Interact Club continues its legacy of community service.
The mission of Interact Club is to provide “service above self.” Its vision statement is: “Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.”
Thomas Jefferson High School’s Interact Club is sponsored by the Denver Tech Center (DTC) Rotary Club. Interact Club meets every Monday at lunch in room 108. At each meeting, students group into committees such as Fundraising, Community Service, and Marketing. These committees plan local events and fundraisers and advertise upcoming events.
Former Career and Technical Education (CTE) Partnership Coordinator and current sponsor of the Interact Club, Danny Showers, mentors students to help them hone their leadership skills and is a member of the DTC Rotary Club himself. Unfortunately, he is leaving after this school year, and World Language teacher Laura Prow will take his place as sponsor. The sponsor of the TJ Interact Club oversees the club along with several members of the local DTC Rotary Club who encourage effective student leadership through scholarships and mentorship.
Throughout the year, Interact Club raises money for charities. For example, last year, one of the charities they donated to was the Red Cross. To reach their goals, students sell chips, candy, and occasionally popcorn and cotton candy after school on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. In addition, Interact hosts fundraisers with local restaurants. For example, on April 27, from 11 am to 8 pm, Interact Club hosted a fundraiser at Slices Pizza.
The Rotary Foundation also provides several scholarships for students involved in their communities. The Denver Technology Center Sallie Shuler Scholarship was awarded exclusively to Interact students in the past, but this year it is open to 15 students outside of Interact who have demonstrated service above self. Rotary scholarships, such as the University Hills – Denver Rotary Foundation scholarship also support students who pursue higher-level education in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.
According to the Rotary website, Interact Club is just one opportunity for high school students to connect with leaders in their city and around the world. Through this, students can discover new cultures, promote international understanding, become leaders, and make new friends from different backgrounds.
In February, some Interact members participated in the Youth Diversity Conference at Cherry Creek High School. This annual event empowers youth to advance equity and inclusion. Through seminars and workshops, students learn how to discover their identities, develop new perspectives, promote authenticity, improve communication, conflict resolution, collaboration, integrity, and decision-making skills, and bolster activism. One of the workshops involved a Holocaust survivor explaining his story and how to prevent Jewish hate and Holocaust denial moving forward. This workshop allowed students to empathize with his story and become more analytical in the face of fake news.
One of the core goals of Interact Club is for participants to organize at least two projects each year. One project helps their school or community, and the other promotes international understanding. For example, on August 14, 2021, a massive earthquake struck Haiti, displacing many people from their homes and creating food, water, and hygiene insecurity. In 2022, the TJ Interact Club raised money to fund earthquake kits for people in Haiti through the charity ShelterBox. In addition, TJ students write cards for Senior Citizens at the Holly Creek retirement home every year and volunteer each month at local charities such as Clothes for Kids or Habitat for Humanity. TJ Interact plans to organize food drives in the future, and they have collaborated with the Sustainability Club on several park cleanups at James A. Bible Park.
Interact allows young leaders to help people around the world and in their communities. The President of the TJ Interact Club, junior Delina Abraham said, “Interact has definitely taught me how to be more in tune with what is going on in my community and has taught me how to be a better person.”
There are 14,911 Interact Clubs internationally, 342,953 Interact members, and 145 countries with Interact Clubs. Interact allows students to make their communities stronger through leadership, community service projects, and educating students on how to build a more tolerant, inclusive world.