Ro­tary takes aim at youth

Hills Gazette - - LOOK LOCAL | WORKPLACE -

GIDGE­GAN­NUP fa­ther-of-five Stephen Inouye is on a mis­sion to en­cour­age young peo­ple to share their skills with com­mu­ni­ties at home and abroad.

The new pres­i­dent of the Ro­tary Club of Perth is bring­ing the Hills and the City branches to­gether through a project pro­vid­ing work to Cam­bo­dian fam­i­lies for Perth’s home­less peo­ple.

“Our part­ner­ship with the Ro­tary Club of Swan Dis­tricts in their 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 eRo­tary Club to con­nect more elec­tron­i­cally with younger peo­ple.”

Mr Inouye moved to Aus­tralia from the US in 2000 af­ter 10 years of mil­i­tary ser­vice.

He is the man­ag­ing direc­tor of Ver­i­tas En­gi­neer­ing Group and un­der his guid­ance the com­pany has re­ceived na­tional awards and com­men­da­tions, in­clud­ing the 2011 Tel­stra Busi­ness Award Win­ner WA (Mi­cro Busi­ness) and 2016 Tel­stra Busi­ness Awards Fi­nal­ist WA (Small Busi­ness).

Last year he played a piv­otal role in help­ing es­tab­lish the Re­flec­tions through Re­al­ity Foun­da­tion, which part­nered 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 to the amaze­ment of the med­i­cal world.

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.

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