Friday, June 6, 2014

Service Above Self

Many of us belong to service organizations, community or church clubs, or just volunteer where needed.  I wanted to take time to share some information about a service club that I have the opportunity to belong to...Rotary International.  As you may have guessed from the title, Rotary's motto is "Service above self" and I think that resonates with most educators.  I had the opportunity to serve in Rotary in Cadillac for several years and just recently joined the Livonia club. Rotary was founded over a century ago in an effort to positively impact both the local and global community.  That's one of the reasons I like Rotary so much, we get to act locally and globally. Rotary's international mission has been the eradication of polio world wide and as of today, we are only a few countries shy of reaching that goal.  Another major initiative of Rotary International is the creation of clean drinking water throughout the world (often through the creation of water filtration systems that can be created and maintained by local communities).  Locally, you have seen the efforts of the Rotary Club through the creation and maintenance of Rotary Park, assisting with veterans groups, and literacy projects that involve the purchase of books for classrooms and volunteers that join our Early Literacy Volunteer (ELV) team.  We get to see the impact of Rotary right in our very own school!

A typical Rotary meeting involves the sharing out of community projects, fellowship of service minded participants, and a presentation by various community members.  Presentations may range from adult foster care programs, to overseas water purification efforts, to generational forces in the workplace (sound familiar?:).  Rotary also has a youth program that allows students to get involved with service projects, assist with youth foreign exchange programs, and even earn scholarships for college.  One item that may seem small, but I think has a big impact on the functioning of meetings is the elimination of titles (no Dr, Judge, etc, just first names) signifying that we are all on the same team with equal impact. Another traditiona that we do at each meeting that I feel is significant is the recitation of the "Four-Way Test".  In it, we ask the following questions of everything we say and do: 1) Is it the TRUTH? 2) Is is FAIR to all concerned? 3) Will it build GOOD WILL and better FRIENDSHIPS? 4) Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned? I often think of this as an adult version of the PBS pledge our students say each morning:)

Again, I know there are a lot of service organizations and ways to get involved in making the world a better place.  I'm not promoting Rotary as being better than any other group as a way to serve, but wanted to share out about an organization that has helped me help others and has also helped me to be a better person by learning more about my community and ways I can serve. Rotary also reminds me there is always more to be done with the motto of "Service Above Self".  It's not something I always do, but it's something that I strive toward.

Rotary Park

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." - Mahatma Gandhi

"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth." - Muhammad Ali

"Always render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be." - Og Mandino

Notable Rotarians

 Gerald R. Ford: 38th President of the United States
 Duke Kahanamoku: Olympic Gold Medalist and regarded as the father of surfing
 Admiral Richard Byrd: Arctic Explorer
Kentucky Colonel Harlan Sanders (Perhaps my favorite Rotarian:)


Monday, June 9: 2nd Grade Field Trip
                              12:00-1:15 Jon to Rotary
                              3rd Grade Field Trip
                              4:15 Presentation in the lounge from Science/Literacy representative in
                                       Room 18 (Voluntary) 

Tuesday, June 10: 4:00 Retirement Party for Tieng in Room 18

Wednesday, June 11: 4th Grade Party in afternoon

Thursday, June 12: 10:00 All-School Assembly
                                    11:40 4th Grade Clap Out
                                    12:10 Student Dismissal

Friday, June 13: All Staff Checked out by 3:30 pm
                              EOY Staff Party at Lynn's starting at 4:30 pm (Don't forget to sign up!)

Starting Monday, June 16, Diane and I will be at Johnson Upper Elementary.  

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