Longtime Sherwood Rotary Club member Renee Brouse was recently named Rotary International's district governor for 2023-24.
The new title means she will oversee Rotary District 5100, which includes 72 Rotary clubs in northern Oregon and Southwest Washington, stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Idaho border.
"As far as what I'm looking forward to, I see this as a continuation of service (as well as) my motto to 'be the change that I want to see,' and it's an opportunity to engage younger folks into Rotary and be an example, a leader and mentor to those folks," said Brouse, who also sits on the Sherwood City Council.
Brouse has served as executive director of Tigard's Good Neighbor Center since 2017, an agency that serves and houses families who are experiencing homelessness. She is a 14-year member of the Sherwood Rotary Club, serving as club president from 2011 to 2012.
"What I like about Rotary is the opportunity to serve community, and the community can be as simple as where you live, but it can (also) be the broader community," Brouse said.
And that community isn't always local.
"Through my travels in Colombia, I've seen firsthand the difference that Rotary can make in a community, in a town," said Brouse. "The impact is just incredible."
Brouse said both the Sherwood Rotary Club and the Newberg Rotary Club have a longstanding relationship with the Rotary Club of La Plata, a town and municipality in the Huila Department in Colombia.
"We have a sister city relationship, and we've done projects such as install water filters. We've built or helped fund and build three parks," said Brouse. "We've purchased and donated two ultrasounds."
In addition, the club has helped install 49 septic units and is working on installing another 91 units. Currently, the clubs are working to purchase a van for the city's senior center as well.
Brouse's first trip to Colombia was in 2011 and she's been every year since then except this year, when the pandemic canceled the trip.
Brouse said she loves traveling to Colombia and loves the residents there.
"As someone who speaks fluent Spanish … I've gone every year and bonded with them. I consider them my extended family," she said.
Brouse said some of the highlights of her time with the Sherwood Rotary Club include ensuring that the playground equipment in Murdock Park is accessible for those with physical challenges.
At the same time, she really enjoys working with students in their development, mentoring and leading.
"Our club is also heavily involved with the peace initiative," said Brouse. "We've got a peace committee that's doing some really good things in the community as well."
The club has installed numerous Peace Poles not only in Sherwood but also in Colombia as well. Those poles display the message "May Peace Prevail on Earth," usually in several different languages.
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