The Itasca Area Initiative for Student Success supports broad based community action in support of the Pathway to Student Success.  This desire brought Anna and Becky to the Rotary Interact meeting this week.  Their desire was to discover how the initiative can support young people who want to make a difference in their community.  Becky’s reflections on their first meeting are posted here.  

The classroom slowly filled with club members.

Rotary Interact gives Grand Rapids High School students a chance to make a real difference while having fun.

Rotary Interact gives Grand Rapids High School students a chance to make a real difference while having fun.

“Hey Northard, do you have a pen I can borrow?”, asked Marly, the student president of the Rotary Interact Club, as she dug through her backpack.

“Here, keep it,” Northard responded as he handed her a pen. It was obvious by his tone and the interactions happening in his world history/social studies classroom that these young people were very comfortable with Mr. Northard, and him with them.

I first met Eric/Northard/Mr. Northard last October during my second visit to the Grand Rapids Rotary Club. I was there to update the group about the Pathway and the Youth Voice survey, and to invite club members to the November Youth Voice Community Conversation. During the course of our conversation it was amazing to hear all the ways this group already supports young people along their Pathway journey – and that a newly formed youth-based Interact Club was gaining traction at the Grand Rapids High School.

Last week Anna and I met with Interact Club members. We had 20 minutes to talk with them about the Pathway, and make the connection between the Pathway and the Youth Voice Survey they took last fall. After a high level review of the regional data, the group focused in on three areas of interest:

  • Meaningful connections to community
  • Develop skills to live, work and thrive in an ever changing world, and
  • Technology and the skills necessary to use it to achieve goals.

With a minute to spare, and support of President Marly, the group decided they wanted to dig deeper into the data and participate in the action planning process. Anna and I are looking forward to heading back to the Grand Rapids High School in a couple of weeks to spent more time with these young people, and see where their passion to make a difference takes them.