Interact still serving throughout pandemic

Interact+Club+has+completed+numerous+service+projects.+

Ms. Nicole Bolek / MCHS

Interact Club has completed numerous service projects.

Bradley Gambosi

The “teenage heroes” in Interact are helping people in need in the surrounding community in times where more than ever people are relying on the simple kindness in the hearts of others. 

Interact is a club at MCHS that works with the Channahon-Minooka Rotary Club. It focuses on community service that spans locally, nationally, and internationally. The members touch the lives of many in need while building skills in leadership.

Alaina Frazier, senior, said, “I joined Interact because service has always been a big part of my life and thought it was so amazing that our school had a club that promoted service and kindness!”

At MCHS, there are around 80 students enrolled in Interact and at any of the meetings there are typically at least 40 people in attendance. 

This is Ms. Nicole Bolek’s fourth year as the club sponsor of Interact.

Bolek said, “My purpose in life is to leave this world better than I found it.  Interact contributes positively to the world community and I am honored to be able to work with students who have the same dedication.”

The first project Interact worked on this school year was collecting cards for health care workers, thanking their work in the midst of a pandemic. They donated 415 cards to six different healthcare locations. 

Interact has also made Christmas cards for nursing home residents who haven’t seen their families in months during the pandemic. They also packed backpacks with food and toiletries in the fall and winter for students in the community who needed them. 

Also at their only in-person meeting this semester, they made dog toys for two local animal shelters. 

Other annual events they do include “Operation Gratitude,” where they collect letters from students expressing their appreciation to service men and women.

Isabella Carbajal, senior, said, “My favorite volunteer project I have participated in so far in Interact was Operation Shoebox, where we filled shoe boxes of supplies for kids in different countries.”

They also collected pop tabs to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House. All of these projects have been great continuous successes year after year at MCHS.

This year they have also begun a new annual program called “Danielle Cares for Chairs,” where Interact will be collecting bread bag tags which will create funds to purchase wheelchairs for kids that need them. 

The club is perfect for anyone who wants to join and make a difference starting right here in their own community. 

“Every little act we do counts and matters. Giving is not about making a donation, but making a difference,” said Bolek. 

Due to the pandemic there are some annual projects they have not been able to do this year because of health and safety guidelines. For example, they have not been able to make fleece blankets for Joliet Hospice. Luckily, in-person meetings are planned to finally begin this month. 

One of their biggest projects and successes are their works with the food pantry they started three years ago for our community.

“I am so proud of the micro pantries at the Channahon and Minooka libraries. We have been able to maintain a food pantry for our community for the past three  years,” Bolek said. 

Interact stocks and maintains the food pantries with items that are available for people in need to have access too. 

Not only have they worked on food pantries for just our community, but they also worked alongside Rotary members and the Northern Illinois Food Bank for a mobile food pantry this past February.

Throughout the pandemic, many people have lost their jobs and many families are going hungry, these food pantries have helped so many in the community who are desperately in need of food. 

Interact meets twice a month on Thursdays. Once again, they are about to finally start their in-person meetings this month. They are now requiring that students sign up in advance this year.

Interact is filled with students helping the community, school, and making the world a better place for everyone; one act of kindness and selflessness at a time.