Dr. Deb Walters of Unity is a grandmother kayaking from Maine to Guatemala to raise awareness and funds for the Safe Passage school that serves the children of the Guatemala City garbage dump. She will be honored at the United Nations for her exemplary dedication to improving the lives of others through volunteer service.

Walters will be named one of six Rotary Club ‘Global Women of Action’ during the humanitarian service organization’s annual Rotary Day at the United Nations Nov. 7, which will include high-level UN speakers and a look at the lasting improvements the honorees have made in the lives and communities they serve. Walters is the only North American honoree.

“I am humbled that my service to breaking the cycle of chronic poverty in Guatemala is being recognized by Rotary International and the United Nations,” Walters said.

Walters works with both urban and rural communities in Guatemala to break the cycle of multi-generational poverty through comprehensive programs that address an entire range of causes of poverty. In the Guatemala City garbage dump community more than 500 students are attending the Safe Passage school, hundreds of parents are learning to read and write and start small businesses, more than 100 preschool children attend an early education center, more than 1,000 benefit from health care and counseling services, gang membership is reduced through sports programs, and nutrition programs have ended malnutrition among the Safe Passage children.

Graduates are now earning five times the average family income. In the mountains of Guatemala, Walters works with ALDEA to provide clean water, sanitation, fuel efficient smokeless stoves and improved agriculture to over 1,100 families in three villages.

“Every day at Rotary I see first-hand how our members work to change lives and make significant impact around the world,” said Rotary International President K.R. Ravindran.

“Through hard work, dedication and selflessness, Rotary’s ‘Global Woman of Action’ are tackling some of the most difficult global problems. Each of these women truly embody Rotary’s motto, ‘Service Above Self’, and I extend my warmest congratulations to them for their outstanding service to humanity.”

Since its founding more than 100 years ago, Rotary harnesses the strength of professional and community leaders to tackle humanitarian challenges at home and abroad. Today, Rotary provides a platform for successful men and women of all ethnicities, faiths and cultures to make the world a better place through volunteer service.