Interact club helps local community

Cal’s Interact club creates opportunities for the community through student service

Interact members gain volunteer hours by creating posters to advertise their community
carnival which would have been held at Cal High on April 3 from 5-8 p.m.

Logan Visola

Interact members gain volunteer hours by creating posters to advertise their community carnival which would have been held at Cal High on April 3 from 5-8 p.m.

Carol Chen
In an effort to show the beauty within Cal High, The Californian will be profiling a student each issue who is working to improve campus life.

The Cal High Interact club has been serving communities both locally and globally for years. 

Interact is an independent service club for high schoolers sponsored by San Ramon Rotary, which is an organization of local adults who provide service and humanitarian aid. 

Rotarians, members of Rotary, sometimes assist or accompany Interact members with their service. 

While Rotary collaborates with Interact, offering support and resources, Interact is self-directed and student-run at all levels, from locally to internationally. 

“We bring awareness to community service opportunities in the area,” said club president Jocelyn Gao, a senior. “We’re trying to encourage students to get out to their communities and make it a better place.” 

Unlike most service clubs, Interact has global bases and connections. 

There are more than 20,000 Interact clubs with almost 500,000 members in 159 countries worldwide, according to Cal High’s Interact website.

Interact is divided into districts and Cal is part of District 5160, the second-largest district in the world. 

Locally, Interact is known as one of the largest and most active clubs on campus. 

It is easy to see Interact’s long-lasting impact on Cal. In fact, there are benches at the front of the school proudly displaying Interact’s name. 

Interact planned to make another great impact through a community carnival held at Cal, which has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is unclear whether or not the carnival will be able to take place this school year. 

The carnival was intended to bring the community together through food, fun, live performances, and more. 

Other student clubs would have run games, goods, and food booths, giving them an opportunity to raise funds and gain publicity. 

The event was mostly student-run and the active involvement in the club is very high. There are 12 members on the board alone, all with a passion for helping others. 

“The main mission is ‘Service Above Self’,” said junior Kimberly Shirai, who is Cal’s VP of communications but also acts as the Interact District Governor. “To me, it means that you value service and helping others over what you want.”

Logan Visola
Junior Thomas Files is a part of the Interact club which organizes various events to benefit the community.

Interact works with many different organizations such as Open Heart Kitchen in Pleasanton, The Crayon Initiative in Danville, and international nonprofit Rise Against Hunger. 

“This year we expanded our Rise Against Hunger event to work with six different Rotary clubs and six different Interact clubs,” Gao said. “We packaged over 30,000 meals.” 

Along with a variety of service opportunities Interact raises funds for an organization every year. This year, Interact is raising money for the Environmental Defense Fund. 

Cal High Interact also sets up its own events to provide Cal students with service opportunities. 

In the past, they have teamed up with Key Club to make stress balls and hosted a picnic where members made dog toys to donate. Members enjoy the service opportunities that Interact finds and creates. 

“Interact is a place where people reach out to the community which makes them better people overall,” junior Srujana Miryala said. “It helps me as a citizen of Cal High.” 

With such a large amount of participants, Interact is bound to run into obstacles. 

It’s hard to keep track of all the members and not all of them are committed, Gao said. 

While many students join Interact solely for volunteer hours or college applications, there are quite a few members who discover a love for service through Interact. It’s fair to say that Interact is more than just a service club. 

“I really enjoy the culture of Interact,” Shirai said. “We genuinely want to know each other.” 

Interact also helps students explore their careers through Camps Royal and Venture for leadership and entrepreneurship, respectively. 

Recently, Interactors stayed at UC Davis overnight for You See Davis, an event where members learned more about college and Rotaract, the young adult level of Rotary. 

Interact acts as a great way to create meaningful connections with students from other schools and adults, specifically Rotarians. 

“You get to create a broader network with others, but you also get to find out what they’re passionate about,” said fundraising coordinator Danielle Lee, a sophomore. “You just get to know a lot more people.” 

Seeing students passionate about improving their community inspires older generations, according to Gary Sloan, a local Rotarian and Cal High Interact’s advisor. 

Sloan visits Cal every Wednesday for Interact meetings.

“These Interact students far exceed anything the adults could possibly expect,” Sloan said. “[They have] a real desire to do something meaningful.” 

If you’re interested in making the world a better place while having great interactions with others, check out S-9 on Wednesdays during lunch.