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Michael Podesta is a calligrapher. In his portfolio is a piece titled, "Imagine." Using his pen and brush he invites the viewer to imagine a different world. Many years before Podesta drew this piece the Beatles sang the song, "Imagine." The tune is memorable. Some of the words are provocative such as: "Imagine no need for greed or hunger." "Imagine all the people living in peace." Imagine nothing to kill or die for." In 1993 Mark Johnson wrote the book "Moral Imagination." The book jacket describes his work as an examination of the "implication of cognitive science on the the field of ethics." Initially this description appears to be for only academics. However, Johnson is challenging the the way we teach and understand ethics. He states that "moral imagination is the ability to imaginatively discern various possibilities for acting in a given situation and to envision the potential help and harm that are likely to result from a given action." Imagination is an intriguing dimension to the human personality. It is imagination that enables us to see things differently. Imagination can lift the mind and spirit to heights of awe and grandeur as well as incite the mind and spirit to evil actions and foolish ideas. Podesta, The Beatles and Mark Johnson invite us to go beyond the status quo, take flight from mediocrity, and embrace a way of living that relies upon empathy. In other words moral imagination is built upon the notion of "walking in the other person's shoes." Today our world is characterized by the stark and graphic images of war, violence, fear, hate, ecological disasters, lack of trust and respect, hunger, Aids, poverty, drugs and the list goes on. These are the harsh realities that assault our sensibilities and with which we contend to a greater or lesser degree. These are the images that have the potential to shape our outlook and view point. As a result, it is difficult to imagine a world that is peaceful, productive, gracious and just. Several years ago the phrase "random acts of kindness" became popular. These "random acts" emerged from people who attempted to understand what another person might be experiencing and then provide a helpful response. Organizations such as Rotary have been engaging in moral imagination for years. We in Rotary dare to imagine a world where the negatives are overcome by self forgetful service. This moral imagination is not a mind game played in the comfort and quietness of our homes. It requires stamina, courage and kindness. It starts when we are willing to exchange places with the other person and then listen to what is being said. What can we imagine for this new Rotary Year?

Hamilton-Wenham Rotary and Leslie Ray Insurance to sponsor scholarships for Safe Driving Program

Safe driving photo.The Hamilton – Wenham Rotary Club, School District, Leslie Ray Insurance, and In-Control Advanced Driver Training are teaming up to educate young drivers and parents about responsible driving. Leslie Ray Insurance President Rich Jones offered $5000.00 to the Hamilton - Wenham Rotary Club to offer scholarships to Hamilton-Wenham High School students. Rotary Club President and Wenham Police Chief Ken Walsh claims that inexperienced drivers can cause serious damage to themselves and others on the road and would recommend that young drivers take every opportunity to learn as much as possible before getting behind the wheel.

In-Control Advanced Driver Training was founded in 2003 by professional racecar driver Brandon Bogart in an effort to lower the number of accidents caused by driver error. Automobile crashes are the number one killer of people under 45 and In Control’s program has been found to reduce crash rates in new drivers by 70 percent.

The half day In-Control program is an extreme crash prevention training course designed to not only teach participants the appropriate way to respond to unavoidable, real-life road situations, but also to instill lifelong attitudes that make safer drivers.  This closed course hands-on education was adapted from existing law enforcement training that Bogart has been instructing for more than a decade. Drive In Control Link.

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Register for 2015 Rotary-UN Day
Register online to take part in Rotary Day at the United Nations on 7 November. This annual event at UN Headquarters in New York City offers Rotary members and others a unique opportunity to learn how we work with the United Nations to advance peace and improve the lives of those most in need. This year’s meeting highlights the UN’s 70th anniversary and Rotary’s longstanding relationship with the organization. The program will focus on the Sustainable Development Goals and recognize Rotary women of action from around the world. Attendees are invited to meet at Rockefeller Center the morning...


Call for 2016 convention breakout proposals
Do you have an idea or project that you want to share with the Rotary world? Consider leading a breakout session at the 2016 Rotary International Convention in Seoul. Submit your proposal by 15 October to share your successes with projects, efforts to strengthen membership, partnerships, leadership development, and more. The proposal form is available in English, Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin.

Making a difference through Rotary Youth Exchange
When Gabriela Vessani was 12 years old, her mother took her to stay with friends in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, for the summer. “I loved it, so when I heard about Rotary Youth Exchange, I knew that was something I wanted to do,” says Vessani, who is an Interactor from São Paulo. This year, Vessani participated in the program. Hosted by the Rotary Club of Waterdown, Ontario, Canada, she stayed with four families, one of which included adopted children from different parts of the world.    “They had seven children, and it was crazy for me. But I loved it,” she says. “It was such a unique...

Bringing education to rural Mexican area, one school at a time
When Mariana Day moved in 1989 to the small beach town of Chacala, in Nayarit, Mexico, she noticed that the surrounding rural areas struggled to maintain schools. And most children weren’t able to go beyond an eighth-grade education. Day, who is a member of the Rotary Club of Bahía de Jaltemba-La Peñita, in Nayarit, had started a local scholarship program before she joined Rotary. Called Changing Lives, the program provided students with high school tuition, uniforms, school supplies, and transportation. In addition, Rotary clubs from the United States and Mexico have been investing in the...

Polio: The Rotarian Conversation with Aseefa Bhutto Zardari
From the September 2015 issue of The Rotarian Before her family was forced into exile, before her mother was assassinated, before her father became president, Aseefa Bhutto Zardari was known for something simpler, but in some ways equally powerful: In 1994, she became the first child in Pakistan to receive the oral polio vaccine, as part of the country’s first National Immunization Day. Benazir Bhutto, then prime minister, gave the drops to her daughter herself, a compelling endorsement of the nascent campaign. “I was a baby at the time, so I don’t remember it,” says Bhutto Zardari, now 22. “...

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