ROTARY for HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS – FRONTENAC and OTHERS
In our big Rotary family, the youngest members, ages 10 to 18, belong to Interact Clubs – usually high school-based branches of Rotary. It is through one of these Interact Clubs that I became involved in Rotary.
I was a teacher at Frontenac Secondary School working with a group of students who wanted to volunteer at a nearby senior residence to tutor computer skills such as email and web searches. All permissions and schedules were arranged, but they needed computers. On a colleague’s suggestion, I contacted the Youth Director of the Rotary Club of Kingston, Jim Perry, and explained our request.
One week later, two complete sets of computers, monitors, and printers arrived at the senior residence! Thanks to Jim and Rotary, the senior tutoring program reaped many benefits. It opened up the world for the seniors and helped build mutual respect and friendships across the generations among tutors and tutees.
Our Interact Club was chartered in 2007 and created so many opportunities for our students including Rotary Adventure programs, leadership camps, and the Rotary Youth Exchange. Our newly-minted Interactors, now over thirty strong, adopted the Rotary motto ‘Service Above Self’ with gusto, organizing food drives, electronic waste collections, and solar energy workshops.
One project that still astonishes me is their ‘Books For Uganda’ Drive in 2008. Organized by the non-profit group Invisible Children, used books are sold online and the proceeds are sent to fund schools in Uganda. A minimum of 10,000 books was required to qualify for free shipping; the deadline was six weeks. Our Interactors flooded the city with radio broadcasts and paper flyers, and Kingstonians responded in droves donating 19,000 books!
A few months later, we received photos from smiling students at the Keyo School in Uganda. With our funding, they were able to sink a well and build a new sanitation system. The photos brought our team to tears. They were struck that even though one person may only be able to do a little, together, they are a force – they can make an impact, even halfway around the world.
4-H Interactors at RKY Clean-up Day
LaSalle Interactors teaching English in Nicaragua
With the support of tireless teachers and parent advisors, the Rotary Club of Kingston has sponsored four Interact Clubs: Frontenac S.S., La Salle S.S., Leahurst College, and a unique 4-H Interact Club. The 4-H Club is the brainchild of the late Rotarian Larry Ritchie who recognized the complementary values and goals between 4-H and Rotary. Rotarian Darlene Clement continues our support of these efforts.
The Leahurst Interactors have received a philanthropic award for their work in sending Easter Seals children to Camp Merrywood. The fine work of the 4-H Interactors at the Kingston Fall Fair helped to support the meal program at the Boys and Girls Club. The LaSalle Interactors have travelled to Nicaragua to help teach English to young students. All the Interactors join in annual events including Purple Pinky Day to end polio worldwide, Clean Up Day at RKY Camp, and Rotary Cash Calendars.
It is a pleasure for Rotarians to serve the community and the world in concert with these young people.