LIMA — One of the core philosophies of the Rotary Club is the idea of seeking to benefit others, and at Monday’s meeting, the Lima Rotary Club heard from several area high school students hoping to benefit their community.
The students were at the Rotary Club meeting at Veterans Memorial Civic Center to mark their graduation from the 2021-2022 Allen Lima Leadership (ALL) Youth Class. This group, representing high schools throughout Allen County, gained not only a better understanding of Allen County but also learned about what it takes to become a leader in his or her community.
“My goal was to learn leadership skills,” Shawnee sophomore Rose Kottapalli said. “I wanted to use this as a stepping stone to learn how I personally can better our Lima community. I want to be able to implement the skills that I’ve learned through ALL and my previous experiences.”
Part of that experience in this class was creating a project to benefit the community and creating a proposal to present to the Rotary Club. This class of 27 students was split into three groups, each developing its own project and then making its case for a $2,500 award from the Rotary Club to be used as startup funds. The projects were Project H.O.P.E., which seeks to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities; Team BRAKE’D, which encourages safe driving practices for young drivers; and Kind Minds, which addresses mental health issues like depression and anxiety through an app that assesses the user’s mental and emotional state and connects that person to resources if needed.
“Their ability to start a potential project from the beginning to the culmination is really transformative,” Allen Lima Leadership Executive Director Matt Childers said. “It went from just an idea all the way to what you saw today, and that is going to be very helpful for them in their careers down the road, with that team building and teamwork.”
The winning project, Project H.O.P.E., addresses an issue that is close to Kottapalli’s heart.
“This will be an organization, a non-profit, to help students with disabilities be more integrated into the community at a time when they need it the most,” she said. “I volunteered at Camp Robin Rogers this summer, and I’ve seen how important it is to grow relationships, and they don’t have the opportunity during the school year, so we wanted to give them something that will allow them to have similar experiences.”
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0391 or on Twiter @cmkelly419.