The Rotary Club of Coconut Creek sets its sights on the future

While 2016 was a tumultuous year for many, members of the Rotary Club of Coconut Creek were focused on giving their community a helping hand.

The club’s 19 members helped build a house for 4KIDS of South Florida and participated in Steps for SOS to benefit SOS Children’s Villages. They also helped paint, pressure-clean and trim bushes at Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen. Throughout the year, they continued their sponsorship of the Interact Club at North Broward Preparatory School, helping with a fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization that fights childhood cancer, and securing a grant for the group.

Recently, they helped pick up more than 100 pounds of trash on a two-mile stretch of U.S. Route 441 (through the state’s Adopt-a-Highway Program).

This year’s club president, Ja-Ronn Jones, says the club’s goal is to build community and unity in the Coconut Creek area. Giving back is an important factor in that.

“We’ve been hosting a barbecue for the Margate-Coconut Creek Fire Department, and that’s one way for us to give back and say thank you to those guys for their involvement in the community and for the things they do that go unnoticed,” says Jones.

While keeping its efforts local, the club is seeking to expand its reach.

However, Jones recognizes that the club has been lacking in fundraising, which is why the charter members are starting a nonprofit foundation to ease the donation process.

David W. Mountford, the youth services chair who’s been a Rotary member for 20 years and a two-time president of the Coconut Creek club, says the goal is for the foundation to contribute to charitable entities for the local community and perhaps internationally.

“Most of the people who are involved in Rotary are either business owners or they work for corporate entities, but the whole idea of Rotary is giving back. … The motto of Rotary is ‘Service above Self,’ and I think that’s one of the key things,” Mountford says. “I think everybody that’s involved in the club believes in those words or they wouldn’t be involved in it.”

In 2017, the club is also seeking ways to help the homeless and start a scholarship fund, for which Jones sees a community need. As a start, it’s revamping its website and has started broadcasting its meetings.

Jones says the club is also eager to welcome new volunteers or members.

“We’re always open to anything the community may need that we can assist with, so we’re always open to ideas and suggestions,” Jones says. “We’re always open to finding new members. We obviously want members who are focused on community-building first and foremost, but it is a team-building and networking environment as well.”

Jones says the club also is accepting of those who can contribute time or money but don’t necessarily want to become members.

Adds Mountford: “You get out of Rotary what you put into it. Anybody who really wants to give back to the community should really check Rotary out.”

To learn more about the Rotary Club of Coconut Creek, visit rotaryclubofcoconutcreek.org.