Interact Club promotes interaction, volunteerism


Interact Club volunteers at the Hawk Hustle on September 17.

Rabiya Salman, Staff Writer

​​Students​ ​at​ ​HEHS​ ​are​ ​making​ ​a​ ​tremendous​ ​difference​ ​to​ ​their​ ​community​ ​while​ ​they have​ ​fun​ ​and​ ​learn​ ​as​ ​while​ ​volunteering​ ​with​ ​the​ ​Interact​ ​Club.​

​The​ ​Interact​ ​Club​ ​is​ ​a​ Rotary Club-​sponsored organization that​ ​offers​ ​fun​ ​and​ ​meaningful​ ​service​ ​activities​ ​while providing​ ​the​ ​chance​ ​for​ ​students​ ​to​ ​develop​ ​important​ ​life​ ​skills,​ ​such​ ​as​ ​constructive leadership,​ ​time​ ​management,​ ​self-development,​ ​and​ ​personal​ ​finances.

“The​ ​overall​ ​purpose​ ​of​ ​the​ ​club​ ​is​ ​to​ ​provide​ ​opportunity​ ​for​ ​young​ ​people​ ​to​ ​work together​ ​in​ ​a​ ​world​ ​fellowship​ ​dedicated​ ​to​ ​service​ ​and​ ​international​ ​understanding,” said​ ​Maggie​ ​King, club sponsor.

The​ ​Interact​ ​Club​ ​is​ ​a​ ​fairly​ ​new​ ​club;​ ​Jim Britton, ​former​ ​principal,​ ​​was​ ​a​ ​member​ ​of​ ​the​  Hoffman/Schaumburg Rotary​ ​Club​ ​and​ ​decided​ ​to​ ​start​ ​an​ ​Interact​ ​Club​.​ ​​Britton​ ​asked​ ​King​ ​to​ ​be​ ​the​ ​club​ ​sponsor​ ​and​ ​introduced​ ​her​ ​to​ ​six​ ​student​ ​leaders​ ​that​ ​would​ ​lead the​ ​club.​ ​Together,​ ​they​ ​facilitated​ ​service​ ​projects ​and​ ​recruited​ ​new members.

Back​ ​in​ ​2015,​ ​there​ ​were​ ​only​ ​15​ ​active​ ​members.​ ​​ Today ​there​ ​are​ ​over​ ​70 students​ ​involved​ ​or​ ​interested​ ​in​ ​the​ ​club.​

“Interact​ ​started​ ​three​ ​years​ ​ago​ ​and​ ​I​ ​remember​ ​going​ ​to​ ​meetings with​ ​only​ ​a​ ​maximum​ ​of​ ​[maybe]​ ​10​ ​people.​ ​Now,​ ​we​ ​have​ ​a​ ​wide​ ​variety​ ​of​ ​students from​ ​freshmen​ ​to​ ​seniors,” said ​Dana​ ​Ong,​ ​senior​ ​and​ ​Interact​ ​Club president​.​

The​ ​group​ ​has​ ​gained​ ​popularity​ ​because​ ​it​ ​allows​ ​students​ ​to​ ​complete​ ​their​ ​volunteer hours​ ​for​ ​programs​ ​such​ ​as​ ​LCAP​ ​and​ ​Harper’s​ ​Promise.​ ​Even​ ​though​ ​students ​initially​ ​join with​ ​this​ ​intention,​ ​this​ ​idea​ ​soon​ ​fades​ ​away​ ​as​ ​they​ ​realize​ ​the​ ​many​ ​advantages​ ​there are​ ​when​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​volunteering.​ ​After​ ​their​ ​hours​ ​are​ ​done,​ ​they​ ​continue​ ​to​ ​come​ ​to volunteer​ ​because​ ​they​ ​have​ ​so​ ​much​ ​fun,​ ​are​ ​able​ ​to​ ​help​ ​many​ ​people​ ​out,​ ​learn​ ​new skills,​ ​build​ ​memories,​ ​and​ ​prepare​ ​for​ ​the​ ​future.

“By​ ​being​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​leaders​ ​of​ ​Interact​ ​Club,​ ​it​ ​has​ ​helped​ ​me​ ​become​ ​more​ ​confident. Also,​ ​it​ ​helped​ ​me​ ​become​ ​more​ ​involved​ ​in​ ​the​ ​community,​ ​meet new​ ​people,​ ​create​ ​awesome​ ​experiences,​ ​and​ ​of​ ​course​ ​grow​ ​as​ ​a​ ​person,” said Fareeha Rahman, senior.​ “​But​ ​this couldn’t​ ​have​ ​happened​ ​if​ ​it​ ​weren’t​ ​for​ ​the​ ​people​ ​of​ ​Interact​ ​who​ ​came​ ​together​ ​for​ ​the betterment​ ​of​ ​the​ ​community.”​ ​

Interact​ ​is​ ​an​ ​unique​ ​volunteer​ ​club​ ​because​ ​the​ ​club​ ​provides​ ​opportunities​ ​for​ ​students to​ ​get​ ​ready​ ​for​ ​college;​ ​when​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​college,​ ​colleges​ ​like​ ​to​ ​see​ ​that​ ​students​ ​are well​-rounded​ ​individuals​ ​who ​actively​ ​participate​ ​in​ ​their​ ​community​ ​and​ ​school.​ ​Also, since​ Rotary sponsors ​Interact​,​ ​at​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​the​ ​year,​ ​if​ ​a​ ​student​ ​demonstrates leadership​ ​skills,​ ​they​ ​have​ ​the​ ​chance​ ​of​ ​going​ ​to​ ​the​ ​RYLA​ ​conference​ ​to​ ​speak​ ​and meet​ ​with​ ​other​ ​leaders​ ​of​ ​the​ ​community.​ ​Members​ ​also​ ​have​ ​the​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​be chosen​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Rotary​ ​Youth​ ​Leadership​ ​Awards​ ​or​ ​be​ ​given​ ​possible​ ​scholarships​ ​from Rotary.

