WAVE 3 News Guest Editorial - December 22, 2015: Rotary Civic Engagement

WAVE 3 News Guest Editorial - December 22, 2015: Rotary Civic Engagement

By Alice Bridges
Incoming President, Rotary Club of Louisville

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - We hear a lot today about social networks - online communities connecting people with shared interests. But one of our community's most important assets is the living social network of Rotary.

Yes, Rotary. That organization you probably picture as a weekly gathering of old men in a stuffy banquet hall.

But in today's complex world, Rotary is more relevant than ever–rooted in the power of diverse leaders working together to solve problems and taking action to make lasting change.

Take the problem of low educational attainment among some Jefferson County high schools. The Rotary Club of Louisville established the Rotary Promise Scholarship in 2012 to move the needle on this vexing issue. Ninth-graders at Western and Iroquois High Schools are guaranteed tuition for the first two years of college at Jefferson Community & Technical College if they are academically successful, stay in school, stay out of trouble, and apply for federal student aid. In addition, Rotarians mentor students at both schools, serving as positive role models who are personally invested in the future of our young people.

The Rotary "promise" is already having an impact, creating a college-going culture focused on academic success.

Tackling big problems like educational attainment is possible for the Rotary Club of Louisville which is the 14th largest in the world with some 430 members. Our city can be very proud of this distinction as Rotary boasts 1.2 million members worldwide with 34,000 clubs in more than 200 countries.

In an era when many traditional civic organizations are in decline, the Rotary Club of Louisville continues to thrive. With 19 active service projects organized by the community's leading men and women, and meetings that are often news-making events, it remains a bright spot of civic engagement.

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