“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” ~Nathaniel Branden

As Rotarians, it’s difficult not to be aware of your surroundings. Awareness may not come easily to others, but to us it’s second nature; it’s one of the things we do best. With that comes the task of acceptance – accepting what is happening around us then setting a course on how to change it for the better. However, awareness and acceptance are not always easy if we don’t venture beyond our comforting borders. Mother Teresa may not have ever known the actual desperate care that was needed for the poor and destitute around the world if she would have never left Macedonia. Thus, one of the reasons Rotary started the Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE).


As one of Rotary’s oldest international programs, RYE is a key component of Rotary’s New Generations and Peace Initiatives. It allows students to expand their cultural palette while maintaining healthy friendships and educational study. It opens up the younger generations minds to better ways of communication, peace, acceptance and mutual respect. We are all different – no one better than the next. With this experience, young people can form ideas and plans to help promote peace, change, and good health for the incoming future generations.


This year our district, 6840, is host to three extremely special youth ambassadors – David Holguín from Colombia, Serena Stetçu from Romania and Chawin Butdisuwan from Thailand. We also have three amazing outbound students – Felice Henderson is heading to Colombia, Sofia Rivera is heading to Romania and Ruthie Garcia is heading to Thailand. David, Serena, Chawin, Felice, Sofia and Ruthie all have a very special task ahead of them; to provide service to others while promoting integrity to help advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace. Throughout the next year we will gladly be updating you on every wonderful thing these six students are up to and how their views are changing on the world they thought they once knew. I for one can’t wait to follow along as the teenagers mature emotionally, spiritually and in the name of service to the great world we all call home. Stay tuned my fellow Rotarians!