Posted by Ian Ballantine on Jul 20, 2016
This was a Presentation to General Assembly, McKinnon Secondary College on 20 July 2016 by the Club’s Youth Director, Peter Guttmann
Presentation by Rotarian Peter Guttmann of a copy of ‘Dancing in my Dreams’ by Kerry Highly, published by Monash University, to the School Principal Ms Pitsa Binnion for the School Library collection.
In 1950 the Worldwide death rate from Polio was greater than 500,000; in  2015, less than 100.  Today Polio is restricted to Afghanistan & Pakistan.
Polio survivors live within our community.  In Australia around 400,000 people live with its impact, arguably our single-largest physical disability group.
Major polio epidemics were unknown before the 20th century.
Its spread from one person to another where sanitation is poor, particularly relevant to urban areas without adequate sewerage removal services.
Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a wild polio virus  that invades the nervous system, rapidly causing irreversible paralysis and ongoing lifelong impact.
There was no cure for Polio, only treatment to alleviate the symptoms.  Most of those infected were primary school children so it was often called ‘infantile paralysis’.
Polio vaccine was developed by Jonas Silk in mid 1950’s, and an oral vaccine by Albert Sabin in early 1960’s.
A Global Polio eradication initiative was formed in the late 1980’s as a public – private partnership.
It included Rotary, a worldwide service organisation with over 34,000 clubs, in 200 countries and 1.2 million volunteers and motto ‘service above self’; the World Health Organisation; the US Centre for Disease control and Prevention; United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund; the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and governments of the world.
Working together they have all contributed to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries.
Bottom line is that Volunteerism and Philanthropy make for life and community changing difference!
So what is volunteerism and philanthropy?
Essentially it is the principle of donating time and energy for the benefit of other people in the community, as a social responsibility, rather than for any financial reward.
Firstly, it is carried out according to an individual’s own freewill; it is not as an obligation.  Certainly it can be influenced but the individual must be able to choose whether or not to act.
Secondly, it is not undertaken for personal financial reward.
Thirdly, it is for the common good. Often described as working for community well being.
Fourthly, it requires a clear idea of what is to be achieved, forming partnerships with like minded others who have the skills and capabilities to deliver the outcome.
Volunteerism is a basic expression of human relationships.
It is about people’s need to participate in their societies and to feel that they matter to others.
Bentleigh Moorabbin Central Rotary Club has around 35 volunteers who raise around $200,000 each year.  An amount that has grown progressively over 30 years of application and endeavor, simply by giving up some of their time.
Funds raised mainly through operating the Bentleigh Sunday Community Market, contributing to a very wide range of local, national and international community programs.
Including, Community groups like ‘SisterWorks’ – a multi-cultural women’s support group;  Community Health services for Women & Men;  Marriott House & Services – supporting adults with disabilities;  Salvation Army;  Bushfire community recovery programs.
Youth through personal development and leadership programs; Student awards;  Kindergarten and school facility upgrades; Overseas student exchange;
Internationally communities – particularly our Asian and Pacific Islander neighbors, through educational, medical, water & sanitation, and developmental projects.
Not forgetting a rural school in Savusavu, a Fijian Island, where local Venturer scouts, some of whom are at today’s general assembly, who will be installing new playground equipment, later this year, following the destruction caused by a recent devastating cyclone.
The concepts that I have described are not unique to Rotary or any other service club; you students of McKinnon Secondary College are demonstrating them in ‘spades’.
Your 24-hour relay, free dress days, sausage sizzles, barbeques etc., raise funds to support the Children’s hospital, State Schools Relief and other important causes.
You intuitively know the value that Volunteerism and Philanthropy provides not only to the recipient but also importantly to you as a donor, organizer or fund raiser.
Desmond Tutu the South African social rights activist and first black Archbishop of Cape Town, summed it up best when he said, “A person is a person through other persons”.  
None of us comes into the world fully formed.
We would not know how to think, or walk, or speak, or behave as human beings unless we learned it from other human beings.
We need other human beings in order to be human.
Volunteerism and Philanthropy empowers humanity to happen.
Peter Guttmann,
Youth and Vocational Director, Rotary Club of Bentleigh Moorabbin Central.