A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Students in Interact Club return from ‘amazing’ Rotary Club service trip from Dominican Republic

Special to NKyTribune

“Amazing” is the term Interact Club students most often use to describe their experiences during a service trip to the Dominican Republic.

Noah David, who went for a second time in July, was amazed at the response of kids he played with briefly a year ago. They were excited to see him.

“They remembered me … they remembered my name,” he marveled. “That’s one of the things I will take with me through life.”

Members of the 35-member group who went to Santo Domingo this year shared their feelings on the impact of the trip on them at a meeting of the Rotary Club of Florence on July 30 at the Cincinnati Airport Hilton. They also presented a video montage highlighting their service activities around the city.

The group included students from four Interact clubs in Kentucky – Florence, Pikeville, Morgan County and Nicholas County – sponsored by their local Rotary clubs. During the trip, they painted a basketball court, put up new nets and spruced up a playground. They also cleaned up and repaired a grassy baseball field.

In addition, the students visited a pre-school to donate supplies and read to the children and spent a day entertaining residents of a special needs facility. Pikeville students wore costumes from a “Beauty and the Beast” production to give life to the stories they read and their interaction with the children.

“It was amazing,” said Barbara Rahn, who leads the Florence Interact Club and organizes the trip each year. The multi-club trip this July marked the sixth year the Northern Kentucky club has ventured to the Dominican Republic and the experiences “have brought tears to my eyes on many occasions,” she said.

The Interact students worked out of the Highland Sports and Events Complex (Tierra Alta). The facility is a ministry of The Rawlings Foundation, a Boone County philanthropy that sponsors youth camps, church camps and Christian activities around the world.

The Rotary Club of Florence presented a $500 donation to The Rawlings Foundation at the meeting. State Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, who accompanied the students on the trip this year, presented Kentucky Colonel citations to Rahn and Barbara Keeling.

Alex King, a junior at the University of Louisville, returned for a fourth year and produced the video. Words are inadequate to explain why he keeps going back, he said. “It’s Impossible to put into words the impact it’s had on me,” he noted. “… the things I’ve learned and the people I’ve met.”

The Rotary Club of Florence, Kentucky (serving all of Boone County) is a community service organization focusing on “service above self”. The club meets weekly on Mondays at noon at the Hilton Airport located at 7373 Turfway Road. Guests are always welcome. To learn more about upcoming speakers and events, please visit the club’s website at www.florencerotary.org or follow their Facebook page.

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