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Rotarians in Action
Tony Pedriana leads and re-invents our STRIVE Program

One of our club's signature programs is our STRIVE (Students Taking Renewed Interest in the Value of Education) program, headed up by Tony Pedriana. STRIVE was born in District 5960 and has expanded to districts throughout the world. Our club recently took a one-year “sabbatical” to review and come back with a recommendation for the future of the STRIVE program.

STRIVE is a youth mentoring program designed to help high school seniors focus on improvement. Program participants are required to have a 90% attendance rate at school, attend monthly meetings, attend a morning Rotary meeting, and complete a minimum of two “empowerment activities.” The program involves monthly presentations to a small group of students and includes a scholarship opportunity based on academic improvement, with the intention that these would go to students who might otherwise not qualify for scholarships. In recent years, our club awarded a total of $2500 in scholarships to students participating in the STRIVE program.

We have had challenges with low levels of participation, a perceived stigma associated with the program (students knew that your GPA had to be below 3.25 GPA to participate), and a very short time with students for quality curriculum. After conversations with the principal, counselors and STRIVE volunteers, we made some changes to the 2015-2016 program, including dropping the low GPA requirement and moving the meeting time from the FOCUS time (30 minutes) to a regular block time (80 minutes). While we had a modest increase in participation, we saw low levels of commitment and engagement, and the majority of the targeted students (those with low GPAs) ended up dropping out of the program.

For 2017-2018, Tony is recommending that we reset the participation criteria so that it clearly targets students in the bottom third of their class. We will have direct and intensive recruitment efforts based on teacher, counselor and administrator referrals. We will actively recruit students while still in their junior year, also reaching out to their parents. We will also revamp the curriculum with a greater emphasis on mentor presentations, post-secondary options and employment. We are also considering increasing scholarship awards and exploring possible scholarship matches from local colleges. Success indicators for the 2017-2018 program will include at least 10 students recruited, an 80% retention rate and an 80% improvement rate.

One of the biggest – and most important – changes to the program will be the enhanced role of mentors, who will play an active role in large group meetings, provide individual support with goal setting and progress. We will be so involved with these students that these students will see that failure is not an option!


Our club has a strong emphasis on youth programs. Projects and programs include:

  • Sponsorship of incoming and outgoing Rotary Youth Exchange Students, including Gary, our current guest from Taiwan.
  • The Strive Program - helping high school students maintain a focus on their education and encouraging future educational goals.
  • Westside Readers - helping grade school students at Westside Elemenbary strengthen their reading skills.
  • Support of schools in need in other areas of the world, including Haiti and Peru.

Strive scholarship recipients Rachel Kelm and Megan Loney with Rotarians Tony Pedriana and Elaine Baumann

What is Rotary? Check out this short video!

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