Friends of the Forest – Darla Domke Damonte
Dr. Darla Domke Damonte grew up on a farm in rural Minnesota. She remembers her aunt and uncle traveling to Germany and this stimulated her interest in everything international. Her community also hosted a number of American Field Service exchange students, so that also gave her a world view. Darla is conversant in Russian, Slovak, Polish, German and speaks a small amount of Spanish and is currently the Associate Provost for Global Initiatives at Coastal Carolina University. She has been on Fulbright grants to Slovakia and Poland, been an exchange student in Poland and Germany, and also worked in Ecuador, Russia, and Germany.
Darla joined the Carolina Forest Rotary in 2013. She had wanted to join for some time, but “no one ever asked me to join”. She thought it was a type of secret society that only admitted certain members! Darla sees Rotary as a “community of people who see themselves as part of a world to get things done while respecting all parties involved”. When she has traveled, she has met people who made her feel included and involved which is very important to her. “[These experiences are] like Rotary”, she noted.
She relates a story about a recent call from the counselor at Blackwater Middle School. The counselor noted that the Rotary “Clothing Closet” at her school was totally emptied and she hoped that Rotary would fill the closet again to meet unexpected needs of her students. Darla feels that this project and the Dictionary project are important to meet the oft-unseen needs in the community. Rotary is a “seed in all of these plantings”
When Darla is not traveling or being a university administrator/professor, she and her whole family of husband Taylor and daughters Alexandra, 15, and Laura, 13, volunteer with the Rotary Club projects.
Written By: Scott Burleson
Published By: Brooke Vu