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Rotary Interact president reflects on year

Community service: Kayla Dowling

Kayla Dowling has recalled some of her most memorable moments after completing her first year as president of the Hamilton Rotary Interact Programme, which had been dormant for some 40 years.

Speaking to Hamilton Rotary members at their weekly meeting at the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club on Tuesday, Ms Dowling explained how the group has worked with local charities, became involved with the Feed to Lambs Ministry and had become active at the Agricultural Show.

But one of the highlights, she said, was attending the Rotary at the United Nations Conference in New York. Interact is a programme for student members between the ages of 13 and 18. Ms Dowling was chosen to speak specifically to the older Rotarians, explaining their activities during the year.

“This is the first time Interact has been active in 40 years and I am proud to be part of such a historic moment,” she said. “Interact has given local students the opportunity to participate on a global scale. Our Interact group collected food for Christmas where we were able to bless ten families with groceries and a $35 gift vouchers. We helped serve food at the Salvation Army, we volunteered our time at the Agricultural Show and spent one Saturday afternoon picking up trash in conjunction with the Hamilton Rotarians.

“One of the first activities presented to us was the Rotary at the United Nations Conference in New York City. I, along with two others, were afforded the opportunity to discuss the ongoing efforts to eradicate polio and we learnt how empowering women to provide and care for themselves can provide safety and improve communities.

“The international president, K.R. Ravindran, shared his personal triumph and how small gifts could change the world. I can truly say it was a moment I will never forget.”

Ms Dowling noted that as the incoming president, she had many hopes for the year to come.

“I hope that we do more community service projects that make a meaningful impact both in our community and internationally.”

Thanking all who continue to support the club, Ms Dowling highlighted one of the group’s current projects.

“We are working in conjunction with the Feed My Lambs Ministry, so we are asking for old football boots and shoes from the various clubs and collecting them at the end of the summer so that they can be sent to Haiti,” she said.

While Interact involves teenagers, another part of Rotary organisation is Rotaract which is tailored to members between ages 18 and 30. Senior members of the Rotary Club must be aged 30 or older.