Interact: Unlocking young people’s potential

By Valentina Rigamonti, member of the Interact Advisory Council 2021-22, Rotary Youth Network team member, President of the Interact Club of Vigevano Lomellina (Italy, District 2050)

When I first learned about Interact clubs, I had an inexplicable gut feeling that joining was the right choice to make and that it would lead me to other opportunities. Life is all about taking the right risks and being conscious of the fact that things do not always go as you expect. Luckily, sometimes things exceed every expectation.

Interact is a global movement that changes the world and prepares young people to organize meaningful services to help their communities. I joined my local Interact Club in 2017, became president in 2021, and served in the first-ever Interact Advisory Council, representing over 369,000 Interactors in 151 countries. The Interact Advisory Council is made up of current Interactors and recent Interact alumni and was created to celebrate the voices and perspectives of Interactors and to help shape the strategic direction of the program.

I can sum up my Interact journey in one concept: the limitless expansion of my comfort zone. I am a proud Interactor because it made me grow as an individual. It has broadened my horizons, taught me failure and success, expanded my vision, and helped me acquire social skills.

In joining Interact, I stepped outside of my comfort zone into a fear zone, marked by insecurity and fear of failure; however, once I understood that I do not live to satisfy other people’s expectations, I could finally move to a new and exciting learning zone, where I can finally be free and improve myself. Interact was the key factor of my growth.

There are several memorable service projects I have participated in as an Interactor. My club volunteered for three months in a soup kitchen, and we cooked a surprising amount of 356 meals. We also partnered with a local radio to interview five Interact Clubs around the world. At school, we painted our school entrance and sold reusable water bottles to reduce the plastic consumption in our secondary school.

Small changes can have a big impact. We see a world where Interactors are empowered: we are tomorrow’s Rotarians, citizens, leaders, innovators, and game-changers.