Interact is an international organization of service and social clubs for young people of secondary school age (12-18) that fosters leadership and responsible citizenship and promotes international understanding and peace. The name “Interact” was created by combining the words “international” and “action.” Interact clubs are sponsored by Rotary clubs as a program of Rotary International. Rotary clubs provide guidance and inspiration, but the Interact clubs are self-governing and self-supporting. Clubs vary greatly, with both single-gender and mixed as well as large and small. The membership base of a club can be drawn from the student body of a single school or from two or more schools from the same community.
Each year, Interact clubs complete at least one community service project and at least one project that furthers international understanding and goodwill. Interact's five primary avenues of service include the following: community, international, school, environmental, and fundraising. Interactors develop a worldwide network of friendships through exchanges with local and overseas clubs. Along the way, Interactors develop their leadership skills and initiative while meeting new friends.
Interactors also often spearhead the formation of Rotaract clubs and participate in Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA). Interactors also often go on to become Rotary Youth Exchange students or Ambassadorial Scholars.
The first Interact club was initiated in 1962 by the Rotary Club of Melbourne, Florida, USA. Two months later, the first Interact club outside the United States was established in Tanjore, India. Today, with almost 200,000 members worldwide participating in more than 8,600 Interact clubs in 110 countries and geographical areas, Interact is truly a worldwide phenomenon.
Through service activities, Interactors learn the importance of
- Developing leadership skills and personal integrity
- Demonstrating helpfulness and respect for others
- Advancing international understanding and goodwill
Interact District 5170 is the world's largest and most recognized Interact district with over 90 clubs and 5,000 members in and around the San Jose Silicon Valley Metropolitan Area, California, USA.