Club Meeting – March 26th, 2015
Jeff Howard, Chair of the International Youth and Interact Committee, started today’s program by providing an overview of our club’s participation in the Rotary Youth Exchange program. It is the largest and safest program of its kind in the world. Run by Rotarians with oversight from the national governments of participating Rotary clubs. Jeff recognized the families who opened their homes to Alvaro Catel for two to three months stays – Club members Jim Wallace, Lisa & Reid Garst along with non-Rotarian Nancy Sullivan all of Salem are his gracious hosts.
Jeff introduced Scott Habeeb, Principal of Salem High School. Mr. Habeeb spoke of the contribution youth foreign exchanges and other international programs have brought to the school. He also identified a common mission shared between us to serve the community and be engaged in international activities to foster goodwill in the world. It is his hope that our Club’s relationship with Salem High School continues to grow in the future. Mr. Habeeb introduced our featured speaker, Rotary Exchange Scholar, Alvaro Catel.
Alvaro comes from Sorocaba, Brazil, a city of 700,000 inhabitants near Sao Paulo and not too distant from Rio de Janeiro. Alvaro enjoys soccer, basketball, art and playing the guitar.
Remarkably, Alvaro is the third person in his family to participate in Rotary Youth Exchange. His mother was an Exchange Student in the Chicago area. His sister, also an exchange student, shared the same host family as his mother two decades prior.
Alvaro’s presentation acquainted us to his family and friends at home, his adventures to date in America, and facts about Brazil. So far Alvaro has seen snow and skied for the first time, traveled to New York City (visited Madison Square Garden for an NBA game), Baltimore, and Charlottesville for a UVA football game along with experiencing as a Salem High School student – academic, athletic, and social activities.
Alvaro is a shining example of how the Rotary Youth Exchange program is a life changing experience, which provides opportunities for students to advance their knowledge and world view by living in other countries. It touches not only the students but enhance the lives are all those who are involved in the program.