By Eric Muller
September 8, 2014
The Rotaract Club of Toronto’s first September meeting kicked off with high-speed energy!
As part of the Club’s Professional Development programming, the meeting revolved around an exciting speed networking activity.
About 30 members and guests participated, including high profile guests such as current Rotary Club of Toronto President Steve Smith and Past President Neil Phillips.
Two lines of people stood facing each other, drinks in hand, and after only one minute of conversation, they would shift one spot to the left and greet the next person in line.
The room was loud and full of energy! It was clear that everyone was highly engaged.
After the activity was over, one participant said that it was the best meeting they had ever experienced in over two years with the Club.
Another guest expressed his amazement with how effectively everyone was able to communicate their ‘elevator speeches’ as the activity progressed.
Rotaract members are looking forward to many more exciting Professional Development activities and events over the coming year, especially those involving Rotarians!
by Caitlin Masney
On Saturday August 30, a group of volunteers from Rotaract Toronto cooked lunch for around 150 people at the Fort York Food Bank. When we arrived at around 8:30 am we were greeted by a giant box of carrots, some Cesar salad dressing, a bag of sausage meat, and a lot of potatoes. We started cooking right away in order to make sure we were able to finish in time for lunch and to make sure we cooked enough food. We decided to cook a pasta dish, roasted some sweet potatoes, and boiled carrots and potatoes. This kept us busy all morning and we were able to cook a large amount of food in time for lunch.
As always, volunteering at the Fort York Food Bank is a challenging but rewarding experience. It’s a challenge because you never know what ingredients you will be given each time, but you know the food is precious so it is important to use all of it. It’s rewarding, because from the kitchen you can see and talk to the individuals and families that rely on the food bank to live. If you haven’t volunteered with the food bank yet I would recommend you do so, you won’t regret it.
by Andrea Tirone
On Saturday, August 23 Rotaractors and Rotarians got together in the early morning for a round of disc golf. From seasoned amateur to the newest beginners, a team of 8 played 10 holes on the 18-hole course located on Ward’s Island. Becoming familiar with this relaxing game aside, the group bonded over stories of travel, career transitions and upcoming adventures! This weekly tradition for Rotarians Lorna and Cliff Johnson is one that should be enjoyed by all, if for no other reason than to learn how to throw a Frisbee and hear the clatter of the basket chains as you score your point on the serene Toronto Islands.
by Sarah Hui
The first Rotaract Meeting for the 2014-15 took place on Monday, July 14, 2014. There were about 25 individuals present to learn about the different committees that the Rotaract Club has to offer.
– Professional Development Committee (a.k.a. organizing networking events and getting great speakers) – ERIC
– Community Service Committee (a.k.a. organizing volunteer events committee) – FATIMA
– Club Service Committee (a.k.a. social/party planning committee) – GRAHAM
– International Service Committee (a.k.a. planning international trips (like New York City, Brazil etc.) committee) – MARIA
– Club Newsletter (a.k.a. “yearbook” committee) – PAUL
– Youth Expo Initiatives (a.k.a. partnering with Rotarians to give back to youth in the City of Toronto committee) – SARAH
– Vodka Night Committee (a.k.a. big annual FUNdraising committee) – PAUL
If anyone is interested in participating in the above committees, be sure to check out the Club Executive page to get the contact details of the person leading the committee.
By: Kelly Ku
This year we volunteered at Toronto Ribfest with Rotarians and Rotaractors from other clubs in the city!
This annual food fest was held from June 27 – July 1 on an ultra long Canada Day weekend. Our volunteers were at Ribfest to do one thing and only thing only: collect toonies! Ribfest has always collected donations and starting last year, they began asking for a $2 donation for each person attending the festival.
Last year, the event raised over $100,000 for local Rotary clubs and charities just from collecting toonies! Lucky for us, we are able to secure a portion of the donations this year for our club based on the number of hours we volunteered. In total, we contributed 104 volunteer hours and sent waves of volunteers to Centennial Park to help our club fundraise and to help other Rotary/Rotaract clubs fundraise for their club initiatives.
All the volunteers had a great time fundraising and many even picked up extra shifts! While we do not have final numbers as of yet, we anticipate that we raised a sizeable amount of funds for our club. Kudos to all the volunteers for a job well done and we hope to return next year to raise even more funds for our club.
Here’s a testimonial from one of our volunteers – Zuzanna Strauchmann, Rotaractor from Poland:
I am Zuzanna from Poland. It was my first visit in Canada, my first volunteering at Ribfest. Oops… no! It was the very first time I have ever experienced Ribfest! My impressions? Friendly people around, hot temperature, and hot ribs! It was a big pleasure for me to meet Rotarians and to help the Toronto community. It was so much fun to share smiles with people who came to Ribfest and wish them BON APPETIT!
By: Sarah Hui
I was given the great pleasure of being the Rotaract Chair of the Youth Civic Leadership Awards as part of the Youth Expo Initiatives along with the Rotary Chair, Don Brooks from the Rotary Club of Toronto. gether we were given the opportunity to award 4 youth in either Grade 10, 11 or 12 in the City of Toronto with a scholarship for youth civic leadership.
We started in December with the creation of the application form and then had dedicated volunteers reach out to guidance counselors/principals/teachers at schools, community centres, scholarship websites, other Rotary Clubs, other Rotaract Club and other various organizations to advertise the awards. I want to thank Mark, Veronica, Fatima and Joanne for their help on this as it was no easy task to spread the word about this scholarship to youth in the City of Toronto.
We received 110 applications and together with a number of Rotarians (Don, Terry, Jeff and Jack) and Rotaractors (Tiffany, Lisa, Paul, Eric, Earlyn and Michael) who spent an entire evening reviewing scholarship application forms, we were able to determine the top 10 finalists to interview. There were many strong applications which make me very hopeful for the next generation of youth who truly want to give back to their community.
The next key step in this was to put together a committee of five individuals (myself, Don, Chialing, Terry and Chioma from Toronto Community Housing) to interview the top 10 finalists on a Sunday. In speaking with the top 10 finalists, we received better insight to how youth of today are truly pushing the boundaries and are keen to give back to their community through various initiatives. After long deliberations, we decided on the following award winners:
Lisa Xiao – Rotary Club of Toronto Youth Civic Leadership Award – $2000
Zameer Bharwani – Rotaract Club Gold Youth Civic Leadership Award – $1000
Yasmine Gray – Rotaract Club Silver Youth Civic Leadership Award – $500
Emman Haider – Rotaract Club Bronze Youth Civic Leadership Award – $500
These youth were celebrated at a Rotary Club of Toronto lunch on Friday, June 20th at the National Club. This lunch was put together by a number of Rotarians and Rotaractors and the MC for the lunch was Paul Churchward, a member of the Rotaract Club of Toronto. At this lunch we showcased the accomplishments of Youth Expo and awarded each of the above winners and recognized the top 10 finalists.
Overall this was a great opportunity as you truly feel that you are making an impact on youth who are working to make their community a better place through their leadership skills.