Article- Service Transforms Lives

By Paula Caldeiram, a member of the Rotaract Club of St. Paul Espro, Sao Paulo, Brazil

This is my “Rotary Moment.” I became an Interactor in 2008, and after a year of activities found myself transitioning to Rotaract as a member of the St. Paul Espro club. One of our service projects is a campaign to help provide warm clothing for the homeless.

I was taking part in this project this August when something special touched my heart. A group of people were huddled near the Dom Pedro II metro station in Sao Paulo, attempting to warm themselves with a small fire that was barely large enough for two people to stand beside and get warm. I approached the group and explained that I was a volunteer and the clothes and warm blankets I had were to help them fight off the severe cold.

One of the men took the items without saying a word, and I could see the distrust in his eyes, trying to understand what was happening. Soon, I saw his expression change from confusion to something else, a gesture of thanks. We held a prayer, formed a large circle, and together finished with an “amen.” I raised my head and looked around the circle; I met his eyes and a smile pure and simple. It was the way I wanted to end the evening.

People often ask me why I volunteer and I always give the same answer. I am falling in love with seeing how practicing service can transform the life of another person.