Rotary Club of Solon Helps with the Perkins Beach Clean-uo – by Irina P’Simer
On July 13, the Rotary Club of Solon partnered with Drink Local Drink Tap (DLDT) and Kids2Kids at Perkins Beach in Cleveland, in support of local efforts to get and keep Lake Erie clean. 
It was a great experience all around. As always, it was great to see our community come together and put Service above Self! With over 50 participants, we outnumbered every other team at the beach cleanup. What was even more awesome was that the kids outnumbered the adults! 
While many of our efforts focus on hunger and poverty, clean water has also become a key focus area for our club. Last year was our first major clean water effort, as we completed a well project to deliver water to a remote village in El Salvador. Residents would walk many miles and spend many hours each day carrying water back to their village. We didn’t just bring water to them; we changed their lives. In return, working on this project and getting to know the villagers was a life changing experience for our club members as well.  
As we considered our next international project, we were fortunate to be introduced to Erin Huber from DLDT. When she showed us the unimaginable conditions in Uganda, we knew that we needed to get involved. Also, as DLDT supports clean water conditions everywhere, they coordinated they beach cleanup along the shores of Lake Erie, and we jumped at the opportunity to make a difference right here in our back yard.   
During the cleanup, we were reminded about the staggering amount of plastics we use; we talked about the almost unbelievable amount of time those plastics take to decompose; and we listened to the kids brainstorm ways to make a change. The younger generation came prepared with reusable water bottles and reusable straws. Although Perkins beach was in pretty good shape from cleanup efforts during the previous month, we still managed to pick up more than 100 pounds of trash! Imagine the huge impact if such a small effort was undertaken at 100 beaches around the world!  It was a perfect morning with friends, in the sun – “saving the turtles,” as the kids said. While it didn’t seem like much of an effort at all, we kept 100 pounds of trash out of our lake, made fond memories, and inspired our next generation!