Last week was an incredible week for the members of the Rotary Club of North Raleigh and the Millbrook High School Interact Club…for separate and common reasons.

Several Rotarians joined together to plant shrubs and trees, then worked together to clean up the park.

Several Rotarians joined together to plant shrubs and trees, then worked together to clean up the park.

On March 22nd, about 15 members and family members of the Rotary Club of North Raleigh gathered to plant trees/shrubs and then participated in a park cleanup at the Cedar Hills Rotary Park off Millbrook. This was the hands-on element for the club’s park beautification project…something members of this club have wanted done for many years. The project included installing a cement walkway from the parking lot to the picnic shelter and installing a handicap parking space at the entrance to the walkway.

Due to the inclement weather throughout this past winter, the handicap parking pad was not completed prior to the workday, but will be completed shortly. The club received matching funds from the district for this project. It will be capped off with a plaque ceremony at the May 14th Spring picnic.

Several Millbrook High School Interact members joined to pack school supplies to be shipped to an orphanage in India.

Several Millbrook High School Interact members joined to pack school supplies to be shipped to an orphanage in India.

Throughout the same week, the members of the Millbrook Interact Club, sponsored by the North Raleigh Rotary Club, completed their own project. They collected schools supplies and packaged them to be shipped to India to benefit young children in orphanages. One of their graduating members, Ann Marie Hagerty will be spending a couple of months in India for Global Hope India and these school supplies will benefit the children she will be helping this summer.

“It’s great to see these young people giving of their time and limited resources for a greater cause”, commented President Steven Nelson, “The North Raleigh Rotary Club is proud of their efforts this year and we are looking forward to many great things in the coming years from this club”.

They crushed their goal of 250 packages of school supplies. Many forgotten children will benefit from these items.

They crushed their goal of 250 packages of school supplies. Many forgotten children will benefit from these items.

Their goal was to supply 250 packages, but in the end, they had packaged well over 300.

The five RYLA students and 2 RYLA alumni from last year pose with the club's president.

The five RYLA students and 2 RYLA alumni from last year pose with the club’s president.

On this past Wednesday, the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) winners were introduced to the club. RYLA brings high school Juniors to a camp for a weekend of leadership and team building training. Many of this year’s class are also members of the Interact Club. In fact, the students from last year approached us to revive the fledgling Interact Club. After securing a faculty representative, they were off to the races, participating in several projects throughout the year to include volunteering for Nourish International in concert with the Rotary Club.

The five young ladies will be heading to Camp Oak Hill near Oxford on April 11-13th. They will be driven by members of our club and returned after the weekend. “We look forward to hearing about their experience, though I am sure we will not learn of the details of that weekend”, commented Nelson. “Only 100 Juniors are selected throughout the 46 club district to participate, so it is a great honor. In fact, our committee interviewed 25 students from Millbrook this year”.

NRR Youth Exchange Students volunteers at a Venezuela orphanage while there as an exchange student.

NRR Youth Exchange Students volunteers at a Venezuela orphanage while there as an exchange student.

At this Wednesday’s meeting, we will hear from Cameron Joyner who spent about six months as a Youth Exchange student in Venezuela. Unfortunately, his trip had to be cut short due to the political strife building in that country, but he had an amazing experience while there. When he was met at the airport upon his return, he said he would not exchange a full year in any other country to the short time he spent in Venezuela. “We hope to hear about his future plans while getting the ‘low down’ on his experience in this South American country”, recounted President Nelson, “He is another example of a young man whom this club has impacted from his competing in our speech contest to the Youth Exchange program”.

This weekend, many in the club will be heading to Asheville for the Annual Rotary District 7710 Conference. It will again be a memorable experience with great stories to be shared later. The three-day event will be a celebration of the year while looking towards the future. As part of this conference, our District Governor has requested that every member bring at least $25 worth of groceries for a local food pantry in the Asheville area. This has piggybacked on the book drive from last year’s conference.

Finally, the 5th Annual Jack Andrews Memorial Golf Tournament is being planned and the registration period is ending soon. It will be held on May 6th at Wildwood Green Golf Club in North Raleigh. If you are interested in sponsoring, playing or donating supplies, please check with us. It is an important fundraiser for this club and one that will help support the many efforts of this club.