Rotary Clubs in Haywood County have new, younger partners.
Both an Interact Club and the Roteract Club are now active in the county, and both are Rotary International organizations for younger members.
Last week, the Haywood Early College Interact Club stepped up to help the Haywood Rotary Club collect nonperishable food items for MANNA Food Bank.
The effort was part of Rotary’s 10 Million Meals Food Drive.
Caroline Bethea-Brown is a member of the Haywood Rotary Club, which sponsors the group, and is the the Interact Club advisor.
The club was formed in August as a community service effort to benefit both local and international needs.
“The response was greater than I expected,” Bethea-Brown said. “At the first meeting, we had 45 students in attendance and more soon joined. Within the first two weeks, we had officers and a board of directors elected.”
At a recent meeting, Bethea-Brown introduced the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to the students to see if they were interesting in using the goals as a framework for community and international action. They all agreed.
Since then, students are taking turns at weekly meetings to give presentations on each goal.
There were two community service projects planned for September, the 10 Million Meal Challenge and group participation in the Haywood Healthcare Foundation’s Power of Pink event to raise funds to offset the cost of mammograms for women unable to afford them.
“This event fits into the UN Goal of Universal Healthcare,” Bethea-Brown said. “We also have approximately 10 Interact students volunteering at the Pigeon Multicultural Community Center on a regular basis. These students go to the center after school to tutor younger children.”
The 10 Million Meals Food Drive can be connected to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 2 to end hunger, Bethea-Brown noted, and students tutoring at the Pigeon Multicultural Community Center is connected to goal No. 4 that deals with promoting a quality education world wide.
Riley Beaulieu is the president of the HEC Interact, which is short for International Action.
“These two words are what have been guiding and inspiring me each day from the start of the club,” Beaulieu said. “We bring together many creative and active minds to discuss current events, world problems and how as a club we can address those problems. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or (SDG’s) are what we base all of our projects off of. They are a clear base of what is happening all around the globe, there is even an app open to the public called Sustainable Development Goals In Action. This app is where I find how other people are actively working with these goals.”
In addition to the projects the club has already acted on, excitement is building for a large local project in the planning stages for this fall, and will have a large international project in the spring.
A second Rotary Club for the younger set was formed on the Haywood Community College campus. The Rotaract Club is for those between the ages of 18 and 30 and is sponsored by both the Haywood and Waynesville Rotary clubs.