Rotary Club and Peaceful Schools


Anica Dolan, Review Staff

Feature Photo By: Anica Dolan – Students at Century Elementary School sing the song at the end of the book they are finishing reading.  The lesson and song taught them about feeling empathy for others. 

There are many organizations and clubs in the world that help the youth today, and the majority of the people the groups target don’t even know that they exist. One of the biggest organizations that fits into this category is Rotary club.

Rotary club is an international group with 33,000 clubs spread worldwide, accumulating to 1.2 million members across the globe.  The club’s goals all lead to a better world, including having good, usable resources available to everyone and making sure that people have the tools they need to succeed.  All of the smaller goals speak to and follow their motto: “Service Over Self.”

According to Colorado member Hugh Radke, the club collectively has had a huge number of successes with people and kids around the world.  One of the biggest accomplishments of Rotary club has been the global eradication of polio.  

On this topic, Radke said, “[The partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation] started in 1985 when over 300,000 cases [of polio] were reported. The world is now down to less than 10 new cases reported this year.”

A lot of what Rotary clubs do involves helping young kids with resources and in school. The Peaceful Schools Program (PSP) is connected to Rotary and helps elementary students to build character.

Gail Lehrmann is a PSP coordinator and brought Rotary and Peaceful Schools to Rangeview in order to get volunteers.  Radke and Lehrmann have both been working with Rangeview’s LINK crew to go into classes at Century Elementary School to give lessons on different aspects of character and how others should be treated.

The program was formed in 2013 as an anti-bullying effort.  Lehrmann says, “Bullying in schools continues to be a major and growing concern.”

Peaceful Schools’ main purpose is to help get rid of bullying, along with helping kids learn to deal with bullying situations, should they occur.  

Lehrmann then went on to explain the four focus areas that the lessons cover,  “Activities center around … expressing feelings, building community, resolving conflicts creatively, and celebrating diversity.”

Junior Makenzie Bell is one of the LINK leaders from Rangeview chosen to go into the classrooms and teach lessons. She chose to participate in this program because she believes in the overall goal. She speaks on the benefits to the kids that are being taught using the Peaceful Schools lessons.

“Children [are able to] develop people skills and learn to deal with stressful situations.  Those skills are also further applicable in life,” Bell said.

The LINK leaders are also getting good things out of this experience. Both Radke and Lehrmann could defend the fact that the leadership role of teaching a lesson to first- and second-graders gives the LINK leaders more experience with leading and communicating.  Lehrmann also mentioned that even the lessons can have value to the older students and can help them apply the ideas to their own lives.

As the program has progressed, the young students are taking away valuable lessons from the short stories, and are even memorizing the things they learn from the few meetings that have taken place so far.  From these instances since the beginning of the year and the goals expressed by both Radke and Lehrmann, it seems the program is succeeding.