Category Archives: International Service

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Building Communities Together

Orange Plaza Rotary members Kristen and Rae were happy to join more than 80 volunteers from the Rotary Clubs of San Juan Capistrano, Anaheim, Irvine, Santa Ana, Tustin-Santa Ana, Placentia and Yorba Linda Sunrise to build two homes in an area just outside the city of Tecate. With slabs and septic systems already in place, the teams quickly built the 16 x 20 wood frame homes, presenting keys to the house and other gifts to 2 worthy families at the end of the day.

Rotary Clubs partner regularly with Corazon, a locally-based nonprofit that works with impoverished communities in Baja California.  In addition to the construction program, Corazon provides vocational training and literacy education in Tijuana and Tecate.

We will be doing it again–contact us for more info!

 

Kristen in Caborca

Making Friends Around the World

Orange Plaza Rotary member Kristen Davis traveled to Caborca, Mexico with a group of Rotarians to assist with polio vaccinations in the poor villages surrounding Caborca.

Kristen writes: “Rotary is not only about volunteer service in our local communities, but it’s also about giving back to those in need around the world. This weekend in Mexico has made a huge impact in Kristen’s life… it’s eye opening to see the conditions these families are in but it’s also very special to see how happy these people are and how appreciative they are to see us helping them keep their children healthy. Another special thing about trips like this is the fellowship that is created between all the Rotarians. The Caborca Rotarians opened their clubhouse with open arms to the group of Americans from California, Arizona, Louisiana, Alabama, and Arkansas and the group from Canada. So many friendships and connections were formed this weekend all because of our common interest in making this world a better place!”

Global Scholar Checks In

jfloresIn 2013, Orange Plaza Rotary was proud to sponsor one of the first Global Grant Scholars funded by Rotary District 5320 and The Rotary Foundation.  Joseph Flores studied in Sussex, England, increasing his knowledge in the area of economic and community development.

Recently, Joseph wrote to us with an update and a proposal to work with Rotary clubs in Guatemala, where he currently working for Pomona Impact.  More about Joseph from their website:

Joseph is an investment and development professional who possess a diversity of experience and is currently a Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) Fellow with Pomona Impact.  He previously spent many years managing fixed-income assets for institutional clients and high-net-worth individuals. He subsequently served with the Peace Corps in the Republic of Macedonia in an international development capacity, and his work focused on community and business development.  Joseph holds a Master of Arts in Globalisation and Development from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex, Brighton, UK, and was a Rotary Foundation Global Grant Scholar.  He received professional certification in Impact Investing and Social Enterprise Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS).

We are so happy to see Joseph continue to Do Good in the World!  To learn how you can support the Global Grant Scholar program, visit Rotary.org.

 

Kids Around the World Will Eat Tonight

Kids Around the World 2016Orange Plaza Rotary was grateful to see so many volunteers at our second annual food packaging event.  Working with “Kids Around the World“, we packed 14,040 dehydrated meals for shipment to hungry families. Our volunteers included friends, neighbors, our own children and 40 students from El Modena High School. Many of these students are participants in our “Mentor Meals” program, now in its fourth year.

The project was partially funded by a $1,500 District Grant made possible by donations to The Rotary Foundation Annual Fund.

An awesome day of service!

And This Little Piggy Conquered Polio

Once upon a time, a little Rotary club joined with 20 other volunteers to build a home on the outskirts of Tijuana.  At the end of a rewarding day, the volunteers caravanned back to the international border and waited in line for approval to cross into the USA.  The volunteers told jokes and stories and communicated with the car of friends behind them by waving, making faces and other amusing gestures.

But the group was distracted by 1) the urgent need of a certain member to find a nearby restroom, and 2) the many fine wares being hawked by dozens of Mexican vendors along the route to the border.  So, the certain member was dispatched with a Mexican guide to find relief, only to return with the announcement that he had located the perfect souvenir of the group’s experience:  Rotunda, the Polio Pig.

Much haggling ensued before Rotunda was purchased, but when the transaction was concluded, Rotunda was immediately delivered to the club treasurer, traveling in the car directly behind the SUV filled with generous pig-loving Rotarians.  Dolores’ expression when receiving this gift was not glee, exactly, but more of a look of astonishment and woe.  Nonetheless, Rotunda occupied a place of honor in her office for many years and occasionally attended a Rotary meeting, car show or other special event.

Alas, little piggies do not live forever and the time came to slaughter Rotunda for market.  With all the pomp and circumstance we can muster, Orange Plaza Rotary threw Rotunda a going-away soiree on August 17th.  As you can tell by the photos, Rotunda enjoyed the proceedings immensely, even after we performed surgery to extract over $98 dollars from her posterior.  Although Rotunda did not survive the surgery, her sacrifice will change the lives of children around the world who receive vaccinations through Rotary’s campaign to End Polio Now.  With only three countries left on the list of “endemic” regions, Rotary and its partners are truly “this close” to eradicating polio from the face of the earth.  The polio campaign is just one of the programs of The Rotary Foundation, which celebrates its 100th year of service this year.  Want to know how you too can change the world?  Join us!

