By Lydia Kerns
Last December, my friends from the Sierra Madre Interact Club and I helped wrap garlands and tie bows around the lampposts in our town. It made me smile to hear passers-by thanking us for our efforts to make our town festive for the holidays. These holiday decorations are a traditional poject that my Interact Club participates in every year with its sponsor, our local Rotary Club. The happy, warm feeling that I get when I hear those people thank my friends and me is not a new one, thanks to my membership in the Sierra Madre Interact Club. The decision I made during my sophomore year to join this club is probably one of the best decisions of my high school career. At the time, joining the club seemed a simple enough action-it gave me an opportunity to get involved in my community and spend time with friends. I never expected that my involvement in Rotary and Interact would influence my life in the profoundly positive way that it has.
Even with projects as simple as sprucing up my town for the holidays, I feel the tangible accomplishment of what I have done. The service I do with Interact Club affects real people in the real world. Each time that I go on a hike with my dad in Bailey Canyon, we enjoy the restults of the trail repair project that I organized. When I helped raise money for our club to buy hearing aids for children in Mexico, I knew that although I would probably never meet those children, I had imporved their lives.
Sometimes, the small size of our club can feel like an obstacle. Our goals can seem too large for such a little club to handle. As the president this year, I have had to find ways for our group to make an impact. For instance, by increasing the number of local projects that we do, we can directly affect the community with only a few dedicated volunteers. The trail repair project that the club did in Bailey Canyon took only a few volunteers and a shovel. But, by covering up a dangerous tripping hazard on the trail, we were able to make Bailey Canyon safer and more enjoyable for everyone.
Through my role in the Interact Club, I have become a leader who makes things happen. I have become confident that I am capable of changing the world for the better. In my last year as a member of the club and my first year as its president, I couldn't be happier with the things I have accomplished and with the direction that I have helped the club take. My involvement in Interact and Rotary is a reflection of a part of myself of which I am extremely proud. This is the part of me that creates and improves, and inspires others to do the same.