Our speaker last week was Debbie Yates, a member of our community who recently won an award at the 2023 Chamber of Commerce Leadership Awards banquet for her outstanding work on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. As we all know, inclusion is crucial for people of all ages, especially youngsters. It is important to feel like one belongs to something, whether it is a club, school, team, or service organization. Debbie's work on the Livonia Parent Teacher Association has made a significant impact on ensuring that all students and families feel included and valued.
Her passion for inclusion and equity was sparked when her child attended a Halloween candy give-away that left them feeling excluded due to their food allergies. Since then, Debbie has been dedicated to ensuring that all students feel included in the rich and educational programs offered by our schools. As the DEI chair, Debbie has implemented many important initiatives, including ensuring safe foods and awareness of different food allergies at school events, collecting Halloween costumes to distribute to low-income families in our school district, and providing safe restrooms for transgender students.
As Rotarians, we strongly believe in the power of community and spreading love.
As I was reflecting on the message from Debbie, I was reminded of two inspiring quotes. The first one encourages us to use our resources to build a longer table instead of building fences and walls. Let's open our hearts and minds to welcome more people to our community and build bridges instead of barriers. The second quote reminds us of the importance of loving one another, regardless of our differences. Let's come together, smile on our brothers and sisters, and try to love one another right now.
We congratulate Debbie on this well-deserved recognition and thank her for her dedication to creating a more inclusive community.