On July 20th, 2015, who wouldn’t have liked to be sitting under large oak trees, basking in the summer’s sunshine whilst being cooled off by the small swirls of light, cool breeze? Well that is exactly where our Rotaract Club of Toronto decided to meet for our professional development meeting chaired by Eric.
In the fun spirit of summer, there was no formal agenda. We all sat in a circle, in a “kumbaya” campfire fashion. The discussions flowed after each member and guests introduced themselves. Thereafter group sessions followed. The group trivia questions were engaging and we learnt about each other’s day to day life in the office, what our dream careers would be and who on this earth we would want with us if destitute and stranded on an island.
To end the great meeting, with true team spirit and comradery and a little dash of competitiveness we learnt to play the Italian/European game of ‘bocce’ (pronounced b-o-t-c-h-i) with lots of blue balls and red balls. The blue balls and red balls seemed to match the colour of teams’ faces who were losing and winning, respectively. Oh what a fun day it was and I can bet in 2 months’ time when the skies will be grey we will definitely recount the joys of our Grange Park meeting or maybe we will be in Grange Park roasting marshmallows to keep away the winter chill.
The Rotaract Club of Toronto donated $5,000 to the Teresa Group with the funds raised during the Trump Aids Poker Walk in April 2015 by the “Rotaract Club of Toronto ALL –IN” team; which was subsequently matched by the proceeds from the Toronto Ribsfest 2014.
The Teresa Group is Canada’s oldest community-based charitable organization specifically serving children affected by HIV and AIDS and their families. Since 1990 The Teresa Group has evolved from providing support to a handful of children and families to an organization with a dedicated team of professional staff providing a broad range of compassionate frontline services to hundreds of local children and families affected by HIV and AIDS. The funds were used as part of their back-to-school and send-a-kid-to-camp program.
A group of nine Rotaractors gathered at the Teresa Group’s office on Tuesday July 21st at 5:30pm to pack nearly 200 back-to-school backpacks. The backpacks included pencils, glue, paper, binders, pencil cases, notebooks, rulers, sharpeners and calculators for the senior students.
Many thanks to all the volunteers that participated in the Trump Aids Poker Walk and those that donated to the cause. We are looking forward to next year’s event so that we can continue to support AIDS and service organizations as they continue to provide a much needed service in our community.
From left to right: Earlyn, Eric, Neisely, Susan, Dayana, Katie, Kelly, Brigit, Samuel
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!
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
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
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)