At a recent district workshop in Anchorage Soldotna Rotary past President Marcus Mueller was a speaker at a training workshop. Due to a scheduling conflict in his family, Mueller brought his nine year old daughter Amelia to be with him. Her dad had Amelia well prepared with coloring books and IPad to pass the time while he addressed a room filled with district leaders in training. However, rather than being entertained with her toys, Amelia’s eyes were glued with interest and awe as each of the speakers talked about various avenues of community service.
When one speaker talked about Rotary Youth Exchange, a program where high school students travel abroad go to school and experience different cultures while making lasting friendships, it was reported that Amelia moved closer to the end of her seat. Then, when a second speaker shared about Rotary’s vision for eradication of polio through the efforts of individuals like her father who have spent their time and money inoculating children around the world, Amelia’s attention got even more intense, said Leonor Fraser who was present at the conference. “When another Rotarian shared about the Interact Rotary program for high-school students 12 to 18 years of age, she said ‘That could be for me in a couple of years.’ During lunch I took Amelia by the hand and asked her if she wanted to go outside for a walk or if she was bored. To my amazement she replied, ‘Rotary makes a difference through service, I like that,’ So recognizing Amelia’s interest and spirit to serve, we decided to create a unique Rotary award we called the Learning to Serve & Serving to Learn award and presented it to her at our annual meeting at the Food Bank.
For years our club has supported the Food Bank’s Meal a Month program, an amazing program that provides opportunities for business or individuals to sponsor a meal a month by donating $100.00 to the Food Bank. Soldotna Rotary president Dale Bagley presented a check in the amount of $1,200.00 to Linda Swarner, Executive Director who shared that 1,574 meals were served in February. Amelia after receiving her award wanted to stay and help volunteer at the Food Bank as well. We think she is a Service Above Self prodigy and she is proud to the first ever to receive the special award,” reported Fraser.