THE new president of the Rotary Club of Perth is on a mission to encourage young people to share their skills with communities at home and abroad.
Stephen Inouye is bringing the hills and the city branches together through a project providing work to Cambodian families to help Perth’s homeless people.
“Our partnership with the Rotary Club of Swan Districts in its Stitches of Hope project will see Cambodian seamstresses sew 500 sleeping bags for the homeless in Perth,” he said.
He said Rotary hoped to engage a younger generation in the project, culminating in a team trip to Cambodia in October.
“Rotary offers young people experiences in community service, along with many other opportunities, including courses in public speaking and orienteering,” he said.
“We’d like to grow the organisation and set up an e-Rotary Club to connect more electronically with younger people.”
Mr Inouye moved to Australia from the US in 2000 after 10 years of military service.
Last year, he played a pivotal role in helping establish the Reflections through Reality Foundation, which partnered with Perth Rotary in raising more than $50,000 to find a cure for mesothelioma.
The foundation was inspired by the family of Helena Valley retired builder Barry Knowles, who survived the disease for more than a decade.
Mr Knowles passed away on Christmas Eve last year but donated his lungs and other organs for scientists to continue their research into finding a vaccine for the disease.
“The experience of bringing Rotary together with the Knowles’ family to try find a cure for this insidious disease made me realise – more than ever – why organisations like Rotary are so important to communities,” Mr Inouye said.
Mr Inouye is also involved in the Rotary club of Perth’s domestic violence project Path of Hope, is the chairman of Blue Sky Pilbara and participates in the Leadership WA program.