Youth Service & Charitable Giving


Some, but by no means all, of our Youth Service activities over the years include:

  • EarlyAct: Matteson Rotary sponsors this service club for elementary school students to teach them the Four-Way Test and how to live their lives by the Four-Way Test. Students at Illinois School in School District 162 complete age appropriate international, community and local service projects during the school year.
  • InterAct: A service club for high school students to provide opportunity for young people to work together in a world of fellowship dedicated to service and international understanding.  Every Interact club carries out at least two service projects a year: one that helps their school or community and one that promotes international understanding.

The goals of the program are noteworthy:  to recognize and develop constructive leadership and personal integrity; to encourage and practice thoughtfulness of and helpfulness to others; to create an awareness of the importance of home and family; to build respect for the rights of others, based on recognition of the worth of each individual; to emphasize acceptance of individual responsibility as the basis of personal success, community improvement, and group achievement.  Matteson Rotary and Park Forest Rotary jointly sponsor the InterAct Club at Southland College Prep Charter School in Richton Park and Matteson Rotary sponsors the InterAct Club at Rich Central High School in Olympia Fields.

  • RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Activities). We send students from Rich Central, Rich South, and Southland College Prep Charter School to participate in a leadership weekend activity in October.  
  • High School Scholarships are given to help fund their education to high school seniors attending Rich Central, Rich South, or Southland College Prep Charter School who plan to attend college or vocational school.   This Rotary year (2019-2020) we plan to award three $1,000 scholarships.
  • Third Grade Dictionary Project:  Club purchases and helps deliver dictionaries to third grade students in area elementary schools.
  • Matteson Rotary sponsored a Boy Scouts of America club to carry on the Scouting program for character development, citizenship training, and mental and physical fitness.
  • Rotary Short-Term Youth Exchange:  Our club has hosted international students who arrive as exchange students for a semester or for a full school year. Some of the countries represented by these students include Belgium, Brazil, and Taiwan.
  • Club helped fund the Ralph Medhurst Children’s Fund, Center for Performing Arts, Governors State University.  Through Arts In Education, The Center reaches students from Chicago to Kankakee and from Joliet to Schererville, Indiana. The Medhurst Children’s Fund, established in memory of The Center board member Ralph Medhurst finances tickets for students in underserved Southland schools. Since its inception, the fund has donated more than 5,850 tickets to The Center events. Students gain exposure to the arts—expanding their horizons and fostering learning in math, science and language arts. 
  • Club members participate in student reading/mentoring programs in area grade schools.
  • Four-Way Test essay contests at our local junior high school has introduced the Four-Way Test to additional young people.

*Some of these projects have been completed while others are ongoing.

Paul Harris Fellows

The Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute, or who have contributions made in their name, of US $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.

It was established in 1957 to show appreciation for and encourage substantial contributions to what was then the Foundation’s only program, Rotary Foundation Fellowships for Advanced Study, the precursor to Ambassadorial Scholarships.

The first Paul Harris Fellows include 1937-38 RI Director Allison G. Brush and longtime RI Treasurer Rufus F. Chapin, both for donations made in 1946. Mrs. Adan Vargas was the first woman to receive the recognition, for a gift made in 1953. Mrs. Harry L. Jones was the second, and one of only five people recognized for contributions made in 1957.

Early Paul Harris Fellows received a certificate of recognition. In 1969, the Foundation unveiled the first Paul Harris Fellow medallion at the RI Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. Japanese metal artist Fiju Tsuda created the piece under the direction of then-past Foundation Trustee Kyozo Yuasa. Today, Paul Harris Fellows receive a certificate and pin. They are also eligible to purchase a Paul Harris Fellow medallion.

Rotarians have a tradition of supporting the Foundation by honoring others. Ida LeTulle Taylor became a Paul Harris Fellow in 1978 when her husband, then-District Governor Vann Taylor, made a donation in her name in honor of their 34th wedding anniversary. The gift also made her the 25,000th Paul Harris Fellow.

At the International Assembly in 1979, then-RI President-elect James Bomar challenged each Rotary club to make one non-Rotarian a Paul Harris Fellow. The Rotary Club of Pikesville, Maryland, USA, responded by making a donation in the name of Mother Teresa in 1980. The entertainer Pearl Bailey also became a Paul Harris Fellow through a joint effort of the Rotary clubs in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. 

Many other notable figures have been named as Paul Harris Fellows, including U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, U.S. astronaut James Lovell, UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, and Jonas Salk. 

The number of Paul Harris Fellows reached the one million mark in 2006. 

The following current Matteson Rotary Club members are Paul Harris Fellows:

David Barr

Luann Berning

Earnestine Foster

Raymond Mathews

Donald Morrison

David Rock

Vicki Sline

Arthur Stein