One of Rotary International’s strengths is its reach around the world, with more than 1.2 million members in 34,000 clubs in more than 200 countries.
So it was a perfect idea when the Durango High School Interact Club, the high school version of Rotary, created an international dinner for its fundraiser. For their second annual outing on Feb. 19, students cooked their hearts out, creating cuisine that took diners on a trip around the world.
Among the items on the menu: Interact Co-President Haley Hudgens’ Greek pastitsio; Italian lasagna courtesy of Anne Hudgens and Kaylee Blevins; Mexican enchiladas prepared by Mikayla and Stacie Montoya; tom kha gai soup from Thailand by Haley Wilhelmsen; Co-President Laura Mummery’s Chinese vegetarian potstickers; Brazilian black bean stew made by Lily Burdick; Spanish chicken and dumplings courtesy of Sydney Mattox and Chloe Ciotti; and Becca and Emily Schaldach made Indian naan bread.
Pretty much everyone baked good old American desserts for a cornucopia of delights ranging from cookies to cupcakes.
The event was held at the Durango Discovery Museum, and they created a cheerful ambience with lots of tulips serving as harbingers of spring.
The club raised about $3,000 from the 100 or so tickets sold and the silent auction items. The money will go toward two projects.
Last year, a group of members spent spring break on an exchange with an Interact club in Guatemala. While there, they helped install simple wood-burning stoves in homes, cleaned up beaches near a turtle hatchery and volunteered at an orphanage. Wanting to make the exchange ongoing, with alternating trips back and forth, the proceeds from this dinner will go primarily to help their Guatemalan counterparts come to Durango.
Mummery, who presides over the club with Hayley Hudgens, said they’re still forming plans for the service projects they will do with their guests when they come in early June, but they’re considering trail work with Trails 2000, preparing a meal at either Manna Soup Kitchen or the Volunteers of America Durango Community Shelter (where the DHS group already volunteers once or twice a month as sports schedules allow) and helping at the La Plata County Humane Society. They would really like to take the students on a trip with Durango Daybreak Rotary Club to install solar lights in that club’s ongoing project in the remote areas of the Navajo Reservation, but logistics and crosscultural sensitivity may eliminate that possibility.
The students are also planning to send at least one student to secondary school in Zambia. Tuition is $600 per year, and they’re hoping to send a second student if the dollars will stretch that far.
Just as adult Rotary is about “Service Above Self,” the teenagers are committed to service as well. They also co-host a massive garage sale every September benefiting Habitat for Humanity of La Plata County. In 2013, they raised enough to buy the doors for the two homes the organization built outside of Bayfield.
The group, which includes 15 or 20 students who attend on a regular basis, also helped Daybreak Rotary on its annual project to deliver firewood for the winter to families who cannot otherwise afford it or to senior citizens who can’t handle the gathering, stacking and physical labor entailed in preparing for winter. They also plant a couple of trees every year.
In today’s busy high school schedules, where students planning to attend college are encouraged to excel academically, get perfect test scores, compete in sports, participate in extracurricular activities, have a job and be involved in community service, finding the time to do something as time-consuming as Interact is pretty remarkable.
If you would like to support them in their endeavors as fledgling volunteers and philanthropists, contact Mummery at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about how to donate.
I’m already looking forward to next year’s dinner.
Doing dances of joy because their birthday wishes for precipitation were granted are Ryan Phelps, Bev Sinclair, Sean Franklin, Diann Wylie, Katie Thompson, Larry Crawford, Callie Huckins, Whitney Huckins, Michael Pratt, Allison Cripe, Dennis Pierce, Steve Kiely, Hayden Siekman, John Siebert, Lilly Tichi, Geo Freitag, Susan Blue, Donna Edwards, Sydney Flores, Josilyn Hoffner, Grace Meyer, Bill Krause, Joan Compton and Ben Black.
Happy 91st birthday to Kit Kaufman.
The snow at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort looks to be fabulous Sunday with 13 inches of new snow as of Friday morning and the big storm yet to come today.
So what could make the day absolutely perfect for boarders and skiers? A Locals Benefit Day, the last one of the year. The day will be hosted by Annie’s Orphans, but the other three nonprofits benefiting this season, Medicine Horse Center, Sexual Assault Services Coaliton and Big Brothers Big Sisters of La Plata County, will also be on hand to share their stories.
The four will divide the proceeds from all four Locals Benefit Days. Discounted lift tickets are available, but you must present a coupon that can be found online to take advantage of the offer.
Visit www.SkiPurg.com/benefitday to learn more and get your coupon.
Beginning March and another year of connubial bliss at the same time are Michael and Cherie Cobb, Larry and Elizabeth Crawford and Dan and Joni Bender.
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