Interact is Rotary International’s service club for young people ages 14 to 18. Interact clubs are sponsored by individual Rotary clubs, which provide support and guidance, but they are self-governing and self-supporting.
Club membership varies greatly. Clubs can be single gender or mixed, large or small. They can draw from the student body of a single school or from two or more schools in the same community.
The Mendocino Rotary-sponsored Interact Club is comprised of students from Mendocino High School.
Each year, Interact clubs complete at least two community service projects, one of which furthers international understanding and goodwill. Through these efforts, Interactors develop a network of friendships with local and overseas clubs and learn the importance of:
- Developing leadership skills and personal integrity
- Demonstrating helpfulness and respect for others
- Understanding the value of individual responsibility and hard work
- Advancing international understanding and goodwill
As one of the most significant and fastest-growing programs of Rotary service, with more than 10,700 clubs in 109 countries and geographical areas, Interact has become a worldwide phenomenon. Almost 200,000 young people are involved in Interact.
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Here’s just one example of how Interactors are making a difference.
A promotional effort led by the Interact Club of Brasov, Romania, rallied more than 100 people to donate blood at the Transfusion Center of Brasov in an effort to increase Romania’s blood reserves.
Romania ranks last in Europe, with only 1.7 percent of the population participating in blood donation, resulting in a critical situation in hospitals across Brasov. Many surgeries that require blood cannot be performed because of low reserves.
For two weeks in February, club president Andreea Timpea and 26 other Interactors traveled to high schools and universities throughout Brasov. On a mission to get the word out, they distributed pamphlets, hung posters, and gave presentations on the importance of blood donation. Interactors, along with the director of the transfusion center, Laurentia Floea, also appeared on local television to promote the campaign’s kickoff.
To maintain sufficient blood reserves, the center needs at least 50 donors each day. Before the campaign, it averaged only five per day, but the publicity and kickoff helped boost that number to 20. The Interact club and the center plan to continue spreading the word in hopes of reaching 50 donors daily.
“I’m excited about being a part of a campaign that will change the way Romania thinks about blood donation,” says Timpea. “I’m glad Interact has given me an opportunity to help.”
Here are just a few other projects highlighting Interactors’ commitment to service:
- When they discovered a local hospital had no toys for its young patients, the Interact Club of Hoërskool Schoonspruit, South Africa sponsored a toy drive.
- Both the Interact Clubs of Sri Sankara Vidyasharamam and Parimalam, India, focus their efforts on AIDS education to help fight the spread of the disease.
- The Interact Club of Gan Yavne, Israel, reach out to less fortunate youth in their community by sponsoring a camp for local children.
- In partnership with their local media, the Interact Club of San Luis, Argentina, promoted drug and alcohol-free living to the youth of their community.
“Rotary’s commitment to youth will not be complete if we do not also nurture healthy social values such as civic-consciousness, caring for others, and concern for the environment at an early age which is possible through support for the formation of more Interact Clubs,” says Mark K.Y. Wong, chair of RI’s Interact Committee. “This way we will have a ready pool of future Rotaractors, and Rotarians too.”