Recognize youth leaders!

By Erika Emerick, Rotary Programs for Young Leaders Staff 

May is Rotary’s Youth Service Month! Rotary’s programs for young leaders connect people ages 12-30 through service, friendship, and leadership development. Interact and Rotaract clubs empower young people to create sustainable change in their schools and communities both locally and globally, and young people develop leadership skills and international friendships in Rotary Youth Exchange, New Generations Service Exchange, and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA).

This passion for service drives our young leaders to create innovative and sustainable solutions to community needs aligned with Rotary’s causes, including peace and conflict resolution, disease prevention, basic education, and more. Through service young leaders gain invaluable experience while developing leadership skills.

Rotary International recognizes Youth Leadership All-Stars, young people making positive change locally and globally. Read how our 2017 All-Stars serve and lead their communities:

1) Nicolas Silva, member of the Rotaract Club of Trenque Lauquen in Argentina, joined Rotaract for new friendships but found so much more. One of his favorite projects was “Todo Sirve,” in which his Rotaract club collected donations ranging from food and drinking water to bikes and beds for a nearby rural community.

He says, “The project taught me that we need to work together to change lives. I can assure you that if you make someone smile through service, it will change you forever. It certainly changed me – that’s when I fell in love with Rotaract.” Read his full story.

2)  Nipuna Ambanpola, member of the Rotaract Club of Armstrong State University in the U.S. and former member of Interact, became a global citizen through service. In 2016, he started an international nonprofit called IVolunteer International, which connects individuals with volunteer projects around the world.

He says, “Volunteering has been a very satisfying component of my life. When I volunteer, it’s always about contributing my time and skills to enhance the quality of life of others in my community.” Read his full story.

3) Rebecca Weragoda, Chair of Rotaract Australia, learned about leadership and service through multiple Rotaract experiences ranging from attending science camp to serving in her current position.

She says, “I continue to be inspired by the chance to truly and meaningfully impact the world.” Read her full story.

4) Riley Benton, member of the Interact Club of Coffee County Central High School in the U.S., leads his club in projects ranging from bringing cupcakes to the elderly to fundraising to eradicate polio.

He says, “I had already participated in different service projects when I joined Interact my freshman year of high school. I have been a member all four years of high school, and it has shaped me into a servant leader.” Read his full story.

Who is your Youth Leadership All-Star? Submit stories and photos to nominate a young leader you know, or your Rotarian champion by 23 April for a chance to be featured as a 2018 Youth Leadership All-Star in May.

Learn more about Rotaract, Interact, Rotary Youth Exchange, New Generations Service Exchange, and RYLA!

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