It is said that the most precious gift you can give is Time. When you give of your time, you give a little of yourself and a part of your life to someone else. Time in the service of others is what defines all Rotarians. This is especially true during the Christmas season when so many of our members are involved in putting on two of our largest events of the year.
 
For many months leading up to Christmas, our members spend an enormous amount of time planning and preparing two spectacular celebrations to make many people very happy. The first celebration is our annual Seniors Christmas Lunch held on December 9th and the second is our very special party for children with special needs held on Sunday December 11th, which is perhaps the longest running children’s Christmas Party in the City of Toronto. Both celebrations require planning on a grand scale, which several members do with great enthusiasm and passion. You will find more details and great pictures of both celebrations featured in this week’s Voice.
 
Mary Lach, Chair of the Senior Citizens’ Committee and Lorraine Lloyd, Chair of the Children’s Christmas Party should be congratulated for taking the lead of organizing these two special celebrations. With their driving force, they gathered great teams of enthusiastic volunteers consisting of members, friends and family, and Rotaractors from Toronto, UofT, and Ryerson to make these two celebrations a spectacular success and in so doing, bring lots of joy and laughter to our special guests, both young and old.
 
So many of our members give of their time and service. As you may know, the definition of service is evolving in Rotary and the long-standing focus on “attendance” at a weekly gathering is being challenged by the hard realities of work and life that demands our time and forces us to prioritize our attention.
 
At The Rotary Club of Toronto, we need to talk about what service means to us. Our Club Board of Directors is engaged in this conversation and I encourage you to get involved in this dialogue. As our membership evolves with the ever changing world in which we live and work, we need to be responsive and flexible with how we define time and service to Rotary.
 
For me, service can mean different things — some participate on Committees identifying the philanthropic projects worthy of our support, while others come out to our events and parties to lend a helping hand, or take part in sweat equity trips in faraway places. And there are dedicated members who just do the many activities that make things happen at our Club, whether that is finding great speakers for our lunch meetings, writing articles for the Voice, promoting our brand on social media, selling 50/50 tickets, or organizing fun fellowship events for all to enjoy. All manner of service is worthy and valuable.
The world needs Rotary, now more than ever. Our singular mission is to improve the lives of people and to create a better world. In whatever way you choose to serve Rotary, I sincerely thank you for your ongoing commitment to our community, our Club and our members.

And at this special sacred season, I hope you take the time to reflect on the many blessings of your life and the privilege to be of service to others. Hedley and I extend our very best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a bright New Year to you and your families.
 
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