Rotary Give-a-Book partners with Peace Corps Volunteer Jordan Mathews in Dominican Republic see more
From 2016-2018, I served in the Peace Corps as a Youth Development Volunteer in a rural town, Gonzalo, Monte Plata in the Dominican Republic. For those of you of you familiar with the work of Peace Corps Volunteers, you will know that the work is slow, often ambiguous and it takes a whole lot of trial and error, emphasis on the “error,” before something sticks. One of my sticking points came from the work I was doing with my counterpart, Leo, the Director at our community’s local Community Technology Center (CTC.)
The CTC is a government supported community space where kids and adults can go to do their homework, learn new skills and just have a safe place to congregate. At this center there is a preschool, a computer lab and a library, all programs that I have seem immensely positively affect our students. During my service, I spent countless days in the library. Not only was it one of the few places with somewhat reliable electricity, it was where I was able to see and connect with the kids and members of our community. Though I was not an education volunteer, while spending time in the library, the need for supportive literacy programs became obvious. Globally, the Dominican Republic falls low on literacy rates, as a way to help combat this, our CTC had tried time and time again (mostly unsuccessfully) to create reading groups for kids. However, as I began looking at the books available, the majority of books available were dense historical non-fiction, books that were not conducive to sparking the interest of young curious minds learning how to read. I wanted these kids to know the feeling that came with being completely enveloped in a story, the intense desire to read the next page or finish the next chapter in the book.
My counterpart and I decided that it would be beneficial to get new books for the library that would inspire curiosity and excitement for young readers, but as we began exploring avenues to do that, we realized it would be much harder and much more expensive than anticipated. After months of looking into different options, we were not sure if and how we would be able to achieve this goal. But as soon as we began to feel defeated, I received an email from the Education Program Manager for PCDR about the Rotary Give-a-Book program, letting us know that select schools and centers would be approved to receive donated books in Spanish! It was an answered prayer.
Excited, I told my counterpart and we reached out right away, soliciting books for our CTC. Later we learned that our community had been approved and would be receiving books for our library. Because of this amazing program made possible by the generosity of Rotary members like yourselves, Gonzalo’s CTC received a box full of beautiful books that will allow a generation of young readers to tantalize their curiosities and explore the world, near and far, through books. For this, I am so grateful for the partnership that exists between Rotary International and the Peace Corps, so that more moments like this can be created for communities across the globe.
Thank you to each of you for committing your life to promoting peace at home and abroad through supporting programs like Give-a-Book, this is the type of change that may seem small but can forever create long lasting impact.
Board Member Charlie Hunt featured in "WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU SAY YES TO ROTARY" see more
The Rotarian's August 2019 article "WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU SAY YES TO ROTARY" focuses on how 17 Rotarians joined Rotary to make a difference only to find themselves transformed. Our board member Charlie Hunt is one of those featured. You can read the article here.
Increasing your club membership by 50% in one day see more
The Rotary Club of Denver LoDo was awarded the District 5450 Paul Harris Award of Excellence for 2018 - 2019. The award is given to the club that best meets the goals of the current Rotary International President and District Governor. The award was presented to President Whitney Thomas at District Convention by District Governor Sandy Mortensen.
Ms. Mortensen specifically thanked Charlie Hunt for his work in creating the LoDo Rotary Satellite Group, made up of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, for his work in the District Rotary - Peace Corps Alliance Committee and Partnering for Peace, an NPCA affiliate group. Charlie is also President of RPCV of Colorado.
Denver LoDo Increases Its Membership By Over 50% in January! see more
Can you imagine increasing your club membership by 50% in one month? The Denver LoDo, just that this past January. Charlie Hunt is a member of the club and a Return Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV). As a member of District 5450 Rotary - Peace Corps Alliance committee, he has had a dream for some time to recruit RPCVs into the club. It is a natural fit. The focuses of both Peace Corps (PC) and Rotary are almost identical. Recruiting RPCVs is certainly logical.
Charlie is also very active in RPCVs of Colorado. As a matter of fact, he is the current president of the organization. Because of this connection, he has been able to have conversations with RPCVs about how Rotary can fit in with their professional development and community service. To his pleasant surprise, he found a number of RPCVs who already had connections with Rotary. One of the club's new member was a Rotaractor. One had received a district scholarship while in college. One had received help from a Rotarian with his professional career. One attended RYLA and then became a RYLA counselor.
In the past Charlie had heard from many RPCVs that the difficulty in joining Rotary was typically a financial one. With that in mind, Charlie talked to the leadership in the club about the idea of developing a satellite group under the club. The idea would be that the club would set a different dues structure to allow for more RPCVs to join the club. Club leadership liked the idea. The new satellite group has a minimal dues structure which makes it very affordable. At the same time, the club is including all of the satellite group members in club committees, service projects, and monthly club socials. Three new members have already been in contact with our district grants chair Carolyn Schrader to volunteer in reviewing international service grant applications. This group is also willing to connect district clubs applying for grants with local RPCVs to assist with refining their projects to have an understanding of local cultural issues where the project will happen.
The club officially inducted ten new satellite group members to the club on March 6th. DGE Curt Harris and District Membership Chair Lynn Perez-Hewitt were in attendance to celebrate this significant addition to the club's membership.
If you were interested in learning more about the connection between Peace Corps and Rotary, please check the website www.partneringforpeace.org. Also, if you were interested in learning how to leverage the Peace Corps rotary partnership in your district, take a look at the toolbox we put together to help with PowerPoint, handouts and videos to make the job easier. You'll find a link for it at https://www.partneringforpeace.org/cpages/get-involved.
Charlie Masilae Hunt joins RPCV of Colorado board as new president. see more
Charlie Hunt, member of Partnering for Peace: Friends of Peace Corps and Rotary board of directors, has joined the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Colorado board of directors and is the organization's new president. Charlie served as a PCV in Vanuatu from 2006-08 where he served as a business enterprise volunteer. He served along with his wife Nancy Cole who was a community health volunteer. RPCV of Colorado is a vibrant organization that supports the RPCV community across the state. Charlie's vision is to increase the organization's focus in working with immigrant population as part of membership community service opportunities.
Charlie has been instrumental in developing a toolbox of resources for Rotarians to use in their districts' to leverage the partnership agreement between Peace Corps and Rotary. You'll find that toolbox at this website.
Charlie retired from the Downtown Denver Partnership in 2018 where he worked in operations for the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District. His main focus was the care of street trees in the district and improvement of the canopy in downtown.
RPCV Rotarian Peter Munson walking across the U.S. and raise money to benefit children. see more
6 Million Steps for Kids was first conceptualized by Peter Munson in November, 2008 when he was finishing up a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, a favorite location in his home state of Colorado. He did not hear God say audible words, but the message was clear and rather succinct: “Walk across the country, speak along the way, and raise money for organizations and ministries that serve children.”
Peter estimates that his walk across the country – from Charleston, South Carolina to San Francisco, California – will take approximately 6 million steps. He hopes to raise $6 million for four different charities. It was only fitting to name the project 6 Million Steps for Kids. On March 4, 2019, he will pursue the next part of his calling and embark on this amazing journey that will provide a bright future for children in need.
Join Peter Munson, as he walks across the U.S.A. to raise awareness for children in need, here in the United States and around the world. Follow his path at https://www.6millionstepsforkids.org
Help with his personal support at gofundme.com/peter-walks-for-kids