Photo by Heather Middleton
By Johnny Jackson
The Henry County Rotary Club is embarking on a partnership that leaders of the organization hope will produce young adult community-minded leaders.
Rotary has grand visions of establishing volunteer clubs, known as Interact clubs, at high schools throughout the county, according to Henry County Rotary Club President Kerry Arnold.
Interact clubs are Rotary International's service organizations for young people, ages 12, to 18. The Interact clubs are sponsored by individual Rotary Clubs, who help provide the resources, and help in organizing community projects throughout the year.
The Henry County Rotary Club assisted in the establishment of what could be the county's first-ever Interact Club. Arnold said the club was created in February, at Woodland High School in Stockbridge, by 16-year-old Ahkilah Weems, a junior at the school and also its club president. It has 15 members currently.
"The purpose is to build future leaders," said Arnold. "The key to making this work is that you have to have somebody in leadership at the high school with a passion for something like this."
Interact clubs organize a variety of projects and activities that depend primarily on the interests of club members, he explained. The clubs are supposed to work to enhance students' leadership skills, while they serve their community and expand international understanding.
"It's their [high school students'] club," he continued, "and the idea is that they are supposed to do a couple of projects a year that will impact their community in a positive way."
The Woodland High Interact Club is led by faculty advisor, Vicki Loess, a biology and physical science teacher at Woodland. Arnold said Loess will work with Henry County Rotarian, Wayne Lowrey, and has been charged with the duties of the Woodland High Interact Club Liason.
"I am very excited at this opportunity to be on the ground floor of something so rewarding, and Woodland is a great fit for us," said Lowrey. "Interact is a leadership program at the high school level. And in today's world, these attributes are something we are very proud in helping to instill."
The goal of international service through Interact is to encourage and foster the advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace, through a world fellowship of youth united in the ideal of service, added Arnold.
"This is a wonderful way to round out our year," said Rotary Club President Arnold. "We have been working on this for a couple of years now and we are ecstatic that Woodland High has recognized the benefits of bringing an international development program to its students."
Interact clubs, much like the Henry County Rotary Club, are geared toward providing community service where it is needed, and expanding its reach through the community.
"We [at Rotary] all come from different backgrounds," Arnold said. "We have different talents, and we're all trained in different fields. Individually, we can make an impact, but together we can change the world. And that's the way Rotarians are throughout the world. We all come together to improve our community and our world."
To learn more about the Interact Club Program, contact Kerry Arnold through the Henry County Rotary Club web site, at www.henrycountyrotary.org.