Sometimes, making better decisions means going against the grain.
As the president of Lakeland South Rotary Club from 2011 to 2012, Alyssia helped the chapter improve its connections with the greater community of Lakeland, while at the same time becoming a mom for the second time. Yet, her fondest memory of that year is how she ended it.
Traditionally, presidents would “pass the gavel” onto the next with an awards ceremony for the executive board and its members. Trophies, awards, and plaques were budgeted for and given away, year after year, without a second thought paid into the process.
But, Rotarians are a little different.
“Someone said to me at the beginning of the year, ‘I don’t need any more [awards], they’re just piling up,’” Alyssia shared. “I spent the year thinking, well, what am I going to do with the money we’ve budgeted for plaques that we don’t actually want?”
The question lingered in her mind until that very last day that she held office. On that day, she invited a group of six select students from Medulla Elementary to eat lunch in a room adjacent to the Rotary Club’s final meeting space, never once revealing her reason for doing so.
At that final meeting, Alyssia turned to the board and announced that instead of giving out plaques that year, she’d be giving out memories. Unbeknownst to nearly everyone in the room, Alyssia had used the money for awards to purchase six bikes for the unsuspecting students next door, some of whom had had their bikes stolen just earlier that year.
“The club got to participate in the giving of those bicycles,” Alyssia said. “It was just very cool to sit back and see the joy that everyone had in that room at that moment.”