The Interact Club at PHS, beginning the 2017-2018 academic year, will give students the opportunity to participate in community service initiatives under leaders Claire Xu ’19 and Anya Sachdev ’19.
Students who join will be helping with projects such as creating fundraising drives to collect school supplies and sports equipment for underprivileged children, as well as raising money to use for educational funds. Xu and Sachdev hope to collaborate with Princeton Rotary in completing its initiatives.
“[Interact Club will be] a great opportunity to introduce students to the Rotary Club. Rotary promotes a lot of scholarships, [and] a lot of student exchanges … [It’s] a place where the students that participate in Interact can always come back … and ask for support through their whole professional life,” said Dinan.
Rotary International is a worldwide service organization, which was initially created to allow professionals to discuss business and ethics. Over time, the group has developed into an organization that focuses on international issues and develops various projects to tackle worldwide epidemics.
Members of the Rotary Club of Princeton, a branch of Rotary International, visited Bangalore two years ago through a family exchange program which occur between countries to allow Rotary members to collaborate on initiatives in underdeveloped countries and become more culturally sensitive.
“My brother is a member of the Rotary Princeton, [so] we have had an association with the Rotary Princeton for the last 14 years,” said Rotary of Bangalore representative Santosh Nedungadi.
Through this connection, Rotarians from Princeton have visited Bangalore to raise money to provide a chemotherapy unit for local hospitals, more classrooms in school, and an improved transportation system.
Likewise, Princeton Rotary has also found success through their service initiatives conducted locally, such as assisting low-income families, purchasing books for preschool students, and sending gifts on the holidays to those living off of welfare.
“This year, the Rotary Club bought books about the Holocaust for the entire 6th grade [at John Witherspoon Middle School]… [and] purchased books for all the nursery school students of Princeton,” Dinan said.
In addition, Princeton Rotary has also been able to connect with fellow Rotarians in Latin America through collaborating on various service projects.
“[Princeton Rotary] also supported a project of mine with Ms. Carbone and Ms. Gates [where] we went to Mérida, Mexico, and did a three-day English language camp with indigenous students in a high school,” Dinan said.
Jan Gurvitch, a representative from Princeton Rotary, finds that the strength of Rotary stems from the unity between the various global chapters of the organization.
“What makes [Rotary] powerful is that [there are] clubs in the countries that we are working with, so when [Rotary clubs] were giving out polio vaccines [during the polio epidemic], there were Rotarians on the ground in India, in Ghana, [and] in New Zealand who were out there giving the vaccines,” said Gurvitch.
Rotary sees the value of cultural immersion programs due to the opportunity they provide in allowing different people from all parts of the world to come together.
“The fact that [members of Rotary International] come from different professions, and …that clubs are built from diversity [results in having] a bunch of people who come from different [backgrounds]. [They] have different professional inputs [which] really makes this program very rich,” said Susheela Venkataraman, a representative of Rotary of Bangalore.