What is Rotary?

Rotary is the world’s first service club. It is a worldwide organization of men and women who are business and professional leaders. Rotary provides humanitarian services, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in the world. Approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 31,000 Rotary clubs located in 166 countries.

The main objective of Rotary is service in the workplace, in the community and throughout the world. Rotarians develop and support community service projects to address needs in their local communities and in the international community. Rotarians sponsor international student exchanges for high school age youth, offer college scholarships for foreign study and provide cross-cultural learning experiences for business and professional persons. Through the Polio Plus Program, Rotary has been a leader in the eradication of Polio worldwide. The Rotary motto is “Service Above Self” and their guiding principles are the Four Way Test: for things Rotarians think, say or do:

1. Is it the TRUTH?

2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?


4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

It is easy to locate your local Rotary club by using the Club Locator. Rotary clubs meet weekly, and they are always interested in having speakers from the community.

Two other Rotary groups that work under the guidance of a local Rotary club and which could be good resources to a backpack awareness event are Interact and Rotaract clubs. Interact is a service club for people ages 12 to 18. They are typically located within the local high school of the sponsoring Rotary club. Rotaract clubs are for men and women aged 18 to 30. Boston University started the Sargent College Rotaract Club, which is under the guidance of the Brookline Rotary Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. Not only does the Sargent College Rotaract Club host a yearly backpack awareness event at the university’s campus and local elementary schools, but many of its members are occupational therapy students!

Please consider contacting your local Interact and Rotaract Clubs for promoting occupational therapy. Perhaps you might inspire a few students to become occupational therapy practitioners!

How Did Rotary Begin?
Paul P. Harris, a young lawyer from Vermont, and three of his friends started the Rotary movement in Chicago in February of 1905. The group wanted to recapture the friendly spirit that they had experienced in the small towns they grew up in and had lost in the bigger city. Their weekly meetings “rotated” among their offices, hence the name that would become internationally known.