Posted by Jim Applegate
The Peace Committee has spent several months reviewing local opportunities to engage our Rotary Club in work that, in the words of Rotary International, promotes peace “by addressing the underlying causes of conflict, including poverty, discrimination, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources.” We are committed to work that provides sustainable solutions to these issues in Springfield. Based on conversations with community leaders and site visits, we focused on partnership with two outstanding efforts in Springfield: the collaborative effort to eradicate homelessness in Springfield in the next 5-7 years and the work of The Outlet, a fast-growing organization providing multiple forms of support to young African American men. The Outlet’s programs help these youth address the challenges they face coming from poverty, systemic racism, violence, and addiction in their communities by developing the considerable talents and grit they bring to our community.
The Committee has already applied for a district club grant that includes matching local funds to provide computing access to clients of Helping Hands, a primary partner in the effort to eradicate homelessness. We learned that a computing lab is a priority for Helping Hands so clients in their facility can search for jobs, write resumes, and connect with resources and family. It also will help their children access school and education resources. The Committee will bring its other top priority recommendations for club work with both Helping Hands and The Outlet over the next year to the club in the next month.
We hope the active work of the Committee will lead the club to become a Rotary Peace Club. This will bring recognition and access to additional resources from Rotary International to continue our efforts to promote peace in our community through service.