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Rotary Happenings: 37 students take part in annual Rotary Four-Way Test Essay

By Staff | May 23, 2018

Just had a great meeting last Friday morning. It was remarkably inspiring. First on our agenda was the presentation of the Rotary Four-Way Test Essay winner awards to three outstanding middle school students from The Sanibel School. Rotarian and program chair Chet Sadler and Paul Bolado, language arts teacher and the program’s student adviser, spoke about how the Four-Way Test simulates critical thinking regarding ethical questions of our time and the impact these questions can make on upcoming generations and decisions that may be made regarding how to apply the Four-Way test in their lives.

Rotary’s Four-Way Test is one of the guiding principles of Rotary, although simple in direction it is sometimes complicated in its application. The principles have been developed over the years to provide Rotarians with a strong common purpose and direction. They serve as a foundation for our relationships with each other and the action we take in the world. The Four-Way Test of the things we think, say or do is a test used by Rotarians worldwide as a moral code for personal and business relationships. The test can be applied to almost any aspect of life.

– Is it the truth?

– Is it fair to all concern?

– Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

– Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Thirty-seven students participated in the exercise, with seven essays being selected by Bolado for assessment by our Rotary Four-Way Essay Committee. The members read the essays, then graded them with first, second and third place evaluations. The winners are as follows: Anna Wells, first place for “Peer Pressure”; Johnny Jensen, second place for “School Shootings and Gun Control”; and Mason Macalka, third place for “School Walkouts.” The upcoming generation has been forced to experience some harsh and scary realities of what growing up in present society has come to, but the true facts are they are equal to the challenges of the future. The Rotarians congratulate the winners. Great job!

Our morning’s guest speaker was Vince Modarelli, major gifts officer for Habitat for Humanity Lee and Hendry Counties. After a 23-year career in journalism, he changed course in his life and took on his current position at Habitat, just over a year ago. As a newsman, Modarelli saw and witnessed the need for decent affordable housing for hard-working families in our local communities and through his volunteer work with local non-profit agencies in Bonita Springs, including The Rotary Club of Bonita Springs Noon Club. He was drawn to the prospect of working directly on the housing problem.

“No matter who we are or where we come from, we all deserve to have a decent life. We deserve to feel strength and stability day after day. We deserve to know we have the power to take care of ourselves and build our own futures. At Habitat for Humanity, this is what unites us. Through shelter, we empower. Our shared vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Because you, me, we – we’re all humans. And every single one of us deserves the opportunity for a better future,” he said.

Habitat has been building homes in our community for a long time. Lee County’s Harlem Heights neighborhood was the first build outside of Georgia, the organization’s home state. The year was 1982. As of October, there had been 1,500 homes built in Lee and Henry counties. Habitat continues to build houses in Harlem Heights and has plans to build an additional 160 homes on a 20-acre site near the soccer complex on Kelly Road in Fort Myers. Modarelli noted that Sanibel and Captiva residents have always been instrumental in their support of Habitat and continue to be in every aspect of the builds, from financial contributions to hands-on construction build team efforts.

Property throughout our local counties is expensive and a few years ago Habitat began considering purchasing housing in need of renovation as a solution to the affordable housing problem. The idea was on the drawing board when Hurricane Irma hit the area hard last year, particularly Bonita Springs and Lehigh Acres. The Rotary Club of Bonita took on the challenge to help with post-storm cleanup and took lead in the project with Rotarians across the area and assistance from USA Disaster Relief Corps volunteers from all over the country. Clean up turned into rebuilding and renovation projects on homes devastated by Irma. Reality set in and an idea was spawned from the experience. Habitat and Rotary International would join together to create a pilot program in Lee and Hendry that would financially support renovating area homes and promote Rotary volunteer teams working on the renovations.

Modarelli explained how Habitat selects the families they help and how they work together to provide affordable housing for deserving families. Read next week’s column and you will hear more details.

For information about the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club, visit sanibelrotary.org or www.facebook.com/sancaprotary. The club meets every Friday at 7 a.m. at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, at 949 Sand Castle Road, Sanibel; visitors are always welcome to attend.