For most of my high school life, I have been involved in my school’s Interact Club, one of the biggest and most important clubs in my community. As the appointed vice president of the club for the next school year of 2021-22, I took time to sit down with Lianne Kim, the upcoming president that served as an officer last year and one of my best friends.
What is the overall purpose of Interact Club?
Lianne: Interact Club was created so that students could have opportunities to serve their communities. Our members meet every month for activities that include making crafts, writing cards, and wrapping gifts. The crafts that members make, as well as additional supplies, food, and services, are given to those in need.
First of all, what is your role in the Interact Club? What are the responsibilities?
Lianne: I was recently appointed to be the president of Interact Club for 2021-2022. As president, my responsibilities include organizing activities, leading meetings, contacting Rotary members, and communicating with other Interact officers. I have just started my role as president, and I am excited to lead Interact Club and learn from my experience in the following school year!
How did you get involved with Interact Club? What inspired you to join?
Lianne: At the beginning of freshman year, I was looking for clubs to join and went to the first informational Interact Club meeting. At the meeting, the officers presented the work that they had done in the past year, and I was impressed by how much of an impact high school students could make. I wanted to follow in their footsteps and work with other students to help those in our community.
What does Interact Club mean to you? How is it important to you?
Lianne: To me, Interact Club is a way that busy students can help their community without feeling overwhelmed. I feel like high schoolers are limited in certain ways, as many of us can’t travel on our own and don’t have much free time or money. Since Interact Club consists of only monthly meetings, it is not such a costly commitment, which allows students to still help out and make a significant impact.
What are some examples of things Interact Club has done for the community?
Lianne: Last year, it was tricky to plan for activities since our meetings were all virtual. However, by socially distancing ourselves, our members were still able to make tie-dye masks and cards to give to essential workers at Providence Hospital. In December, we held a Zoom meeting with our members to fold origami together. We then donated the crafts along with hygiene products to the Ennis Center for Children. In our last meeting, Interact Club collaborated with PAWS Club (Pets and Wildlife for Students Club) to help animals in need. Members of both clubs created homemade cat toys out of old clothes, socks, and felt to donate to For the Love of Cats Rescue and Adoption. In past years, Interact Club has held giant meetings where students aim to package at least 10,000 lunches to donate to people around the world. Although we couldn’t hold this meeting last year, we hope to continue this tradition in the following year.
How did Interact Club impact your life specifically?
Lianne: For the past 3 years, Interact Club has been a way for me to get out of my headspace as a high schooler and reach out to others. During my time in high school, I have felt like I often get absorbed into a repetition of going to school and studying. However, Interact Club allows me to escape that cycle and see that school is not everything. I have realized that there is a multitude of issues that are much more important than going to school – such as poverty, hunger, and health – which are problems that Interact Club often focuses on.
What do you hope the impact of Interact Club will be on others?
Lianne: For students, I hope that Interact Club can be a fun and engaging experience that allows them to help others while also socializing with other students. I also hope it helps students gain a larger view of issues in the world, and inspires them to continue their efforts outside of high school. For those in our community, I hope that our efforts bring about a positive change, even if it is just for a day.
What do you hope to leave behind in Interact Club after you graduate?
Lianne: Next year, I hope that I can help the club be successful, especially as we make the transition from virtual to in-person settings. In order to prepare for future years, I would like to help and support the other officers so that they can lead the club when I am gone. In the following years, I hope that Interact Club can continue to do its part in serving others and fulfilling the goal of “service above self”.
How would you recommend others to contribute to their community?
Lianne: For Interact Club, we ask the members to bring old clothes, books, school supplies, etc. that they are not using to donate to various organizations. However, anyone can do the same, even if they are not in a club! If you look around your house, you will most likely find things that you are not using that could still be useful for others. You could use this opportunity to clean out your house while also helping those in need.
What message do you have to readers who might be interested in joining or starting an Interact Club in their community?
Lianne: I would tell anyone who wants to join or start an Interact Club to go ahead and do it! Although it may take a considerable amount of effort and time to start a club, the positive change that it could bring is definitely worth it. When starting one, you should research various organizations and activities while also reaching out to your local Rotary Club who could be there to support you. For those who want to join an existing Interact Club, I would recommend you to look out for informational meetings that are usually held at the beginning of the year. It is always a great idea to try things that you are interested in, so if Interact Club is something you would like to be involved in, you shouldn’t hesitate to join or start one at your school!