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Club Social at SPiN Toronto

July 23, 2015

The Rotaract Club of Toronto is the only community-based club in Toronto and boasts the largest member base of all the clubs in District 7070. Since we are based in downtown Toronto, we are fortunate to welcome many Rotaractors and Rotarians who visit our vibrant city. On Thursday, July 2, 2015, eleven of our club members, including Jasmin Hüther, a visiting Rotaractor from Ludwigburg, and Jasper Vethaak (and his girlfriend, Maike), a visiting Rotarian from Düsseldorf, gathered for a lovely meal at the restaurant Richmond Station. Actually, I met Jasper at EuCo (European Rotaract Convention) that took place in Bucharest in April earlier this year. He told me him and his girlfriend were visiting Toronto in July and I offered to organize a club social during his stay. We had the private dining area to ourselves which made for a fun and intimate evening of great fellowship. After dinner, we took our guests to SPiN (Ping Pong Club) where a few members and guests took part in “King of the Court” – a pick up ping pong tournament where the winner of each round wins a free drink. A few other Rotaractors and Rotarians joined us at the venue to enjoy some Ping Pong. Everyone had a fantastic time and our guests walked away with a good impression of our great city. We look forward to hosting more visitors in the near future!


Changeover 2015 – Be a Gift to the World

June 22, 2015

The 2015-16 Rotaract year has begun!

The Rotaract Club of Toronto had its Changeover on Friday, June 12th at The National Club.

We had Earlyn Etienne, our incoming Vice-President as our MC for the night and had speeches from:

  • Outgoing Rotaract Club of Toronto President Neisely Eugene
  • Incoming Rotaract Club of Toronto  President Sarah Hui
  • Incoming Rotaract District Representative Kelly Ku
  • Outgoing Rotary Club of Toronto President Steve Smith
  • District Rotaract Chair Neil Phillips
  • Rotary Club of Toronto Rotaract Liason Director Rohit Tamhane

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The Rotaract Club of Toronto also gave out a number of awards for outstanding work that has been done throughout the year, these include:

  • Youth Expo Initiative Awards:
    • Youth Expo: Veronica May, Heidi Ludwick and Joelle Ferreira
    • Youth Civic Leadership Awards: Sarah Hui and Paul Churchward
    • Youth Day: Earlyn Etienne
  • Herbert J. Taylor Award (to the Rotaractor who exemplifies the 4 way test): Eric Muller
  • Jamie Maynard Award (to the Rotaractor who exhibited strong leadership within the club): Neisely Eugene
  • Team Spirit Award: Graham Shular
  • Community Service Award: Vasko Pendev

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Our club is also excited to welcome 6 new members to our club which include:

  • Vivian Chiu
  • Joelle Ferreira
  • Brigit Fry
  • Jorge Kam
  • Katherine Kirkpatrick-Wahl
  • Emily Ritchie


All in all, the night was a lot of fun! In my speech I mentioned that this year I really want to continue our close partnership with the Rotary Club of Toronto at events like (Ribfest, Argos 50/50, Children’s Christmas Party, Senior’s Christmas Party, Poker Tournament, Camp Scugog, Youth Expo, Youth Day and the Youth Civic Leadership Awards). In addition to the partnership with our sponsor club, I’m really interested in pursuing some new ideas which include:

  • Working with our new District Rotaract Rep Kelly Ku on an international project – the Toronto Rotaract Roundtrip
  • Foster a positive environment for strong relationships within our club. For example, in the new year we’re looking to have meetings in different venues to take advantage of the beautiful summer weather (rooftop patio, park and around the city on a scavenger hunt)
  • Maintain and deepen our relationships within our community
  • Expand and share our impact through social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and our Website

Our Rotary International President-elect K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran chose “Be a Gift to the World” as his theme for 2015-16.  Ravindran urges Rotary members to give the gifts of time, talent, and knowledge to improve lives in communities across the globe. “Through Rotary, we can take these gifts and make a genuine difference in the lives of others and in our world.”

With this, I hope through sharing my time, talent and knowledge that I can make a genuine difference in the lives of others and contribute to the Rotaract Club of Toronto this year.

