Promoting peace is an area of focus for Rotary, and Plano West Rotary Club (PWRC) members were honored to support Plano Asiafest in downtown Plano’s Haggard Park on May 7.
     Plano Asiafest is an annual celebration of Asian culture, showcasing Asian music, food, clothing, art, performance and more. The annual festival helps all Plano residents better understand and appreciate our Asian neighbors, and it promotes peace and goodwill within our community.
     The nonprofit organization Celebrating Asian American Heritage Foundation (CAAHF) organizes the festival every year, but does not have paid staff to run the festival. It depends on the hard work of volunteers to pull off such a large event.
     PWRC committed to bringing a substantial number of volunteers for the event’s busiest times: setting up and breaking down. Volunteers arrived early in the morning to move tables and chairs to the appropriate spots around the park, and then secured tablecloths to the tables. In the afternoon, volunteers moved tables and chairs back to the loading area for the rental truck. Tablecloths and area trash were picked up and discarded to leave the park clean.
     PWRC brought 15 people to work, serving a combined 28 hours in one day.
    Rotarian Courtney Hitt served as team lead for this service project. Courtney has ample previous experience with the arts and nonprofits in Plano as the previous chairperson for the Plano Cultural Affairs Commission.
    Serving with Courtney were Rotarians Jennifer Shertzer, Laura Johnson, Katherine Goodwin, John Stafford, Nadya Tatsch, Zain Kalson and Brett Moore. PWRC is lucky to have members from the community join in at nearly every service project throughout the year. Non-Rotarians Ivy S., Christy G., Lawrence F., David H., Vika T., Angela T., and Rohit I. also rolled up their sleeves that day.
    “Rotary played a crucial role in helping Plano AsiaFest be a success!” said CAAHF president Jeffrey Wang. “This was first time we had a really smooth early morning setup,” noted CAAHF board member Feroz Alpaiwalla.
     "Getting to serve our community in a fun atmosphere made this project really special. This is one of the biggest events of the year, and without the help of many volunteers it simply wouldn’t be possible. Hearing this from the event organizers themselves really put into perspective how vital the assistance from Plano West Rotary Club was,” said Courtney.
     Plano Asiafest also supports Rotary’s focus on growing local economies. It enables local vendors and businesses to set up and sell their goods.
     Way to go, Plano West Rotary! This was the club’s first year to support Plano Asiafest, but members are looking forward to next year already.