Interact Club is a community service organization at Saugatuck High School, similar to Rotary. Locally, our club participates in volunteer work and fundraisers to better the community and raise money for our club. Internationally, we send a small group of students to bateys in the Dominican Republic each year. In general, we meet once a week during lunch, and membership is open to all high school students.
We have sent a total of five groups of students to La Romana, to work in the small villages called bateys. These villages are home to sugar cane workers and their families. Most of the people living in these bateys are undocumented Haitians which makes it almost impossible for them to find work outside of the sugarcane plantations. Furthermore, they are often underpaid and lack the resources do change it. In previous years we have focused on installing water filters and building latrines in bateys, but we found a new calling during our most recent trip of February 2014. To learn more about our first step to increase the level of education in Batey 106, watch this video.
Our main goal in Interact is to be active contributors in our local and global community, as well as gain leadership skill and exposure to the world around us. Many students who go on the trip have never left the country before, and we believe that it is important to understand other cultures and circumstances by experiencing them. By seeing an area where running water and education is scarce, it is easier to truly understand that those privileges are not a given. Additionally, by working with people and groups internationally, we gain lessons in how to be effective and needed in our work, so we can truly help and cooperate with people in the bateys and our own community.