Group Award Winner

By Anna Yee

June 8, 2011 Updated Jun 8, 2011 at 6:56 PM CDT

The winner of the Children's Hospital of Illinois Group Award is the Rotary Club of Peoria-North.

Local leaders putting service above themselves.... That's what the rotary club of Peoria North is all about.

For more than 40 years, this not-for-profit group has devoted countless hours to helping others, especially our youth.

"It sounds like a cliche," said Mark Roberts, President of the Rotary Club of Peoria North, "but the youth are really the next generation of leaders in our community,"

That's why President Mark Roberts and all 165 Peoria North members continue to boost local education and literacy efforts.

Each year, members give books and volunteer time with Hines Elementary students, and programs like the Dictionary Drive have given every District 150 3rd grader a book they can call their own.

"The teachers and administrators report back to us that sometimes this is the only book that belongs to them that some of these children have had," said Roberts, "and that it's a very useful tool for them as well."

But the story doesn't end there. The Rotary Club has 1.2 million members worldwide.

Together, they hope to reach the next chapter...

"There's only 4 polio-endemic countries left in the world today," continued Roberts. "The incidents or cases are, I believe, less than 100 at this time. So, we are 'this close' to eradicating polio, and rotary has been one of the leaders in that."

...Leaders who come together to listen, learn and laugh...

"It's a wonderful club," said Roberts. "It's full of a lot of fun, caring, dedicated rotarians that are committed to putting service above self. It's a great club to belong to."