By Caryn Johnson and Tom Harman
Can just 20 area residents make a difference?
Absolutely, according to members of the Ballantyne Rotary Club, a group of diverse professionals who are serious about making an impact in both their community and the world while having fun at the same time.
Throughout its 15-year-history, members have advanced the improvement of health through its international community and clean water projects, supported education and literacy projects in both Ballantyne and other area schools, as well as contributed to Rotary International’s goal to eradicate polio. By the end of 2019, they will have funded over $300,000 for these projects.
At the semi-monthly noon meetings at Zinicola Italian Restaurant, members interact with guest speakers and enhance friendships and professional connections at their monthly late afternoon socials at Blackfinn Ameripub. Three annual fundraisers provide the funding to advance its outreach initiatives. These meetings and projects allow members to work collaboratively to make a difference in the lives of thousands of people each year.
Proceeds from the Safe Water Fore Haiti annual golf tournament (Cedarwood Country Club, Oct. 7), along with other donations, are matched with grants from both Rotary International and Rotary District 7680 to fund clean water projects in rural Haitian communities.
Several of these projects have been at schools and have transformed the wellness and lives of over 10,000 residents who now have convenient access to clean water.
The club was recently approved for its seventh project, and work by its partner organization, Water Mission, will begin within the next few weeks in Zoranger, Haiti. Club members periodically visit the Haitian communities they are transforming, as they strengthen international friendships and embrace the 2019-20 Rotary International theme that “Rotary Connects the World.”
As of Aug. 1, the Guimby project was producing almost 2,500 liters of clean water per day. This is amazing when you consider they were pulling up buckets from a shallow well before a new well was drilled and completed.
Locally, the club holds its annual Teacher’s Cup Volleyball Tournament at Ardrey Kell High School. Teams from area schools compete in a round robin competition to take home the sought after Teacher’s Cup trophy.
Last year, the club worked with the literacy facilitators at seven elementary schools and donated over 3,200 books to provide or supplement classroom libraries for new teachers. They also awarded four scholarships to Ardrey Kell graduating seniors who embraced the spirit of Rotary.
Each November, the club sells fresh Fraser Fir wreaths, with this year’s proceeds supporting the Rotary International Eradicate Polio initiative.
So yes, the energetic members of the Ballantyne Rotary Club are making a difference in our community.
Want to join?
If you would like to find out more about the club, visit its Facebook or LinkedIn pages or contact Club President Jennifer Gibson at 704-241-8621 or email@example.com. Join them for one of their noon meetings (first and third Fridays) at Zinicola. Guests are always welcome.