I again had the pleasure to work with the outstanding Interact Club of Ridgefield, as they worked along with other Rotarians, town leaders, and merchants.

This year the board was made up of juniors, the two Co-presidents were Abby Sutcliffe and Lakshmi Kanurmuri, Vice President was Emily Vides, Secretary was Holly Mauro, Treasurer was Jack Williams, Social Media Manager was Kara Meenan, and Public Relations was Kate Dougherty. They had 45 members this year who were very committed to helping the community and learning how to be a leader.

At the beginning of the year, they held a vote to decide what charities they would choose to raise money for. The club voted for CARE and Connecticut Cancer Foundation. CARE is a global humanitarian organization that fights poverty through empowering girls and women in third world countries. Connecticut Cancer Foundation is a nonprofit that provides financial assistance to Connecticut cancer patients so they can help with basic living expenses.

Although they were forced to cancel many of the events this year due to coronavirus, they were able to raise just over $1000. They raised this money through multiple fundraisers. During this time they held two restaurant nights, one at Eddie’s and another at Dimirtri’s. At these events the restaurant donated 10% of their sales for the night. However, the majority of the money they raised was from bake sales at the Ridgefield Rec Center, which they held almost weekly. They have not been able to donate the funds due to school closing in March. When school returns to in person-days they will be able to donate the money evenly to each of the charities.

They held their annual RVNA Holiday Can Drive at Farmingville Elementary School, and donated their collection in December. They sent volunteers to help Meals on Wheels on Christmas Eve, assisting in delivering meals to those in need. As well as volunteering for the Salvation Army’s Bell Ringing through Ridgefield Rotary Club, they always had a large presence helping out at Rotary’s monthly food drive. Without their help, the food drive would never have been the success that is was. They had many members attend the Rotary district event, Next Generations, which had to be moved onto a virtual platform this year.

Unfortunately, this year a large amount of their events were cancelled. The district events Leaders of Tomorrow and Dance Your Hearts Out were cancelled. The additional Intereact club events such as the Disco Skate, future bake sales, and restaurant nights were cancelled.

The Interact club held elections for the upcoming school year. The next board will be; Co-Presidents – Abby Sutcliffe and Lakshmi Kanumuri, Vice President – Holly Mauro, Secretary – Julia Jajkiewicz, Treasurer – Skylar Arent, Social Media Manager – Kara Meenan, and Public Relations – Kate Dougherty. They will have a board meeting before the upcoming school year to discuss their plans for the year and how to operate with the changes for how school will be conducted. They hope to hold all the events that they were unable to this year and new events that work to help our community.

The Interact students are a remarkable group of students that will some day move forward to be our leaders.

Geri Blair, Rotary Youth Committee

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