By Alanna Shepard

The Rotary Club of Santa Monica (RCSM) has kicked off to a great start its 98th year! The theme this year is “Connection”, which mirrors the Rotary International theme “Rotary Connects the World.” Mark Maloney, the 2019-2020 Rotary International President, explains: “Rotary allows us to connect with each other, in deep and meaningful ways… It connects us to our communities, to professional opportunities, and to the people who need our help.”

This year, Club President Sharon Perlmutter Gavin and her board have launched a number of initiatives to accomplish their goals. One of their key goals is to strengthen their connections with each other, local non-profits and organizations, and other Rotary groups. One of the best ways to connect with others is to follow the Rotary motto “Service Above Self.” As such, numerous hands-on service opportunities will be offered – both big and small – where Rotarians can simultaneously make a difference and embrace connections. Some of these service opportunities will be in conjunction with other Rotary Clubs. For example, RCSM members recently joined with the Westchester and Inglewood Rotary Clubs to paint and clean an apartment complex to benefit the non-profit Safe Place for Youth, a program that provides places to live for homeless youth. Other service opportunities will deepen connections with local non-profits where partnerships have existed for years.  For example, RCSM recently launched a Career Guest Speaker Series at the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Monica where Rotarians will speak to the teens every month about different career options. In addition, the club has established a Meals on Wheels West Rotary Route where a team of Rotarians can help deliver meals to homebound seniors every other month.

Another goal this year is to increase information to both club members and the community about Rotary and the club’s activities. This will help members feel more empowered to make a difference. It will also educate non-Rotarians about the impact Rotary makes both locally and in the world. RCSM has a new, more engaging website that showcases upcoming activities and offers highlights of past accomplishments. New online resources have also been created to help members further connect with each other.  There will be an increase in the RCSM social media presence with more Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn activity. There will also be increased involvement in events to make the club more visible in the community. These events will include a project to benefit the homeless in conjunction with the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and a Rotary team for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. If you are interested in learning more about the Rotary Club of Santa Monica or any of its events, visit rotaryclubofsantamonica.org or any of its social media accounts for more information.

Yet another goal of the Club is to strengthen the sustainability of its membership. One way to accomplish this goal will be to offer a plethora of ways for members to connect with each other.  Activities such as Happy Hours, the Dining Club and the Networking Club offer groups of Rotarians the opportunity to get to know each other better outside of meetings. Numerous activities, including hikes, a tour of Catalina Island, and seasonal parties are further ways for Rotarians and their families to socialize with each other. Informative and fun meetings will continue to keep members engaged. Speakers hosted at these meetings will range from noted science and political experts, such as astrophysicist Dr. Ian McLean and U.S.-China relations professor Dr. Clayton Dube, to entertainment personalities, such as former Mamas and the Papas singer Michelle Phillips.

The Rotary Club of Santa Monica, comprised of leading professional and civic leaders, has made a big difference in the Santa Monica community and the world for many decades, and this year they will continue to make a lasting impact.

If you are interested in attending a meeting or learning more about Rotary Club of Santa Monica, please email RotaryClubofSantaMonica@verizon.net or call 310-917-3313. The Rotary Club of Santa Monica’s meetings are held Fridays at noon at the DoubleTree Hotel on 4thSt.

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