By Hannah Shin, member of the North Allegheny Interact Club and member of the Inaugural Rotary International Interact Advisory Council
As an Interact leader, volunteer, and fan of five years, I am filled to the brim with love for Rotary and Interact, especially as I reflect upon how these communities and experiences have permanently impacted my life in beautiful ways. I first started an Interact club in my middle school, because I deeply appreciated Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self.” Through organizing service projects with fellow youth, whether that be a Halloween candy drive, a cultural appreciation project, or a book drive, I continued to grow fonder and fonder of Interact. I cherished the community that it cultivated and the impact that it paved.
As I transitioned into intermediate high school (grades 9-10), I brought Interact with me, connecting students with opportunities to serve. My leadership in Interact continued later in senior high school (grades 11-12), and I currently serve as an officer in my Interact club. Whether it be packing spa kits for a local women’s shelter, connecting with an under-resourced elementary school, or helping nursing home residents play Bingo, our club members have had quite a lot of fun serving our community. I would love to give a huge shoutout to our high school club advisors, Mrs. Steele and Mrs. Lombardi, as well as our middle school club advisor, Mrs. Castner, for all that they have poured into making Interact possible!
Earlier last school year, Mrs. Lombardi encouraged me to check out the opportunity to apply to serve on the first-ever Rotary International Interact Advisory Council (RI IAC). I was immediately drawn to the mission and values of the RI IAC, and I was beyond honored when I was selected to serve on it, representing hundreds of thousands of Interactors across over a hundred countries as the sole United States high school student.
My term has been quite eventful, and I have absolutely loved every moment of it. From conversing with Interactors across almost every continent to speaking at over a dozen in-person and virtual Rotary events within and beyond District 7305 and contributing to the conversations and ideas in the RI IAC this year, Rotary has kept me busy in the best way possible. Through this whole experience, I have met several close friends and have had my mind opened more and more with each chat. I will forever treasure my time on the RI IAC, and I am deeply thankful for how it has given me a platform to impact this community that means so much to me.
Truly, I have a whole lot of love for Rotary and Interact. I look forward to continuing to stay involved as a part of the Rotary family through engaging in Rotaract in the next chapter of my life and becoming a Rotarian thereafter.
Rotary can certainly be a lifelong journey! I hope everyone reading this finds their path of opportunities through Rotary. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about my Interact journey or would like to talk about yours.
Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of blog posts in celebration of Youth Service Month. Learn more about how Rotary is developing the next generation of leaders.