Service clubs make a differece

Published 12:00 pm Monday, December 21, 2015

As a new Rotarian I am now receiving the organization’s monthly magazine, The Rotarian.

I’m amazed by the service group’s international reach, all the projects it supports as well as all the projects its members are initiating.

Within the first few pages there is a slot for the service club’s mantra and mission statements.

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The top of the page says “Service Above Self,” which is the main theme of Rotary. Another item listed on this page is new to me, but is something we should all think about. It lists the four-way test, and says:

“Of the things we think, say or do: 1. Is it the truth? 2. Is it fair to all concerned? 3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? 4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”

This is definitely food for thought for everyone both in personal and professional situations. People are faced with tough decisions daily in the workplace and at home and sometimes not all of these tenets can be met, but we can certainly strive to hit each of them.

An example of a four-way test home-run is found in a feature in the magazine about a project out of the Rotary Club of Nampa, Idaho. A college graduate was volunteering in Kenya when he noticed children were barefoot or wearing shoes that were cut to let the toes dangle out because they were too small. The children would pick up hookworm and various soil-transmitted diseases. So, the college grad created a charity, The Shoe That Grows, after excitement and commitment from a local club.

Another project featured is ongoing in the United Kingdom. An England Rotarian, while visiting a Scottish shop, saw 5-foot-tall cardboard giraffes that were $150. The Rotarian enlisted local schoolchildren and his club launched a two-week event using giraffes the kids created, which raised more than $30,000 for local charities. They did it again using 187 papier-mache elephants and it turned into a town-wide effort that included merchandise, “safari trails” and more. That effort raised $30,000, helping 65 charities and involving 135 organizations. A certain portion also helps fund the construction of an elephant sanctuary in Tuscany, Italy.

The Lafayette-Oxford-University community has a deep tradition of supporting causes, creating nonprofits and helping residents.

People often have remarkable ideas but don’t know how to get started with creating a charity or fundraiser. There are several service organizations in town, so if you have an idea and need a little bit of help getting it going, reach out to a club. You never know how many people you could impact and how many lives you can change. Everyone will be passing the four-way test.

Stephanie Rebman is editor of the Oxford EAGLE. Contact her at