Editor’s note: This is the last in a series of blog posts from Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month.
By Riley Benton, a member of the Interact Club of Coffee County Central High School, Manchester, Tennessee, USA
I had already participated in different service projects when I joined Interact in my freshman year of high school. I have been a member all four years of high school, and it has shaped me into a servant leader.
We have undertaken a great number of projects including collecting money to eradicate polio, bringing cupcakes to the elderly, and joining with the Rotary Club of Manchester Noon to clean up local rivers. Perhaps one of the most satisfying to me was joining forces with We Are Neutral to retrofit low income housing.
I’ve also taken part in projects outside of Interact, where I have used the leadership I have learned through Interact. The rural Appalachian area where I live is served by a volunteer fire department which is partially dependent on fundraising. I have helped plan and build a haunted house every Halloween, the chief fundraiser for the local volunteer fire department. Even though it required my presence every Friday and Saturday in September and October to build and perform in the haunted house, I felt it was only fair for me to help, as my family and community benefit. We could not get homeowners insurance without the department. We raised over $10,000 with a staff of only 10!
I plan to work with the local free dental clinic and eventually as a professional dentist in foreign missions through Doctors Without Borders. My participation in Interact has left a lasting mark of positivity and a hope in everything I think, say, and do.
Create leadership and service opportunities in your community for youth by sponsoring an Interact Club.