Earlyact, InterAct & RotarAct SHOWCASE 2021!



Earlyact, InterAct & RotarAct In High Gear 


Rotary District 6420 can be proud of the accomplishments of our young leaders and volunteers --  with thanks to our sponsor Clubs and Rotarians who encourage & inspire them! We are in turn encouraged and inspired by their energy and commitment to the ideal of Service Above Self!

All told, we currently sponsor a total of 5 EarlyAct Clubs, 25 Interact Clubs and 5 Rotaract Clubs throughout our northern/northwestern Illinois Rotary District! 

SPECIAL THANKS to those fourteen Clubs who responded to showcase their work this year….



Freeport’s Aquin High School Interact Club, with a new Faculty Advisor this year, participated in Freeport Rotary’s Earth Day Cleanup Project on April 17th. Freeport Rotary President Sally Noble shared that two of the Interact Club’s finest, Chloe & Emma, joined Rotarians including the Club’s Community Service Chair, Brendan Dutmer, for a productive morning with beautiful weather, cleaning up the roadside along Rte. 75. 


St. Bede Interact Club, sponsored by Illinois Valley Sunrise Rotary, says with the recent break in the weather, they have been able to meet outside in the shelter on Academy grounds. IVS Rotary Liaison Dave Ludford says their big project this year was a $500 club donation to the Utica Knights of Columbus to help fill their gap in their Hunger Drive Food Blitz. The K of C’s annual project -- in which St. Bede Interactors have helped collect canned goods and donations at area grocery stores in the past – provides major support for the Illinois Valley Food Pantry that serves  nine LaSalle County municipalities and many rural residents. 


Moline High School Interact Club started strong this year. Faculty Advisor Sylvia Salinas and Club Liaison Gary Francque reported earlier this year that with the most students ever, they initiated three projects – an internal “staff appreciation effort, creating a video expressing their appreciation to MHS custodial staff for providing a safe environment for them, a community project collecting pop tabs to raise funds for Iowa City’s Ronald McDonald House, and an international project collecting plastic caps to help support a program for children with cancer in Mexico --- both projects also serving the environment by recycling!


Interact at Ottawa Township High School saw past all the challenges, to continue a five-year participation in ROTARY ROCKS CHRISTMAS DRIVE, selecting a local family in need to bring some cheer -- and many appreciated gifts, too! The family selected this year was a local family with three children. Both parents lost their jobs due to COVID-19, then in November the mom unexpectedly suffered a heart attack and died. The Club put the word out, contacted businesses, teachers and their three sponsor Clubs -- Ottawa Noon, Ottawa Sunrise and Marseilles Rotary, and "wrapped up" with over 45 presents, and over $100 in gift cards, with seasons best greetings demonstrating the community's encouragement and support. 


Princeton High School Interact Club started out strong in its first year, presenting a check for “Nothing But Nets.” They identified this as an organization they wanted to support early on in the year. It is a global grassroots campaign to raise awareness, funds and voices to fight malaria by providing insecticide-treated bed nets to families in need, along with other crucial malaria prevention help in diagnostics, treatment and training of health care workers. Some fundraising ideas didn't work out but they were able to use proceeds that were donated from the sale of office furniture in a bank building being readied for sale in Princeton. 

The new Club is still hoping to do a local clean-up day before the year is out. Faculty Advisor Candice Fetzer says COVID made it a challenging first year, but they've done a great job and have lots of service ideas to implement next year. 


Putnam County Junior High and High School Interact Clubs joined forces with PC Rotary to deliver (by mail) Christmas-time letters on specially printed holiday stationery to more than 200 senior citizens age 80+ throughout Putnam County, sharing the volunteer experience as well as the costs. 

PCHS Interact also hosted two Red Cross Blood Drives this year, the first held on September 11, 2020 in honor and memory of those who lost their lives and the first responders who helped save many, 19 years prior. The second was held on April 16, encouraging school staff and students to “roll up their sleeves” to save lives. The drives, as well as two other school-based drives sponsored by NHS, together earn Red Cross Scholarship money based on total units donated. The scholarship award recipients are selected based on donor and/or volunteer effort.    


Rochelle Township High School Interact Club says they had to get creative to continue to have meetings despite COVID restrictions, meeting on Zoom during the first semester and moving to a combo of in-person and Zooms second semester. Prevented from hosting their BIG annual fundraiser Student vs. Faculty Basketball/Volleyball game, they instead hosted a Spring Clean-Up Project. Community members signed up to have Interact students clean up their yards in exchange for a donation to the Interact Club. The Club then donated that money to a local organization. Faculty Advisor Alison Vrana says, “Though this year wasn't ‘normal,’ we still had a blast and did our best to navigate these unprecedented times.” 


Sauk Valley Community College Rotaract Club involved the local community and area Rotarians in a Spring project collecting staple foods community members and students in need, even exceeding their own expectations. SVCC President Annah Chamberlain says  “We were able to raise an abundance of goods to give to students and families of the Sauk Valley. This goes to show just why the food drive is a staple service act. It is because it helps pull so many in the community together for one amazing cause and teaches everyone how to show a little service above self.” 



The Interact Club of Sycamore High School donated 24 care packages to the Emergency Room department at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital. The packages were filled with small toys and activities for kids who could use a little cheering up. According to a recent news article, “the Club meets every month to plan and put together projects that help make the community a better place. The club’s mission is to demonstrate ‘Service Above Self’ in the community and world….In the future, the Interact Club of SHS plans to continue helping out the community in ways like this, and expanding the club’s ever growing membership.” 

