ROTARY HOMESTAY 2023
Indian River County, Florida
Rotary clubs in Indian River County
Founded in 1926, the year after our County (Indian River County) was created, we were the first Rotary Club in Vero Beach. Hence our name. We have been serving our community through both local and international projects for nearly 100 years. Currently, we have 40 members.
Our Foundation was created in 1996 and we currently have nearly $400,000 in assets raised through member donations and annual fundraisers. Both our Club, and the Foundation, support our youth and elderly populations, college scholarships and the environment. We focus on giving back to the community in small but effective and long-term ways.
Our club initiated our HomeStay program some 43 years ago. At that time, we were the only Rotary Club in the county. We now have five clubs, and they all join together for the Homestay activities.
We also join together for other fund-raising events such as Oktoberfest where we raise money for Polio-Plus.
Like everyone else, COVID put a stop to normal activities and regular in-person meetings were cancelled. Again, like others, we changed to “Zoom” meetings. This gave some members, who for various reasons might not have been able to attend in person, an opportunity to be there. There were interesting benefits from COVID. Another benefit was that members were not billed for their lunches. This gave them the chance, along with Happy Dollars and other donations, to show their generosity and support to the workers in the emergency services who did so much to help others.
Our Club currently recognizes the changing world of Rotary and is working hard to encourage people to see the ways that Rotarians can do things to give back to the community and help those in need.
Orchid Island Club
The Rotary Club of Orchid Island is a small club comprised of 7 members. We strive to have a beneficial impact on improving health, nutrition, and literacy locally, and in other places around the world.
We have donated medical equipment to a clinic in Ft. Pierce. We have donated to the Guatemala project started by Vero Beach Oceanside Rotary. We want to donate to the Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy which provides daily meals and group mentoring to children and young adults ages 5-24. We are discussing donating to an existing Rotary Club project to provide water fountains to a school in Mexico. We plan to promote K-3rd grade literacy by working with local teachers to donate books to students.
Twenty-seven members strong, the Rotary Club of Sebastian was formed in 1988 and is the second oldest Rotary Club in Indian River County. Focusing our efforts on children, we provide funds to the backpack program at a local elementary school (which provides food to needy kids to take home); we purchase backpacks and school supplies for kids in need; we donate Rotary dictionaries to all third graders in the five elementary schools in north Indian River County on an annual basis; and we provide college scholarships for high school seniors annually.
In 2016 we started the ShrimpFest & Craft Brew Hullabaloo and have given away over a quarter million dollars to north Indian River County youth recreational sports and clubs. We have sponsored the Arbor Day Tree initiative which provided a tree seedling to all fourth graders in the five elementary schools in north Indian River County. We now have 3 Little free libraries in Sebastian as well as helping the Linus project. A new initiative is cleaning up the Indian River Lagoon and many more projects
We also make an annual donation to the local Little League baseball and sponsor the attendance of at least two students on an annual basis to RYLA. Our projects are funded through our three fundraisers: an annual golf tournament, the Sebastian Rotary Brewfest and the ShrimpFest & Craft Beer Hullabaloo.
The Sunrise Rotary Vero Beach club was founded in early 1989 with 32 members, has grown to 83 + 9 Honorary and currently the largest club in the district. In the past 5 years the club has donated $375,000 to local and international charities. This past year 60 projects were either hands on or funded by the club.
Our mission of the "The Young, the Old, and the Environment," guides our activities and giving initiatives. Our major fundraiser is in February, the Florida Craft Brew and Wing Fest. Floridacraftbrewandwingfest.
The club developed a matching funds program for some of the requests, to encourage the beneficiary organization to also find additional monies within the community, leveraging our charitable giving. For more information visit www.sunriserotaryverobeach.org
Oceanside Rotary Club was chartered in March 2009 and currently has 32 members.
The club’s outreach in the community focuses on several projects, partnerships with other non-profits and fundraisers. Our Literacy Project consists of our Little Free Libraries with free books available for adults, teens and children in our downtown and Oceanside locations. Our other community projects include Josh the Otter “Water Safety Program,” presented to hundreds of pre-school children each year, Wreaths Across America, a wreath laying ceremony at local cemeteries for our veterans and our “Shoe Box Project” for over 50 high school homeless and at-risk students. We’ve partnered with ORCA, Ocean Research & Conservation Association and adopted a living shoreline on the Indian River Lagoon. Several of our members travel to Guatemala each year, partner with local clubs in Guatemala to assist with urban and rural service projects. Our signature Fundraising Project is “Island Daze,” a fun-filled, island themed family day with food, vendors, music, games and raffles with proceeds benefiting local 501 (c)3 organizations.