By Jillian Frankel
At Escondido High School, the community service-based club known as Interact is preparing to seek out and develop new opportunities to serve the local area throughout the school year.
Adviser, Becky Rudeen, has noted throughout her experience that the club has positively affected the lives of many of its participants as well as those who receive the acts of support.
“Students feel like they are giving back to their community and making a positive change, which builds self-esteem and confidence,” said Rudeen.
According to Rudeen, allowing students to get involved in various service projects will not only benefit them personally, but will also improve the lives of those who have been assisted.
Rudeen explained, “We discuss community events and members can pick and choose which ones they wish to participate in.”
Typical activities include participating in the Reading Legacies program, which allows high school students to read to preschool children for one hour per week; landscaping at the Escondido men’s or women’s shelters; beach, park, and lake cleanups; putting together toiletry boxes for the less fortunate;participating in campus cleanups and stacking books at the Lincoln Elementary Library.
This year, meetings for Interact are scheduled to be held weekly in Room 414 on Wednesdays during lunch and all are welcome to join.
Senior, Melissa Gutierrez, 18, the president of Interact, is responsible for overseeing club meetings and ensuring that members are made properly aware of the numerous activities in which they can get involved as well as attending many of the events herself.
“When we hear about community service opportunities, we announce them to our club members, so that they don’t have to search for events by themselves,” said Gutierrez.
Providing these hours of service is essential for students planning to receive acceptance into a UC-level or state college, as community involvement is often an admissions requirement.
Interact has continued to grow despite specific challenges unique to our campus.
According to Heather Weiner, the ASB adviser who grants permission for clubs to begin and participate in certain activities, informing students of a club’s existence can often prove to be a difficulty that limits numbers.
“Publicity on a campus as large as ours is the most difficult part of developing a club,” Weiner said.
To prevent such limitations, Interact meetings are often promoted through word of mouth among club members and other students who have not yet joined.
Gutierrez explained that the main purpose of the club, as well as the reason most members have originally joined, is to experience the positive atmosphere and sense of accomplishment that providing assistance to others brings.
As she said, “You can bring your friends along to do community service and have fun!”