Members aim to aide community and local youth

NORTH COUNTY — Founded in 1968 by Rotary Club members as an international youth program, Rotaract Clubs strive to involve the younger generation in community service. Local Rotary Clubs recently helped to for the Rotaract Club of North San Luis Obispo County. 

“It’s a way to get the younger folks thinking about paying back into the community,” Paso Robles Rotary member Joe Irick said. 

Rotary and Rotaract members work side-by-side to take action through service. In the North County, three Rotary Clubs — Paso Robles, Paso Robles Sunrise and Atascadero — joined together to support the launch of the NCR, which received certification in February 2019. Irick said the Rotary Clubs helped to fund the formation of the NCR and will continue to give guidance to their young counterparts. 

For people in the 18 to 30-year-old age bracket, Rotaract Clubs are a way to embed members into the Rotary family without having to meet stricter requirements or paying hefty dues. Rotary members are required to pay dues that support the organization to maintain their membership.  

“We’re trying to get young professionals involved in the community and being a part of something bigger than themselves and trying to make it fun to do community service work,” Public Relations Chair Kylie Pugh said. She added that Rotaracts are also a great source of networking in the community.

The NCR is the first of its kind over the Grade. Irick said that two clubs exist in South County, a college-based organization and a community-based one. Community-based Rotaracts are generally for people that have graduated from college or that are in some profession but are very early in their careers. College campus Rotaracts have a lot of turnover for the same reasons that colleges do; students graduate, drop out of or move away. 

Irick said that NCR is off to a great start.

“The club is really moving quickly towards 20 (members), and that’s above average for Rotaract clubs, most of them are around 10 or 15,” Irick said.

Irick said that NCR plans to apply for nonprofit status. Newly formed, the Club has already donated $500 to the Paso Robles Youth Hearts Foundation, and they intend to provide scholarships to each of the high schools in North County next year. 

“We’re trying to focus our group on the youth population in the North County, so we want to do youth scholarships with the money we raise,” Pugh said.

NCR is hosting a Fueling the Future Fundraiser and Dinner Gala to raise money for the planned scholarships. Scheduled for Saturday, March 28, the evening includes fine local wines, beer, champagne, dinner, silent and live auctions and various stage performances. Admission is $100 per person or $700 for a table of eight. 

As part of the event, NCR invites residents to support the Gala by reserving an ad in the event program or sponsoring a Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation student for a whole year of their visual and performing arts classes.

For more information, call Mike Massey at (805) 305-8383 or e-mail mikeymassey33@gmail.com.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles