By Emily Wood, a member of the Rotaract Club of South-West Brisbane, Australia, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Interact.
In Interact, it doesn’t matter that you’re only a teenager; you still have the chance to make a positive difference in the world. Age is no barrier when you have a group of passionate individuals and the support of Rotary.
As a member of Interact, I was given the opportunity to have fun with friends while also helping others and exploring my abilities. From door-knock charity appeals to large-scale fundraising events, we were given the power and responsibility to “run the show.” We challenged ourselves and managed to achieve great things, both personally and also for the communities and organizations we were working to help.
After graduating from high school, and subsequently aging out of Interact, I found something was missing in my life. I still had my wonderful friends and family, as well as university study and part-time work, but I no longer had something to focus my passion for wanting to make a difference.
As the song goes, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” I missed the friendship and sense of purpose that Interact provided.
Interact ended up being just the start of my journey with the Rotary family. I’ve since been a member of Rotaract for five years and also a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar.
Interact opened my eyes to the challenges and opportunities of the world, and to what an individual — teenager or adult — can achieve it they set their mind to it.
It is heartening to see that Interact continues to have this same influence on teenagers around the globe. A quick look at entries in the annual Interact Video Contest and you can see that Interact continues to foster future generations of bright, passionate and community-minded individuals.
Congratulations Rotary on the 50th anniversary of Interact. It truly is a wonderful program!