By Ava Benedict
With over 400 community service hours completed last year, the Interact Club of Tampa Bay has been an essential resource for local students wanting to make an impact within their community. The club’s motto of “Service above self” guides members in sparking change and committing themselves to helping those in need. Through public service projects and volunteer opportunities, the Interact Club gives students a way to both give back and foster their own leadership skills.
The Interact Club is designed to connect students with leaders in the community through monthly guest speakers. From attorneys to public speaking professionals, students are exposed to a variety of interesting topics geared toward assisting them in making their own career choices. The main goal of the club, however, is to give every student the chance to experience firsthand the impact service has on the environment and the people around them.
“The club focus is helping our students with leadership education and providing them with opportunities to earn community service hours,” said Chad Norgard, Interact Club advisor and former president of the Brandon ’86 Rotary Club.
The Interact Club is sponsored by the Brandon ’86 Rotary Club and frequently assists with Rotary events in the area. One of the largest annual events that the club participates in is the Brandon Seafood Festival, a day filled with fun and delicious treats for the entire family. The festival features a pie-eating contest, bounce houses and, of course, some tasty seafood. Proceeds from the experience are donated to local and global charities, with over $10,000 in funds raised last year to benefit Everyday Blessings and The Rotary Foundation. Past service projects have also included roadside cleanups, fundraising for elementary school libraries and landscaping local neighborhoods.
The club is open to all students ages 14-18 in the Tampa Bay area, but being a member is not required to participate in community service events. Meetings are on the first Monday of each month from 6-8 p.m. (with dinner provided) and are located at the Rivard-Simmons Rotary Event Center in Brandon. For more information, visit the club’s Facebook page at Interact Club of Tampa Bay or email email@example.com.