Interact Club promotes interaction, volunteerism

Interact+Club+volunteers+at+the+Hawk+Hustle+on+September+17.
Interact Club volunteers at the Hawk Hustle on September 17.

Interact Club volunteers at the Hawk Hustle on September 17.

Interact Club volunteers at the Hawk Hustle on September 17.

Rabiya Salman, Staff Writer

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​​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.”​ ​

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