Student looking to start Rotary group at MCHS

Rotarian Stephen Lindop, chair of the district’s Interact program, speaks to Morinville Rotarians during a recent meeting – Stephen Dafoe Photo

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – MCHS student Morgan Allen, who recently participated in the Rotary Club’s Rotary Youth Leadership Award program, is looking to take advantage of another Rotary-sponsored program to better herself, her school and the communities around her.

Allen has stepped up to start an Interact club at her school. The Rotary International program currently has 250,000 students in 110 countries learning leadership skills while helping locally, regionally and internationally with a wide variety of causes.

“I think it’s going to be wonderful because it’s going to give a lot of kids that don’t have a specific spot to fit in at the school something that they can do that they are going to make a difference with,” Allen said at a recent rotary function, noting that this early in with people just getting settled in school it is difficult to find participants. “I’m hoping by the end of the month we will have a large number of students interested.”

Once the group is established, Allen said she is hoping to get everyone to work making a difference in Morinville.

“I hope to do some really big projects in the community and within the local communities, hopefully supporting poverty and children’s education,” she said.

Rotarian Stephen Lindop, the chair of the Rotary district’s Interact program, said Interact is an extension of the work Rotary International already does with youth.

“Interact is a club that’s organized for high school students,” Lindop said. “It’s not Rotarians showing up at high schools and telling a group of 20 kids you’re going to do this. It’s a club that’s set up for youth, whether it be in school or the community, and they gradually get wings and they learn how to function in Rotary and they take off.”

In addition to his role as chair, Lindop is also the advisor to the Interact program at Calmar High School, a school with 150 students.

Lindop explained that the Interact program at Calmar started with 13 students and during its first year raised $40,000 to go on a humanitarian trip to Belize as their international project and organized bringing General Roméo Dallarie to Leduc, an event that drew students from throughout Northern Alberta. In total, the Calmar Interact group raised $70,000 in their inaugural year.

“I’ll tell you the secret of that – it’s the power of youth,” Lindop said. “Youth has such a bad rap and reputation in our culture and our society that when adults and business people see a group of young people who are organized and joining and trying to do something very positive to make a positive contribution to the world; the adults around them go out of their way to make sure those kids are successful.”

Lindop has offered to assist the MCHS Interact club in getting their group started.

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