Rotary celebrates 33 years in Sun Lakes

Norm Noble

It has been a memorable 33 years. The Sun Lakes Rotary Club was chartered on April 22, 1986, as a morning club with 15 members. It grew to 140 members in 2001 and then that year helped charter the Sun Lakes Crown Thursday Noon Club with several of its members transferring to the new club. Today, the club has 100 members and is growing. In Rotary year 2000-2001, the club was recognized by Rotary International as one of the top 50 largest clubs in the Rotary world, receiving the 21st Century Challenge Award.

The club has done some extraordinary things since its beginning. There are long lists of charities that have benefited from the club’s support: Neighbors Who Care, Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley, the Sheriff’s Posse, to name a few. But the largest beneficiary is the Chandler Unified School District because of the club’s primary outreach toward education. Club members spend hundreds of hours each year mentoring children from kindergarten through high school. Specifically:

* The club gives dictionaries to every third-grade student in the Chandler United School District. To date, more than 50,000 third graders have received dictionaries.

* For the past several years, the club has taught a program called “Choices” to every ninth grader in the Chandler United School District to keep the students in school. To date, over 50,000 ninth graders have been taught this program.

* While polio is not an issue in the USA (we stamped out this virus decades ago) in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria, it remains a serious threat. It is a major focus of Rotary International to eradicate this dread disease by immunizing more than two billion children worldwide. The Sun Lakes Rotary Club has joined in this effort with gifts of over $100,000 since the club’s inception in 1986.

* The club sponsors “A World in Motion,” a teacher-administered, industry volunteer-assisted program that brings science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to life in the classroom for students in kindergarten through grade 8.

And now, the club is providing inside running tap water to 32 homes on the Navajo Nation – homes that have never had running water.

Come for a visit to the club and see what they are all about, have some fun, meet some new friends. And, yes, the club has both men and women as members with five women who have been club presidents.

Sun Lakes Rotary meets at the ballroom of Oakwood Country Club every first and third Tuesday morning from 6:30 to 8:00 a.m. and every second and fourth Tuesday evening from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Visit its website, its Facebook page and www.sunlakesrotary.com. For a meeting visitation, be a guest of the club by emailing Club Membership Chair Jon Lyons at [email protected]