The Rotary Club of Slidell hosted a group of alumni from the Friends Forever International organization on Friday, March 22, 2024 at Pinewood Country Club. 
Five alumni of the program attended the luncheon --  1 from Israel, 2 from Northern Ireland, and 2 from the Republic of Ireland -- along with their two staff leaders from FFI.  A total of 24 Rotarians were on hand to welcome our guests and show them Southern hospitality.  The Rotary Club of Slidell has hosted FFI for a luncheon on their annual visits since 2016!
The entire group:  (left to right) Friends Forever International staff Matt Arsenault and Monica Rodgers, Rotary Club of Metairie sponsor Karen Babin, Mayan from Israel, Oisin from the Republic of Ireland, Luca from Northern Ireland, Lisa from the Northern Ireland, Molly from the Republic of Ireland and Rotary Club of Slidell host President Dede Ricard.

Friends Forever International (FFI) started as a youth program, but it became apparent over recent years that a broader-based approach was necessary to achieve their mission: to build passionate, skilled, and empathic leaders who will become vital resources and be part of a global network committed to solving their communities' most significant challenges. These leaders are the vehicle for creating social justice and positive change around the world. Many participants happen to be youth, but they are not solely a youth program. 
FFI believes that to build a better world, individuals must simultaneously connect with themselves, with each other, and with the earth. When a person builds skills and self-confidence by overcoming fear and apathy with others’ help, they realize that they can take these skills to overcome challenges in their community.  They also aspire to tackle the greatest conflict of all through their programs: that between the human species and our planet.

FFI staff leader Matthew Arsenault introduced the group.

Molly from the Republic of Ireland spoke to us about her personal passion for educating others on how to combat climate change and about her own struggle with a recently diagnosed chronic disease.