About Interact 5495
Welcome to Interact District 5495, where our Interact name (a combination of “International” and “Action”) aptly describes our dynamic and rapidly growing group of more than 90 Arizona high school and middle school service clubs, each sponsored by a Rotary Club, with an international dimension.
Interact is one of three Rotary-sponsored Youth Services programs: the others are our annual leadership Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) camps and our Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE).
Interact District 5495 proudly partners with the Rotaract and Interact Clubs in Kenya and in Central Mexico as our international partners. Our district also works closely with Interact District 5500, covering the southern third of the State of Arizona.
Our clubs are both campus-based and community-based, offering leadership development and service opportunities to all youth ages 12-18, without regard to gender, creed or color. Like Rotary, our motto is “Service Above Self.”
District Administration, Events and Projects
Interact District 5495 is governed by a selected high school age District Council led this year by District Governor Ashton Bialek-Kling and Executive Assistant Governor Gillian Martin, along with District Secretary Jackson Hamblin and Past District Governor Madelynn Mac Donald. Also serving on this year’s Council are 27 highly motivated and capable Assistant Governors. Each of the Council members has an assigned group of Interact clubs to communicate with, to encourage and support. Their District Council holds an annual training and planning in July, and meets at least monthly online.
Serving as coaches and advisors to the District Council are the Rotary District Interact Committee. That active committee includes District Interact Chair, Art Harrington (firstname.lastname@example.org), John Wintersteen (email@example.com), Ken Kelley (firstname.lastname@example.org, and Interact Treasurer & Registrar, Jeanie Morgan (email@example.com). Also serving as a member of the Interact Committee this year is DG Elizabeth Mahoney (firstname.lastname@example.org), who coordinates our Interact Ambassadors Program.
Interact District 5495 annually sponsors two conferences each year. The Fall Leadership
Conference is being held virtually this year on Saturday, October 24, 2020. The Interact District Conference will be held on Saturday, February 20, 2021 (location to be announced).
Our International Project
Interact District 5495’s signature international service project is our Interact Crutches 4 Africa Project — in partnership with the Rotarian Crutches 4 Africa nonprofit organization, and our corporate partner, American Furniture Warehouse. Our Interact clubs throughout the state each year work together to collect more than 3,500 crutches, walkers, wheelchairs and other mobility devices that we wrap for shipment at our Interact District Conference in February, and then ship them in a 40-ft shipping container to our International partners in Kenya for distribution there to those most in need of these mobility devices in the Rift Valley of Kenya. For the past three years our Interact district has sent a team of our top Interactors as Arizona Interact Ambassadors to Kenya for two weeks in July. This year we are expanding our program to ship mobility equipment and send a second team of Interact Ambassadors to Central Mexico. We are also seeking to raise $35,000 to cover the shipping costs for the containers, along with the airfare and other distribution expenses associated with once again sending our Ambassadors Teams to these countries in July 2021 to help distribute these mobility devices and provide other services, working with our partners in these countries.