Rotary Club members come from all walks of life, but they have one thing in common: they really love being Rotarians. Just ask Katie Zimmerman of Keller Williams Realty Maui, who is a founding member of the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset and currently serves as its assistant community service chair. “We are a group of folks who want to make our world a better place locally, nationally and internationally,” she said. “I enjoy meeting people that I probably would not have met otherwise—people in our club, as well as members of our community.”

Rotary is an international service organization composed of business and professional leaders who create positive, lasting change in communities around the world. Rotary International is credited with initiating the global effort to eradicate polio; it has helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children against polio in 122 countries, reducing polio cases by 99.9 percent worldwide.

The Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset was chartered in 2014 and its roster includes six Realtors Association of Maui members: Zimmerman, Sharon Beach of Susan Jackson Real Estate, Heidi Dollinger of Island Sotheby’s International Realty, Nancy Montoya of Keller Williams Realty Maui, Leanna Roberts of iTrip Vacations Maui and Kyoko Wills of Old Republic Title Company. “The Realtor spirit of giving back to our community is strong in our club,” Zimmerman said.

The mission of the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset is to enhance the quality of life in West Maui and beyond by engaging in meaningful projects within five areas: club service, community service, international service, vocational service and youth service. Among other things, club members host school supply drives, collect donations for the Maui Food Bank, distribute dictionaries to third graders at local schools, award academic scholarships and participate in the Rotary-sponsored Rescue Tube project, which installs rescue tube stations on beaches countywide. The club also partners with Malama Maui Nui (a nonprofit organization that engages the community in litter prevention, recycling and beautification efforts) to sponsor the monthly “Go Green Recycling” event at the Lahaina Cannery Mall.

Zimmerman and her fellow club members recently launched a new community service project after learning that Princess Nahi‘ena‘ena Elementary School had loaned computers to several students so they could complete their work virtually amid the COVID-19 outbreak. When the school year ended in late May, the students returned the loaner computers to the school. With the help of Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena Elementary School principal Dr. Rebecca Winkie, the club created the “Computers for Kids Project” and set out to procure computers for the students to keep. “We quickly formulated a task force to implement a plan to collect, clean, refurbish and donate the computers to the school before school begins in August,” Zimmerman explained. “It is all hands on deck and a team effort for sure.”

The club’s goal is to round up 90 devices—desktops, laptops or tablets—by July 31. The Rotarians teamed up with The Lahaina News’ “Computer Guru,” George Gordan, who is volunteering his time and expertise to wipe the devices clean and reinstall the necessary software. Zimmerman says the importance of this project cannot be overstated. “Computers have become vitally important in our everyday lives,” she said. “It is imperative for students to learn about computer use to not only get school work completed, but to be familiar with their application so they can continue to use them as adults in the workplace. There are families that don’t have a computer at home, so we want to bridge the gap for those students.”

You can help the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset bridge that gap by making a tax-deductible donation. Donors can take their unwanted desktop computer, laptop or tablet to Moku Roots in the Lahaina Gateway Center between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. any day of the week. Financial contributions for this and other projects are also welcome. For more information, contact Zimmerman at 280-8986. To learn more about the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset, visit www.rotarycluboflahainasunset.org.

The Maui News – June 29, 2020

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