Most Outstanding Community Project
Macquarie University Rotaract
Macquarie University Rotaract has been given this award for their Homework Help Program. The program was designed with the intention of providing English and homework support to children of recent migrants, especially those in years K-4. It was recognised that there was a demand for assistance for these young children where financial hardships made it harder for additional English learning support to be provided by the family.
Support in 2013 was first provided by Epping community centre, followed by Eastwood Community Hub in 2014, where there are plans of expanding the program from the current once a week to twice a week.
Program attendance has steadily grown, as word of mouth about the program spreads. The children are all extremely keen to learn and the families are very thankful of the assistance that the volunteers provide in helping the children with their English skills as well as with the homework.
Involvement is by anyone available and interested in helping and is not restricted to just club members, as volunteers have also come for example from Macquarie University education students or friends interested in the program and wanting to assist. Notable club members involved include: Marlous Teh, Taylor Shae Murphy, Sophie Stone, Emma Lawson.
The project has had to overcome a few bumps along the way, including finding suitable interested venues and shortages in volunteer assistance.
See Macquarie University Rotaract’s thank you video here
Most Outstanding International Project
Monash and Whitehorse Rotaract Clubs
The We Can’t Wait Trivia Night was held in September and raised vital funds to improve sanitation in the developing world. Bianca Lobo led a team that included members from both Monash and Whitehorse Rotaract Clubs.
After hearing a presentation given by Box Hill Central Rotarian and founder of We Can’t Wait Mark Balla about the importance of providing clean, safe and sustainable sanitation in schools and surrounding communities in the developing world, Monash Rotaractor Bianca Lobo was inspired. At her club’s next meeting, she spoke about how one person in three lacks access to adequate sanitation, which results inwidespread death and disease – especially among children. Bianca elaborated that because of this, many girls in these countries fail to go to school when they get their period due to a lack of sanitation at the school, subsequently falling behind and in many cases dropping out of school entirely. These are often issues that we take for granted in Australia, as our access to clean and safe sanitation is seen as a given human right.
With her club’s support, Bianca followed up with Mark, discussing ways in which Rotaract could help his team meet their goals. Fundraising as well as awareness were the two priorities for the organisation, and so, Bianca proposed to her club to organise a trivia night to support this worthy cause and educate the community. Bianca reached out to contacts at Whitehorse Rotaract as well, who eagerly formed a committee with Monash Rotaract members to pool their talents together to put on an amazing night.
With a committee comprising 11 members (4 from Monash and 7 from Whitehorse) and a combined team of over 20 Rotaractors from both clubs pitching in on the night for various duties, the Rotaract community had come together to put together a phenomenal display of teamwork and effort to making as much of a difference as possible. Additionally, many other Rotaractors attended the evening as guests!
The trivia night was a stellar success! Selling the venue out to maximum capacity (150 people), the team’s goal was to raise $5000. However, expectations were exceeded, and the team successfully managed to raise over $6000 to aid in the provision of toilets, sanitation products and education to these communities. By working with Mark Balla, the team were able to acquire additional support from the Box Hill Central Rotary Club, including applying for grants to further strengthen the impact of the fund raising. Bianca and Mark worked tirelessly in contacting local businesses for support through sponsorship and the provision of prizes such as for the silent auction, having a list of more than 30 items available for attendees to bid on.
While most trivia nights run fairly smoothly, the energy of the team from Monash and Whitehorse made the event stick out like no other, with District Governor Elect David Tolstrup reporting that the trivia night was “… the best [he] ever witnessed,” a true testament to Bianca and her team of fellow Rotaractor’s efforts. The Trivia Masters had prepared an interactive presentation that allowed the audience to choose the themes for each round, with pre-prepared round themes being chosen from a Jeopardy style board by members of the audience who had travelled the furthest to be there or had the largest feet, to name but a few. This creative flare allowed the team to “auction off” the right to choose the last rounds, resulting in friendly and competitive bidding by teams to finish on the topic they would be strongest at. Similarly, the final bonus game for the evening was auctioned in a similar way, and with the success and popularity of the bonus questions and games that had preceded it, attendees really got fired up for this final opportunity for some points and some fun!
This surprise twist resulted in some very entertaining bidding wars, and raised a further $150 for the cause. Overall, the efforts of Bianca and her team of fellow Rotaractors has no doubt changed the lives of countless individuals in developing nations such as India who do not have adequate access to sanitation. As a result, hopefully the communities impacted will experience healthier lives, as well as providing more nurturing environments for their members, including the opportunity for many children to continue to get an education. The venue of the Box Hill Golf Club was sold out to maximum capacity – 120 people!
Most Outstanding Professional Development Project
Sydney City Rotaract
Project description including goals and objectives
Club members have expressed an interest in developing their professional and personal skills throughout the Rotaract year. Feedback from small workshops held earlier in the Rotaract year indicated that members would be more likely to engage in a more substantial Professional Development Event. A larger event would enable multiple, higher profile speakers to be obtained, therefore members/attendees will perceive the event to be of greater benefit and would therefore be more likely to invest in the event. Additionally a larger event would allow for greater sponsorship and marketing opportunities which have the added benefit of engaging not only Sydney City Rotaract members, but other Rotaract members and young professionals.
