By Emily Figueiredo, publicity chair
The Rotary Club of Del Mar is reaching across the world to unite and partner with the Rotary Club of St. Petersburg, Russia, in promoting and serving for peace. This exciting new partnership will make the Rotary Club of St. Petersburg a “Sister Club” with our local Rotarians and will develop a relationship of cultural understanding, worldwide service efforts and project support. When Del Mar Rotarian Marty Peters traveled to Russia last year, he realized there is great potential for collaboration. Peters said, “We can develop worldwide trust between fellow Rotarians and truly be a family of Rotary for peace. Much like what we were able to accomplish with our former Sister Club relationship with Beijing a few years ago.”
Peters refers to the Del Mar Rotary Club’s previous partnership with the Rotary Club of Beijing, China. This relationship enabled the Del Mar community to support the Gift of Life project for heart surgeries on children in need. The collaboration had a simple and similar start – a member of the Del Mar Club visited China and asked how he could help them – and from this smooth beginning, a path was paved for many Chinese children to receive reconstructive heart surgery compliments of new friends in California.
Similarly, the Rotary Club of Del Mar hopes a Sister Club relationship with St. Petersburg will improve the lives of many Russian children in need of therapy and care. At present, there are over 13,000 disabled children in St. Petersburg and over 5,000 children have serious movement and speech disturbances. Unfortunately, and unlike the opportunities in San Diego County, there is only one facility to support these in children in all of St. Petersburg. The Arevik Center for creative Rehabilitation and Medical Pedagogic was started in 1995 and is currently serving more than 500 disabled children, most of which are orphans. The Arevik Center supports youth from infancy through 21 years and older by focusing on a variety of cognitive development treatments for the younger children, and older children receiving a focus on education, employment and independent living.
The Rotary Club of Del Mar has made their first effort of supporting their new Rotary family members by providing about $2,200 to procure a power stabilizing wheelchair and lift that can be used for transporting children in the Arevik program. The wheelchair will allow for children to have greater mobility and practice some standing while being supported in the chair which is an important component for rehabilitate treatment.
To learn more about the Rotary Club of Del Mar’s service efforts across the globe and here in North County San Diego, please visit www.delmarrotary.org or join us for lunch on Thursdays at noon at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Del Mar.