When the pandemic hit, everyday activities screeched to a halt. Schools closed, businesses shut down, and most of us were stuck inside. For students, motivation and attendance were at an all time low. Extracurriculars were experiencing the loss of funding, loss of communication, and most importantly, the loss of their members.
For the Northshore Interact Club, the pandemic meant seismic changes. The club was funded by the YMCA, but due to a loss of business in the pandemic, it was not feasible for the YMCA to continue funding its student development program. The club also lost its YMCA advisor due to this. Without adequate funding and no advisor, the club did not know where to turn. The once 15 member club now was reduced to less than half the capacity. With no established social media, the club struggled to gain traction and promote itself. Many moved on to other extracurriculars, hoping to find better service projects and volunteer groups elsewhere.
Originally chartered in December 2019, Northshore Interact was sponsored by the Woodinville Rotary. After its YMCA advisor left, the club reconnected with the Rotary's Carol Lee, and she became their new advisor. The club members began meeting virtually and began their climb back up, so to speak.
“I contacted other high schools’ ASBs and Key Clubs to advertise our club”, said Erin Lane, the public relations officer. And with the help of social media, the club began recruiting new members through its Instagram. With collaboration from the Rotary team, the club was able to take large steps toward a better future.
Northshore Interact Club made history, becoming the first community based Interact Club in District 5030 with a whopping 70 members from all five high schools in the Northshore School District. With Woodinville juniors Stuti Tiwari and Maggie Way as co-presidents, the club began to take on new challenges. New committees were formed, each group tasked with different service events. The six different committees in the club include advertising, logistics, social activism, food drive, decor, and tutoring with assigned leaders for each.
“I like (having) the ability to come up with our own project and then seeing it develop,” said member Nell O’Hara.
As of today, the Northshore Interact club has co-served with Woodinville Rotary and UW Bothell Rotaract Clubs, meeting every Wednesday to discuss the next steps in multiple service projects.
“I like how you’re able to meet so many people, I think that’s one pro of having [the club] on Zoom ... I feel like during quarantine it’s hard to meet people and have a community” said Chloe Olson, while chuckling.
The members are a very motivated and hardworking group, each of them determined to serve and be active members of the community. Linoy Levin, the peacebuilder officer, said “I wanted a way to feel connected to my community ... I wanted to do something meaningful and ... I wanted firsthand experience doing things that benefited my community,” which was a sentiment echoed by other members.
Northshore Interact recently held a Helping the Homeless Blanket Drive. It consisted of a candy cane station and thank you cards, along with an area to drop off blankets. The turnout aided in donating a large number of blankets to Camp Unity and candy for the children who were unable to go trick-or-treating this year. Levin added that “it was just nice to see that the work we’re putting in actually affects our community and does something.”
In the near future, there will be a St. Patrick’s Day Drive, arts and crafts, and much more. Stay tuned to the Northshore Interact Instagram for more information (@teenleadershipboard).