships, exchange programs and

humanitarian grants.

Our Group Study Exchange program has helped more than 57,000 young

professionals explore their career fields in other countries; and over 7,000

secondary-school students each year experience life in another country through

Rotary's Youth Exchange Program.

Rotary gives us extraordinary opportunities to change the lives of so many and at

the same time, change our life as well. This is why I am a Rotarian.

by PDG D. Michael Hart