MEETING: The Benefits of Volunteerism, if the Service Is Real, by: Alina Tugend (July 22nd, 2015 to July 28th, 2015)
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE – Laine Kohama, President 2015-2016
July 22nd, 2015
Aloha Rotary E-Club members and fellow Rotarians!
Aloha Rotary Ohana (Family),
This Sunday we had our strategic planning meeting. It was great to have more than half of our club in attendance in person, on FaceTime, or calling in. One or our members Carol just got her new iPhone the day before, and she tried out FaceTime which was great to see her and it was “fun”.
Overall the strategic planning meeting was a success because of you, our “awesome” membership. I’m tremendously grateful for all your support and Aloha. Can’t wait to get those things that we discussed in the visioning session moving.
Had a wonderful time with the Honolulu Sunset Rotary Club and Langley Ukulele Ensemble from Canada. It was such a wonderful performance and everyone had a great time. You got to check out this video of Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood”. Never thought I would hear a ukulele performance of Glenn Miller. It was also wonderful to see Mary Sears (Glenn’s wife), there enjoying the performance. Overall, this was a fun event and it’s an annual one. If I hear about it for next year I’ll let you folks know.
This morning I’ll be visiting and speaking at the Mililani Sunrise Club. I’m excited to see them and their current President Linda is so on it. She has about 10 questions from the membership for me already before my talk. Fantastic! Looking forward too it.
Lastly, If you want to post up pictures in our meeting of clubs you visited or share something please let me know. We would love to have you in our meeting. : )
Aloha and Mahalo everyone! Keep up the great work and “Be A Gift to the World!” – Laine
Video of the Langley Ukulele Ensemble from Canada playing “In the Mood” by Glenn Miller
SPEAKER: The Benefits of Volunteerism, if the Service Is RealBy: Alina Tugend
WHEN I was growing up, I don’t remember hearing much about community service. My parents were certainly civic-minded, but they were a lot more concerned about the work I did around the house. Like cleaning bathrooms and weeding the lawn.
Nowadays, some sort of volunteerism is a given in many places. Through schools, churches, synagogues, Girl and Boy Scouts and countless other organizations, children and teenagers are expected to do something, whether it be fund-raising for charities, working at soup kitchens or assisting at animal shelters.
In the most positive light, such service teaches children and teenagers to look beyond themselves and understand the role they can play in their community and country. In the most negative light, it is one more activity to tick off en route to college.
“There is some cynicism among people that some portion of community service is prompted by students interested more in résumé-building,” said Richard G. Niemi, professor of political science at the University of Rochester.
But does it really matter why it’s done? Isn’t it enough to volunteer, no matter the motive?
Well, yes and no. Studies have shown that generally, community service for whatever reason is a good thing. But how it’s done and whether it also involves service learning — that is, lessons that discuss homelessness, say, or hunger in a larger context — make a difference.
Joseph E. Kahne, a professor of education at Mills College, and his colleagues just completed a survey of more than 500 teenagers in the 11th and 12th grades from a diverse set of 19 high schools in California. The researchers followed the students for up to three years after graduation.
The students who were engaged in some sort of community service in high school — whether mandatory or voluntary — were more likely to volunteer or be involved in some civic activity. Most, but not all, of the volunteer work had classroom learning attached to it.
Participants get much more out of the work they do, Professor Niemi said, if there is a forum to talk about and question the larger issues involved.
Otherwise, he said, students may believe that all problems are solved through individual efforts and government doesn’t have a role. “They’ll see that the homeless don’t have food and that individuals help, but they won’t understand the connection between public policy and the homeless,” he said.
Professor Kahne also found this to be true in his research, noting that “most service programs do not examine causes of social problems or possible solutions” and, therefore, play down the need for political engagement.
In looking at what volunteering offers, Professor Kahne distinguishes among three types of citizens: “personally responsible” — that is they help people they know and donate blood; participatory citizens, who are active in community projects; and justice-oriented citizens, who examine causes and possible solutions for society’s ills.
“We believe that all three dimensions of citizenship are important, but found that most programs do not address all three and generally pay least attention to the last,” Professor Kahne said.
In fact, if teenagers — and adults for that matter — are thrust in a volunteer situation they don’t understand or feel that they are simply being assigned made-up work, it can actually have a detrimental effect.
