Posted by Joseph Redhead on May 22, 2019
Rotary International’s service club for young people ages 12 to 18 is known as Interact. Interact exists to develop constructive leadership and personal integrity, and foster an interest in world fellowship, in high school students worldwide. The Rotary Club of West Ottawa sponsors an Interact Club at Woodroffe High School. That club is mentored by teacher Jaden Lairson, the Head of the Canada and World Studies Department.
Towards the end of each school year the students at Woodroffe High organize an Awake, an overnight event of fellowship and reflection where some 150+ students raise funds from families and friends to support their international charitable interests. Rotarians from the West Ottawa club participate as chaperons for a four-hour shift, taking the opportunity to demonstrate the ShelterBox, a temporary housing solution for people in  developing countries made homeless by a natural disaster, and engage the students in a range of discussions and the playing of table tennis.
The 2019 edition of Awake took place on May 10 and raised over $4,200, of which $1,020 was earmarked for a ShelterBox, and $3,180+ as support for the expansion of a high school in deeply rural Kenya. To date the students attending Awake events have financed the purchase of four ShelterBoxes. After every Awake, and before the Rotarians leave, Teacher Jaden calls an assembly of the students. At the latest event, Rotarian Robert Harrison gave the kids an overview of the ShelterBox program and the impact the ShelterBoxes have had on people made homeless by natural disasters.