Here is a brief overview of the impact the club has made on its local and international community.

Ottawa, Ontario
June 15, 2021
 
Dear Rotaractors, Rotarians and Rotary family,
 
I don’t think there is a need to sugar coat the last year, it was difficult. The pandemic has seeped into every aspect of our lives and as we appear to be (fingers crossed) nearing the end, or at least something new, the dreaded zoom fatigue can become like a thick shroud making it difficult to log-on for meetings, Rotaract or otherwise. Perhaps the role of President has been weighing on me as my tenure nears its end. I shared some of these sentiments at one of the Rotaract Club of Ottawa’s last meetings, the support and comradery I received afterwards reminded me that the general membership and exec has risen to the occasion time and time again. No one is an island, the members of the Rotaract Club of Ottawa reminded me of that. I have been humbled, inspired and incredibly proud of what the Rotaract Club of Ottawa has accomplished over the past year. I remain excited to see, and be a part of, what the club will do next! Here is a brief overview of the impact the club has made on its local and international community.
 
Quick recognition of the barriers and challenges created by COVID-19 enabled the club to leverage its strengths, namely a strong online presence and ability to continue meeting (thanks Zoom). The club has increased membership, thanks in part to our Membership Director, Mira Ahmad. Mira spearheaded our fellowship activities, the weekly French and Yoga sessions, movie club, and two Murder Mystery evenings, which were invaluable opportunities to remain connected and stave off isolation during the winter.
The club was also privy to some exceptional speakers, thanks to the efforts of Vice President, Rachel Harrison. In particular, the club took part in anti-racism training, led by the phenomenal Roopa Cheema, and a presentation on prison abolition from Jackie Omstead, National Coordinator for the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies.

 
The International Service Committee (ISC), led by ISC Director Anaïs Kneppers, realized the limitations caused by COVID-19 and, in partnership with the Halifax Helpers organization, held weekly ESL sessions with children of recent immigrants. The ISC raised $553 for the Centre for Girls and Interaction (CEGI) in Malawi to help build a library and $500 for the Rotaract Club of Peace City Hatton in Sri Lanka who experienced a horrible bus crash in their community. The Rotaract Club of Ottawa looks forward to deepening these international ties.
 
The Community Service Committee (CSC), led by CSC Director Andrew Famme, wrote Christmas cards for two local long-term care homes in Ottawa, organized and compiled Backpacks for the Homeless campaign and created service challenges via social media. There were also a myriad of smaller events planned by CSC members such as poker nights, a cake decorating evening and a plant sale that raised money for the Minwaashin Lodge, an Indigenous Women’s shelter in Ottawa, altogether raising $2500.
 
As well, the club could not have been as successful without the diligent work of our Treasurer, Reid Tait, Communications Director, Tori Scherle, and Secretary, Georgia MacDonald. Their efforts ensured the Rotaract Club of Ottawa was active, inclusive, promoted events, and importantly, sent money to where it was needed most.
 
Lastly, the Club would not have survived the pandemic had it not been for the members and numerous supporters. Between new fundraisers, like the Mother’s Day Flower sale to the mental health initiative, Wellness in a Box, the members of the Rotaract Club of Ottawa have leveraged the pandemic to enact even greater acts of service. I am incredibly proud to have been a part of a force for good in the Ottawa and global community, and am eager to discover how the Rotaract Club of Ottawa will continue to elevate ‘service above self’ next year. 
 
Sincerely,
David Graff
President 2020/2021
Rotaract Club of Ottawa