Posted by Dr. Sandra Froese on Jun 20, 2019
When McKinney Sunrise Rotary Club was chartered in 1991, the club members placed a focus on local community services, specifically, local services for children and youth.  Big projects from fundraising efforts were directed for college scholarships for graduating seniors from the three high schools in McKinney. There was an emphasis on the Rotary Youth Exchange program, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), and Interact clubs at two of the three high schools.   Global projects were sometimes addressed, but more or less were an after thought.  
In the 2018-19 Rotary year, the International Services Committee selected a wider range of global projects that met most of the six areas of humanitarian service as guideline.  The annual budget was increased from $3,000 the previous year to $16,500 in the current year.  In the selection process, the Committee decided on seven projects that had a proven success record and a good rating in Charity Navigator.  The projects also needed to be partners with Rotary International.  Each project would also be presented at a club meeting with a program speaker.
Bill Slicker, District Governor for RI District 5810, selected "End Polio Now" as his signature project for the 2018-19 Rotary year, so that was an easy one for the committee to address. The  McKinney Sunrise Board of Directors authorized $1,000 and the McKinney Sunset (satellite) Rotary Club authorized $500 for the Governor's signature project.  Past District Governor Ean Sullivan and his wife Jan, presented an update about the "End Polio Now" campaign and the club donated $1,000 to the fund in honor of PDG Ean and Jan.  
In addition to the Governor's project, the Rotary District 5810 held a Mardi Gras Party in February 2019 to raise more funds.  The McKinney Sunrise Rotary Club budgeted $2,000 for that event raising the total club funds for the "End Polio Now" project to $4,500.  This was in addition to the number of Rotarians who pledged individual donations to the Polio project.
The second project emphasized safe and clean water in a McKinney Sunrise Rotary Club partnership with Stonebridge United Methodist Church in McKinney.  Both organizations had participated in the Living Water drilling operation in Central America in previous years, but this was an opportunity to join forces to maximize effectiveness.  McKinney Sunrise Rotary Club funded $2,000 toward the church's donation of $3,000 to pay for the cost of the drilling rig at $5,000.  The church sent 12 members to Guatemala to drill the water well.  
The third project provided funds for disaster relief through ShelterBoxUSA.  Bruce Heller, a ShelterBox Board Member, who lived in Allen next door to McKinney presented an interesting program about the relief efforts throughout the globe where flooding, war and other disasters deprived thousands of people without shelter. The temporary shelters can provide life-saving resources for a group of ten persons for several weeks with bedding, cooking utensils and sanitation.  McKinney Sunrise Rotary Club funded two Shelter Boxes for a total of $2,000.  
The fourth project provided funds for Wheelchairs International.  Several club members had participated in this program in a previous year by taking wheelchairs to Mexico for people with disabilities.  Although there wasn't a representative in the area who could present a program about Wheelchairs International, Blake Utter, who was born with spinal disability, delivered a powerful speech about the need for mobility devices for disadvantaged people with disabilities.  Blake is a successful businessman with a major car dealership in Denison, Texas.  The McKinney Sunrise Rotary Club donated $2,000 to Wheelchairs International in honor of Blake.  
The fifth project provided funds for educational resources using puppetry to encourage healthy lifestyles for the school-age children in Kenya.  Darren Collins, a member of the DeSoto Rotary Club, has lived and worked in Kenya for several years.  He and his staff developed the Project Hand-up program for AIDS education using puppets and magic tricks.  He also trains local men and women in the art of puppetry, so the program is expanding and is quite popular in Kenya.  Darren's work has been so successful that he was awarded a Rotary Global Grant and was also nominated by District 5810 to receive the coveted "Service Above Self" award.  The McKinney Rotary Club donated $2,000 for the Project Hand-up program.  
The sixth project provided funds for Heifer International based in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Bryan Gammon, a representative of Heifer International living in Dallas presented the story of the Heifer project.  The unique feature of this program is that underdeveloped countries receive agricultural assistance to raise livestock, poultry, rabbits and seeds in order to be self-sustaining.  For example, families can apply to receive a pair of goats where their offspring provides meat for the table and milk and cheese for the children.  Families are encouraged to give a pair of offspring to other families to continue the process.  McKinney Sunrise Rotary Club donated $2,000 to Heifer International.
The seventh project addressed literacy in Central America, and more specifically, Guatemala.  Drs. Steve and Bonnie Avard, members of the Grayson Country Rotary Club, have been champions for the Guatemala Literacy Project, which provides books, computers and educational resources for impoverished families in Guatemala.  The project has a success rate of 70 percent and has been declared the "gold standard" of literacy projects by the President of Rotary International.  The Avards presented a program to the McKinney Sunset Rotary Club and the McKinney Sunrise Rotary Club.  The McKinney Sunset Rotary Club donated $500 and the McKinney Sunrise Rotary Club donated $1,500 for a total of $2,000 for literacy education. 
Sandi Froese is the outgoing Director of International Services for the McKinney Sunrise Rotary Club, and she encourages local clubs to expand their horizons by addressing humanitarian needs in underdeveloped areas around the globe. An investment in the global community not only meets vital humanitarian needs, it helps us look at the needs in our own communities with fresh eyes.