WASHINGTON - On April 5, Harriett Schloer of the Rotary Club of Bend High Desert, participated in Rotary Day at the White House, in which she was one of 12 U.S. Rotarians who were honored as Champions of Change for their volunteer work to improve the lives of others.
The 2-day event combined two weekly White House public engagement programs – Champions of Change and the Community Leaders Briefings series - to recognize the contributions of a single organization: the humanitarian service group Rotary International. More than 160 Rotarians were in attendance at a round of Community Leaders Briefing sessions in which administration experts discussed a variety of relevant topics including health, violence prevention, and the environment.
"The entire event was highly informative and very inspiring, Schloer said. The White House staff made it abundantly clear that having Rotarians honored as Champions of Change was something they were thrilled about. Several had grown up in Rotary households and without exception, as each spoke to the assembled group, they stressed their respect and admiration for Rotary and its work not only in our local communities but around the world and specifically addressed Rotary's mission to eradicate polio. I am very proud to be a Rotarian and very honored to have been selected. It was a day I shall always remember."
Creating awareness of the importance of childhood immunizations and taking action to insure that all children are fully immunized, Schloer worked with the other partners on the Deschutes County Immunization Coalition to found the Rotary Shots for Tots program in 1999 for the children of Deschutes County.
Since then, the program has immunized thousands of children with no cost to their families. In developing the Rotary-sponsored program which has become a Rotary model for developing community partnerships, Schloer, the program's Executive Director, organized seven Rotary clubs and their 400+ members as part of a county coalition of volunteers that includes Rotary, the Deschutes County Health Department, McDonald's restaurants, Vaccines for Children, and many others in the public, private, education and health sectors to insure the program's success.
Shots for Tots clinics have been held in four communities during the year since May of 1999 and are staffed with Rotary, health department and community volunteers. In addition, Schloer serves as her Rotary District's Domestic Immunization Chair as well as the PolioPlus Chair helping to raise funds for polio eradication through Pennies for Polio and other club and community programs.
"Today we welcome twelve amazing Rotarians to the White House. Each of these men and women have spent countless hours helping communities both here in the U.S. and abroad. Collectively, these Rotarians members have touched the lives of thousands of people—whether by providing health services, preventing hunger, supporting our poor communities, empowering unemployed, addicted, or homeless adults, or caring for students. The Rotarians we honor today truly exemplify the Rotary Club motto: "Service above Self" and in doing so show that the American spirit is a generous one," said Paulette Aniskoff, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
"It is a great honor to see these dedicated Rotary members recognized by the White House as Champions of Change for their work to improve the lives of people around the world," said Rotary International President Sakuji Tanaka, of Japan, who participated in the day's events with Rotary Foundation Trustee Mike McGovern and Rotary International General Secretary and CEO John Hewko. "Their commitment to humanitarian service reflects that of our worldwide membership of 1.2 million men and women, all of whom deserve to share in this recognition."
Rotary is a global humanitarian organization with more than 1.2 million members in 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Rotary members are men and women who are business, professional and community leaders with a shared commitment to make the world a better place through humanitarian service.