Rotarians worldwide recognize their responsibility to support the educational and ethical development of youth.
Long Beach Rotary Youth Service Projects
Centennial Legacy Gift to Long Beach Library
To celebrate its centennial in 2017, the Rotary Club of Long Beach chose to leave a Centennial Legacy Gift to the new downtown Long Beach Public Library. RCLB raised over $300,000 to fund two rooms and book shelves in the library that opened in September 2019 – the Storytime Theatre and the adjoining Early Childhood Literacy Area. Like so many Rotary Clubs, early childhood literacy is a main club focus. Over $735,000 has been raised in the past 20 years for our Reading by 9 program to purchase books for LB Unified School District elementary school libraries and classrooms. Supporting the City of Long Beach’s new main library was a natural and unanimous choice of the club when it came to deciding on its centennial project. The club recently held its weekly lunch program at the new library and many members had a chance to take a first-hand tour of the rooms where so many young children are enjoying the interactive, educational activities, and selecting books to check out.
Feeding the Future
More than 25% of students attending Long Beach City (LBCC) and California State University at Long Beach (CSULB) are food insecure. Our Long Beach Rotary Scholarship Foundation provides approximately $325,000 in scholarship funding every year. While students may receive financial aid, some students may not be able to afford regular, nourishing meals. For our special 2019 Community Service project, the Rotary Club of Long Beach, with the help of a matching grant from Rotary District 5320, organized a food assembly and distribution project event. The goal was to assemble 4,500 meals, high in protein, “to go” foods that only require access to water and sometimes a campus microwave. Long Beach Rotarians invited family members, friends, neighbors and students–and together the 95 people packaged everything in drawstring backpacks in 2-1/2 hours. Host St. Cornelius School not only provided the facility, but several of their students volunteered to help assemble. A two-sided bookmark was included in each backpack to encourage students in their efforts to pursue higher education. Unlike previous meal packing service projects, RCLB chose to shop, purchase, and assemble the food and backpacks ourselves so that we could guarantee delivery to our own community college students (instead of sending the meal packages to another state or country). Long Beach Rotarians will also be organizing a food drive to collect more non-perishable items to add to the local college campus food pantries for students.
An InterAct club can be sponsored by a local Rotary club to help high schoolers not only learn about Rotary, but to create its own community service projects. Leadership development conferences and opportunities to engage with other InterAct clubs in the Rotary district are also available. Currently, our club sponsors InterAct clubs at Millikan and Poly High Schools. Other schools, such as Jordan and St. Anthony, are working on implementing InterAct clubs as well.
We heavily encourage InterAct members to apply for Long Beach Rotary scholarships that may be available to them.
A RotarAct club brings together adults 18-30 years old to perform community service projects, develop personal and professional skills, and have fun. A RotarAct club can be sponsored by a local Rotary club either for students attending a local college/university, or as a community club for those who are primarily already in the work force. Our club sponsors a RotarAct club at CSULB and a Community RotarAct club.
Rotary Youth Exchange
Rotary Youth Exchange enables high school students to travel abroad and experience new cultures, be an ambassador, and build friendships that last a lifetime. Long-Term Exchanges usually last one year, during which the student attends school, lives with their host families, and becomes a member of the community. Short-Term Exchanges can range from one to many weeks, during which the families of the exchange students host both students in one country, then the students travel together to be hosted by the other family.
The Rotary Youth Exchange program is coordinated through Rotary International and leverages the international reach of Rotary to coordinate and oversee the exchanges. The program is completely administered by Rotary club members, keeping program expenses low. In recent years, Long Beach Rotary has hosted students from Italy and France, and sent Long Beach students to Ecuador and Germany.
If you are interested in being a host family for an exchange student, or if you are a student interested in participating in an exchange, please contact the Long Beach Rotary office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please visit the Rotary District 5320 Youth Exchange website
RYLA - Rotary Youth Leadership Awards
This is another opportunity for a Rotary club to support leadership development in youth. Our club sponsors 6-8 students to attend an annual camp designed to bring high school leaders together. The Rotary Youth Leadership Awards is a complete scholarship awarded to men and women of high school age who are leaving their junior year and will be in next year's senior high class. The intent of the program is to prepare these students for leadership roles in their senior year and beyond.
Service Above Self Awards
Rotary regularly recognizes those in Long Beach who are making a difference in the community through several awards programs.
RYLA - Rotary Youth Leadership Award: Long Beach Rotary supports this Rotary International program by sponsoring 4-6 students each year.
Service Above Self: Seniors from 8 different Long Beach area high schools are honored every year for their service to others by inviting them to a Rotary meeting and presenting them with an elegant plaque for their Service Above Self.
Teaching Ethics to Kids
To mark the Rotary Club of Long Beach's 100-year anniversary, Rotarians developed a legacy gift based on the "Four Way Test", the ethical compass of Rotarians world-wide. The gift created in partnership with the Long Beach Unified School District is a novel card game for the school course that teaches Foundations of Ethics using kid-friendly, soccer-based terms. Middle school students will soon be asking, "Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendship? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?"