Making a difference
A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) - Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) - May 31, 2019 - 12:00am

People join civic organizations or service clubs for various reasons. There are those who become members to establish contacts that are useful and beneficial to their business or professions, while others also join simply to belong to a prestigious group with well known and reputable members. But their overriding and primary motive is still the sincere desire to help in the improvement of their community and the less fortunate and marginalized people living therein by sharing their time, talent and treasure.

One of the service clubs which has members with all these varied motives is of course the well known and famous international organization called the Rotary International, the largest worldwide service club living up to the ideal of “service above self.” Indeed all Rotarians of any race, color or creed carry out and perform their tasks as members by concrete actions and not merely by artificial allegiance to this slogan.

Rotary International is a non-government, non-political and non-sectarian organization. But it also helps the government solve the problems of the country, particularly: poverty alleviation, promotion of health and education, and preservation of the environment and natural resources through various projects that it undertakes every Rotary year. It also assists the weak and the poor in the community with numerous humanitarian services particularly their food, shelter, clothing and their health.

There are several basic sources of strength that enable Rotary clubs and their members to carry out their mission of serving others above self. Foremost among them of course is the integrity or uprightness of its members, their sincerity and honesty in helping their clubs fulfill their various projects especially in complying with their commitments to pay membership dues needed in their humanitarian services. Diversity or variety and broadness of their projects also keep the members interested and dedicated in the accomplishment of its plans and programs for the year. Of course, there is also the spirit of service or the intense desire to help and serve others especially the poor, the weak, and the less fortunate. Then leadership or the ability of its officers to inspire, guide and direct its members in fulfilling its commitments also contributes to a strong club to carry out its mission.

And most importantly, the clubs and its members are driven to achieve their goals also because of the spirit of fellowship and close personal relationship developed among them that inspire mutual confidence and trust. The fellowship in Rotary is usually founded on the common likes and dislikes of the members that are connected to business or profession or even their hobbies and pastimes which are usually experienced after the regular meeting when they have “one for the road.” Interestingly, this fellowship is not only confined within the clubs, the districts and the regions. It also extends to all the clubs in the world especially during the international convention held every year.

Almost every country in the world has Rotary clubs. For a more organized and coordinated operation, the clubs in every country are grouped into regions composed of several provinces, and districts, composed of several cities or municipalities. In the Philippines, there is one district encompassing only one whole city. And this is Quezon City which is District 3780. This is the first and only “one district, one city” in the Rotary organization with about 95 Rotary Clubs having a total of around 2,300 members.

I am able to write all these information about Rotary Club because I am also a Rotarian, a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Cubao West (RCCW) in District 3780. It is indeed appropriate and worthwhile writing about my Club because of its colorful past and storied existence. Like all other clubs perhaps including the first Rotary Club in Chicago, USA, RCCW started small until it grew big and strong enough to weather any and all storms that threaten its existence. In fact, I could say that its strength lies in its capacity to survive and remain intact amidst the numerous “storms” it has undergone.

Indeed, despite having members with colorful, varied and sometimes clashing traits like lawyers, doctors, priests government officials, businessmen, employers, employees, rightist and leftists RCCW has become more durable. Several times in the past, its number of members had dwindled into near extinction, but it managed to come back stronger because: first, the hearts of its members seem to be throbbing with an intense desire to help others and to carry out the various humanitarian activities mindful of the Rotary principle of “service above self”; second members have developed closer relationship through fellowship during meetings that enable them to observe the “objects of Rotary” particularly: 1) Is it the truth? 2) Is it fair to all concerned? 3) Will it bring good will and better friendship? and 4) Will it be beneficial to all concerned? And third, due to the closeness and unity of the members, they have achieved outstanding humanitarian projects.

One important event for this Rotary is the recent Rotary District Award 2019 held last May 26, hosted by RCCW with our own past president Melandrew Velasco as the chairman. During the said affair, RCCW and its members have received the following honors and awards: (1) Inspiring District Officer Award to past president Jun Avecilla; (2) Leadership Award to President Rhyan Virrey; (3) Inspiring Spouse Award to Genalyn Virrey; (4)Inspiring Rotary Club (Platinum level);  (5) Inspiring Rotary Club President Rhyan Virrey; (6) Best Rotary Club in Recreational and Vocational World Fellowship; (7) Best Rotary Club in Membership Retention; (8) Best Rotary Club in Program; (9) Best Rotary Club in Membership Growth; (10) Best Rotary Club in Fellowship Activities; (11) Best Inspiring Secretary-Francis Mangilit; and (12) Recognition as the Host Club for the Awards Night.

Rotary Club of Cubao West has indeed made a lot of difference in the Rotary world. In this connection, the following words of Paul Harris the founder of Rotary are so apt: “Whatever Rotary may mean to us, it will be known to the world by the results it achieves.”

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