Rotary's Youth Program at the United Nations - November 2008

Photo: More than 600 high school students left their home towns in the middle of the night to arrive at the United Nations by 8:30am
The Youth Program of Rotary/UN Day" - November 6 2008

The 2008 Youth Program, at the United Nations, on "Rotary/UN Day" was an outstanding success. PDG Helen Reisler, Rotary International Alt. Representative to the UN, a Past President of the Rotary Club of New York, and a Zone Director of the Rotary Global History Fellowship, was chosen to organize and coordinate this important event. She took on this responsibility with a passionate belief that this generation of youngsters, our future parents, professionals, business and community leaders, are the hope for ensuring Rotary's future.and our "tools" for greater peace and understanding.

The purpose of this Youth Program was to show the High School audience how Rotary works with young people such as themselves, and guides them in doing United Nations work in communities around the world, while enriching their own lives in the process.

To reach this goal, Helen's first step was to choose a planning team of Rotarians from various clubs, each possessing an individual skill. Along with Andrew Morzello and Omar Herrera who were co-moderators, the team was composed of John Porco,a graphics designer who kept the audience mesmerized with informational "Hip Hop" videos, Roger Risko who set up a "Radio Rotary Tent" to interview the youngsters, Matts Ingemanson who imparted his expertise on "The Young Paul Harris", Susanne Wetzel who challenged the students with "The 4-Way Test", Roger Swanson, our Student Exchange coordinator, Sue Donnelly, Interact/Rotaract expert, David DelMonte, scheduling master, Scarlett Pildes who utilized her various connections., and Kelly Roberts President of Rotaract at the UN.

Effective Publicity resulted in twice the audience of last year's event, drawing 650 people, and featured more than 20 presenters on 4 panels. The topics were varied and presenters travelled in from many locations. The presentations, which kept the attention of the audience for three hours, included:
"Overview of the UN", "Model United Nations," Shelterbox;Global Response to Humanitarian Needs," "Ending Child Trafficking," "Elderact;Enhancing the Lives of Seniors," "Making an Impact in Your Community," "Gift of Life," "Fighting Aids in Africa/Spreading Happiness in Harlem," "Water Projects in Honduras with Engineers Without Borders," "Community Based Rotaract," "Spring Break;a Time for Fun or Service?," "Safe Childhood;Emergency Medicine for Uganda Children," "Building Leaders Locally," "Expanding to International Leadership," "Exploring a New Culture in France," "How My Life Changed in Chile." the panels covered Interact, Rotaract, RYLA and Exchange Student projects.

RI President Dong Kurn Lee concluded the program with inspiring words meant to encourage the students to begin to make service a part of their lives.Followup analysis showed that many students took this seriously by adopting projects into existing Interact Clubs, or starting new clubs in their High Schools. Interestingly, "Ending Child Trafficking" was one of the favorites.