Published September 19, 2019

NORTH READING — The Rotary Club of North Reading has announced that it will now serve as the local Rotary District’s first cause-specific Rotary Club.

Rotary world-wide is known for tackling humanitarian issues, including the global eradication of polio, water and sanitation issues, women’s health, literacy and more. These issues are addressed locally and globally at the discretion of the independent clubs.

Recently, Rotary International voted to allow local clubs to focus on individual causes as they deem appropriate.  “Every year our club takes a hard look at how we can help North Reading residents,” explains ccurrent North Reading Rotary President Dave O’Neil. “It led to a lengthy discussion, bringing in experts in different fields, and completing an assessment over the summer. It was unanimous. Our members want to tackle addiction prevention.”

He continued, “When you think about how many families, generations even, are affected by addiction, it’s heartbreaking. We want to help.”

In re-focusing the club’s efforts, the members wanted a better understanding of the fundamental issues related to addiction. North Reading Drug-Free Communities Director Amy Luckiewicz, North Reading Mental Health/Substance Abuse Clinician Laura Miranda, and Rotary’s Addiction Prevention Fellowship Representative David Gardner were all consulted to help re-align the club to the broad picture of addiction.

As a result, the club voted to work on issues related to all forms of addiction including substances, alcohol, gambling, digital forms and more. They will utilize community-based strategies that align with the “Seven Strategies for Community Change, Strategic Prevention Framework,” and increase protective factors across all ages.

O’Neil noted, “One of the most exciting parts about our re-alignment is that we can work with all ages. Youth, young adults, grown adults and seniors can all be affected.”

In addition, the new focus on addiction prevention will take a multi-pronged approach to addiction prevention across a broader geographical area. “In our assessment, we came to think of this issue beyond North Reading. Because services, programs, and workshops can be best served when shared across towns, we voted to make our club a regional team,” O’Neil explained.

The Metro North Addiction Prevention Club will serve and welcome members that encompass the Route 93 corridor from Stoneham and Woburn in the south and Salem, N.H. in the north. O’Neil added, “We know a lot of these towns have existing support in this area. We aren’t looking to step on toes. We want to support and enhance them.”

Revamped membership options

Over the summer, the club also launched a review of its membership options and revised more flexible and affordable solutions to membership. These include a corporate membership, service membership and regular membership all with a suggested minimum of 50 percent attendance.

North Reading Rotarian Peter Majane explained, “These more flexible options align with our new strategic plan. They also make it easier for members from our broader communities to attend meetings.” Furthermore, a revised meeting schedule will include three lunch meetings on the first, second and third Wednesdays of the month followed by an evening meeting on the fourth week. To start, meetings will be held at Kitty’s Restaurant in North Reading with the ability to rotate to other locations if needed.

The group will use the upcoming weeks to determine how to best support these efforts. Already on their plan is to support the Community Impact Team’s event “Communities That Talk” on Wednesday, October 2. In addition, a spring educational forum and mini grant sponsorships are being proposed. O’Neil noted, “We know that we aren’t the experts in prevention. We’re looking to support those that are and serve as advocates.”

For more information on how to join the Rotary Club of North Reading please contact Dave O’Neil at 617-803-1539 or email