Today’s young professionals are energized and open-minded, with a hunger to get the most out of life. But many are still searching for guidance to define and achieve their goals. So Sydney City Rotaract brought together Australia’s most influential keynote speakers to empower young people in their personal and professional lives.
The GetAhead 2014 program involved 6 external speakers and a panel of 4 Rotarians/Rotaractors to present on topics in the image below. The event was concluded with networking drinks, allowing participants to discuss the hot topics of the day.
Most Outstanding Public Relations Activity
Rotaract Club of City of Gosnells
Gosnells set out to make a huge impact to the club’s Public Relations.
- Since our charter in 2010 the Rotaract Club of Gosnells has had little to no engagement with the wider community in our local catchment and also local areas.
- With the club running so many fantastic events and activities we were losing valuable public support and recognition.
- The PR aim for the 2013/2014 year was to change this through a redesigned website, increased Facebook activity, new Instagram account and prepared media releases and kits for major events.
- Over a3 month period our PR director created a new website taking into account many factors including ease of use and navigation.
- The website currently sees traffic of up to 30 views a day and is updated fortnightly with new events, photos and meeting links
- Set up to capture a snapshot of the fun and creativity of our club the Instagram page was one of the winners of the Rotaract Australia Instagram comp
- The page features club members working at events and speaking at clubs and also highlights the fun that club has at its fortnightly meetings
- The Instagram account has seen members more regularly shared Rotaract images and details to their personal pages and also use #rotaract as well as our special Gosnells #rocog
See Gosnell’s thank you video here
Significant Achievement Award
Sydney City Rotaract
GetAhead 2014 is the largest ever Professional Development event that has been held in the history of Sydney City Rotaract.
Please check out our video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUNH9G3JKD8 for a greater understanding of the event.
Significant Achievements for the event included:
- 90+ attendees
- Rotary and Rotaract collaboration (sponsorship, attendees, panel)
- Extensive marketing plan before, during and after the event
- $1500 raised for reinvestment in the club’s professional development activities including the sponsorship of a new club member to attend RYLA in January 2015
- 2 members inducted as a direct result of attendance at the event and 3 potential members
- $250 donated to KIVA on speaker’s behalf
- Five of the six primary club members involved in organising the event were sufficiently engaged to join the 2014-2015 club board
- Developed relationship with venue/Clubs NSW which should enable us to hold free/discounted events at the venue in the future
- Rotaractors attended from Districts 9675, 9685 and 9710 (this includes Rotaractors who travelled to Sydney from Canberra and the Central Coast)
- Rotary Clubs of Sydney and Maroubra sponsored a number of attendees, thereby strengthening the relationship of Rotaract and Rotary Clubs
- Engaged Non-Rotaract RYLA Alumni to attend
- To have 100 attendees
- To increase the profile of Sydney City Rotaract at a District Rotaract and Rotary level, thereby encouraging greater attendance and engagement for future Sydney City Rotaract events.
- To increase the profile of Sydney City Rotaract in the local community, thereby encouraging young people to join Rotaract.
- To encourage the collaboration of club members in organising a large professional development event, which will give them the confidence to join or lead future organising committees
What has the participant achieved?
The participant has been exposed to speakers that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to and has come away with greater direction and re-energised to strive for these goals.
What was the Rotary / Rotaract support?
- Sydney City Rotaract approached the District Committee for financial support. The District Committee saw the value in the program and decided to be the gold sponsor for the event, providing a significant financial contribution.
- The Rotary Club of Holroyd sponsored the costs of one of the speakers for us.
- We engaged with a local Rotarian who was able to provide all printing for the event free of charge.
- 3 Rotarians made up a panel for the attendees to ask questions regarding their early career development.
- A number of Rotarians also purchased tickets to attend the day
Did the program meet the participant’s expectations?
Participants were asked to complete a survey at the conclusion of the day. A snapshot of their responses is listed below:
|· Thank you for a fantastic day. It has been invaluable|
|· Excellent event|
|· Very impressive and professional|
|· I’m going to get out of my comfort zone!|
|· Excellent, inspring speakers|
|· Awesome guys, <3 love it|
|· took a lot out of the event|
|· Very informative & helpful|
|· Amazeballs! Best ROI (return on investment) ever =)|
|· Impressive speech from the speakers, really valuable. Good time control, very organised|
|· Well done, great event|
|· A great event|
|· Great combination of speakers with different backgrounds.|
Does the participant support the community in any way?
- Rotaractors from Districts 9675, 9685, 9710.
- Students from local universities (non-Rotaract members)
- Young professionals
We have since inducted 2 new members into our club and have 3 additional potential members.
