EHS Interact Club promotes student community service

Sponsored by the Edina Rotary, EHS Interact Club has big ambitions for the 2018-2019 year

Greyson Mize, sports & activities beat lead

Since 1905, Rotary Clubs across the globe have been completing service projects, reforming communities, and making connections. The Rotary organization’s Interact program gives middle and high school students age 12-18 opportunities to develop leadership skills, impact their communities, and collaborate with local, national, and international clubs. Over 20,372 clubs in 159 different countries operate worldwide, the Edina High School Interact club among them.

“I really like helping people, and the fact that this club gives me an outlet to meet with other people to do service projects and raise money drew me to it,” senior Samantha Bevers, a leader of the EHS Interact Club, said.

The club meets monthly and organizes a series of service projects throughout the year. Although the first meeting wasn’t scheduled until Oct. 25, the leaders already have big ambitions. In 2018 and 2019, the club hopes to hold their annual Skate to End Polio event at Braemar Arena to support and fundraise for vaccination in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan, where polio remains an epidemic but has decreased significantly in past years.

The club also plans to hold a trash clean-up day around Edina, make tie blankets for hospitalized children, and write cards for veterans on Veterans Day. Leaders work closely with the Edina Rotary Clubs and have connections with Interact Clubs in Apple Valley and Minnetonka.

In addition to community projects, the Interact Club plans to hold an Edina ShelterBox event in November in which students stay overnight in boxes to understand a small portion of what homeless and displaced people go through. “We value connecting our peers with real world issues,” senior Ava Chow, the Interact Club’s treasurer, said. “I want to see students get involved with community service.”

Bevers says the biggest barrier they’ve faced so far is the finalization of a potential Skate to End Polio event in November. “We have big ideas, and it’s hard to find the time to really plan them all out and then find the amount of people needed to staff everything. The problem we’re running into is we’re thinking really big, and that’s not an issue, but we’ve gotta figure out how to do it first, and I think we will.”

The Interact Club’s main purpose is to make a difference in the 2018-2019 school year through core values of generosity, leadership, and community-based service. “I know it sounds kinda corny, but if through our skate to end polio event we could get just one kid vaccinated, or with our tie blankets we could make one kid smile after they’ve had surgery, that’s a job well done for us,” Bevers said.