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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Coronado Rotaract: Young Professionals Making a Difference

Submitted by Alyssa Ballard, Rotaract

“This is the best thing to happen to Coronado in years and years!” boasts Heidi Nevitt, advisor of the newly formed Coronado Rotaract Club and longtime member of Coronado Rotary.Rotary International logo

Rotaract clubs bring together people ages 18-30 to exchange ideas with leaders in the community, develop leadership and professional skills, and have fun through service. In communities worldwide, Rotary and Rotaract members work side by side to take action through service. From big cities to rural villages, Rotaract is changing communities like yours.  ~ rotary.org website

Coronado Rotaract Board and potential members at the kickoff meeting.

The Coronado Rotary Club has sponsored many other Rotaract clubs in San Diego including the Pacific Beach and USD Rotaract clubs, and recognized it was time for Coronado to have their own Rotaract Club. The opportunity presented itself with Natalie Bailey, CHS graduate ’11, the current youngest member of Coronado Rotary, and liaison to CHS’ Interact Club. As Natalie explained during the kickoff meeting last week, “This is a great opportunity for the 20s to 30s professionals in Coronado to come together and make a difference in a fun and social environment.”

Natalie wasn’t sure there would be enough interest in the community for this kind of club, but the more she started talking about it to friends (either living, working or just associated with Coronado), the more it became clear that this is exactly what these young professionals need and want.

The members of the Coronado Rotaract Board came together mid-December to make this vision a reality.

Coronado Rotaract Board from Left to Right: Alyssa Ballard (Treasurer), Demi Waitley (Service Director), Bridgett Nielsen (Secretary), Mandy Rowe (Vice President), Brooke Bernardy (Membership Director), Natalie Bailey (President), Curtis Nixon (member), George Bailey (member) Not Pictured: Becka Runyon (International Service Director) and Kyle Runyon (Professional Development Director)

Mandy Rowe, Rotaract Vice President and Coronado native, stepped up to help start something she is very passionate about. “I am excited to join the board of Rotaract as the third generation of Rowes involved in Rotary. The board members and I have been looking for a community service outlet that brings our generation together, and I’m looking forward to how this first year together will give back to Coronado.”

Rotaract board members hosted their kickoff meeting to introduce the group to the community on January 10th. Already, the group has hit the ground running. Members participated in the Rotary monthly beach cleanup and are actively gathering members to go to Tijuana at the end of January to help Hacienda Orphanage, where they will assist local children in painting a mural. Rotaract is planning events for the next few months including: WAPI (Water Purification Indicator Project) with the CHS Interact Club; volunteering with Team Quinn, Door of Faith Orphanage; Mentorship program with CHS Interact; and collaboration projects with other San Diego Rotaract clubs.

Coronado Rotaract Membership and Club Director Brooke Bernardy and President Natalie Bailey get ready for Rotary’s Saturday morning Beach Clean-Up.

Rotaract has also had the opportunity to connect professionally. “I went to school with some of the members but that was nearly a decade ago!” said Alyssa Ballard, Rotaract Treasurer. “A lot has changed, and it is amazing to see what people are doing now and how we can connect personally and professionally. There is a lot of experience and a lot of heart in this group of people.”

Networking with likeminded people in the community is a major part of what the Coronado Rotaract Club will be.

The next Rotaract meeting will take place on Wednesday, February 13th at 6:30pm and will meet the 2nd Thursday of the month thereafter. Meetings will include networking opportunities as well as guest speakers from community and business leaders. There will also be a social gathering for trivia night at Nicky Rottens on January 23rd at 6:30pm.

Coronado Rotary Advisor Heidi Nevitt (third from left) and Coronado Rotaract President Natalie Bailey (right) brought Rotaract District Representatives and Pacific Beach Rotaractors to a recent Rotary meeting.

If you are interested in coming to our next meeting, joining Rotaract, or have an idea of a service project for the club, please e-mail [email protected]. Follow the group on Instagram at CoronadoRotaract.