Whether it's getting dictionaries and thesauruses for local elementary school students or helping children in India get inoculations for polio, the Niles Rotary Club has spent years making a difference for others.
The Niles Rotary, working with the Rotary Foundation, have secured grants for local and worldwide efforts, said Jim Tallman, Niles Rotary member and six year district chairman for the Rotary Foundation Northeast Ohio Region. The Northeast Ohio Region is made up of 48 local Rotary Clubs.
"Rotary is doing many different things to make a difference,'' Tallman said.
Tallman and his wife, Dawn, traveled to India in 2009 to help hearing impaired children and to help administer polio vaccines. They have since been able to send funds back to the country to help children get inoculated for polio.
The 25-member Niles Rotary Club along with all members of northeast region Rotary Clubs make a contribution to the Rotary Foundation and applies for matching funds and grants, Tallman said. The Niles Club was able to receive several matching funds. The per capita giving by each individual club determines the amount of money that comes from the Rotary Foundation. Locally, per capita donations were $159, enabling the club to receive $1,300.
"The more you give to the foundation the more you are able to do," he said.
Tallman has worked with Dr. Nina Patel, a past governor for Rotary. Patel, through her contacts from many parts of the world, helps the club determine where the need is the greatest. During Rotary's 75th anniversary conference in 1980, Jim and Dawn Tallman were able to meet people from Zambia and India and to hear their stories of need.
"We saw the need in India when we were there and have heard about what is taking place in other parts of the world," Tallman said.
One project the Rotary has contributed funds to was getting a well in Zambia to provide safe drinking water for two schools with 2,400 children. The schools previously used water from a river several miles away that contained crocodiles and parasites. Tallman said the people used the same dirty water from an old well for cooking, bathing and drinking.
''They now have healthier cleaner water,'' Tallman said.
Rotary also focuses on polio with their campaign to eliminate polio throughout the world. The only disease every eliminated was small pox in 1977, Tallman said. Currently, the only endemic countries left are Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Since the Tallmans' visit to India to help with inoculations, no cases of polio have been reported and the number of polio cases has greatly decreased. With the help of the Bill Gates Foundation, which over the last three years has given $405 million to the campaign, $200 million dollars were matched by Rotarians.
Locally the club provides dictionaries and thesauruses to children in Niles district and St. Stephen schools. In addition to the dictionary program, Niles Rotary member Kristen Taylor is working on a teddy bear project that will give comforting teddy bears to children who lose a parent or experiences a traumatic event such as a house fire.
Over the past few years, the Niles Rotary Club has donated more than $6,000 in to such project as: