Creating ‘Rotary Moments’ for WBSD Students with the Woodhaven-Brownstown Rotary



Creating ‘Rotary Moments’ for WBSD Students with the Woodhaven-Brownstown Rotary

Founded as a Rotary International member club in 1975, the Woodhaven-Brownstown Rotary Club (WB Rotary) is a growing 501(c)(3) organization and proud Woodhaven-Brownstown School District (WBSD) partner. For over 35 years, WB Rotary has offered WBSD students scholarships, provided donations and hosted events and fundraisers with the district.

"The Rotary's purpose is to identify needs in the community and service them," said WB Rotary President Barbara Smith. “Rotary’s motto is ‘Service above Self.’ We know that together we can strengthen our community and have a positive impact on challenges faced not only locally, and nationally, but around the world.”

Rotary drives impact through its work with the school district by donating coats to students year-round and reaching out to school families struggling with food insecurity. They have the added advantage of working with the Woodhaven High School Interact Club, which is made up of 20 high school students looking to make a difference in their community.

The Interact Club works with the WB Rotary by selling WB Rotary’s Polio Purple nail polish – also the school’s color – to raise funds to end polio and is on call to help with yard and road clean-up activities. This summer, the Rotary is adopting a road and will take on the responsibility of keeping it clean. The group plans to work with the Interact team to make it happen.

“Being a part of Rotary allows us to reap the rewards of helping others and the warm feelings that follow,” said Smith. “We call those ‘Rotary Moments.’ Quite frankly, we feel we get more out of these acts of kindness than the recipients.”

To support students financially, WB Rotary hands out yearly scholarships. Two graduating high school seniors are awarded $1,000 to use toward the cost of higher education. To apply, students are asked to fill out a questionnaire that asks for information such as their grade point average, work experience and college savings. The Rotary team evaluates the responses based on a point system. Since 1987 the Rotary has put $43,000 towards this scholarship. From the Class of 2022, Samantha Michaliski and Ashton Mohlman were honored.

The WB Rotary’s partnership with WBSD also provides an annual fishing trip for students enrolled in a Special Education program at Gudith Elementary School and Bates Middle School. The Rotary provides the fishing equipment and members and volunteers help to ensure that each child can catch a fish. Afterward, community partners from Olympic Coney Island and the Brownstown Police and Fire Departments organize a picnic lunch at Thorn Park. This year, the fishing trip was at Michigan Memorial on Thursday, June 2.

“It’s rewarding to see the kids enjoy events like our Fishing Derby, where many catch a fish for the first time and then enjoy time on the playground,” Smith continued. “The fire department joins us to build relationships with the students and to promote fire safety. The police department brings a vehicle and passes out badges. Smiles for Life Dentistry provides dental swag bags for the children. It’s wonderful to host events that bring the entire community together.”

Aside from its affiliation with the WBSD, WB Rotary stays busy conducting events like Shred days so that residents can safely destroy confidential documents and teaming with nearby clubs like Kiwanis to deliver hygiene kits to local organizations.

In addition to supporting education, the WB Rotary’s global causes include ending polio, providing clean water and increasing access to sanitation. To support these and other causes, the organization donates to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Goodfellows and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Its newest cause is Mimi’s Mission, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to supporting children (and families) with autism.

With support from businesses and organizations in the community, WBSD students are better positioned to thrive in the district and a post-graduation world. If your business or organization is interested in partnering with Woodhaven-Brownstown School District, please call (734) 783-3300 or visit