Weyburn members of the Rotary Club were encouraged to work towards eliminating child poverty in this Rotary district, as they heard a presentation by the District Governor Fred Wright recently.
Wright was visiting from his home in Kenora, Ont., as he is visiting all of the clubs in the district, which includes Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northern Ontario.
Eliminating child poverty is the district’s number one goal this year, he explained, noting he realizes this may be a tall order.
“I think we can do anything if we do a bite-size piece at a time,” said Wright, providing statistics on the extent of child poverty. In Saskatchewan, 26.7 per cent of children live in poverty, 12.9 per cent in Manitoba and 36 per cent in Northern Ontario.
“So it’s a real problem. Many of these children live in a toxic environment, often they’re inundated with alcohol and drug-fuelled violence,” said Wright. “I’ve seen children in these situations.”
Part of Rotary’s response to this situation are programs like the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA), the student exchange programs (both short and long-term) and programs like Adventures in Citizenship, he said, along with club projects that address local issues.
“We need to save our children,” said Wright, adding that the programs and projects will provide members and youth with tools for helping children who are living in poverty.
“If we encourage our communities to find out where they’re needed, we can change things for the better,” he said, and a part of the solution is to bring younger members into the club as they can help reach out to the community and meet these needs.
Wright encouraged members to consider three questions about their club: what do they like about the club, what do they not like about it, and what would they change if they had the opportunity?
The important thing is not just to add to the local club, but to improve things in the world, said Wright. “It’s a great time to be part of Rotary.”
He had the members break up into smaller groups to talk about why they are members of the Rotary Club, and there were a wide variety of answers.
They included that members like what the club does in the community, that Rotary is a worldwide organization, and that there are programs that benefit youth, such as the student exchange program and the youth leadership program, RYLA.
Members also enjoy the fellowship with other members and with guests who come to speak to them each week, through which they are able to learn about other groups or adventures that people enjoy.
Weyburn will be one of three clubs in this district that will be marking their 100th anniversary, along with Kenora and Prince Albert. Weyburn will be marking their centennial in 2020.