THE IMPORTANCE OF GRANDPARENTS

Grandparents have always played an essential role in bringing up children, but nowadays, more people rely on their parents to help them with their kids. The unconditional love of grandparents benefits children in many ways. A grandparent’s love and warmth creates a special bond between both generations. Most important, it gives them a feeling of comfort and security.

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BUILDING A LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR GRANDCHILDREN

Distance makes the heart grow fonder, right? Phooey, it stinks! Forming and maintaining bonds with grandchildren long distance can be challenging and sometimes frustrating. Luckily, technology helps bridge the gap of physical distance.

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ENJOYING ROAD TRIPS WITH GRANDCHILDREN

The summer months provide the perfect opportunity to spend extra time with your grandchildren. Perhaps a week at Grandma and Grandpa’s house is something the children look forward to every year, but this summer, why not go on a little adventure? Road trips can create a whole new family experience, something the children will remember forever.

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“We are in the middle of a membership drive because to do all of these things we need a lot of members,” Van Der Meer added. “We just want to make sure that we have somebody we think will contribute and do things for the club.”


Van Der Meer was formerly a general manager at hotels and state parks, but he wanted something more. “I always felt the community was an important part,” he said. “We have our jobs and careers but life is a lot bigger than that.” Rotary turned out to be just what he was looking for.


Speaking from his experience, Van Der Meer believes your involvement with Rotary will make you feel good. “It gave me a lot of joy to work with many organizations from United Way to Rotary,” Van Der Meer said. “I served on various committees and I do not do it for any other reason than the pure joy of giving.”

If you’ve heard of the Rotary Club but don’t know any details about it, you’re probably not the only curious person reading this article.


“Rotary is the largest and oldest service organization in the world with over 35,000 clubs internationally and 1.25 million members,” said Gerry Van Der Meer, president of the Rotary Club of Lexington.


Rotary started over 100 years ago when several businessmen came together and decided to do some good in the world. Though the club was originally a men’s - only organization, it has diversified and now has women, too.


The Lexington club is the 21st largest with 350 members.


Members are very proud of their growth and giving. “We are the fifth most giving civic organization in the world and are supported in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,” Van Der Meer said.


The club gives scholarships to high school students and offers mentoring and reading programs for grade-school children. Another popular Rotary event is Dancing with the Lexington Stars, which is held every May. The funds go to Surgery on Sunday.  

ROTARY CLUB REACHES OUT LOCALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY

“The hospitals give their space and doctors and nurses give their time and Rotary provides the money to take care of all the costs for the operations,” said Van Der Meer.


During the annual winter clothing program, Rotary volunteers work at the Kentucky Horse Park. They charge $5 for a picture with Santa to raise money to buy over 800 coats for kids.


The Rotary Club also provides grants. “People will submit what their needs are in small increments from anywhere from $500 to $5,000,” Van Der Meer said. One grant recipient is the Toyota Bluegrass Miracle League, where children play at a handicapped accessible ballpark.


“We like to do things in the community but internationally as well,” said Van Der Meer. “We are currently helping with the installation of solar panels in Rameswaram, India. Our mantra is, ‘Service above self.’ We are people who want to give back. We walk the walk; we do not just talk the talk.

JAMIE LOBER

Jamie Lober is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

more articles by jamie lober