Happy Monday, District 6450!
I am excited to share with you the initiatives put forward by Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta and those we will be working on here in The Birthplace District. I know that through the projects and passion each of you bring to our district, we will live up to this year’s theme of “Serve To Change Lives”.
President Shekhar has done incredible work and service in his home country of India, and has seen firsthand the impact educating and empowering girls can have on families, communities, and generations. This is his first challenge to members of Rotary around the world. He has stated many times, “When you educate a boy, you educate a man. When you educate a girl, you educate the family.” Secondly, he has instituted Rotary Days of Service, allowing clubs to organize events locally and internationally to do good in the world. I am excited that immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Joliet, Michelle Balog, will be serving as the new RI President Initiatives Chair for the district. Michelle will bring wonderful passion and ideas to these new areas.
Other district initiatives I am excited to share with you:
- District Literacy Committee: PDG Chuck encouraged early childhood grants and awareness in his year, and Bolingbrook Rotarian Jennie Mills will be stepping into this newly created position to continue the work begun this past year in a vital area.
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee: As we all continue to learn, grow, and make change in our communities and clubs, Chicago Rotarian Aleta Williams will continue to chair the DEI committee, beginning with an exciting four-part speaker series in the coming months - keep an eye on district communications for details!
- New Area of Focus - Environment: This Rotary year also brings a brand new, seventh area of focus for Rotary International. Our district has once again been at the forefront under District Environmental Chair Manon Lyketsos and her work on Operation Pollination over the past year. As Manon transitions from the Chicago Lakeview to the Naperville club, she will continue to do fantastic work in this new area to help protect and preserve our environment.
- Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) - Aurora Sunrise Rotarian Chris Olson has been developing this committee with the intention of supporting disasters in other areas, but has already jumped in and gotten started with response locally to the tornado recovery in the Naperville, Woodridge, and Darien area in the last week. We are ready to respond to and support disasters locally, nationally, and around the world.
- Mental Health Task Force - As we return more to “normal” in the wake of COVID, the impact and need of awareness and support for mental health is more vital than ever. Dr. Lisa Pinto of the Naperville After Dark club will be spearheading this initiative in finding projects, inspiring ideas, and coordinating efforts across the district.
We will continue to support in the vital areas of the Rotary International Foundation (chaired by Rachel Ossyra), PolioPlus (chaired by Mary Dankowski), Membership (chaired by DGN Conor Gee), and Public Image (chaired by Hunter Byington). This team brings incredible knowledge and support for clubs and is happy to help!
I encourage you to reach out to any of these leadership members if you have ideas, questions, or want to get involved! Also, please check our district website regularly for calendar updates regarding upcoming district and club events.
I look forward to seeing many of you soon as I travel through the district meeting clubs and learning about how you are Serving to Change Lives.
Yours in Service,
District Governor 2021-2022
Rotary District 6450, The Birthplace of Rotary