​“I​ ​believe​ ​that​ ​[after​ ​students​ ​help​ ​out​ ​with​ ​at​ ​least​ ​one​ ​activity],​ ​they continue​ ​to​ ​come​ ​to​ ​Interact​ ​and​ ​even​ ​bring​ ​their​ ​friends​ ​the​ ​next​ ​time​ ​they​ ​do​ ​come because​ ​the​ ​club​ ​feels​ ​like​ ​family,” said Ong.​ “​Students​ ​get​ ​to​ ​volunteer​ ​at​ ​school​ ​and​ ​in​ ​the community​ ​with​ ​their​ ​friends​ ​while​ ​having​ ​fun.​ ​To​ ​see​ ​that​ ​one​ ​was​ ​helping​ ​out​ ​in​ ​the community​ ​and​ ​that​ ​he​ ​or​ ​she​ ​was​ ​making​ ​a​ ​change​ ​is​ ​definitely​ ​something​ ​you​ ​can’t replace.”

​King​ ​said​ ​that​ ​many​ ​service​ ​projects​ ​will​ ​be​ ​put​ ​into​ ​effect​ ​this​ ​year​. The projects will be​ ​school- and​ ​community-based and will​ ​“emphasize​ ​acceptance​ ​of​ ​individual responsibility​ ​as​ ​the​ ​basis​ ​of​ ​personal​ ​success,​ ​community​ ​improvement,​ ​and​ ​group achievement.”

​So​ ​far​ ​this​ ​year,​ ​Interact​ ​Club​ ​has​ ​helped​ ​during​ ​Suicide​ ​Awareness and​ ​Prevention​ ​Week​ ​by​ ​making​ ​posters​ ​to​ ​put​ ​around​ ​the​ ​school,​ and members also ​worked​ ​the​ ​SOS table​ ​during​ ​lunch​ ​to​ ​pass​ ​out​ ​resources,​ ​pencils,​ ​and​ ​bracelets​ ​to​ ​other​ ​students.​ ​

The Interact Club also volunteers alongside the​ ​HELP​ ​committee. On September 17 club members helped prepare participant​ ​bags​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Homecoming​ ​Hustle.

​For​ ​the​ ​month​ ​of​ ​October,​ ​volunteers​ ​plan​ ​to​ raise​ ​money​ ​for​ ​Red Cross​ ​hurricane​ ​relief fund,​ ​volunteer​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Higgins​ ​Education​ ​Center​ ​twice​ ​a​ ​month​ ​to help​ ​with​ ​childcare,​ ​participate​ in ​or​ ​volunteer at​ ​the​ ​District​ ​211​ ​5K​ ​race,​ ​assist​ ​at​ ​the Higgins​ ​Education​ ​Center​ ​Trunk​ ​or​ ​Treat​ ​Event,​ ​and​ ​help​ ​out​ ​at​ ​the​ ​HEHS​ ​Cupcakes​ ​for a​ ​Cause.​ ​The​ ​club​ ​does​ ​have​ ​more​ ​events​ ​planned​ ​for​ ​this​ ​school​ ​year,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​their biggest​ ​one:​ ​The​ ​Polar​ ​Plunge.​ ​ ​

“One​ ​[memory]​ ​that​ ​stood​ ​out​ ​to​ ​me​ ​the most​ ​would​ ​be​ ​the​ ​Polar​ ​Plunge.​ ​We​ ​raise​ ​money​ ​for​ ​Polar​ ​Plunge​ ​Illinois​ ​which supports​ ​Special​ ​Olympics.​ ​As​ ​a​ ​school​ ​we​ ​raised​ ​about​ ​$15,00​ ​or​ ​more, said Ong. “​Every February​ ​we​ ​would​ ​[plunge]​ ​into​ ​the​ ​freezing​ ​waters​ ​of​ ​Twin​ ​Lakes​ ​in​ ​Palatine.​ ​This​ ​was such​ ​a​ ​good​ ​experience​ ​because​ ​the​ ​members​ ​got​ ​to​ ​spend​ ​time​ ​with​ ​each​ ​other.”

Interactors​ ​are​ ​looking​ ​forward​ ​to​ ​the​ ​upcoming​ ​events​ ​that​ ​they​ ​will​ ​be​ ​doing​ ​soon because​ ​they​ ​enjoy​ ​working​ ​together​ ​as​ ​a​ ​group.​ ​

“As​ ​an​ ​active​ ​member​ ​of​ ​Interact,​ ​I feel​ ​happy​ ​to​ ​be​ ​so​ ​involved​ ​in​ ​our​ ​community.​ ​There​ ​is​ ​always​ ​a​ ​sense​ ​of​ ​joyfulness whenever​ ​we​ ​have​ ​our​ ​meetings​ ​and​ ​whenever​ ​the​ ​club​ ​volunteers​ ​at​ ​events,” said Alex Hwang, Interact Club Secretary. ​”These have​ ​been​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​best​ ​years​ ​of​ ​Interact;​ ​it’s​ ​awesome​ ​to​ ​see​ ​everybody​ ​just​ ​come together,​ ​devoting​ ​their​ ​time​ ​and​ ​efforts​ ​for​ ​a​ ​good​ ​cause.​ ​The​ ​experience​ ​is​ ​always​ ​fun and​ ​it’s​ ​something​ ​that​ ​makes​ ​me​ ​wake​ ​up​ ​in​ ​the​ ​morning​ ​and​ ​look​ ​forward​ ​to​ ​in​ ​my day.”​ ​