The Rotary Club of Stephenville goes international!
The Rotary Club of Stephenville contributes to many local causes such as the Food Bank and the Hospital Foundation, but there is so much more! The club is associated with Rotary International where among others, issues including safe drinking water and Polio eradication are priorities. For the most part, the local club provides a financial contribution for international projects, however, there are exciting opportunities for those interested in international service or setting the stage to provide opportunities for others.   
Maybe the most exciting and rewarding opportunity was in 2005 when the Rotary Club of Stephenville sponsored Allison Lomond to participate in the Rotary Foundation’s (GSE) in the Lagos area of Nigeria. GSE was a unique cultural and vocational exchange opportunity for business people and professionals between the ages of 25 to 40 years, in the early stages of their careers. For four to six weeks, participants would experience the host country’s culture and institutions, observe how their vocations are practiced abroad, develop personal and professional relationships, and exchange ideas.
Allison, along with three others, was chosen through a very unique and thorough selection process, to form a team. Although the team represented the Rotary District which includes Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and the Magdeline Islands, the four participants were from Newfoundland, who, along with the leader from Prince Edward Island, began preparations for the adventure. Then, Allison was off to Nigeria!
Allison stayed with Rotarians and was immersed in a culture where she experienced warm hospitality and gratitude from community members who acknowledged how the work of Rotary International significantly improved their quality of life. While always aware of personal safety concerns and dealing with rolling blackouts from an inferior electrical system, Allison visited many schools, colleges, and universities, attended Rotary meetings, made presentations, and visited Rotary projects. Allison had the opportunity to visit a boarding school for children where Rotary International installed a well, meaning the students no longer had to walk 5 miles, twice daily to carry water for drinking and basic hygiene.
Alison described the highlight of her experience as the opportunity to administer the Polio vaccine. Allison joined others at a public market where children were vaccinated. Parents were approached and with permission, their children received the oral vaccine. Because there was no formal way to record vaccines, as a child was vaccinated, an “X” was marked on their hand so others involved could quickly identify if a child was vaccinated. At the same time, others went by boat to remote communities to vaccinate children and in this case, they would paint an “X” on the door to let others know that vaccines had been administered in that particular home.
Allison noted that first-world countries, because of vaccines, have been shielded from the impacts of Polio and other diseases. While in Nigeria, she saw firsthand, the devastation of severe physical deformities left in the wake of Polio, complicated by a lack of accessibility items such as wheelchairs.
Allison, through the Rotary Club of Stephenville, was able to have one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences of a lifetime. Today, Allison is a Rotarian who truly knows the impact that Rotary International makes in third-world countries.
Although the GSE program has been replaced, Rotary International continues to offer many unique and rewarding opportunities. If you are interested in being a participant, or joining the Rotary Club of Stephenville to provide opportunities to others, you participation is welcomed.
Today, Rotary International offers the following programs:
Rotary Peace Fellowships
Each year, Rotary selects up to 100 professionals from around the world to receive fully funded academic fellowships at our Rotary Peace Centers.
Rotary Community Corps
Finding community solutions to community challenges, Rotary Community Corps unites Rotary members with nonmembers to make a positive difference.
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA)
RYLA is a leadership development program for young people who want to learn new skills, build their confidence, and have fun. Events range from one-day seminars to weeklong camps.
Rotary Youth Exchange
Rotary Youth Exchange builds peace one young person at a time. Students learn a new language, discover another culture, and truly become global citizens.
New Generations Service Exchange
New Generations Service Exchange is a short-term, customizable program for university students and young professionals up to age 30. Participants can design exchanges that combine their professional goals with a humanitarian project.
For 100 years, The Rotary Foundation has been turning project ideas into reality. Our clubs receive funding to support humanitarian projects, scholarships, and international exchanges.
Rotary invests more than $7 million a year in our future leaders and philanthropists by funding scholarships for undergraduate and graduate study.