A Social Network with a Service Twist

Multiethnic Group of Diverse People Holding Word Service

Each Tuesday afternoon at exactly 12:10 PM, the members of the Rotary Club of Vineland, NJ (where I’m from) have lunch together – but they do much more than eat.  Of course, they enjoy socializing, as most friends do, but the main topic of conversation every week is service.

In case you aren’t familiar with Rotary, it was started by an attorney, Paul P. Harris, in Chicago, IL, in 1905.  Its purpose was to build a strong network of like-minded business professionals who would come together to serve the communities in which they lived and worked

Harris must have been on to something, because the club he founded is now one of 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries around the world. Today, Rotary International’s 1.2 million members help build goodwill and peace, as signified by its motto, Service Above Self.  Clubs are non-political, non-religious, open to all cultures, races and creeds – and make a monumental difference in the lives of countless people each and every day.  How do they do it?

They do it by growing their membership with people who care like you and me – but it’s not always as easy as it sounds.  The reality is that most professionals understand and value the importance of giving back.  They are usually more than willing to help when asked, yet are hesitant to take the plunge and become full-fledged Rotary members.  They worry that they won’t have enough time, or that co-workers will give them what I call the “hairy eyeball” as they head out of the office for lunch meetings each week.  Oh and then there’s the guilt of feeling like you should be back at your desk and not spending time out with friends.

Believe me, I get it.  I was the poster child for excuses, until a friend invited me to join the club for lunch.  That’s all it took.  I was immediately sucked into the pure joy of being part of an amazing group of professionals who want nothing more than to help others.  It’s definitely good for the soul!  (By the way, Rotarians are some of the busiest people you’ll ever meet!)

In the spirit of full disclosure, I had to relinquish my membership for a while due to a proudmemberseries of personal and professional demands, but I’m back now as a member of South Jersey’s first-ever Rotary eClub.  That’s right, Rotary may be over 100 years old, but it’s embracing the digital world and taking advantage of everything it has to offer, including forming clubs that meet online.  No more hairy eyeballs!

August is Rotary Membership Month – and the perfect time for you to take the plunge.  Check out what’s happening at your local club.  You’ll be glad you did — and probably wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.  To find a Rotary Club near you, visit www.rotary.org.

P.S. – Rotary International has been working to eradicate Polio from the face of the Earth.  Check out this quick video to see how close we are!

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About Mary Jane Kinkade

I am the Director of Marketing and Development at Our Lady of Mercy Academy, South Jersey's premier Catholic high school for young women. I am mom to three amazing kids, married to my best friend, and happiest when at the beach (writing, of course!).
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