John Boyd Award Caps Banner Year

2016 John Boyd AwardOrange Plaza Rotary received numerous honors for its work during the 2015-2016 Rotary year. The club was recognized for its activity in all areas of Rotary service, including its international service project partnering with the nonprofit organization “Stop Hunger Now”.  For its efforts in organizing a food packaging event that sent more than 40,000 meal servings to Vietnam and the Philippines, Orange Plaza Rotary was honored with the  “John Boyd International Service Award” presented by fellow Rotarians of the Rotary Club of Brea on July 11th.

The Rotary Club of Orange Plaza Rotary was recently named “Best Small Club” among the 45 Rotary clubs in District 5320, which includes all of Orange County and parts of southern Los Angeles county.  The “Best Club” banner was awarded at the May 2016 District Conference in Newport Beach by then-Governor Kevin Padilla of Placentia.

On behalf of Rotary International President Ravi Ravindran, Governor Padilla also presented the prestigious “Presidential Citation” to Orange Plaza for the Rotary year ending on June 30th.  In making the award, Rotary International noted the participation of more than 75% of Orange Plaza members in “hands-on” projects in the community, praised the group’s sponsorship of a student service organization (El Modena High School Interact) and thanked the club for its financial support of The Rotary Foundation, the charitable arm of Rotary International.

Orange Plaza Rotary (widely known as the organizers of the Annual Orange Plaza Car Show) also received the “Quality of Life” Award from the Orange Chamber of Commerce on June 16th.  The award, shared with two other Rotary clubs in the city, recognized the club for outstanding service by a nonprofit organization. OPR’s local service projects include quarterly food drives for homeless veterans, design and installation of custom wheelchair ramps for the disabled, and guiding high school students through the signature project, “Mentor Meals”.

The Rotary Club of Orange Plaza plans another busy year of service in the next twelve months, expanding successful programs and adding new community-based projects in the City of Orange.

 

Best Club 2016

The Best Little Club in O.C.

So this happened…

The members of Orange Plaza Rotary attended the Saturday luncheon at the annual Rotary 5320 District Conference and then hung around for District awards afterward.  Oh, how we cheered as our friends in San Clemente Sunrise and Anaheim Hills captured the flag for best project in Community, Youth and International Service!  We patted ourselves on the back when we received a Public Image citation and a well-earned Presidential Citation but, truth be told, we were just a wee bit disappointed.

Yes, our motto is “Service Above Self”, but if we are honest with ourselves, we have a competitive spirit running through our tight-knit group.  We headed out into the afternoon sunshine, vowing to do better next year.

And then the sun went down, and the lights came up, and dinner was served.  We danced, we ate, and we drank.  Just a little.  Not enough to miss our big moment when Governor Padilla announced Orange Plaza Rotary as the best small club in Rotary District 5320!

After the shock  wore off, we got a good night’s sleep.  Now we’re ready to do it all again.

‘Cause yeah, we are a little club, but kind of a big deal.

 

 

 

Peace Month

Our Commitment to Peace

Sixty million people are displaced by armed conflict or persecution, and 90 percent of armed-conflict casualties are civilians, half of them children. Through service projects, fellowships, and other Rotary-sponsored campaigns, members train adults and young leaders to prevent and mediate conflict, and aid refugees who have fled dangerous areas. Members also pursue projects to address the underlying structural causes of conflict, including poverty, inequality, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources.

Learn more about Rotary’s dedication to peace through service:

https://www.rotary.org/en/learning-reference/about-rotary/peace-and-conflict-prevention-resolution

Sabrina at 2016 Peace Conference

2000 Attend Rotary World Peace Conference

Three members of Orange Plaza Rotary and two students from the El Modena High School Interact Club were among the hundreds of attendees at the Rotary Presidential Peace Conference held January 15th and 16th at the Ontario Convention Center.  The Conference was the first of 5 Presidential Conferences to be held this Rotary year, but the only one focusing on peace and conflict resolution.  It was also the only conference to be held in North America.

Organized by the six Rotary Districts of Southern California and Nevada, the event drew high profile speakers, including actress and activist Sharon Stone, who addressed the crowd on Friday afternoon.  Breakout sessions for Rotarians highlighted the many areas where conflict resolution techniques are vitally needed, including schools, businesses and communities around the world.  The sessions were lead by Rotarians and leaders from dozens of nonprofit organizations which partner with Rotary to build peace.

On Saturday, nearly 400 high school students from numerous Rotary-sponsored Interact clubs attended a separate conference focusing on peace and conflict resolution issues in their own lives.  In addition to discussion sessions, Interactors joined together in service, packing more than 17,000 meal packages for the organization Stop Hunger Now.

The Orange Plaza team returned home with new ideas for introducing conflict resolution techniques in our community and local schools.  Both Rotary and Interact look forward to working closely together in the future.

 

Vocational Service

Sharing Our Skills – Vocational Service Month

In January, Rotarians observe “Vocational Service Month”. Vocational Service is one of the Four Avenues of Service that Rotarians travel, including Community Service, International Service and Club Service. Vocational Service calls on every Rotarian to work with integrity and contribute their expertise to the problems and needs of society. Of course, this object of Rotary applies to every service project, whether at home or internationally.

Learn more in An Introduction to Vocational Service and the Code of Conduct.