Thursday July 17, 2014
What Giving Looks Like:
The Shine Centre staff were thrilled with the receipt of the Smart packs a few months ago and found ways to stretch the wonderful contents beyond just the initial idea to give them to 25 students. As part of their thank you, they wrote this story about one of the children who received a “smart pack” from Vermont.
— Penne Tompkins, South Burlington Rotary
In 2012, a South Burlington chapter of the Rotary International Interact Club was established at the high school after meeting with the SB Rotary Club and SBHS staff for support and collaboration. Each year the Interact group of students (Interactors) is expected to complete at least two community service projects, one international and one local.
Earlier this year, the group teamed up with the Vermont Dream Foundation and many community businesses to develop “Interact Smart Packs” - backpacks filled with books, art and school supplies, and sports equipment- to donate to two organizations- one here and one overseas.
For the international portion of the project, the SB Rotary Club connected the students with a literacy oriented non-profit organization in Cape Town, South Africa called the Shine Centre. Shine provides English language tutoring to underprivileged primary (elementary) school children. Together with Shine and the SB Rotary Club, they identified a primary school near Cape Town to receive 25 of the Smart packs that were shipped to South Africa earlier this year and subsequently distributed to the children and the school.
More recently, at the end of June, the South Burlington Interact Club completed a similar project for the King Street Center, Kids on the Ball summer tennis program with the added fun that they could do the distribution themselves and join in the celebration of giving the packs to the children.
The SBHS Interact Club celebrated the opening day of the King Street Center Kids on the Ball program at Roosevelt Park in Burlington by giving 50 ‘Smart packs’. The Burton backpacks and shoulder bags were filled with tennis racquets from Vermont Dream Project, books, school supplies, art supplies, jump ropes, and cans of tennis balls. Interactors Anna Wulfson, Steven and Andrew Levite and other members of the Interact Club put in hours of work to make it happen! Oh, and of course there was plenty of food! It was a wonderful celebration and a great way to start the summer for so many kids.
The SB Interact Club will continue to meet through the summer and get back into full swing with the start of the new school year. For questions about becoming involved, please contact Club President Anna Wulfson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The South Burlington Interact Club is one of many SBHS community service groups supported by the high school but it is distinct in its direct connection to Rotary International and the South Burlington Rotary Club. Their efforts this year have resulted in reading and athletic gifts for students from here to South Africa.