The Rotary Club of Grosse Ile sponsored service group for students between the ages of 12 and 18 years old
With the advent of the tech generation growing up and graduating around us, the youth of today often receive a bad rap for being engrossed with themselves and their social media. Yet Suzi Honkala offers an encouraging report about the next generation from the Interact Club, which meets monthly at Grosse Ile High School. The Grosse Ile Interact Club is a service group organization for students between the ages of 12 and 18 years old and has been sponsored by the Rotary Club of Grosse Ile since 1999. The club is currently comprised of about fifty Grosse Ile High School students, ranging from freshmen to seniors.
Honkala grew up in a Rotary household and now serves as the liaison to the Interact Club. Her passion is inspiring students to live a life of service and embrace the “Service Above Self” lifestyle, which is also the Rotary Club’s motto. This is what drives her to give of her time as she advises and helps the high school students who meet to plan service activities throughout the year. Her favorite aspect of time spent with the Interact club is “seeing the positivity and generosity of youth today in a society which can be very selfish,” she says. “It is refreshing to see that young people are being raised to make a difference in this world.”
The Interact Club was led this past year by Interact Club President Jacob Ochab, a 2017 graduate bound for MSU this fall. Ochab joined the club in his sophomore year and gradually became more involved. According to Ochab, “My favorite part of Interact Club was assuming a leadership position this year and taking the club to new heights. We were involved in more activities in the community this year, helping with the Tour de Ile bike race, hosting a water stand at the Rock CF Run, and hosting a soccer drive to assist impoverished youth in Nigeria. But my favorite activity was the annual Christmas party we hosted for the Del Ray community in Detroit. It was fun buying and wrapping gifts for all the children and then decorating the community center for Christmas. Seeing their smiles of appreciation was worth all the effort put into the event.”
Honkala shares Ochab’s enthusiasm for the Christmas party, “The students entered a community center that was completely bare, and they turned it into a magical Christmas celebration,” she says. “The club members wore their ugly Christmas sweaters and decorated, produced a craft station, and shared with less fortunate kids.”
Regarding his experience with Interact, Ochab says, “You meet really great people, and it expands your volunteer and leadership opportunities while giving you a chance to give back to the community. It helps you appreciate what other people are going through. There is also a social aspect as it is a free-flowing, relaxed atmosphere.”
Interact is in more than 150 countries around the world, with 460,000 members worldwide, 40 clubs in this district, and 20,000 clubs worldwide. Interact Club meets monthly to plan for activities, and members can get as involved as they want or are able to give.
For more information on how to get involved, contact the Rotary Club at grosseilerotary.org