Posted by PDG Abe Feder
In a world impacted by Covid 19, our tendency is to turn inward, to ourselves, our family and our own communities. But if you paraphrase Rotary’s Vision Statement “ take action to create lasting change-across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves” This moves us in a much broader vision of what our community is, and in that sense it’s what International Service is about.Looking at Rotary’s 7 areas of focus: Peace and Conflict Resolution, Water and Sanitation, Disease prevention and Treatment, Maternal and Child health, Basic Education and Literacy, Economic and Community Development and The Environment, gives us our basic roadmap for Rotary’s impact not only at home but around the world.
It was not very long after Rotary was formed that the founding members did their first community project-a public toilet. A few years later they did their first international project, a medical clinic in Canada, in 1912, so you could say that International Service is part of our DNA. And while many of our fellow Rotarians would say that my wife brought me into Rotary, I would say that International Service has kept me in Rotary.
That significant emotional moment came about on a polio trip to Mexico. Not unlike the one that Rotarian Noel DeSousa continues to support. Without going into all the details of what took place, that trip caused me to reflect on how much we have in our country. Within a short period of time my wife PDG Barb and I found ourselves back in Mexico, then in Thailand, Pakistan,  Bangladesh and on the edge of Afghanistan where we realized how much others, because of geographical and political impact do not have in their country. We talk about hunger in our country, but I have seen starvation in others, and when we talk about poor education in our country, I have seen bits of wood painted black for a chalkboard and scraps of paper and bits of pencils used by children sitting under a lean to on old blankets because there was nothing available to them.
So how do we impact this? Many clubs within our district are involved in international projects in some manner. They may be Host or be International partners on a Global Grant or they may contribute to one. But many are not involved, so let me offer this: 
The Mexican American Friendship and Grants Exchange Conference. Co-Chaired by Kevin Pitts and PDG Barb Feder this is an easy way to get started, or add to your club’s international activity. The concept is cool and easy, you bring money, clubs make service project presentations (i.e. sell), you shop, pays your money and bang! You and your club have done an international project.
District 5495 Micro Credit Project-Participate in an International service project in Mexico and the trip costs you nothing-nada. Our cooperating agency FinReg covers the cost of transportation, lodging and meals on this 2 or 3 day trip. You meet FinReg staff; interact with local Rotarians in Hermosillo or Nogales. You also do hands on sight visits to our borrowers and gather needed data. You will be amazed at what $300 can do for a business in Mexico. If your club decides to make a donation to this nearly seven year old project- guess what! You are part of an outstanding International Service project. Committee Chair PDG Abe Feder is your contact for this 7 times a year event.
Polio Trip to Mexico-This once a year event starts out in California, but stops in Arizona on its way to Caborca, Mexico to pick up Arizona Rotarians. You hook up with Rotarians on the bus and those at the host club in Mexico. There is a cost for transport and lodging and meals, space is limited-but this event can change your life! Contact Noel DeSousa
This is just the start…as Committee Chair I am currently working on a list of our District members who will each become part of the International Service hit list that will make up a reference resource for our District. That list will be posted along with contact information on our District web site. In addition starting next month we will feature an article about an International Service project that is ongoing or that’s needs funding to move forward.
Does you club have an International Service Chair? If not, why not?
Kevin Pitts-1-928-460-5511 
Barb Feder-480-708-6997
Abe Feder-602-622-7289  
Noel DeSousa-603-496-5809