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Below I would like to share with you my incoming speech as President of the Rotary Club of Aruba for 2019-2020.
"Fellow Rotarians, partners in service, Rotaractors, Interactors and guests,

I feel honored to address you tonight as the newly elected president of the Rotary Club of Aruba for the Rotary year 2019 - 2020. Hope you are enjoying the evening so far!
I have to be honest with you and confess I had a hard time in deciding what to share with you tonight. But then I thought: why not share my reason for joining Rotary in the first place? What I have gained from joining Rotary back in December 2011, after being introduced by our late FR Gerald? Why would I recommend friends to join Rotary?

I joined Rotary in 2011 for the same reason most – if not all – of us did: wanting to help our community, while at the same time networking with persons of different vocations in our community.

Months after joining the club, I was asked by FR Danilo de Freytas if I would serve as his Secretary in his year as President, which would mean I would be joining the board only months after having been installed as a new member. Thinking this would “only” be a two year commitment, I accepted the challenge! Not knowing that later on a family favor would be called in – yes Ravee, I am looking at you! – and that I would remain in the board for four years. Looking back, I can say a heartfelt thank you to both FR Danilo and FR Ravee, for these four years helped me in learning a lot about Rotary, a knowledge I am sure will help me in the year ahead!

Joining Rotary has further opened my eyes for the need in our community and in the world.

While we have been blessed with family and friends to rely on in times of need and distress, many do not have this blessing. To many, the persons they can rely on in their times of distress are us, Rotarians!

Through our funding of organizations such as Centro Kibrahacha, YMCA, Sonrisa, Hende Muher den Dificultad, Breakfast for Kids and Meals on Wheels – just to name a few – we are able to provide a single parent with affordable after school care, a shelter to a woman against abuse, a meal to a kid to start the day right, support to those facing certain limitations and a place for the elderly to continue developing new skills in a later stage of their life. This on its own would be enough reasons for joining Rotary. But there's more!

During my years in Rotary, regretfully, we have lost Fellow Rotarians and have had to witness Fellow Rotarians losing loved ones. These experiences have shown me that – despite differences in characters and difference of opinions that may exist between us Rotarians – at the end Rotarians are family, that can be counted on for support in those moments when they are most needed.

Helping our community, connecting with professionals of different vocations, not only locally but worldwide, and gaining friends that become family are the main reasons for me to recommend friends to join Rotary. We can safely and proudly say we are much more than a  dining club! Our club faces challenges ahead, which are all addressed in this year’s focus: growing Rotary, without having to sacrifice our family and careers as priorities.

I have no doubt that our club will rise to this challenge, and that at the end of this year we will look back to a club that has grown not only in members and diversity, but also in impact, in reach and in its engagement in Rotary not only locally, but also on a district and international level.

A year where we will be proud to have accomplished this year’s Rotary goal: Unite People and Take Action by strengthening the many ways that Rotary Connects the World, building the connections that allow talented, thoughtful, and generous people to unite and take meaningful action through Rotary service.

Thank you and please allow me to call the incoming board of the Rotary year 2019-2020 forward for their installation pinning."


Yours in Rotary,

America Barrios
President 2019-20