Learn to lead through Interact

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. Continue reading

Why the good you do will do good to you

Ambanpola, second from left, packing 10,500 food packets for Haiti with members of Rotaract.

Editor’s note: This is part of 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 Nipuna Ambanpola, a member of the Rotaract Club of Armstrong State University and former member of Interact

Volunteering has been a very satisfying component of my life. When I volunteer, it’s always about contributing my time and skills to enhance the quality of life of others in my community.

I joined the Interact Club of Royal College, the second oldest club and the oldest continuously functioning club in Sri Lanka in 2009. Continue reading

How I gained friends through Rotary’s programs for young leaders

The Rotaract Club of Dhaka Orchids distributes school supplies.

Editor’s note: This is part of 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 Md. Saddam Hossain Roni, Rotaract Club of Dhaka Orchids, Bangladesh

Before joining an Interact club in 2010, I had a difficult time dealing with people I didn’t know. That’s probably why I didn’t have a lot of friends in school. But as a member of Interact, I learned a lot about fellowship. Continue reading

My path into Rotary

Kay Fisher, bottom row far right, with her Interact Club in Clemson, South Carolina, USA.

By Kay Fisher, a member of the Rotary Club of North Mecklenburg, North Carolina, USA

Growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta, I never learned how to swim, how to play the piano, or how it would feel to go to church on Sunday mornings. The opportunities were there. The new YMCA offered swim lessons, my grandparents bought me a new piano and offered to pay for lessons, and churches were close to my house. But these were all things my dad felt only “plastic people” did. Continue reading

Rotary means family

Emily Koerner with her father (left) and the past president of the club (right).

Emily Koerner with her father (left) and Peter Singagliese, past president of the Central Ocean Rotary club (right).

By Emily Koerner, a former Interactor, native of Toms River, New Jersey, and student at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, USA

I often wonder what other people think about when they hear the word “Rotarian.”

Since I was about 10 years old, I attended many service events with my dad (a member and past president of the Central Ocean Rotary Club in Toms River, New Jersey). The members welcomed me with open arms, laughs, and, of course, a ton of work to be done. Continue reading

What does it mean to be human?

Misaki Otani

Misaki Otani, an Interact member in District 5170 (California, USA)

By Misaki Otani, member of Interact in District 5170  (California, USA)                 

Interact members in my district are raising $120,000 this year to aid Syrian refugees overseas and refugee resettlement in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are also raising awareness, planning service projects, and working to break the stigma associated with refugees.

Why did we chose this project? Continue reading

Winning big with chess and Rotary

A mother plays a game of chess with her son.

Mother and son enjoy a game of chess as part of the Rotary Club of Point Fortin project.

By Jo-Anne Nina Sewlal, a member of the Rotary Club of Point Fortin, Trinidad, West Indies

I have always had an interest in chess. So I was thrilled when Raymond Aaron, project coordinator of the “Chess in Schools” project and a past president of my Rotary club, invited me to be on the project committee. Our project is introducing primary and secondary school children to the game of chess.

When I joined Rotary in January, it was a life changing experience for me. I come from a background in academia, which can be quite isolating, no matter how hard you try for it not to be. So joining my Rotary club helped me get reconnected to my community.   Continue reading

The key to a successful multi-generational Rotary club

Emmanuel Rey

Emmanuel Rey addresses his multi-generational club.

By Emmanuel Rey, a member of the Rotary Club of Villa Devoto, Argentina

In 20 years as a member of the Rotary family, I have learned much. I began my Rotary journey as a member of Interact when I was 12, and six years later moved on to Rotaract. After passing the maximum age of 30 for that program, I proudly became a member of my Rotary club two years ago.

At first, I dreamed of building a big and youthful Rotary club, especially as I observed how hard it was for my fellow Interactors and Rotaractors to bridge the generation gap and become members of Rotary. Continue reading

Why create a video for the Interact Video Awards?

By Kyle J. Gomes, member of the Interact Club of Hugh Boyd Secondary

Every year, my Interact club — located in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada — looks forward to creating a video for Rotary’s Interact Video Awards. Last year, our video (above) was selected as the Best Video, earning our club $500 to use toward our service projects. One project very close to our hearts is Operation Christmas Child, and we were able to ship even more gifts and necessities to children in need this year.

Making these videos has been an amazing motivator for our whole club. The best part in making a video is being able to see the real and tangible differences that we make with the projects we support. The other Interactors and I all agree that the experience gave us a perspective on our projects, and showed that although we may be only high school students, we are making a difference. Continue reading

Delivering indestructible soccer balls to children in Vietnam

Members of Interact deliver the durable soccer balls in Vietnam.

Members of Interact deliver the durable soccer balls in Vietnam.

By Sallyann Price, Rotary staff

At the Rotary International Convention in São Paulo this summer, a group of American high school students kicked a funny-looking soccer ball around the House of Friendship. The Interact club members from high schools in the Bay Area of California, USA, were raising money to send a volunteer team to Vietnam to give away 2,400 of these balls.

On assignment for The Rotarian, I traveled to Vietnam in July with a team of Interactors and Rotary members. The balls, produced by One World Play Project, a nonprofit Continue reading