Posted by Michele McKinnon on Dec 01, 2019
It was a real privilege to bring this column to the readers of the Cape Breton Post for the first time. We are truly grateful to the Post for giving us the time and space to share our stories.  
Let’s begin with an introduction. I’m a member of the Sydney-Sunrise Rotary Club, their new Public Relations Chair.   We are a community service organization.  Members of the club are your friends and neighbours.  Our motto is “service above self”, and we look for ways to build a better community both here at home, and across the globe.
You may know us best as the sponsor of the immensely popular Rotary shows of the past.  These shows were epic—matched only the by the talent that was showcased within them.   Well known broadcaster Ann Terry MacLellan would set the stage for the night, and the magic of the evening would begin.   Today you may know us best as the people who bring you the event of the summer—the Rotary Ribfest. 
We want you to get to know us better.   Through this column, we’ll keep you informed about the events and the activities of the Club.    We want to let you know why we exist, how you can get involved and where the funds raised by Rotary are directed.
We are one of four clubs in CBRM.   There is a club in North Sydney, New Waterford, and an additional club in Sydney.   We are the early risers, and meet each Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. at Boston Pizza.  We always welcome new members, so please come and check us out.  We are pretty lively even at that hour (and there’s lots of coffee available!)   We regularly have presentations from interesting and informative speakers that help us understand what’s happening in our community.    For instance, we recently heard from the Executive Directors of Celtic Colours and the Cape Breton Partnership.
We have a number of regular activities that keep us busy in our community.   We pay regular visits to the New Dawn Guest Home, pay for and serve meals at Loaves and Fishes, provide funds to the Cape Breton Regional Library and the Boys and Girls Club in Whitney Pier to name just a few.   
We also take the time to have fun, with a number of regular social activities planned each month.
There are a number of other worthwhile organizations that we are able to assist because of the support we receive through Ribfest and a fundraiser we have embarked upon called “play your number lotto”.   The funds raised through these projects have allowed us to give back to organizations like Under One Umbrella, Every Women’s Centre, local food banks, and Meals on Wheels.  
We are also connected to the Glace Bay High School as a sponsor of the Interact organization, and the University of Cape Breton through Rotaract.  These initiatives are all about developing the next generation of leaders.  The young people that are a part of these groups carry on the Rotary tradition by raising funds for a number of worthy and deserving organizations.    We’ll be bringing you more information about these amazing individuals in the future.
As Rotarians, we have the benefit of an international organization behind us.   This allows us to work with other clubs around the globe, leverage the funds we raise, and have a real impact on things like immunizing children with the polio vaccine. In fact, the eradication of polio is one of the priorities of Rotary International.  In the past 30 years, Rotary has helped to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries.   More about that later.
There are also lots of opportunities to take on leadership roles, both within the club and on the international stage.   While our Club is relatively new, (founded in 1996) one of our members served as the area’s District-Governor, the late David Muise. As the District Governor, this individual meets with and promotes the efforts of the 46 clubs in our area.  In 2020, club member Ian Doyle will take on the role of District-Governor. Ian and his wife Anne are already seasoned travellers, as they have led numerous missions bringing much needed dental services and medical supplies to communities around the globe.
In 2020, we will be celebrating 100 years of Rotary in this area.   We are pretty proud of our track record, and look forward to another 100 years.   Till next time.
Michele McKinnon has happily returned home to Sydney to retire.  She is the Chair of the Sydney-Sunrise Club’s Public Relations Committee and is a proud Cape Breton Rotarian.