By Stephanie Witkowski, Rotary Club of Honolulu Pau Hana

At 28 years old, I decided to become a Rotarian, because Rotary changed my life.

I grew up in a small town in Oregon, USA, and was a young leader in my school. When I was 15 years old, I applied to attend a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event in Rotary’s District 5110 to learn more about myself and what leadership meant to me. During that amazing week-long experience, I learned not only about how to be a better leader for my school and community, but about Rotary itself. 

One of the things I learned about Rotary was the organization’s commitment to international service through the Rotary Youth Exchange program. I had always dreamed of learning about another culture through an international experience with students my age. So when I was 17 years old, I applied to be a Rotary Youth Exchange student. In District 5110, they have a wonderful tradition of selecting the student’s host country for them, and then SURPRISE! In 2005, I was off for a life-changing year in Slovakia.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL STORY