Why Rotary?

 
A friend asks, "Why are we in Rotary?" First of all, Rotarians have a very strong sense of belonging.  Not only do we thrive on long-term friendships; we eagerly welcome new members and encourage their involvement in our activities.  We’re a happy group and have lots of fun together.   We also are passionate about our mission as Rotarians and are serious about our motto "Service Above Self." 
 
It seems we are a group of super achievers.  We like to get things done!  We are selective in choosing our undertakings.  We want our time, energy, talent and resources to result in improving lives, especially for those in need, so we do our initial decision-making and planning with care.  Once we decide on a project, we work tirelessly to achieve positive results. We, the Rotary Club of Honolulu Sunset, have been involved in many projects, both large and small; alone and in concert with others.  Here are some of these projects.
 

TEACHING KIDS ENRIVONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

The Jefferson Elementary School multi-year STEM* project.  It began with 20 hydroponics kits in early 2015.  The Jefferson campus now features aquaculture tanks with varying sized tilapia, hydroponic gardens, and a luscious Hawaiian soil garden.  The droppings and run-off from the tilapia tanks nourish the hydroponic gardens.  The Hawaiian garden produced enough Ti leaves this year for the students to make 14 hula skirts for Jefferson's spring celebration.  All students are involved, both in the classroom and out-of-doors in planting and caring for the gardens, designing weed-blocking systems, composting leftover food, shredding paper for compost and recycling.  The Learning Center is now shaded with plastic mesh and is equipped with 700 solar panels, which satisfy all of Jefferson's energy needs. Through the strong leadership of Principal Garret Zakahi, Honolulu Sunset and many other organizations, including 30 community neighbors, have played active financial and working roles in this on-going program.
*STEM:  Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
     

RHEUMATOLOGY PROJECT IN SLOVENIA

It was our good fortune to have Alja Žorž, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Zgornji Brnik, as a Sunset Rotary member while she was studying at UH Manoa.  In July of last year we formalized a sister relationship with her club.  Upon her return to Slovenia, Alja became her club's President.
Honolulu Sunset then partnered with Alja's club on a Rheumatology project.  Monies from our two clubs, matched by an international grant, have equipped the University Medical Centre Ljubljana with a Flow Cytometer to support the diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.  Use of this machine has greatly improved the medical treatment of around 20,000 patients with this debilitating disease.

BOOK PROJECTS

Hawaii Rotarians donate dictionaries to third graders every fall, gifting nearly 18,000 dictionaries yearly.  Last fall, Honolulu Sunset distributed dictionaries to our three adopted elementary schools.   This offered us an opportunity to sit with the keikis and explore the dictionary, which holds so many interesting and fun facts.
We also placed a large order of children's story books, which we gifted to one of our adopted schools and, of course, each week's speaker signs a book to be given to one of our school's libraries.
  

HOMELESS OUTREACH and MEDICAL EDUCATION (H.O.M.E.) Project

Honolulu Sunset selected the H.O.M.E medical van as its centennial project because it is sustainable and it addresses urgent community needs.  Our relationship with the medical school began three years ago when Walmart donated a van to the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM).  Sunset Rotary retrofitted the van to become a mobile medical clinic.  Staffed by volunteer medical students from JABSOM and community physicians, the van provides free medical care at various homeless shelters and encampments around Oahu.       Our club also donated funds to equip the van with vaccines, an ultrasound machine and other equipment.  Last month we made 100 hygiene kits, which we distributed on location while the H.O.M.E. van visited various site.  It gave us an opportunity to see the H.O.M.E. medical van in action as it changed lives.
At Halloween and Christmas our club members brought food, gifts and treats to the Kakaako Shelter and organized fun activities.  The children's delight and laughter was our most treasured reward.