I joined the Rotary Club of Melbourne in early 2017 after returning to Australia from 16 years spent working overseas. Before joining the club, I had no previous experience with Rotary or any other community service organisation. The decision to join Rotary was based on a somewhat vague goal of wanting to do more more to contribute to society after several decades where my time was consumed by work and family commitments.
When I joined the club, I was effectively semi-retired so had plenty of spare time and Rotary was able to provide a range of activities. These included working on the End Trachoma initiative which involved several trips to indigenous communities in central Australia as well as being a team leader for the Around the Bay bike event which raises funds for The Smith Family. I have also been a regular volunteer at Prahran market with Second Bite and at the DIK warehouse. All of activities are great opportunities to work with like minded folks helping others in less fortunate circumstances both close to home and internationally.
More recently I have been involved with several bushfire relief projects which meant working with other Rotary clubs across Victoria. This demonstrated the reach and value of community-based organisations like Rotary. Rotarians in bushfire impacted areas were able to identify areas of need and ensure that support went where it was needed while other clubs focussed on fund raising and arranging emergency supplies.
I am glad I joined Rotary – it has provided plenty of satisfying, team-oriented opportunities for philanthropic work that are very compatible my other family, business and recreational activities.