Many people think that the Interact club is a club where people simply “Interact” with the less fortunate and “do community work”, but it really is so much more! Contrary to popular belief, the “Interact” in “Interact Club” does not refer to the action we carry out during our service. It is in fact a combination of two words, “International Action”. Beyond simply impacting our immediate community, the Interact Club strives to promote international understanding and empathy through our service.
The ACS(I) Interact Club is a Rotary-sponsored service club made up of students who have genuine hearts to love and serve their community. Currently, our Interact Club focuses on serving the Dover community and the different people groups that make it up. We partner multiple Voluntary Welfare Organisations as well as the Community Centre of Dover to see how we can contribute.
Many new Interactors go for service with the mindset that they are “out to help the needy” or that they are “giving back to society”. While these are noble notions and motivations for service, many of them do not realise just how much they themselves as individuals are able to receive from service. The Interact Club experience is a multi-faceted one, and I can guarantee that whatever preconceived notions you currently hold about community work, they will either be totally overturned, or shaped in the light of your first hand experience. True, we do help people and the community, but ask any Interactor- they will tell you that the beneficiaries give us so much more in return. We pour out love and care, only to be filled tens times over.
Now if I haven’t convinced you enough to join Interact yet, let me compel you through explaining some further benefits of becoming an Interactor.
- It has an amazing effect on your spoken Chinese. ACS(I) students are not exactly known for our Mandarin prowess, but after carrying out house visits with Mandarin speaking Dover residents, rest assured, you will learn to be relatively conversant in your Mother Tongue (at least about your favourite food). One of my fondest memories includes having a conversation in Mandarin for 20 minutes about the wonders of green curry.
- You learn to be adaptable. In your course of service, there will definitely be something or someone that surprises you or catches you off guard. For me, that happened during our National Day celebrations, when an 89-year-old senior suddenly took over the programme and launched into an impromptu work out session that put us students to shame.
In terms of commitment, the ACSI Interact Club meets bi-weekly for Club meetings on Thursday, where the entire club comes together for a time of updates, sharing and bonding. The club meeting is a time for our large club to bond and be together as one CCA, united with the common longing to make a difference. At these club meetings, speakers are sometimes invited down to give a talk about what they do, or the cause that they believe in. Interactors are also given the opportunity to share their experiences to bless the rest of the club.
Besides club meetings, each interactor also has his/ her own service opportunity on a day of his or her choice. These service opportunities come in a few forms:
- Visiting an elderly Dover resident on a weekly basis
- Visiting Kidney Dialysis Patients during their dialysis and engaging them with activities
- Playing with children and tutoring them (from Beyond Social Services)
Depending on which people group you feel most burdened about, or most called to, you can indicate which group of people you would like to learn more about and engage with. Our Interact Club reaches out to different groups of people, because we feel it is important to understand the needs of different people groups in society.
Finally, we also have ad hoc events, mostly around the time of festivals or holidays. Traditionally, AC has celebrated Chinese New Year, National Day and Midsummer Festival with the elderly of the Dover estate, and many of the elderly are veterans of our celebrations. In fact, there was one elderly lady who told me that the celebrations at AC were events that she looked forward to every single year, marked on her calendar in anticipation.
The Interact Club is really one of the most rewarding CCAs I think AC has to offer, because it’s so much more than yourself. It’s an outpouring of the love received from your family, friends, and people around you who have blessed you. It also allows you to take in the breathtaking experience of making someone else’s day, or seeing someone feel appreciated and loved.
If you had the chance to make a difference… Wouldn’t you take it too?
Written by Hannah Quek