- World Peace Parents evolved from a community service project sponsored by the Rotary Club of Garrettsville-Hiram, Ohio.
- Organized in 1926, the Club’s membership had dwindled to 10 members with lagging enthusiasm for Rotary.
- Club officers learned from a membership drive that community residents had limited awareness or understanding of Rotary and its mission. Something had to be done.
- Amy Crawford, Club President at the time (2001-2002), expresses the challenge this way:
“As a club, we had done many service projects. In addition to local projects like supporting the Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls State, the People Tree, and similar, we had participated in Rotary International’s PolioPlus Project, we had hosted and sponsored exchange students, we provided funds for ambulances and medical equipment in other countries, but none of these projects had a lasting, meaningful influence in our community.”
- Matthew Ryser, Club Secretary and a past president, agrees,
“Our club was really looking for something that would identify it and its members within the community.”
- As president, Crawford decided the club needed to do something for the local community to increase awareness and understanding of Rotary. And, she wanted a service project that would have a lasting, ongoing influence.
“The idea that caught fire with club members was to recognize and celebrate the benefits that strong families offer our community. As the natural and fundamental group unit of society, the family is universal. Everyone belongs to a family. If we did something for families we had the potential of reaching every person in the community.”
- In the spring of 2003, the Garrettsville-Hiram, Ohio Rotary Club sponsored a Family Week Celebration in its community giving birth to an annual service project now known as Empower the Family.
- Vibert Kesler, Chair of the first Family Week Celebration, recognized the tremendous potential Empower the Family had for other Rotary clubs.
- He organized World Peace Parents as a non-profit public charity to refine and adapt the Garrettsville-Hiram, Ohio Family Week Celebration for Rotary clubs worldwide. Mr. Kesler muses, “This is such a natural and simple project, why didn’t someone think of it before?”