May is Youth Service Month. Talk with your district’s Youth
Exchange committee about how your district can involve
exchange students in service or fundraising, and think about
whether such a project would enhance the experience of Youth
Exchange students visiting your district. Here are some steps to
help you get started:
Create a service committee and include former exchange
Plan a fundraiser or service project that inbound exchangestudents can take part in.
Choose an organization or cause to support.
Use your first meeting for inbound exchange students to getthem excited about the project.
Robert Taeger, a Rotary Youth Exchange student fromGermany, was in Mexico in 2012-13 when he and threeother exchange students began a friendly competitionto see who could raise the most money for ShelterBox,Rotary’s project partner for disaster relief. Together,they raised more than $1,000.
Learn more about Rotary Youth
Exchange, an exchange program for
students ages 15-19.
COVID-19 note: Until Youth Exchange
programs resume, explore ways to
involve youth virtually.
The experience convinced Taeger that exchange students couldbenefit from taking part in a fundraiser. After returning toGermany, he joined his district’s Rotex, an alumni association forformer Rotary Youth Exchange students. He began working withdistrict leaders to organize a fundraiser that inbound exchangestudents could take part in.
Rotex International, an umbrella organization that supportsRotex alumni associations worldwide, has embraced what itcalls inbound service projects. Taeger and Camila DominguesCandelaria, a former Youth Exchange student from São Paulo,Brazil, discussed the benefits of these projects in a presentationat the 2019 Youth Exchange Officers Preconvention in Hamburg,Germany. Since then, about a dozen districts have followed theirexample, organizing bake sales and craft fairs with their exchangestudents to support local charities.
(Above) Rotarian and Youth Exchange alumnus Binish Desaiis an innovator and social entrepreneur who creates productsfrom industrial and domestic waste. He uses his Rotaryconnections to help women in rural communities becomesuccessful entrepreneurs. Read about the benefits of involvingyouth in service projects.
(Right) Lynne Corvaglia, a student at the CATIE SustainabilityHouse, works to support training, business skills, and anaquaponic gardening through a global grant project. ForYouth Services Month, read the full story in the May Rotarian.