Cracroft's commitment to community service, however, is no laughing matter. Like his father before him, who served as a Rotary Club president and district governor, Cracroft has been a longtime Rotarian and deeply involved in community service. His volunteer work covers a wide range of activities. Cracroft has provided his services through Mercy Outreach Surgical Team trips to Central Mexico over the past 10 years. The Surgical Teams average 300 surgeries a week, treating burns, hernias and cleft palates. He and the RCLJ support Rotary International projects such as Polio Plus, which has achieved the almost total eradication of polio throughout the world, and microcredit programs to fund individuals in start-up self-sustaining small businesses.
His community service activities through Rotary include building houses for families in Tijuana through the La Jolla Rotary Club's Project Mercy. He is particularly supportive of the club's major program, "Stars in Our Eyes," which raises funds for the almost $150,000 the club awards annually to deserving students from all of the La Jolla high schools as well as Garfield High School. Over the last 10 years, the RCLJ has given almost $2 million for scholarships.
"Stars in Our Eyes" is the annual presentation of performers from all of the La Jolla high schools who have auditioned and been hand-selected to participate, based on the quality of their talent.
In addition to providing performance opportunities, the "Stars in Our Eyes" program includes an exhibit hall of student artwork "” paintings utilizing various mediums, pottery, sculptures and a wide-ranging display of highly creative art objects. (Related to artistic endeavors, woodworking is an avocation of Cracroft.) The RCLJ awards $5,000 annually to each of the four La Jolla high schools to enhance their arts programs. "Involvement in the arts not only provides outlets for students' creative and artistic expression, but it provides opportunities to gain important life skills: team work, cooperation, focus, and discipline as well as to gain self confidence," stated Patricia Lynch, RCLJ member and co-chair of the "Stars in Our Eyes" program.
"Stars in Our Eyes" will be held Feb. 1, 2008 at the Museum of Modern Art in La Jolla.
Cracroft is a strong advocate as well of the RCLJ youth scholarship program for at-risk, underserved middle- and high-school- age children in San Diego and Tijuana. The programs assist students in completing a formal education. In concert with the Rotary Club of Tijuana, members from the two Rotary clubs personally provide weekly classes and tutoring in computer and English language skills.
Cracroft can be seen regularly at the additional local community-based activities the RCLJ sponsors, such as holiday parties for children, special events throughout the year for League House seniors and the Florence Riford Community Adult Center, the Christmas Parade and the Summer Concert Series at the Cove.
As Cracroft states, "The RCLJ makes major contributions to meet the needs of all ages, locally, nationally and globally. Community service needs truly are year-round, unbounded by season or traditional times of giving. From renovation to education, the RCLJ helps lay the foundation by meeting basic physical and structural needs to shaping the futures of our young people and, consequently, all of us, who eventually will be following their lead."
Notably, Cracroft developed a program called "Productive Interaction," which is now a model utilized in numerous hospitals throughout the state that enhances physician and staff skills in resolving problems and developing productive working relationships among themselves, and with patients. His human relations capabilities distinguish him not only as a healer of the body but a healer of the heart. He truly embodies the spirit of Rotary in building consensus and inspiring members to share their resources and to give of themselves to others in need.
For information about the "Stars in Our Eyes" auditions, which take place this week at The Bishop's School and La Jolla Country Day, call (858) 454-3465.