Focus on Youth

The Club has an ongoing commitment to the education and development of the next generation of leadership in Grant County and beyond. This commitment is expressed through:

•Support for literacy programs
•Rotary Youth Leadership Awards
•College scholarships
•Rotary Youth Exchange
•A number of other youth-oriented projects and programs.

Support for Literacy Programs

Over the years, the Club has given substantial support to Literacy Link Leamos for its Let’s Read Program of book distribution to children in area elementary and middle schools. Literacy Link Leamos was one of the beneficiaries of the 2012 Rotary Auction and received a $9,000 contribution from the Auction proceeds. The 2014 Auction resulted in a contribution of $12,000 to LLL’s Let’s Read program.

The Club has also been a ctive supporter of The Imagination Library of Grant County. The Imagination Library’s mission is “to promote reading readiness and language proficiency for all Grant County preschool children by delivering books to their homes monthly, thereby giving them the foundation for future learning success.” The Imagination Library has received funding from the Club and also received a contribution of $12,000 from the 2014 Rotary Auction.

More recently, the Club initiated a program of providing books to kindergarten students in Grant County. These kids are too old to receive books from the Imagination Lbrary and are not yet being served by the Literacy Link Leamos’s Let’s Read program.

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

Each year, the Club participates in the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program. This program seeks to provide young adults, ages 14-30, with an opportunity to develop their skills and character while exposing them to Rotary’s values of service, high ethical standards, and peace. The RYLA Camp conducted by our Rotary District (District 5520 – New Mexico and West Texas) is held in July each year and is designed for students who are between their junior and senior year in high school. There is a one-week camp for boys and a separate one-week camp for girls. Applications are due in mid-March, but later applications can be accepted. Click here to access the application for this year’s District 5520 RYLA program.

College Scholarships

The Club annually awards one or two college scholarships in the amount of $1,000 to $1,500 each to graduating high school seniors who have been accepted at an accredited college in the United States. Applications forms become available in January.

For the year 2020-21, the Club has added a vocational scholarship that is open to students enrolling in a vocational discipline at Western New Mexico University. These scholarships are in the amount of $500 each. To learn about eligibility criteria and the application process click here and look for Rotary Vocational Scholarship under Applied Technology.

In addition, Western New Mexico University has a Rotary Scholarship Fund from which awards are made to current WNMU students who will be juniors or seniors during the coming year. Click here to find a listing of all scholarships available at WNMU. Rotary Scholarships are referenced in the General Scholarships category.

Rotary Youth Exchange

Youth Exchange is a study-abroad opportunity for young people who spend anywhere from a few weeks to a full year as an international student hosted by local Rotary clubs. Exchanges are for people ages 15–19 who: Have demonstrated leadership in their school and community; are flexible and willing to try new things; are open to cultural differences; and can serve as an ambassador for their own country.

The Club has participated in the Youth Exchange Program over the years, has sponsored outbound and hosted inbound students. To learn more about the program, click here or send an email to to express your interest in an outbound youth exchange experience or to let us know that you would be willing to host an incoming youth exchange student for a period of time.

Other Projects & Programs

The club has made contributions to the Youth Mural Program of the Mimbres Region Arts Council. $9,000 of the 2012 Rotary Auction proceeds was allocated to that program. The program allows students from local schools to take part in the planning, designing, and production of murals in the region. The picture at right shows students working on the Bataan Memorial mural in Santa Clara, NM. Click on the picture to learn more about that particular mural.

The 2017 Rotary Auction provided $9,700 in funding to the Gila Valley Library to build a gazebo for youth programming.

Through a variety of fund raising efforts, club has contributed to the Alimento Para El Nino backpack program of the Grant County Volunteer Center. The program provides weekend backpacks of food for kids in Grant County who don’t get enough to eat.

The club cooperates with the Kiwanis Club, the Silver City Police and Fire Departments, the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, and Bikeworks in hosting the annual Bike Safety Rodeo in conjunction with the Tour of the Gila. The event provides bike safety instruction, safety helmets and bike repair for 4-13 year olds.

Proceeds from the 2012 Rotary Auction also helped to furnish The Spot, a youth center developed by The Wellness Coalition.