For its exemplary community service projects over the past year, the Bellevue College chapter of Rotaract received a Rotary International Changemaker Award at Rotary’s District 5030 conference in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho recently. It’s the first time any Rotaract chapter has received a Rotary award in district history.
Eileen Cho, president of the chapter and a student at Bellevue College, said: “It’s a huge honor. This award really capped a hugely successful year, where we helped a lot of people.” Rotaract, part of Rotary International, is a leadership and community service organization for students and young professionals.
The 40 active members of BC’s chapter organized several projects to benefit communities in foreign countries. Most recently, they collected 300 pounds of donations, including school and art supplies, clothes, soccer balls and other items, which were handed out to needy Peruvian children by six members who traveled to the country. They also spent time on the trip painting buildings at schools and orphanages.
Earlier this year, club members staged a bake sale that raised money for “End Polio Now,” Rotary’s polio eradication program. The money, which was matched by the Bellevue Rotary Club, went to vaccinate children. Also this past year, members collected food for local food banks and volunteered to help athletes train for the Special Olympics.
On May 8 and 10, the club will hold another bake sale to raise money for mosquito nets for several villages in Papua New Guinea, helping to prevent malaria. Another upcoming fundraiser hopes to raise $750 to purchase backpacks, walking sticks, school supplies, vitamin supplements and textbooks for blind children in Nepal. And the club organized an event called “The Ability Experience,” to be held May 17-18 on campus, that seeks to educate students and the public about global health and disability issues.