Why I joined Rotary - Dawn Van Siclen

"Be the change you want to see in the world." This Gandhi quote still echoes through me, and was the impetus for my involvement with Rotary.

13 years ago at a Carlsbad Village mixer, I overheard two men discussing people/communities around the world they were helping.  I was curious, introduced myself, and soon was invited to my first Rotary meeting....and my life has never been the same.

My sponsor missed the initial meeting, but I introduced myself to several people, ate lunch, and settled in for the speaker.  When the PowerPoint began, it showed visions of abused African mothers and children.  Hundreds of children were sent from their homes to live in train stations to survive gang violence. These firsthand accounts shook me to the bone. I contributed to the speaker’s organization, but needed to find out more about Rotary and its effect on the world.

Over the next few days, I investigated Rotary International. It received 100% scores for its strong accountability, transparency and financial health. I learned how worldwide  Rotary “sister clubs" aid to cut through governmental red tape/local restrictions to help build schools, houses, and water treatment facilities. With all of these monumental projects, it’s hard to believe I hadn’t heard of Rotary before. I decided that I definitely needed this in my life.

My Rotary experiences have enabled me to serve as a Club President, Board member, Rotary District Membership Chair and in turn encouraged me to be an extremely active club participant.  I’ve received tremendous satisfaction from: building houses in Mexico, expanding the minds of high school (Interact) student leaders, adopting families for Christmas, International Youth Exchange Programs, RYLA, and participating in International as well as District Events.  I’m energized by working with like-minded, goal oriented people who inspire me to become involved with causes larger than myself.

I am so grateful for my home with Carlsbad Rotary; and am indebted to all the people, projects, and events that our club is involved with.  There's no better way to be the positive change you want to see in the world than by losing yourself in the service of others.