James E. Youniss, a research professor of psychology at the Catholic University of America, said an unpublished study of New York students discovered that they were actually turned off to community service when they were told they were going to help people and ended up doing menial jobs that seemed unrelated.
Of course, volunteering may involve mundane or repetitive work, but those participating need to understand the connection between their work and the overall issue, Professor Youniss said.
“It’s not that service is bad, but that programs can be bad,” he said.
Because of time constraints and concerns about overt political messages, it can be difficult to create programs that offer the insights along with community service, Professor Youniss added.
But that doesn’t mean schools and organizations — not to mention parents — should stop encouraging or even requiring children to volunteer. Professor Youniss studied students in one Massachusetts high school that was about to introduce mandatory community service.
He looked at a sample group of teenagers, including those who did no volunteering, those who did so on their own and those required to complete a certain number of hours by their senior year.
The students were asked at the beginning and end of their high school career if they were likely to vote when they became eligible and do some sort of community service. Those who weren’t volunteering, or weren’t required to, usually said they were unlikely to vote or do community service in the future. Those who volunteered without being required generally said they were likely to vote and would volunteer. But the big switch to being much more inclined to volunteer and vote was apparent among those students who had been assigned service in the community, Professor Youniss said.
“I remember one kid who was a fullback, who waited until his senior year to volunteer,” he said. “Then he filled the 40-hour requirement by every Saturday taking a blind man to a gym and walking him through his physical activity.” That changed the boy’s outlook on his role in the community and helping others, Professor Youniss said.
What about the many programs that offer young people a way to travel and do good deeds, by building schools in Costa Rica or digging wells in Thailand?
That’s fine if you want to travel and can afford it. But most people I talked to seemed to feel that volunteering in your own community over a sustained period of time offers a more worthwhile experience. And if you’re using travel volunteerism to burnish your college application, beware. It may backfire.
“We’re not idiots,” said Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. “We know the price of an air-conditioned hotel and a plane. It’s an act of affluent tourism masquerading as community service.”
A 2008 survey of admissions officers from the top 50 colleges and universities by the organization DoSomething.org, found that admissions officers consistently put a higher value on continuous volunteering over several years at a local place than a short-term stint overseas.
Mark Segal, director of Westcoast Connection/360° Student Travel, said he understood why some people might be cynical about spending a fair amount of money to volunteer abroad. But, he said, the teenagers who went on the type of community service programs that his company offered typically did volunteer work at home as well.
Spending two weeks or a month overseas immersed in a project “is a life-changing experience,” Mr. Segal said. “You’re opening the doors for relationships and learning in a way that’s very different than being a traveler.”
In the survey, the admissions officers said they were confident they could discern when a student was being disingenuous about her commitment to community service. One noted that “insincerity seems likely when there is a laundry list of activities with minimal commitment.”
Those surveyed also said they understood some students had to work and didn’t have time for volunteering. My sons do have the luxury of being able to help in the community, and I’m glad to say they seem to want to. It’s the other service I spoke about — the bed-making and trash-emptying — that they, for some reason, seem far less eager to do.
A version of this article appears in print on July 31, 2010, on page B5 of the New York edition with the headline: The Benefits of Volunteerism, If the Service Is Real.
District 5000: Literacy Newsletter
Aloha all! Welcome to our first D5000 Literacy Newsletter for 2015. To kick off this Rotary year, we wanted to make the clubs aware of our D5000 Literacy website. To access it go to http://www.rotaryd5000.org/ and then scroll down on the left side of the window and click on Literacy. That takes you to the Home Page for the D5000 Literacy website. There you will see a welcome message, and on the left side of that window, you will see a list of Related pages. Each of these Related Pages has useful literacy information for your club. For example, Click on the Dictionary Project and there are all the files about that project. Is your club interested in the Keiki Vision project? Then click on that and there are all the files about that project. Etc. etc. etc. The last item listed on the Literacy Home Page, under Related Pages, is Literacy Suggestions. As last Rotary year, for Rotary Year 2015-2016, all clubs in D5000 will integrate their literacy activities into the Five Avenues of Service. There will not be “District Literacy Awards” or “Distinguished District Literacy Awards” as there were in the past. And at the District Conference in May 2016, top clubs will be recognized in each of the Five Avenues of Service, as the District has done in the past. Literacy activities continue to be very important to D5000. This continues to bring D5000 into alignment with Rotary International.
