Meet the new President for the Rotary Club of Franklin, which is quite a new club itself.
Karen Yates of Pukekohe has recently been elected to the role, and says that she hopes she can do her predecessor justice.
Karen, who moved to the Franklin area 18 months ago from the North Shore, says she originally joined the club to meet new people.
“A colleague at work suggested it, and joining has been one of the best moves I have made.”
The Rotary Club of Franklin was only established around four years ago, and Karen says that while they are still a relatively new group, their aims are still community focus.
“We receive great support from the Rotary Club of Pukekohe, and we are very appreciative of their help.”
The group, which consists of around 15 to 20 people, is mainly made up of ‘younger’ members, who would like to make a difference in the community. Karen says they mainly do so by trying to raise funds and awareness for local charities.
“For example, this month we are holding a Casino Night fundraiser for the School Start First Impressions, who help underprivileged children celebrate their fifth birthday and get everything they need to start school. We would like to offer local practical help for those who are struggling. Working in the disability sector, I have developed a strong heart for children and their causes.”
A self-confessed thespian, Karen was in the latest Onewhero Performing Arts Society play, Calendar Girls, and has recently landed a role in the Pukekohe Performing Arts musical, Footloose. She believes that being involved with these local groups is complimentary to her new role.
“Both the rotary and performing arts groups are quite curious of one another, so hopefully we will be able to make it work in each others’ favour, and use the resources available to us to help benefit our community.”
Another area that Karen would like to investigate further into assisiting is the housing crisis.
“I was attracted to Pukekohe as it meant that I could afford my own home, and not have to travel far for work. But we are facing a real issue here, with some families in our area struggling to find suitable housing. I feel so lucky to be in my situation, and would like to give back.”
Karen says her move to Franklin has been very positive, and says that it is the people here that make it special.
“Being involved with Rotary and the performing arts groups has seen me make friends for life. This entire community has been so welcoming, and I just hope that I can give that generosity back in this role.”