• Winner: WINNER
  • Date: 1/31/2021
  • Rotary Year: 2020-2021
  • Award Category: Youth Activities
  • Club NameRoanoke Valley (Roanoke)
  • Member First NameFred
  • Address: 
    6158 Burnham Rd
    Roanoke, VA 24018
    United States View on Map
  • Email: fred@hoffdad.net
  • Brief Description: 
    Our Interact Club of Roanoke Valley has typically involved high school students in the Salem area. Over the last two years, some students from four other school districts (6 high schools). The club now has 8 members from across the Roanoke Valley. We have one sponsor. The club relies on a board structure with rotating leadership at each monthly zoom meeting and choosing several service projects that have occurred outdoors and supporting food packaging events.

    We have a Leadership Academy at Forest Park Academy in Roanoke City. The school is only for students who are in jeopardy of not graduating and can benefit from this one-year program. The Leadership Academy is a group of students who are identified as willing to stretch themselves through the leadership and structure that our two sponsors have developed with the school and Interact-related materials. There were 9 students in the academy when normal schooling stopped mid-March.

    Kids Soar is an afterschool program for at-risk first through fourth graders in Roanoke City. Normally, kids have tutoring support, recreation, a group-read time, and dinner offered five days a week during the school year. Our Rotarians are involved in each of those areas. The COVID impact created the need for weekly individual readers with a online student. The program added a food pantry to its offerings, and we made some contributions to it. One club member is a board member with many other club members as volunteers.

    The food packaging event we organized this past November, supported by a district grant, packaged 40,000 meals for one elementary backpack program in Roanoke City, for another backpack program for three elementary schools in Roanoke County, and for a local community food bank that often supports families with school-age children. With COVID restrictions the event had to be spread over an eight-hour period with a limited number of participants at the same time and needing adequate spacing. Eighty people were involved, including our club members/family/friends, Area 8 club members, members of the three organizations getting the food packages, and several churches in the Grandin Road area.

    At the end of January our club president attended a project fair in Cali, Colombia to learn about possible global projects for our club. Two residential programs for abused girls, aged 8 through 18, wanted to install computer labs for their girls. Projected costs were $30,000 each. Each program supports about 40 girls. In November, we were able to ship 32 used laptops and accessories to a Rotary club in Cali who will lead the installation in the two homes. Significant time was spent locating and configurating the laptops while spending about $2500.
  • Lectern SynopsisXXX
  • Participation of Club Members: 
    Roanoke Valley Interact & Forest Park Academy 30%
    Kids Soar 70%
    Food packing 45%
    Colombia computer project 75%
  • Resulting Benefits: 
    The Roanoke Valley Interact club uses a strong leadership model. They typically meet monthly with rotating students who have met earlier to plan and direct the meeting They schedule work projects. Several members attend one of our Rotary meetings to model one of their meetings and informally interact with our members. We planned to have four students attend RYLA until it was canceled.

    At Forest Park Academy, our two Rotary members meet monthly with the students. We had identified two students to attend RYLA until the COVID shutdown stopped face-to-face meetings. The school situation makes attaining consistent results is difficult, but the fact that we are involved with this school is a major step for us.

    With Kids Soar, there are approximately 40 students attending. The program has documented the impact of the students, especially with regard to raising the number of children reading at grade-level. Now food is sent home rather than eating in the building.

    For the food packaging program, our club had a significant impact in supporting over 300 elementary students through the backpack and community programs. The event provided $12,000 of food for the three organizations we supported through financial support mainly from our club, but also 4 other Area 8 Rotary clubs.

    The laptop project will impact 80 young ladies to give them more real-world experience with the Internet and computer skills. It has also been a great shared experience between our club and one in Cali, Colombia. Internet tools such as Wikipedia, Khan Academy, and many other packages in Spanish were assembled on solid-state drives to provide experience on the local network to reduce the need for a larger, expensive Internet connection.