Last June, the Houghton Lake Interact Club, adopted the educational service trip to El Salvador as their club's international project for the 2016-2017 school year, and rapidly started planning fundraising events to assist the 14 members who volunteered to attend the trip. The educational service trip will take place March 22-March 30. It is the District's third annual trip to this area and it is coordinated by the Rotary District Interact Advisor, Doug Mealey, who has directed several trips, of this type, in this and other Rotary districts. Chaperones include Rotarians and Interact Alumni (who are now adults and have been on these trips in this or in other Rotary districts).

Those attending the trip from our area are Seniors: Rachael Earley, Lauren Haggart, Courtney Ignat, and Ashley Lee, Juniors: Julia Lee, Corrie Stadler, Madelyn Yuncker, Sophomores: Sarah Barnes, Kelli Ignat, Joey Peterson, Freshmen: Kaylyn Allen, Chloe Koupal, Sidney Shaloy, Alyssa Taylor, and Interact Advisor, Rhonda Lamberg, as Rotarian Chaperone. 

The cost for each student and each chaperone was originally $1300 each, which included airfare, hotel, meals, and transportation while in El Salvador, and included the cost of building supplies for a home. Each Interact student was responsible for the cost of their trip, but as a service club project, the Interact membership worked hard to offset the cost for the Interactors attending. With the generous support of our  local Rotary Club providing $3000 for the building supplies for one home, the cost for each individual attending from Houghton Lake was decreased to $1000.

Through the Interact Club's efforts over the past 9 months with several garage sales, bake sales, bracelet sales, many can/bottle drives, canister change drives, and in-kind donations, the club received approximately  $8000 through the generosity of our local community residents and visitors. A recent t-shirt sponsorship supported by local service groups, businesses, and individuals, supplied the Interact membership with club shirts and allowed the Interactors to reach a total of $14,000 for their club's fundraising efforts of this international project. The outpouring of support from our community and those around us has been remarkable and very notable.

The goal of the service trip was to build at least 3 homes for multi-generational families (families that may include grandparents, great-grandparents and other relatives) in what is known as the 100 house Rotary Village in Talnique. 54 Interactors and 30 adult chaperones will represent District #6290, by attending this year's service trip to El Salvador. Rotary Clubs and individuals have generously donated funding to allow for 8 homes to be built on this year's trip.

The Rotary Interact Club sincerely thanks the Rotary Club of Houghton Lake, Houghton Lake High School administrators, educators staff, and students, Houghton Lake Chamber of Commerce, service groups, churches, businesses and individuals, parents, families, visitors, and all those who have supported this international educational service trip project.