By Chelsea Mertz with Rebecca Hirschfeld, Rotary Service Connections Staff
Inspired by the Contribute to a project on Rotary Ideas goal on the 2015-2016 Presidential Citation, Joyce Dove from the Rotary Club of Tallahassee Northside (USA) decided to explore Rotary’s crowdsourcing website, Rotary Ideas. She navigated to the site and paged through active Rotary club projects looking for volunteers, in-kind donations, partners, and funding. She narrowed down her search to projects in the Philippines, where she had lived for a significant period of time during her youth and with which she felt a strong connection. Joyce focused in on a project requesting materials to create a library in an area that she knew to be less fortunate.
The Rotary Club of Pag-Asa Davao in the Philippines had requested books to establish local lending libraries for rural communities in the Southern Philippines. Most of the targeted areas lack access to lending libraries, even within the schools funded by the government. To meet this need, the Rotary Club of Pag-Asa Davao’s project requested books and a partner club to help them stock libraries in numerous schools throughout the Boyan region.
Upon reading about their project, Joyce clicked the contribute now button and offered to send books. Using Club Finder, Joyce contacted the club president and secretary, sending them a message at 11 pm at night. By 3 am the next morning, she already had her response. Within the next 24 hours, they had at least five more email exchanges and Joyce was already mentally packing her box of books to send.
Since then, Joyce has been exchanging weekly messages with the club. She learned about a US postal program catering to US -Philippine shipping, particularly to the Boyan region. Her club has since sent the requested books along with funds to support the project.
“These are the sort of projects, especially the international ones, that make Rotary special” remarked Joyce. “These types of relationships, built over time, are more meaningful. Rotary Ideas is great because you feel more connected with clubs and people around the world, outside of getting just ordinary emails.” She’d like to see more focus on projects that encourage clubs to connect and serve.
Joyce plans to share her experience on Rotary Ideas with other club officers at an upcoming meeting for her district. She wants to promote the tool and what it represents, as it’s what Rotary as an organization epitomizes: members all over the world assisting each other by connecting on an international level to help communities near and far.