View Mobile Site

Camden Rotary celebrates 86 years of service

Posted: October 8, 2013 4:16 p.m.
Updated: October 9, 2013 5:00 a.m.

The Camden Rotary Club is celebrating its 86th year of operation. Public Relations Chair Susan Witkowski and current President Alfred Mae Drakeford recently took the time to share all that the club does within the local community.

“What some people may not know is that Rotary works on several levels,” Witkowski said. “It is a local, state, regional and international service club.”

She said the majority of funds raised by the club stay within the Kershaw County community to fund local projects. Witkowski also said that although the club’s title is Camden Rotary, it has members from throughout the county.

Camden Rotary sponsors many local projects that benefit the community in some form. One project Witkowski said she has been very involved with is the “dictionary project.”

“We’re able to get dictionaries for all third graders in the Kershaw County school district,” she said.

“This year we have 805 students that we’ll be distributing dictionaries to,” Drakeford added.

“It is one of my most favorite projects,” Witkowski said. “I love being able to go to the schools and hand out those dictionaries to students, they just love it.”

Witkowski said students were very excited upon receiving the dictionaries.

“They look at us and ask, ‘Is it really all mine?’ and we tell them that it is and that they can go ahead and write their names in them,” she said.

Another service project is Rotary Readers, where Rotarians visit Jackson Elementary -- a school the club “adopted” -- and read to students once a week. Witkowski said the project is also very important to her.

Some of the other things Rotary does locally are:

• providing scholarships to high school seniors in Kershaw County;

• sponsoring the Sacks of Love program where hungry students are provided sack lunches;

• sponsoring the Aquaponics program at Camden High School (CHS) where high school students learn to grow food in water without soil;

• purchasing the CHS honor graduate sashes for students who’ve maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout their high school career;

• participating in the adopt-a-highway program where volunteers work together to clean up local highways;

• participating in the Happy Feet program which provides pairs of shoes to students in need;

• participating in the Toys for Tots programs which provides holiday gifts for low-income families; and

• sponsoring a local Boy Scouts troop.

Camden Rotary raises funds through membership dues and other fundraisers and gives much of that money right back to the community. Drakeford stated that annually, the club provides approximately $6,000 in scholarships to high school seniors. The club also donated $2,000 to Sacks of Love.

Witkowski said Rotary sponsors international service projects, as well.

“On an international level we work towards polio eradication and water purification,” she said.

Witkowski said Rotary has partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support polio vaccinations “in an effort to eradicate the disease throughout the world,” she said.

“We have two occasions where we raised a million dollars and both times, Bill Gates matched us,” Witkowski said. “We make contributions at home and abroad.”

Witkowski has been a member for seven years and was initially drawn to the club because it showed her what a difference an organization can make.

“You think about what we can do when we join together, it’s amazing. No one person alone could take on something like polio, but as a club we can do so much,” she said.

For Drakeford, a member for six years, the appeal of Rotary is that it fosters community involvement. Drakeford said she has been very moved by such Rotary programs as Happy Feet and was especially touched by “the look on the children’s faces when they get that pair of shoes, when they find out they can pick out any pair they want.”

Drakeford said Rotary also gives out three vocational awards each year, one to a business, one to a profession and one to an individual to recognize their work within the community. She is very impressed by the way the club seeks to highlight the accomplishments of members of society, whether or not they are affiliated with Rotary.

Drakeford and Witkowski agreed that one of the clubs greatest strengths is that it brings businesses and individuals together to make positive changes within the community.

“It’s an organization that celebrates the good things that people do, here in our community and throughout the world,” Witkowski said.

Interested in viewing premium content?

A subscription is required before viewing this article and other premium content.

Already a registered member and have a subscription?

If you have already purchased a subscription, please log in to view the full article.

Are you registered, but do not have a subscription?

If you are a registed user and would like to purchase a subscription, log in to view a list of available subscriptions.

Interested in becoming a registered member and purchasing a subscription?

Join our community today by registering for a FREE account. Once you have registered for a FREE account, click SUBSCRIBE NOW to purchase access to premium content.

Membership Benefits

  • Instant access to creating Blogs, Photo Albums, and Event listings.
  • Email alerts with the latest news.
  • Access to commenting on articles.

Contents of this site are © Copyright 2014 Chronicle Independent All rights reserved. Privacy policy and Terms of service

Powered by
Morris Technology
Please wait ...