By Diane Lopez, former Interactor and Alumni Relations Coordinator for The Rotary Foundation
I frequently contemplate on the impact that Rotary had in my personal life and career and have come to the realization that deciding to participate in Interact was the most meaningful decision in my life.
I clearly remember when I was approached to be part of the Interact Club at St. Scholastica Academy. I did not have any idea what being an Interactor meant nor was I aware of what this “thing” called Rotary was; all I knew was that I felt eager to join the club. Little did I know that joining the Interact Club at my high school would be life-changing and that it would be a door into the Rotary world of Service Above Self.
Today, I clearly see how participating in Interact, Youth Exchange, and Rotaract each had a role in shaping my personality. Participating in Interact as a secretary taught me great responsibilities as well as a culture of working with others for others. Being able to travel at a young age in a cultural exchange was a very rewarding experience that helped enrich my knowledge of cultures and diversity and increased my love of learning.
Participating in Rotaract and being part of the community service activities increased my desire to serve those in need. Being part of a culturally diverse club certainly had an impact in my field of study, International Studies, as it increased my yearning to learn about other cultures and how we work with each other to benefit those in need.
Now, on staff at Rotary International, I have been able to see the great potential of Rotary and what Service Above Self really means. Having been a Humanitarian Grants coordinator I had the opportunity to travel to Peru and witness first-hand the great humanitarian work of Rotarians, giving me yet another learning experience. Now as alumni relations coordinator, I relate to all the experiences and former participants and understand the need of their integration into the Rotary World. Interact is where it all begins, it is the door to the world of Service Above Self!