• Winner: WINNER
  • Date: 1/31/2016
  • Rotary Year: 2015-2016
  • Award Category: Youth Activities
  • Club NameRockingham County
  • Member First NamePaul Riner
  • Address: 
    3275 Fort Lynne Road
    Rockingham, VA, VA 22802
    United States View on Map
  • Email: paul.riner@gmail.com
  • Brief Description: 
    The Rotary Club of Rockingham County supports youth in our area in many diverse and unique ways. I hope that the short descriptions below will give you just a small peek into all that we do as a club year round in order to impact the youth in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County!

    1. This year we celebrated the 10th anniversary of hosting and being the title sponsor of the "Rockingham Rotary All American Soapbox Derby". Each year, many children and their families work together using STEM initiatives to construct, design, and race soap box derby cars in three divisions. The winners from each division are then sponsored for a week in Akron, OH for the International Soapbox Derby finals. This year, the Rockingham Rotary Club began partnerships with the Rockingham County Public School system to make Soapbox Derby a part of the curriculum for STEM initiatives. The club has also partnered with the local Boys and Girls Club to pair drivers with cars donated by club members ans community members. In all, both organizations have invested almost $28,000 combined in curriculum, soap box cars and supplies, training, and implementation. The future is bright!

    2. This year, we are co-sponsoring a Rotary Exchange Student, Moritz, from Munich Germany. He is an exchange student and is attending Spotswood High School, with our club member, Suzanne Myers, serving as his mentor.

    3. We are part of a Collaborative Grant with all other Area 3 clubs sponsoring an initiative to give new parents books to read to their new babies, in partnership with the Massanutten Regional Library.

    4. We help plan and put on the Ronald McDonald House Golf Tournament with the Waynesboro EA Rotary Club to benefit the Ronald McDonald House in Charlottesville, VA at the University of Virginia.

    5. We helped the Department of Social Services in our area by sponsoring needy children in our area for Christmas. This includes purchasing, wrapping, and delivering the gifts as well as having some club members attend the "Christmas" event at the DSS offices.

  • Participation of Club Members: 
    1. 90 %
    2. Susanne Myers is the exchange student's mentor, but our entire club has financially supported him during his time and were present when he came to speak about his experience in our club in January.
    3. 20-30%
    4. 30%
    5. 60%
  • Resulting Benefits: 
    1. The children who participate in Soapbox Derby has usually been limited to a relatively small number of racers each year. With the new partnership, the expectation is that MAY more students will be impacted, as the Soap Box curriculum, as well as Rotary, will become a part of their STEM curriculum. In the same way, our partnership with the Boys and Girls Club will expand the students who will benefit from the program, learning teamwork, goal-setting and achievement, and good, clean competition and sportsmanship.

    2. We truly believe that even though Moritz, our exchange student, is the primary beneficiary, that other students who interact with him at Spotswood High School as well as the RYLA conference will be impacted by our sponsorship of him. It will allow the sharing of ideas and culture across country borders, across the world, as well as building tolerance, understanding, and growth of each students' worldview.

    3. New mothers and their newborn babies benefit with this literacy initiative by receiving books, literature on the importance of reading, and will give these babies a head start to a lifetime of learning.

    4. The Ronald McDonald House in Charlottesville, VA benefits through a substantial financial gift of all proceeds of the golf tournament. This money helps families who need to stay with their children who may be facing life threatening illnesses and need long term care. The family's stay at the Ronald McDonald House is always free of charge.

    5. Underprivileged children and families in the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County area benefit by receiving what for some is the only Christmas gifts each year.
  • Additional Material or Information #1: 
    Daily New Record Article covering the 2015 Rockingham Rotary All American Soapbox Derby.
  • 1st Supporting Document: 
    Soapbox Derby Article- Post Race June 15 2015.pdf