Interact Students Share Dominican Republic Experience

by Pat Moynahan on August 8, 2016

Interact students of Boone County.

Interact students of Boone County.

FLORENCE – Last year, the video produced by the Interact Club of Boone County to document a trip to the Dominican Republic highlighted the students’ activities.

This year, their video focused on the people they helped … and their smiles.

“This trip was just as amazing as the first time,” said Alex King, who returned with the Interact Club for a second visit this June. “This video showcases the (living) conditions there and our interactions with the people.

“We wanted to relay the point that they live so differently than we do.”

Interact Club members unveiled the video at a meeting of the Florence Rotary Club, which sponsors the youth group, on Monday, August 1. Seventeen students and five adults visited the Dominican Republic this June, including seven students who made the trip last year.

The theme of the video, produced again by King and Braden Siebert, contrasts living conditions in the Dominican Republic and Boone County with emphasis on these conditions:

  • 20% of the people in the Dominican Republic live in poverty.
  • 13% of children 10-14 work to help support their families.
  • Much of the infrastructure in the country has collapsed because of natural disasters.
  • Santo Domingo has no established waste collection system.

The students worked out of a sports camp operated by the Rawlings Foundation, a Boone County-based philanthropy that supports youth camps and Christian ministry activities around the world. The Florence Rotary Club contributed $500 to the foundation in appreciation for its support of the trip.

During their stay in the Dominican Republic, the Interact students painted homes for elderly women. They entertained residents of a nursing home and organized a game day for 80 disadvantaged children. They also distributed sports equipment to a newly formed youth baseball league and gave school supplies and clothing to children at an orphanage.

“There were so many special moments, so many special smiles and so many special tears, especially when we went to the orphanage,” said Barbara Rahn, the Florence Rotarian who leads the Interact Club.

“The kindness and compassion of these young people brought smiles to the people of the Dominican Republic.”