Members of the Interact Club at Ladysmith Secondary School are involved in a number of charity campaigns around town. (Gerry Beltgens photo)

Members of the Interact Club at Ladysmith Secondary School are involved in a number of charity campaigns around town. (Gerry Beltgens photo)

Ladysmith Interact club students inspired and inspiring

Ladysmith Secondary School group making a difference in their community

By Gerry Beltgens, Special to the Chronicle

The Interact Club at Ladysmith Senior Secondary School received more than $1,000 worth of cash and food donations in six hours in front of the Ladysmith 49th Parallel grocery store in November.

The Christmas and holiday season is always difficult for those less-fortunate. The Ladysmith Interact Club decided it could do something to help and choose to support the Ladysmith Resource Centre Food Bank and Extreme Weather Shelter.

This is only one of many projects Interact was involved with in 2018. One of the big takeaways for the students was the generosity of the community.

“We are extremely proud of how our small town can come together to make such a big difference and help our locals in need” said Emmaly Churchill a club member.

Interact is a club for youth in high school and an official part of Rotary international. The local club has about 20 members and was founded in 2016 by Kennedy Ronmark, a former Rotary exchange student and seven other committed high school students, with the help of Eileen Beltgens and Sandra Milne from the Rotary Club of Ladysmith.

The Ladysmith Interact Club is now in its third year and the students are excited to be able to make a difference in the community. The executive for the 2018-19 year are Louise Wong (President), Sophie Steele (Vice-President), Bryn Dovey (Treasurer), and Emma Graves (Secretary).

Current projects include: volunteering weekly with the Oyster Bay Seniors Residence; working in the Rotary Food Tent at the Festival of Lights; feeding the community at the LaFF Santa Pancake Breakfast; holding a “Coats for Folks” drive within the school; and collecting gently used winter clothing for donation in the winter season (donations can be dropped off at the school).

In the new year the Interact Club plans to take part in a Soap for Hope campaign and international fundraisers.

“Knowing our work has made an impact within the community has only motivated us further in the club’s efforts to make a change. We are so grateful for the support from Rotary and the entire town of Ladysmith in making all of this possible” said Steele.

Interact Club mentor and incoming Rotary President, Beltgens is very proud of the contributions the students make to the community.

“The LSS Interact club demonstrates so well Rotary’s motto for this year: “Be the Inspiration.”

“Their energy for identifying needs within the community, then creating and implementing service and fundraising projects to assist other organizations in fulfilling those needs is infectious!” she said.

“You are the inspiration! Thank you for helping make our community a caring community!”

There are presently 20,372 Interact Clubs in 159 countries. You can check them out on Facebook as “Ladysmith Interact Club”