Highland News Leader

‘I call them Rotary Angels’: Interact is a youth community service organization

Interact members, from left, Nicole Beaubien, Keely Rittenhouse and Brittany Cunningham pick up leaves during a work day on May 7.
Interact members, from left, Nicole Beaubien, Keely Rittenhouse and Brittany Cunningham pick up leaves during a work day on May 7. For the News Leader

While many teenagers might like to sleep until noon on a Saturday and spend the rest of the day watching Netflix, that is not the case for the teens involved in Interact, a service club sponsored by the Highland Rotary Club.

Interact was chartered last fall by high school students Joey Rittenhouse, Zander Hayes, Nicole Beaubien, Sydney Kesner, and Alisse Koishor with the assistance of the Rotary. The teens participate in activities to provide service to the Highland community.

“We wanted to create (Interact) after attending RYLA (a leadership development program sponsored by the Rotary),” Rittenhouse said.

Currently, the group has roughly 20 members and meets twice a month to decide service projects they want to tackle. On May 7, their project was to aid the elderly by helping them with yard work.

“Since our elders have done so much in our community, we wanted to pay it forward with a service and thought they could use an extra hand,” Rittenhouse said. “We also accepted donations for the Highland Food Pantry.”

Armed with rakes, shovels, sunglasses and sunscreen, the teens of Interact made their way to the homes of Leola Holzinger and Donna Stoff to rake leaves, tidy up landscaping and do general maintence around their yards.

“I think it is really nice,” said Holzinger “They were really prepared. I call them ‘Rotary Angels.’ 

Stoff, who has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, also appreciated the help from Interact.

“They can do the things I can’t,” Stoff said. “My family does so much for me, and I want to help them. So, I was overjoyed when (Interact) asked.”

Club members were all to happy to lend a hand.

“I like how we just help people while having fun. It gets us closer to the community,” said Ben Thomae.

“It shows that high school kids really want to make their community a better place to live in,” Alisse Koishor added.

Currently, the club has a few more projects in the planning stages, but has yet to finalize their next endeavor.

Stoff and Holzinger think that’s great.

“I would like to see more. More seniors would appreciate it,” said Holzinger.

“Even if they just come over for lunch,” Stoff added.

Contact Interact

Any high school-aged student interested in serving their community can join Interact. The club is also looking for more service ideas. To join or contact Interact, call Joey Rittenhouse at 654-9697 or email him at at rittdog97@gmail.com.