Over the years with my work and group affiliations, I have had opportunities to travel to various conferences and conventions or help with various projects around the country.
My favorite so far has been the Rotary “district” conferences, which in this case is District 6400, which encompasses nearly 50 clubs throughout southeast Michigan and southern Ontario.
I have attended several conferences on Mackinac Island, but I have also attended some held in Chicago, Indianapolis, and most recently, Cleveland.
Along with congratulating district clubs for a momentous year, which included fundraisers and projects that help in our local communities and around the world, it is also a wonderful time to meet members from other Michigan and Ontario clubs.
This year the “Random Acts of Kindness” theme encouraged conference attendees to “do some random acts of kindness,” and included taking selfies with new friends at the event. I was thrilled to see an old friend and one of my very first clients, Halyna, and catch up with her after 20 years — and we did get that special selfie, too.
It was amazing to hear about all the charitable deeds these other clubs are doing in their communities and around the world. From clinics to water wells, to supplies for new mothers in developing countries, it is truly many hands of Rotarians that share ideas, take action and create lasting change.
Our Trenton club members had much to be pleased about this year. Trenton members and Grosse Ile residents Chuck and Dee Howey were honored in a program revealing the plans for a new health center in Ethiopia that will affect the lives of more than 25,000 a year, who currently have no health services access. This same project is paired with a Windsor Rotary group who will send a team of doctors to train the new employees of the Howey Health Center.
Trenton member and local dentist Noel Jackson also was lauded for his team’s work in Nicaragua, along with fellow local dentist and club member Rick Nykiel, as well as their hygienist and other area Rotarians who have proved dental services in their yearly mission trip — as well as built a sustainable school in the same area.
Launch Detroit, a microloan, training and mentoring program, which was founded by a committee of Taylor, Trenton, Detroit and Dearborn Rotarians, were also congratulated for their work and success in Detroit entrepreneurial businesses. They also announced that they are working on a similar Taylor, Detroit and Trenton Launch Detroit Micro loan program to be announced later.
Seven-hundred ninety-two units of women’s suits, dress pants, shoes, purses and accessories were collected for Dress for Success.org, which is in Cleveland, so this conference is helping Dress For Success get the homeless in Ohio into respectable jobs with interview and career wear.
There were so many inspiring speeches from exchange students and former exchange students, including my son Dustin, a Trenton 2015 graduate, who experienced the program last year in Brazil.
We have such an amazing group of Rotary Club members in our district that do so much in their community, regionally and the world. Out of 49 clubs in our District, the Trenton Rotary received the highest award given to any Rotary club based on community service, donations, collaborative events, effective club management and international projects. This is the 13th time the club has won this major award.
My oldest son and I will travel to Atlanta, Ga., where the Rotary International Convention will be held as we go into publication for July. I am not sure if I am more excited to hear Bill Gates or Ashton Kutcher speak, but I am sure I will come back just as fired up and proud to be a Rotary member from our district in Michigan!
Kathy Kane is business manager and co-publisher of the Trenton Trib. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (734) 676-0850. Comments and story ideas also can be emailed to the Trib at email@example.com