Thank you all for making Pacific Beach Rotaract’s first year a successful one! Pacific Beach Rotaract is a community-based club for young professionals who create positive change in their community through volunteer service and social networking.

Big thanks to all of our current members, to the original organizers who helped to get this club off the ground, and especially to our chartering president Erika Rodriguez. Thank you to all members who served on the  board of directors this year, for all of your hard work in your various positions. Big thanks to Derren Lechuga, our treasurer, for preparing our financial statements and preparing the Pacific Beach Rotaract to file for 501(c)(3) status. And special thanks to Marina Pardini for developing our website and for designing outreach materials.

Pacific Beach Rotaract officially chartered on April 3rd, 2016. Our chartering Ceremony was held at Swami’s Cafe in North Park. Speakers included the past presidents from our Sponsoring Rotary Clubs, Jerry Hosenkamp from Old Mission Rotary, and David Detwiler from San Diego Coastal Rotary Club, as well as our former District Governor, Janice Kurth. Since April, we’ve had a great year of community service, networking, and professional development.

Local Service

This year our organization has focused on tackling homelessness in the San Diego Region. We’ve worked with  a handful of local organizations including: Father Joe’s Village, Feeding America San Diego, Urban Angles, Think Dignity, I Love A Clean San Diego,  and the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RHMC). Thank you to Sharon Quin for fostering some of these early relationships as our first community service director.

We’ve been privileged to have many wonderful speakers this year including: Anne Rios from Think Dignity, Moriah Saldana from I Love A Clean San Diego, Rachel Barker from the RHMC, and Nina Hotlz from Kitchens for Good.

Some of the Service Events we’ve participated in this year include: 1st Saturdays, habitat restoration with Friends of Famosa Slough, the RMHC’s Red Shoe Day, Ride the Point, Ski Clinic for the Blind, Downtown Neighborhood Cleanups, the Hot Chocolate run 5K water station, Think Dignity’s Supply Distribution, Meal services with Urban Angels and Father Joe’s Villages, and the Dreams for Change Backpack Project.

Socials we’ve attended this year include hosting the first districtwide Bonfire, Padre Games, a San Diego Gulls Game, and a Halloween pumpkin carving.

This year, we’ve also adopted Crystal Pier and the surrounding beach through I Love a Clean San Diego’s Adopt-A-Beach program by pledging to do quarterly beach clean-ups.  We decorated a PB Rotaract themed wreath to hang on the Pier for the holidays, and were featured in I Love A Clean San Diego’s Volunteer Spotlight in December for attending a variety of cleanups.

In December, we held our 2nd Annual Ugly Sweater Party at Waypoint Public in North Park, part of the proceeds were donated to Think Dignity. Our Fellowship Director, Jessie Case recently started a new monthly event called Productive Pints. Group members meet up to be productive while having a drink with friends. Total funds raised from events, dues, and donations this year was $1686.64

International Service

Big thanks to Kelly Wakeland, our International Service Chair. This year we organized and hosted our first Annual Pub Crawl for Polio. We made T-shirts and  handed out bumper stickers to raise awareness about Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio. We donated $600 to End Polio Now, and  our donations were were matched 2:1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

A few members joined Ventura Rotaract for a house build in Tecate, Mexico with Corazon. We constructed a community center, as well as repainted several houses. We also did a house build with Project Mercy in Tijuana, Mexico with our sponsoring club, San Diego Coastal Rotary. Erika Rodriguez had the opportunity to visit the Rotaract Club of Suva, in Fiji.

Professional Development

Kolby Shibata-Goodman from The Job Huntr lead our first professional development workshop on Developing your Personal Brand with LinkedIN.

Collaboration with other Clubs

Our Secretary, Rachel Fisher, spent the weekend volunteering at the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) in Idyllwild. A few PBR members attended the Big West Rotaract Conference in AZ with our very own Jessie Case leading a workshop on Planning for Successful Succession with Google Drive. We hosted paint night fundraiser for our club with San Diego Coastal Rotary Club and Paints Uncorked.

Other collaborative events include fundraising at the Rotaract District 5340 Swap Meet, attending the Rotary District 5340 conference, participating in Rotarians at work day, and beach clean-ups with our sponsoring Rotary clubs.

Looking Forward

In the coming year, I look forward to our continued leadership, professional development, and service projects. We are currently in the process of organizing our first club Retreat, and  we’re looking forward to this year’s Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, GA.

As a club, we plan on increasing our involvement with our sponsoring Rotary Clubs, and plan to develop a Mentorship Program to strengthen our Rotaract/Rotary ties, and aid us in our professional development. Additionally, we plan to continue to foster the relationships we’ve built with local organizations over the past year, and to continue to addresses the homelessness in the San Diego region. We also plan to do more work internationally, and focus a bit more on literacy as our international service goal.

As we approach our upcoming membership drive, I ask all of you to think about friends, colleagues, clients, neighbors, etc. who would make good Rotaractors and invite them to a meeting in the New Year. There is currently a lot of opportunity for leadership experience and professional development as we have several open Board Positions.

It’s been an honor to meet and work with all of you this year, thank you again for  your commitment to our community, and to creating positive change in the world.

– Krysten Walls