Candace’s Rotary Round-Up: Merrillville

Candace’s Rotary Round-Up: Merrillville

Candace’s Rotary Round-Up: Merrillville

Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem solvers who join together to make positive, lasting change in communities at home and abroad. Over the years, Rotarians have taken on global causes ranging from literacy and peace to water and health.

Many local initiatives are happening right around us! Scholarships for high school students, cleaning up of local parks and gifts of time, talent and treasure to a wide variety of nonprofit organizations are all the foundation of the Club’s motto: “Service Above Self”

I joined the efforts of the Chesterton-Porter Rotary Club as a way to give back to the community I grew up in. Today, I bring you the Region’s Rotary Round-Up as a way to shine a light on all the great and fantastic things happening as a result of Clubs around the region!

Here’s your Rotary Recap:

I had the pleasure of meeting some awesome individuals with the Merrillville Rotary Club earlier this week. Self-described as “small but mighty” and led by president Micki Pawlowski, these Rotarians are making an enormous impact on the community they serve! The meeting was called to order and after a prayer, everyone enjoyed a fabulous family style lunch provided by Innsbrook Country Club.

Over lunch, Sheila Brillson, Executive Director and Cortney Rose Robinson, Program Manager, for the South Shore Leadership Center at Purdue Northwest (SSLC) joined the group to give a program outlining their mission, purpose, and most importantly their vision for the future.

Brillson, also the former Mayor of Michigan City, IS just 60 days into her new Executive Director role; however, she is no stranger to leadership.

“Our goal at the South Shore Leadership Center is to work across our region to produce people who can be skilled, good leaders in their community,” Brillson said. “Research indicates that you can build leaders and so our goal is to be the regional hub for leadership development. Recently we have become associated more closely with Purdue Northwest and we could not be more excited!”

Programs like Leadership Northwest Indiana (LNI) and Student Leadership Youth Community Engagement (SLYCE) are helping to ensure the organization achieves its mission and the partnership with Purdue Northwest is on par to enhance these programs even more!

After the program, an announcement was made reminding members of an upcoming service project, Clothing Our Children. The initiative provides winter clothes for the underprivileged and disadvantaged children in the school systems including Crown Point, Hobart, Lake Station, Merrillville, and Ross Township. With an estimated number of 9,000 children across these districts who qualify for free or reduced lunch, the need has risen drastically since the project was first launched back in 2004.

In the past 15 years, the Clothing Our Children campaign has touched the lives of 5,385 children and raised $396,950! This year’s recipients will be selected by the school system and a $75 voucher will be given to the parent(s) – vouchers are only valid for children’s winter apparel and this year extra vouchers have been added for siblings. Club members credit the sponsors, school communities, local businesses, and event attendees who made a difference in the lives of so many children.

The Merrillville Rotary Club will host their 15th Annual Charity Benefit for Children on Sunday, February 10 2019, from 1-4pm at the Avalon Banquet Center in Merrillville. Be sure to save the date and visit for more information.

Interested in joining the efforts of a Rotary Club near you? Send me an email: and I’ll help connect you