The 2015-16 Rotaract Club of Toronto Board of Directors are:

President: Sarah Hui

Vice President: Earlyn Etienne

Secretary: Dennis Lam

Treasurer: Vasko Pendev

Community Service Director: Fatima Ahmed

Club Service Director: Jennifer Vicencio

International Service Director: Kallan Lyons

Professional Development Director: Eric Muller

Communications Director: Jana Yee

Past President: Neisely Eugene


“One of my favourite moments was the induction ceremony. Welcoming new members into our club is a special experience and holding an induction ceremony in front of Rotarians, guests, and our club members shows how much we value our members. I’m looking forward to our newest members becoming even more involved in our club in the new Rotaract year!” – Kelly Ku (District Rotaract Rep 2015-16)

“I am so proud of the work that we accomplished throughout the year and was elated that we came together to celebrate our successes.  I thought the evening had a positive energy and if I was to sum it up in one word I would say fun!  I am looking forward to serving on the new board as past president and getting to know our members on a more personal and professional basis.” – Neisely Eugene (Past President 2015-16)

“I think the Changeover was really good. I enjoyed so much. I never been to National Club before. I think it is a really nice place for the event like this. I got to talk to so many members and had a great time. The dinner was delicious. The speech was fun and inspiring. I am looking forward to become a real member soon. “– Jessie Wu (Guest)

“I felt honoured to have been elected as the 2015/2016 Club Service Director. My colleague and good friend Graham Shular, who is the out-going Club Service Director 2014/2015, had told me about the club and it did not take much convincing for me to join him and attend my first meeting. Eight months later and there we were at the Change Over Dinner at The National Club. The excitement in the room for the coming Rotaract year was infectious. It was a great night of celebration, reflection of the past years achievements, planning for the coming year, and fellowship amongst the Rac members and Rotarians in attendance. I look forward to serving as Club Service Director 2015/2016. “ – Jennifer Vicencio (Club Service Director 2015-16)

“ I always am amazed about how friendly everyone is. When I got to most Rotary events it’s because Fatima has invited a bunch of her circle of friends along with her. Anytime I go to an event without her I’m always amazing how many people I know, how everyone is always welcoming and tries to include me in conversations  and always excited to talk to me. An example of this is when the girls I was sitting at the table with decided to give each other sticky awards I am glad to be part of the conversation but then completely amazed when they turned around and started giving me sticky awards!… these were people who I knew by sight or not at all.

More specific to the evening: the atmosphere at the national club is always so nice. I liked the room was small enough to make the event feel inanimate. Loved that after the dinner we were able to go to the roof to hang out and chat with people it allowed the evening to go on and people to enjoy the event… I would also like to give a shout out to all the amazing Rotators from our ‘parent’ division who spent the night talking and networking with the ‘yonger’ people. It was really great of them.” – Katherine Kirkpatrick-Wahl (Rotaractor)

“Sitting around the room on my one year anniversary of being a rotaract member and I felt proud. Proud that I was part of a community where fellowship welcomed everyone. Proud I was challenged you to serve in ways unimaginable. And proud of being part of a team that empowered everyone to reflect on their gifts.” – Heidi Ludwick (Rotaractor)

“I was very impressed with the new rooftop patio! It had a fresh vibe, and provided an excellent spot for our after party. A favourite moment for me was witnessing a group of Rotaract members encouraging each other with their own homemade sticky note ‘awards’ (i.e. Warm Fuzzies).” – Eric Muller (Professional Development Director 2015-16)

“I feel incredibly honored and humbled to have received the Team Spirit award at our annual Changeover ceremony, held a few weeks ago. It is a privilege to serve Rotaracters around the globe from Toronto, and am humbled that I was recognized by the hard working, and inspiring members of the Rotaract Club of Toronto. I am confident that Jennifer Viciencio will be a leader this upcoming Rotary year; I wish her the best of luck as she works with the Club as Club Service Director to create excitement and goodwill amongst the members.  Thanks to you all for the well-wishes. Have an incredible year.” – Graham Shular (Outgoing Club Service Director 2014-15)

Rotaract Club of Toronto Changeover Newsletter

June 14, 2015

Please click here to access our Rotaract Changeover Newsletter!

It was a wonderful night of fellowship, celebrating our successes and welcoming the new to come!
More pictures and details of the night to come.

Ride with Rotary for Camp Scugog

May 27, 2015


Meeting the President of Rotary International

May 27, 2015

By: Kelly K.

