ROTARY for HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS – LASALLE
Over the past ten years, students from La Salle Intermediate and Secondary School (LISS) have run an Interact Club, a high school-based Rotary Club. As their teacher advisor and with the help of Rotarian Vicky Pearson, we provided guidance and support to students dedicated to making their school, and local and global communities better places to live. These extremely motivated student leaders have initiated, organized, and facilitated many school-wide and community events, as well as participated in eight service trips.
LISS Interact members have mentored new students, attended the Ontario Youth Leadership Conference, lead the LISS Leadership Camp, and organized Anti-Bullying Initiatives. They have mentored younger students and helped with Grade 8 Transition Initiatives. In support of our local community, LISS Interact has organized Charity Golf Tournaments, Music Nights, “Halloween for Hunger” Food Drives, Sock and Mitt Drives, 30 Hour Famines, and E-Waste Pick-Ups. The Interact Club fosters a lifelong commitment to service and volunteerism, and helps students grow into more engaged, socially-minded, responsible citizens.
In 2017, the LISS Interact Club started a new initiative and sponsored several Fairmont Seniors’ Home residents who were alone over the holidays. The students thought that they could add a little joy to their lives. After collecting “wants/needs” forms from residents, the students put together care-packages. It was extremely successful with students assembling and distributing more than eighty care packages over the next two years.
One of the more memorable initiatives has been the La Salle Interact Volunteer Service Projects to Outreach360 in Nicaragua and Dominican Republic. With the goal of advancing international understanding and goodwill, thirty-five La Salle Interactors have participated in a Kingston Rotary supported Service Trip to an Outreach360 Literacy Centre over the past nine years.
Accompanied by teachers, the students travelled three times to the Nicaraguan town of Jinotega and once to the Dominican Republic town of Monti Cristi. They taught English to children and volunteered in economically disadvantaged regions to provide much-needed resources.
Outreach360 is a highly regarded, grass roots organization which is why the LISS Interact Club chose this organization. The students recognize that it is difficult to make an impact in ten days, but their cumulative efforts with those volunteers who went before, made a big difference.
The LISS Interact volunteers also learned much from the cultural exchange with the students at Outreach360. They gained hands-on experience in sustainable development through community-based learning, leadership training, volunteering with community members, and bringing what they learned back to our community.
Unfortunately, La Salle Interact students are unable to participate in a service trip due to COVID19 in 2020; however, they are still raising money to support the Outreach360 Literacy Centres remotely as they continue to operate using local teachers.