Leadership, community service and real life experience are qualities that college admissions officers seek in new applicants. The Interact Clubs for youth are subsets of the Rotary International organization, and are designed to give young people these opportunities. These clubs number nearly 11,000 around the globe, with a total of more than 200,000 students from 109 countries.
Daniel Martin, a homeschool junior in Scottsdale, Arizona, heard about Rotary International and their program for teens. He went to an informational meeting, and then attended the Interact Presidential Retreat in February. Since there was not an Interact group for homeschoolers in Arizona and very few around the country, Daniel launched his own club in March. Currently, 14 homeschoolers are involved, and there is plenty of room for more.
The purpose of the organization is to develop leadership and practical service projects for the community, one of which must be an activity that furthers international understanding and goodwill. Interactors develop a network of friendships with local and overseas clubs. They 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.
Students from 12 to 18 can join the clubs which are self-governing and self-supporting. Only active for the school year, Daniel’s group is winding down for the summer. They had one service project in April, a musical performance at a retirement home, and an end of the year party in May. Possible projects for next year include working at a food bank, recitals, Operation Christmas Child, and a clothing and book drive for overseas orphanages.
Daniel says there are many benefits for homeschool students who participate in the Interact clubs.
- Students will log service hours toward the Presidential Service Award. This program was started in 2003 to encourage young people and adults to give back to their communities through volunteer work. Beginning with 50 hours of service, participants can receive a series of four recognition pins, a personalized certificate or a letter from the President.
- They will develop leadership skills through Rotary and experience team-building skills.
- Teens can get to know other homeschoolers with similar goals and help spur each other on to meeting those goals.
Since the Interact Club is for homeschoolers, students must meet the Arizona statute standard of being 51% homeschooled, and not enrolled in a public school programs. (There are clubs that specifically target the public schools.) Interested young people can contact the club to get connected.
Interact AZ-Homeschool Club