Park City High School’s Interact Club gives back to the community
To Claire Breiholz, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Breiholz is the president of Park City High School’s Interact Club, which is dedicated to enlisting high school students to perform community service work. She sees participation in the club as a rare chance for students to leave their marks on both Park City and the high school before they graduate.
"I really enjoy reaching out to people and trying to inspire them to be leaders," she said. "It’s an opportunity to be able to be a leader to people in your school. That really appeals to me. I really want our club members to leave the club remembering this as a great experience."
Members of the PCHS Interact Club, which is mentored by the Park City Rotary Club, spend the year doing service projects. This school year, members have done things such as help the Kimball Art Center move into its new location, help organize the annual Miner’s Day Parade and meet with exchange students from all over the world who are staying with families across Utah.
Breiholz said another big part of what the Interact Club does is foster friendships among students throughout the school.
"What’s great about this club compared to NHS (National Honor Society) and some of the other service clubs in the school is that we really want our members to become friends with each other and enjoy interacting on a personal level," she said, adding that the club has around 50 members and is one of the largest at the school. "I think our club really tries to bring everyone together from all the different grade levels and create that friendship they can’t get in other places."
For Samantha Bush, the group’s vice president, helping others is the highlight of participating in Interact Club, and she views it as a stepping stone to a lifetime of service. She pointed to a service trip to Guatemala she took with the club last year as proof that members can accomplish great things with long-lasting impacts.
"I think making a difference in other people’s lives is one of the most rewarding things that you can do in life," she said. "You can really make a big impact on people. Even when you think you’re doing a little thing, it can be life-changing for some people. That’s the most rewarding thing I’ve gotten out of the club."
For Breiholz, the trip to Guatemala made her a new person. The Interact Club participates in service trips each year, and she said it allows members to get a broader perspective than the one they get in Park City.
"In school you learn about poverty and they tell you what it means to live in a Third World country," she said. "But that is nothing compared to what it looks like and to experience it and to watch how the people live. That experience changed my understanding of what it’s like to be a human in the world not in the United States. We live in such a bubble — especially in Park City — so it’s amazing to get that opportunity to learn what it’s like for other people. It changes who you are."
The group is hoping to get even more students involved. Liza Greene, the club’s liaison, said student interest is high, and she hopes it leads to being able to make an even larger impact on the community.
"I’ve talked to a lot of my friends personally, and a lot want to join the club," she said. "People think it’s so fun, but we’re also giving back to the community."
Breiholz added that she is pleased that the student body wants to participate.
"I like that because I want people to think of community service and meeting new people as something that’s exciting," she said. "That’s what your whole life is about — making connections with people and helping people. People in our club embrace that, and I think that’s what makes us stand out."
The Interact Club is set to hold a garage sale fundraiser on May 14 at 8693 Saddleback Road. For more information, or to learn how to participate, contact Breiholz at email@example.com.
A Parkite who immigrated to the U.S. when he was 13 is giving scholarships and internships to three first-generation graduates from PCHS.