It’s World Polio Day: Help Make a Difference By Joining Your Local Rotary Club
Oct 24, 2018

Amy Pisani, MS, Executive Director, Every Child By Two and Vice President, Rotary Club of Mystic, CT

In a grown-up world you have good days and bad days. I consider myself to be one of those truly fortunate individuals whose good days outweigh the bad by an incredibly large margin. Each morning, I look forward to tackling the tasks ahead of me as the Executive Director of Every Child By Two (ECBT), knowing that today could be the day we save a life. While we work on many different initiatives, our priorities are steadfast and my terrific staff members share in my commitment to our nonprofit organization’s goals. Our organization will soon be changing our name to Vaccinate Your Family: The Next Generation of Every Child By Two to better align with our mission of protecting people of all ages from vaccine-preventable diseases.

When I was a little girl, I remember laying on the front yard for what seemed like hours, watching the fireflies and stars in the great big sky. Each of us cherishes the memories of our childhood, and as parents we strive to create those wonderful memories for our own children. We also want to raise them to be good friends and caring citizens of the future.

My parents used to tell me that surrounding yourself with good people can bring you more joy in your life. By serving as the Vice President of my local Rotary Club, I am able to give back to my local community through volunteer efforts, grants to local charities and organizations, student scholarships, and international projects. In fact, in 2017, we were able to provide over $50,000 in local and international grants and scholarships. My family is always willing to pitch in at our many events, from serving hot dogs and frozen lemonade, to cleaning up the interior and exterior of the homeless shelter, to helping with the garden at the daycare center serving our local low-income community.

As a vaccine advocate, the highlight of my Monday lunch meetings with Rotary is the chance to donate to the cause of Polio Eradication. In a room full of friends who have various reasons for being members of Rotary, we all have our eye on the ultimate prize – wiping polio from the face of this earth. When I tell my friends and family about Rotary, it always surprises me how few people know what Rotary is about and how Rotarians contribute to our local community and the world. During my travels to Africa, Rotary seemed as popular as Coca Cola – everyone was so grateful for the polio eradication efforts organized by Rotary.

The main objective of Rotary is service – in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotarians develop community service projects that address many of today’s most critical issues, such as children at risk, poverty and hunger, the environment, illiteracy, and violence.

They also support educational opportunities and international exchanges for students, teachers and other professionals along with vocational and career development programs.

The Rotary motto is “Service Above Self”. Although Rotary clubs develop autonomous service programs, all Rotarians worldwide are united in the campaign for the global eradication of polio. Rotary has provided an army of volunteers to promote and assist at national immunization days in polio-endemic countries around the world and has provided over $500 million towards this goal. Learn more about World Polio Day.

Families from Zimbabwe greeting us and our colleagues from Rotary during National Immunization Days – 2016

That’s why, when I was inducted into the Rotary, it literally brought tears to my eyes knowing that in some small way I might help close the door on polio. And that’s what it’s all about – making a difference, whether small or large. Doing something, even if it’s just selling lemonade alongside my family at an art festival in a small New England town, is better than doing nothing at all.

Around the world there are over 1.2 million men and women serving in Rotary. Student volunteers also do much to support local Rotary efforts. Find out how you can join your local Rotary club where you will share in fellowship with wonderful neighbors while serving your community. Two things I’ve learned since joining Rotary – there is always a project on the horizon and Rotarians are welcome at a meeting anywhere in the world – what a lovely thought.

Learn more about Rotary and see how you and your family can help make a difference at home and worldwide.

We Connect People – Rotary unites more than a million people. Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves. There are 1.2 million members and 35,000+ clubs.

We Transform Communities – We take action locally and globally. Each day, our members pour their passion, integrity, and intelligence into completing projects that have a lasting impact. We persevere until we deliver real, lasting solutions.

We Solve Problems – No challenge is too big for us. For more than 110 years, we’ve bridged cultures and connected continents to champion peace, fight illiteracy and poverty, promote clean water and sanitation, and fight disease. 2.5 billion children have been immunized against polio.

Rotary’s Causes

Promoting Peace – Rotary fosters understanding across cultures. We train adults and young leaders to prevent and mediate conflict and help refugees who have fled dangerous areas. See how we foster peace.

Fighting Disease – We are resolved to rid the world of polio forever. We also educate and equip communities to stop other diseases and expand access to health care. Learn how we combat disease.

Providing Clean Water – We help bring sustainable clean water, sanitation, and hygiene to more people every day. We don’t just build wells and walk away. Learn more about clean water.

Saving Mothers & Children – We expand access to quality medical care, sanitation, education and economic opportunities so mothers and their children can live and grow stronger. Learn how we save lives.

Supporting Education – Our goal is to strengthen the capacity of communities to support basic education and literacy, reduce gender disparity in education, and increase adult literacy. See how we improve education.

Growing Local Economies – We carry out service projects that enhance economic and community development and create opportunities for decent and productive work for young and old. See how we ease poverty.

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