We urge all Rotarians to visit the District 5000 Literacy website. There is so much information on it. We view this as a central repository of Literacy information and it is available for ANYONE IN THE WORLD to access and read.
Have literacy projects to share? Please send them to Gale Warshawsky by email at email@example.comGale manages the District 5000 Literacy website pages and the District’s Literacy Newsletters. Laura Richards and Gale Warshawsky are co-chairing the District Literacy Chair responsibilities this Rotary year and they invite club Literacy Chairs to send brief descriptions with jpg files (no bigger than 500 K in size) to Gale so they can be included in quarterly District 5000 Literacy Newsletters which will be housed on the Literacy website. Laura Richards will be managing the Dictionary Project and the Four Way Test Labels this Rotary year. If you have questions about that, after you have visited the Dictionary Project (Related Pages off the Literacy Home Page), please send your questions by email to Laura Richards at firstname.lastname@example.org We look forward to working with all the clubs in D5000 this next Rotary year.
Yours in Literacy Service, Laura Richards and Gale Warshawsky.
This is Rotary EN:
School Supply Drive with Downtown Honolulu
When: July 25th from 8 am – 4 pm (you can sign up for times that work for you)
Where: Walmart on Keeaumoku
Please let me know if you’re interested in helping and I’ll put you in contact with the folks there.
School Supply Drive for Central Middle School
When: 26 JUL 2015 from 8am to 4pm
Where: Wal Mart on Keaumoku
We really appreciate e-club’s past support with projects and this one is a fun one and we did well with it last year! Please RSVP to Diana or Wade also on this string so we can make sure we have volunteers covering throughout the day. There was a lot of donations last year and hauling it off and unloading it was a chore.
ROTARY AROUND THE WORLD: A Good Day at Kathar Wadi
By Dr. Swati Gadgil, Rotary Club of Dombivli East, Maharashtra, India
Our Rotary club’s women’s welfare society recently went to a tribal settlement in Katkar Wadi, where we visited 60 households and a 35-student school for kindergarten through grade four, handing out notebooks, writing materials, clothing, and utensils. Many of the women in the settlement have never been to school, and it is a rare occasion when they even travel out of their community. Our youth wing conducted games for the children, also engaging our members in the fun.
We were also able to plant trees in the community and distribute snacks and treats. The team left with the determination to adopt the settlement and make a significant difference for years to come.
Courtesy of the Rotary Blog, see blog.rotary.org
by Jayanthi Raja Seenivasan
Where there is darkness, Rotary shares light.
Where there is loneliness, Rotary shares love.
Where there is illiteracy, Rotary shares education.
Where there is ignorance, Rotary shares knowledge.
Where there are problems, Rotary shares solutions.
Where there is enmity, Rotary shares friendship.
Where there are unearthed talents, Rotary shares opportunities.
Where there are needs, Rotary shares new horizons of living.
Where there is a tear, Rotary shares smiles.
Where there is a distance, Rotary shares the miles.
Where there is pain, Rotary shares the agony.
Where there is gain, Rotary shares the joy.
Where there are achievers, Rotary shares the compliments.
Where there are failures, Rotary shares success supplements.
Where there are orphans, Rotary shares the family.
Where there are elders, Rotary shares time.
Where there is childhood, Rotary shares values of life.
Where there is youth, Rotary shares the ladder of leadership.
Where there is unemployment, Rotary shares career choices.
Where there is lack of awareness, Rotary shares vocational training.
Where there is despair, Rotary shares hope.
Where there is depression, Rotary shares inspiration.
Where there is weakness, Rotary shares strength.
When there is chaos, Rotary shares harmony.
Where there is illness, Rotary shares curing.
Where there are disabilities, Rotary shares ability.
Where there are contingencies, Rotary shares might.
Where there is poverty, Rotary shares ways to wealth.
Where there is nothing, Rotary shares something.
Where there is everything,
Rotary sources it and shares it with those who have nothing.
NOTE: Jayanthi Raja Seenivasan is a member of Rotary eClub One.
The Four Way Test
The Four Way Test embodies what a Rotarian is. It’s our core values. If you see a 4 Way Test video that looks great please let Laine know and we’ll look into posting it up.
The Four-Way Test is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships. The test has been translated into more than 100 languages, and Rotarians recite it at club meetings:
Of the things we think, say or do
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Donations large and small are appreciated.
How do I makeup at this club?
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