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.
Gary C.K. Huang, Rotary International President 2014-2015
Reema Gowani, Vice-President 2014-2015, Rotaract Club of the University of Toronto
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.
We would like to thank everyone that donated and participated in the Annual Vodka Tasting. To learn more about Homes First please visit: http://www.homesfirst.on.ca/
Jasleen K. was a RYLA participant sponsored by the Rotaract Club of Toronto. We would like to share her story:
“I joined Rotary expecting an experience where I would get to help make a positive impact in communities both locally and internationally. What I didn’t expect was becoming a part of an enormous global family, and connecting with people that would have such a positive impact in my own life. I was very fortunate to have been selected to attend the RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) Retreat. Located in the most picturesque town of Belleville, the retreat was a place where us RYLArians could focus entirely on ourselves and on having an educational and fun time with each other. What made the retreat so special and unique for me was that every single member of RYLA, including the supervisors, quickly became so connected and close with each other; it truly felt like I was right at home. With activities like untangling a rope blindfolded, gardening for a local food shelter, and sharing inspiring personal experiences, our RYLA group became a tightly-knit and extremely cheery family. Getting the opportunity to connect and interact closely with everyone was a learning experience in itself: everyone had come from different educational and personal backgrounds, and hearing each other’s life experiences during workshops and late night conversations was an insightful and often times hilarious experience. I think what made RYLA such an easy platform to bond with others was the fact that we had all come for the same purpose: to learn how to improve ourselves and discover ways to create a positive impact in our communities. Through workshops that focused on individual and group aspects, we got to uncover ourselves and see how we, as a group, can function cohesively. One of the many learning experiences I had at RYLA was an activity where we had to make a tennis ball touch each member’s hand individually in under 20 seconds. We eventually achieved the goal in 15 seconds, but then our supervisors, Christine and Mary, pushed us to test our limits and told us to do it in under two seconds. Everyone’s initial reaction was “No way, that’s impossible!”. However, once we started brainstorming and practicing, we ended up accomplishing the task in an astonishing 0.8 seconds. I remember how our doubts of not being able to do the task completely vanished when everyone got together to innovate, and the sense of accomplishment everyone felt when the task was achieved. This one activity, along with many others, proved to us that if everyone in a group works hard and stays determined to complete a set goal, then literally anything is possible.
RYLA was an experience that I know I will cherish for a very long time: I got the opportunity to discover, express, and improve myself through various workshops, made friendships that I know will last a lifetime, and met Rotarians with such diverse and motivational volunteering experiences. None of it would have been possible for me without the support and sponsorship from the Rotaract Club of Toronto. I wholeheartedly want to thank this club for giving me the chance to have the time of my life with people who I can now call my family.”
Please e-mail your nominations to Earlyn D Etienne at email@example.com
Awards will be presented at our annual Changeover, June 12th, 2015.
Happy Long Weekend!!