ST. JOSEPH — The Rotary Club of St. Joseph-Benton Harbor recently funded five projects with money leftover from last year’s 100th anniversary celebration event.
Sponsorship funds were raised in excess of the cost of the event, leaving $6,300 for special projects that benefit youth, the community and international initiatives.
Each recipient received 95 percent of their requested funds. Two other applicants will have their requests satisfied from the club’s budget.
The funded projects were:
• Dominican Republic house build: $1,900
The house build is set for July. Interact Club members and chaperones from Southwest Michigan will travel to La Romana, Dominican Republic to build a house in Batay 106.
The house will bring needed shelter to an impoverished Haitian family working the sugar cane fields, according to a Rotary news release. One to two families (5-12 people) will benefit directly from the project.
In the event of a hurricane, the house will provide shelter for others in the village – potentially up to 30 people.
• Clean birth kits for Uganda: $1,900
There were 150 clean birth kits prepared by the Interact Club at St. Joseph High School. These will be supplemented with a plastic basin (for bathing an infant) and fabric (to serve as a papoose for newborns) which will be purchased in Uganda.
Babies in Uganda are often born at home or in rudimentary health centers under filthy conditions. These will provide a clean space and clean instruments for the births, which will reduce the incidence of neonatal and maternal infection.
• Upton Middle School 5K fun run: $475
The grant will defray expenses and allow nearly all of the profits from the 5K fun run to directly benefit Upton Middle School.
The Interact Club at Upton has been challenged with raising 1/3 of the costs of a digital sign for the front of the school. The sign will communicate to the community and parents. It also will help with the school’s curb appeal.
• College Game Day: $240
Expenses for all prior Game Days came out of the earnings. The goal here is for the ticket sales to represent pure profit.
This is the largest fundraising event for the SJHS Interact Club. The proceeds will be used for the projects done in the Dominican Republic, which includes a house build and literacy.
There are 21 students going on the trip, and they will be helping an entire batay, which is approximately 500 people. This also benefits the Interact members who have helped fundraise in regard to project management, public relations, public speaking, as well as the international awareness of the issues in the Dominican.
• Upton Middle School Interact Club is “Fired up for Learning”: $1,785
The Rotary will be placing a Kindle Fire in the hands of all first-graders at Hull International Academy. The project will capitalize on children’s love of technology to increase their reading and math abilities.
Each student will have a Kindle assigned to them to use at school, and also with their shared reading and mentoring time with the Upton Middle School students, or even free reading time.