I write this short piece today because I fear that our group (and the things we hope to accomplish in it) is in doubt. I fear, and some of you may as well, that the ideas and directions that Rotaract KC have undertaken to this point are not quite what we all envisioned. I am writing this to you today to let you know that we as a group of motivated, compassionate and connected individuals can achieve what this group was created to do. When you look across the broad expanse of the international organization that is Rotary, it is a bit humbling. We see groups that have given dedicated resources, time, and service to their communities for decades and have memberships in the hundreds. We see groups in small communities do extraordinary things, including helping individuals far away from their hometowns. We see fellowship and goodwill amongst peoples of different language, culture and race working together to help humanity without the slightest regard for the problems that plague society everywhere. We see a defined dedication to helping all of mankind, one block, one community, one district at a time. You see all of these things when you look at Rotary, and I am confident that in the near future, others will see this about us as well.
If you ask any of these previously mentioned Rotarians about the one commonality, the one unifying piece that all Rotarians share is that each of them can tell you the “moment” when they became truly a part of Rotary. The moment when all of the words, meetings, fellowships and service culminated in a memorable personal realization that they truly were living the motto “service above self.” Some of you may have already experienced that moment, and for you all, our job as a group is to provide the opportunities to relive that feeling as many times as possible. Myself, I experienced and finally appreciated that moment for the first time not too long ago. Since learning about Rotary I have been excited in helping us grow a new branch of the well-established tree in Kansas City. Through that enthusiasm I have had the great honor of meeting and volunteering alongside some experienced Rotarians. Recently, these Rotarians volunteered at a battered women’s shelter doing what some would think as highly unusual work for that environment.
There were boxes. File folders. Boxes. Envelopes. And more boxes. All of them in the 3rd floor attic and of course all of them needing to make it to the basement of another building. And there, somewhere between the 28th and 29th time up and down the stairs laden with boxes full of old accounting papers, it hit me. My back was killing me, my forearms ached, and some of those documents could no longer be read because of how sweaty I had become. I realized right then and there, that while it wouldn’t win any awards, it wasn’t flashy or cool, that none of that mattered. Our little group of volunteers was doing something to help someone else. Our exploits that day freed up someone to be more compassionate and attentive to those who need it, that we could handle a few mundane tasks on a dreary Saturday morning in order to let those doing the really difficult work not wonder how they would handle the accounting on top of the counseling. It is small thing, but I came away glad to do it.
Right now I know it seems like we can only do small things. Despite this feeling, we are bound only by our efforts to move forward and the dedication to experience “that moment” one more time. I want to do whatever I can to help give each of you and those we bring along with us as many “moments” as possible. This will not be easy, as I am sure all Rotarians can attest. We will have disagreements, disappointments and decisions all in the future, but most important is that we handle all of these together. We are all busy, we cannot all give the time nor effort that I am sure each of us would like to commit, but just looking inside and saying “I can give a little more” is what being a part of Rotary is all about. This group will achieve what we created it to do, and we will get there together. I invite each of you receiving this to continue giving your time, your effort and your trust and I assure you the group will respond with value you can find nowhere else.
President, Rotaract of Kansas City