Looking to Get Involved and Make a Difference? Rotaract Might Be For You!

Members of Nevada County's Rotaract

Q & A with Nevada County’s Rotaract 2010 President Sandra Barrington:

What is Rotaract and how can someone get involved?

Rotaract is a community service club for students and young professionals’ ages 18 to 30 who are interested in serving their local and international communities while networking with community leaders and young people. Our motto is Service Above Self. Rotaract also provides opportunities for professional development and leadership training.

Anyone 18-30 can get involved by coming to one of our meetings. We meet the first Wednesday of the each month at Miner Moe’s in Nevada City at 6:00pm. The third Wednesday of each month we meet up with The Exchange group from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at various locations.

Are there any requirements to becoming a member?

Members must be 18-30 and have a strong desire to serve our community. To become a member, we ask that each person attend three meetings and meet with the board of directors before deciding if Rotaract is for them. Members must attend 60% of our meetings to stay active and pay $120 a year in dues. Many local companies will pay for Rotaract dues.

Tor Erickson in Uganda

What kind of projects does Rotaract work on?  What are your projects for 2010?

Rotaract works on a wide array of projects. Locally, we have done book drives, worked on the Alzheimer’s Memory Garden on the Litton Trail, volunteered at community events and we adopt-a-family at the holidays. Internationally, our club supports Water and Sanitation Projects in Southwestern Uganda which is spearheaded by our member Sol Henson. Our club supports the project by raising funds for our member’s traveling and living expenses while in Uganda. We also support Rotary’s Polio Plus project to help eradicate Polio around the world.

In 2010 we will continue to fundraise for the Water and Sanitation Projects in Southwestern Uganda and polio, as well as volunteer at community events.

All of the Rotaract Clubs in District 5190 have teamed up to raise funds to donate a ShelterBox for Haiti. ShelterBox is an international project of Rotary. A ShelterBox contains all of the necessities to provide a temporary home for a family of 10 including a tent, blankets and cots, cooking supplies and coloring books for children to name a few.

In April of 2010 for Rotarians at Work Day, our club will be working on the Julia Morgan House at North Star Mine in Grass Valley. This is a one day project to help beautify the property.

Why is it important for young people to get involved?

In a small rural community like ours, young people can have a hard time finding their place. Whether we’ve stayed here after high school, returned after college or moved here for the high quality of life, a sense of place and a social life can be hard to come by. Meeting new people and expanding horizons can also seem stale in a small town. Getting involved in Rotaract is the best way to get connected to the community. Rotaract gives young people a purpose in our community and a vehicle through which to socialize and serve.

How do organizations like Rotaract help people get to know their community?

We bring speakers into our clubs to talk to us about local organizations and hot community topics. Past programs include the Economic Resource Council, The Friendship Club, Women of Worth, Pennies for Peace, South Yuba River Citizen’s League and local theater companies. Speakers also include topics on professional development such as a program from Toastmasters and The Rotary Ethics Project. We also take field trips around the community and have toured the Diagnostic Imaging Center at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, Loma Rica Ranch, Sun Smile Farms, Center for the Arts, and the Apple Center for Sustainable Living to name a few. Rotaract also gives young people the opportunity to volunteer at local community events such as the Duck Race, Victorian Christmas, Casino Night, Community Barbeques, the Nevada County Fair, and The Run for Friendship.

(l to r) Sandra Barrington, Yolanda Cookson, Joel Mower, Rob Sheldon

What inspired you to join Rotaract and eventually run for president?

I’ve always had an inclination toward volunteerism and professional development. When I first moved here in 2006 I felt somewhat lost. All of my close friends live out of the area and I didn’t really have much of a social life in town. I also saw how generous and engaged our community is and wanted to be a part of that. Initially I was going to start a 20/30 club, but was encourage by my boss to help start the Rotaract Club. I came in as the Charter Vice President in 2007 with Yolanda Cookson as our Charter President.

How could someone get in contact with Rotaract?

Become our friend on Facebook.


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