Rotary Scholarships Support Local Youth
As students head back to school this fall, two Ballenas grads begin a new educational chapter, with support from the Rotary Club of Parksville AM for their post-secondary studies. Rotary President and former Ballenas Principal Bill Rawlins was delighted to recognize the accomplishments of two students through the presentation of Rotary scholarships.
Shown below is Alex Roberts, winner of our Academic Scholarship which will support her studies in the College of Medicine at the University of Calgary. Alex was one of only two students in all of Canada who was accepted to a special program where medical studies begin right out of high school without an undergraduate degree.
Our Vocational scholarship winner, shown below, is Maya Cudney.  Maya will be studying Film at Vancouver Island University where she plans to specialize in documentary films and story-telling.
A total of $3000 in scholarship funding was received by these two students for graduation year 2019. These scholarships are awarded annually as part of Rotary’s commitment to the youth of our community.
Interact Brings Youth To Rotary
Interact is a service club for youth ages 12 to 18 who want to connect with other young people and have fun while serving their communities and learning about the world. Clubs, which meet at least twice a month, are sponsored by local Rotary clubs. Interact clubs organize two projects every year, one that helps their school or community and one that promotes international understanding. Members of sponsoring Rotary clubs mentor Interactors as they carry out the projects and develop leadership skills.
The Rotary Club of Parksville AM is proud of its sponsorship of the Ballenas Interact Club in 2014.  Since then its members have exhibited extraordinary leadership and commitment to making a difference in our local community and internationally.
The following overview was prepared by 2018-19 Ballenas Interact President, Casey Reumkens:
What is Ballenas Interact Club?

Ballenas Interact Club focuses on local and international initiatives. Their motto is service above self because volunteering time is more meaningful than what money can buy. Service above self truly means putting others needs above your own, noticing what needs fixing and volunteering to fix it. The club uses creative methods to raise money for important causes, and many of their causes affect either the students at Ballenas or the city of Parksville.

Local Initiatives
Some initiatives include the annual collection of non-perishable food items, unused toiletries, and warm clothing for the cause called Halloween for Homelessness.  Many people in our city battle homelessness and cannot afford these commodities we take for granted; this initiative ensures warmth and comfort through the cold fall and winter season.

Another annual cause is the spring cleaning garage sale. This year, the garage sale raised money for a set or two of bleachers for our football field. Currently, the only way to view sports on the field is by standing or sitting on the uncomfortable damp field. This viewing method simply is not feasible for parents, grandparents and students trying to support Ballenas athletics.  By coming together and donating to this cause the Interact Club can reach this goal before the end of this school year. 

While fundraisers are a great way to contribute to your community, volunteering can be just as rewarding, if not even more rewarding than donating.

Another cherished local cause is when the group meets at Arrowsmith Lodge (a local old folks home) and they volunteer their time to keep the residents company. The students are helping the residents, but are gaining life experiences and skills in return. There is no better way to learn about life than from those with so much valuable life experience.

International initiatives
Last year an initiative based around lending money to people in developing countries was born. Using an online international non-profit website called Kiva loans, the  Interact Club was able to use fund raised money to contribute to people in need. This initiative is an ongoing project because when your loan is paid back, the cycle restarts and the money is continually loan to those in need.

Other international initiatives are continually being developed as the years progress or specific developing countries are in need of relief.  While the Interact Club has a majority of local initiatives, they still try and spread the money raised equally.