T he Interact Club of Communities-in-Schools at the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice, USA, is the grand-prize winner of the 2009 Interact video contest with its entry "Giving Back Through Interact."
The video opens with personal stories from several offenders who are members of the club, which meets inside the juvenile correctional facility in Columbia. The entry was directed and produced by the youth, with help from adviser Andy Broughton, an employee of the Juvenile Justice Department.
"They came up with the idea and all the material in the video," says Virginia Barr, president of the sponsor Rotary Club of Lake Murray-Irmo and another employee of the Juvenile Justice Department. "They said, 'What we need to do is show the transformation.' It took guts for them to take that approach. Some of them have hard stories to tell."
Barr said the Interact club was established in 2006, in keeping with her club's long history of projects with the juvenile justice system. The Interactors take part in the facility's Communities in Schools curriculum and recite that program's pledge before every meeting, as seen in their entry.
In arranging for the video, Barr and Broughton received access that would have been difficult for others to secure. The videographers obtained permission to use a squad car and film a juvenile offender being driven through the front gate, and secured releases from parents of everyone in the video.
"This video showed us just how much of an impact we have made," Barr said.
This first Interact video contest received 29 entries from Interact clubs or their sponsor Rotary clubs in nine countries. Entries ranged from clubs reenacting experiences that affected them through Interact, to interviews with Rotarians, to an entire Interact club singing a song the members had written. Entrants were asked to create a short video (three minutes or less) about what Interact means to them. Entries were judged by a panel including members of the 2009-10 RI Interact Committee and Secretariat staff.
In addition to the grand-prize winner, two entries were selected as first-place winners: the Interact Club of Shoumen, Bulgaria, with "What Interact Means to Us," and the Interact Club of Edmonton Centennial, Alberta, Canada, with "The World We Live In." View the first prize winners.
The announcement of the contest winners coincides with World Interact Week, 2-8 November. During the week, Interactors and Rotarians worldwide commemorate the charter of the first Interact club in 1962. By completing four designated projects, Interact clubs and their Rotary club sponsors can receive special recognition from RI. Read more .
Learn more about Interact .