As you read this column, I am attending the 2011 Rotary International Convention in New Orleans.
More than 20,000 Rotarians have come to New Orleans from over 180 countries, including dozens of Rotarians from Costa Mesa and Irvine. President-elects Bill Hossfield, Newport-Balboa; Cynthia Cowell, Newport Beach Sunrise and Uzo Okereke of Newport Irvine are leading delegations to the convention from their respective clubs.
The convention is for the education and motivation of Rotarians.
Monday's plenary session focused on Rotary activities in Africa and new rules of engagement for Generation Y. The 40-member Simon Estes Music High School Alumni Choir from South Africa closed out the meeting with an exciting musical performance.
On Tuesday afternoon, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has invested $355 million in Rotary's billion-dollar drive to end polio, was scheduled to address the convention, to thank Rotarians for their leadership and partnership in the worldwide effort to eradicate polio. The Rotary campaign has vaccinated more than two billion children against the disease.
Lions help local charities
Harbor Mesa Lions during the past year have donated more than $12,000 to charitable organizations. At a recent meeting, representatives of various charities, including The Boys and Girls Club of the Harbor Area, Youth Employment Services, Share Ourselves Soup Kitchen, Angels Charities, Interfaith Shelter, and many others, were given the money and spoke about their organizations.
Each group told touching stories about how the funds have helped those in need. The Lions are always at the forefront in responding to disasters and when a need for help arises in the community.
The funds are raised with events such as a casino night, bingo night, spaghetti dinner and the garage sale. Visit their website at: nhcmlionsclub.com for further information.
Special Award for a Local Rotarian
Every year the local Rotary International Clubs meet for a district conference, and some special honors are presented to a few Rotarian members who have excelled in living their motto of "Service Above Self."
Of the 1.2 million Rotary members, only 150 were honored with the Service Above Self award from Rotary International, and it was a member of the Newport-Balboa Rotary Club.
Dr. Raj Desai has fervently led a campaign to attack the problem of deafness, and has made a significant contribution to helping those in India. He received the Service Above Self award from the District Gov. Johrita Solari.
Thought for the day