Roswell Rotary welcomed Interact Club students of all ages to share their efforts to give back with the community and the importance of mentorship.

Every year, Roswell Rotarians serve as liaisons to Interact Clubs at 12 schools, collaborating to oversee and guide clubs in service efforts throughout the city.

Interact Clubs from Crabapple Middle School, The Cottage School, Hembree Springs Elementary, Sweet Apple Elementary, Mountain Park Elementary, Elkins Pointe Middle, Roswell High, Independence High and Blessed Trinity Catholic High schools were represented.

Students from Crabapple Middle School highlighted their efforts to collect “pop tabs” to benefit the Ronald McDonald House and a donation drive to send relief items to Puerto Rico.

Interact Club President Perry Schwartz also highlighted giving back to Puerto Rico when speaking to The Cottage School efforts.

Some of The Cottage School club’s accomplishments also included, but not limited to; collecting “909 pounds of food” through its canned food drive; $1,016 for Relay for Life with their “Pink Out” event and wrote letters to deployed Soldiers overseas through The Bert Show’s “Big Thank You.”

Hembree Springs Elementary also worked to give back to service men and women with a holiday party at Roswell Fire Station 5 for all the firefighters. The young students also of efforts to send supplies to the 108th squadron currently deployed to Afghanistan. One of the soldiers is their teacher sponsor’s husband.

Hembree Springs also participated in “Pennies for Patients” and raised $1,936.48 to benefit children with leukemia.

Sweet Apple Elementary School worked to send care packages to North Fulton Community Charities, Valentine’s Day Cards to senior at memory care centers and a fundraiser for the humane society.

Interact Club Member Chase Hopkins spoke highly of the collaborative efforts of his fellow club members and how the club is “so inspirational.”

At Elkins Pointe Middle School, Interact Club highlighted their efforts with Be The Voice and a campaign to collect food donations that will contribute to provide meals to students during summer break.

Independence High School also held a food donation drive as well as a collection for gently used clothing to donate to those in need.

A donation drive was held by Roswell High School Interact Club for medical supplies, blankets and other necessities to contribute to international relief for Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico.

The high school club also collected plastic grocery bags to donate to North Fulton Community Charities for reuse; wrote letters to deployed troops and volunteered at the Roswell Rotary Relays and the Rotary Basketball Tournament.

Mountain Park Elementary Interact President Troy Patrick described his club as being “off to an amazing start” and being “as strong as ever.”

Patrick highlighted a “Jar Wars” fundraiser to benefit Cystic Fibrosis and a Thanksgiving Food Drive.

He also noted the club “talks about how each project meets the Rotary ‘4-way test’”

Last, but most certainly not least, Blessed Trinity Catholic High School worked to collect and donate coats to North Fulton Community Charities; suitcases for children at Foster Care Support of Cherokee County and a toy drive for christmas gifts for underprivileged children.

BTC anticipated participating in a service project to benefit HomeStretch and a school supply drive for “Lunches for Learning.”

Be the Voice was a common thread among the schools interact programs, with students from Hembree Springs Elementary, Elkins Pointe Middle, Mountain Park Elementary and Roswell High School; working to promote bystander efforts to step in and speak up against bullying.

Rotarian Dave Schmit shined the spotlight on the importance of mentoring and being there for someone.

He described a mentor as “someone you respect, who cares about you and you see regularly.”

Schmit spoke of five people who served as his mentors throughout his life; his father; a coach, teacher, pastor and an employer.

To express how each of these people can be a mentor to a young person, Schmit brought up five people as a representative of each of his mentor groups to give “their perspective in the roll they are playing.”

Michael Schopenhorst spoke about “what my father taught me and passing it on to my son” and emphasized the importance of “actions and consequences” as most important.

“Life is about choices. You can control some things and not others. If you make a bad decision, you pay the consequences. If you make a good decision, you can reap the rewards,” said Schopenhorst.

Blessed Trinity High School Coach Tim McFarland chose to emphasize how to channel the impact of a hurdle in your life for the positive,” a lesson he learned from his mentor, also a high school coach.

“Your most painful or difficult life event will provide you your greatest potential opportunity for impact” was the quote McFarland cited for inspiration.

A teacher for over 50 years, Jacque Digieso described being “a mentor and mentee are both blessings and opportunities.”

According to Digieso, a mentors “most important job” is “to actively listen,” “to support or help them mold” their goals.

Digieso recalled her first mentor experience at 22 years old, working as a teacher in Thailand when a young student “latched on to her” as “someone there that he could talk to, able to guide him and listen to him.”

Pastor Kevin Head of First Baptist Roswell recalled his mentorship came in helping a young man, also a new father at the time. The young man came to Pastor Kevin, who at the time, his two children were elementary age.”

In response, the pastor utilized his experiences to help reassure “Dave” in his new role.

Don Howard, a now retired banker, recalled opportunities he had to shadow new banking associates and see how they could benefit from his expertise.

“The first president of the bank I worked for advised me to give the prospect, or customer, the same advice you would give if that was your mother. It might not always be right, but you won’t hang your head afterwards,” said Howard.

“Make Your Bed” book little things that can change your life, maybe the world. 10 lessons withing the book. help supplement mentorship.

Schmit spoke on behalf of his fifth mentor group, a teacher, specifically University of Florida Reicker School of Construction Director Dr. Brown and how volunteering for a project sparked a “40 year connection.”

His mentor/mentee relationship with the professor was sparked by a quick reaction to participate in a project.

Schmit shared advice for students to find mentors and “continue to reach out to them.”

Roswell Rotary Club members serve as liaisons for Interact Clubs at 12 schools in Roswell.

More information is available by searching the “Projects” tab at https://roswellrotary.club/v2/.

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