It’s New Generations Month in the Rotary World and what a great way to kick it off last Friday when we had our rebound exchange student Hannah Garrett share with us about her year long adventure in Japan.

As a result of my work with the Oregon Garden Foundation, I recently had the opportunity to spend some time at Marion Polk Food Share where I met an incredible young man names Josh.  He said very little to me, and it was obvious that he was uncomfortable around new people, but he was as content as could be working with his mentor in the production kitchen making “Better Burgers.”   When we left the kitchen, I asked his mentor what the story was…seems that this young man falls on the high functioning autism spectrum, with socialization being an anxiety issue for him.  His brother suffers from leukemia and the family doesn’t have a lot of money.  He was looking for a way to get away from the situation at home for a few hours a day and found himself at Marion Polk Food Share where, with the guidance of his mentor, he has become one of their top volunteers.

As we are looking at the next generations we often focus on the less than stellar things we hear in the news, but young people are doing some great and amazing things and it seems only right that we celebrate that.   How can we, as Rotarians, reach out and help the young people in our community reach their fullest potential?

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