Fifteen years ago, when I was in graduate school, a movie came out by the name "Pay it Forward". It starred Helen Hunt, Kevin Spacey, and Haley Joel Osment. Now, in this movie, Kevin Spacey was not the currently portrayed ruthless, arrogant Frank Underwood as displayed in his current House of Cards TV series, but rather a caring junior high Social Studies teacher who gives an assignment to his class to think of an idea to change the world for the better, then put it into action. One of his students, played by Haley Joel Osment (and he was not seeing dead people in this film), created a plan for "paying forward" favors. The idea was simple - do something good for someone and ask them to return the favor to someone else. In the movie, he not only affects the life of his struggling single mother, but many others as it became a national phenomenon to "Pay it Forward".
Imagine for a moment that you had a vision that changed the world...
What would that vision be? Would it cure disease? Would it allow for a forum to exchange ideas and form lifelong friendships? Would it help to reduce hunger and help with humanitarian causes? Would it help educate our young generation or build goodwill and peace? Would it help in the development of communities?
What if I told you that this story is being told as I type this letter. His name was Paul Harris. He started Rotary in 1905 with a vision and we are now 1.2 million members strong, eradicating polio, providing clean water to the world, educating our youth, supporting those in need, and we have a fun time doing it.
What if Paul Harris did not start Rotary, or even worse, his vision was never spread so that others could join in the cause?
For those of you that have been long time Rotarians, how has your life been affected by this organization? For those newer to the Club, what have you given and what has it given you?
This month is 'Bring a Guest' to Rotary for our Club, starting with our meeting on the 8th. I'd like to ask you why you joined and what does Rotary mean to you? Why is it special? Maybe it's the people. Maybe it's the values and the Four Way Test. Maybe it's the service. Or it could be all of the above.
I've noticed that whenever somebody eats at an excellent restaurant, they can't wait to tell everyone they know about it. I'm constantly amazed at the quality of character and success of our members so I've decided to bragg about it.
I'm going to start by inviting 3 people to our meeting on the 8th. If they enjoy it, they can come again and listen to a riveting story from a Holocaust child the next week, and then hear from our State Rep Steve Bloom the following week. At that point, we will decide if it's a good fit.
I joined this Club because my Father "Paid it Forward" and asked me to join. I've met wonderful people, served the community, and had a fun time doing it.
I'm going to "Pay it Forward"...so should you...
Thanks again for all you do.
Service Above Self,
Jim DeGaetano, Jr.