How We Help

Since 1990, SML Rotary has been helping those in need, and our future leaders, around the lake and around the world.

Local Education Projects

educationWe like to help our home-grown students to excel and to become America’s future leaders. Many of our long-term local projects benefit schools in Franklin and Bedford counties, their teachers, and the children and young men and women who attend them.

Teachers and Students: As part of our long-term mission, we honor outstanding teachers and students at local schools at our annual Excellence in Education Award Banquet. We provide Thanksgiving baskets to 20 families of elementary school students. In 2012-2013 we piloted an Adopt-a-School program at a local elementary school.

High Schools: We sponsor a high school student to attend and speak competitively at the annual Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) conference at Virginia Tech. And each year we award college scholarships to graduating seniors at both county high schools.

Exchange Students: We sponsor an annual picnic at the lake for Rotary-sponsored international exchange students. Many call it a highlight of their USA visit, with the opportunity to explore Smith Mountain Lake aboard PWCs and pontoon boats.

Community Service Projects

Other SML Rotary projects focus on the needs of families, Smith Mountain Lake itself, local charities, and the business that employ those who live here.

community-serviceTackling Hunger: Rotary started the Tackling Hunger and Nutrition project, which each year provides more than a ton of free fresh fruits and vegetables to needy families in the Smith Mountain Lake area.

911 Emergency Dock Signs help first responders find your home from the water in case of  fire and medical emergencies. Club members volunteer their time to install the sign on your dock, and the Club makes a few bucks.

SML Rotary Foundation: The Foundation receives the proceeds of our fundraising projects, plus donations from members and the community. It financially supports our community projects. It also supports local non-profits with modest financial contributions. Local recipients have included Good Neighbors, Lake Christian Ministries, Unbridled Change, the Alex Ernandes Scholarship Foundation, and the VA Cooperative Extension Service Local Food and Garden Directory.

Community Services Directory: Rotarians interviewed area non-profits to compile a 2012 directory of financial, mental health, and other social services for the poor, disabled, and elderly who live near SML. The Community Services Directory (revised January 2015), in PDF format, may take a minute or two to download. Contact our President for printed copies to distribute through your church, health services provider, or other organization.

Community Needs Assessment: Rotarians interviewed dozens of community leaders, and published the results in this 2012 Needs Assessment. It helps us and other organizations to target the lake areas’ greatest needs with meaningful projects.

Paul Harris Awards: Paul Harris founded Rotary in 1905. When $1000 is donated to The Rotary Foundation to support its projects worldwide, a Rotarian, or non-Rotarian designee, can be named a Paul Harris Fellow. Each year we donate $1000 and award this honor to an exceptional non-Rotarian in the SML community.

Ronald McDonald House: We collect beverage can tabs to support the Ronald McDonald House and the lodging they provide for children undergoing surgery and treatment.

Rotary-PlaygroundRotary Playground: In 2006, the Rotary Clubs of SML and Rocky Mount funded and constructed an ADA-accessible Rotary Playground that promotes health and fitness for children aged 2 to 12. Grants, donations, and the two clubs’ volunteer labor brought the total project value to $50,000+. This Franklin County Community Park Playground at SML is one of our most enduring local projects.

Local Partnerships

SML Rotary also partners with other local non-profits, to help them achieve their goals. It’s a two-way street; they also help us to achieve ours.

Jim Cameron Memorial Walk: Jim Cameron was a Rotarian – and the founder and tireless advocate of Lake Christian Ministries and the needy. Each year, hundreds gather to honor Jim, and to raise funds for LCM. Many of us walk in Jim’s honor.

Mobile-Food-PantryLCM’s First Mobile Food Pantry: Several years ago, Lake Christian Ministries needed a way to deliver food to needy clients who were unable to pick it up at LCM’s office. SML Rotary and “a friend” provided the funding and labor to buy a used bread truck, refurbish it, add food shelves, and convert it to LCM’s first “mobile food pantry.”

Red Cross Blood Drives: Smith Mountain Lake Rotarians donate!

Clean Up Smith Mountain Lake: On the first weekend of May, we support SMLA with fully-manned pontoon boats to clean up storm debris and help make the lake safer for thousands of boaters.

Chamber of Commerce Business Expo: We park cars to support our local businesses and the lake-area residents who patronize them.

Charity Home Tour: On the first weekend of October, Rotarians park cars, dock boats, and host rooms in the eight homes that thousands visit. Home Tours provide up to $100,000/year for local charities.

International Projects

locked-handsOur community includes not just Smith Mountain Lake, but the world at large. Through our District and through Rotary International, we partner with other clubs to meet critical needs all over the globe.

Polio Eradication: 1.4 million Rotarians in 34,000 clubs worldwide have been working for 20 years to help eliminate polio from the face of the earth. Just one other disease has ever been eradicated: smallpox. Rotarians like us have personally donated more than $500 million to the fight, and thousands of us have personally administered vaccinations. The world is now 99% polio-free, but the scourge persists in several countries. We’re finishing the fight; your donation will help!

South Africa: SML Rotary led a 2013 multi-club international project to upgrade educational material and equipment for an elementary school for underprivileged kids in Grahamstown, South Africa. Our District 7570 and Rotary International together provided $4 for every $1 that we and three nearby partnering clubs donated.

Tanzania: SML Rotary led a 2010 matching-funds project, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Moshi, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania to furnish educational materials for the Hai Institute of Technology in Moshi. The grant provided tools and equipment to teach unskilled youth in the community specific trades and skills.