This year was a very special year for our club, it marked our 30th anniversary of continuous service. For 30 years, members and boards of our club have worked hard to serve the community and grow our club to make it strong. As we are extremely grateful for their efforts. This year it was our turn to make our club stronger, and energize it for the next 30 years. As a group who believes in the spirit of teamwork and value leadership, our main objectives was to promote leadership within the club and to ensure we have a strong team for sustainable growth to serve the community better.
We have expanded our membership to a record high of 62 members, 40% of them were inducted during the 2017/2018 Rotary year. These members have exemplified the true meaning of service above self and showed a model on how to work and live by the four-way test. That was not only an increase in the number of members but also an increase in their engagement, where many members took lead on the club’s initiatives or part of these initiatives.
The highlight of our year was our fundraiser. On February 22nd, 2018, the Rotaract Club of Toronto held a Cocktail Party fundraiser for the Eye health and diabetes prevention program of the Anishnawbe Health Foundation New Health Centre. The event was attended by over 150 people including many Rotarians and Rotaractors. We have taken over La Maquette venue and run it by 26 Rotaractors serving food and drinks. The club donated $5000 mostly raised during the fundraiser to the project. Anishnawbe Health Foundation will recognize the Rotaract Club of Toronto by adding its name to a plaque at the entrance of their new health Centre due to be opened on the fall of 2020 and estimated to cost over 30 million dollars. I would like to acknowledge the long-term partnership with the Rotary Club of Toronto and their board, through which made this event and many others possible.
Locally in Toronto, we had 20 community service events ranged from collecting non-perishable food items at trick or eat and planting trees on Earth Day to serving over 1500 meals at the Fort York Food Bank. We have also started new initiatives, including blood drives, where we held 2 blood drives to help reduce the shortage faced by the Canadian Blood Services. Additionally, we have collaborated with our parent club, the Rotary Club of Toronto on many initiatives including the children and seniors Christmas parties, youth initiatives and Camp Scugog. Collectively our members volunteered over 1000 hours.
Internationally, our service has reached remote areas in Canada and around the world. In fact, we had projects covering all 6 Rotary areas of focus. We have promoted peace through various indigenous service projects including sending solar eclipse glasses to KI reserve in northern Ontario. We supported local economies by providing microcredit loans to families in Africa, clean water and sanitation by raising funds for the OK clean water project, and child and maternal health through our support to Bridge to Health. Disease prevention especially ending polio remained a major area of focus for our club and rotary, we have continued our support by raising funds for End Polio. Lastly, we have supported education through a wide range of initiatives including raising funds for the Grace and Nelly Project in Zimbabwe and volunteering with One Laptop per Child. Our international service arm has expanded drastically during the year.
As members of our club are also part of the community, developing their skills is a priority to ensure they succeed in their careers. Through our Professional Development Committee, we had peer workshops about resume writing, LinkedIn accounts and interview skills. The committee has secured a diverse number of speakers for our meetings. We were inspired by them and learned something new every meeting. We had a record number of members attending our district conference.
There was no better way to end the year than hosting the Rotary International convention in Toronto where we enjoyed the fellowship of Rotarians and Rotaractors from all over the world. Again, our members exemplified the meaning of service above self by volunteering for tens of hours at the convention and at the host organizing committee events.
It was not surprising after all this hard work that our club won every single award for Rotaract District 7070 including the Community Service Project Award, Rotaract-Rotary Partnership Award and Rotaract Innovation Project Award. Additionally, we were also awarded the Rotary Citation Award from Rotary International for achieving goals that strengthen Rotary and our club, and the Ed Storie District Conference Award from Rotary District 7070. All this amazing work and service to our local community and to communities around the world wouldn’t have been accomplished without the tremendous efforts of our 62 members. I want to especially thank my board and core team Kaitlynn Almeida, Katherine Kirkpatrick-Wahl, Dennis Lam, Caitlin Goodmurphy, Jessica Besaw, Catherine Woodford and Quincy Poon, without them we couldn’t have done it. Their support and hard work were invaluable. I would like to thank our District Governor Neil Phillips who supported us and came to visit our club 3 times during the year, Pat Neuman, the President of Rotary Club of Toronto and Binoy Luckoo, our Rotary Liaison Director for their help and support throughout the year.
WE board and members made a difference and set our club for success for 30 more years. The Rotaract Club of Toronto is now stronger than ever, this is all because of the dedication and devotion of our members during this year and for 30 years before.
It was my privilege to serve as the President of the Rotaract Club of Toronto, an honour that I will forever cherish. As we celebrate a year that passed, it is time to be the inspiration for the year to come where the club is in good hands lead by our Co-Presidents Kaitlynn Almeida and Katherine Kirkpatrick-Wahl to take our club and community to a better future, for a better world.
Rotaract Club of Toronto