Rotary: serving our world, starting at home

Published 8:31 am Friday, February 17, 2012

The local Bainbridge Rotary Club (BRC), 110 members strong, comes together for just one reason. That reason, the mission of the BRC, is to serve to improve the community of Bainbridge and the community of the world. We are actively involved in working through our international network of 34,000 Rotary Clubs around the world to help reduce the suffering of children and to build peace and understanding. In addition to our global services, we work in our own backyard in multiple ways to support our youth.

Our signature project for this Rotary year has indeed had a local focus. We have proudly been responsible for introducing 3-D technology at Bainbridge High School. This gift was accomplished in a very systematic and thoughtful way. Initially, we investigated the technology. Next, we gathered with representatives of the school system to share our information, determine their needs, and to seek their guidance. This partnering and networking, using the talents of Rotarian leaders in the community to help meet the needs of the community, is what Rotarians do best in communities all around the globe.

The 3-D teaching technology that our club investigated, purchased, and gave to BHS was produced by ViziTech USA. It is cutting-edge and fairly expensive. It made sense during these times of tight budgets that it would be good for an organization outside of the school system to step forward. The BRC goal in introducing this technology was to help create an ongoing environment that could excite our kids and motivate them to learn. The studies that we have reviewed reveal that kids exposed to this method of learning are more prone to participate in the learning process and do better at retaining the information to which they are exposed. Initially utilized by the military to facilitate technical training for their troops, studies revealed that the easier visualization allows improved retention by 30-35 percent.

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After our partnering with the Decatur County School System to investigate and then introduce the 3-D unit, the school system assigned it to the S.T.E.M. Lab to add even more excitement to the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math! Programs available to assist the teachers are numerous and cover multiple areas. Examples include things as diverse as investigating the anatomy and workings of a cell, deconstructing and reconstructing a spider, or exploded views of jet engines.

Here in Southwest Georgia, we have multiple challenges in our society that complicate the education of our kids. As Rotarians, we respect the professionalism of our educators and their support staff. We know though, they need assistance to improve the education of our kids. As we look to Superintendent Rayfield and his experts for their guidance, we willingly submit to their goals and look for areas where we can assist. Their excitement over the 3-D teaching unit was palpable. Our dream is to be able to provide more units to be used in more areas and more schools.

In addition to our work with the 3-D unit, we are involved in diverse support activities including such things as ethics education for 4th graders through our 4-Way-Test Essay Competition, support of the High School Interact Club, and promotion of the understanding of life lessons through the Laws of Life Competition at BHS and Grace Christian Academy.

As we continue to serve in support of the kids of this community, this article serves to help you to understand our work. Our mission and our hope is to assist an ever increasing number of youth in our backyard to become successful students and successful citizens. Our International President-Elect, Sakuji Tanaka, put it this way, “I think each Rotary club must work to identify the needs of its community and then work hard on meeting those needs. The strength of Rotary comes from having 34,000 communities.”

We, the members of the Bainbridge Rotary Club, pledge to be here for this community. We continue our efforts here in Bainbridge and Decatur County to use our expertise and resources to improve this place we call home. The reality is that much of our work has dollars-and-cents cost. We are heading to our Casino Night Fundraiser on February 18th. We wanted you to know of our work, as we ask for your participation and support. Thank you for being a part of our efforts! We have much work to do and much joy to experience along the way!