Rotaract District 9710
Congratulations to Rotaract District 9710 for their continued involvement in Rotary District 9710’s biannual RYPEN (Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment). This involves significant participation from members of Rotary, Rotaract, Interact and Earlyact from a wide variety of clubs.
In addition to the organising team Brian Wallace (South Nowra Rotary) and Sandy Miles (South Nowra Rotary), camp leaders come from a variety of other Rotary clubs and, in the last six years, Canberra Rotaract, Southern Highlands Rotaract, and Sapphire Coast Rotaract. In more recent times, members of Bowral High School Interact, Shoalhaven Anglican College Interact and Mogo Public Earlyact have also participated as camp leaders and assistants.
This multiclub participation means Earlyactors, Interactors, Rotaractors, Rotarians work closely together on a regular basis to support the RYPENians, who number about 100 per year. This program significantly builds mutual trust and relationships between the different areas of the Rotary family and establishes a strong pathway for Earlyactors to transition Interactors, for Interactors to transition to Rotaract, and Rotaractors to transition to Rotary.
Partners in Service
Congratulations to our joint inaugural winners of the Partners in Service Award, recognising the value contributions of a Rotarian.
Joy Ferguson has been a great supporter of Rotaract for many years. Joy has attended almost every one of our club’s meetings [Diamond Valley Rotaract] for years. She has attended every event that we have asked for help. She got up at 4 am to come help up set up at the Solomon trail run and brought members of her family to help – one of those members who is now coming to club meeting himself and looking to join our cub.
Never have I met anybody more dedicated to unprivileged youth in our area, being one of Rotary’s advocates for the Diamond Valley Learning Centre, now in which we have our club meetings at the school for free – all thanks to Joy. Not only did she find a free place for us to meet each fortnight, but she found a storage unit for us to store all our clubs belonging in – for free as well.
She is highly involved with the L to P program, teaching young people with lack of money to buy lessons, to drive. Joy was named 2014 Nillumbik Australian Day awards – Senior Citizen of the Year, but to us she is an honorary Rotaractor.
Joy is also the Rotary Adviser to Rotaract Australia.
Joy is a caring woman. Whenever she sees that somebody from our club is upset or needs help, she is the first one of offer assistance and to do everything in her power to help out. She is a tremendous support in our club but also in our every day lives.
DRR & Diamond Valley Rotaractor
DG Rowley Tompsett has long been a passionate and often outspoken supporter of Rotaract both within District 9710 and beyond. He has supported numerous Rotaractors and Rotaract Clubs the District Rotaract Chair for several years before becoming our District Governor.
Below I have listed several of Rowley’s activities in the service of Rotaract:
- As District Rotaract Chair, Rowley oversaw the chartering of three Rotaract Clubs: Rotaract Club of the Sapphire Coast; the Rotaract Club of the University of Canberra; and the Rotaract Club of Brindabella.
- Rowley introduced significant reforms to the District 9710 Rotaract Committee to ensure it was more representative of the newly forming clubs and more responsive to their needs.
- Rowley strongly supported District 9710’s successful bid for the 2012 Australian Rotaract Conference and ensured the District was prepared to underwrite the conference.
- Rowley has ensured Rotaractors in our district are invited to participate as equals in events like Future Leaders Seminars, Rotary Leadership Institute, and District Assemblies and Conferences and included in District Governor’s visits.
- As District Governor, Rowley has ensured the 2014 MultiDistrict 9710 and 9675
Conference has as its theme “Our Youth, Our Future”, and that Rotaractors are playing a significant role in the conference sessions. Please see on the next page the main banner image being used to promote the conference, which prominently features this slogan. Rowley has also ensured that Rotaractors and Interactors can attend all conference sessions for free.
Congratulations to both Joy & Rowley, no doubt our Rotaractors are very fortunate to have you as supporters and mentors.
Rotaractor of the Year
Tara has been a member of Rotaract since 2004 on her youth exchange to India and then she was 18 and has held various roles within her club: Secretary, International Service Director, Vice President and President of Gunargarang Club, District Rotaract Representative, and more recently Eastern Region Representative.
Tara always puts Rotaract first and has been involved in the forefront of organising various social and community projects including: PreCon Hosting Organising committee member and catering and organising the eastern region President Elected and Board Elect training weekend.
Some of the community and international events Tara has been involved in include an international service to trip to Sri Lanka in 2010 and 2012 to build a school and a library at an orphanage.
Tara’s commitment to Rotaract was truly shown recently after the closing of Gunargarang Rotaract Club Tara immediately joined a new club Burwood Rotaract Club and has continued in her role as Eastern Region Representative. Tara is one of few Rotaractors that is a Paul Harris Fellow.
In her own words, “being a member of Rotaract is like having an extended family across the globe knowing that there are hundreds of thousands people all working towards the same goal and community focused programmes and events that truly make a difference”
Tara is a rock of Rotaract and is a very well deserving recipient of the Rotaractor of the Year award.