The Rotary Club in Princeton is bringing the Rotary Interact Program to Caldwell County High School.
Simone Parker, Trigg County High School teacher and Interact Club sponsor, recently presented the benefits of the club to the school board. "I have had the honor of being Interact sponsor/mentor at Trigg County for 10 years," Parker said. "In those 10 years I've probably had well over 1,000 students come through this program."
Interact is a service club for 12- to 18-year-olds, sponsored by the local Rotary. "Interact Clubs give young people the opportunity to participate in fun, meaningful service projects," Parker said.
The clubs allows students to build leadership, communication and organizational skills by leading meetings and creating service projects. There are multiple service activities that club members participate in each month.
Rotary International requires two projects a year from the clubs. One helps the school or community and the other promotes international understanding.
"My students choose to do more than that," Parker said. "This is a great opportunity for community involvement."
She said it connects students with community leaders.
"The thing that touches my heart is the social interaction," Parker said. "They get to make friends and have fun serving others at the same time."
Out of approximately 550 students in Trigg County High School, 117 are Interact Club members.
"These club members demonstrate helpfulness and respect for others," Parker said. "They understand the value of individual responsibility and hard work."
Local Rotarians will mentor students in the club.
"These Interactors will bring new energy to the Rotary Club," Parker said. "They will inspire fresh ideas for service, increase support of projects and help develop future Rotarians."
One of the projects that TCHS did was "Help Your Teacher Get Back to School."
"I had 25 Interactors come in for about four or five days before school started to help do bulletin boards, arrange classrooms, hang things from ceilings and make name plates for primary school," Parker said.
Club activities include Halloween Safe Night, in which Interactors dress up in costumes and play games with children They also host Disney of Main, where they dress up as Disney characters so kids can meet their favorite characters.
"We have a lot of pre-K programs that we do with our local school, Special Olympics fundraisers, Read Across America and more," Parker said.
One of her students' favorite events is Tymeless Hearts, in which they run a carnival for a non-profit for children and families who have congenital heart defects.
"Interact Club has taught me what community service is really about -- being kind with no personal gain," said Grace Hill, a Trigg County Interact Club member. "Not for the pay, the attention, or the praise, but for the love of other people and for the desire to improve our community."
According to the Interact website, there are more than 20,000 Interact Clubs in 159 countries with roughly 400,050 high school students worldwide.
"Once they become an Interactor, they are a member of the Rotary family," Parker said. "This club truly inspires the youth to get out there and make a difference."