What’s the point? (I already have a car)
August 12, 2015
For the last several weeks, folks headed to farmers markets or just out to grab a loaf of bread have been accosted by smiling faces of men and women sporting blue aprons, hawking raffle tickets for a new car. On a day when you are in a hurry, the pitch is guaranteed to come at absolutely the wrong time.
Please know that the individuals selling the tickets recognize buying a chance at a car does not necessarily fit into everyone's budget. A smile and shake of the head is an appreciated and inexpensive alternative. If you buy the ticket and don't win the car, you may — and probably should — wonder just where the money goes. Please take that extra minute to ask or check out the Rotary website for a glimpse into the multi-faceted, non-denominational work done locally, nationally and internationally to promote literacy, build community and eradicate disease, just to mention a few.
This morning, I was again reminded there's a reason for the raffle. Nearly 30 students from Summit schools, SMS, SHS and the Peak School, reflected on their experiences at week away camps sponsored by Rotary — including Young RYLA for middle schoolers and Big RYLA for high schoolers. The kids explained in their own words what they learned, everything from why they will no longer pass judgment just because someone is different from them, to their unfailing belief they can positively influence their community — this community.
It's astounding in this day and age that an organization exists simply based on the value of service, focused on building goodwill and better friendships. If you start there, it's hard to start picking at each other. Perhaps even more amazing is the organization has been around for 110 years and has not faded into oblivion. Not when our world was at war, and certainly not now, when we are savvy enough to recognize the need to find common ground for even the touchiest of political issues. The fact that the organization has grown and thrived confirms people share a common desire make a positive contribution to humanity — for 40 years now in Summit. Just hearing stories of what can be done is inspiring, as all too often I fall far short of the mark of ensuring all I say, think or do is beneficial to everyone concerned.
Want to tell your kids a good story? Start with polio. Most kids don't know what the disease is. In my book, that's a good thing. Once contracted, there is no cure. The highly-contagious viral infection used to strike fear in the hearts of new mothers, paralyzing and killing those afflicted in our country as recently as 1979. Fortunately, the disease itself can be stopped through early immunization. In 1985, Rotary started a campaign called PoliPlus with the lofty goal to eradicate polio from the world (yep, the entire world), putting initial resources of $120 million behind the effort. At that time, there were 125 polio endemic countries. As I write, Rotary International announced that Aug. 11, 2015, marks the one year anniversary of the last polio case occurring on the continent of Africa. Most said it couldn't be done. Only two countries reported a case of polio in the last year. Critical work continues to ensure the ongoing success of the effort to rid the world of this disease, but the progress is staggering.
What's next for the good folks at Rotary, including its partners — taking on AIDs perhaps, or providing clean water to third-world countries? One thing is certain, it will include encouraging local kids to believe they are the ones able to tackle these, and other similarly daunting challenges. Large aspirations for sure, but there still are folks who believe if you move one pebble at a time that mountain can be relocated. You'll see them around trying to talk you into a car in the coming weeks — give them a smile, and, if you can, take them up on that chance.
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Cindy Bargell lives outside of Silverthorne with her husband and two daughters. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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