VIDEO: Alameda Rotary's Interact clubs

VIDEO: Alameda Rotary's Interact clubs

Donna Eyestone

Video by Donna Eyestone.

Alameda Rotary’s Interact clubs were designed to train future Rotarians – and to provide local high schoolers with opportunities to contribute to their community, both locally and globally. (The name combines the words “international” and “action.”) Nearly 200 students participate in Interact clubs at five Alameda schools – Alameda High School, Encinal High School, the Alameda Science and Technology Institute, Nea Community Learning Center and St. Joseph Notre Dame High School – and the clubs are part of a Bay Area district that is the nation’s largest.

The youth clubs’ past international projects include raising money to build a school and library in Bangladesh, provide shelter for victims of natural disasters, end polio and fund school feeding projects across several countries; this year, they are raising money to help send 5,170 solar cookstoves – each stamped with the district’s logo – to refugees in Afghanistan, a project designed to both provide families will a safe method of cooking meals and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Locally, they have launched a community project called HEART; local Interactors, as they are called, are working to support art in local schools.

The Alamedan caught up with the local Rotary’s youth director, Tracy Zollinger, and Mariko Stenstedt, the Alameda High student who also serves as international coordinator for Interact’s Bay Area region. In the meantime, anyone wishing to submit a tax-deductible donation for the cookstoves can write checks to Interact 5170 Foundation and send them to Tracy Zollinger, Alameda Rotary Youth Services Director, 2424 Blanding Avenue, Suite 102, Alameda, Calif. 94501.

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