Sycamore’s brand new community-based Rotaract Club came out strong with their first project --  installing a Little Free Library in town! The new Rotaract Club also put together a collection of coupons from local shops and businesses called the "Support Local Coupon Book," which has caught much attention throughout the community and has emphasized the importance of shopping locally. Proceeds from the coupon book sales are being used to fund other Rotaract service projects including the Club’s proposal to begin a Sycamore/DeKalb Student Hygiene Drive for homeless students in need. Rotaract Project Chair Gretchen Sprinkle wrote in her proposal that the project would help students in need, while also educating the community as to issues of which they might not be aware -- also offering an opportunity to promote awareness of the new Rotaract Club! Other projects in the works include support of the “Born Learning” Trail that will be coming to Sycamore this summer, and an Interact Scholarship Project that will be available next May for graduating students of SHS. Another accomplishment of the new Rotaract Club of Sycamore is their engaging website:

According to Rotaract President, Madeline DeVito, “Rotaract strives to bring all people in the community together, especially those who have been isolated due to the pandemic. To achieve this goal we decided to create a pen pal project. This gave people living in assisted living homes the opportunity to create connections with Rotaract members, as well as our EarlyAct group at North Grove Elementary.” 

 Sycamore’s North Grove Elementary School EarlyAct group has been busy too! They teamed up with their Interact counterparts to organize donations such as puzzles, word games, and coloring books “in order to brighten someone else’s day.”  The Club also once again organized their annual Earth Day Clean Up event at the school. The club members work with their advisors to map out designated areas for each grade level (K-5) to clean up school building and the surrounding neighborhood – “always a fun project,” she adds. 


Toluca Rotary’s Liaison to Fieldcrest High School Interact Club, MyKin Bernardi, says “nothing will stop this ambitious group of high schoolers!!!”  The proof is in the projects… showing what “Service Above Self” is all about! Their 2020-21 projects include: 

  • A Veteran's day project in cooperation with the Student Council, delivering  gifts which included masks, sanitizer, and treats with their own special notes for local Veterans.  
  • A project to clean up the landscaping at the high school in preparation for a building project – a continuing project that will include adding mulch and new plants!
  • Continuation of the Club’s Snack Pack program, working side by side with the Toluca Rotary in stuffing bags for delivery to the Fieldcrest Primary and Intermediate buildings, helping K-5 students in need.    
  • On the fun but challenging side, a few of the members took on an exceedingly difficult task of judging Toluca’s holiday lights contest!  The “judges” were driven around by one of the Toluca Rotary members and had to choose 3 winners.  
  • In March, the club hosted a Trivia Night, with approximately 30 current students and recent graduates participating. The winning team, N00BMASTERZ nosed out the competition by knowing the 4 largest cities in the US.  Proceeds from this fundraiser will be used on for the Club’s landscape project. 

MyKin added: “With all the uncertainties in 2020 the Club continues to bring new ideas to the meetings and will remain focused on our communities and being great leaders in Service Above Self!” The Fieldcrest Interact Club is unique in another way… when chartered, the group joined forces with the School’s Key Club to create one very busy Club, accomplishing even more, together! 



Congrats to this year’s “TOP THREE” – each receiving a $100 check to help with your next projects… Rochelle THS Interact Club, Fieldcrest Interact/Key Club and Sycamore Rotaract Club! –With ALL others coming in close – what an amazing array of amazing and creative projects!

We hope all clubs are doing well despite COVID challenges and applaud the efforts of all Clubs, faculty advisors and Rotarian Liaisons. All Clubs have been provided with a roster of other Clubs, Faculty Advisors and Rotarian Liaisons so that we can collaborate “to build good will and better friendships for the benefit of all concerned!” We are also ready to lend a hand to any Clubs that will need a post-Covid “jump start” to get things moving again!

Best wishes and thanks to ALL for ALL you do!

PDG Scott Shore, District 6420 Youth Services Co-Chair 





When you think of some traditions of spring, I'm sure our annual RYLA event comes straight to mind. Each May, District 6420 normally hosts a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) weekend camp at Camp Lorado Taft in Oregon, IL, where over 100 regional high school student leaders band together to learn a little bit about themselves, leadership and have some fun. While COVID-19 resulted in a RYLA's cancellation in 2020, District 6420 is approaching this important event from a different angle in 2021. This year we'll be hosting a virtual leadership series titled "VYRAL". 
VYRAL will include three separate virtual events highlight keynote speakers and leadership-oriented activities for our high school leaders. Students can attend one, two or all three events, which will occur on May 7, August 6 and November 6, 2021. Registration is still handled through local Rotary clubs, so we'll be relying on club presidents and members to help get the word out about VYRAL and get students signed up for the event. Our committee chair, Dave Diamond, provided a letter to club presidents about the event and their role (see it under "File Downloads" on the left hand side navigation bar.) Let's make this year's "special edition" of RYLA a success!
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AN OPPORTUNITY AWAITS YOU AT DISTRICT 6420!!........If you enjoy writing, being creative, social media (or want to learn about it), District 6420 would like to hear from you!
The Newsletter Editor position is open beginning July 1 and we want to hear from YOU!
This position is once a month, work from home, your computer, at your leisure (as long as it goes out once a month!), just a reliable internet and email address.  Be as creative as you like! (within Rotary Limits) 
Experience a connection with all the District Clubs and be the first to see what they up to!  
No experience required - we will train you!
Step up and be a part of the District Team.
Interested?  Reach out to Kathy, or call @ 815-564-8772 and let's have a conversation!  Opportunity awaits!
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Kathy . Schmidt
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