YOUTH PROJECTS AND CHARITABLE GIVING*
Some, but by no means all, of our Youth Service activities over the years include:
- EarlyAct: Matteson Rotary sponsors this service club for elementary school students to teach them the Four-Way Test and how to live their lives by the Four-Way Test. Approximately forty students at Illinois School in School District 162 will complete age appropriate international, community and local service projects during the school year.
- InterAct: A service club for high school students to provide opportunity for young people to work together in a world of fellowship dedicated to service and international understanding. Every Interact club carries out at least two service projects a year: one that helps their school or community and one that promotes international understanding.
The goals of the program are noteworthy: to recognize and develop constructive leadership and personal integrity; to encourage and practice thoughtfulness of and helpfulness to others; to create an awareness of the importance of home and family; to build respect for the rights of others, based on recognition of the worth of each individual; to emphasize acceptance of individual responsibility as the basis of personal success, community improvement, and group achievement. Matteson Rotary and Park Forest Rotary jointly sponsor the InterAct Club at Southland College Prep Charter School in Richton Park.
- RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Activities). We send students from Rich Central, Rich South, and Southland College Prep Charter School to participate in a leadership weekend activity in October. This October (2014) eight students from these schools attended.
- High School Scholarships are given to help fund their education to high school seniors attending Rich Central, Rich South, or Southland College Prep Charter School who plan to attend college or vocational school. This Rotary year (2014-2015) we plan to award three $1,000 scholarships.
- Third Grade Dictionary Project: Club purchases and helps deliver dictionaries to third grade students in area elementary schools.
- Matteson Rotary sponsored a Boy Scouts of America club to carry on the Scouting program for character development, citizenship training, and mental and physical fitness.
- Rotary Short-Term Youth Exchange: Our club has hosted international students who arrive as exchange students for a semester or for a full school year. Some of the countries represented by these students include Belgium, Brazil, and Taiwan.
- Club helped fund the Ralph Medhurst Children’s Fund, Center for Performing Arts, Governors State University. Through Arts In Education, The Center reaches students from Chicago to Kankakee and from Joliet to Schererville, Indiana. The Medhurst Children’s Fund, established in memory of The Center board member Ralph Medhurst finances tickets for students in underserved Southland schools. Since its inception, the fund has donated more than 5,850 tickets to The Center events. Students gain exposure to the arts—expanding their horizons and fostering learning in math, science and language arts.
- Club members participate in student reading/mentoring programs in area grade schools.
- Four-Way Test essay contests at our local junior high school has introduced the Four-Way Test to additional young people.
*Some of these projects have been completed while others are ongoing.