Submitted by Pat Butts, Rotary Club of Teton Valley
This piece was originally published in the June 23, 2016 issue of the Teton Valley News as part of the weekly Nonprofit Spotlight presented by the Community Foundation of Teton Valley.
In 2001, Rotary came to Teton Valley and quickly became a vital part of the community. As visitors and residents enter the valley from the northwest or southeast, they are greeted by the iconic “Welcome to Teton Valley” signs that were the first major Rotary project.
Next came the Teton Valley Food Bank, a joint project between the Rotary Club and St. Francis Episcopal Church, after Rotary members saw that a segment of our valley residents lived with food insecurity. Out of this initial effort grew the Teton Valley Food Pantry, an independent nonprofit located in a house on 1st street in Driggs that was generously provided by Teton Valley Health Care.
When the city building was being developed, the Rotary Club joined the effort to provide a welcoming meeting place for our senior citizens by painting the senior center, saving Seniors West of the Tetons considerable expense. Currently, Rotary continues to support the senior center by holding weekly club meetings there on Wednesdays at noon.
In our local high school, Rotary sponsors the Interact Service Club and the very important Student of the Month Scholarship Program. Teton High School students have also had the cultural experience of sharing their education with students from France, Germany, Norway and Brazil through Rotary’s International Exchange Program.
When the Community Foundation of Teton Valley was formed, Rotary formed its own local foundation in order to participate in the Tin Cup. In 2015, donations raised through that event enabled the local Rotary Club to provide over $18,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors, along with augmenting important school programs. Focusing on literacy, Rotary provides vouchers to each kindergarten and first grade student so they can pick out their own books at the spring book fairs. Focusing on leadership, Rotary sends selected freshmen to RYLA, Rotary’s Youth Leadership summer camp in Montana, and contributes to local students seeking funding to attend competitions at the district and national levels. This year, Rotary supported competitions that included the Teton High School robotics program, FFA officers, and our state champion poetry winner who will represent Idaho at national competition.
Rotary’s mission is to “provide service in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world” and through our partnerships with community members, we have been able to continue our commitment to service in Teton Valley. From feeding the hungry to enriching the educational experiences of our local youth, we are here to serve.
If you are affiliated with a Teton Valley nonprofit, we want to hear from you! Help us share why Teton Valley nonprofits matter. Each week, the Community Foundation will highlight a local nonprofit in the pages of the Teton Valley News. Email Dawn Banks, Marketing and Programs Director, at [email protected] or call 208.354.0230. We look forward to helping share your story!