Supporting the Marginalised this Christmas

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“Christmas doesn't come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more....”Dr Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

As I sit here thinking about the onset of the festive season, I can’t help but reflect on the past few months where I have experienced the very best of what Rotary stands for in the world. My visit to the clubs in our amazing District has opened my eyes to the breadth of projects that have been initiated as a response to the needs of the marginalised individuals and groups in our community, local and international. Topical issues like homelessness and family violence are high priorities for many clubs and support given to agencies that work with people affected by these issues has increased across the District. Last Saturday night I spent some time working with Rotarians, predominately from the Rotary Club of Central Melbourne Sunrise, who regularly are out from 10:30 pm to 3:30 am providing comfort and a “cuppa” to a whole range of people in need in the city. This Community Village project is truly inspiring and epitomises the message that Rotary Cares and Rotary Takes Action! It is also wonderful to see the number of clubs who support young people with scholarships so that further education is guaranteed.

Four young people who have been selected to represent District 9800 in the Group Vocational Exchange team to go to the Philippines in February 2016 have the opportunity to learn more about their profession and importantly to share ideas, good practice and develop ongoing professional relationships with others. So for Lauren maybe connections with non-government agencies will allow her to develop a deeper understanding in relation to maternal health and planned parenting, whilst Kelly will gain a perspective on the teaching of literacy in challenging circumstances. Christina may meet other entrepreneurs in the communication and business and Alec might experience project development and management in circumstances different to that in Melbourne. All four people have gifts and talents that will impress their peers in the Philippines and they will no doubt have experiences that are life changing.

The Theme of Be a Gift to the World is very pertinent at this time of the year and I am sure you will agree that although the gift of friendship permeates through our Rotary movement all year, it is at Christmas that we reach out to Friends of Rotary as a sign of appreciation for support given. In this troubled time peace and harmony is so important and the way that we celebrate diversity, and practise peaceful solutions to conflict, the way that we model respect and integrity can be a beacon for others around us.

So, as we spend quality time with our family and friends, and remember that our organisation cares for others in good and bad times through humble service and a spirit of collaboration and friendship, let’s share this message and bring more people into the Family of Rotary.

My very best wishes to you all! You are awesome people and the world is so much richer for the service you give. Peace, happiness and goodwill to you all over the festive season.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Dr Seuss

Enjoy Rotary as you are……. a Gift to the World.

Ubuntu: I am, because you are.

Julie Mason

District Governor


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