Interact supports education in Nicaragua

Elliu Huang

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Interact Clubs from all five FUHSD schools held a fundraiser, an A12 Annual Charity Mixer: “A Carn1ival 2 Remember,” at Cupertino High School on Nov. 15. The carnival-themed dance was part of their yearly international project titled, “Build for Tomorrow,” which aims to help Nicaraguan youths receive education. Interact will send the money raised to non-profit organization BuildOn, which will use the money to build a new school in Nicaragua. Lynbrook Interact Club officers collaborated with officers from other FUHSD schools to organize the fundraiser.

BuildOn’s goal is to increase literacy in third-world countries and to improve the quality of education. They mainly organize events and projects and have students volunteer in impoverished areas around the world. Rural parts of Nicaragua have poverty rates of 50 percent and more than 100,000 illiterate youths due to lack of nearby schools. 

At Interact Club, students work together to solve local and international issues through volunteering events. Interact offers numerous opportunities for volunteer experience and promotes leadership, service and integrity.

“We live in an area where many are privileged, but there are many others in the world who are not as fortunate,” said freshman IPC member Edward Sha. “I think that since we have some extra resources, helping Nicaraguan children would be great.”

The International Project Committee (IPC) plans an event every year during first semester to raise money. This year, 10 IPC Chairs from the five FUHSD schools met and planned specifics for the dance fundraiser, such as decorations and food, while Area 12 International Project Coordinator Kayla Wong worked with BuildOn to manage the money through the district’s bank account. 

IPC chairs worked together with IPC members to find chaperones and a DJ, figure out the location of the dance and make decorations. Two weeks before the dance, IPC Chair senior Yiling Zheng needed chaperones to monitor the dance. Right before the deadline, she had retired adults chaperone for the dance.

At the dance, members of Interact volunteered at the event to gain service hours by setting up decorations and selling food. Volunteers had to work together to coordinate specific jobs and ensure that the event ran smoothly.

Interact Club co-president senior Emma Nguyen estimated that approximately 200 people attended the dance. Interact earned approximately $1600, which is a major success compared to previous years’ results.

Although the dance was very successful for their first event of the school year, Nguyen believes that more time to inform people would help increase participation. Many students could not go to the dance because they had other plans for that day.

“The promotion was a little rushed,” said Nguyen. “We could have had more time to sell the event. If the event were made a week later, I think that would have made the event more successful because people would have more time to see the profile picture and hear about it.”

Interact’s fundraiser will not only help illiterate children in Nicaragua receive education but also increase students’ volunteer experience. The dance was a great success in terms of money fundraised, but much of the planning could be refined to increase participation.

With these improvements in mind, IPC hopes to better plan another big event in February: a talent show.