Since its earliest days, Rotary has been committed to helping children in need. But in 1960, the organization took a new approach to youth service. Recognizing the untapped potential of young men and women, RI President Harold T. Thomas urged Rotary clubs around the world to find ways to encourage service among youth, foster their active interest in the community, and offer opportunities for them to develop as leaders.
Two years later, 23 students at Melbourne High School in Melbourne, Florida, USA, came together to form the first Interact club. Now, Rotarians were not just helping youth but empowering them to serve locally and internationally with their Rotary club sponsors.
Ever since, thousands of communities around the world have benefited from the service of Interact clubs. Interactors have discovered a program that offers fun, meaningful service activities while providing a chance to develop leadership skills and meet new friends. In turn, sponsor Rotary clubs have gained increased support for projects and fresh ideas for service while helping to develop future Rotarians.