It’s not every day you have the opportunity to meet a sitting Rotary International President. This year, our district (D7070), was fortunate enough to host RI President, Gary C.K. Huang, on two occasions. The first was in July 2014 at Interota, an International Rotaract Conference organized in Toronto & Montreal where over 200 Rotaractors gathered for a weeklong leadership conference. His second visit was on March 24 for a special dinner at the Sheraton Centre hosted by the Rotary Club of Richmond Hill. Over 300 Rotarians and dignitaries attended the event to hear Rotary International President Gary Huang speak. 

I met Gary and his wife Corrina on the first day of Interota. They were both so kind and gracious. Gary was enthusiastic about engaging with Rotaractors and revelled in the ‘Happy Clap’ he taught us. There was also a large delegation of Rotaractors and Rotarians from his native Taiwan bidding for (and eventually winning) Interota 2017, which certainly made him feel a sense of pride. Gary arrived with the same enthusiasm as he always does when he meets Rotarians. He is friendly, approachable and dedicated to strengthening Rotary for future generations. 
Gary spoke at great length about Rotary’s involvement with eradicating polio and was pleased to announce that there have been no new cases of polio reported in Africa for the past seven months. He is very hopeful that the crippling disease will be eradicated from the continent. The current focus of our efforts lie with Afghanistan and Pakistan – both of which provide challenges. Gary challenged everyone in the room to help eradicate polio by 2018, which happens to the the year when Toronto hosts the 2018 Rotary International Convention. 
Gary’s belief in the Confucius’ saying: ‘You may light a single candle or sit and curse in the darkness’ is captured in his theme for this Rotary year: ‘Light Up Rotary’. Gary encouraged all of us to light up Rotary by making positive change in our communities, however big or small, will make our Rotary family stronger and the world a much better place. The evening ended with a special ceremony of the newly inducted members in the district over the past year, all coming together on stage to read a Rotary pledge. Afterwards, the lights were dimmed and everyone in the room held up mini LED lights, illuminating the crowd, representing Gary’s wonderful theme.
Kelly Ku, Past President 2014-2015, Rotaract Club of Toronto
Gary C.K. Huang, Rotary International President 2014-2015
Reema Gowani, Vice-President 2014-2015, Rotaract Club of the University of Toronto

Trumps Aids Poker Walk 2015

May 27, 2015

Trump Photo

By: Dennis L.

On Saturday April 25, Kallan, Eric, Andrei, Dennis, Heidi, Brigit, and Emily from the Rotaract Club of Toronto gathered at the Toronto Beaches to participate in the Trump AIDS Poker Walk. Team “Rotaract Club of Toronto – ALL IN” was one of 18 teams at the event hosted by Rotary District 7070.

Beginning at 11 am on the brisk Saturday morning, teams set off from Leuty Pavilion to collect the best poker hand. Along the 5 km route were 5 stations, each represented by local AIDS Service Organizations such as PWA (People with AIDS Foundation) Toronto, Asian Community AIDS Service, and Casey House, the main beneficiary of the event. As each team stopped at the stations and learned about the organization, a playing card was drawn from a deck. Once cards were collected from each station, teams were to try to arrange their cards in to the best poker hand in competition for prizes.

Team Rotaract Club of Toronto – ALL IN started strong with the first three stations to be in a strong contention for a straight flush, but alas the cards weren’t with us in the end. Despite folding, we walked away with a new appreciation of the incredible initiatives AIDS Service Organizations in Toronto are implementing… and a new chant crafted by Heidi!

In the fundraising campaign leading up to the event, the Rotaract Club of Toronto raised $1,350.00 which will go to support Casey House, the event’s residual beneficiary. Additionally, the funds will support Teresa Group, a local organization selected by the Rotaract Club of Toronto, who is committed to providing support and services to children affected by HIV/AIDS. The contributions to the Teresa Group from the Trump AIDS Poker Walk will be matched by the club to support their backpack program that provides new backpacks filled with school supplies for children and youth in grades 1-12 on an annual basis. The Rotaract Club of Toronto will also be supporting a program to sponsor a child affected by HIV/AIDS to attend camp this summer. The total contribution to Teresa Group from the club is $5,000!

Many thanks to all participants and those who sponsored the team at this event. We look forward to bringing our ALL IN spirit again next year to further support local AIDS Service Organizations in delivering valuable and much needed programs in our community.


May 27, 2015

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