The Showcase Magazine - Articles

“Service Above Self”

By Susan Baldani

The Rotary Club of Watchung-Warren is celebrating its 58th anniversary this November. A nonprofit organization, its mission is to help local communities in times of need by raising money and by taking part in special projects. 

Nilima Palekar, who joined the club in 2017 after meeting one of the current members, is now the President Elect and event organizer. In order to raise funds, the club hosts a variety of fun and interesting events in the community, such as the Taste of the World international food festival that was held on November 4th at Martinsville Gardens in Bridgewater. Over 20 restaurants participated and showcased their specialties for the attendees to enjoy.

“It's a lot of planning and execution,” said Nilima. “We just completed our third-grade dictionary project, and we plan to host a Senior Citizen Prom.”

For the dictionary project, the Rotary Club gave dictionaries to every third grader in Watchung and Warren, and club members also taught the children how to use them. The Senior Citizen prom will take place in early spring at Watchung Hills High School. Senior citizens from nearby assisted living communities are invited. 

Another upcoming event is a Holiday Party on December 10 for special-needs children at the Watchung Country Club. Along with holiday decorations and music provided by middle school children, Santa will be handing out gifts to each child. 

The club is also sponsoring the Mardi Gras Ball, a father-daughter dance at the Primavera Regency in Stirling in January. Organized by the Warren Township Girl Scouts, there will be a DJ, dancing, and a buffet.

Rotary Club members meet three Tuesdays a month at Prezzo Italian Restaurant in Warren, and also hold an evening meeting once a month for those who aren’t able to attend the daytime meetings. They’ll also be adding 50 minute e-meetings for members who prefer to participate online.

“We understand that not everyone has unlimited time. Our idea is to get like- minded people, who want to make a difference, together,” said Nilima. 

The Rotary Club currently has 18 members and is looking to grow its membership. Some of the founding members are still active in the club. 

“We have a lovely diversified group of professionals in our club,” said Nilima. “We welcome all who believe in service above self and want to have fun serving the community. Our club gets along very well, and we have a lot of fun!”

As a member, you’ll not only be giving back to your community, but also developing and enhancing skills such as public speaking, event planning, and project management. You’ll also get to know other people in your community while working toward a common goal.

 “In today's complex busy society, where everyone is just doing for themselves, it's a great sense of community and comfort to be a part of Rotary and be a part of something larger. ‘Service above Self,' that's our motto.” said Nilima.

To find out more about the Rotary Club of Watchung – Warren, go to their website at, or email Nilima directly at