High school Interact Club launches after-school tutoring project

Connie Swinney/The Highlander
Interact Club President and Marble Falls High School senior Virginia Baskin has motivated club members to help launch and after-school tutoring and mentoring program in conjunction with the school district and the Boys and Girls Club of the Highland Lakes for the 2018/19 school year.





By Connie Swinney
Staff Writer •

In spring 2017, Virginia Baskin embarked on an effort to improve the lives of children by offering volunteer help after school at the Boys and Girls Club of the Highland Lakes in Marble Falls.

“When I first started, I was just simply helping out kids with homework, being there if they needed someone to watch the kids while they were outside,” said Baskin, who is a Marble Falls High School senior and president of the Interact Club. “I was just an extra person . . . If you have one more person, they can help out.”

Now, during the fall 2018 semester, she has expanded her vision to include her classmates and fellow Interact Club members.

Interact is a Rotary International service club for young people ages 12 to 18, sponsored by the non-profit organization and aimed at inspiring self-governance and civic involvement.

“We learned that ACE which was the (government-funded) after-school program for kids has expired after five years, so the Boys and Girls Club in the elementary schools is going to help fill in the gaps,” Baskin said. “Interact can have the most impact with this. It makes it a more dynamic project, makes it more interesting for everyone.”

One of the tenets of Interact involves members engaging in service projects.

Boys and Girls Club officials believe the high schooler's contributions can make an impact.

“It's so critical for us to really focus on the elementary school level. We have one staff member for every 18-20 kids,” Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Bill Drake said. “For them to say we want to take another busy hour out of our afternoon, I'm glad to see that. We can cover more kids.”

Administrators believe Interact members will provide more than just tutoring help.

“I think it's really important to have people for the kids to look up to as a mentor – to ask questions and share thoughts,” Drake said.

Baskin's fellow Interact members jumped at the chance to participate.

“There's a big need for it,” said Interact Historian/Publicist Kennedy Stewart. “With Virginia's passion on this, we'll be able to back her up on that and execute this well and bring in new members and help them live out this vision that she has we're all trying to work towards.”

Baskin added the partnership will motivate youth to develop productive habits.

“They'll know to do their homework in the future,” she said. “It's easy if you create the work ethic.”

The Interact members willingness to volunteer offers insight into their future success.

“It's very noble,” Drake said. “Those who volunteer at this age are going to become the leaders of their communities in coming years.”

For more information, to donate or volunteer, contact the Boys and Girls Club at 830-798-2582.

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