Most fortunately for Peterborough, finding ways to make a positive change in people’s lives is nothing new for Donald (Don) Watkins.
A pharmacist by trade, Don is a longtime Rotarian, having served with the Rotary Clubs of Tillsonburg, and Peterborough Kawartha. It was with the service club that Don’s leadership qualities became evident as he rose to serve as Rotary District Governor in 1991.
In the Peterborough community at large, Don is active with Community Care and Hospice Peterborough as well as serving meals at the One Roof Community Centre. In addition, he remains a steadfast supporter for new Canadians through Trent University’s International Student Program – helping with the little things that make a huge difference such as buying a first pair of winter mittens, navigating the public transit system, and job coaching.
Along with working closely with a Kurdish family who emigrated to the safety of Peterborough, Don – together with his wife Sharon, have hosted exchange students, welcomed visiting business people from around the world, and offered their home to ‘Beds WithOut Breakfast,’ a group connecting people in need of a free roof over their head while a family member is in hospital.
For any information regarding Rotary, Don has been and remains, the go-to person. However, his biggest contribution to the community through the service club is his annual Adventure In Understanding canoe trip, a six-night, five-day paddling and portage experience that brings First Nations and non-indigenous youth together as they canoe from Ecology Park to Curve Lake First Nation. A lingering vision of Don’s for several years, the program continues to grow and has served as a template for other Rotary clubs considering a similar project.