For three years, Keri Jo Phillips, Beacon’s director of development, has been a member of the Lake County Golden Triangle club and now serves on its board of directors as youth services director.
Chartering a Rotaract club at the first college or university accredited to award bachelor’s degrees primarily to students who learn differently “was a logical expectation and (Beacon President George) Hagerty thought it was a great idea,” Phillips says.
An extension of Rotary International — the global community of business professionals providing volunteer service to enrich their communities and sow peace — Rotaracts are community or university-based service clubs now numbering more than 8,000-strong worldwide for individuals ages 18 to 30 interested in community and international service.
“They are getting to be members of an organized group with the goal of giving back to their community,” Phillips said. “There are great lessons to be learned by these experiences.”
Beacon’s club formed in January. Thus far, the club has attracted 19 students, including President Alexandra Lee.
“My vision for leading this club is to make the community more aware of how college students reach out and help people, increase our membership, and develop relationships with organizations in the city to find out where the greatest need is, “says Lee, a freshman from Long Island, NY. “Throughout my life, I’ve had many volunteer opportunities in my church, in a hospital and being active in my high school clubs. Since I have been given a lot in my life, I wanted to give back to those who are in need. I feel I have leadership skills that I want to develop further.”
For its first service project, the club will be collecting new or gently used clothing, shoes and accessories for Lake County middle and high school students. Look for decorated “dropbox” locations around campus. The clothing drive runs from March 20 through April 28.
To join Beacon’s Rotaract club, contact Keri Jo Phillips in Beacon Hall at 352-638-9768 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The club’s efforts, Phillips said, at once will build up the community and tear down misperceptions about students with learning disabilities.
Students “will volunteer and conduct community service projects that will…set aside prejudices based on their LD.”