MASSENA -- Thanks to Massena Central’s Interact Club, students have the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves, get a better sense of their community and the world and help others in need.
Interact clubs are sponsored by individual Rotary clubs, which provide support and guidance, but they are self-governing and self-supporting.
“Rotary kind of oversees what we do. They have a liaison, Frenchie, who tries to come to one of our meetings every once in a while just to see what we are doing here and then we go to their meetings to let them know what we are doing,” said Interact Vice President Peter Skomsky.
On Tuesday, Nov. 6, Superintendent Roger B. Clough II, Alternative Education Liaison and club advisor Michael Chartrand, and club president Murphy attended a Rotary Club meeting to share Interacts latest plans.
Massena’s Interact Club has about 40 members, the most ever for the club. These students must participate in at least one local and one international fundraising project during the year. They work together researching fundraising ideas and then go out and make them happen. And most years, they do more than the minimum.
Mr. Chartrand credits the club’s growth to two things.
“First I go to the IB classes because IB students have to perform a certain number of community service hours to get their IB diploma. Second, it’s mostly word of mouth. For example, someone talks to his or her friends and they join,” said Mr. Chartrand.
“This year it’s spreading even more, kind of cutting across the spectrum. We have kids from all different walks of life. That’s what really makes me happy. It makes you proud of this school to have this level of involvement, especially because students don’t get any academic or financial reward for their hard work. They walk away with the satisfaction of having done something good for others”
Murphy not only helps to recruit new members, but helps come up with fundraising ideas for the club. She then coordinates the events to make sure the members do their part and things go smoothly.
Skomsky also helps to generate fundraising ideas and works with Murphy to make certain the club reaches its community service goals.
“Last year we raised money for Heifer International which is an organization that gives third world countries a goat or a cow, so we held a breakfast to raise money,” Murphy said.
This October, Interact joined Trick or Treat for UNICEF campaign.
“Some of our members actually dressed up on Halloween and went door to door asking for spare change. UNICEF uses that money to fund projects in Africa,” Skomsky said.
In addition to fundraising, the group also volunteers at local events.
“(The Marine Corps Ball) is more about volunteering, just serving and helping out rather than raising money. Last year, too, we helped out the Chamber of Commerce when they held parties for kids at the Community Center. We would go help out with arts and crafts or wherever they needed us,” Murphy said.
"Mike Chartrand does a wonderful job directing the Interact Club and the support the kids give to the organizations is just fantastic. I also want to thank the rotary for their sponsorship for the interact club. Without their support this would not be possible," said Roger B. Clough II
Most recently, this past Saturday, Nov. 10, Interact participated in the Polar Plunge. Club members plunged into the river at Hawkins Point to help raise money for the Special Olympics.
“It’s important to give back if you can, so I guess we are just starting early so it sticks with us,” murphy said..