Local Rotary clubs plan for upcoming speaker and fundraiser
Nine Rotary clubs in Santa Barbara County will host inspirational speaker Craig Needham to commemorate World Polio Day Oct. 24.
Rotary International is known for its role in helping to nearly eradicate polio during the 1970s. The work, which continues today, is part of the nonprofit’s longtime service.
Founded in 1905, Rotary International has 1.2 million members and 35,000 clubs worldwide. It is a fellowship of business, professional and community leaders, and its mission includes promoting integrity, world understanding and peace.
On Oct. 24, Mr. Needham will share his family’s experiences with the poliovirus during the local clubs’ virtual event, Kati Buehler, the new president of the Rotary Club of Montecito, told the News-Press.
Rotary International has helped to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries and contributed more than $1.8 billion toward eradicating the disease worldwide, according to its website.
Leading up to Mr. Needham’s talk, the clubs will put on a “Bike and Hike to End Polio” fundraiser to help support eradicating polio in the few places it remains today.
“We would love to have community members joining us on the bike and hike activities for polio,” Ms. Buehler said.
In addition to Mr. Needham, the Rotary Club of Montecito will present Kevin Davis, Amazon senior manager and Amazon Santa Barbara operational site lead, as a guest speaker during its regular July 21 meeting.
Ms. Buehler said Mr. Davis will primarily be covering what work is being done at Amazon’s new State Street location.
“I think that will be very very interesting,” Ms. Buehler said.
Ms. Buehler told the News-Press that hosting speakers like Mr. Davis is a part of the club’s effort to balance staying engaged within its local community while still keeping the world’s needs in mind.
“We’re a part of a much much larger community,” Ms. Buehler said. “It’s fun because you end up connecting with different clubs around the world.”
Ms. Buehler said the club engages locally by inviting community leaders and business professionals such as Mr. Davis to speak during the club’s bimonthly meetings. She explained the speakers have inspired the club in finding new ways to serve the community.
That service has included scholarships for local students. In partnership with the Santa Barbara City College Foundation, the Rotary Club of Montecito awarded $12,500 in scholarships this year to 10 Santa Barbara City College vocational and career technology students.
“The Rotary Club of Montecito has been partnering with Santa Barbara City College for more than 25 years, providing annual scholarship awards to qualified students pursuing vocational and career technical degrees,” Ms. Buehler said. “The club awarded 10 scholarships this year for a total of $12,500 and is proud to support the recipients as they persevere in their studies. Our club membership is committed to supporting educational opportunities for SBCC students so they can pursue successful careers in a variety of career technical fields.”
In addition to the nine Rotary clubs hosting Mr. Needham, two local Rotaract clubs for young professionals are also participating in their World Polio Day event. Ms. Buehler said they are still in the process of organizing and more details about their October event will come out soon.