May is Youth Service Month
When I think of youth services in Rotary, the first thing that comes to mind are the many wonderful experiences my wife, our children and I have experienced by hosting two foreign exchange students. One was a young man from Brazil that lived with us for a year about 25 years ago. Our children were still at home and Fred became a brother to them. A few years ago, he came back to Texas to officiate at our daughter’s wedding here. He had become an ordained Baptist minister while living in Brazil.
The second of these was a young Belgian who lived with us for a half a year after our children had left home. Like our first student, he was a delight as well. Unfortunately, our children didn’t enjoy the same interaction with him they had enjoyed with Fred since they had already left home. The two of them added immeasurably to the richness of our lives and for that, I thank them both. We still communicate with both of them on a regular basis. I hope they benefitted as much from the experience as we did. 
Our family has also hosted young Japanese short-term exchange students several times and we learned so much about a people whose culture is so different from our own. We entertained them and they us. We gained such a better understanding of the Japanese people as a result of these visits as I am sure they learned a great deal about us as well.
I have also had the privilege of judging our District 4-Way Speech Contest several times now and it is amazing how talented and confident these young people are.
You see this in what we do so much of in Rotary... we provide opportunities for young people to grow and to gain a better understanding of peoples different from themselves. I have long felt the best way of avoiding major armed conflicts is to start with the young, give them chances to meet people different from themselves and provide them with equitable opportunities to improve themselves. When you consider that we also provide the young with polio vaccinations, we do so much to improve the lives of young people. What service projects do you have directed toward our youth this month? If you don’t have any planned, please consider doing so in celebration of youth service month.
Please don’t forget that our Finish Strong Campaign continues until June 30. Donations made to our Rotary Foundation between now and then will be matched with Foundation recognition points by District 5830 on a one-to-one basis. Please consider making gifts according to your financial ability. We do so much good in our communities and world thanks to your generosity.
Lastly, between now and June 30, please put forth suitable candidates to your respective assistant governors for our nine district service awards. These awards are Paul Harris awards to those who best exemplify service, be it community, international, club, vocational, or new generations (or a combination of these). As always, stay safe and take care of yourselves.
Give the Gift of Rotary
DG Mike