The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon

The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon
Shortlisted for The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

March is Literacy Month...if you're a Rotarian

I had an opportunity yesterday to speak at our local Rotary Club luncheon.  Before yesterday I knew very little about the Rotary Club.  I figured, like similar organizations, they would be a little stuffy, a little preachy and a little culty.  They weren't stuffy at all and other than a little grace before lunch there was nothing of the preachy.  Culty?  A little maybe, but not as much as you'd think.

I imagine the Lions, The Optimists and the Masons are kind of the same. They are clubs, afterall.All of them do work in the community and until you make a personal connection you probably have no inkling what these well-to-do (usually) folks are doing in their Masonic Halls, Their Lodges and their Curling Club lunches.  I certainly didn't.

For example, I had no idea that March is Literacy Month for the Rotarians and that their goal this month is to supply every Grade 3 public school child in their region with a dictionary.  They also called upon each of the people present at the luncheon yesterday to volunteer at least once this month at one of the Early Years Centres in town to read to a group of pre-schoolers.

They we're a very gracious crowd.  They welcomed me warmly before the lunch.  They fed me a decent meal.  They listened attentively to what I had to say.  They laughed at all the right spots and gave me a round of applause at the end.  Very satisfying.

What was even more satisfying was the certificate they gave me at the end of my talk.  To show their appreciation to me for coming to speak to them they made a donation in my name to Rotary International's Polio Plus Campaign.  Forty children will be vaccinated against polio as a result of my coming to speak to them yesterday.  That's a pretty cool parting gift.

I didn't know this before yesterday but the Polio program is one of the main goals of the Rotary Club.  Their efforts have contributed to a 99 percent decrease in the number of polio cases world-wide and their goal is to celebrate the global eradication of polio.  There are worse mission statements to be sure.

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