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A New Year, A New You

There’s so much to gain when you give back to your community.

Presented by Rotary Houston January 11, 2022

If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution, you probably want to improve your well-being in some way: exercise regularly, eat better, sleep more.  

Eating more vegetables and getting higher quality sleep will no doubt make you feel better. But if you really want to boost your personal well-being, resolve to give back to your community in 2022. Not only will you help others, but there are many other benefits for those who give back. Multiple studies have shown that volunteering boosts mental and physical health by providing social connection, a sense of purpose and fulfillment, professional development and skill-building, and so much more.

Terry Ziegler, a member of the Rotary Club of West U, has held numerous volunteer roles for various projects with Rotary in the Houston area. Ziegler is part of Rotary’s global network of 1.4 million members across 46,000 Rotary and Rotaract clubs who apply their professional experience and personal commitment to tackle the most challenging issues in communities around the world. Rotary members are dedicated to finding new, effective ways to enhance health, stability, and prosperity across the globe.

“I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing how many lives are changed for the better – some in small ways and others in life-saving ways – by the myriad service projects carried out by Rotary members in Houston and around the world,” Ziegler says. “It makes me proud to be part of an organization that takes action to make the world a better place. And it gives me hope for the future when I see Rotary take on some of the most difficult global challenges, such as providing clean water and sanitation, supporting education, fighting diseases like polio, saving mothers and children, growing local economies, promoting peace, and protecting the environment.”

Education and literacy is an area of focus that Ziegler’s club puts a high priority on. Literacy skills help lift people out of poverty by giving them access to education, better employment options, and good health care, which help strengthen communities.

Ziegler considers the global literacy project his club takes part in balm for the soul. Through the effort, club members, along with members from other Rotary, Rotaract and Interact (high school students) clubs, collect used books, sort them by book type, put them on pallets, and load them in shipping containers destined for southern and eastern Africa.

“We’ve shipped as many as 40 container loads each year since 2000,” he said. “External community partners donate most of the books to us, and Rotaract members and Interact members help us sort and palletize the books. It’s great that we’re able to provide books to young people in impoverished countries that can’t afford to stock schools and libraries. It’s heartwarming to participate in a major effort like this, which requires a team of Rotary members, Interact members, Rotaract members, and community members to reach our goals.”

Rotary provides ample opportunity for people with diverse backgrounds to connect and collaborate to reach common goals. In addition, members meet new people, learn new skills, and work on professional development. Working to make the world a better place with people who share similar values has made the nearly 40-year Rotary journey more than worthwhile for Ziegler.   

“I’ve served in a variety of roles throughout my Rotary tenure, and they’ve led to my most rewarding times in Rotary,” he says. “I’ve grown personally and professionally as a Rotary member. So, when you’re asked to work on or lead a project in Rotary, I encourage everyone to say ‘yes!’”

Rotary provides the opportunity for people to take action and give back to their community – creating lasting change in Houston and around the world. Learn more at RotaryinHouston.org.