top of page
  • Writer's pictureRay Sanford

Finding Meaning

My first international project - a dental clinic in Ensenada. We've been holding it twice a year since 2004.

2003 was a turning point. My son was off to college and I was feeling a bit lost, going through the same routine every day. It felt meaningless.

I remembered that 25 years prior, prior to moving to Orange County and starting a family, I had been a member of Rotary. Part of a worldwide organization that made a difference.

Joining Rotary was a turning point. It's all about creating positive change, not just in our own community but around the world. Getting involved, even leading initiatives, gave me a whole new level of satisfaction. I could use my skills and energy for something impactful.

I discovered the importance of taking on responsibilities that mattered, things that made a real difference when I started our Ensenada Dental Clinic. Coordinating that service project was a big responsibility. Rallying volunteers, managing everything, and making sure it actually helped people. But that weight gave my life new purpose. I wasn't just watching anymore, I was actively making things better. Seeing the results, the real difference we made, that was incredibly meaningful.

That project led to others. A clean stove project in Central America. Eye surgeries in India. A prosthetics clinic in Bolivia. Shoes for young kids in Mexico. Building a home in a day for a family in Tecate, Mexico. More dental clinics in Orange County. Snowball Express – a "thank-you" trip for 900 family members of those who died in the Middle East.

Responsibility also brought me closer to people. Working with others who cared as much as I did created strong bonds.We were all part of a bigger movement, striving to make the world a better place. Plus, I learned so much! Project management, public speaking, problem-solving – these skills came in handy and helped me grow as a person which led to larger projects and responsibilities.

If you're looking for more than just the daily grind, for a way to make a difference, Rotary service is a great path. It will open your eyes to new possibilities, help you find your passions, and give you the joy of directly improving lives. If you're wondering what your purpose is, the responsibilities in Rotary might just be the answer you've been searching for.


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
Jun 17

Excellent, Ray! Thank you for sharing. - Allen McLean


Jun 17
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great article Ray! What a fantastic testament to the power of a purposeful life!

bottom of page