In one day, the Morris Community High School Interact Club sold 120 bracelets to fellow students to help another teen fulfill her dream to attend high school.
The Interact Club, an affiliate of the Morris Rotary Club, was created to get students out into the community for service projects, as well as to think in a global manner to help those outside of U.S. borders.
Ashley Molnar, Interact Club president, said the projects the club chooses vary each year. Four to five usually are chosen, but sponsor and MCHS teacher Aimee Costello said she has a goal of five to 10 projects a year in the future.
For the latest endeavor, Interact Club students have chosen to take on the responsibility to send a young teen from Zimbabwe to high school, which can be considered a luxury in poverty-stricken countries.
“So many times we feel fed up with school and all of the pressure, but some people just want the opportunity for an education,” Molnar said.
The club teamed up with Yuda Bands, an organization founded in 2009 by Brent and Laurie Whiting. Yuda Bands creates handmade bracelets with leather and coconut shells carved by Daniel Galvez.
The bracelets are sent in a package for free, the recipient organization sells the bands, and profits go to the student they choose to sponsor.
Each student has a set number of bands they need to sell to pay for their schooling.
Patricia Ndavambi needs the funds from 175 bands to go to school for one year in her village in Zimbabwe. She has two sisters and a father and mother, but according to her biography, her father runs off with the money he earns and returns broke.
Her mother cannot finance schooling for Ndavambi and her sisters. Ndavambi has a dream to become a doctor.
“Most groups raise money; with this, students are getting something in return, and there are bands for everyone so they can contribute to a cause that makes an impact,” Interact Club Vice President Nisha Patel said.
The students at MCHS were shown a four-minute video about Yuda Bands to help understand what the Interact Club is trying to accomplish.
Costello said Yuda Bands sent them a box of 200 bracelets, and within one day, the students of MCHS bought 120 of them. The group will continue to sell each bracelet for $7 until they are gone.
The group has aspirations to order more inventory and keep selling to ensure Ndavambi receives as much schooling as possible.
“I like to support other countries in need. I’m happy to do something so small that can help someone,” senior Chloe Osborn said.
The students in Interact Club hope the effort spurs interest in the club as well as in community and global service.
“People don’t realize the effect or power we [students] hold. When you volunteer you become more powerful, and even if we can only help one person, it’s powerful to them. We hope to encourage others to find ways to help in our community or just say hi to someone in the hallway,” Molnar said.
Stephaine Potter, Interact Club treasurer, said the group has done other projects such as pack meals for Feed My Starving Children, fill backpacks with non-perishable foods from Walmart, give to students in need at White Oak Elementary, work with We Care of Grundy County, walk dogs at a shelter and bring a petting zoo to a nursing home.