Penelope from Leeds, Yorkshire, UK

In 2020, I found out about Rotary and Rotaract whilst I was in my first year at the University of Leeds. I admired the many ways in which the Rotary Clubs in Leeds had supported a variety of charities through fundraising and volunteering on a flexible basis. I've always had a passion for giving back and making the world better in my own way so I wanted to get involved by creating a Rotaract Club in Leeds. I'm a believer in community building and community development and I really liked what Rotary and Rotaract stood for.

As president, I want the club to appeal to British as well as international students that come from places where Rotary has a large presence. Rotaract is a way for them to get involved here and experience a different culture in a different country. The club is also for local Leeds residents and is a way for both residents and students to come together.

I also think that groups like Rotaract and Rotary have a place especially for people who have left school or university. Once someone leaves the educational bubble, they can feel a bit lost and want to do something different outside of their job. I see so much potential to do that through Rotaract, especially coming out of the pandemic where people realised the importance of community.

Having intergenerational links and progression between Interact, Rotaract and Rotary are important. I'm really aware that today, a lot of my generation interact via social media. I feel that in some ways we’ve lost that real connectivity between people. With Rotaract, there's so much potential for people to volunteer, give back on a flexible basis and interact with the community. I see it as the answer to a lot of the social issues that we have and a way to build interconnectivity between people.

RYLA to Rotaract Opportunity

I recently spoken to 60+ 16-17 year olds from around Rotary in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire who were taking part in a leadership course called Rotary Youth Leadership Awards near Halifax. RYLA - Rotary District 1040 ( Here is my video filmed in Mexico City.

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